Cigar Aficionado

The Best Cigars of the Year

I’m a happy man. My humidor is full of great cigars and I have to smoke them all.

I test cigars all the time here at Cigar Aficionado, but with each test I have no idea if the cigars I’m testing are going to be great, good, bad or absolutely awful. But this test is different.

This is the test for our Top Cigars of the Year, a ranking we publish every January. We assemble the best-scoring cigars from a year’s worth of Cigar Aficionado magazines and Cigar Insider newsletters, remove duplicates (we only choose the best of each brand) and then begin testing them again. Our tasting coordinator, Greg Mottola, gets the cigars, chooses and order and a code, removes the cigar bands and replaces them with file labels marked TT1, TT2, etc. He then passes them out to the tasting panel, in batches. Every cigar is a winner already, but now it’s time to see which are truly the best.

Last year I likened the tasting process to a tournament of champions. The ultimate winner was a phenomenal smoke, a Bolivar Royal Corona from Cuba. In a very close second place was the Coronado by La Flor Double Corona from the Dominican Republic.

This is the best test smoking I do all year. There aren’t any dogs here. The question is, just how good are the best of this batch?

So far I’ve had some great smokes, but I don’t know what they are. I haven’t received the whole batch: Greg is keeping some in reserve, and we’ll be adding more if and when cigars in upcoming Cigar Insiders score high enough to justify their inclusion in the Top 25 test.

So I have a lot of smoking to do in the next few weeks. But don’t feel so sorry for me.

[Note: this blog was originally posted last week, but due to a software switchover it was deleted—along with several comments that had been made—and needed to be reposted. We apologize for the inconvenience.]

"Who paid off who to give the Padron Sirie 1926 #9 a 97? The cigar is one dimensional at best- strictly a strong tobacco flavor- nothing more. I believe those rating cigars at CF need to get their taste buds overhauled." —February 7, 2008 20:42 PM
"I was always curious about the legalities of your magazine obtaining and smoking cigars from Cuba. How do you all receive those cigars since you obviously can not just go to a store in NY City and purchase them legally?Do you only review these cigars when outside the US?Thanks" —October 5, 2007 10:47 AM
"That's a good question. With very few exceptions, we buy the cigars at retail from a variety of stores in the New York City area. We also buy occasionally from cigar shops in other areas.In some cases of sold-out cigars, we might get some direct from the manufacturer, but we always prefer to rate a cigar that we've purchased. We spend quite a bit of money buying cigars for our ratings. " —October 5, 2007 00:00 AM
"I've always been curious.......How does CA get the cigars? Are they delivery from the manufactures complimentary or do you purchase them on the open market? If so, from who?" —October 4, 2007 22:13 PM
"S W E E E E T!!!!!!!!!" —October 4, 2007 16:43 PM