For the first time since 2012, Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year isn’t a figurado. The E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic, the No. 1 cigar for 2018, is a corona gorda (or toro) measuring 5 3/8 inches long by 52 ring gauge. It’s a parejo and it broke a five-year streak of figurados being named Cigar of the Year.
Figurados are the catchall category describing cigars that have tapers and curves. They include such shapely smokes as torpedos, pyramids, perfectos and diademas. Typically figurados are harder to construct than parejos, a larger category that includes robustos, corona gordas, Churchills, lanceros and double coronas, among many others.
The five-year figurado streak began with the 2013 Cigar of the Year, the Montecristo No. 2. The cigar is a classic Cuban pirámide, or pyramid, with a sharp point. The 2014 Cigar of the Year, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Figuardo, is a perfecto, meaning it tapers at both the head and the foot.
In 2015, we named the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed cigar of the year, another figurado with a shape similar to the Monte 2, albeit flatter, as the cigar is pressed. The 2016 Cigar of the Year, the La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull, is an extremely difficult figurado to make, with a tapered head, a bulbous bottom and several curves. And the 2017 Cigar of the Year, the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark, is a distinctive figuardo with a tapered, pointed head and a box-pressed bottom two-thirds.
Historically, six of the 15 cigars named cigar of the year (40 percent) have been figuardos, while the other nine were parejos.
Five of of the cigars on our Top 25 cigars of 2018 list (or 20 percent) are figuardos: The Padrón Family Reserve No. 44 (Cigar No. 4, 95 points); the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Work of Art (No. 6, 94 points); The Alec Bradley Black Market Estelí Torpedo (No. 9, 93 points); the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel (No. 13, 93 points) and the Trinidad Santiago Belicoso (No. 22, 92 points).