A note from Boston Jimmie
Alright now – 2019 is over, cigar media have posted their top lists and the debates have begun. You may agree or disagree with the ratings, rankings, and selections on them, or then again you may not even care, but one thing every consumer should pay attention to is what cigars made multiple lists. We are not going to get into some crazy rating system to determine the top cigar across all these lists, rather we have done the simple calculation to highlight the 11 cigars that made the most lists. We feel that with the 100’s of different cigars a member in the media smokes each year, making it to their top list of 10, 25, 30 is an accolade, regardless if it is top, mid, or bottom of such a list. With that said, if a cigar makes multiple lists, it tells us the cigar has pleased multiple palates across the diverse media sphere and may well be a cigar you may want to check out.
I asked Mike Holmes to look over a number of lists and make the determination of the most listed cigars and talk about it. Here is Mike’s article.
From the Desk of Mike Holmes
Every year when the major and independent cigar media outlets post their cigar of the year lists, it seems like there are two reactions, congratulatory or disapproval/disagreement from consumers. No matter what cigar makes the top of a list, there is sure to be a vast amount of discussion following the announcements.
We Don’t Care About Lists
I hear many cigar enthusiasts say that they don’t care about reviews or top cigar lists but the evidence is certainly clear that the lists do matter to consumers. You can deny it all you want, but the lists are secretly your guilty pleasure and a major topic of conversation in the cigar community without fail. Of course some lists carry more weight than others. You make number one of Cigar Aficionado and you can’t keep up with production, Whatever side of the isle you fall under I can guarantee that this topic is beaten with a dead horse every year around this time. Let’s get into why end of the year lists are necessary.
Year End Lists Benefit Manufacturers
Typically cigar reviews and year end lists are of great benefit to manufacturers so they can see how their products are being perceived on the market. A highly rated cigar is a good selling point for brand owners to turn new people onto their brands.
Reviews are also valuable selling points to cigar shops because shops have limited shelf space and every facing has to earn a spot, so if a cigar performs well the brand owner or rep can use that to sell their advantage. Ratings are also used in brand promotional materials to give that brand more credibility, especially if it is a newer boutique brand. Low rated cigars could also have negative effects to a cigar brand but multiple reviews by different reviewers could also offset one negative rating so it isn’t the end of the world! At the end of the day their cigar is being smoked and talked about.
How Year End Lists Benefit Consumers
Top 25 lists that come out every year are a driving force to point consumers to cigars that have been ranked for that year. Ask any cigar shop owner and they will tell you that they see an increased demand in sales when Cigar Aficionado releases their top 25 list because consumers are curious to try the cigars ranked on that list. They pour into their favorite cigar shop looking for some of the cigars that ranked for the year to try them.
Your typical consumer has a bit of knowledge but still tends to rely heavily on recommendations on what to smoke. They might not be able to tell you what flavor notes they are getting or what tobacco’s are used in each blend but they enjoy cigars nonetheless. This is where the Top 25 lists come in. Cigar Aficionado is not the only top cigar list, but when it comes to your average consumer it definitely has some pull and drives sales of particular brands especially whichever cigar comes in at #1 for that year.
As much as I have heard countless cigar enthusiasts tell me that Top 25 lists don’t matter, it is obvious that they do matter or I wouldn’t be writing an article about it. I definitely understand that there are many factions of cigar nerds who don’t need to be told what to smoke and need minimal suggestions because they have a firm grasp on what they like and don’t like, but at the end of the day even if you claim to think that Top 25 lists are bullshit and are unnecessary then you are clearly mistaken because they are absolutely necessary!
I will add that ALL cigar lists are not equal. Everyone has a different palate and feels differently about scoring cigars in a review, but what we should also ask ourselves is “What cigars should I be paying attention to?” Regardless of what number a cigar is ranked and what tasting notes that the reviewer got, if a cigar lands on multiple year end lists then I believe you should absolutely pay attention!
Boston Jimmie asked me to scour multiple year end lists and make a separate list of cigars that were seen on multiple lists so that consumers can then pay attention to those cigars! We looked at 17 different lists with some being top 25 and some having less cigars ranked. We compiled all of the cigars onto a spread sheet. First thing to note is of the 17 lists we reviewed, there were over 250 cigars listed. Think about that, that means the many different palates saw cigars differently for a top list. It also may be the case that not all reviewers smoked the same cigars that year. Of that large number of cigars, about half were listed only one list.
Once we had it all complied we decided to list the 11 cigars that showed up the most, ranging from 7 times down to 5 times. We feel these cigars are most worthy of being paid attention to by the consumer and shops alike.
The best 11 cigars from these 17 top lists are in listed below, in alphabetical order as we are not rating or ranking this list, just letting you know what the most listed cigars were.
- Aladino Corojo Reserva
- Alec Bradley Project 40
- Crux Epicure Short Solomone
- Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Mi Querida Triqi Traca
- Illusione Epernay
- Jas Sum Kral Tyranical Buc Maduro
- Joya De Nicargaua Antano CT
- Plasencia Cigars Alma Del Fuego
- Southern Draw Desert Rose
- Villiger La Meridiana
- Winston Churchill 2019 Limited Edition
- Stogie Press
- Cigar Coop
- Developing Palates(All 4 lists)
- Cigar Aficionado
- Cigars and Spirits
- Cigar Dojo
- Famous Smoke
- Blind Man’s Puff
- Tiny Tim Blog
- Cigar Journal
- Jr Cigars
- Cigar Snob
Take note of all the cigars on this list, they are on the list because multiple cigar media outlets have found them to be ranked high enough to be added to their top cigar lists for the year! My hope for this article is to get you to see why end of year lists are important and very much needed for both manufacturers and consumers, you cannot have one without the other. Whether or not I changed your mind on this topic I hope you come away from reading this article with a continued love for the cigar lifestyle and also find it interesting to see the cigars that appeared on multiple lists because I sure did! Congratulations to all of the brand owners that made every list this year, I wish you much success and good fortune in the coming year!