#1 Cigars of the Year represent the best of the best. In an industry obsessed with perfection at the top levels of cigar making, these are the cigars that...
#1 Cigars of the Year represent the best of the best. In an industry obsessed with perfection at the top levels of cigar making, these are the cigars that were crowned by the tastemakers over at Cigar Aficionado as the finest of any given year. Typically they are made by the legends of the industry – master blenders and generational experts in tobacco agriculture and cigar making who have worked for decades to develop their skills and palates – but sometimes, there’s a surprise breakout star who makes something extraordinary, like Rafael Nodal and his Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Maestro, the 96-rated #1 Cigar of 2019.
Earning the distinction of joining the list of #1 Cigars of the Year is a lifetime achievement for a cigar maker. After this honor, that cigar maker and their company ride high on a reputation of outstanding quality for many years to come. It’s a recognition of a cigar that is head and shoulders above the rest, but it also propels the brand into an entirely new level of desirability reserved for the finest cigars in the world.
Where do these #1 Cigars of the Year come from?
Well, for decades, Cigar Aficionado has published a monthly magazine devoted to cigars, containing a number of ratings for dozens of stogies from all over the world. Each month, the company breaks down these ratings into sizes, rating a few dozen Churchills, Robustos, Figurados, and more. These cigars are rated on a scale that goes up to 100, with the majority of cigars right around 90, but a few special ones going above. Once a cigar is rated around 93 and up, it’s a possible candidate for #1 Cigars of the Year.
The ratings take many things into account, including construction, appearance, burn quality, strength, and more, but the real focus of the judging is the flavor of the smoke. Judges with finely-tuned palates will pick out a wealth of notes in order to properly describe the taste experience of smoking the cigar. The #1 Cigars of the Year almost always have an exquisite array of flavors that make them special relative to other cigars.
At the end of the year, Cigar Aficionado generally has its top 25 cigars identified from these monthly ratings. Then it’s time for a fresh round of judging to rank them. We’d love to know more about the process, but we believe this is currently how it’s done: each cigar is re-evaluated by a team of expert judges, who smoke each cigar blind, not knowing which brand and line the anonymous sticks came from. After that, a ranking is established, and a winner is crowned. The list is then published in the most sought-after issue of Cigar Aficionado of the year (at least by industry insiders, whose fortunes depend on these rankings).
That’s how we get the #1 Cigars of the Year.
If you’re looking for the best of the best, this is it. Each of these cigars is a fantastic smoke, and if you only have the occasional cigar, these are the ones to have in your humidor. There’s not a bad puff in the bunch.
Please browse our collection of #1 Cigars of the Year at your leisure.