98 rated cigars represent some of the very finest cigars ever created. In all the years' Cigar Aficionado has existed, only one cigar ever rated higher – it was...
98 rated cigars represent some of the very finest cigars ever created. In all the years' Cigar Aficionado has existed, only one cigar ever rated higher – it was a 99-point Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona from the Winter 1992 issue. Similarly, there’s only been one 98 rated cigar that we know of at the time of this writing: the E.P. Carillo Pledge Prequel.
The Pledge Prequel was the #1 Cigar of the Year for 2020, and it was an absolute doozy. “Tasty” doesn’t even begin to describe what the best cigars of the batch are like. Cigar Aficionado’s reviewers were sent reeling as wave after wave of warm, complex flavor washed over them. The way they describe it, what starts with a bold and zesty oak flavor with notes of cherry and licorice progresses into a wealth of holiday spice and baked apple. This chorus of flavor put the E.P. Carillo Pledge Prequel into a class of its own with a legendary 98 rating.
Will we ever see other 98 rated cigars? No one can tell. Obviously, Cigar Aficionado is very, very sparing with ratings like this. While lower ratings are more common and can safely be awarded to fine cigars each year, the topmost tier of ratings is reserved for cigars that go way beyond delicious. Instead, 98 rated cigars are the type that you smoke and know that you probably will never experience again. They’re perfectly constructed, use exquisite tobacco, and are blended with the palate of a true maestro.
You may not even find another stick of the same batch that reaches the heights of the one that sent you into Heaven the first time around! Consistency at that level would be the crowning achievement of a cigar maker’s work, and we don’t expect it. Instead, it’s like finding a huge, rare jewel while toiling away in a mine. Entirely fantastic, but almost certain never to be repeated. We simply enjoy it while it lasts, down to the last puff.
98 rated cigars are a transcendent experience, and giving a cigar this many points almost guarantees that it will be tough for a cigar to actually live up to the hype. However, the ones that do remind many of us why we fell in love with smoking premium cigars in the first place: the best ones are works of art. And while the average stogie is a familiar pleasure that we never get tired of, an ultra-fine cigar is the perfect companion to some of life’s best moments.
Please browse our collection of 98 rated cigars at your leisure.