An Interesting Pattern in Top Cigars of the Year Awards

The Top Cigars of the Last 20 Years: An Aficionado’s Look Back

This blog post explores the evolution of Cigar Aficionado’s “Top 25 Cigars” list over the last 20 years, with a focus on the magazine’s coveted “Cigar of the Year” award.

A Growing Industry and the Rise of a Standard

Cigar Aficionado, a magazine with a loyal readership and a thriving Youtube channel, has become a leading authority in the cigar world. Since 2004, their annual “Top 25 Cigars” list has been a benchmark for aficionados, highlighting the year’s most exceptional smokes.

A Look Back: The Cigars of the Year

Here’s a closer look at the “Cigar of the Year” from each year between 2004 and 2023:

  • 2004: Padrón Serie 1926 40th Anniversary (Nicaragua, 93 points) – A complex Nicaraguan cigar known for its balance and aroma.
  • 2005: Fuente Fuente OpusX Double Corona (Dominican Republic, 95 points) – A full-bodied Dominican cigar celebrated for its leather and earth flavors.
  • 2006: Bolivar Royal Corona (Cuba, 94 points) – A robust Cuban classic with a core of earthy flavors and notes of nuts and coffee beans.
  • 2007: Padrón Serie 1926 No. 9 (Nicaragua, 97 points) – A Nicaraguan cigar praised for its extra aging and rich flavor profile.
  • 2008: Casa Magna Colorado Robusto (Nicaragua, 93 points) – A Nicaraguan puro known for its exceptional balance of flavor and aroma.
  • 2009: Padrón Family Reserve No. 45 Maduro (Nicaragua, 95 points) – A full-bodied Nicaraguan masterpiece with notes of chocolate, espresso, and leather.
  • 2010: Cohiba Behike BHK 52 (Cuba, 97 points) – A highly sought-after Cuban cigar prized for its exclusivity and rich flavor profile.
  • 2011: Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill (Honduras, 96 points) – A Honduran cigar renowned for its bold and sweet flavors.
  • 2012: My Father Cigars Flor de Las Antillas Toro (Nicaragua, 96 points) – A Nicaraguan cigar praised for its creamy and flavorful profile.
  • 2013: Montecristo No. 2 (Cuba, 96 points) – A Cuban cigar known for its stately appearance and substantial flavor profile.
  • 2014: Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado (Nicaragua, 96 points) – A Nicaraguan cigar recognized for its consistent combustion and classic aromas.
  • 2015: My Father Cigars Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed (Nicaragua, 97 points) – A Nicaraguan cigar with a bold and sweet profile.
  • 2016: La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull (Dominican Republic, 96 points) – A complex Dominican cigar with full-bodied flavors of leather and earth.
  • 2017: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark (Dominican Republic, 97 points) – A Dominican cigar known for its smooth and naturally sweet tobacco blends.
  • 2018: E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic (Dominican Republic, 96 points) – A Dominican cigar recognized for its intriguing complexities and harmonious blend of flavors.
  • 2019: Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Maestro (Nicaragua, 96 points) – A Nicaraguan cigar with a bold and satisfying smoke, offering notes of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, and black pepper.
  • 2020: E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel (Dominican Republic, 98 points) – The first-ever cigar to receive a 98-point rating, this Dominican cigar delivers a well-balanced and full-bodied experience.
  • 2021: Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Torpedo (Nicaragua, 97 points) – A Nicaraguan cigar celebrated for its smooth, natural wrapper and flavors of cocoa, earth, and nuts.
  • 2022: H. Upmann No. 2 (Cuba, 98 points) – The second 98-point recipient, this Cuban cigar showcases classic Cuban craftsmanship with earthy qualities and hints of spice, cedar, and cream.
  • 2023: Fuente Fuente OpusX Reserva d’Chateau (Dominican Republic, 97 points) This is a full-bodied Dominican masterpiece, offering leathery and spicy tastes balanced by a subtle sweetness with hints of baking spice, nutmeg, and vanilla.

    A Changing Landscape: Are Cigars Getting Better or Are Scores Getting Softer?

    There’s a clear trend when we look at the awarded points over the years. The average score for the first five “Cigars of the Year” (2004-2008) is 94.4, while the most recent five (2019-2023) have an average score of 97.2. That’s nearly a 3-point increase!

    This begs the question: are these cigars truly getting better, or is there a shift in how Cigar Aficionado awards points? Perhaps the industry is producing higher quality cigars on average. Or, maybe the scoring criteria have become more lenient.

    One thing’s for sure: the possibility of a perfect 100-point cigar is tantalizingly close.

    What Do You Think?

    We’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Share your thoughts on the point trend and the future of top-rated cigars.

    Do you believe the cigars themselves are improving?

    Is there another explanation for the rising point average?

    What would a perfect 100-point cigar taste like?

    Join the discussion and share your expertise!

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