This month we conclude the Cigar Coop Cigar Year. It officially comes to a close on Thanksgiving November 24, 2016. In December, we bring you the original Cigar of the Year countdown for the seventh consecutive year on Cigar Coop. It’s been the most tumultuous year in the history of the cigar business and it will be nice to begin to celebrate the best the cigar industry had to offer starting in December. We will introduce a couple of small changes to the format this year. Meanwhile November is typically the month we start to re-visit the cigars hoping to make the Top 30 cut.

Throughout the Cigar Coop Cigar Year of 2016, there was one thing that we didn’t do – a Pre-Review. And it’s been deliberate, but not for the reason you might think.

Pre-Reviews stand for “pre-release reviews”. For the most part, these re reviews of pre-release and prototype cigars. They pretty much follow the Cigar Coop review format except for one thing, they are not scored and no rating is given.

Given the FDA regulations going into effect in August, it pretty much makes it very difficult to do many pre-release reviews. This is because of a ban on samples. While this might seem like the reason for discontinuing pre-reviews, this isn’t entirely the case for Cigar Coop.

Our last pre-review was from August, 2015 – almost a year prior to regulations going into effect. What I discovered is one thing – while pre-reviews have their place, it’s no longer a fit on Cigar Coop. Cigar Coop is meant to be more of an analytical and comprehensive resource. The cigar reviews on Coop are not done on the fly. They are planned, scheduled and go through a series of activities. Given the effort expended for reviews, there is something sort of missing when a score and rating is not attached to it. As a result, Cigar Coop has moved away from pre-reviews.

Cigar Coop holds to its philosophy to not scoring a pre-release cigar and will not change it.

Nothing would make us happier than to see the FDA’s draconian regulations go away and samples be allowed again. This would not change our decision to maintain Cigar Coop as a post-release review platform. We do recognize there is a spot in the media for pre-release reviews and hope all media outlets will still have an opportunity to continue to cover them.

Stogie Geeks is a different brand, and in some cases we have found it makes sense to do a pre-release review as it stimulates podcast discussion.

One final note, this author also also is quite disappointed the ban on samples was not challenged. in any of the pending litigation. In the end, the reduction in pre-release content is not good for the cigar industry as a whole.