It’s that time of the year again. The Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year Countdown – better known as the Box Worthy Thirty. This is a month long retrospective on the cigar year where we reveal the Top 30 cigars for 2016. This is the seventh consecutive year for the countdown on Cigar Coop.

Starting on December 9th, we will reveal number #30 and continue on almost a daily basis revealing one cigar a day  (there will be two or three off-days, including Christmas and New Years’s, but as always we will have original content from Cigar Coop on those days). The final day of the Countdown will have cigars #1 and #2 revealed.

This is the first year we delayed the countdown until December 9th. I covered the details on why there was a delay on my December 2016 Editor’s Corner column.

Criteria for the 2016 Cigar of the Year Countdown

  1. Timeframe: The cigars on this list are in the release range of Black Friday 2015 to Thanksgiving 2016 – or 11/27/15 – 11/24/16.  I try to be as accurate as possible here in terms of a release date, but this is not an exact science. Eligible cigars that can be considered for the countdown must be smoked during the Cigar Year. This does not necessary correspond to the published date – which could come after the year is over. On a side note, the window for next year’s 2017 Cigar of the Year Countdown will be a two year window that stretches from 11/27/15 through 11/23/17.
  2. Releases That Qualify: Any cigar considered a new release – whether it is an new line (featuring a new blend) or a new vitola (from an existing blend) will qualify. Blends returning to the marketplace are not eligible. A total of 244 cigars were reviewed over the Cigar Year that completed on 11/24/16.
  3. Exclusions: Shop Exclusives, Regional Exclusives, Event Cigars, Lounge Cigars, or cigars constrained to an organization or media outlet. Cuban Cigars are excluded, since they are not readily available in the U.S.
  4. Minimum Criteria: All Cigars must have a minimum numerical score of 92 (same as last year) and an Assessment Rating of “4.0 – Box Worthy”. Scores and Assessment Ratings are thrown out the window here.  Every cigar starts with a clean slate. .
  5. Ethics: All inclusions are based strictly on merit. There are also no guarantees for sponsored cigars to make this list.
  6. Intangibles: The list isn’t purely based on score or assessment rating. While it’s not the final arbitrator, we also looked at the impact the cigar made on the market.