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 retrospective where we reveal the Top 30 cigars for 2017. This is the seventh consecutive year for the countdown on Cigar Coop.
Starting on December 19th, we will reveal number #30 and continue on almost a daily basis revealing one cigar a day (there will be off-days, on Christmas and New Year’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 on January 19th.
Criteria for the 2017 Cigar of the Year Countdown
- Timeframe: For the first time we are using a two-year window for cigars released between 11/27/2015 and 11/23/2017. Eligible cigars that can be considered for the countdown must be smoked during the Cigar Year. A review for these cigars must have been published during the 2017 Cigar Coop Cigar Year (11/25/2017 through 11/23/2017) – even if the cigar was eligible from the 2016 Cigar Year due to release date. This does not necessarily correspond to the published date – which could come after the year is over. The company or brand that created the cigar must be in active distribution on 11/23/2007. There were two reasons for the two-year window change:
- In 2016, the Deeming Regulations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could very well limit the amount of new releases, so the two-year window opens things top a bit.
- It is this author’s feeling that a single cigar year is too limiting to consider aging and tobacco vintage. This allows for cigar released late in the calendar year to be given a chance to better compete. In past years, the late year releases were often fast-tracked through the review process in order to get them to qualify. The two-year window is designated to mitigate this problem.
- Releases That Qualify: Any cigar considered a new release – whether it is a new line (featuring a new blend) or a new vitola (from an existing blend) will qualify. Blends returning to the marketplace are not eligible.
- 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. Line extensions for a cigar landing on the list the prior year are not eligible.
- 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.
- Ethics: All inclusions are based strictly on merit. There are also no guarantees for sponsored cigars to make this list.
- Intangibles: The list isn’t purely based on score or assessment rating. While it’s not the final arbitrator, the following are other factors looked at:
- Impact the cigar had on the market
- Distribution of the cigar (larger distribution helps if it makes the cigar more readily available)
- How cigars performed when given to casual cigar enthusiasts
The following video outlines the process for the Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year Countdown