It’s that time of the year again, the Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year Countdown. This is a retrospective where we reveal the Top 30 cigars for 2018. This is the ninth consecutive year for the countdown on Cigar Coop.
Starting on December 7th, we will reveal number #30 and continue on almost a daily basis announcing 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 7th.
Criteria for the 2018 Cigar of the Year Countdown
- Timeframe: For the first time we are using a two-year window for cigars released between 11/25/2016 and 11/22/2018. Eligible cigars to be considered for the countdown must have been smoked during the Cigar Year. A review for these cigars must have been authored during the 2017 Cigar Coop Cigar Year (11/24/2017 through 11/22/2018). 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 actual distribution on 11/22/2018. As for the two-year window, there were two reasons for the two-year window change:
- The 2016 Deeming Regulations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could very well limit the number 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 cigars released late in the calendar year to be given a chance to compete better. 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 falling into the timeframe explained above, whether it is a new line (featuring a new blend) or a new vitola (from an existing blend) will qualify. Pre-existing blends returning to the marketplace after 2010 (year Cigar Coop was formed) and are regular production (i.e. not returning for a “limited run”) are still eligible
- Exclusions: Shop Exclusives, Regional Exclusives, Event Cigars, Lounge Cigars, or cigars constrained to an organization (i.e TAA) or media outlet. Cuban Cigars are no longer excluded if they meet the timeframe criteria. Cigars deemed as “very limited” are also excluded.
- Minimum Criteria: For 2018, cigars must have a minimum numerical score of 92 (merit score). The value rating (previously called the Assessment Rating) is not taken into consideration.
- Ethics: All inclusions are based strictly on merit. There is no guarantee sponsored cigars will make this list.
- Intangibles: The list isn’t purely based on the score. The following are other factors which came into consideration:
- 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