Criteria for the 2019 Cigar of the Year Countdown

The importance of doing any Cigar of the Year list is the criteria used to define the list. For 2019, the following critieria is used.


  • Cigar must have been released in a two-year window for release ending the day before IPCPR of the current calendar year. This is not limited to a new line, but new vitolas for existing lines are eligible
    • For 2019: June 29, 2017 through June 28, 2019
  • Cigar still must be assessed one year prior to November 1st of current calendar year.
    • For 2019: Cigar Must Have Been Reviewed on Cigar Coop between November 1st, 2018 – October 31st, 2019
  • Exclusions from Eligibility
    • Shop Exclusives
    • Regional Releases
    • Event Cigars
    • TAA
    • Re-issued lines
  • For the 2019 Countdown, a minimum score of 91 must have been achieved for consideration for the Countdown
  • All decisions on whether a cigar qualifies for the list or not are final and not open for change once the list begins publishing.


For 2019, a great emphasis was put on merit as the most important category, but the other categories played a minor role. Candidate cigars for the Countdown were all re-smoked and ranked quantitatively.

  • Merit – How well the cigar performed. This was weighted at 80% this year, higher than previous years.
  • Impact – Did it have market penetration?  Was it well received by those who smoked it.
  • Distribution of the Cigar – was it available nationally or readily available from the U.S.

Process and Schedule


For 2019, any score over a 91 was considered for the Cigar of the Year list. Those cigars that meet the eligibility criteria were re-smoked at least one time following the June 28th deadline. The “Value” rating is not factored into the ranking. The performance of the re-smoke combined with the performance of the cigar from the original assessment cycles is factored in. While there is a heavier focus on merit, the impact and distribution factors were also considered for the final ranking.


The Countdown begins December 6th, 2019 and runs through January 6th, 2019. There will be no Countdown entries unveiled on December 25th, 2019, December 31st, 2019, and January 5th, 2020.

The Changes for 2019

We made some changes for 2019. Most notably the June 28, 2019 release date deadline and October 31, 2019 review date deadline. We outlined these changes on Prime Cuts #59: