Criteria for the 2022 Cigar of the Year Countdown

It’s important when doing any Cigar of the Year list to disclose the criteria used to define the list. For 2022, the following criteria are being used:


  • The cigar must have been released in a two-year window for release ending the day before the PCA Trade Show of the current calendar year. Cigars are not limited to a new line, but new vitolas for existing lines are eligible.
    • For 2022: July 9, 2020, through July 8, 2022.
  • The cigar still must be assessed one year prior to November 1st of the current calendar year.
    • For 2022: Cigar Must Have Been Reviewed on Cigar Coop between November 1, 2021 – October 31, 2022
  • Exclusions from Eligibility
    • Shop, Chain, Website Exclusives
    • Cigar Club Exclusives not available to B&M
    • Regional Releases within a single country
    • Event Cigars
    • Branded-Lounge Exclusive Cigars
    • TAA
    • Re-issued lines with the same blend
  • For the 2022 Countdown, a minimum score of 90 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 to change once the list begins publishing.

For reasons for the two-year window and the use of the Trade Show dates for eligibility, click here.


An 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 is the primary consideration. Factors such as Impact (Did it have market penetration? Was it well received by those who smoked it?) and Distribution (Distribution of the Cigar – was it available nationally or readily available from the U.S.) may also factor into the final ranking, but play a smaller role.

Process and Schedule


For the 2022 Countdown, any cigars that met the eligibility criteria were re-smoked at least one additional time following the publication of the cigar’s review. 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 are both factored in. An initial ranking is done prior to the re-smoke. Following the re-smoke, the cigar’s position on the ranking is adjusted and a final ranking is done. While there is a heavier focus on merit, the impact and distribution factors were also considered for the final ranking.

The re-smokes were conducted at two times for the year: May 2022 (for cigars rated in the first six months) and November 2022 (for cigars rated the last six months)

The top thirty cigars coming out of the ranking process will make the Countdown.


The Countdown begins December 9th, 2022, and runs through January 9, 2023. There will be no Countdown entries unveiled on December 25th, 2022, December 31st, 2022, or January 8, 2023.