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Commentary: Your Personal Best of 2011 List

24 Jan 2012

As is customary each January, seemingly everyone is making their list of the top cigars of the previous year. We haven’t published such a list in the last few years, but we did create a best-of list to send out to subscribers of our newsletter two years ago.

Such lists are fun, as you compare your preferences with the list author’s. And sometimes you’ll realize there is a cigar you’ve wanted to try but haven’t, or maybe an old favorite that you’ve gotten away from for no particular reason.

But creating a best-of list (or at least a good one) is problematic. For starters, you need to determine criteria that will result in a meaningful list.

Will only new cigars be considered? Is smoking just a single enough to to fairly evaluate a cigar? (If you review cigars like we do, is a full review required?)

Once you’ve determined which cigars are eligible, how exactly do you determine the best? Should price be a factor? Cigar Aficionado says they re-review all top-scoring cigars blind (but if they get different ratings one must wonder if the ratings are at least a bit arbitrary). Others, I’m sure, just reflect on what they’ve written or said, mostly relying on memory.

One of the best ways to determine your favorite cigars of the year is to consider the cigars you bought and/or smoked most regularly. This method is used the least. (Under that criteria, the Tatuaje Petit Cazadores Reserva, 7-20-4 Dogwalker, CroMagnon, and the Illusione Singulare LE 2010 Phantom would be my top smokes of 2011.)

But then some hidden gems that I didn’t get to smoke as much as I might have liked would miss the list (Humo Jaguar, Grimalkin by Emilio Cigar, San Lotano Oval, Crowned Head’s Four Kicks, and the E.P. Carrillo LE 2011 “Dark Rituals”).

Ultimately, I think the best part of making a best-of list isn’t the final list but thinking back on what you smoked last year, what you enjoyed, and what you wish you smoked more of. Whether you share your personal “Best Cigars of 2011” list with others (feel free to do so in the comments if you want) or not, what’s important is that you reflect about your favorites from the past. Doing so will make for better smoking in the future.

Patrick S

photo credit: Flickr

8 Responses to “Commentary: Your Personal Best of 2011 List”

  1. Travis Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    I'm not a huge fan of all these best-of lists, and I really don't like how they all come out at the same time of the year. If you're going to do one, why not think of the cigar year as a fiscal year — rather than a calendar year — where it makes the most sense to publish a best-of list right before the IPCPR Trade Show. That way you have a full year to evaluate all new releases and your list isn't bogged down by all of the other lists out there.

  2. El Duke Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    The nine cigars in the article above would make a pretty good "best of 2011" list in my opinion even though they aren't all new.

  3. Will Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    I only smoke like one or two cigars a week so coming up with a top 10 is a little difficult. But I'd have to say the cigar that really stood out to me the most in 2011 was the Cain F. I also keep coming back to the EO Green label, Olivia O, Rocky Patel Decade (for special occasions), Carlos Torano 50 yrs Exodus, EP Carrillo Core Line, Camacho Triple Maduro, CAO Brazilla, Joya De Nicaragua Antano, and the La Aurora 107 (for hot days especially). I guess coming up with 10 wasn't so hard.

  4. George E Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    Whenever the subject turns to lists, I am reminded of an incident from the early days of USA Today. One of the sportswriters, at spring training, I believe, saw Johnny Bench and went over to introduce himself. When Bench heard the words "USA Today" he threw up his hands in mock horror and cried out, "No lists! No lists!"

  5. FAT JOE Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm #


  6. Eric Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    Personally, this has been a year of events enjoyed with a cigar, rather than events made out of a cigar. I smoked a lot of good ones this year, some new, a bunch of ole' reliables too, the most memorable with family and friends and marked occasions. I feel sorry for all the bloggers who feel like they have to smoke empirically and objectively all the time.

  7. Heavy Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Best Smokes That I Had In 2011…

    10-OPUS X
    8-R54 ROSADO AF
    5-LIGA 9
    4-HC XIKAR

  8. Chas Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    A few that really stand out for me are the emilio af2 and the LFD Colorado Oscuro. I also enjoy the La Gloria Serie N quite a bit as well. Even though I do want to support my local B&M, their prices are going up and the internet places don't seem to be. I would also mention my purchase of a box of La Casita Criolla. Great cigar, but TERRIBLE construction with some having minimal combustion no matter the humidity or dry box run. I really wanted my money back from Pete's camp and now dance around his brands without a glance. Oh, just remembered a great memory of smoking the MK Ultra as well!