2017 Awards: The Consensus Top 25 Cigars

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What were to happen if you took all the top 25 cigars lists and put them together. That’s the goal of The Consensus, a yearly feature here at halfwheel. Since 2011, I’ve tried to collect as many top 5, 10 and 25 lists from cigar blogs, magazines, radio shows and other media outlets and combine them into one big list.

The idea was to see if there was, in fact, a consensus cigar of the year and also to see if the data suggested other things. While we don’t always get a consensus cigar, the data does tell us a lot.

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As I’ve said every year, this is an imperfect solution. Each publication uses different requirements and processes. Some lists exclude Cuban cigars, limited editions, cigars from last years; others don’t. This is not the case that every list is voting on the same cigars or using the same methodology, in fact, I doubt there are more than two or three lists that use the same process.

But that’s not the point. The idea is to see what cigar media collectively says, not to crown the singular best cigar of the year.

I will also repeat that while some view this as the best or most legitimate top cigar list, it’s best viewed in my opinion as a look into the relationship between cigar companies and cigar media. The list and the history of list, provide great insight into which brands are making efforts to not only produce quality cigars, but also to promote them effectively.

Qualifications for a list to be considered:

  1. Any list created by a media member, published on a media website, is eligible so long as that author/publication has reviewed at least one cigar in 2017.
  2. Any list published by a publication that is owned by someone whose primary form of employment is in the cigar business—not including as cigar media—ownership or otherwise, were excluded.
  3. Only lists that are declared “best of” or a similar term are used. In the case of those who published multiple lists, the only list used is the one that determined the best cigars.
  4. No user-voted/driven lists were used.
  5. List must be published by Jan. 13, 2017 11:59 p.m..

Scoring

  • Up to 25 entries were accepted per list. The best cigar was awarded 25 points, the second best 24 points, etc.
  • In the case of ties, points were split between the affected spots.
  • In lists that included “honorable mentions” or other similar phrasing, they were excluded. Cigars labeled as “top cigars” or equivalent were included as entries.
  • Once all lists have been entered, the vitolas for each line nominated were combined into a singular entry.
  • Lines with multiple blends, including wrappers or publicized “tweaks,” were separated into multiple entries.
  • Publications that published multiple lists had their points of a singular entry split amongst them.

A total of 411 cigars were nominated between 32 lists; the results are as follows.


 1. The Wise Man Maduro

Foundation Cigar Co.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $9.90-16
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

2. Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder

Southern Draw Cigars

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Maduro
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $9.50-10.99
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

3. Todos Las Dias

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $10.45-12.45
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

4. Undercrown Sun Grown

Drew Estate

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut and Cured Sun Grown Habano
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $8.20-12.72
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

5. Muestra de Saka Nacatamale

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $15.95
  • Release Date: 2017

Limited Production

6. Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour

Davidoff of Geneva USA

  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Cigars Davidoff
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro Marron
  • Binder: Mexican San Andrés Negro
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (Olor, Piloto, San Vicente) & Nicaragua (Condega, Estelí)
  • MSRP: $17.50-20.10
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

7. Protocol Themis

Cubariqueño Cigar Co.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $9.69-9.89
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

8. Southern Draw Rose of Sharon

Southern Draw Cigars

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $9-10.50
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

9. All Out Kings

Caldwell Cigar Co.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Habano
  • Binder: Indonesian Sumatra
  • Filler: Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero, Dominican Corojo 97 & Nicaragua (Estelí & Jalapa)
  • MSRP: $12.80-15.80
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

 10. Plasencia Alma Fuerte

Plasencia Cigars S.A.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $20-22
  • Release Date: 2016

Regular Production

11. New World Puro Especial

A.J. Fernández

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $8-9
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

12. Señor Esugars

Cornelius & Anthony

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: U.S.A.
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $9.15-11.55
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

02_miquerida-copy

13. Mi Querida

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Nicaragua American Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $8.75-9.95
  • Release Date: 2016

Regular Production

This is the second consecutive year Mi Querida has appeared in The Consensus Top 25.

14. Tatuaje Reserva Broadleaf

Tatuaje Cigars, Inc.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $9-14
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

15. AVO Syncro South America Ritmo

Davidoff of Geneva USA

  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: O.K. Cigars
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Mexico
  • Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua & Peru
  • MSRP: $10.90-13.90
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

16. My Father The Judge

My Father Cigars, Inc.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo & Nicaraguan Corojo
  • Filler: Nicaragua (La Bonita Two, El Pedrero and San Rafael)
  • MSRP: $12.10-12.40
  • Release Date: 2016

Regular Production

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17. Sobremesa

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador La Meca Ecuador Habano Grade 1
  • Binder: Mexican Matacapan Negro de Temporal
  • Filler: Nicaraguan (GK Condega C-SG, Pueblo Nuevo Criollo, La Joya Estelí C-98, ASP Estelí Hybrid Ligero) & Pennsylvania Broadleaf Ligero
  • MSRP: $9.95-13.45
  • Release Date: 2015

Regular Production

This is the third consecutive year the Sobremesa has appeared on The Consensus.

18. Highclere Castle

Foundation Cigar Co.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
  • Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Jalapa & Ometepe)
  • MSRP: $12-16
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

19. Protocol Probable Cause

Cubariqueño Cigar Co.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $9.69-10.50
  • Release Date: 2016

Regular Production

20. CAO Amazon Anaconda

General Cigar Co.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: STG Estelí
  • Wrapper: Brazilian Bahiano Habano Ligero
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Brazil (Bragança & Fuma Em Corda), Colombia & the Dominican Republic
  • MSRP: $10.49
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

21. Pappy Van Winkle Tradition

Drew Estate

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
  • Binder: Indonesia
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $14.60-24.60
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

22. Guardian of the Farm

Casa Fernández/Warped

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99 (Jalapa)
  • Binder: Nicaragua Corojo 99
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Corojo 99, Criollo 98)
  • MSRP: $8-8.74
  • Release Date: 2016

Regular Production

23. Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez

Altadis U.S.A.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo 98
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo 98, Dominican Republic Piloto Cubano
  • MSRP: $10.50-11.25
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

(Image via Altadis U.S.A.)

24. La Flor de Ynclan

Villiger

  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: ABAM Cigars S.R.L.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Indonesia
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $11-12
  • Release Date: 2017

Regular Production

25. FSG

Drew Estate

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Wrapper: Brazil
  • Binder: Honduran Habano
  • Filler: Florida Sun Grown & Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $11.50-15
  • Release Date: 2016

Regular Production


Country of the Year — Nicaragua

Nicaragua continued its dominance of this award, putting together perhaps its most dominant year to date. It swept the top five cigars, the top six factories and accounted for over 64 percent of this list. Cuba actually picked up its percentage (2.13 percent last year), while the U.S. stumbled from a top three finish last year to outside of the top 5. Notably, this was the first year of record where 11 countries—10 plus the undisclosed label—made the list. The Canary Islands received a singular vote.

  1. Nicaragua (64.66 percent)
  2. Dominican Republic (21.34)
  3. Honduras (5.38)
  4. Cuba (3.65)
  5. Costa Rica (1.88)
  6. USA (1.34)
  7. Undisclosed (.55)
  8. Mexico (.26)
  9. Brazil (.26)
  10. Spain (.21)

Factory of the Year — Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.

For many years, this award was won and dominated by My Father Cigars S.A. The factory did this not because of the brands it made for itself, but the success of its brands, and more importantly, it clients. That’s how A.J. Fernández takes the top spot this year. Five of the top 25 cigars on this list are from the factory, including two Southern Draw cigars in the top 10. For those wondering, A.J. Fernández, the cigar company, finished as the 16th highest ranked company.

  1. Tabacalera AJ Fernández Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. (11.18 percent)
  2. Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A. (7.38)
  3. My Father Cigars S.A. (6.91)
  4. La Zona (6.25)
  5. La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (6.20)
  6. Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (5.54)
  7. Cigars Davidoff (5.05)
  8. Plasencia Cigars S.A. (3.77)
  9. Fabrica Oveja Negra (2.64)
  10. Tabacalera La Alianza (2.55)

Company of the Year — Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

The singular most impressive thing to me is that Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust has two cigars that have made The Consensus in back to back years, including Sobremesa which is on this list for the third straight year, only the second time that has happened.

  1. Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (6.96 percent)
  2. Davidoff of Geneva USA (6.12)
  3. Drew Estate (4.66)
  4. Foundation (4.46)
  5. Tatuaje/L’Atelier Imports (4.13)
  6. Southern Draw Cigars (3.96)
  7. General Cigar Co. (3.68)
  8. Habanos S.A. (3.65)
  9. Caldwell (3.23)
  10. Altadis U.S.A. (3.06)

On Excluding Lists

When I published a post asking for lists for The Consensus I specified that there would be a few new requirements, including that there would have to be some sort of rating system used for that media outlet’s normal reviews. The idea here was that it seems challenging to put together a top 10 or top 25 list if you don’t use some sort of system to evaluate cigars. I also asked for people to submit YouTubers, probably the only growing media area and one that has not historically been featured much on this lists.

As it turns out, those two things were in direct conflict.

I ended up getting more emails from people telling me not to include a specific list than I got recommendations for lists.

This all leads to a point I really struggled with last year: is it better to have more lists or better lists.

The Consensus is not perfect, it’s never going to be perfect. I don’t agree with a lot of the methodology, or lack there of, that many use to come up with their own lists. But it’s not my place to judge. The idea behind The Consensus was to produce a list based off what was available and what consumers might engage with. I think there are some basic lines: you need to actually be a regular cigar reviewer, you cannot be employed in the industry—but after that, I think it’s more important to paint a fuller picture of the media landscape than whatever I might deem a better one.

Some lists are still excluded because of the conflicts of interest, but after the obvious issues I’d rather let as many lists on here because that’s how consumers are making decisions.

 

Why Are YouTubers Allergic to Top 10 Lists?

I spent a few hours searching YouTube to see what I had potentially missed from the fastest growing cigar media medium. Or so I thought. I was surprised to find there weren’t a ton YouTube channels. Even more surprising? Almost none of them have had any top cigar lists. The ones that did are primarily lists that have already been considered and a  couple included people that wouldn’t qualify. Still, I was expecting to find channels I hadn’t heard of and lists that I previously hadn’t considered. Nope.

What’s even more curious is that YouTube itself seems like the ideal medium to do a top cigars list. It’s the exact type of content that people presumably would click on. And yet, those lists are few and far between.

A Year of A.J.

For the last three years various media outlets, competitors and retailers have declared the trade—or the entire year—that of belonging to Abdel Fernández. And by one metric, it finally happened. As I’ve noted before, the company is producing cigars—or has produced cigars in the last year—for at least 10 notable companies. Obviously, not all of those cigars made it onto the list and some of the new ones weren’t even nominated, but enough of them were—and highly enough—that Fernández easily won the factory of the year spot.

What’s curious is what comes next and whether Fernández can repeat, last year’s winner—TABSA—finished outside the top five this year.


To download the Excel spreadsheet with all votes, click here.

For links to the 32 lists used, click here.

To view previous versions of The Consensus:

Brian Hewitt of Stogie Review performed a similar concept in 2010, which you can read here.

0 Overall Score

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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