On18 (Programming Notes)

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As I have explained many times before, January 1 is always a special day for halfwheel.

Today marks the beginning of the seventh year of halfwheel, or at least from the perspective of publishing in public. I’m not sure any of us necessarily thought we’d get to year seven, I certainly don’t think anyone thought it would be quite like this, but we are incredibly grateful.

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It’s fun, funny and somewhat concerning to scroll through the archives of the last six years. We’ve published just under 10,000 posts. In fairness some of them are from Smoking Stogie and TheCigarFeed and some are copy and pasted press releases. Remember when we thought that was a good idea? 

I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done so far and the impacts we’ve made. Our goal was to create the cigar blog that we wanted to read, it still is. But the second goal, while never quite as explicit, has been to make information about cigars and the industry surrounding it easier to access for people like you. That’s you, the consumer; you, the employee at the cigar store; you, the sales representative; even you, our competitors.

Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking about you, the reader. We have some changes in the works that are all about you. My hope is we can roll them out on schedule and if we do, 2018 should be our best year yet.

I’ve chronicled how this site came about a few times before—these two posts cover it best—but the full anthology can be found below:

Every year around this time, I go back and read the very first post we ever published at halfwheel. I’d recommend you read it; it’s the most timeless 1,500 words we’ll ever publish.


Longtime readers of this site we’ll know that the first week of the year we divert a bit from normal reviews and try to publish reviews of holy grail cigars. Because this is now the eighth time we’ll being doing this, the holy grails aren’t as crazy as the first time we did this, where we probably reviewed $5,000 worth of cigars in a week.

Nonetheless, it’s going to be pretty fun and there’s some interesting stuff.


Following holy grail week, we will have our annual awards, the schedule is as follows:

  • Jan. 8, 2018 (Monday) — Packaging Awards
  • Jan. 9, 2018 (Tuesday) — New Company of the Year
  • Jan. 10, 2018 (Wednesday) — Factory of the Year
  • Jan. 11, 2018 (Thursday) — Company of the Year
  • Jan. 12, 2018 (Friday) 2 p.m. CDT — Top 25 Announced on Facebook Live
  • Jan. 15, 2018 (Monday) 2 p.m. CDT — The Consensus

Avid readers will note that’s largely the same schedule we’ve followed in the past with two notable exceptions. Yes, we will announcing our top 25 on Facebook Live and then releasing the formal post. We will then follow it up with The Consensus, which will be unveiled in the same manner.

There will be giveaways during one of the Facebook Live broadcasts and we’ll take questions during both.


The cigar world spent a lot of time saying goodbye to icons in 2017. It reminds us all that life is precious.

As I do every new year, I’ll encourage you to reach deep in your humidor and pull out something you’ve been saving for that special occasion. No day is as special as the one you are living now.

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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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