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2018 Awards: The Consensus Top 25 Cigars

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As many of you noted in the comments section of our own Top 25 list, there are—potentially—too many best cigars of the year list.

What’s fascinating is, despite your complaints, the number of lists is declining, less than 30 lists were used to make the 2018 version of The Consensus. For context, there were 40 in 2011, the first year we published The Consensus.

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For those unfamiliar with the concept of The Consensus, each year we take all, or most of, the published top cigars list published by cigar media and put the data into a spreadsheet. The idea is to see what we can learn about cigar media, cigar companies and most importantly, to see which cigar comes out on top.

Every year, I’ve said that this list is not the best top 25 list, it’s not the end all be all and there are a lot of problems with the methodology and sources; but it’s a fascinating window to see the relationships between cigar media and the companies they cover. Perhaps the most fascinating post you will read on this website all year.

The more I’ve thought about it, while this isn’t the best list of best cigars, I feel confident in the following: the 25 cigars below are not the best of 2018, but they are the most awarded.


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 2018.
  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. Honorable mentions were largely excluded unless the list was largely made up of honorable mentions.
  4. No user-voted/driven lists were used.
  5. Lists must be published by Jan. 11, 2018 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 397 cigars were nominated between 28 lists; the results are as follows.


1. Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas

Joya de Nicaragua

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: n/a
  • Binder: n/a
  • Filler: n/a
  • MSRP: $18.99-19.99
  • Release Date: August 2018

Regular Production

2. Sin Compromiso

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés Negro “Cultivo Tonto”)
  • Binder: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $15.95-18.45
  • Release Date: September 2018

Regular Production

3. Southern Draw Cedrus The Hogan

Southern Draw Cigars

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Indonesia (Sumatra Besuki TBN)
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Habano 2000 Estelï)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (Piloto Cubano Viso) & Nicaragua (Criollo 98 Viso Estelí, Nicaraguan Habano 92 Quilali and Nicaraguan Corojo 99 Ligero Jalapa)
  • MSRP: $11.99
  • Release Date: July 2018

Limited to 5,000 boxes of 10 cigars and 1,000 bundles of 10 cigars.

4. Cornelius & Anthony The Gent

Cornelius & Anthony

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: U.S.A.
  • Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $7.95-9.75
  • Release Date: July 2018

Regular Production

5. AGANORSA Leaf Signature Selection

AGANORSA Leaf

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Corojo 99 Jalapa)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí & Jalapa)
  • MSRP: $9-9.90
  • Release Date: August 2018

Limited Edition

6. 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

7. Warped Serie Gran Reserva 1988

Warped Cigars

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $9
  • Release Date: August 2018

Regular Production

8. Crowned Heads Court Reserve XVIII

Crowned Heads

  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Ecuador
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $9.50-12.50
  • Release Date: October 2018

Limited to 150,000 total cigars.

9. 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

This is the second consecutive year The Wise Man Maduro has appeared on The Consensus.

10. Mombacho Cosecha 2013

Mombacho

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Casa Favilli
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $21.95
  • Release Date: July 2018

Limited to 800 boxes of 10 cigars.

T-11. My Father La Opulencia

My Father Cigars Inc.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexico (Rosado Oscuro)
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Corojo & Criollo)
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $7.10-12.54
  • Release Date: September 2017

Regular Production

T-11. Davidoff Diademas Finas Limited Edition 50th Anniversary

Davidoff of Geneva USA

  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Cigars Davidoff
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic (Olor)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (2005)
  • MSRP: $36
  • Release Date: July 2018

Limited to 8,000 jars of 10 cigars.

13. Ramón Allones AJ Fernandez

General Cigar Co./A.J. Fernandez

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano Oscuro)
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Corojo 99)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Corojo 99 Jalapa, Criollo 98 Condega, Hybrid Estelí & Pueblo Nuevo)
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $12-15
  • Release Date: June 2018

Regular Production

14. Aladino Corojo Reserva

JRE Tobacco Co.

  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Las Lomas Factory
  • Wrapper: Honduras (Corojo)
  • Binder: Honduras (Corojo)
  • Filler: Honduras (Corojo)
  • MSRP: $12
  • Release Date: August 2018

Regular Production

15. Moon Garden

Warped Cigars

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Corojo 99)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Corojo 99 & Criollo 98)
  • MSRP: $15
  • Release Date: August 2018

Limited to 650 boxes of 10 cigars.

16. Liga Privada T52

Drew Estate

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connecticut Habano)
  • Binder: Brazil (Mata Fina)
  • Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $13.50-17.21
  • Release Date: 2009

Regular Production

17. MBombay Classic Torpedo

MBombay

  • Country of Origin: Costa Rica
  • Factory: Tabacos de Costa Rica
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Ecuador
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & Peru
  • MSRP: $11.95
  • Release Date: 2018

Regular Production

18. Tabernacle Havana Seed CT #142

Foundation Cigar Co.

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connectciut)
  • Binder: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Filler: Honduras & NIcaragua
  • MSRP: $9-12
  • Release Date: December 2018

Regular Production

19. Bellas Artes Maduro

A.J. Fernández

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Brazil (Mata Fina)
  • Binder: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí)
  • MSRP: $8.80-11
  • Release Date: July 2018

Regular Production

20. Espinosa Las 6 Provincias

Espinosa Premium Cigars

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: San Lotano Factory
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano 2000)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $16.50
  • Release Date: July 2018

Regular Production

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21. 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 third consecutive year Mi Querida has appeared in The Consensus Top 25.

22. The T.

Caldwell Cigar Co./Room101

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $11-12
  • Release Date: October 2017

Regular Production

23. Perez-Carrillo Encore

E.P. Carrillo

  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $11.50-12.50
  • Release Date: March 2018

Regular Production

24. Villiger La Vencedora

Villiger

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habano Oscuro)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $9-10
  • Release Date: 2018

Regular Production

25. Joya Silver

Joya de Nicaragua

  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Oscuro)
  • Binder: Mexico
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • MSRP: $6.30-7.80
  • Release Date: Aug. 18, 2018

Regular Production


Country of the Year — Nicaragua

Nicaragua (64.66 percent), the Dominican Republic (21.02 percent) and Honduras (5.94 percent) are basically where they were a year ago. The numbers in parentheses represent their 2017 performance. Italy and France received submissions this year, albeit one each from a single publication.

  1. Nicaragua (63.65 percent)
  2. Dominican Republic (21.02)
  3. Honduras (5.94)
  4. Cuba (2.81)
  5. Costa Rica (2.59)
  6. USA (2.35)
  7. Undisclosed (.82)
  8. France (.31)
  9. Brazil (.26)
  10. Italy (.04)

Factory of the Year —Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.

The winner should be no surprise. Not only did Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A. place the top two cigars this year, but it also finished second last year—so this didn’t come out of nowhere. As far as the top cigars of the year lists are concerned, 2018 was the year of Joya, plain and simple. Nicaragua took a staggering 10 out of the top 15 factories.

  1. Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A. (11.91 percent)
  2. Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (8.91)
  3. Tabacalera AJ Fernández Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. (8.12)
  4. My Father Cigars S.A. (7.76)
  5. Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. (4.1)
  6. La Zona (3.55)
  7. La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (3.48)
  8. Fabrica Oveja Negra (3.48)
  9. Cigars Davidoff (2.69)
  10. Tabacalera William Ventura (2.69)

Company of the Year — Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

Back-to-back.

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust has once again won this award, which is impressive. Furthermore, the company once again had a cigar place three years in a row on The Consensus, only the third time it has happened with Mi Querida joining Headley Grange and Dunbarton’s own Sobremesa. Todos Las Días barely missed out on placing in the top 25 and would have done so if the Mas Fuerte and regular blend were counted as one entry.

  1. Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (5.84 percent)
  2. Joya de Nicaragua (5.22)
  3. Tatuaje (4.86)
  4. Davidoff of Geneva USA (4.25)
  5. Drew Estate (3.67)
  6. Warped (3.1)
  7. Crowned Heads (2.88)
  8. Habanos S.A. (2.81)
  9. Illusione (2.77)
  10. Southern Draw (2.62)

On Timing

I have to imagine that had Foundation Cigar Co.’s new Tabernacle shipped before December, it would have placed higher than 18th on this list. Much like with the My Father La Opulencia, which debuted too late in 2017 to make most of the 2017 top cigars list, timing is key. If people don’t have time to review your cigar, it likely won’t make a top 25 list.

And the only thing more important the timing is availability. Drew Estate’s very limited and bizarre release strategy for Liga Privada 10 Aniversario and H99 all but guaranteed that neither of its new flagship cigar lines would make the 2018 version of The Consensus.

I smoked the 10 Aniversario and have to imagine between the quality of cigar I smoked and the well-documented success Drew Estate has had on this list that it would have finished in the top five had people actually had a chance to smoke the cigar.

On YouTubers & Pipe YouTubers

Last year I asked for more submissions to The Consensus and specifically more YouTubers. That didn’t work out well last year—and this particular section of The Consensus last year was me talking about YouTubers and my issues with the lists from YouTubers and the general lack of YouTubers with lists.

This year, I still had some issues with some lists from YouTubers, namely that a lot of pipe YouTubers put out lists but didn’t actually review any cigars in 2018, meaning they were not eligible. Still, this year there are more YouTubers than last year and as such anymore. However, I’d venture to guess there are more cigar reviewers on YouTube than there are online and yet YouTube represents a small fraction of the total amount of lists used to create The Consensus, largely because most YouTubers don’t put out a best cigars list.

On Dunbarton & Second Place

2015: No. 2.

2016: No.2, No. 3.

2017: No. 3.

2018: No. 2.

No company has performed as well in the top three of The Consensus as Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. It has placed a cigar in the top three each year it has been in existence and one year placed two cigars.

But it strangely hasn’t won it.

It’s not like anyone is deliberately knocking Dunbarton’s entry off the top, but each year it seems to get barely edged out by another competitor. What’s interesting to me is how long Dunbarton can continue to make the top three, i.e. how many new brands does Steve Saka have left and how many does he feel comfortable releasing into an ever-expanding portfolio.

If I learned anything from the 2018 version of The Consensus it’s that the results are quite similar to last year and company should be recognized for continued success on this list over the years before Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust.


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

For links to the 28 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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