We reviewed nearly 300 cigars in 2017. As is often the case with halfwheel, it’s a wide range of items from the biggest releases of the year to some very limited products. Some were expensive, some were gigantic and one of them was a coffee-infused candela-wrapped cigar from a new company.
halfwheel’s list is eclectic and it’s a decent sampling of what’s on the market, but in a world where there was probably 1,500 new SKUs for the American market alone, our year was just that, a decent sampling. That matter compounded itself by events that took place in the summer of 2016, namely, impending regulations by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration forced tens of thousands of new cigars onto the U.S. market.
Some of those were released only in the legal sense, but many were actually put out in a formal manner and as such, this year’s list is a bit different than prior years when we’ve had a strict must be released from December of the prior year to December of the current year to be eligible rule. This year, we spent much of the first quarter reviewing cigars that came out in the latter half of 2016. We did our best to try to get to cigars as they came out, but there were far more releases than there were days. As such, there are some cigars on this list that came out in 2016. Most of these cigars came out pretty late in 2016, but one or two from the latte summer slipped in.
The rest of what we did is much like year’s past. Cigars that were eligible and scored 91 or above were deemed a nominee for this list. From there, we procured three more cigars, distributed them to the three other reviewers and we each scored the cigars using our scoresheet. The results were then tabulated and ranked.
In the end, 35 cigars met these qualifications, though three—all Cuban—weren’t evaluated for this year’s list because they aren’t formally released yet, so they’ll be eligible for the 2018 list.
Below is the top 25 of those 32 remaining cigars, in order of how we scored them. Nothing more, nothing less.