Top 25 Cigars 2021
This is the 10th Top 25 list in the history of halfwheel and the very top of this list is about as impressive of a trio of cigars as any of the previous nine.
To give you some context, we rated the #2 cigar for 2021 higher than the past two winners of this award. And if that’s the second place, imagine how good the first one must be.
Quai d'Orsay Baalbeck Edición Regional Libano (2018)
Over the course of the last decade, halfwheel has produced many different Top 25 Cigars lists, though all have been centered around the same mission: trying to find the 25 best new cigars in a given year.
Given that there were probably 2,000 different new cigars released last year alone, it’s not a task that anyone—including halfwheel—could say they exhaustively did. And even if someone did smoke at least one of every new cigar released in a given year, how useful would the opinion of a single person who spent an entire year lighting up a different cigar every 4 1/2 hours? After all, it’s just one person.
At halfwheel, we understand that it’s not very useful. Instead, we try to approach our mission with some room for reasonability. This past year, we reviewed fewer cigars than we probably ever have but the data suggests that this year’s class of cigars—particularly at the top—would be the very best of the best in any year. For example, this year’s #5 cigar would have been a thousandth of a point away from cracking the top three in 2018 and this year’s runner-up cigar scored well enough that it would have won the Top 25 in each of the previous two years.
We are always going to produce a list that contains the best cigars we reviewed, and we don’t try to manipulate the results to make the list seem more equitable. That means there are no limits to the number of cigars a single company can have on our Top 25, nor is there a requirement to have a certain number of companies on the list. Furthermore, there are no requirements about a maximum price, there is no consideration of price in our scores, and no restrictions that would exclude limited cigars or cigars from certain countries from making this list.
Of course, allowing the list be as organic as it can be can create very different results from year to year. Last year, nearly half of the cigars on the list were produced at one of three factories; this year, there are 21 different factories represented.
But despite the contrasts that can occur from year to year, the process remains the same as it has for the better part of halfwheel’s decade in existence. In order to be considered for our Top 25 this year, a cigar must meet the following questions:
- Be reviewed in 2021.
- Debut in 2021 or the latter half of 2020.
- Score 91 points or greater in a full review.
There were just 26 cigars that met these qualifications for 2021.
Once a cigar scores 91 in a full review, it is considered eligible. Because our reviews are based on just a single person, we then send each of the other two reviewers—as well as Brian Burt, a former reviewer—a cigar to smoke to score for our Top 25.
The cigars are scored, not ranked. We take the average score from the original review and combine it with the scores from each of the other three people. These scores are weighted equally across the four people’s scores and then a final score is created. However, the final tabulation is not done until after the scores for the full list have been turned in, meaning we didn’t know any of the results until last week.
Image of the humidor via My Father Cigars, Inc.