Cigar Aficionado Has Halved the Number of Cuban Cigars in Its Top 25 List

Cigar Aficionado has been producing it's top 25 list of best cigars every year since at least 2004. As a publication, it has built a great reputation within the industry and this is why its best cigars lists hold so much weight.

Cuban cigars remain one of the most popular types of cigars currently on the market. However, over the last decade Cigar Aficionado has been reducing the number of Cuban cigars that appear in its top 25 list of best cigars. 

Read more: Why are Cuban cigars so expensive?

Whenever a cigar tops the Cigar Aficionado annual list of best cigars, it's almost certain that it will be extremely popular. In the last decade, Cuban cigars have only topped the list on two occasions. In 2010, the Cohiba Behike 52 made it to the top of the list and then in 2013, the Montecristo No. 2 took the number one spot.

For the last seven years, no Cuban cigars have reached the top spot. What's even more interesting or potentially alarming is the fact that the overall number of Cuban cigars that even make the list, has effectively been halved.

During the early years Cigar Aficionado would feature up to six Cuban cigars in the top 25 list. Cuban cigars now only take three of those spots. Also, the top ten section from the same list now only features one Cuban cigar down from two. 

<img src="cigar.jpg" alt="top 25 list of best cigars from cigar aficionado">

As you can see in the image above, the top 10 cigars from 2019 features only one Cuban cigar, the Cohiba Robusto

The reduction of Cuban cigars on the list could be down to the fact that customer preferences are shifting. New world cigars may simply have improved to a point where they not only rival Cuban cigars, they outright beat them. This makes sense because the vast majority of innovations have been occurring in new world regions. 

Cigar construction and consistency has long been a complaint of Cuban cigars and although this has improved over the last few years, new world cigars remain better in this category. Davidoff cigars are a perfect example of this. It's almost impossible to receive a badly constructed Davidoff cigar due to the company's rigorous quality control. 

Complexity in flavor has also been improving dramatically in new world cigars. Padron cigars for example are some of the most interesting cigars one can smoke. This explains why this brand continues to appear in the top 25 list from Cigar aficionado. 

There are some rumors that Cigar Aficionado is implementing a system whereby the brand that spends the most in advertising receives the top spot on the site. This is completely unfounded and there is absolutely no evidence to support this idea. What's more likely is that we're seeing a genuine and gradual change within the industry. 

There is a huge range of new world cigars that are regularly appearing in the highly congested cigar industry. It's difficult for a single country to compete against such a wide range of offerings, especially due to the access these new world cigars have to the US market. 

Even now, Cuban cigars are essentially a restricted product in the US and the market in the US is huge to say the least. These factors could be eroding away the allure that Cuban cigars hold within certain areas of the industry; more specifically the US. The fact that Cigar Aficionado is a US based publication, this shouldn't really be that surprising. 

That being said, for many of us including myself, Cuban cigars remain the first and predominant choice. There's essentially nothing quite like a Cuban cigar. The unique flavor profile of Cuban cigars keeps it in the spotlight as it remains the most popular option on the market. 

2 comments

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  • While being crowned the #1 spot has created a huge demand for most “winners” I dare say the aging room Quattro & the EP. Carillo encore didn’t fare so well. Both are readily available on auction sites for half msrp. & these 2 #1’s are whats causing suspicion of a “pay to play” coty list. Rating the epc pledge a 98 (4pts higher than the behike: the holy grail of cigars) ca deserves all the speculation & doubt they’re receiving!

    Kevin m Chambers

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