Sometimes the day gets away from you but in my case, its more like the week got away from me. Actually, the last two weeks have just been busy with very few moments to come up for air. So since a video review wasn’t possible I decided to borrow a page from Walt’s arsenal of topics and have my own Ask The Readers post.
Here we are, closing in on Thanksgiving and even more scary, 35 days till Christmas. Along side my Christmas shopping list is my list of Top 10 Cigars for 2009. I got an early start this year. I can’t remember any previous year where I recall smoking so many great cigars. The problem is, at this point, my Top 10 list is more around 20. Sure I could take the easy way out of this problem and just make it a Top 20 list but the best thing about any Top 10 list is the debate that ensues. The cigar community still discusses whether the Casa Magna was a deserving choice?
So Don “Cruz”ado wants to know:
How much does price, availability and exclusivity play a part? Does a cigar get more points for being affordable? Does a cigar get dinged if its only available at certain retailers (MX3 at Drapers or Man O’War Ruination at CI) and not a national release? Does being a limited edition cigar, like the Davidoff Colorado Claro or the Padron 40 Years or even The Drac and Boris help or hurt?
22 thoughts on “Ask The Readers: Constructing Your Top 10 List”
I posted a reply on the twitter that I’m having second thoughts about Don. I think that price plays a part if the quality of the cigar is not worth paying its cost. As far as availability, if it’s out there to buy and try then it shouldn’t affect anything wether it can be bought at a local store or ordered to be sent through mail, they can be acquired. Same goes for exclusivity although the Monster series by tatuaje might be the exception since my local shop sold them out the same day they received their boxes, I was fortunate to buy one of each that I still have resting in my humidor. I really enjoy smoking and at first I was a bit conscious about the prices but over time I learned that there are some that are worth paying a bit extra for to experience it, like the padron family reserve 45 Years and the MX3.
I really just put what I like on there. If it’s a cheapie, cool. If it’s a $15 stick, cool. If it’s a connie, cool. Maddie? Cool. Can ya dig it?…lol
I evaluate a cigar as if I were reviewing it, but ultimately, there isn’t a single factor other than ‘dig it’ that I use to construct my list.
What he said.
I agree with Ray. The only time all of the price and availability stuff comes in to play is the number of times I actually smoke a cigar. I typically won’t add anything to a Top Ten list unless I have smoked it at least twice, but even then it has to be phenomenal after only two tries to make my list. I have had cigars once and loved them, then smoked them a second and third and fourth time, and so on, and ended up not liking them. I also like to smoke the entire cigar, not just the first third. You don’t get the full experience of a stick unless you smoke the whole thing and go through the changes in complexities and balance. I wouldn’t watch the first 20 minutes of a movie and then tell everyone it was the best movie of the year based on that. So I basically will go with whatever cigars I truly liked and had the opportunity to smoke a number of times, regardless of price. For example, my list would include the LFD Salomones, which ran over $20 a stick, but I bought a bunch of them and smoke them fairly regularly because I love them and think they are worth the money.
I am afraid my answer is simple…taste. Without wanting to start a argument, if anybody’s answer is anything different or more complicated than that, well I just don’t get it. Thanks.
I think it partially depends on how you define your “Top 10.” If it’s “Top 10 Cigars I’ve Ever Smoked” then exclusive and highly overpriced sticks have a place. Same if you’re talking about your “Top 10 for 2009.” If it’s “Top 10 Favorites to Smoke Whenever/Wherever/On a Regular Basis” then I think price comes into the picture on a much bigger scale (I know I can’t afford to smoke Padron 1926s on a regular basis), as does exclusivity (the Drac was great, but since it’s unlikely I’ll ever have one again, I can’t consider it one of my “go to” sticks).
I think it just goes by taste. If you want to figure price into it, then the category should be split for pricing, under $10, under $20, everything else. I just dont think you can compare a high end Illusione or Tatuaje to say a RP Cameroon Especial or even an Oliva Connie and such – IF you want to do it with pricing factored in.
Actually I like my idea of having 3 categories 🙂 pick 3 for each, then have an overall winner in the end.
I think everyone can agree that price and availability are important and do determine what we will smoke a lot of the time,but value is what is most important. Since we all have different preferences and tastes the value factor is going to vary with the individual. I would pay $10-$15 bucks for a stick I love but you may not like it as much and wouldn’t pay for it. So personally I think that all the factors you mentioned play a part to some degree,but ultimately individual taste preferences determine what we will purchase and declare our top ten! Thanks!
I’ll chime in on this, even though I answered Jerry on Twitter.
To me when I read “Top 10 of 2009” I expect to see a list of the best cigars that particular reviewer smoked all year. I don’t care about the price of the cigar unless the list is called the “Top 10 Cigars Based on Price/Value.” I also don’t care about availability unless the list is titled “The Top 10 Most Readily Available Cigars.” The “Top 10 of 2009” should be based solely on taste, construction, and other smoking characteristics. When you start throwing other factors into the equation like price and availability you end up with a skewed list.
A prime example of a “skewed” list is Cigar Aficionado’s “The Best Cigars of 2008.” When I read that, and factor in that CA smokes thousands of cigars a year, I expect to see a list that names the hands down best cigars that CA has smoked in all of 2008 (including Cubans). Instead the “Best Cigar in 2008” was the Casa Magna. What? Come to find out the reason for top honors was that it was budget friendly in a tough economy. Great, it is a decent, budget friendly smoke, but was it “THE Best Cigar of 2008?” Most people who I have heard comment on that cigar, would say that in no way was it the best cigar. But if price is a factor in your top 10 lists, then a cigar like that becomes more part of the discussion. I ask this, is the Casa Magna better than a Padron 80th? The only way the Casa Magna is even in the same discussion as a Padron 80th is when you start factoring in price.
The same thing can be said for availability. If the Boris, Drac, or Mx3 were in your Top 10 for 2009 then they shouldn’t be marked down or excluded because they were in limited release. If a house brand at your local shop is an excellent cigar it should not be excluded because it’s only available to that shop. When qualifiers like this start to become part of the selection process, excellent cigars will be excluded and that’s a shame.
In closing, I would say that price and availability should only become a factor in your list if two cigars are tied in terms of taste, quality, etc. Then I have no problem if you rank one just ahead of the other because of price and availability. Obviously these are just my opinions on what a Top 10 list should be, but if you do use other factors like price to make your list please let us know what factors were used. Good luck narrowing your list down to 10.
I think price and availability play a huge factor. Now for me, I live by CI, Famous, with Atlantic and Holt’s close enough. If a cigar is tough for ME to find around here something is wrong. If you can’t have the cigar how can it be great. Let’s get philosophical here for a moment. I had a Boris and really enjoyed it, but now I really can’t get one anymore so I can’t say the cigar is great, only the memory if it. That just doesn’t cut it for me. Lastly price really matters. I expect a $12 cigar for be great, but when you can make a $3 cigar like the La Herencia Cubana Oscuro Fuerte taste like a $9 stick that is a top cigar to me. Getting a Ruination for around $5 regularly makes it a top cigar. The Boris that I smoked for $12 and now is a mere memory was a great cigar, but that is all is was because it is no more and it what exactly what it should have been for $12.
I agree 100 % with Irish Mike and don’t really have anything to add, except for a disagreement with Shake.
Just because YOU can’t get a cigar anymore shouldn’t really make it any less great. A great cigar is a great cigar period. If I lived in Cuba and some tourist gave me a Padron Anniversary to smoke I would be able to say that it was a great cigar, even though I probably couln’t get any more. Just because all you have left is a memory shouldn’t matter.
How good a cigar is the most important factor. That said I don’t want a top 10 list that contains cigars that can no longer be purchased. If that becomes the norm then we might as well put CA’s Connoisseur’s corner on the list and we can all yap about unattainable cigars that only rich pompous a$$hole$ or CA magazine editors have access to.
I think that Pete’s Tat Black’s, The Frank, The Drac, The Boris, etc. are fun to generate Buzz but not being able to walk into any of the largest cigar retailers in the US and buy one is something that would keep me from putting them on my top 10 list. Its easier to buy a box of Cuban Cohiba Esplendidos than it is to get a box of Dracs. That sounds insane to me.
I think taste and construction should be the only two factors that determine the best cigars of the year.
There should be a separate list for the best “bang for your buck” smokes, like the Brickhouse, La Traviata, etc. Im predicting the La Traviata will be this years Casa Magna. But I think the Padron 45th is the best cigar to come out this year.
I’d have to agree with pete johnson and say…taste, taste, taste.
I don’t have a top 10 list because I’m still on a journey to try as many different cigars as possible 🙂
I’m siding with Cigar Aficionado on price and availability are factors as much as taste.
Factors to weigh in on a cigar for public viewing of a list which your trying to recommend to others to buy from are:
1. Taste – has to be a top 10 cigar after all
2. Price – ehhh, not too much of a concern here. Low weight
3. Availability – far more important then price. If I can’t get the cigar, what’s the point of you telling me about it? It’s like women trying to convince me that giving birth is painful. Ya, I see you complaining a lot and sweating, but you could say that about exercising and sex as well. One I will support you that it sucks but the other your flat out wrong. If I can’t experience it, you could tell me anything and how am I to know? Cigar’s have to be available. Limited and exclusive unobtainium cigars are nice but you might as well say they all taste like crap. It’s just as believable to me as you saying they are great.
4. Quality of construction – a great tasting cigar that has soft soft and explodes on me loses appeal. And if it does it consistently, hmmm
As far as available at one shop, internet or widely available, well, that is part of the weight. In this case, it’s not too hard to get the Mx3 and you put up a phone number. I picked up two so there you go. Ruinations are easy to get as well. But finding the monster cigars or the Anejo Sharks, bleh. They cross the line in my opinion.
Dave, is the “Top Ten of 2009” intended to be a “recommendation” list? Is it only to include cigars which YOU can go and by right now? So you don’t want to hear about cigars that you didn’t smoke or you cannot get? Umm, it’s not all about you. Here is all that matters, did Jerry, or Walt, or Brian smoke the cigar? Did they think it was one of the best they smoked that year? If both answers are yes, it qualifies for the list. Just because you cannot go get the cigar doesn’t mean that I can’t or others can’t. By your standards if you can’t get it it should not be included. With all due respect that’s selfish.
Further, is the list supposed to be a list of cigars below a certain price point? By who’s wallet do we judge if a cigar is too expensive to be on the list. Should the Padron 45th which is both limited and pricey be excluded from the lists even though it may be hands down one of the best cigars the guys smoked this year? It’s a shame that a Top 10 list, which is supposed to name the best cigars, may not contain one of the best cigars of the year if we use your standards.
This topic brings me back the best meal I ever had. It was at this restaurant that is no longer around and the meal was rather pricey. If you were to ask me today what the best meal I ever had was, I would tell you it was that meal. Now I can’t go eat that meal ever again because the place is closed and even if it were open it’s pricey. But these two factors don’t lessen the fact that the meal was the best I’ve ever eaten. Further, the fact that you never ate that same meal, and you can’t go get it even if you wanted to, or that you may have found the meal to be pricey is irrelevant to MY list of best meals I’ve ever eaten. These lists should be personal and if THEY smoked a cigar and felt it was good enough then it should be in the running, irrespective of YOUR view on price and availability.
My point is you could construct a top 10 list made up entirely of smokes that are unattainable thru normal retail channels. That list may be neat, cool, hip and in your face. But what purpose does it serve?
I am certain that Gordon Mott, David Savona & James Suckling could get together and make a top 10 cigars list that was the best 10 cigars they ever smoked. I doubt it would do many of us any good as most of them would be vintage cubans or ultra rare domestics that have not been available for many years. Even these snobby elite cigar smokers realize that and if you look at their annual top 25 lists it does not contain many if any of these type of cigars. They provide a small section called Connoisseur’s Corner if my memory serves me right where they go over their prized collection of rare exotic vintage smokes.
A Stogie Review Top 10 list for 2009 should be a list for the members. Something that they could say hey I think I will attempt to smoke every cigar on Brian, Jerry & Walt’s list. Having one maybe two very hard to get cigars would be ok. But populating the list with hard to find rare unattainable cigars seems to me like a bad idea that would diminish the major benefit that list could provide.
If you want to include a bunch of unattainable cigars the list should be expanded to Top 25 so that the list contains more cigars we could find today in the retail channel to smoke and enjoy. I know thats a lot of work but maybe we can add one a year and this year we have a Top 11… next year a Top 12… and add one every year til we get to 25.
I’d like to clarify, my motivational statement is “Factors to weigh in on a cigar for public viewing of a list which your trying to recommend to others to buy”
Not the Top 10 cigars you’ve smoked but Top 10 your recommending others to buy. Ergo, if they can’t buy it, it’s not to be on the list.
Plus, it’s all about me. That goes without saying 😛
But see what you are proposing is not a true Top 10 list. Why is that so hard to understand? The “Top 10 of 2009” is to highlight THE BEST cigars that the guys have smoked THIS YEAR (not of all time).
Your logic is really lost here because how likely is it that Jerry, Brian, or Walt have smoked cigars that are THAT rare. They are not smoking “connoisseur corner” type cigars. But they did smoke the Boris and Drac. Neither are available anymore so should that be kept off the list? Many have not smoked or can’t get the Padron 45th, should that be kept off? What about the ECCJ. It’s not made anymore so should that be kept off? Should Cubans be kept off because we cannot get them? What about the Flying Pig, it’s hard to find? So I guess the question is what determines if a cigar is too rare to be on the list? There are too many variables in that so just eliminate it as a factor. The end result is that the lists may contain cigars that YOU cannot buy, but who cares? Maybe you can create your own list of top ten cigars. The list will only contain cigars that you can currently buy, but only if they are not too expensive. WOW, that would be some kind of list (that’s sarcasm BTW) but it certainly is not a TRUE top 10 which reflects the BEST cigars.
Like I said before, I don’t care what YOU have smoked, or what cigars are available to YOU, or if a cigar is too expensive for YOU. It’s not YOUR list. What I care about is out of all the cigars that the guys have smoked this year, whether they be hard/impossible to find, or expensive, or illegal to buy cigars, which ones were the best. PERIOD. As a TRUE cigar fan I care to hear about the best cigars smoked this year, regardless of whether I have smoked it or can buy it. The whole point of coming to a site like SR is that these guys smoke a lot of cigars. Some of which I will never smoke, but that’s the point. I want to hear about the great cigars THEY smoke. So I did not smoke the ECCJ, or Boris, or Drac, or Flying Pig, or too many Cubans but if they are the guys lists, I get it, it’s about they cigars they smoked and I want to see how they stacked up to other cigars this year. It’s really that simple. What you’re proposing is a shopping list not a Top 10.