Before You Shop

Stogie Spotlight33 Comments on Before You Shop

Before You Shop

The season of cigar media websites releasing their Top Cigars of 2009 is coming to an end. While any ill feelings I have are totally based on professional jealousy, this season would not be complete without a certain “lifestyle” publication releasing their hotly-debated annual list… no matter how much you agree or disagree with it.

Padron Family Reserve 45 Years

But before you grab that glossy top 25 list and head to your favorite tobacconist, take a moment to get an unbiased review. We didn’t review all the cigars or the exact sizes that said “lifestyle” magazine rated, but we covered a good deal of them. For your convenience, here’s a shortcut to those reviews:

Like I said, we’ve got ’em covered. But I think that the “lifestyle” publication is a bit out of touch with today’s passionado. Some of the cigars they list are deserving, but many are not. For a more in-touch and well rounded selection of excellent cigars, I encourage you to check out our own Top 10 lists:

33 thoughts on “Before You Shop

  1. Yeah, CA sucks! Everyone knows the Padron boys paid big bucks to get their cigar named #1. And to add on to that the fact that they’ve won 3 out of 6 possible years!?! A total scam! All the reviews are bogus and paid for in advertising dollars!!!

    What’s that you say…Cuban cigars are consistently the highest-rated sticks in CA? And they don’t spend a penny on advertising?

    What’s that…Altadis and General smokes often reside at the lower ends of their reviewed cigars lists? But…but…but…everyone know they pay for good reviews!!!

    You mean the Cigar Aficionado conspiracy is just a complete and utter sham and waste of time? Because different people have different opinions, you say?

    [sarcasm finished]

    In all honesty, Padron makes some mighty good sticks and I do not believe they paid money to get rated tops 3 out of the 6 years that the magazine has run this list.

    I personally do not have the money to buy a watch that costs the same as a down payment on a house and I will never be a client of NetJets, even it I do win the lottery, but I do enjoy reading some of CA. There are some good interviews with celebrities and cigar personalities, and some other interesting articles. I do wish they would focus more on cigars and I could give a rat’s rear end about Marvin Shanken’s golf exploits. I almost dropped my subscription this last year, but then got another 2-year for $25 deal and figured I couldn’t really go wrong for that price.

    Bottom line…take them for what they are, but insipid and uninformed trash talk is pretty pointless as we are all on the same side. For all the “out of touch” articles CA publishes, they do a lot of good, too, with Big Smoke events, education, fighting for smokers’ rights.

  2. D Jones – I don’t think any will argue with some of the things you mentioned like education and smokers’ rights. The issue is with their list. The lifestyle magazine can be very trigger happy in the legal area as even republishing their list, for whatever reason, is a copyright violation so we took the approach of not using the publications actual name. Besides which, its only a matter of time before they change their name to Lifestyle Aficionado anyways.

    Like I said the issue is with the list or actually what is not on the list. Nothing from Davidoff/Camacho? No La Traviata? No Alec Bradley Prensado? The Ambos Mundos is the best they could do from Pete Johnson? Another Casa Magna? The OpusX is past its prime. Mi Dominicana? The Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve in the Top 10? All of those are pretty suspect. Sure they can explain away the La Traviata and the Prensado by saying they were under a publishing deadline. But then call it the Top 10 Cigars for The First 10 Months of 2009. Using publishing deadlines as the excuse to snub them is the equivalent of the dog eating your homework excuse.

    It be in the best interest of the readers for them to publish a fair and accurate list than one that is dictated by a publishing deadline.

  3. Jerry,
    I can argue with the names you mention, too. Prensado? Seriously? Out of 4 new offerings from AB, it was the 3rd best in my opinion. But I think that’s just what it comes down to is an issue of opinion.

    I don’t agree with them about the Ambos Mundos (pretty average, in my opinion) or the Casa Magna (the salomon I had was pretty awful), but…I just take it as their opinion, which they are entitled to, as you are entitled to yours…and you publish it as well…and I publish mine.

    And all of these opinions are just guidelines that others are free to use or completely ignore when making their own buying decisions. As for me, I’m heading out to the cigar shop to have one or two right now…I think I’ll have a San Cristobal, an LFD DL-452, or maybe a La Traviata…because you’re right about that one…it should have been in the top 10 of anybody’s list this year!


  4. I have a hard time believing that they couldn’t include certain cigars because of their late release date since the Partagas Benji Menendez cigar didn’t hit stores until early December.

  5. It boils down to advertising dollars from the domestic companies, and palm greasing by the cuban companies.

    My whole issue is that over the years this “lifestyle Mag” has become the go to source for opinions. I raise questions and talk shit as to make people aware that there are people out there who have a mind of their own, and actively seek out a cigar and smoke it because they want to, not because some glossy over priced lifestyle mag tells them.

    Fuck.. most people don’t even know that they only smoke 1/4 inch of a fucking cigar before rating it… to me that alone is reason enough to ignore what they say.

  6. RichM,
    If it were all down to advertising dollars as you say, then the companies that spent the most should get the best ratings, right? Except that I did the hard work a year or so ago and found that the company with the most pages of advertising over a two issue spread was…wait for it…Ashton! This counts Ashton, San Cristobal, La Aroma de Cuba, etc. And although they had bought more pages of advertising, their cigars did not consistently come out on top. Some were good and some weren’t. I can’t remember all the details of the mini-study I did on the issue, but what it really comes down to is that there was no correlation between advertising pages purchased and ratings. Either Altadis or General was the second highest advertiser and their sticks were almost always near the bottom of the ratings in each category.

    As far as the Cuban cigar issue goes…I have nothing to say about it except that James Suckling has his head so far up Castro’s ass, that he could give him a colonoscopy. The man truly sickens me with his fawning over a repressive, brutal dictatorship.

    Where did you hear they only smoke 1/4 inch before rating a cigar? I’m not saying that’s not true, but how do you know it is? Did you used to be on the reviewing panel?

    Five years ago it might be the case that everyone’s favorite magazine to hate was the “go to source for opinions” but I very much disagree with that today. I look at about 5 different cigar-centric blogs per day and a few more on a less than daily basis. I would say that the inter-webs is the place to go for opinions on stogies these days.

    And, Jerry, Walt, and Brian (and assorted guests)…you do a better job than most (although that picture of Jerry in the elf costume still disturbs me greatly!).

    1. There was an interview with either Suckling or Mott in which they stated they smoked the first inch of a cigar. They say that after that point, nothing will change their minds regarding the stick and that they can gather all information they need in that short of a smoke.

      1. Fair enough…I stand (somewhat) corrected. I would take that comment to mean they make a general determination about whether or not they like a cigar in the first 15 minutes, and probably smoke the rest before rendering a number, but…I could be wrong about that, I guess.

        1. If I can find the article, I’ll post it, but from what they said, it sounded like they put a cigar down after the first inch. Their reasoning was that they have too many sticks to smoke to smoke more than that first inch. Take that for what it’s worth, I guess.

          1. Well, in one of their blind tasting review videos last year with the list, there was a stinky brand ashtray filled with cigars with only an inch of ash on them. They had already moved on to the next one. For being considered an “authority,” they should know that things change as you smoke a cigar, well past the first inch or so.

  7. Man…I didn’t realise we were supposed to take all these top 10 and 25 lists so seriously. I have yet to read one that will make any difference to my buying habits.

  8. My question is, when did the Casa Fernandez come out ? I visit several shops often and just finally saw them last week. They claim they were in a time crunch for publication but these seem to have been a late release.

    Anyone know ?

  9. I have to agree with D Jones and A well aged Cuban, really who cares, I don’t and certainly nobody I know goes out and purchases the top 25 from CA just because they said it was good. I like to look at the list though and compare it to mine and the rest of the cigar communities list. I thought the stogie forum list was well put together.

    And, regarding the only smoking the first 1/3. I think if I had to smoke as many cigars as they do to come up with the list I don’t know if I would nub everyone either.

  10. Hey man all those sticks sound great but what about PERDOMO???? PERDOMO PATRIARCH is an awesome stick you could of gave it at least an honorable mention……. PERDOMO LOT 23 Maduro another outstanding stick…… Nick PERDOMO makes some awesome stuff…. Construction, taste and price points… You really can’t beat it….

    BY the way ALEC BRADLEY makes what I believe to be YARD GAR’s…. really……. 94?? TEMPUS?? haaa

    But who cares??? To each is own, so SMOKE what ever floats your BOAT!!!!

    Keep the great work, Jerry, Walt and Brian….

    And for all the smokers out there KEEP voicing your opinion it matters ONLY too you….


  11. yeah I love perdomo stuff too. champagne is one of the best mild-medium cigars out there, as well as the limited oscuro and regular lot 23 too.

    and were you drinking when you posted that.. “weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee………….”?

    1. not yet….. anywayzz …..oh MAN…. I always have half a box of the PERDOMO CHAMPAGNE in the humi…. you must of been reading my mind…. I hear about so many other good connecticuts from blenders like CAMACHO and OLIVA and DAVIDOFF…. but once I find something I really like, I stay faithfull…. and since PERDOMO really set that bar high as far as Connecticut wrapped cigars are concerned I’m not too sure any of the blenders with satisfy what I am looking for……

      weeee is just a lil humor too lighten the mood as everyone else was taking the opinion the the butt hole…..

      Lets be Friends………. 😉

  12. oh I just purchased some Chateau Real Noble Habana….. They have a conneticut wrapper…???? They were at a nice price point and someone told me to give them a shot…. waiting for the order but I wanted a taste profile before I hit it????


  13. ARgh vicdamone I just ordered a batch and the Perdomo I chose was the “10th anniversary maduro epicure”… after reading your comments I should have added a few more sticks. Still, what do you think of this one?

  14. 10th anniversary is ok, not PERDOMO’s best…. Its a little too tannic for me…. I think Torano’s Casa Torano’s maduro is a really good stick… Also try the LOT 23 maduro… its better than the 10th anniversary maduro….

    Just my opinion…… Though you might like it, but I’m not crazy about it….


  15. ditto on the 10th anniversary something changed from the original la tradicion line maduro and the 10th, just not the same

  16. quick question, i realize that you do not have the Nestor Miranda Special Selection on ur list of thier top 25 that you’ve reviewed… And you’ve reviewed it.

    Is it a different blend or different cigar now?

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