Herding Stogies: A Composite Top 10

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Herding Stogies: A Composite Top 10

“What’s this? Another top ten list?! Surely you can’t be serious!” Oh, but I am, and stop calling me Shirley. (R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen) This isn’t any ordinary cigar top ten list, it’s a fusion of geekery, curiosity and hours of Excel spreadsheet work.

The other day I was reading “These Lists Don’t Lie” on the Drew Estate blog about all the top ten lists on the net that feature some variety of Liga Privada. It really looked like they cleaned up this year, at least with the online guys. I started to wonder if 2010 really was the year of the Rat and the Pig. They did well to be sure, but it wasn’t a slam dunk. The La Aurora 107 and the Avo Heritage were also very popular. Like a Troggian Wild Thing, I wanted to know for sure. So on a Saturday morning I opened up a browser and a spreadsheet. Some hours later, I had arrived at a reasonably definitive composite cigar blog top ten.

Before I get to the list, let me give you an idea of how I arrived at these figures. To begin with, I hit up all the cigar blogs I could think of and grabbed their top ten lists. I left off anything beyond twelve (11 and 12 got fractional points in hopes that would prevent some ties), and I completely skipped lists that were “in no particular order”. I wound up with 14 top tens from 17 different blogs. To keep it simple, I assigned inverse numerical values to the ratings (#1 gets 10 points, #2 gets 9, etc.), and disregarded vitolas. Meaning that a La Traviata Animados and a La Traviata Divino were treated as the same thing. Also, I applied a multiplier to my own top ten list because I’m the bomb. (Kidding. Or am I…)

Enough explaining, it’s time I make with the goods. Here’s the…

Cigar Blog Composite Top Ten Cigars of 2010

9. Drew Estate Liga Privada T52 (Three-way Tie)

9. Drew Estate Liga Privada Flying Pig (Three-way Tie)

9. CAO La Traviata (Three-way Tie)

8. My Father Le Bijou 1922

7. CAO La Traviata Maduro

5. Tatuaje Pork Tenderloin (Tie)

5. EP Carrillo Short Run 2010 (Tie)

4. Davidoff Puro D’Oro

3. Drew Estate Liga Privada Dirty Rat

2. La Aurora 107

… and the winner is …

1. Avo Heritage

So it turns out that Drew Estate did do very well in 2010, grabbing three spots in the top ten (well, top eleven, due to an awkward three-way tie), but nothing could withstand the Avo Heritage juggernaut. It was on nearly every list, and often near the top. The La Aurora 107 was also incredibly popular, the Heritage edged it out by a very narrow margin.

Another interesting thing I noticed is no list I came across listed both the La Traviata and the La Traviata Maduro. Most most of them listed one or the other. I chalk that up in part to most cigar bloggers focusing exclusively on 2010’s new smokes.

As I was doing my calculations, I noticed the list that was growing didn’t seem to accurately represent how well some manufacturer actually did in 2010, especially if they had numerous popular sticks. With some brands, everybody likes a different line, or a different special edition, and etcetera. In some cases too many popular offerings actually prevented all (or most) of their cigars from earning enough points to make it into the top 10, even if the manufacturer made it on nearly every list.

So I made a second list. (And briefly considered making it a second post just to push the limits of our readers’ patience with top ten lists.) This time, I ruled out everything but brand, and, of course, the points associated with the position their cigars held in each top ten list. The results were very interesting, and as it turns out, very beneficial to Drew Estate. But did that put them on top? Let’s find out. Here’s the…

Composite Top Ten Brands of 2010

10. Davidoff

8. CAO (Tie)

8. EP Carrillo (Tie)

7. Viaje

6. My Father Cigars

5. Illusione

4. Avo

3. La Aurora

2. Drew Estate

… and the winner is …

1. Tatuaje

Tatuaje took it by storm, it wasn’t even close. 10 different Tatuaje cigars took 16 positions in the aggregated top ten lists, but only the Pork Tenderloin was popular enough between them all to make the first list. Likewise, Drew Estate benefited from consolidation and grabbed a decisive second place. And despite the shake up, La Aurora and Avo still held onto high positions.

As to the original question posed, my number crunching didn’t prove that 2010 was the year of the Rat and Pig, it looks like like it was actually the year of the Tat. Of course, from Drew Estate’s perspective, it definitely was the year of Liga Privada. This has to have been their best year with the OCD online cigar smoking crowd, who previously dismissed them as “that flavored cigar maker.” And it goes without saying that the sticks and the manufacturers on both of these lists all did incredible jobs this past year. These results are a reason to celebrate.

Thank you for indulging this bit of cigar geekery. Now to the the comment section for questions, opinions, compliments and accusations. What do you think, do these results surprise you? You are welcome and encouraged to use the comments section below to sound off.

enjoying cigars since 1997

36 thoughts on “Herding Stogies: A Composite Top 10

  1. I think you have too much time on your hands.

    Totally joking. Very cool list(s) man. I thought it was neat to see soo many similar cigars pop up in everyone’s lists this year. It really shows the manufacturer’s art of making each of thier products stand out. Respect goes out to ’em. 2009/2010 was really flagship years for the industry. I’m really interested to see the next level of products that will be introduced this year. I think a lot of companies will be making or breaking themselves.

    1. Like Jerry said earlier on twitter, cut me some slack, we’re snowed in down here in “Hothlanta”.

      I couldn’t agree more, the past couple of years have been fantastic for fans of cigars. That is, when we can find places we can still legally smoke them.

      1. Snowed in – LOL – what is that like 2 inches on the ground? 🙂

        Just messin with ya my friend. Was neat to see the geek numbers!

  2. I can’t believe your time could not have been better spent, Jerry. If you wanted to analyze something that is unimportant, you might have tried to explain Cigar Aficionado’s bizarre selections.

    But then, my position on Ratings and Lists is very clear.


    1. Gary – sorry for the confusion but its actually Brian who wrote this article not myself. Remember there are 4 of us writing for Stogie Review. The e-mail notification is automated and uses my address. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Great work Brian. FYI, in defense of the above comment crediting Jerry for all your geeky hard work…email of this article does not have your name credited to it anywhere, and the From field, as always, shows it coming from jerry@stogiereview.

    That said, whats up with this EP Carrillo Short Run 2010? Got one from my B&M after they returned from the IPCPR singing its praises and was not impressed in the least. Now you are going to go make me buy another one to see if my experience was a fluke.

    Good stuff man, thanks.

  4. This is awesome. Thanks for the great work. I’m glad to see the La Aurora 107 at the top of the list. I just made it my first box purchase. I was a little nervous committing to such a large number of cigars. Haven’t opened them yet.

  5. I have to say I’m extremely shocked by all the positive reviews of “the Face”. I smoked 2 and they were young as shit. I wont even touch any of the other 3 I have left at least another 2 years. I just don’t think it was a good smoke and I feel like everyone is just saying they liked it because it was so hyped.

    I can see the other blends being on some peoples lists, but i’m calling shananagins on “the Face”.

    1. Actually, I reviewed the data, and based on the lists I used, “The Face” didn’t rate. On the other hand, the “Pork Tenderloin”, appeared on 5 different lists, and the Black and El Triunfador appeared on 2 each as well. Like I said above, Tatuaje won with 10 different cigars, holding 16 top ten positions on the various lists.

      1. well thats good. i saw it on a few lists and was irritated every time. i wanna try that tenderloin but i may have missed the boat on that one

  6. Brilliant idea, Brian. It needed to be done and I hope you do this every year.

    And really, the results are not at all surprising if you read the blogs. The 107, Ligas and the Heritage were all huge hits. This list is much closer to what I would have put in my Top 10 if I were to make one and reflects what I see when I’m in stores, as the smokes that people were excited about this year. The CA list, as always is mind-boggling and irrelevant.

  7. This article is one of the best I’ve seen on any blog for three reasons. First, it is an original, creative take in a world of imitators and much of the same. Many bloggers understandably get frustrated by the day-in day-out grind of blogging and just put anything up on the website out of a sense of obligation. This article required a lot of creative thought about what might interest the reader. It took a blogger who wasn’t just mailing it in as so many do, but instead took his job very seriously.

    Second, Brian put a lot of hard work in. Isn’t that why we read these things? I mean, sure he has an informed opinion, but it’s informed because he spends tons of TIME smoking and reading and staying up to date on this stuff. That’s why his opinion is useful. This article is an extension of the advantage of that time commitment. He took a lot of his time–in a way none of the rest of us could–and gathered all of this data. It probably took a long long time. I appreciate him putting in the time to deliver an original take on the world of cigars in a way that I couldn’t otherwise have access to because of my day job.

    Third and finally, this thing is just super useful. Everybody in the cigar world does one of two things this time of year: 1. Rush to see what that other lifestyle publication says or 2. make their own list (implicitly imitating that lifestyle publication). What Brian has done here is truly novel and useful. Rather than following either herd, he took advantage of the wealth of information available on the internet to stockpile ALL of the relevant lists. He thought through the best way to organize that info in a useful way, and he delivered it all in a concise, clever, and engagin package. It would have taken any of the rest of us days to get this info. Instead, because of Brian’s hard work, we can all absorb it in five minutes. That’s what this site is all about!

    Brian, my hat’s off to you. To those of you casting stones, I ask this question: What exactly do you hope to see on a site like this? If you respond negatively, Brian will be less likely to take the time next time. If he makes that choice, we all suffer. Cheers.

    1. Thank you sir, I appreciate your appreciation.

      Of course, I still may phone it in (or mail, as it were) the rest of the year. As I tell Walt and Jerry, I’m generally good for one really good post each year, and plenty of filler.

  8. Brian thanks for not only a great article, but for your time! This is why I like this site so much. This will be very useful.

  9. Brilliant! If you trying to hide the fact that you’re really some cigar smoking quants geek from MIT, your secret is now out in the open. (-LOL).

    Some time ago, I did a commentary that you and all of your other Bloggers were in the business of “Community Service”; albeit to a community comprised of cigar smokers. This article is one of the examples of serving your community I have ever seen.

    Because of this article, I am now inclined to try a few of the cigars listed wheras I might not have thought to do so without the comparison. Only a few of the cigars on this list were in my own personal Top 10; but that’s the beauty of such a brilliantly conceived concept article.

    I will say however that there is one particular cigar that was on a lot of people’s top lists that I personally felt was one of the all time over hyped disappointments – the La Aurora 107. Maybe I need to be on a alien planet or in an alternative universe; but I am not feeling this blend at all. The attacks may now commence but perhaps a few “years” of aging will bring about a different outcome.

    Warm regards,

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