One entire year of taste tests. Hundreds of cigars turned to ash. Round after round of smoking cigars blind. Through the considerable haze of smoke we finally can see the winners emerge: Cigar Aficionado has chosen the Top 25 Cigars of 2014.
We smoked 737 cigars to get to the 25 that made this list, and the process was a thorough one. As the year drew to a close, we reviewed the list of cigars that had scored at least 91 points in Cigar Aficionado
or Cigar Insider
blind taste tests throughout the past year. We culled that list, eliminating any that were no longer on the market and considering only the highest-scoring cigars from each brand. A special round of smoking ensued, and our tasting coordinator purchased the cigars at retail, removed all of their identifying bands and replaced them with numbered labels to conceal their identity. These were passed out to the tasting panel at Cigar Aficionado
At the conclusion of that taste test, there were seven cigars that rated high enough to be considered candidates for Cigar of the Year. Our tasting coordinator once again stripped those cigars of their identifying bands, created a new code, and redistributed them for another blind taste test. After that, two cigars stood out above all others. One more blind test was conducted, and a winner finally emerged.
The Top 25 list is our most exhaustive test of cigars that we conduct. To make the list requires excellence on not one, but many occasions. The final list contains a wide range of styles, prices and shapes, and each is worthy of a home in your humidor, and a spot on the corner of your favorite ashtray.
Cigar photographs by John Curry