Take 5: World’s Best Cigars By The Numbers

Welcome to Leaf and Grape’s inaugural launch of a series simply known as “Take 5″. Our goal here is to bring you a short, hopefully unique perspective on a certain facet within the cigar or wine industry, keeping it to 5 minutes or less. (hence the name Take 5) With today’s future announcement of Cigar Aficionado’s #1 Cigar of the Year, we decided to make this first installment on the topic of “World’s Best Cigars” – we hope you enjoy…

Ask anyone on the street where the best cigars in the world come from. Chances are you’ll hear the same four-letter word uttered each and every time – Cuba.

Now, take that same question to local cigar shops and smoking lounges across the country and the debate begins to heat up a little as customers state their preferences for Cuban, Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco. In the end, we’re left no closer to an answer than when we started.

So we decided to start combing through the Cigar Aficionado archives to see if there were any clear indicators or trends there. We took every Cigar Aficionado Top-10 list over the last 5 years, capturing the country of origin for each of the Top-10 cigars. The final results are as follows: (49 cigars announced to date)

Cuba 10 20.4%
Dominican Republic 13 26.5%
Honduras 6 12.3%
Nicaragua 20 40.8%

So there you have it, the numbers don’t lie – Cuba is a distant 3rd behind #1 Nicaragua and #2 Dominican Republic.

Speaking of Nicaragua, there’s still one cigar left unannounced on this year’s Cigar Aficionado Top-10. So who will be named the #1 Cigar of the Year? While there’s no way of knowing for sure until the official announcement – if I were a betting man, I’d go with the numbers and put my money on the #1 cigar being from Nicaragua. That being said, here are a few of my Nicaraguan front-runners for CA’s Cigar of the Year:

But like the rest of you, we’ll simply have to tune in later today to discover who is actually crowned the 2012 Cigar Aficionado #1 Cigar of the Year. Either way, this little experiment has been a fun one for us to break down and analyze. Thanks for tuning in, until next time…long ashes!

6 thoughts on “Take 5: World’s Best Cigars By The Numbers

  1. If you want to go one step further, look through each magazine issue and see who buys the most advertising and make a chart comparing ad dollars spent to ratings. You’ll find….no real correlation. Sorry to burst the bubble of the conspiracy theorists out there, but…I did that exercise a few years ago and found no correlation between the amount of ad dollars spent and how highly cigars get rated. The correlation I did find was that companies that spent a lot of money were much, much more likely to get their cigars reviewed (except for Cuban companies, which can’t advertise in the U.S. magazine, except through James Suckling’s articles). Of course, getting reviewed in CA almost guarantees at least a good score since I can’t remember the last time I saw them give anything less than about an 82/100.

    • So do you believe that if Padron, Arturo Fuente and Rocky Patel were to stop placing ads in Cigar Aficionado there would be no difference in their ratings?

      I can tell you that the magazine would be a lot thinner if that was the case.

      By the way I do enjoy Padron Cigars, some Fuente products and some Rocky Patel products.

    • Good morning Mr Jones. Looking back over my comments I realized I never responded to your comment. First of all, thanks for taking time to fire back a response on our “crystal ball” prediction. Is was a fun little project to break down and analyze. But like you, I agree its virtually impossible to make any association between rank, score and advertising. It sounds like you pumped a lot of research/analysis in to this a fews years back. (we share a similar passion for crunching numbers) I have enjoyed tikibaronline.com over the years. You – along with a handful of others – are partly responsible for me stepping away from the retail side of the fence over to online media, news and reviews. Thanks again for the comments, I look forward to catching up with you soon. Until then – cheers!

  2. It is great to see the numbers in this format, I think there was a poll like this performed by CA a year or so ago, and it showed the same things. What I like to look at though are factors that are not put in the equation.

    While Nicaragua is typically the nation that gets the #1 Cigar of the Year and has more cigars in the Top 10 by Cigar Aficionado, how many factories are there in Nicaragua? It is safe to say that there are more factories on one street in Esteli then there are in Cuba. (that are producing cigars for Habanos S.A.) I would say there are more factories in Esteli and the country of Nicaragua than there are in Honduras, the Dominican and United States producing cigars as well.

    While I don’t have exact numbers of cigar production by nation, I would say Nicaragua leads that category as well. If so, shouldn’t they have more cigars in the Top 10 because they produce more cigars?

    Since 2004 Nicaragua has been the nation that has produced four #1 Cigar of the Year winners. Cuba has produced two, the DR has produced one winner and Honduras has produced one.

    Of those four winners from Nicaragua three of them have come from one factory and one company; Padron Cigars. My question is this. If Padron Cigars was producing cigars of the same quality and standards that they are now in the United States, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Cuba heck even Canada, would Nicaragua still be where they are today?

    P.S. As passionate cigar smokers we all know that while factories are important for quality construction of the cigar, it is the tobacco that really matters. We are looking for high quality tobacco because it doesn’t matter how well made the cigar is if the tobacco is crap.

    Given that information it is safe to say that Nicaragua is growing some of the best, or should I say preferred, tobacco for the United States market.

  3. Pingback: Take 5: Great Cigars Projected For CA Top 25 | Leaf and Grape

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