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Best Cigars of 2021: Guide for Cigar Aficionado's

As the premier cigar publication since launching in 1992, Cigar Aficionado began its “Top 25 Cigars of the Year” in 2004. But before giving a highlight of the best of the best, it is important to truly understand how to best smoke a cigar and the tools needed. Along with a cigar cutter, which cuts off one end so that the cigar can be properly smoked, a Table lighter is essential as it presents an ideal ignition device for cigars.

Anyways back to the list. The experts at the magazine only include those cigars with a score a 91 or higher, along with further blind testings. While the entire list can be found on the Cigar Aficionado website, reigning supreme is manufacturer Padrón with its 1964 Anniversary Series Torpedo. Pardon topped the list for the fourth time since the magazine ran its list, winning it as well in its inaugural year 17 years ago.

The 2021 Cigar of the Year achieved an overall rating of 97 and is a full-bodied Nicaraguan cigar. It is made in a factory in Nicaragua and its filler, binder and wrapper are also all from Nicaragua. Priced at $17.80, the cigar was released by the family-owned business in 1994 celebrating its 30th year in business. Made by the company founder Jose´ Orlando Padro´n and his son Jorge, they decided to make a high-end cigar made of sun-grown, Cuban-seed tobaccos from Nicaragua, with a signature box-pressing.

Editors at Cigar Aficionado go on to explain that the cigar starts with “a woody, nutty core that gradually becomes more complex” with “notes of hazelnut” and a “rich, opulent smoke of cocoa bean.”

Rounding out the top 10 are:

#2 Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua No. 2

#3 San Cristobal Quintessence Churchill

#4 Partaga´s Serie D No. 4

#5 Casa Cuba Doble Cuatro

#6 Illusione Cruzado Robusto

#7 Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Churchill

#8 Cohiba Siglo VI

#9 Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Robusto

#10 Arturo Fuente Rare Pink Vintage 1960’s Séries Happy Ending

To view the full list, see more here.


This list comes at an opportune time as the website earlier this year announced that there was an increase of shipments of premium, handmade cigars from 2020 to 2021. Data released by the Cigar Association of America, showed a 13.1 percent increase over September 2020. To put that into perspective that is a whopping import number of 338 million units and marks the tenth consecutive year imports have topped 300 million cigars. While there still is another quarter to count for the entire fiscal year, comparative to this time period in 2020 (237 million were shipped), this marks an uptick of nearly 43 percent through September. It is understandable why these numbers had such a remarkable bounce, as COVID impacted shutdowns both on the production and shipment side of the supply chain.

In contrast, a recent online survey whose findings were published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health showed that a majority of the 800 cigar smokers plan to quit smoking due to concerns about COVID-19. The online survey conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center reported that nearly 47 percent of respondents had tried to quit since the pandemic’s onset and nearly 71 percent were planning to quit within six months. But the study also reported that more than twice as many reported they increased their tobacco use since the pandemic’s onset. The online survey was conducted over two weeks starting on April 23, 2020.

Another study titled “Exploring changes in cigar smoking patterns and motivations to quit cigars among black young adults in the time of COVID-19” which was included in Addictive Behaviors Reports Volume 12, December 2020, 100317, also tackled the COVID and smoking connection. Its main findings also showed that there was an escalation of smoking due to pandemic-induced stress and anxiety and that motivation to quit cigar smoking was low.

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