It’s that time of year again, perhaps the best single day of the year, when i sit back and reflect on the days that have gone by which was 2011. I’ve done some amazing things this year, include welcome a new addition to the family, my daughter, Mia Eryna (photos).

From a cigar perspective, it’s been an outstanding year overall as far as i’ve been concerned. I must have burned through more than 200 cigars this year, just about an average number for me. A handful have been duds, but most have been good experiences.

Still, among the good, there have been a few that have been great. And one brand in particular that stands out above the rest: My Cigar Blog’s Cigar of the Year 2011.

The criteria for the Cigar of the Year are as follows:

  1. I’ve smoked at least 15 sticks over the year, not necessarily from the same box or box code
  2. Easily commercially available
  3. Been smoked over a variety of situations, environments, matched with different drinks and food

The following cigars have met this criteria:

  1. Ramon Allones Small Club Corona
  2. Partagas Shorts
  3. Diplomaticos #4 (it’s quite sad i know i won’t be able to get any more of these)
  4. Diplomaticos #5 (ditto the #4s above)
  5. Partagas Serie D #4
  6. Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure #2
  7. Cohiba Robusto
  8. Cohiba Siglo II
  9. Bolivar Petit Corona
  10. Por Larranaga Petit Corona
  11. Montecristo Edmundo
  12. Montecristo Petit Edmundo

From the list above, the Monte Edmundos, Petit Edmundos, Diplomaticos #4s deserve strong and honorable mentions. Generally speaking, the hottest insider tip i can give you is that 2009-2011 boxes of Montecristos have been crazy good. Not just the Edmundos and PEs, but anything with the Montecristo brand stamp on them. Consistent, flavourful, they seem to have been able to recapture the blend that made it a firm favourite in the late 1990s.

It was a close call, but the Cigar of the Year goes to another. This cigar has been truly incredible for me this year. A great cigar doesn’t just provide super highlights, but it also performs well when it really isn’t on form (except for one unusual blip in the radar, my infamous “cat-piss” experience). Something like the Manchester United of cigars — even when they play badly, they still win. Not a single loose drawing stick, not a single plug. Last year, the Juan Lopez #2 was the cigar that did it for me. This year, the mantle passes over to…

Bolivar Petit Corona, My Cigar Blog’s Cigar of the Year 2011!

I’ve smoked 20+ of these cigars over the year, most coming from early 2010 boxes, a few from early 2011, and another handful from late 2008-early 2009. They have all been good to great. The older sticks tend to be more refined the newer ones have a bit more power and bite to them, without ever getting harsh.

Special mentions for individual sticks go out to the Punch Platino RE India 2009, a remarkable aged HDM LE 2004 (probably the best individual cigar of the year for me), and fantastic custom rolls, the Tampa and the COH Sublimes.

And, that’s a wrap for 2011! May 2012 be a great year for you, cigars wise and otherwise. Long ashes, friends! Happy New Year!