As we bring 2012 to a close, it’s a time for reflection, to look back on the year that was. It’s been an exciting year for me, both personally and professionally. The family is well, i’ve fulfilled one of my childhood dreams (i’m blessed to be able to say that, amen), work is great in that i’m doing something i love and i can see how my actions are shaping the market. Even on the cigar front, i can say that the cigars i’ve smoked in 2012 have been the best cigars i’ve smoked in recent memory, in at least the last 3 years. For the first time in My Cigar Blog’s history, not one but two cigars in a year have reached the magical 95-point mark. While both the Cohiba 1966 EL and the Cohiba Pyramides Extra deserve special mention for being outstanding cigars, they aren’t My Cigar Blog’s Cigar of the Year 2012.

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Neither of these great cigars are My Cigar Blog’s Cigar of the Year, though they are amazing cigars and a must-have

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The criterion for that award, just like in previous years, is quite strict. It needs to be a smoker’s cigar, a cigar that everyone can have, anytime, anywhere, and be assured of a great smoking experience. Specifically, it needs to be a cigar where:

  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

Honestly, i haven’t agonized over a decision like this for a long time. Most recent years have been cut and dry affairs, with the standout cigar of the year being quite prominent and easy to identify. In 2011, it was the unassuming Bolivar Petit Corona – boxes from 2010 were amazing (i still have some). In 2010, it was the Ramon Allones Small Club Corona – boxes from 2009 were incredible (sadly, i ran out of these a long time ago).

The cigars that matched the criteria above are:

  1. Ramon Allones Small Club Corona
  2. Partagas Shorts
  3. Partagas Serie D #4
  4. Partagas 898s
  5. Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure #2
  6. Cohiba Siglo II
  7. Cohiba Siglo I
  8. Bolivar Royal Corona
  9. Por Larranaga Petit Corona
  10. Montecristo Edmundo
  11. Montecristo #4
  12. H Upmann Half Corona

From this shortlist, the cigars that really deserve honorable mention are the Cohiba Siglo IIs, the Montecristo Edmundos (these have been doing well for me for several years now), and the H Upmann Half Corona which also takes the cake as Best New Kid on the Block.

For the Cigar of the Year, boxes from 2011 have been outstanding, and i’ve even smoked a few early samples from early 2012, and those have been crazy good as well. Not a single plug, construction uniformly perfect, the best, shiniest wrappers i’ve seen in many a year. From a flavour perspective, it scored very well due to how consistent the blend is; no mean feat due to the fact that this cigar is produced in such large quantities. How the factories (and this cigar is made in several not just one, thus increasing the variable of difficulty even further) are able to keep the blends in check despite the volume is nothing short of amazing.

It’s often an overlooked cigar. A go-to smoke for many, but not something that most would consider “that special smoke”. And that’s ok — it doesn’t have to be special, it just needs to be good. Over and over and over again. It promises familiarity, like your favourite pair of leather loafers. It promises an experience, not a mind blowing one, but one that is memorable, even if only for a few moments afterwards, “Damn, that was a nice smoke”-kind of way. It’s time that this cigar, delivering for so long (i’ve smoked it for more than 10 years now), and delivering particularly well this year, receive the recognition is deserves.

My Cigar Blog’s Cigar of the Year is the Montecristo #4!

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Read the most recent review of this love cigar on My Cigar Blog.

Thank you for being a great companion this year, for all the good (and bad) times we’ve spent together. May the good times roll for many more years to come.