Despite all the adversity the cigar industry faced in 2011 — threats of unfair government regulation, an economy stuck in neutral, the gradual elimination of venues that permit the time-honored tradition of setting fire to tobacco — there are still fantastic cigars on the shelves. Blenders continue to be as inventive as ever, and cigar prices are as reasonable as can be expected. It was a bad year for a lot of things, but cigars helped us through them.
I didn’t get to review as many new cigars as I wanted to this year, but with the blossoming of the cigar review blog scene, it wasn’t really necessary. The quality of reviews has never been better, and many sites are reviewing blends before they’re even released. The cordiality of many cigar manufacturers, blenders, and distributors has made the blogging experience only that much more enjoyable for all of us. It says a lot about the cigar community that this is the case.
A little over a third of the cigars I reviewed this year scored 90 or better, which either means I need to raise my standards or there are some really good smokes out there. In addition to these, there are many others that I have enjoyed but either didn’t review, or didn’t review in 2011. So it’s not very accurate to call this list the Best of 2011. It’s more of a retrospective, a glance back at 2011 on this last day of the year, and a very limited one at that.
Which is to say: All of the usual disclaimers apply.
And El Puro Numero Uno de 2011:
Have a safe and happy 2012, everyone.