HBTC – 2021 Cigar of the Year Criteria

For the 2021 installment of the HBTC Cigar of the Year list, we are going to mix it up a bit while still keeping it as simple as possible. Cigars reviewed in 2020 and 2021 will all be eligible for this list. We realize that is unconventional, but a lot of things are unconventional during these last couple of years, so that’s why we’ve made this decision.

Based on the outcome of all cigar reviews on HBTC during 2020 and 2021, we ranked the top 10 finishers by total score. That’s it. Obviously there were some ties in scoring, but those are covered in the rules written below. The official announcement of the whole list will be broadcast on HBTC Live via our Facebook page and YouTube Channel on January 3rd, 2022.

In the selected review period, we had scores ranging from 80 to 95. Our lowest MSRP cigar scored 92. Our highest MSRP cigar scored 90. Total points awarded=2,345, average of 90.19 (average for 2019 list was 88.79). Most commonly awarded score was 91 (7), followed by 92 (4), 90 (3), 94 (2), 93 (2), 89 (2), 88 (2), 80 (2), and 87 only once. Highest PAD was +2.5 (Project 40) and lowest was -3.0 (CAO Vision). Most common PAD was 0.0 (12).

A large majority were Nicaraguan factories (15). Rounding out the countries of origin were Dominican Republic (7), and Honduras (4). Toro was the most common size (8) followed by Robusto (7). All but 2 of the reviews were individual (Matt) while those remaining 2 were multiple personality reviews (Garret and Matt). Prices ranged from $5.50 to $28.99, with an average price of $12.13. Winning cigar MSRP was only $7.80.

Only 3 brands had more than one cigar reviewed, all other brands only one. Most common wrapper leaves were Cameroon (6), Habano (4), and San Andres (3). Of all cigars reviewed, 17 were purchased by HBTC, while 9 were provided by the brand. Average score of purchased cigars was 91.00 while the average for provided cigars was 88.66.

  • For this list, the product review must have been published on HBTC between 01/01/2020 and 11/30/2021.
  • Flashback reviews are not eligible for the main list (separate category).
  • To be considered for the best of the year list, the reviewed product must be readily available at a variety of US retailers, or readily available to order and have shipped from a retailer outside the US. Ultra small run, store exclusive, and other such limited releases can be reviewed by HBTC and may be considered for this list, but overall availability will be included as a deciding factor.
  • In the event of a tie, HBTC reviewers will determine a higher finish through either through another sampling of the products in question, or if unavailable, a simple vote based upon frequency in personal rotation and other criteria.
  • We will strive to maintain an unbiased evaluation process. Scores are issued solely on the merits of the product, and the overall experience of the reviewer(s). No special treatment will be granted to cigars provided to HBTC by a company, or to companies who have sponsorship partner agreements with HBTC.
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