For the inaugural installment of the HBTC COTY list, we will be following our established guidelines to keep it simple. In 2019, we published reviews of 34 cigars. Based on the outcome of all those reviews, we ranked the top 10 finishers by total score. That’s it. Obviously there will be some ties, but those are covered in the rules written below. The announcement will take place LIVE on our Facebook page on January 7th, 2020.
In 2019, we had scores ranging from 72 to 95. Our least expensive cigar of the year scored a 72 (lowest score of the year). Our most expensive MSRP review scored an 84 (third lowest score of the year). Total points awarded=3019, average of 88.79. Most commonly awarded score was 91 (7), followed by 89 (6), 90 (4), 92 (3), 88 (2), 87 (2), 86 (2), 93 (2), 72, 74, 84, 85, 94, 95 (each only once). Highest PAD was +3.0 (JSK Toothpick) and lowest was -2.0 (Davidoff and American). Most common PAD was 0.0 (18).
A large majority were Nicaraguan factories (26). Rounding out the countries of origin were Dominican Republic (6), Costa Rica (1) and USA (1). Robusto was the most common size (9) followed by Toro (6). All but 3 of the reviews were individual (Matt) while those remaining 3 were multiple personality reviews (Garret and Matt). Prices ranged from $1.70 to $30.00, with an average price of $11.28. Winning cigar MSRP was just barely above the average price.
Five brands were reviewed twice, all other brands only once. Most common wrapper leaves were Habano (6), San Andres (5) and CT Shade (4). Of all cigars reviewed, 26 were purchased by HBTC, while 8 were provided by the brand. Average score of purchased cigars was 88.42 while the average for provided cigars was 90.00
- The product review must have been published as a review on HBTC in the same calendar year.
- 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. Ultra small run, store exclusive, and other such limited releases can be reviewed by HBTC, but will probably not be considered for a spot in the top of the year list.
- In the event of a tie, reviewers will determine a higher finish through either another sampling of the products in question, or if unavailable, a simple vote based on agreed upon 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.