Cigar ratings – some swear by them, and others scoff at them. But there’s no denying that a high rating from a reputable source often denotes that a cigar may be deserving of your attention.
Among all of the cigars that have been rated stands a special group of elite smokes that have been awarded exceptionally high ratings by leading cigar magazine Cigar Aficionado. Like top-scoring athletes, these outliers represent the highest achievement in the art of premium cigars and set the bar high for blends to come. Below we’ve listed a handful of our favorite cigars that have reached this rare level of recognition.
Described as an “overture of flavors,” Aging Room’s Quattro Nicaragua line earned a noteworthy 96 rating for its 6 x 52 Maestro vitola. An all-Nicaraguan tobacco blend rolled in a box pressed torpedo format, the medium-full-bodied Quattro Nicaragua offers a versatile range of tasting notes, shifting between heavy tones of dark chocolate and woodiness and subtleties of sweetness and roasted nuts, all delivered through an accommodating smooth draw. This dynamic profile earned the Maestro the much-coveted designation of Cigar Aficionado’s 2019 Cigar of the Year.
Cloaked in a dark and oily wrapper leaf, the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed became one of the few cigars to be rated a stellar 97 in 2016 when it was chosen as 2015’s Cigar of the Year. Praised for its combination of strength and complexity, this flawlessly-crafted iteration of the best-selling Nicaraguan puro continues to wow palates with its strikingly vivid notes of dark chocolate, raisins, nuts, and rich leather.
Released in 2002 to commemorate Jose O. Padron’s 75th birthday, the Padron Anniversario Serie 1926 covers 5-year-aged Nicaraguan tobaccos with a shining sun-grown wrapper leaf to achieve its unique level of palate-pleasing power. Its initial rich notes of cedar and nuts give way to complex arrangements of cocoa, coffee bean, and subtle black cherry – an engrossing profile that made it one of the few cigars ever to receive an impressive 97 rating.
The highest-scoring non-Cuban cigar of all time, the Pledge By E.P. Carrillo Prequel shocked the world when it earned a near-perfect 98 rating as 2020’s Cigar of the Year. Combining a dark Connecticut Havana-seed wrapper with an Ecuadoran binder and select Nicaraguan filler leaves, this 5 x 50 version of the medium-bodied Pledge blend exudes complex taste with plenty of surprises along the way. With tones of zesty oak, licorice, dark fruit, and spices unfolding over the course of its crisp burn, the unparalleled Prequel keeps you guessing in the tastiest way possible.