Cigar Aficionado's Top Cigar of 2022 Is A Cuban And It's Disappointing

Nick G here.

Someone had to say it, so I figured why not me. 

I'm never one for controversy or ruffling feathers, and this isn't a rant about how Cuban cigars are not legal in the US. Something about this just doesn't sit right with me that I think affects the cigar industry as a whole.  It feels like a great opportunity was missed and I feel bad for the cigar industry as a result.

For those who don't know by now, Cigar Aficionado's #1 cigar for 2022 is the H.Upmann No.2 which is a Cuban puro (puro meaning a cigar consisting of tobaccos from one country).

Cigar Aficionado Top 25 Cigars Of The Year - #1 Cigar Of The Year - H. Upmann No 2 - My Monthly Cigars - A Cigar Club For Everyone

I have zero problems with Cuban cigars. 

I repeat:  I have zero problems with Cugan cigars. 

And just for the record, I have zero problems with H. Upmann cigars.

In fact, I don't have a problem with the magazine!  Just this top 25 list.

It's my opinion that a #1 cigar of the year on a list that is so highly anticipated annually, should be one that is readily available to the consumer (legally of course).  After all, manufacturers and brand owners are looking for boosts in sales from this list while the consumer is the one who would be driving those sales based on the rankings.

The result of a readily available cigar being the #1 cigars of the year creates a positive domino effect throughout the industry.  It benefits the consumer because they can get their hands on the cigar.  It benefits the shops and lounges who can drive sales by selling the cigar to the consumer.  And the manufacturers benefit from the demand of the cigar in turn increasing their sales. Everyone wins.

So how does CA fix this since Cuban cigars are part of the landscape as well?

The simple answer is to give Cubans their own category.  At least until they are far more readily available to the consumer.

Now you might say "hey, you can get Cubans almost anywhere outside of the United States" and you'd be correct. 

However, when you look at the cigar market globally, Cuban cigars make up just under 3% ($500 million) of the $21.38 BILLION global market.  

Cigar Aficionado is a great lifestyle magazine.  In fact, that's what it started out as, but unfortunately the fact of the matter is that it remains a lifestyle magazine that just happens to include cigars.  It's hard to justify this being a resource for content about cigars when maybe 1/4 of the magazine's content covers cigars.  And let's face it, most of the cigar content is just ratings.

Maybe that's why they are able to advertise constantly on Facebook and Instagram while the rest of the industry is not allowed to.  I know that I've tried posting just a simple t-shirt ad on Facebook that was immediately rejected because it led back to a tobacco related site.  

But I'm not here to gripe about who gets to do what, what's fair and what isn't, and all the issues with marketing and advertising within the cigar industry.  That's another topic that we can spend days on. 

The bottom line is that in my opinion the ball was dropped.  This Top 25 list has so much power and influence on an industry that could use the boost in more ways than one.  Hell, even I look forward to it every year. 

Again, taking nothing away from Cuban cigars or H. Upmann at all.  I just feel that from an overall industry perspective, a great opportunity was missed.  

Whether you agree with my take or not, I think it's definitely a topic worth discussing.

Let me know what you think in the comments.  I'm open to any and all takes on this!

- Nick G (Owner of MMC & Fah King Good Coffee)

1 comment

  • I have zero interest in a cigar I’m unable to enjoy. Not because it’s sold out, but because it is illegal to sell in the US. This is an influential list, and I can’t take that away from CA, but personally it has lost any remaining relevance to me. But, I’m just one guy.

    Jeff Endrizzi

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