Herding Stogies: A Composite Top 10

“What’s this? Another top ten list?! Surely you can’t be serious!” Oh, but I am, and stop calling me Shirley. (R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen) This isn’t any ordinary cigar top ten list, it’s a fusion of geekery, curiosity and hours of Excel spreadsheet work.

The other day I was reading “These Lists Don’t Lie” on the Drew Estate blog about all the top ten lists on the net that feature some variety of Liga Privada. It really looked like they cleaned up this year, at least with the online guys. I started to wonder if 2010 really was the year of the Rat and the Pig. They did well to be sure, but it wasn’t a slam dunk. The La Aurora 107 and the Avo Heritage were also very popular. Like a Troggian Wild Thing, I wanted to know for sure. So on a Saturday morning I opened up a browser and a spreadsheet. Some hours later, I had arrived at a reasonably definitive composite cigar blog top ten.

Before I get to the list, let me give you an idea of how I arrived at these figures. To begin with, I hit up all the cigar blogs I could think of and grabbed their top ten lists. I left off anything beyond twelve (11 and 12 got fractional points in hopes that would prevent some ties), and I completely skipped lists that were “in no particular order”. I wound up with 14 top tens from 17 different blogs. To keep it simple, I assigned inverse numerical values to the ratings (#1 gets 10 points, #2 gets 9, etc.), and disregarded vitolas. Meaning that a La Traviata Animados and a La Traviata Divino were treated as the same thing. Also, I applied a multiplier to my own top ten list because I’m the bomb. (Kidding. Or am I…)

Enough explaining, it’s time I make with the goods. Here’s the…

Cigar Blog Composite Top Ten Cigars of 2010

9. Drew Estate Liga Privada T52 (Three-way Tie)

9. Drew Estate Liga Privada Flying Pig (Three-way Tie)

9. CAO La Traviata (Three-way Tie)

8. My Father Le Bijou 1922

7. CAO La Traviata Maduro

5. Tatuaje Pork Tenderloin (Tie)

5. EP Carrillo Short Run 2010 (Tie)

4. Davidoff Puro D’Oro

3. Drew Estate Liga Privada Dirty Rat

2. La Aurora 107

… and the winner is …

1. Avo Heritage

So it turns out that Drew Estate did do very well in 2010, grabbing three spots in the top ten (well, top eleven, due to an awkward three-way tie), but nothing could withstand the Avo Heritage juggernaut. It was on nearly every list, and often near the top. The La Aurora 107 was also incredibly popular, the Heritage edged it out by a very narrow margin.

Another interesting thing I noticed is no list I came across listed both the La Traviata and the La Traviata Maduro. Most most of them listed one or the other. I chalk that up in part to most cigar bloggers focusing exclusively on 2010’s new smokes.

As I was doing my calculations, I noticed the list that was growing didn’t seem to accurately represent how well some manufacturer actually did in 2010, especially if they had numerous popular sticks. With some brands, everybody likes a different line, or a different special edition, and etcetera. In some cases too many popular offerings actually prevented all (or most) of their cigars from earning enough points to make it into the top 10, even if the manufacturer made it on nearly every list.

So I made a second list. (And briefly considered making it a second post just to push the limits of our readers’ patience with top ten lists.) This time, I ruled out everything but brand, and, of course, the points associated with the position their cigars held in each top ten list. The results were very interesting, and as it turns out, very beneficial to Drew Estate. But did that put them on top? Let’s find out. Here’s the…

Composite Top Ten Brands of 2010

10. Davidoff

8. CAO (Tie)

8. EP Carrillo (Tie)

7. Viaje

6. My Father Cigars

5. Illusione

4. Avo

3. La Aurora

2. Drew Estate

… and the winner is …

1. Tatuaje

Tatuaje took it by storm, it wasn’t even close. 10 different Tatuaje cigars took 16 positions in the aggregated top ten lists, but only the Pork Tenderloin was popular enough between them all to make the first list. Likewise, Drew Estate benefited from consolidation and grabbed a decisive second place. And despite the shake up, La Aurora and Avo still held onto high positions.

As to the original question posed, my number crunching didn’t prove that 2010 was the year of the Rat and Pig, it looks like like it was actually the year of the Tat. Of course, from Drew Estate’s perspective, it definitely was the year of Liga Privada. This has to have been their best year with the OCD online cigar smoking crowd, who previously dismissed them as “that flavored cigar maker.” And it goes without saying that the sticks and the manufacturers on both of these lists all did incredible jobs this past year. These results are a reason to celebrate.

Thank you for indulging this bit of cigar geekery. Now to the the comment section for questions, opinions, compliments and accusations. What do you think, do these results surprise you? You are welcome and encouraged to use the comments section below to sound off.