At Cigar Dojo, our year-end Cigar of the Year list takes a unique approach, limiting the results to include only cigars that are regularly available (no limited editions, etc.) and in the $12 price range. This way, we feel we are able to offer a more realistic ranking of the cigars that are attainable by most every cigar enthusiast.


However, there are those occasions when something more exclusive is necessary. We’d like to recognize these cigars as well, for this reason we have included a few extra awards, which we refer to as the “Exceptional Cigar Awards”, offering credit to some of our favorite cigars that didn’t fit the criteria for our Top 10 Cigars of the Year list.

NOTE: our criteria for the Exceptional Cigar Awards remove many of the restrictions of our traditional list. While each individual category contains its own unique guidelines, the only criteria that we hold all categories to is this: Cigars must have been released in 2016.

Best “Under the Radar” Cigar

These cigars are often from new brands, or maybe those that have a smaller distribution, or even cigars that are not yet available in the US. The idea here is to make yourself acquainted with new and exciting cigars that may not have otherwise caught your attention. Each of these smokes are more than worthy of a spot in your humidor, if given the chance.


  • Protocol Probable Cause – Cubariqueño Cigar Company
  • 90 Millas Unidos – FDG Cigars
  • Martial Law – Nomad Cigar Co.
  • Big Papi – Tabacalera El Artista
  • Boondocks Saint – Black Works Studio

And the winner is…

  • Atlantic Cigar Sale

Cubariqueño Protocol Probable Cause Under the Radar 2016 Cigar of the Year Award

Cubariqueño Cigar Company debuted in 2015 with their cult hit, Protocol. The brand carefully expanded operations in 2016, adding the Protocol Probable Cause—a sister blend to the original cigar, showcasing a dark, San Andrés wrapper over Nicaraguan fillers. Probable Cause is everything a maduro nut craves—showcasing sweet and savory notes of chocolate, coffee, and red-pepper-seasoned steak!

Best Value Cigar of the Year

These cigars offer a tremendous “bang for your buck”! While we don’t have an exact price requirement, our interpretation of a “value cigar” typically ranges from $3 to $6—while performing like something that could be priced twice that!


  • The Big Payback Connecticut – Room101
  • Charter Oak Connecticut – Foundation Cigar Co.
  • Last Call – AJF Cigar Co.
  • Civil Disobedience – MoyaRuiz Cigars, Inc.

And the winner is…

AJ Fernandez Last Call Best Value 2016 Cigar of the Year Award

Last Call instantly struck a chord with enthusiasts upon its release in early 2016. The cigar was crafted originally to be enjoyed by Fernández and his close friends, offering a quick burst of flavor to close out the night. Last Call makes for a perfect accompaniment to a cold winter night, morning coffee, lunch break, or nearly any time a dependable smoke is desired. At only $5, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value.

  • Brand: AJ Fernández Cigar Company
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Vitola: Rothschild (4½″ × 48)
  • Price: $5.00
  • Full Review: Last Call Geniales

Limited Edition Cigar of the Year

Because of their limited quantities produced, manufacturers are often able to incorporate rare tobaccos with remarkable results. Therefore, these cigars are often some of the best-performing smokes you’ll find. However, they can also be quite tricky to find; often times, they’ll be completely sold out by the time we release our year-end list—this is why we’ve given LEs their own category.


  • José O. Padrón 89 Birthday Blend Natural – Padrón
  • Goldie Dalia – La Palina
  • Le Bijou 1922 Limited Edition 2016 – My Father Cigars
  • The Krueger – Tatuaje

And the winner is…

Tatuaje The Krueger Limited Edition 2016 Cigar of the Year Award

It’s a long-held tradition in the world of limited edition cigars, that each Halloween a new Monster be unveiled by Tatuaje. The Krueger marked the 9th cigar in the annual series, showcasing a Mexican San Andrés maduro blend for only the 2nd time. This 7¼” x 48 behemoth smokes for nearly 3 hours, offering a perfect draw and intriguing flavors of bell pepper, Sriracha spice, licorice, and a satisfying, vanilla root beer sweetness.

  • Brand: Tatuaje
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Vitola: Belicoso (7¼” × 48)
  • Price: $13.00
  • Full Review: Tatuaje The Krueger No. 9

Luxury Cigar of the Year

A luxury cigar is special in that it often combines the exquisite quality of a limited edition cigar with the more broad availability of a regular production. Including only the best tobaccos, these cigars often carry an equally luxurious price point… And while you won’t see many cigar fans smoking these cigars on a regular basis, it’s always great to have such a cigar on hand for those special, celebratory occasions.


  • Garcia & Garcia – My Father Cigars
  • Padrón 1926 Serie No. 90 Maduro – Padrón
  • Gaaja – Bombay Tobak
  • Fuente Fuente OpusX 20 Years Celebration – Arturo Fuente
  • Haut 10 – Illusione Cigars

And the winner is…

Illusione Haut 10 Luxury Cigar of the Year Award 2016

Haut 10 was released to commemorate a monumental 10 years in the industry for Illusione Cigars. The cigar is rolled in a singular size, with an elegant, fan-tail cap. But it’s the refined experience that truly sets Haut 10 apart, perfectly embodying the sophistication and “spot on” palate that brand owner Dion Giolito has become known. The Nicaraguan puro blend exudes complexity, triggering all 5 senses in perfect synthesis.

  • Brand: Illusione Cigars
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Vitola: Robusto Extra (5½” × 52)
  • Price: $15.95
  • Full Review: Illusione Haut 10

Cigar Brand of the Year

This award is given to the brand that we feel had the biggest impact on the world of premium cigars in 2016. Whether they made big changes to their design, lineup, or simply grew their brand exponentially, this is a brand that was hard to miss in 2016.

AJ Fernandez Cigar Company Cigar Brand of the Year Award 2016

AJ Fernández Cigar Company

Since the 2014 introduction of AJF’s New World cigar, the brand has been offering glimpses towards a new direction—showcasing an Old World feel and Cubanesque profiles to match. In 2016, the brand finally reached their true potential, introducing the “bite-sized” Last Call cigars, the head-turning Bellas Artes, and collaborations on other hugely popular cigars with the HOYO and Montecristo brands. Making good use of their own farms and vertical integration, the future looks quite bright for AJ.

  • Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
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