Ashton does make a good cigar but I think they are often overrated. It is a premium cigar to be sure, but many people think it is the finest cigar on the market and this is just not true.
Ashton cannot compete with some of the better cigars being made in the Dominican Republic and Columbia. The cigar industry has gotten bigger and more specialized in the last decade and there are now a number of small, "boutique" cigar makers who focus on maximum quality and consistency. It is similar to the way the beer market has changed.
It is from these smaller shops that the best cigars are coming. I will never turn down an Ashton, but if I am looking for a really nice smoke I will spend my money on something else.