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This medium to full-bodied cigar uses tobaccos from four different regions. The Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Honduran fillers , along with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper leads to notes of spicy sweetness, along with hints of oak, raisin, and cinnamon. This cigar delivers the punch you'd expect while being beautifully balanced. One for the books!
This Pennsylvania Broadleaf maduro-wrapped follow-up to the original release is the perfect addition to my humidor. Its Sumatran binder combined with Dominican long-fillers ensures a consistent complexity that is thoroughly satisfying from head to foot, presenting a savory flavor profile complemented with a subtle, natural sweetness.
This '90' rated beauty might be a Nicaraguan puro but its soul is Cuban. With notes of cedar, coffee, and a bit of spice, Plasencia Alma Del Campo will definitely find a home in your humidor. With a medium-bodied profile, pair this premium with a peaty Scotch like Laphroaig on a chilly evening.
This smooth smoke may obtain inspiration from the hardest of southern California bikers, but it still manages to provide a relaxing, enjoyable experience. Mayans M.C. punches you with a fistful of black pepper notes featuring subtle cameos from earthy spices and wood. CAO truly delivers a proper obeisance to the hit FX television show.
Graycliff 10-Year Vintage Maduro is one I always have on-hand during the cold months. This premium handmade contains extensively-aged long-fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras, all draped with a fully-matured Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper—all leading to creamy notes of cocoa with an earthy core—a perfect holiday treat that's consistent through and through.
This '91' rated beauty from Erik Espinosa is a medium to full-bodied smoke that tastes as good as it looks. 601 Green has a dark, oily Habano Oscuro wrapper blended with well-aged Cuban-seed tobaccos from Nicaragua. This blend yields complex flavors of earth, leather, and dark chocolate. Pair this cigar with Macallan Highland 12 year Single Malt Scotch.
Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Connecticut offers the subtle creaminess of a Connecticut Shade wrapper paired with the spice and punch you would expect from hearty Nicaraguan long-fillers. This versatile, medium to full-bodied smoke is full of body and flavor, pairing with everything from coffee to your favorite spirit on the rocks. A '93' rated must try!
Macanudo is one of he best brands in the world when it comes to combining fine tobaccos to create unforgettable flavors. Inspirado White is no exception to this notion, as it combines a perfect golden Connecticut Shade wrapper with Mexican and Nicaraguan fillers. Creamy coffee notes with spice in the finish, a truly beautiful blend!
This '95' rated super-premium has decadence written all over it. With Nicaraguan long-leaves from the country's top growing regions, Mi Amor has me falling in love over and over again with its dominant profile that's smooth and creamy from head to foot. Expect a long-lasting finish complemented with nuances of espresso, black pepper, and earthy undertones.
When the weather starts getting chilly, this is the cigar to reach for. Balmoral Añejo XO Nicaragua is a medium smoke that is extremely complex. It features a dark Nicaraguan wrapper, a Cuban-seed Brazilian binder, and fillers from the Dominican, Nicaragua, and Brazil. Imparting notes of oak, espresso, and black pepper, pair it with Woodford Reserve Double Oaked.
This medium-bodied delight is comprised of aged Dominican fillers encased in a zesty Nicaraguan binder and wrapped to perfection with an Ecuadorian Habano leaf. Notes of spice and nuttiness entertain the palate from start to finish in this blend. An all-around fantastic smoke, this is one cigar great for any occasion!
La Gran Llave Connecticut is one of the greatest mellow cigars to date. Crafted in AJ Fernandez's Nicaraguan factory, this beauty oozes class. The Nicaraguan long-fillers offer notes of coffee, hazelnut, and cashews, creating an irresistible aroma. You will not forget the silky-smooth smoke this cigar presents, and the relaxing break from reality it celebrates.
Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Champagne is celebration-worthy! Beneath the triple-fermented Connecticut Shade wrapper is a brilliant blend of Cuban-seed tobaccos grown in the rich soils of Nicaragua. Notes of coffee, wood, and hints of honey present themselves from start to finish, and create a luxurious, velvety-smooth, medium-bodied experience for all to enjoy.
This '95' rated delight starts with an oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that covers dual binders and Nicaraguan long-fillers. Defining what it means to be a "full-bodied" cigar, this maduro keeps its construction along with a bold flavor profile from head to foot—prepare for a complex yet balanced experience. A true mainstay for full-bodied fanatics.
Oliva Serie 'O' garnered multiple '90' plus ratings, and for good reason. This Nicaraguan puro is a perfect balance of tobaccos from three different growing regions in Nicaragua, giving it complex, layered flavors. With distinct notes of pepper, dark chocolate, and spice, this medium-bodied robusto pairs perfectly with an Italian espresso coffee or your favorite stout.
In typical AJ Fernandez fashion, the Diesel 10th Anniversary is nothing short of a masterpiece, managing to accomplish that signature full-bodied, full-flavored smoke to satisfy your palate. Dressed in an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper, the blend has tremendous strength. With notes of dark chocolate and roasted coffee, this cigar was a delight to smoke.
This Top 25 premium is a staple for my summers! The highest primings of both the sun-grown Havana-seed wrapper and Honduran binder are carefully selected, setting the tone for one medium to full-bodied experience filled with round, spicy flavors featuring hints of cinnamon, making the '93' rated Punch Gran Puro prime for a perfect day.
When AJ was approached by Altadis' Grupo de Maestros to re-blend a classic, the result was a cigar rather befitting of today's audience. The Ecuador Sumatra wrapper brings out the nuttiness of the Corojo '99 binder, and a Criollo '98 plus Piloto Cubano filler yield plumes of nuanced smoke with a razor-sharp burn.
Camacho Connecticut is the mellowest in the Camacho portfolio, but don't take that for having a lack of flavor. This '90' rated gem has great balance, delivering notes of cedar, nuts, and a bit of pepper on the finish. Boasting an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, it's perfect when you're teeing off on the front 9.
Ave Maria is a well-respected Nicaraguan line, and the medium-bodied Ave Maria Immaculata is no exception to their fantastic standards. A delicious Connecticut wrapper houses its smooth, succulent blend. But don't be deceived, this cigar still manages to pack a punch. Graceful and refined, Immaculata revolutionizes Connecticut-wrapped cigars.
This follow-up to the '92' rated original is the perfect cigar to enjoy morning, noon, or night. The Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers are beautifully wrapped in an Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf, lending to a subtle and smooth smoke. Hints of nut, spice, and light pepper balance this blend perfectly for anytime enjoyment.
This box-pressed beauty by Alan Rubin is what comes to mind every time I'm in need of a premium that hits the spot. '96' rated, this lush blend burns slow and even, making way to a palatable treat filled with toasty nuances of leather, earth, and hints of chocolate. Spicy on the forefront, this premium offsets its power with some sweet nuances.
Many covet Cuban cigars, but I covet Nicaraguan made by Cuban ex-pats such as Jose Pepín García. '94' rated, this blend exemplifies excellence in quality, complexity, and delivery. A Cuban-seed Rosado wrapper plus Nicaraguan long-fillers equals full flavors of earth, leather, cashew, coffee bean, and an undertone of spice with a long, full finish.
Don Pepín García Blue is a smooth and rich powerhouse with a '93' rating from legendary Jose Pepín García. Blended in classic Cuban tradition at the prestigious My Father Factory, this all-Nicaraguan blend has notes of red peppers, cocoa, cedar, delivering a rich and spicy finish with a perfect draw. Pair perfectly with a single malt Scotch.
Manuel Quesada 70th Anniversary is a special tribute to Manuel Quesada Jr., and is specifically blended by the master himself, Manuel Quesada. This cigar has a spectacular flavor starting with its balanced touches of Nicaraguan spice and earthy, Dominican flavors, with subtle hints of creamy undertones.
It's time to climb to a new level of flavor. Made by AJ Fernandez in Estelí, wrapped in a dark PA Broadleaf with potent long-fillers from Nicaragua, Jacob's Ladder is loaded with spices and savory notes of charred meat, red pepper, and leather. Ascend to a better tasting blend with this all-star from Robert Holt and Southern Draw.
One of Caldwell's finest offerings, earning a '93' rating—this balanced, medium-bodied smoke delivers on both complexity and consistency. Rare Dominican tobaccos blended together smooth with a toothy Dominican Negrito wrapper atop creates an earthy flavor complemented by slight nuances of cocoa, and just a hint of spice.
Smoke like a boss with CAO Consigliere! This tri-country blend of long-fillers are dressed in a dark, oily Brazilian Mata Fina maduro wrapper. Heavy on the palate, a nutty core is surrounded with hearty notes of earth and slight hints of cinnamon. Solid construction with an effortless draw, this premium is a bonafide showstopper!
Nicaraguan puros are some of my favorite cigars on the market, and the elegant look of this line extension exudes premium. A collaboration between AJ Fernandez and Rafael Nodal has resulted in notes of dark chocolate, espresso bean, dried berries, and cedar in a medium to full-bodied package. Supremely balanced.
La Aurora Preferidos Cameroon Platinum is a '91' rated smoke that should be a staple in any humidor. This beautifully-crafted figurado features a toothy Cameroon wrapper and specially aged Dominican binder and multinational filler. It's then aged several years in oak barrels, giving it notes of coffee and chocolate with a smooth, sweet, yet spicy finish.
I haven't had to worry about going to the barber for quite some time now, so when I saw a brand called La Barba, I jumped at the chance to 'get a new do'. Their Ricochet Cru Mexi-Sol blend is a beauty to behold, and as bold and satisfying as any on the market today.
Macanudo is known for consistency across the board, but their most consistently excellent cigar is Gold Label. Smooth, creamy, and with a hint of natural sweetness, this is one elegant Connecticut Shade-wrapped delight. If you like your cigars 'easy like Sunday morning', Macanudo Gold Label is a must-have for the humidor.
Blended by Master Blender Willy Herrera, this '91' rated smoke is a perfect example of a Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigar that isn't wimpy. The blend of Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Sumatra binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers gives you lush and smooth flavors with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and a pop of pepper.
Alec Bradley Nica Puro brings forth copious amounts of flavor with each puff. Concise notes of leather and cocoa, with slight cashew nuances create a robust yet smooth experience that results in one pleasing experience. Carrying a '91' rating, it's no wonder why this premium tops the charts!
A '91' rated cigar that is worthy of its name. Like a symphony, it comes together beautifully to create something greater than the sum of its parts. The creamy Connecticut wrapper drapes the rich Dominican binder and slightly spicy Nicaraguan filler to create a pronounced yet subtle experience sure to make anyone sing its praises.
Ave Maria is a classic, and is still one of my favorites. Nicaraguan fillers are wrapped up in an Ecuador Habano leaf, bringing in rich notes of leather and cedar, along with hints of earth. Certainly strong enough for a warrior, its smoothness is heavenly, and is an experience all can truly enjoy.
With a robust multi-country recipe of long-leaves beneath a spicy Habano wrapper, Toraño Exodus 1959 dishes out the delectability with cedary notes of cinnamon, leather, and tea. The complex and balanced profile impressed me...and then some. Go on your own cigar journey today, with Toraño as your guide.
'95' rated Rocky Patel Decade is beautifully constructed with Nicaraguan fillers and binder, then draped with a dark and oily Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. This box-pressed beauty is complex and well-balanced with flavors of bourbon, black pepper, and coffee, finishing with hints of ripened cherry. Perfect to pair with a nice stout on a chilly afternoon.
This premium is worth celebrating, as this was the initial brand made in the first cigar factory that opened in Nicaragua in 1969. Continuing to top the charts on my favorites list with its full-bodied profile, cedar and earth nuances, and spice on the finish, Antaño is perfect when you want to sit back and reminisce!
A medium-bodied cigar that showcases slight spice but is full on flavors, this '92' rated gem hits you with earth and leather from the first draw, turning into a nutty and woodsy sweetness on the finish. Complex throughout and wonderfully constructed, this is definitely one of La Aurora's finest offerings!
AVO has stood the test of time, and smoking any of them will explain why. The 30 Years LE Maduro with a beautiful Connecticut wrapper brings in a smooth experience with decadent notes of chocolate, oak, and leather layering throughout. This blend truly lives up to the saying you get what you pay for!
A slight break from the fuller-bodied blends I enjoy, this did not disappoint in the least bit! The seamless Ecuador Connecticut wrapper and Nicaraguan blend led to some pepper notes upfront. About 1/4 of the way through, hints of pepper were balanced out by a heavy, smooth draw, full of flavor in each puff.
Room 101 and my buddy AJ Fernandez pair up to make Miami Snow. An Ecuadorian CT wrapper drapes this Honduran puro bringing in a flavorful, creamy, mellow smoke with notes of nuts, cedar, and hints of pepper. You might not be able to build a snowman, but this is six inches of snow you won't have to shovel!
Reserva Real hits the mark with an unmistakably beautiful, golden Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf, while the Nicaraguan and Dominican blend surpasses expectations with an amazing combination of mellow complexity which generates profound flavors that excite the taste buds. Make sure to keep them on hand in your humidor!
This mellow addition to the Montecristo name has earned every point of its '91' rating. Its smooth, earthy Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper complements the Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos inside. You'll taste the complexity of each region this smoke is made of when you experience the exquisite draw and smooth finish!
I love three things more than anything: my dog Yogi the Bear, my cat Lemmy...the Cat, and my backyard hammock. A close 4th is a good Shade-wrapped cigar, and Brick House Connecticut is one I keep going back to again and again. Burning slow, smooth, and creamy, this Nicaraguan-made beauty finishes crisp and clean every time!
Before I get carried away, let's admire the premium at hand: A San Andrés wrapper, Ecuador Sumatra binder, and long-fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican. As for the flavors, prepare your palate for a rich, satisfying experience filled with notes of black cherry, coffee, cocoa, and hints of spice—this is one for the books!
Rocky Patel Twentieth Maduro will have you loving Maduro all over again. Sporting a rich wrapper from the esteemed Jamastran Valley, you'll find an exceptional blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos in this medium to full-bodied cigar. Flavors of cedar, chocolate, and a natural sweetness are abound—be ready for this smooth operator!
Drew Estate wins my heart again with another full-bodied blend. Nica Rustica comes on strong as a Nicaraguan puro hugged in a Connecticut Broadleaf, bringing in notes of earth, spice, and coffee that builds throughout. Rough but refined, Drew Estate Nica Rustica is never a tough decision when it comes to enjoying a great cigar.
Expertly crafted with a multiple-fermented Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The blend is comprised of long-leaf fillers from 5 different regions and makes for a complex yet well-balanced smoke! I really enjoyed the waves of subtle sweetness with hints of chocolate throughout. It was delicious and unexpected—in my Top 5 for sure!
This dark delight from Flores y Rodriguez is on FyR! (Literally as I'm enjoying one right now.) Packed to the brim with a tri-country recipe of top-tier tobaccos, expect a deep, rich profile. Note first the big, bold nuances of coffee and sweet cedar, then flip your wig over the decadent chocolate-covered raisin finish.
H. Upmann 1844 Reserve made a lasting impression in my group of handmades. This cigar performed like a champion with top-notch construction. The deep, ample tobacco flavors from the tri-country long-filler blend of Peruvian, Nicaraguan, and Dominican leaves provided an experience that was smooth and flawless.
Diamond Crown has always been known for their quality, and Julius Caeser is spot-on! A stunningly silky Ecuadorian Habano wrapper cloaks Dominican fillers bringing in notes of wood, spice, and coffee. This is one blend you never have to worry about stabbing you in the back!
Be ready to be blown away by they brilliance and appearance of the box-pressed Divinia. Providing an extremely smooth draw, this cigar burns perfectly with a pleasant, unexpected mellow balance along with nuances of chocolate, espresso, and hints of hazelnut. This is one "Cuban-esque" blend to enjoy, especially when paired with an aged Rum.
Cohiba really outdid themselves by going the Nicaraguan route. Below the oily Honduran Oscuro wrapper are hand-picked, Nicaraguan long leaves grown in Jalapa and Estelí. Creamy and cool with notes of leather, cedar, and whispers of sweetness makes for a top-notch experience! Full-bodied, bold, and smokes like a dream!
I'm always all-in when it comes to Oliva. I truly don't think they make a cigar that isn't great, and trust me I've dug deep! What's their best blend? Tough question, but Master Blends III has to be in the running. Box-pressed with a beauty of a Broadleaf wrapper around lively Ligero long-leaves, this premium is full-bodied and smooth, too!
Hearty filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and long-leaf from the San Andrès Valley, along with a Cuban-seed Ligero wrapper offers one heck of a cigar which packs robust notes of earth, leather, and oak...all with a spicy kick. This is one premium from Diesel that delivers optimum flavor and performance—a limitless experience!
The 2003 Sumatra wrapper, along with its Dominican and Habano long-leaf filler, is well-balanced with notes of cedar, coffee, and pepper. Construction and burn are excellent, and the box-press puts it over the top. Aging Room Quattro F55 is one of my favorites, and I can assure you, it will be one of yours after the first draw.
Drew Estate takes the crown and wears it proudly. Undercrown is just like a slightly mellower Liga Privada No.9, but with a San Andrés wrapper around a mix of Nicaraguan and Brazilian long-fillers. You can expect a medium-bodied experience that is creamy and balanced—long live the Undercrown!
Talk about upping the ante! The bold but well-rounded '93' rated Alec Bradley Sanctum is a rich and complex blend of Colombian, Honduran, and Nicaraguan long-leaf fillers which offer notes of spice, pepper, and vanilla. Sanctum starts off mellow, but gradually increases in intensity and flavor, sure to satisfy!
Ah, the Shade-wrapped blend that changed the way the industry looked at mellow. CAO Gold is a mellow blend, no doubt about it. But with its Nicaraguan long-leaf recipe underneath its Connecticut-seed wrapper, the results are a bit more rich and well-rounded than most of its kind. Stay gold with this stunner from CAO!
There was no doubt the #12 Cigar of 2018 had to make it in this lineup! Robust and full-flavored, this Ecuadorian-wrapped premium contains a tri-country blend of fillers that produce earthy aromas with underlying hints of spice. Strong but not overpowering, this cigar lives up to its name, packing a punch in all the right ways!
Aged to perfection, this '93' rated blend was a no-brainer! Featuring a 12-year-aged Honduran Broadleaf maduro wrapper with 5-year-aged fillers and binder, Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 offers up a semi-sweet experience of cedar and espresso nuances. The perfect balance of flavor, complexity, and richness that you can enjoy any time, any day.
What can be said about Montecristo Classic that hasn't already? An all-time favorite, you'll be impressed with how much flavor this Churchill provides while staying smooth throughout. With a pristine Shade Grown wrapper and well-aged Dominican long-fillers, Montecristo Classic is in a class of its own!
The impressively-crafted Nat Sherman 1930 blew me away. It was not the mellow Dominican I have come to expect. This cigar is packed with Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers that exude flavors of cedar, a zesty spice, and hints of cocoa. This blend is perfect for when you're looking to kick things up a notch!
Never receiving an official release, this limited-edition premium was one I just had to try. Aged for no less than three years, filled with 100% Nicaraguan tobaccos, this cigar 'wow-ed' in every way! Rich flavors flourished from head to foot with nuances of almonds, cedar, spice, and earth. This is one Legacy that's legendary!
Oliva continues to produce hit after hit, and Serie 'O' is still a classic. Few Nicaraguan puros pull it off well, but this beauty is full with notes of cedar up front, hints of nuts, and a smattering of spices, all which carry a slight sweetness that builds over the course of the smoke.
This '91' rated, bold cigar entices the most intricate of palates. Box-pressed, with an attractive appearance, this cigar contains a robust blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos covered by a Broadleaf wrapper. This combination provides satisfying notes of earth and bittersweet chocolate. Rocky Patel Sun Grown is destined to be one of your favorites!
One of my favorite premiums to bring to the cigar party, these tantalizing treats are flavorful, complexly-nuanced, and downright fun to enjoy. Expect a combination of sweet and savory to start, with enough spice, earth, and pepper to put some pep in your step! One heck of a Corojo from HC Series!
*Please Note Padilla Habano Artisano is sold out, and CAO America has been selected for this Expert Pick. We apologize for any inconvenience. Choosing another premium due to the immediate popularity of my first pick, I was proud to share with you this dual-wrapped gem from CAO. CAO Americana displays a beautiful maduro and Connecticut barber-pole style wrapper with a blend of Nicaraguan, Dominican, Italian, and American tobaccos. Hearty with hints of spice, this blend presents rich maduro textures with smooth notes of vanilla throughout. This '92' rated masterpiece is far from a runner-up!
As a fan of full-bodied cigars, I sampled Camacho Ecuador and realized I made a huge mistake by not trying one sooner! Medium to full-bodied, the electric blue bands aren't the only thing bold about this blend. Expect big flavors of coffee and chocolate with a rich, bready aroma—this cigar is more than good, it's great!
Micallef may be the new kid on the block, but they are no one hit wonder. Experiencia features a flawless Sumatra wrapper draping a tri-country blend that offers a medium-bodied experience. Expect subtle cocoa sweetness mixed with slightly earthy and pepper tones. Once you sample one of their blends you'll be drawn to try them all.
An excellent '92' rated, medium to full-bodied blend, this balanced medley of tri-country long-leaf filelrs are covered with a tantalizing Honduran wrapper. This premium will impress your palate with rich, creamy notes of sweet pepper, almonds, and hints of leather with a slight mesquite quality. You'll be convinced Orange is the new Mac!
A blend born from a collaboration with Rocky Patel hitting the shelves made me realize my cigar budget is going to take a hit too! Utilizing mainly Honduran tobaccos with a leaf of Nicaraguan for good measure, this super-premium delivers notes of sweet pepper and creamy coffee that compete over a rich, cocoa finish.
Created by AJ Fernandez, this is a modern take on a classic brand—and as you might expect—it’s jaw-droppingly complex. Featuring a blend of long-fillers from Nicaragua's top growing regions and an oily Ecuador Habano wrapper, this cigar's sweet, spicy, and full-boded profile makes it a can't-miss.
Known for releasing flavorful boutique blends, Fratello does it again with the out-of-this-world Navetta. Covered with an Ecuador Oscuro Habano leaf with Nicaraguan fillers beneath, this medium to full-bodied premium offers notes of wood, earth, and spice. This is one cigar you'll be over the moon for!
A unique blend of Dominican and Peruvian fillers, draped in a silky Ecuador wrapper makes the mellow to medium-bodied Zino Platinum zesty, sweet, rich, and creamy. This '91' rated gem yields a complex flavor profile with a smooth body—a must-have for any occasion, this is one that will find a permanent home in your humidor.
Looking to kick it up a notch? Montecristo Platinum hits it right on the bulls eye with this complex blend! A smooth and rich mix of Dominican, Peruvian, and Nicaraguan long-fillers are wrapped in a flavorful San Andrés Cubano wrapper. Expect indulgent hints of leather, toasted almond, cocoa, and black pepper.
Crema is everything you'd expect from Erik Espinosa—high-quality construction and a fully-nuanced profile with finesse. "But this is a Connecticut blend, and Connecticut-wrapped premiums shouldn't be this flavorful," complained no one ever! Stop with the Shade charade, and grab the Cremas of the crop, today!
Full-bodied, complex, and well-made, Don Pepin Garcia Blue is worthy of all the praise it's received since its launch. The blend utilizes high quality Nicaraguan long-fillers with a toothy Corojo wrapper over top, giving this '93' rated gem a spicy aroma with hints of cinnamon, earth, and dried fruit. One of Don Pepin's finest cigars to date.
Joya de Nicaragua is known for its full-bodied blends, but it stepped out of the box with Red. This Nicaraguan puro is surrounded with a Nicaraguan-grown wrapper, which brings a smooth oak nuance up front with earth, spice, and a bit of leather that lingers in the background. This premium will leave you with seeing anything but Red.
Punch Rare Corojo features a beautiful Ecuador Sumatra wrapper with Dominican, Honduran, and Nicaraguan long-leaf tobaccos tucked beneath. With a well-deserved '92' rating, this gem is robust, full-bodied, and smooth with an easy draw. A "rare" experience that will leave you coming back for more.
This maduro offers an excellent medium to full body that starts off somewhat woodsy and sweet, but develops richness during the burn with notes of cedar, espresso, and a slight nuttiness, all with a creamy finish. Wrapped in a San Andres leaf brimming with Nicaraguan long-fillers, this cigar is a classic.
Here's a cigar worth investing in! The Banker is medium to full-bodied and, just like the stock market, alternates between some intense moments and periods of smooth stability. This balance between bold spices and pleasant, creamy nuances makes The Banker a blend that never loses its value in your regular rotation.
Alec Bradley's Black Market cigars have always been a favorite of mine, but this '93' rated gem steals the show. Brimming with a four-country blend of long-fillers wrapped in a dark Nicaraguan leaf, this premium is satisfying to the core with notes of leather, chocolate, and earth.
Warped and Casa Fernandez collaborated to make a masterpiece with Guardian of the Farm. With bold Nicaraguan fillers and a Corojo wrapper, I expected more strength, but it yielded a medium body with notes of earth and hints of cinnamon. Guardian will certainly be keeping a watch on my humidor for a while.
Wrapped in a smooth Sun Grown Criollo '98 leaf, this cigar utilizes rare Nicaraguan long-fillers. This rich, unique blend delivers notes of cocoa, leather, earthiness, with hints of spice and dark fruits. This medium to full-bodied premium is a treat for the palate. A must-have if you enjoy creations from Don Pepin Garcia.
This dark cigar is right up my alley with its Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper and potent blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers. This is definitely a spicy, but balanced premium with notes of leather, black pepper, earth, and espresso. This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite blends from Diesel.
Comfortably Numb Vol.1 is a morsel that is fun, flavorful, and refined. Numb's nuances come and go in casual complexity. The blend's subtleties of sweetness fade just before a chorus of spices reset the tempo, keeping perfect time and balance. You'll find the fine-tuned finish features more notes than a David Gilmour guitar solo.
With its oily Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos, Romeo y Julieta Reserve is always a treat. It offers smooth and rich notes of oak, coffee, black pepper, and a bit of sweetness. A balance of strength and flavor, this cigar is one of Romeo y Julieta's best creations.
I've come to love CAO Brazilia Gol! for its rich nuances and enticing aroma. The blend features a unique Brazilian wrapper with Nicaraguan long-fillers at the center—a combination that leads to notes of chocolate, pepper, earth, and a long spicy finish. This cigar's rich aroma and complex profile makes Brazilia a winner every time.
I usually gravitate toward maduros, but I make an exception for Oliva Serie 'G'. This cigar displays a gorgeous African Cameroon wrapper with Nicaraguan long-fillers. Notes of cedar and nutiness come through from the first draw to the last, with hints of coffee throughout. Medium-bodied and well-balanced.
Man O' War Virtue is anything but your standard Connecticut blend. Covered in an Ecuador Connecticut leaf, this cigar utilizes Nicaraguan long-fillers and just the right amount of ligero. This combination gives Virtue an added kick of spice, along with notes of bread, leather, and toasted almond. Fully satisfying from head to foot.
This maduro is made with a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers, wrapped with a Connecticut Broadleaf. With an impressive flavor profile, REO has a chewy, savory quality. You can expect semi-sweet notes of cocoa, fruit, and a hint of cinnamon. Great construction at an affordable price, this cigar is REOlly good!
Espinosa Laranja Reserva is a '94' rated masterpiece. It boasts a Brazilian wrapper and Nicaraguan long-leaf tobacco. Laranja hits a home run with its natural sweetness, hints of spice, nuts, and pepper. This cigar is complex yet well balanced, and if you are looking for a fine cigar to enjoy on summer nights, this is the one for you!
Macanudo Crü Royale is a medium-bodied gem which features a dark Ecuador Habano wrapper with Dominican and Brazilian fillers beneath. Crü Royale is rich with deep notes of sweet earth, black pepper, and wood. This cigar never fails to impress, as it is consistently flavorful and well-made. A must for any Macanudo fan.
Treat yourself to a San Cristobal Elegancia and prepare to enjoy a smooth and luxurious ride. Nestled beneath the beautiful Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper are Nicaraguan long-fillers, giving way to flavors of spice, oak, and nuttiness. This cigar pairs beautifully with both coffee and white wine!
601 Green is draped in a dark Nicaraguan Oscuro wrapper and brimming with well-aged Nicaraguan long-fillers. Full-bodied without being overpowering, this flavorful cigar will entice the palate with notes of leather, coffee, and cocoa. 601 is not only a brand, but also the number of these I wish I had in my stash.
You know I love strong stuff so no shocker I picked My Father La Antiguedad. Draped in an Ecuador Habano wrapper with a unique dual binder of Corojo and Criollo and a bounty of Nicaraguan fillers beneath, this cigar has strong notes of coffee, pepper, and chocolate. A winning addition to any humidor.
Alec Bradley once again hits it out of the park with this box-pressed beauty! Encased in a Nicaragua Jalapa wrapper with Nicaraguan long-fillers from Condega, Jalapa, and Estelí nestled beneath, Tempus Nicaragua is a treat with toasty cedar, nuts, and hints of semi-sweetness followed by a finish of leather and spice. Quite a ride!
Masterfully blended and perfectly balanced, Rocky Patel Vintage '90 is an exceptional cigar which has earned a regular place in my humidor. Featuring a 12-year-aged Honduran Broadleaf maduro wrapper with a blend of well-aged fillers and binders, you'll experience rich notes of cedar, espresso, and some sweetness.
This '93' rated masterpiece from Nicaragua expels a rich character with balanced flavor. With its Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan long-leaf tobacco, this cigar will please the most complex of palates with enjoyable flavors and an oily feel. After a few draws, you will understand why this cigar is indeed Mighty Mighty.
This collaboration between Altadis and AJ Fernandez has produced a cigar that boasts a classic character with a modern look and feel. on the surface, you'll find an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper with Dominican and Nicaraguan long-leaves secured beneath. This cigar is complex and spicy, with creamy notes of oak, cocoa, and cashew.
Encased with a dark and oily Dominican wrapper with Dominican long-fillers tucked beneath, Dark Dominican is a decadent mellow to medium-bodied blend with notes of sweet cedar, earth, and nuts. One of my favorite cigars from Rocky Patel.
Aging Room Quattro F55 is an amazing cigar. Medium to full-bodied, it opens with spice and leather, then mellows to earthy coffee tones with some slightly sweet woody notes. After enjoying one, you’ll need to clear out the humidor for an entire box!
Blended by AJ Fernandez himself, Ave Maria is one of the finest cigars available. Showcasing an Ecuador Habano wrapper with a Nicaraguan long-leaf tobacco, this is an exquisite blend. Well-balanced with a creamy profile, Ave Maria is one of my favorites.
Reserve is another impressive offering from Romeo y Julieta! Full in body, this cigar is bursting with flavor. Expertly blended with Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers swaddled beneath a dark and oily Nicaraguan wrapper, expect hints of earth, spice, and sweetness.
Gilberto Reserva Blanc is Oliva’s newest release since 2012, and it’s well worth the wait. This mellow to medium-bodied blend sports a golden Ecuador Connecticut wrapper which encases Nicaraguan long-leaf. A classic Connecticut profile with notes of cashew, cream, and a bit of graham cracker.
Drew Estate Undercrown Shade is a Nicaraguan-made gem which sports a silky Connecticut Shade wrapper. Rich with a velvety creaminess that stays with you throughout, this cigar has notes of cedar, earth, and black pepper. Undercrown Shade is a shining example of a medium-bodied cigar.
Prensado Lost Art is masterfully made with a Honduran Corojo wrapper and a core of 5 different Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos. Expect complex flavors of white pepper, dark chocolate, earthiness, and hints of coffee. This bold and beautifully balanced treat is aromatic and delicious. Kudos Alec Bradley!
Of course, I picked another AJ and it’s fantastic! Man O’ War Damnation is a strong blend that opens with spice, leather, and oak, but mellows with coffee notes and some cherry on the finish. Make sure to complete your warrior training before taking on Damnation.
This cigar is an easygoing blend that never disappoints. Decadent Dominican long-fillers are encased by a smooth Connecticut wrapper. Satisfying notes of leather, spice, and cedar greet the palate and pair nicely with a morning coffee. One of Victor Sinclair’s crowning achievements.
Before this review, I enjoyed Oliva cigars on occasion, but now I find myself in love with the Oliva Serie 'G' Maduro. Its dark, oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan long-fillers reward my palate with a slightly nutty profile and notes of earthiness, fruit, cocoa, and coffee!
This is not only one of my top picks for 2017, it's also one of my go-to cigars. This '95' rated box-pressed beauty sports a well-aged Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers beneath. Its notes of cocoa, black pepper, and earth are always an absolute pleasure.
Truly a work of divine inspiration. I love anything AJ Fernandez makes, and this is no exception. Made primarily with Nicaraguan tobacco, this medium to full-bodied cigar opens with heavy spice, which mellow to notes of leather and earth. This blend will carry you on angel's wings until the end.
The CIGAR.com Signature Habano cigar is a great medium to full-bodied gem that AJ Fernandez helped create. The Habano wrapper drapes Italian, Nicaraguan, and Peruvian long-fillers. The result is a rich, smooth, aromatic experience with a slight sweetness. A great premium for pairing with a nice cocktail.
It's official! I'm in love with the Flor de San Andres by Rocky Patel. Its solid construction, dark Mexican San Andrés wrapper, and sugar skull band caught my attention right away. Not to mention the notes of cedar, dark chocolate, leather, and hints of nutmeg leading to an enjoyable experience.
AJ Fernandez is a very busy man–and that may be putting it lightly. Recently, he’s collaborated with some of the biggest names in the business to make some absolute gems, and he’s somehow found the time to craft some new premiums to add to his own illustrious portfolio.Among the brand new additions is an extension to his Enclave line. AJ created the original Habano-wrapped beauty with the help with his father, Ismael, and the cigar received a well-deserved ‘92’ rating and Top 25 honors.The newest iteration of Enclave was brought about by a simple curiosity–AJ wanted to know what the blend would taste like wrapped with a Connecticut Broadleaf, and I’ve never been so grateful for Mr. Fernandez’s inventive and adventurous approach to making cigars.
Don’t get me wrong, the original Enclave is nothing shy of exquisite, but when Nicaraguan fillers from Pueblo Nuevo, Estelí, and the Jalapa Valley are encased by a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, what you get is a brand new profile with a deeper flavor and full-body. Enclave Broadleaf is visibly darker than the original, and the unlit tobaccos have a spicier aroma with a slight hint of hay and caramel–an indication that this cigar has been aged very well.When the cigar is first lit, there is a fair amount of spice with notes of earth, espresso, some toasted almonds, and slight citrus on the finish. As the burn continues, the peppery notes remain present, but the flavors develop into a creamy leather with notes of cocoa and a natural sweetness. Enclave Broadleaf is a solid full-bodied cigar, and it has complexity to spare. Of course, the original will always be a regular in my rotation of premiums, but this new addition will definitely find its way into the mix as well.
This unique '95' rated gem is full-bodied with a beautifully complex profile. Flathead's Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers are bound with a well-fermented Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Notes of black pepper, cocoa, and earth are nothing short of a holiday treat.
A truly unique blend as not many use Peruvian tobacco; this solid, medium-bodied premium brims with tones of leather, wood, and earth, with some floral notes on the finish. Make sure you discover this secret for yourself—but don't tell too many others because they may disappear!
Warpig is a must! Its striking Nicaraguan maduro wrapper and mix of Dominican and Honduran fillers create complex undertones of cocoa, espresso, and cinnamon, matched with powerful black pepper and oak. This cigar is irresistible with impeccable construction, emitting thick clouds and satisfying flavor.
Toraño Exodus Gold 20th Anniversary is a cigar that will awaken the taste buds! Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers are encased in a spicy, bold Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper. Enjoy hints of espresso, cedar, and smooth spice as you experience a myriad of flavors from start to finish with this outstanding cigar.
A dark, oily Habano wrapper blended with Nicaraguan fillers creates tons of flavor in this personal favorite. Tasting notes are consistent from foot to finish, with cocoa, black pepper, earthiness, and a hint of sweet tobacco. Medium to full-bodied with a host of flavor, Nica Libre 25th is a must-try!
CAO may be one of the most adventurous cigar brands in the business. Its blends take enthusiasts off the beaten path with tobaccos procured in regions not often utilized by most cigar brands. A prime example of this is CAO’s Fuma Em Corda, literally translated to “smoke on a rope.” Named for a process native to Brazil, part of Fuma Em Corda’s blend of long fillers consists of Brazilian Arapiraca tobacco that is twisted into a braid and left to ferment. This tobacco is combined with long fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Brazil, and encased by a Honduran Colorado Oscuro wrapper.
Something that strikes me as brilliant about this cigar (and all of the cigars in the CAO Amazon Basin Series) is the branding. Each cigar has a rustic appearance with a thin string of bound tobacco replacing the band. I tend to gravitate toward cigars with little details like this, because it shows a real appreciation for the tobaccos used, plus it just looks cool.
As for the cigar itself, the flavor is as unique as its aesthetic. Notes of espresso, caramel, and black pepper give this medium to full-bodied premium a truly unique profile with exquisite complexity. What’s really unique about this cigar is the fact that you can actually burn through the “band” without any adverse effects, because as mentioned, it’s made of tobacco.
CAO has definitely cornered the market when it comes to exotic cigars and Fuma Em Corda is a prime example of this. Well-made with flavor to spare, this cigar is an absolute gem that will certainly impress any aficionado looking for something a little different.
As advertised, Rocky Patel Super Ligero is brimming with Nicaraguan and Costa Rican triple ligero fillers, all hidden by a St. Augustine Habano wrapper. A complex profile with notes of leather and spice make this premium bold, balanced, and an absolute pleasure after a big meal.
AJ Fernandez, need I say more? My love affair continues with Diesel Heart of Darkness. An Oscuro Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers exude notes of pepper, earth, and a slight hint of coffee. This bold premium is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Punch Bareknuckle will knock you proverbial socks off with its multi-country blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos draped in an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Ensure this champion is always on hand for those moments you want to "go a few rounds" with a real powerhouse.
Rum barrel-aged Dominican, Honduran, and Nicaraguan fillers are encased in an oily Oscuro wrapper. I immediately enjoyed notes of coffee, spice, and some hints of black cherry. A must-try for those who enjoy a solid medium to full-bodied cigar.
A personal favorite, this cigar's dark, oily Habano wrapper is brimming with premium ligero fillers. The first quarter of this cigar strikes your palate with pepper, but opens up nicely to notes of oak with spicy and sweet cream nuances—an unforgettable cigar.
You’d be hard pressed to find an enthusiast who hasn’t sampled one of Macanudo’s many blends. You’d be even more hard pressed to find one who hasn’t at least heard of the brand during its nearly 50 year run. The brand started out in Jamaica in the late 60s, but moved to the Dominican Republic a few years later where it set down permanent roots. At first, the cigars were mellow and packed with flavor, making them accessible to a wide variety of palates. But as time progressed, so did enthusiasts Tastes. And, to keep up with demand, Macanudo began blending fuller-bodied cigars with bolder tasting notes.
Macanudo’s latest creation may be one of its most innovative to date. Inspirado Black comes dressed in a dark and oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper which was ripened on the stalk. At the cigar’s core you’ll find a proprietary blend of fermented tobaccos grown in Estelí, Nicaragua. Well-constructed, this cigar has a rustic quality to it. But what really grabs me is the aroma coming from the tobaccos in this premium. They have an intoxicating smell of molasses and earth, reminding me of dried cherries. As soon as the cigar is lit, the flavor profile is striking, with notes of pepper, hay, and dried fruit at the finish. As the cigar progresses, the pepper nuances intensify, but they’re not overwhelming and the finish is nice and long. This may be my new favorite blend from Macanudo, simply because it offers so much complexity and spice. I would urge everyone to try Inspirado Black, but do so after a good meal. This cigar’s boldness took me a little off guard, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the hell out of it.
Easily one of J.C. Newman’s most popular cigar lines, Brick House has cornered the market on top notch cigars at an unbeatable price. Each blend is beautifully balanced with a pleasing aromas, and a throng of satisfying tasting notes. The original Brick House cigar was well-received by both fans and critics, and earned a well-deserved spot in Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 cigars of 2010. The maduro blend also received high marks with a ‘91’ rating just this year.
With such high acclaim, it was only a matter of time before J.C. Newman added a Connecticut wrapped offering to its lineup of Brick House cigars.
Masked with a pristine Connecticut Shade leaf and brimming with sweet smelling long fillers, Brick House Connecticut is love at first sight. The cold draw offers classic Connecticut notes of sweet cream, a touch of cedar, and some nuances of earth. I noticed more pepper in the first few puffs of this cigar, with notes of vanilla and roasted nuts. I was actually surprised by the spice. Not over the top, but more pronounced than I was expecting. The pepper lingered throughout, but became less present throughout the burn. The finish was short, but sweet, and overall this cigar presented complexities not often found in run of the mill Connecticut blends. I would call this an absolute homerun for Brick House. It offers the same complexities and spice of more expensive fuller-bodied cigars, but can be enjoyed as an everyday cigar. I’ve probably enjoyed close to a box of these since we got them in our warehouse, and I’m probably going to buy another just as soon as I make room in my humidor, or I just may buy another humidor specifically for these beauties.
A gorgeous offering from JC Newman. Perla del Mar’s golden brown wrapper is pristine. An Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf masks long-fillers from three growing regions in Nicaragua, bringing about decadent notes of cedar, caramel, and cream. Without a doubt, Perla del Mar is one of my favorite mellow-bodied cigars.
Alec Bradley has never failed me, and the Tempus Quadrum is no exception. Blended with Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers cloaked in a Habano wrapper, expect a full smoke with spicy notes of earth and leather balanced nicely by a sweet cedar finish. With a pedigree of multiple top 25 COTY awards, this one will not disappoint.
This Punch is rare for a number of reasons, from the limited yearly production to the unique tobaccos utilized to create its spectacular, full flavor. When aged, the blend flourishes to create an experience that’s indeed rare, and packs a punch that will have you craving this box-pressed beauty for years to come!
Talk about a real Nicaraguan through and through? The Nat Sherman Timeless Nicaraguan 556 is a box-pressed delight. This puro is simply mouth-watering with hints of chocolate, molasses, coffee, spice, and a bit of woodiness in both flavor and aromatics. Hats off to Nat Sherman, this tasty addition truly is Timeless.
One of my favorites, the Nicaraguan box-pressed Oliva Serie ‘G’ Maduro, sports a dark and oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. I found that it pairs perfectly with a deep-ambered brandy. The palate is rewarded with a slightly nutty profile accompanied by notes of dried sweet fruits, cocoa, and coffee.
For those of you familiar with Gispert, you know that its original blend is on the mellow to medium side. It’s a great cigar that’s well made and has elegant notes of cream and leather, but it’s not exactly the most complex cigar you’ll ever enjoy, and while I appreciate this cigar’s accessibility, I like something with a little more oomph. Apparently others feel the same, and Gispert heard the calls for a bolder blend. The company collaborated with tobacco master AJ Fernandez, who has quite the track record for making beautifully complex, full-bodied cigars. After careful planning and meticulous sampling, AJ and Gispert released Intenso to please the masses.
Intenso’s Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is a deep chestnut brown and has a rustic quality to it. That’s the nature of this leaf: it’s thick, leathery, and tough as nails, adding a natural spice and sweetness that no other tobacco offers. Tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican comprise the filler, and when combined with the Broadleaf wrapper, it produces prominent tasting notes of oak, espresso, and leather. It’s bolder than the original for sure, and more complex, but it won’t knock you off your feet with spice and strength. I’ve partaken in a few of these, and I intend to enjoy many more. This cigar is a great collaboration from Gispert and AJ Fernandez, one which I would highly recommend trying.
While I don’t find myself reaching for Gurkha cigars all too often these days, it’s impossible to forget how good this ‘91’ rated gem is. Symphony has become one of the most popular Connecticut-wrapped cigars in our inventory. Superb construction and every smooth puff makes Gurkha Symphony a must-try for every aficionado.
Hoyo de Monterrey offers a solid lineup of cigars, including one of my standbys: Hoyo Excalibur. A Connecticut leaf surrounds Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers for a combination that gives this blend a medium body. Notes of spice and wood which are complemented by a satisfying creaminess, this is a cigar that will never disappoint.
5 Vegas Gold is one of my favorite cigars and is perfect for any time of the day. Honduran tobacco that is aged for 5 years is paired with a beautiful Ecuadorian Connecticut-seed wrapper. You can be sure that 5 Vegas Gold will have you feeling like a winner every time.
Rocky Patel Connecticut is my go-to cigar for mornings on the lake during fishing season. This mellow blend is just perfect for pairing with coffee. A smooth start gives way to notes of nuttiness, earthiness, with hints of subtle leather and spice. Superior construction and effortless draw makes this a truly satisfying Connecticut.
Macanudo Café is fantastic for anyone who appreciates a cigar that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. It has a consistent burn and draw with a rich and smooth profile that is never overpowering. This cigar leaves a clean finish on the palate with nutty notes, earthiness, hints of coffee, and cream.
Romeo y Julieta is a brand that needs no introduction. It’s had staying power in a crowded field, simply because its cigars are timeless blends that enthusiasts have flocked to for over 130 years. The brand wanted to appeal to enthusiasts who prefer bolder flavors, so it branched out a few years ago with its Romeo line-up. Which brings us to its newest release: Romeo 505
Named for Nicaragua’s country code, 505 is distinct among the brand’s portfolio for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the only Romeo blend that is primarily sourced in Nicaragua. Secondly, it’s a lot bolder than any of the brand’s offerings to date. A combination of rich fillers from Jalapa, Esteli, and Condega are wrapped in a dark and oily Habano Jalapa leaf, which is smooth to the touch and has rich a aroma with sweet notes of leather and cedar.
I tend to gravitate toward bolder cigars, so this seemed right up my alley from the start. After taking a few puffs, it was clear that this cigar stands out from Romeo’s other cigars. It definitely lives up to the hype with ample sweetness, spice, and earthiness. This is not a cigar you would want to enjoy on an empty stomach, because as promised, it packs the punch you would expect from a full bodied cigar.
I enjoyed the hell out of 505 and I can say with certainty that it appeals to anyone who prefers full bodied cigars with tons of flavor and quality construction. Hats off to Romeo y Julieta, this is a cigar that I can see myself lighting up again in the very near future.
This is Rocky Patel's aptly dubbed Cri-ojo, a unique hybrid wrapper leaf featuring a mix of both Criollo and Corojo seed offering a one-of-a-kind experience. I never thought such a balanced, medium-bodied cigar could pack so much flavor from an earthy spice up front to a touch of natural sweetness on the finish.
Graycliff is one of the highest quality cigars on the market and the Profesionale line is no exception. Fillers from four countries are wrapped in an Ecuadorian Sumatra Intermedio leaf. The overall experience is smooth with tasting notes of leather, earth, cedar, and hints of spice.
Made by AJ Fernandez, this cigar is a box-pressed, full-bodied beauty! The Habano Ecuadorian Sun Grown Ligero wrapper appears marbled and smooth. This cigar offers notes of pepper, balanced with earthiness and coffee. It was a fantastic cigar that I would recommend to any enthusiast who prefers a full-bodied experience.
This 90+ rated CAO is a one-of-a-kind blend packed with Italian, Nicaraguan, and Peruvian long-fillers. It's wrapped with a dark chocolate, oily Habano leaf. This first draw surprised me when strong notes of pepper hit my palate, but then opened up with dark chocolate, earth, peat, leather, and spice. All of these flavors melded together beautifully.
I’ve been a Viaje fan for some time now. The brand’s Exclusivo is among my favorite cigars on store shelves right now. Despite my affinity for Viaje, Full Moon Collector’s Edition somehow went under my radar. Yes, I know this is a Halloween-themed cigar, so call me late to the party but, I just wanted to share my delight in finally giving this cigar a go. Let’s start with aesthetics - the cigar is wrapped in a gorgeous deep brown Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper that has an earthy and spicy aroma. The pigtail cap is a nice detail that I’m a total sucker for, so this experience is already off to an amazing start. Upon first light, Full Moon has a ton of flavor. Thick mouthfuls of pillowy smoke exude intense flavors of spice, earth, and cocoa. I was expecting an extraordinary cigar and somehow my expectations were blown out of the water throughout the burn. Full Moon is fantastic from top to tail, with a beautiful creaminess reserved for the very best cigars. Is it a surprise that I enjoyed this cigar as much as I did? Not really. The only surprise here is that spring has sprung and it somehow took me this long to sample Full Moon Collector’s Edition.
A must-have in my humidor, a Nicaraguan wrapper drapes five-year-aged ligeros and barrel-aged Nicaraguan long-leaves. Offering subtle hints of coffee and earthiness, HC Series Gran Limitado will satisfy even the most complex of palates. Add this to your rotation today or keep it around as a special treat for guests!
This is one limited edition Gurkha that you want to get your hands on. With a deluge of various flavors, this medium-bodied blend offers some exotic spices up front with a mellow backbone of coffee, wood, and touch of natural sweetness. The double perfecto is easily my favorite vitola within the line and makes for a great mid-day indulgence.
This chunky robusto is rich and complex while remaining very balanced. There is a nice amount of sweetness and spice that lingers on the front of the palate, not to mention a one-of-a-kind flavor from its Honduran wrapper, unique Peruvian fillers, and filler leaf from the Pueblo Nuevo region of Nicaragua.
The latest release from the industry titan utilizes a Mexican San Andrés wrapper that is prized by many. Flor de San Andres is a perfectly balanced, medium-bodied blend with a rich espresso core and hints of spice and leather on the finish. Sugar skull or not, these cigars are truly a sweet deal.
Enclave uses an oily, Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper, binder leaf from Cameroon, and a delicious blend of Nicaraguan fillers. Hints of chocolate, cedar, cinnamon, and a creamy cashew note create one wonderful, medium to full-bodied blend. The finish adds a peppery kick to a premium that’s definitely worth adding to your collection.
Why did I find myself surprised, after the first dozen or so puffs, at how much I was enjoying La Gran Llave Maduro when right there in the name, it’s clearly stated “BY AJ FERNANDEZ?" Knowing full well what Fernandez is capable of with tobacco and time, I should have expected this all along. La Gran Llave Maduro is fantastic, with a concerted creaminess throughout the whole experience that’s rare of any blend, for any price. It’s in this velvety mouth feel of lush smoke that really separates and lifts the LGL above the maduro majority. I found the Corona Extra size to be the perfect conduit for maximum flavor, with the chocolaty character of the San Andrés wrapper really shining through from start to finish. Could I have appreciated a bit more spice or complexity? Sure, but I also could use 5k in my bank account and a new Mazda. In my experiences with La Gran Llave Maduro, flavor consistency was present and that flavor was great. If complexity were a criticism, it’d be nattering nitpickery, good for only the raising of serious doubts to be had concerning the source critic. I am not that critic, I’m just a strangely surprised fan of La Gran Llave Maduro.
This Oliva everyday premium delivers each and every time. Reliable and unbeatable for the price, the impeccable construction is evident as soon as you pick it up. A gorgeous, Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is perfectly applied around a robust blend of Nicaraguan fillers creating a smooth character mixed with zesty notes of cedar and spice.
Crafted by AJ Fernandez, Divinia takes things to another level. this Cubanesque premium features a hefty amount of Nicaragua tobacco. It opens up with a full hit of spice that mellows gradually into notes of leather, earth, and a mix of woody notes. Certainly full-bodied but heavenly smooth, Divinia is a blessing to have in your humidor.
Padilla Habano offers excellence from the very first draw. A tantalizing blend of Cuban-seed tobaccos are draped in an oily, Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Offering subtle hints of spice and chocolate with a nice little kick of pepper on the finish to keep your taste buds fully awake, this is the must-have cigar to relax with at the end of your day.
Allow me to introduce Diesel's newest offering, Heart of Darkness. This full-bodied Nicaraguan beauty is encased in an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. Experience flavors of espresso, leather, wood, and spice. Raising the bar once again, this complex Diesel blend will satisfy the most discerning connoisseur.
This out-of-this-world blend features a three country mix of premium fillers draped in a dark and oily Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper. Consistent with an impeccable burn and draw, this premium is balanced yet full of complex notes of pepper, progressing into a creaminess accompanied by hints of vanilla and cocoa.
Alan Rubin is no stranger to using Honduran tobaccos in his blends to award winning results. His Coyol is no exception to this strategy, as the Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos used in this recipe combine to create one of my new favorites. Grabbed one out of the humidor for two reasons: #1 – the brand… I have loved the Tempus and Prensado for years, and have really enjoyed the few Mundials I’ve recently sampled. #2 – the size. A petite lancero is rather unique in today’s cigar scene, and seemed like a good choice for my afternoon session. Smoked slow and deliberate, the Coyol exuded big flavor and character from the get go. There’s a pleasant sweetness throughout, but not saccharine-y or overbearing. I usually get a savory, almost meaty nuance from other Alec Bradley blends, not so much with this lancero. I wasn’t pairing this with tea, but I kept coming back to that type of flavor sensation – slightly tannic, slightly astringent, with an herbal heavy finish. Very fresh and clean tasting; this blend is bright without many of the “dirty” earth flavors that can muddle a complex profile like this. Nubbing both samples of the Coyol I acquired for this review, I can say they were consistent, medium-bodied, unique, and enjoyable. Acquire a few for yourself, no regrets.
Drew Estate Tabak Especial Café con Leche blends two luscious wrappers to give you a perfectly-balanced joyride of flavors. The Connecticut Broadleaf and Ecuador Connecticut wrappers give this infused cigar notes of rich espresso and the sweetness of vanilla bean that will satisfy the most extreme tobacco purist.
Grab yourself a Guinness or an Irish coffee for this one. Erin Go Bragh is an exceptional choice for aficionados looking for a well-made, flavored premium. The infusion of Irish whiskey melds perfectly with the Dominican fillers and a silky smooth Connecticut wrapper, finished with a lightly-sweetened cap.
If you like the idea of an “enhanced” cigar blend, Opulence 3 is the finest choice. Sporting a toothy maduro wrapper from San Andrés, ‘O-3’ pumps out clouds of rich and creamy smoke, with a sweet finish, and a room note that is out of this world.
Natural Root is a bit more of a traditionalist approach to flavored cigars. Utilizing rare tobaccos from across the globe and finished with a Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper, this medium-bodied blend is rich and aromatic with hints of mocha. Mix things up today with a cigar that is unlike any other.
Rocky Patel is back with an exciting new release in the form of a hearty maduro featuring a San Andres wrapper and a carefully selected blend of Nicaraguan long fillers. Despite its bold packaging, this one has a rather tamed and refined character. To me, that’s a good thing. Right off the bat, this well-balanced cigar is incredibly smooth with rich notes of coffee and chocolate. To be honest, I was expecting a bold spice that is typical with San Andres wrappers. Instead there were just light hints of cedar, spice, and sweetness on the finish which added a nice bit of complexity to the blend. Neither flavor would completely overpower the others. I can really respect such a full-flavored cigar that doesn’t knock you back in your seat in terms of strength. Flor de San Andres remains firmly in the medium-bodied camp throughout and can be enjoyed any time of day. If you’re looking for a new everyday maduro you can’t go wrong here.
The original Dominican Romeo, the 1875 Bully performs like a true tobacco “cafe con leche” as nuances of coffee bean and sweet cream give way perfectly to its subtle sugarcane finish, creating a modern day classic. This best-seller is also a regular in my personal humidor. Mellow enough for the masses yet possessed with a surprising WOW factor.
You can taste the rich Nicaraguan history in this full-bodied beauty from Estelí’s first cigar manufacturer. Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 is a superb Nicaraguan puro featuring a dark and oily Criollo wrapper. It is deep and earthy with notes of roasted nuts and spice. This cigar is perfect to savor on a cold winter’s night drinking spiced eggnog.
This classic has introduced so many to Brazilian tobacco, including myself. A top-seller within CAO’s illustrious ‘world cigar’ lineup, CAO Brazilia is a bold, full-bodied blend featuring a dark and lustrous wrapper and perfectly aged Nicaragua fillers. Rich notes of chocolate and spice are pleasant with a slight sweetness on the finish that marry together perfectly throughout.
Punch Rare Corojo delivers a punch right to the taste buds. Featuring a unique blend using an Ecuadorian grown Sumatra wrapper with long-fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican, Punch Rare Corojo offers a unique touch of sweetness along with leather and earthy wood tones that is very Cubanesque. Beware, this sampler may cause you to buy a whole box!
Genesis makes for a great cigar to enjoy this holiday season. At first glance, you’ll notice a beautiful Ecuadorian Habano wrapper encasing a blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan long-fillers. Full-bodied to the core, this premium offers flavors of black pepper and leather with some earthy tones. If you are looking for a cigar to keep you warm during the winter months then look no further.
Black Ops has won fans over with their clever packaging, rugged theme and, more importantly, their outstanding premiums all at an attractive price point. When Black Ops Berserker was in the works, I couldn’t help but scout around the office, trying to find first-hand information—and by first-hand information I mean when the cigar was going to hit our shelves. When I had the opportunity to get first dibs and light up this premium blend, I knew Black Ops provided another sought-after boutique with Black Ops Berserker.
This Nicaraguan puro lives up to its name. More than a one-dimensional cigar, Black Ops Berserker makes its mark in terms of flavor. Maintaining the balancing act of its medium to full body, Berserker immediately released bold notes of toasty tobaccos and zesty spice. Hints of rich dark chocolate soon appeared, complementing the other flavors lingering on the palate. With immaculate construction and rich, bold flavors Black Ops Berserker will take aficionados by storm.
Developed by the Cuban cigar maker, AJ Fernandez, who has produced some of the finest cigars in Nicaragua, Hoyo La Amistad is a bold move for the legendary Hoyo de Monterrey brand. I have to admit, when I first heard that AJ Fernandez was teaming up with Hoyo for a release, it had me scratching my head, but at the same time I couldn’t wait to light one up. After hearing that AJ Fernandez and his family grew up very near to the Hoyo de Monterrey farm in Cuba I knew he had put his all in this one.
The cigar features perfect construction. Once lit, you know you’re in for a bold and full-bodied treat. While the cigar is strong, it is nowhere near overpowering and there are some nice sweet and spicy notes mixed in that help to balance out the palate. While I didn’t find the blend to be overly complex or change much throughout, Hoyo La Amistad certainly lives up to its historic branding and delivers a classic, Cuban-esque experience that even the most discerning aficionados can enjoy.
A bit of a hidden gem within the cigar industry, Latitude Zero is crafted in Nicaragua by the world’s most premier tobacco growers and broke out onto the scene last year with an exquisite blend featuring a top-grade Habano Ecuador wrapper. This time around they turn their focus to a maduro leaf and simply nailed it out of the park. Dressed in a dark and toothy US Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and packaged up in handmade leather pouches, this cigar is quite a looker. But it’s the flavor that truly wows you. This medium to full-bodied cigar offers up hearty notes of chocolate and coffee right off the bat. Followed up by undertones of earth, leather, and some pepper, this cigar is incredibly rich yet always smooth.
This is hands down my favorite blend out there. Man O’ War Ruination is a perfect Nicaraguan blend featuring an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. It comes on strong but remains well-balanced with notes of cedar, leather, pepper, and a slight mix of nuts. If I had to choose one cigar to have every day for the rest of my life, this is it.
Ramon Bueso has worked behind the scenes on blends with industry legends such as Estelo Padron and Frank Llaneza. Today he is reaching stardom with his own line of premium cigars, and his fourth installment is by far the most unique offering within his portfolio. Featuring an oily, Sun Grown Ligero wrapper, purposely under-fermented to create a unique flavor, the latest from Ramon Bueso will instantly grab your attention. It begins with blast of pepper. As it settles down, notes of chocolate and spices appear with slight hints of raisin. This flavorful, medium to full-bodied cigar has a very distinct aroma that sets it apart from any other cigar I’ve had.
Morado is the highest-rated La Perla Habana blend, and rightfully so. The toothy African Cameroon wrapper is rolled to perfection around a solid core of Nicaraguan long-fillers. This well-balanced, medium-bodied blend has a ton of flavor without all the kick. Smooth flavors of cedar, earth, and light spices mingle throughout, followed by a semi-sweet finish.
Decade is one of my all-time favorites, so I had to try Rocky’s newer Cameroon version. After enjoying dozens since its release, I can tell you this blend delivers and frankly is as good, if not better than the original. There’s a nice sweetness to the smoke throughout and some serious complexity with hints of caramel, coconut, and peanut. Another KO from Rocky!
Man O’ War Legend is another amazing blend from legendary cigar maker, AJ Fernandez. Nicaraguan long-fillers are tucked beneath a beautiful Habano wrapper that adds just the right level of spice to this medium-bodied blend. If you’re looking for a well-balanced Man O’ War blend that is perfect for any time of the day, Legend will not disappoint.
I’ve always been a fan of The Griffin’s. When you’re in the mood for a reliable morning or mid-day mellow cigar, they never let you down. So when I heard that Davidoff was releasing The Griffin’s Nicaragua, I knew I had to try one. True to Nicaraguan form, it is a complete departure from the original Connecticut offering. In fact, the only thing they have in common was the superior construction. The Griffin’s Nicaraguan packs quite a punch right from the start, especially the Short Torpedo size. Wasting no time, you are immediately hit with a bold spice up front along with notes of chocolate, leather, and cedar in the background. I did detect a slight bitterness on the tongue on the finish towards the end of the cigar but nothing that made the cigar any less enjoyable. This is a well-blended, medium to full-bodied cigar that brings The Griffin’s brand into a whole new realm for fans of full-bodied, Nicaraguan tobacco. And despite all its boldness, a hint of that signature Dominican tobacco in the filler still lingers.
Punch is back with a vengeance. Punch Signature harkens back to its original blend with a dark, oily Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper that gives you a nice shot of pepper upfront. As you get into this full-bodied smoke, notes of leather and an earthy spice please the palate. The smoke is thick and creamy leaving your taste buds wanting more.
Gurkha’s Yakuza is stunning. Yes, even for the brand known for their extravagant packaging, they’re actually outdone themselves with an elaborate, unrivaled, hand-carved box. Even though the most hardened enthusiast’s jaw would still drop upon first sight of this beauty. But you know the old adage, “You can’t smoke the packaging…”
We’ve seen this before from Gurkha, right? Stunning design, average blend, right? Wrong. Yakuza was a surprise from the first moment I fired one up. Coming across as full-bodied, Yakuza has this subtle creaminess to the blend that keeps it from becoming to over-powering. Otherwise, your palate gets hit with notes of spice, espresso, and oak that really drive home a relaxing feeling. This paired really well with a nice bourbon and is the perfect nightcap to a long day. My only complaint? The price. These beauties will set you back a few coins but these are one of the few cigars that actually live up to the price tag.
Who is Ramón Bueso? Well if you don’t know, you must be new to this catalog. This is the latest blend from Ramón, featuring an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with a mix of Nicaraguan and Honduran ligero. The blend is strong but smooth with notes of oak, pepper, earth and bits of leather. This sleeper of a smoke is sure to wake you up and put some pep in your step.
This is one of the few mellow cigars you will find in my humidor. With a six-year-old US Connecticut wrapper and well-aged Cuban-seed fillers, this smooth and elegant blend offers a rich flavor profile dominated by strong notes of cedar. Don’t take this cigar’s smoothness for weakness; it’s enough to satisfy any enthusiast’s palate.
I have to say, this blend caught me totally off-guard. Symphony is an extraordinary Connecticut. On first light, notes of white pepper are dominant which transitions into cedar and cream. The real complexity is on the finish where I pick up dark chocolate and roasted nuts. This is by far my favorite Gurkha blend, and I think you will agree.
The addition of a dark and oily, Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper to this affordable line from Graycliff really kick things up a notch. The blend is a hearty, medium body and is superbly constructed. Graycliff G2 Maduro offers a highly aromatic flavor profile of rich chocolate, spice, leather, and some sweetness on the finish. Fans of the original G2 blend should give this a try for a heartier, after-dinner treat.
As Black Ops most premium release to date, this bold looking torpedo features a large, gold foot band to mimic a .50 caliber bullet. It is a bit soft to the touch but no major construction issues. Right off the bat there is an onslaught of dark chocolate notes mixed with some espresso and black pepper. Housed in genuine ammo cans, the bar has just been raised. Black Ops Rubicon is an exceptional value with a great blend and unique packaging.
After the great cigar boom, CAO had a premonition to create the ultimate cigar, using some of the most coveted Brazilian tobacco from the Bahia growing region. The secret to the success of the CAO Brazilia can be contributed to its wrapper. Sweet and spicy, earthy and chocolaty, it’s like desert and dinner all in one.
The 5 Vegas Serie A has been around for years but it is still a staple in my humidor. The Costa Rican Wrapper combines with a wonderful blend of long fillers to produce a perfect medium bodied smoke with strong notes of cocoa and coffee with just a hint of spice and pepper whose flavors stays consistent from beginning to end.
Look, I’ll admit it. I totally got sucked into the packaging of this beauty. An ammo can? A sleek beanie? Shiny foil?! Ok, none of that means anything when it comes down to the cigar itself but I still like to be romanced from time to time.
So what is the blend like? Rubicon is made in Nicaragua with Dominican tobaccos and finished with Pennsylvania Broadleaf maduro. The blend starts off with a wallop of spice that wasn’t very welcome but it settled in quite nicely after that. The smoke is heavy and thick and just hung on palate with an incredibly long finish. Notes of cedar, espresso, and dark chocolate stay with you long after the cigar is finished. I wouldn’t start my day with a Rubicon but it’ll definitely be my go-to cigar after a long summer day.
Any given Friday, you can find my father and I standing under the oven hood sharing a cigar and perhaps a few whiskeys. Blowing clouds of smoke into the exhaust, refilling our whiskey glasses here and there, and recommending each other whatever smokes the other hasn't sampled yet. Recently he handed me an HC Series Criollo and told me that he could not believe how well-crafted and flavorful it was. Now my father and I normally find ourselves enjoying fuller bodied cigar but this medium-bodied smoke has a very pleasant nutty, woody taste with soft, lingering spice, right up my alley. This is definitely one of those cigars that just get better as you smoke it. The initial match up of this cigar may throw you with its subtle, tea-like aroma into thinking it's more of a mellow to medium smoke but as the cigar progresses, the woody and leathery flavors develop quite nicely. I did find that the second half of this cigar developed some creamy and toasted notes. The HC Series was created by the ever-growing Xikar accessory maker back in 2008 when it was originally named 'Defiance'. Xikar teamed up with the very talented Jesus Fuego to produce what is now known as the HC Series Criollo. Although the cigar originates from Nicaragua, my all-time favorite tobacco country, it shares both Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers. One of my favorite attributes of this cigar is the oily and smooth wrapper. The Criollo wrapper is a 5 year aged shade grown wrapper from Nicaragua. When I first heard this, I expected a hefty price tag for the work and time they put into this particular cigar. Much to my surprise, I found these beauties ranged between $6-$8 apiece. We all have that one friend, you know, the guy who takes a $15 cigar out of your humidor and leaves most of it un-smoked in the ashtray. Next time, hand him one of these. Not only will you find yourself not having to lock your humidor and hide the key but you may see that guy actually finish a cigar for once. All in all, the HC Series Criollo is truly a bang for your buck.
When we hear the name Daniel Marshall, we automatically think of the world’s most beautifully crafted humidors. The craftsmanship, dedication, and creativity are endless and reverberate through these works of Art. His humidors have been used in films, rest in the homes of stars such as Al Pacino and Arnold Schwarzenegger and have been given to notable heads of state, such as George W. Bush. Even the late George Burns could contest to the standard of excellence, he stated in personal letter to Daniel Marshall, "Actually, the humidor is so beautiful that I'm going to start smoking better cigars." Finally, these same skill sets have been used to craft one of the finest cigars on the market today, the Daniel Marshall Red Label.
The Daniel Marshall Red Label was created in the Plasencia tabacalera in Esteli Nicaragua, one of the finest tabacaleras in Central America to date. This particular blend is laden with Nicaraguan long leaves, hailing from the Jalapa Valley, one of the most lush growing regions in the country. Next, it is sealed with a Nicaraguan binder from Esteli, then finally cloaked with a five year aged Cuban seed wrapper--once again from the Jalapa Valley. The wrapper itself is toothy and gives sweet cedar notes to the blend along with a consistent lite spice and notes of cream, which echo throughout the cigar from foot to head. The key to this blend is it's consistency; from start to finish it kept me pleased and not for one moment disappointed or bored. The ash was thick and stable and the thick plumes of smoke billowed across my parlor as I took puff after puff. The smoke was so think and creamy you can literally feel it coat your palate, leaving a lite nutty and cherry finish.
The flavor consistency really made this cigar perfect for pairing. I enjoyed this particular one with a single malt Scotch. The beautiful thing about this stick is that it never once over powered my palate, instead it perfectly complimented my drink, leading to one of those awe inspiring, perfect smoking experiences. This is another reason why I have so many of these sticks in my humidor, despite the plethora of other cigars, I always find my self reaching for one of these beauties. Whether I am out back on the deck firing up the grill, or sitting in the parlor with a book and a glass of Scotch, the Daniel Marshall Red Label is always there to perfectly compliment the moment.
Nica Libre or Free Nicaragua is a brand that not only celebrates the people’s emancipation but also the amazing tobaccos that are grown and imported into the Central American country. The latest installment of Nica Libre is called the Silver 25th Anniversary in honor of Violeta Chamorro’s victory in the 1990 Nicaraguan general election. While my teacher friends could tell you much more about the details, I’ll save my limited vocabulary to try and cover the cigar’s character and complexity.
Construction, Smoke & Burn
The wrapper is a dark, magohany brown with no tooth. Even colored, you can tell by looking at it the high priming of the leaf and the high quality. Using my soft flame it takes awhile to toast the foot. Next time I’ll use a torch. The cigar is thick at a 56 gauge and the tobacco are tightly packed. Despite this the draw is perfect and once I get the foot burning there’s clouds of smoke. Burn is razor sharp and damn, this cigars feels good in the hand.
Flavor & Body
This is my 3rd or 5th Silver now and I have to say without a doubt, the next tastes better than the last and the last one was awesome. At this rate it’ll be my favorite cigar in a few months! Seriously though I’m really impressed with how the flavor starts, holds steady until about half way through, and then develops a bit on the final 3rd. Savory is the term that keeps coming to mind. Toast and light spices give way to a bevy of nuances that include chocolate and vanilla and even apricot. Wild, really impressive complexity. Body is medium-full, retrohale makes my eyes sweat and get out the clippers - it puts (more) hair on my chest.
What’s not to like? It averages about $5 per, so the price is right. The flavor approaches the quality and complexity Ashton VSG and Cohiba Nicaragua. Impression? I’m impressed.
OVERALL SCORE: 93/100
I really loved Ave Maria's Reconquista when it came out a few years back. I mean, it's not something I enjoy everyday after work, but the blend was excellent for a special occasion. And looking at Divinia's price tag, tells me this will only be enjoyed on special occasions as well.
So what are you paying all that money for? A really damn good cigar. Divinia is near flawless. The blend starts off light and smooth and quickly builds to a medium to full body. I got notes of spice and almonds with hints of espresso and cream. The balance of the cigar is amazing and you'll instantly realize this beauty can go toe-to-toe with any top shelf heavyweight. Make that occasion a little more special and pick up some Divinia.