Top 10 Cigars 2012

January 4, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review, The Perfect Draw · 4 Comments 

Another year is over and that means it’s time for another Top 10. For review, here are my previous Top 10s:

A few notes of caution: 1. I didn’t review a ton of cigars in 2012 and 2. Taste is subjective. You already knew that but it had to be said. Also, this ranking isn’t just straight from my scores. Rather, I use a very unscientific methodology that includes memorability, price and my ratings of these cigars.

Without further ado, here’s my Top 10 Cigars of 2012:

10. Liga Privada Undercrown

A very solid offering from Drew Estate that made me really appreciate medium bodied cigars again. As the rest of this list will attest, I prefer stronger cigars but this medium bodied cigar hit the spot. I purchased a box and went through it too quickly. Fortunately, I still have a couple of sticks hiding somewhere.

9. Tatuaje La Dueña

I have to admit that I could have made a Top 10 with just those cigars made by My Father Cigars. This one is also in the medium bodied realm and was blended by Pete Johnson in honor of Janny Garcia.

8. Illusione hl

The “hl” stands for Holy Lance (if memory serves) and this was an excellent cigar. Gifted to me by a friend, I smoked a few of these cigars and enjoyed each one immensely.

7. 601 La Bomba

In my opinion this is the best value on this list; it’s ridiculously cheap (less than $4 a stick on occasion) and packs a ton of flavor. It is fairly full bodied but not overwhelmingly so.

6. Guayacan

Great story behind the maker of this cigar and the cigar was pretty amazing too. I won some at the Chattanooga Tweetup and was kind of indifferent about my winnings because I did not recognize the cigar in the least. And then, after a long day of smoking, I lit one up and the flavor profile just cut through the detritus like a laser through a sheet of paper. It’s a special cigar.

5. Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970

Full bodied, tons of flavor and a good price. This review was of the 4.5″ x 40 short corona and for months it was my go-to cigar.

4. Tatuaje Black Label

This blend has reached something of an iconic status amongst cigar smokers and for good reason. Extremely flavorful cigar hovering on the border of medium and full bodied this cigar should appeal to every smoker.

3. Padron Serie 1926 80 Years Maduro

Extremely expensive and extremely good. If you are looking for a refined cigar experience for a special occasion then you should give serious consideration to this cigar. (I’ve always liked the maduro Padrons the best but you might prefer the naturals.)

1. Tatuaje Fausto Avion 11

That is not a misprint; this year I am awarding two #1 cigars. (HACK!)  The Tatuaje Avion 11 actually scored the highest out of all cigars I have ever reviewed earning 98 points. It is an amazing cigar and I have since purchased a box, which is a rarity for me for a cigar that is this expensive (like many cigar smokers I buy in ones and twos and, sometimes, threes). Full bodied, spicy and loads of flavor makes this one of my two most favorite cigars I have ever had the pleasure of smoking.

1. La Flor Dominicana Litto Gomez Diez 2012 Chisel

In a cigar of equals this is perhaps the most equal cigar I have ever smoked. Even though I gave it a rating of 97 points, which is one point lower than the Avion 11 earned, my opinion has slightly switched where I could be swayed into saying this is my favorite cigar of all time. (But then I will smoke an Avion 11 and get swayed a little in the other direction.) Like the Avion 11, this cigar is full bodied, spicy and has loads of flavor packed into it. Like the Avion 11 it has a special shape (trademarked in the Chisel’s case). Basically, I can’t go wrong with either of these cigars so I’m giving them both top honors this year.

LFD Litto Gomez Diez Chisel (click picture to go to La Flor Dominicana's site)

LFD Litto Gomez Diez Chisel (click picture to go to La Flor Dominicana’s site)

Cigars I didn’t Review but they Deserve Recognition

I smoked these cigars but, for whatever reason, I didn’t review them. That’s an oversight on my part and one I intend to rectify as soon as possible.

  • Cromagnon Aquitaine: Superb cigar and I liked it better than the original CroMagnon (which was 7th on my 2011 Top 10)
  • Room 101 Namakubi: This was just one of those cigars that clicked for me and when I was smoking one late last year I went to check my review and found out that I haven’t published one. Room 101 has some excellent cigars (the Daruma just missed my list this year).

There’s probably some others that I have smoked but haven’t reviewed yet that will be strong contenders for the 2013 Top 10 but I cannot recall them at this time.

Love it? Hate it? Fortunately, there’s literally dozens of other cigar lists of varying length and quality for you to peruse. I’m not going to link to them lest you find one you like more and cease coming to this site from time to time.

Here’s to a great 2013!


Guayacan Cigar Review

September 14, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

When I went to the #CHAtweetup2012 three weeks ago (damn, it’s already been three weeks) I had never heard of Guayacan Cigars. Then fate interceded, I won a raffle, and I picked up a five pack of cigars I did not recognize named Guayacan. It was either fate or I didn’t want a shirt that would never fit me; it was an easy choice.

I didn’t think the cigars were going to be anything special when I lit the first one up a few minutes later but I quickly found out that I was wrong. That day I definitely spent more time smoking than not so by the time I lit up my first Guayacan cigar I did so because I didn’t want to waste one of the cigars I bought; I just wanted to smoke another cigar. And then something strange happened: I tasted great flavors. Wonderful flavors, flavors that I wasn’t expecting.

Well, that’s enough of this trip down memory lane. I ended up liking this cigar so much I had to meet the man who created these cigars and after meeting him I was truly impressed. Noel Rojas was born in Cuba (a place ruled by a government he has nothing but antipathy for) and was able to break out of that Hell hole about half a decade ago. Seriously, if you get a chance to meet him please do yourself a favor and introduce yourself.

His cigars are all artfully constructed with a good amount of oils and a semi-waxy feel to the wrapper. This particular cigar, the churchill, is a (mildly) box pressed cigar with a minimal amount of veins and a medium brown color to it.

Unless you act fast and get your hands on one of these churchills from the first batch produced you will never get a chance to smoke this cigar as each vitola, of which there are four, have unique blends and, starting with the second batch, the blend will be unified and based off of the blend for the current torpedo. (h/t halfwheel) Still, I have tried each vitola and there’s more similarities than there are differences so I don’t have a problem reviewing this cigar.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: churchill
Length: 7”
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo ’98
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo ’98
Price: MSRP $7.00/Cigar

Guayacan Twitter Torch!

The flavor profile is a nice mix of sweetness and spice. It’s a very refreshing cigar; lightness plus strong flavors. There is also some oak hanging around. Very good start to the first third but, if I do have one quibble, it’s that the draw is a little tight during this first third, which is something I haven’t noticed from any of the other vitolas.

During the second third I am getting more of the same sweet spice and that is perfectly fine with me. I am also getting this doughy flavor intermittently. The draw opens up during this third and that is an improvement but, still, the flavors were very nice during the first third as well.

As I enter the final third a floral sweetness starts to come through. It’s a good way to end this cigar because it puts a nice cap on this light, refreshing cigar. There’s still a bit of spice but it’s not a big part of the flavor profile at this point. The draw does get a bit tight again.

Medium bodied with a slightly tight draw and a good burn what I like the most about this cigar is that the flavors are very alive from the first puff to the nub. Personally, I like draws to be a little loose and every other vitola in this line had a good draw by those standards but, for whatever reason, this one was just a little tight. However, the slightly tight draw did not affect the flavors or my enjoyment of this cigar all that much. Overall, I thought that each vitola was great. Find this cigar, which probably won’t be too much of a problem now that Emilio Cigars is now distributing this cigar. I’m eagerly looking forward to trying more from the next batch.

92 points