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!


Tatuaje Black Label Cigar Review

March 3, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

For whatever reason most of the other reviews of this brand I have found online have been for the petite lancero vitola. (Perhaps most of the reviews are for the petite lancero because that is a regular production cigar and what I’m smoking happens not to be. Ponder and discuss.) That’s fine and since that particular vitola has been covered by many others I’m going to cover the corona gorda Tatuaje Black Label.

“If looks could kill” is not a phrase that comes to mind when looking at this cigar. It’s waifishly skinny with a pale looking wrapper that is marked by the occasional protruding vein, stretch mark, bump and tear. It looks like a mess and so have all the others (four others, this is the fifth) that I have smoked. Black Labels may be ugly ducklings but they sure can fly.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: Corona Gorda
Length: 5 5/8″
Ring Gauge: 46
Wrapper: Criollo ’98 Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: ~$9 per stick

Breitbart Eternal Flame!

While doing some research on this cigar I got a little confused. This cigar does not have a pigtail nor is the foot unfinished, as the Tatuaje site says it should, which made me think for a minute that this cigar was a fake and that I was going to raise Holy Hell with a local B&M. After digging a little deeper I found this and was relieved. Oh well, that’s what I get for not keeping current on the latest news on Tatuaje’s various brands.

When you combine an effortless draw, a wealth of flavors, a ton of smoke and a dash of strength you get an awesome cigar. From the first puff on this is an awesome cigar. Leather and golden raisins. Effervescent spice that briefly lingers in the nostrils and sweet woody notes that come on weakly but last a long time. It’s just that right mix of spice and sweet and savory. The flavors themselves are strong but could possibly be a little bit more forceful and there is a minutely off putting blandness that momentarily numbs my tongue after each puff for a few seconds.

The second third is a glorious continuation of the first third. When things are going good I don’t want them to change and that is what is happening here. If anything, there is this hearty apple flavor that is coming through more forcefully. Apple and cinnamon more precisely.

It’s a refreshing cigar with an edge. Hearty flavors are the rule with this cigar. The main forces are the raisins and the leather. Sweetness permeates the field augmented by cinnamon. Add in the fact that the draw is superb and the burn is even, this medium-full bodied cigar is awesome.

Despite there being no evolution of flavors from beginning to end this cigar quickly became one of my all-time favorites. The flavors are alive and in perfect harmony with each other. I think the only drawback for me is that the flavors are not perfectly in my wheelhouse. Unlike the Fausto Avion 11, there isn’t much grittiness to this cigar. It’s elegant, refined; not bold and volatile. This cigar would impress any cigar smoker.

95 points