It's that time of year again! Every January, Cigar Snob releases its rankings of the previous year's 25 best smokes. This year's list includes a variety of products on every front: format, profile, country of origin, and price to name a few.
How do we arrive at this list? It starts with a review of all the cigar ratings we released during 2015. Any cigar that scored 91 or higher was smoked one more time by our tasting panel. We used this fresh feedback on the crème de la crème to produce the list you see below.
Scroll to the bottom of this list for links to the rest of our Top 25 rankings.
5. Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro
Manufacture: Nicaragua (Tabacalera Oliva S.A.)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 52
Complex, balanced and built flawlessly, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro continues to be one of our favorite cigars—though we’d never actually rated the Robusto until this year. It's packaged and constructed so beautifully, we might have had a hard time putting a flame to it if we didn't know how much we'd enjoy smoking it. Unlike the original Serie V Melanio (which has an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper), the Serie V Melanio Maduro is wrapped in an impeccable and flavorful San Andrés wrapper, lending it the sweetness and strength that is that Mexican valley's signature.
4. AJ Fernandez Enclave
Manufacture: Nicaragua (Tabacalera Fernandez S.A.)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Cameroon; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 52
No other cigar manufacturer has generated as much organic buzz in 2015 as A.J. Fernandez. After successfully launching the flavorful and peppery New World in 2014, A.J. Fernandez showed us he’s just as skilled at blending for a smooth and creamy profile with the release of the A.J. Fernandez Enclave in 2015. Talk to A.J. about this cigar and he beams with pride—not only because he's managed to create something so special, but also because it's the second cigar he's created with his father Israel. The three-country blend makes for a delicious and complex smoke that takes you on a ride from the first puff.
3. Arturo Fuente Añejo
Manufacture: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.)
Wrapper: Connecticut; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: No. 50; Physical size: 5 1/4 x 50
There are some brands you know you can always count on to deliver, and Fuente Añejo is one of them. No matter how many times our we fire this one up, we fall in love all over again. The cigar was conceived when, in 1998, Hurricane Georges tore through the farm where OpusX wrapper was grown. Rather than halt production, the Fuentes took a Connecticut wrapper and retooled the OpusX blend. The result was Añejo. This Connecticut-wrapped smoke is as deep in flavor as it is in wrapper color; that's thanks in part to the fact that that Connecticut wrapper is aged in cognac barrels, which produces an incredible aroma that perfectly complements the strength and flavor of the filler.
2. Herrera Estelí
Manufacture: Nicaragua (La Gran Fábrica Drew Estate)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Honduras; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Lonsdale; Physical size: 6 x 44
When Willy Herrera took his position at Drew Estate, this cigar followed soon after. It was the first cigar to bear Willy’s name after he made his transition. Its "Cuban-esque" profile is a reflection of the guy behind the blend. “I was trying to do something completely new to Drew Estate, something unlike any of the other cigars that we make,” said Willy during a recent interview. “I tried to make something that I could really enjoy smoking all the time.” It’s big on flavors that feel refreshingly nostalgic, and this Lonsdale format is the best way to enjoy a cigar that takes you back in time. We never pass these on store shelves without scooping a few of them up.
1. My Father El Centurion H-2K-CT
Manufacture: Nicaragua (My Father Cigars S.A.)
Wrapper: Connecticut; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
The hits just keep on coming from the father-and-son blending duo of Pepín and Jaime García. My Father has built a fiercely loyal following thanks to its consistently high quality and calling-card smooth strength. With this cigar, they bring something new not only to their repertoire but also to the cigar world in general: a Habano 2000 wrapper grown in Connecticut. It took some experimentation, but all that work the Garcías did paid off; it’s a novel idea that results in exciting flavors, wonderful balance and a profile that’s unlike anything we’ve smoked from My Father. That said, the patently Nicaraguan binder and filler blend are there to remind you where the cigar came from. It’s a package that earned a rating of 95 from our panel—only the second 95 rating we’ve ever given—making it our 2015 Cigar of the Year.