Top 25

Top 25 Cigars of 2018 (1-5)

After tasting, re-tasting and tasting some more, we’re ready to share our list of the Top 25 Cigars of 2018. We went back into our ratings for the entire calendar year and isolated all the cigars that scored 91 or higher in 2018. Then our panel smoked and smoked until, finally, we arrived at this list of the best, most exciting cigars of the year.

This group represents the top of the heap, with the number one spot being occupied by a boutique cigar brand that performed undeniably in our blind tastings.

Let us know your thoughts on this ranking by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine or read it on the Cigar Snob Podcast.

1. Sin Compromiso

 
1.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Ecuador; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: No. 5 Parejo; Physical size: 6 x 54
MSRP: $17.45
Rating: 94

When Steve Saka launched Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust in 2015, anybody who knew him and his history understood it was only a matter of time before his boutique cigar brand forced its way into the Top 25 conversation. Even knowing how credible and capable Steve is, though, nobody could have predicted a cigar like Sin Compromiso.

We smoked and we smoked and we smoked some more. Not because we had to settle differences on this ranking, but because we aren’t used to total unanimity. Never has the consensus been so strong on a pick for Cigar Snob’s Cigar of the Year. Sin Compromiso — with its deep, dark flavors, rich aromas, impeccable construction, complexity and unwavering excellence from the first time we tried it in July until our most recent tastings this month — was the universal pick among our tasters for this No. 1 spot.

2. Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro

 
4.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Oliva (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 52
MSRP: $10.22
Rating: 93

The Melanio name — which is a tribute to Melanio Oliva, who started the Oliva family’s tobacco tradition — is a familiar one to anybody who follows our Top 25 lists. In fact, when we rated the Melanio Maduro a year ago, its natural counterpart was listed in that same January 2018 issue as the No. 6 cigar of 2017. The Mexican-wrapped Maduro has wowed us all year with its bold flavors, consistently flawless construction, and the beautiful aromas that can only come from extremely well aged tobaccos. We can’t get enough.

3. Vegas del Purial Gran Reserva

 
3.jpg
 

Manufacturer: El Galán Cigars (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Lancero; Physical size: 7 x 38
MSRP: $9.80
Rating: 93

Last year, we put El Galán Cigars’ Doña Nieves Sentimiento Ternura (6 x 54) in the No. 19 spot on our list. This time around, Félix Mesa’s brand takes a giant leap forward to No. 3 with Vegas del Purial, an elegant cigar that brings a new level of balance and complexity to the El Galán portfolio. That leap forward is most pronounced in this Lancero format, which also highlights the craftsmanship Félix and his team are capable of delivering.

4. Padrón 50 Years Maduro

 
2.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacos Cubanica (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 54
MSRP: $25.50
Rating: 93

When you light a Padrón, you know what you’re in for. And yet, even with a reputation built on a foundation of legendary consistency, the Padrón experience never gets any less exciting. The Padrón family delivered a milestone cigar for a milestone anniversary.

5. A. Fuente Don Carlos

 
5.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Cameroon; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: No. 2; Physical size: 6 x 55
MSRP: $12.60
Rating: 93

It’s hard to imagine any discussion of the cigar world’s cream of the crop that doesn’t include Arturo Fuente Cigars. The celebrated Dominican cigar maker is a giant in the industry, and for good reason. While some other Fuente cigars are the objects of more hype and fanfare, the Don Carlos — named for the late Fuente patriarch Carlos Fuente, Sr. — was the one that stood out to us this year. Its full flavor and consistency keep us coming back again and again.


Check out the rest of our 2018 list

Listen to our Top 25 Podcast

Top 25 Cigars of 2018 (6-15)

After tasting, re-tasting and tasting some more, we’re ready to share our list of the Top 25 Cigars of 2018. We went back into our ratings for the entire calendar year and isolated all the cigars that scored 91 or higher in 2018. Then our panel smoked and smoked until, finally, we arrived at this list of the best, most exciting cigars of the year.

This group of 10 cigars landed spots 6-10 of our rankings. The group includes a couple of brands that are newcomers to the Top 25 list. We were also struck by how many of these cigars feature deep, dark wrappers.

More of our Top 25 list will be released January 9. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on this group by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine or read it on the Cigar Snob Podcast.

6. AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Maduro

 
6.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Fernandez (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Brazil; Binder: Mexico; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 54
MSRP: $10.00
Rating: 93

7. Tatuaje Black Label Private Reserve

 
7.jpg
 

Manufacturer: My Father Cigars (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Corona Gorda; Physical size: 5 5/8 x 46
MSRP: $10.00
Rating: 93

8. The Wise Man

 
8.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Aganorsa (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Corona Gorda; Physical size: 5 5/8 x 46
MSRP: $9.90
Rating: 93

9. La Flor de las Antillas TAA Exclusive 2018

 
9.jpg
 

Manufacturer: My Father Cigars (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: TAA Lancero; Physical size: 7 1/2 x 38
MSRP: $9.50
Rating: 92

10. Rocky Patel Decade

 
10.jpg
 

Manufacturer: El Paraíso (Honduras)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 1/2 x 52
MSRP: $11.70
Rating: 92

11. Davidoff Yamasa

 
11.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Cigars Davidoff (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Dominican Republic; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Vitola: Piramides; Physical size: 6 1/2 x 52
MSRP: $23.00
Rating: 92

12. Mombacho Liga Maestro

 
12.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Casa Favilli (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Hermoso; Physical size: 6 x 46
MSRP: $9.96
Rating: 92

13. Liga Privada T52

 
13.jpg
 

Manufacturer: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: USA/Connecticut; Binder: Brazil; Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 54
MSRP: $13.10
Rating: 92

14. Illusione Haut 10

 
14.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Aganorsa (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Haut 10; Physical size: 5 1/2 x 52
MSRP: $15.95
Rating: 92

15. Balmoral Serie Signaturas Dueto

 
15.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera La Alianza (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Brazil, Nicaragua
Vitola: Gran Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $10.50
Rating: 92


Check out the rest of our 2018 list

Listen to our Top 25 podcast

Top 25 Cigars of 2018 (16-25)

After tasting, re-tasting and tasting some more, we’re ready to share our list of the Top 25 Cigars of 2018. We went back into our ratings for the entire calendar year and isolated all the cigars that scored 91 or higher in 2018. Then our panel smoked and smoked until, finally, we arrived at this list of the best, most exciting cigars of the year.

In this first chunk of our list, you’ll find the cigars that landed spots 16-25. Among this group are four cigars manufactured in Honduras, including two products from a factory that is making its first ever appearance on our Top 25 list.

In addition, you’ll find two cigars by made by a Nicaraguan factory that has extended its run as arguably the hottest manufacturer in premium cigars.

More of our Top 25 list will be released January 8. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on this group by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine or read it on the Cigar Snob Podcast.

Scroll to the bottom of this list for links to the rest of our Top 25 rankings.

16. Camacho Ecuador

 
16.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Diadema Cigars de Honduras (Honduras)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Brazil; Filler: Honduras, Dominican Republic
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 50
MSRP: $8.50
Rating: 92

17. Leaf by Oscar Sumatra

 
17.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Oscar Valladares Tobacco & Co. (Honduras)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Honduras; Filler: Honduras
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $9.50
Rating: 92

18. Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro

 
18.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Perdomo (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Epicure; Physical size: 6 x 56
MSRP: $9.00
Rating: 92

19. Caldwell The T

 
19.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Fernandez (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro Grande; Physical size: 6 1/2 x 56
MSRP: $12.00
Rating: 92

20. Espinosa Habano

 
20.jpg
 

Manufacturer: La Zona Cigar Factory (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: No. 5; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $7.25
Rating: 91

21. 2012 by Oscar Valladares Maduro

 
21.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Oscar Valladares Tobacco & Co. (Honduras)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Honduras; Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $8.50
Rating: 91

22. Romeo y Julieta 1875 Nicaragua

 
22.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Plasencia (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 50
MSRP: $7.10
Rating: 91

23. La Galera Maduro

 
23.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Palma (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Cortador; Physical size: 6 1/4 x 52
MSRP: $6.50
Rating: 91

24. Aladino

 
24.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Fabrica de Puros Aladino (Honduras)
Wrapper: Honduras; Binder: Honduras; Filler: Honduras
Vitola: Elegante; Physical size: 7 x 38
MSRP: $7.00
Rating: 91

25. Joya Silver

 
25.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Joya de Nicaragua (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Mexico; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $7.80
Rating: 91


Check out the rest of our 2018 list

Listen to our Top 25 podcast

The Top 25 Cigars of 2017 (1-5)

It's the time again! At the start of each year, Cigar Snob puts out its ranking of the best 25 cigars we've rated over the previous year. Below, you'll find the cigars that top our list at spots 1 through 5. Leading the pack are two cigars from families that — despite their cigar making chops — are probably better known as growers of great raw material than as manufacturers of premium cigars. Each family created a cigar that not only highlights its tobacco prowess, but also serves as a reminder that you underestimate their cigar making abilities at your own peril.

So how is the list created? We reviewed all the cigars we rated 91 or higher in the 2017 calendar year, then had our panel smoke and rate them all over again. We used that feedback to create the list you see below.

Let us know your thoughts by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine.

Scroll to the bottom of this list for links to the rest of our Top 25 rankings.

1. Plasencia Alma Fuerte

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 1 - Plasencia Alma Fuerte.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Plasencia Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Nestor IV; Physical size: 6 1/4 x 54
MSRP: $20.00
Rating: 94

The Plasencia family has had a central role in the cigar industry for a long time. As one of Central America’s preeminent tobacco growers, their stamp is on a great many of the cigars you come across in practically any American tobacconist’s humidor. The Plasencias have also been behind the manufacture of plenty of critically acclaimed cigars at their factories.

But — for whatever reason — it wasn’t until 2017 that this powerhouse family went all-in on the idea of producing elite-level cigars with their own name on the bands. And so while they’re not the new kids on the block, there is something very new about Plasencia Alma Fuerte. The Plasencias didn’t just enter the discussion of the best cigars of the year; they beat the damn door down with a perfectly executed cigar that’s everything you want out of a quintessentially Nicaraguan smoke. What’s more, they have the experience, the resources, and the stockpiled tobacco to ensure they’re not leaving this discussion a moment sooner than they want to.

2. Casa Fernandez Miami Aniversario Serie 2015

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 2 - Casa Fernandez Miami aniversario Serie 2015.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Casa Fernández Factory (Miami)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Voleur; Physical size: 7 1/2 x 40
MSRP: $12.50
Rating: 94

Nobody in cigars has an ace in the hole quite like Casa Fernandez’s. The Fernandez family, another major tobacco grower, can always lean on its Aganorsa tobacco, which takes the cigars into which it’s blended to a whole other level and gives Casa Fernandez (as well as the other brands lucky enough to score the stuff for their own blends) an unmistakable signature.

That Aganorsa tobacco shines especially brightly as a wrapper on this 7 ½ x 40 Voleur format. Every smoker, but especially any smoker who loves lanceros, should seek these out ASAP.

3. Fuente Fuente OpusX Angel's Share

 
Ciar Snob Top 25 - 3 - Fuente Fuente OpusX Angels Share.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Dominican Republic; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Reserva D Chateau; Physical size: 7 x 48
MSRP: $26.66
Rating: 94

If you’ve been following our Top 25 rankings for a while, you might remember that the Angel’s Share (in Corona Gorda) took the top spot in our 2014 list. It’s many of the things you love about the core OpusX line, but toned down a bit on the full strength that’s an Opus hallmark. This brand continues to be a favorite of ours, and we knew as soon as we got feedback from our panel on the Reserva D Chateau that it would occupy one of the top spots on this list.

This doesn’t factor into our ranking, but the  brand also has one of the most compelling backstories in cigars. It’s an allusion to a fire that destroyed two of the Fuente family’s tobacco warehouses in 2011. Carlos Fuente, Sr., the story goes, took solace in the idea that his ancestor’s (his angels) were smoking his best tobacco.

4. Tatuaje TAA 2016

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 4 - Tatuaje TAA 2016.jpg
 

Manufacturer: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: USA; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 1/4 x 50
MSRP: $11.95
Rating: 93

TAA special editions are available only for limited periods and only at TAA (Tobacconists Association of America) member stores. This cigar will become increasingly hard to come by (only 80,000 of these were made), and should therefore be a high priority for anyone who collects cigars or just enjoys trying rare cigars. Pete Johnson and the Garcías created something truly special in this rich, Connecticut Broadleaf-wrapped cigar that brings the heft and strength that are Tatuaje calling cards while still achieving great balance.

5. AJ Fernandez Enclave Broadleaf

 
Top 25 Cigars - 5 - AJ Fernandez Enclave Broadleaf.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Fernandez S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: USA/Connecticut; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 1/4 x 54
MSRP: $7.78
Rating: 93

Anyone in the know will tell you: this is is the year of AJ Fernandez. The man is everywhere in retail humidors thanks to his own excellent portfolio and collaborations with companies large and small. This Top 25 features two cigars that bear his name. Several more were rated highly enough to be considered for inclusion here. In the end, though, the Enclave Broadleaf — a great illustration of A.J.’s earthy, peppery signature — performed exceptionally well to round out our top five.


Check out the rest of our 2016 list

Listen to the team talk 2017's Top 25 on the podcast

 
 

The Top 25 Cigars of 2017 (6-15)

It's the time again! At the start of each year, Cigar Snob puts out its ranking of the best 25 cigars we've rated over the previous year. Below, you'll find the cigars that landed spots 6-15. This chunk of the list is dominated by Nicaraguan-made products. Of the two cigars in this group that were not made in Nicaragua, one is a Nicaraguan puro and the other features tobaccos aged in Nicaraguan rum barrels. This reflects the fact that cigar makers are still responding, innovating and making great products to meet smokers' continuing fascination with Nicaragua.

So how is the list created? We reviewed all the cigars we rated 91 or higher in the 2017 calendar year, then had our panel smoke and rate them all over again. We used that feedback to create the list you see below.

Let us know your thoughts by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine.

Scroll to the bottom of this list for links to the rest of our Top 25 rankings.

6. Oliva Serie V Melanio

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 6 - Oliva Serie V Melanio.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Oliva S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Double Toro; Physical size: 6 x 60
MSRP: $15.06
Rating: 93

7. Herrera Esteli

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 7 - Herrera Estelí.jpg
 

Manufacturer: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Honduras; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Lonsdale Deluxe; Physical size: 6 x 44
MSRP: $9.28
Rating: 93

8. Padrón 1926 Serie

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 8 - Padron 1926 Serie.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacos Cubanica S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: No. 47; Physical size: 5 1/2 x 50
MSRP: $18.00
Rating: 93

9. Villiger San'Doro Colorado

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 9 - Villiger SanD'Oro.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Joya de Nicaragua S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 50
MSRP: $8.00
Rating: 92

10. My Father The Judge

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 10 - My Father The Judge.jpg
 

Manufacturer: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: 560; Physical size: 5 x 60
MSRP: $12.40
Rating: 92

11. Hamlet 25th Year

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 11 - Hamlet 25th Year.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: USA; Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 1/2 x 50
MSRP: $8.75
Rating: 92

12. Camacho Nicaragua Barrel-Aged

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 12 - Camacho Nicaraguan Barel-Aged.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Diadema Cigars de Honduras S.A. (Honduras)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Mexico; Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 50
MSRP: $10.00
Rating: 92

13. Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 13 - Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Fernandez S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 55
MSRP: $11.00
Rating: 92

14. Sindicato Miami Edition

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 14 - Sindicato Miami Edition.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Casa Fernández Factory (Miami)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Perfecto; Physical size: 6 7/8 x 52
MSRP: $12.95
Rating: 92

15. San Isidro by HVC

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 15 - San Isidro by HVC.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Geniales; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $10.80
Rating: 92


Check out the rest of our 2016 list

Listen to the team talk 2017's Top 25 on the podcast

 
 

The Top 25 Cigars of 2017 (16-25)

It's the time again! At the start of each year, Cigar Snob puts out its ranking of the best 25 cigars we've rated over the previous year. Below, you'll find the cigars that landed spots 16-25. Nine out of the 10 products in this section are making their first ever appearances on our list.

So how is the list created? We reviewed all the cigars we rated 91 or higher in the 2017 calendar year, then had our panel smoke and rate them all over again. We used that feedback to create the list you see below.

Let us know your thoughts by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine.

Scroll to the bottom of this list for links to the rest of our Top 25 rankings.

16. CAO Amazon Anaconda

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 16 - CAO Amazon Anaconda.jpg
 

Manufacturer: STG Estelí (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Brazil; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Brazil, Colombia & Dominican Republic
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $10.49
Rating: 92

17. Murcielago

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 17 - Mulrcielago.jpg
 

Manufacturer: La Zona Cigar Factory (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Noir; Physical size: 5 x 52
MSRP: $8.50
Rating: 92

18. La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 18 - La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera La Flor S.A. (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: DL-600; Physical size: 5 1/4 x 52
MSRP: $8.10
Rating: 92

19. Doña Nieves Sentimiento

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 19 - Dona Nieves Sentimiento.jpg
 

Manufacturer: El Galan Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Ternura; Physical size: 6 x 54
MSRP: $7.00
Rating: 92

20. Winston Churchill The Late Hour

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 20 - Winston Churchill Late Hour.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Davidoff Cigars (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Mexico; Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 52
MSRP: $17.50
Rating: 92

21. Sobremesa

 
21.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Joya de Nicaragua S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Mexico; Filler: USA & Nicaragua
Vitola: Cervantes Fino; Physical size: 6 1/4 x 46
MSRP: $11.25
Rating: 92

22. Undercrown Sun Grown

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 22 - Undercrown Sun Grown.jpg
 

Manufacturer: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Gran Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $9.02
Rating: 92

23. La Galera 1936 Box-Pressed

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 23 - La Galera 1936 Box Pressed.jpg
 

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Palma (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Chaveta; Physical size: 5 x 50
MSRP: $5.48
Rating: 92

24. La Aurora Preferidos Broadleaf

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 24 - La Aurora Preferidos Broadleaf.jpg
 

Manufacturer: La Aurora Cigar Factory (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: USA; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Brazil, Cameroon & Dominican Republic
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 50
MSRP: $9.00
Rating: 92

25. Cornelius & Anthony - Cornelius

 
Cigar Snob Top 25 - 25 - Cornelius Anthony Cornelius.jpg
 

Manufacturer: El Titan de Bronze (Miami)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Ecuador; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Corona Gorda; Physical size: 5 1/2 x 46
MSRP: $12.00
Rating: 92


Check out the rest of our 2016 list

Listen to the team talk 2017's Top 25 on the podcast

 
 

The Top 25 Cigars of 2016 (1-5)

Every January, Cigar Snob releases its rankings of the previous year's 25 best smokes. This year's list comes on the heels of a rollercoaster year for the cigar industry, as the consequences of looming FDA regulation converged with the uncertainty of a tight presidential election to make waves through all 12 months of 2016. There were acquisitions, product releases and all sorts of shakeups at cigar brands big and small.

So how do we put this list together? It starts with a review of all the cigar ratings we released during 2016. Any cigar that scored 91 or higher was smoked one more time by our tasting panel. We used this feedback to create the list you see below.

Let us know your thoughts by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine.

Scroll to the bottom of this list for links to the rest of our Top 25 rankings.

1. La Mission L'Atelier

Manufacturer: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: 1959; Physical size: 4 3/4 x 52
MSRP: $8.00
Rating: 95

Cigar Snob readers know we’re big fans of wine around here. So when La Mission L’atelier was announced, it piqued our interest. When we got around to tasting it, we knew we had a winner on our hands. Pete Johnson’s love of wine is no secret, so it makes perfect sense that this cigar — inspired by Bordeaux wines — would come from his team.

It’s a cigar that’s huge on flavor, starting out with intense pepper before transitioning to a more leather- and chocolate-forward smoke. It’s also got an undeniable My Father influence, which is owed in part to some of the García family’s Nicaraguan Sancti Spíritus tobacco in the filler. Don't let the 4 3/4-inch length fool you: this cigar is built flawlessly and burns nice and slow; this vitola will last you an hour or more. It’s a different take on the San Andrés-wrapped cigar that appeals to a broad swath of smokers while retaining a distinct identity you'll go back to again and again.

2. A. Fuente Don Carlos Personal Reserve

Manufacturer: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Cameroon; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Personal Reserve; Physical size: 5 x 50
MSRP: $13.00
Rating: 94

No matter how much change other cigar companies felt in 2016, none took a hit quite like Fuente did when family and company patriarch Carlos Fuente, Sr. died. He was a giant whose shoes can’t be filled, whose absence marks the end of one era and the start of another.

Among the many ways in which his legacy endures: the cigars that bear his name. The Don Carlos Personal Reserve — characterized by sweet cedar, nuts and caramel with balancing elements of pepper and savory spice — gives you the opportunity to smoke the same blend that Don Carlos himself did. You’ll never get a stronger endorsement than that.

3. AVO Syncro Nicaragua Fogata

Manufacturer: O.K. Cigars (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Mexico; Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 50
MSRP: $9.40
Rating: 93

Released just a year after the Avo Syncro Nicaragua, the Fogata expanded on an AVO brand that had recently gotten a visual makeover. Featuring an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and a  Mexican San Andrés binder, this cigar brings a quality smoking experience to match its good looks.

Fogata is the Spanish word for campfire. It’s a name that’s inspired by Avo Uvezian’s preferred smoking setting. Wherever you light yours, the Fogata promises loads of flavor and great balance with a sweet finish.

4. Padrón 1926 Serie Natural

Manufacturer:  Tabacos Cubanica S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: No. 1; Physical size: 6 3/4 x 54
MSRP: $21.70
Rating: 93

Perhaps no cigar company has staked a more solid claim to a reputation for consistency than Padrón. In 2015, the big news from Padrón was the introduction of a Connecticut wrapper. In 2016, people went nuts when news broke that one of the company’s products would be round … and in tubes! TUBES!

Padrón doesn’t have to be exciting. They don’t have to be edgy. They thrive on their perfection and the rich flavor that keeps loyalists (Padrón’s are some of the most unshakable fans around) coming back for more. The 1926 Serie Natural brings that irresistible Padrón signature of pepper, coffee, and chocolate, while balancing it with creamy undertones.

5. AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes

Manufacturer:  Tabacalera Fernandez S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto Extra; Physical size: 5 1/2 x 52
MSRP: $8.75
Rating: 93

Over the last few years, AJ Fernandez has been consistently releasing excellent new brands at accessible price points. Bellas Artes  — with its flawless construction and picture-perfect wrapper — is just the latest in the company’s string of top-notch Nicaraguan cigars.

2016 was a big year for AJ Fernandez. The company started the year with a brand new distribution facility in Miami and, to meet increased demand, ended the year by adding a new Nicaraguan factory to its arsenal (this in addition to the already massive and relatively new factory from which AJ has been working). Bellas Artes is further proof that the future is bright for AJ Fernandez.


Check out the rest of our 2016 list

The Top 25 Cigars of 2016 (6-10)

Every January, Cigar Snob releases its rankings of the previous year's 25 best smokes. This year's list comes on the heels of a rollercoaster year for the cigar industry, as the consequences of looming FDA regulation converged with the uncertainty of a tight presidential election to make waves through all 12 months of 2016. There were acquisitions, product releases and all sorts of shakeups at cigar brands big and small.

So how do we put this list together? It starts with a review of all the cigar ratings we released during 2016. Any cigar that scored 91 or higher was smoked one more time by our tasting panel. We used this feedback to create the list you see below.

Let us know your thoughts by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine.

Scroll to the bottom of this list for links to the rest of our Top 25 rankings.

6. Oliva Serie V

Manufacturer:  Tabacalera Oliva S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Torpedo; Physical size: 6 x 56
MSRP: $9.56
Rating: 93

Oliva was bought by a Belgian cigarmaker called J. Cortes in 2016. That said, there’s little reason to think that the transition will result in very much change to the quality and consistency of Oliva’s premium products; J. Cortes is better known as a producer of machine-made cigars and José Oliva remains at the helm of the Oliva brand.

The Serie V Torpedo has been earning high praise for years, and the cigar still wows us every time we taste it. It’s strong, flavorful, balanced, and flawlessly constructed. 

7. Camacho Powerband

Manufacturer: Occidental Cigars Corporate, Inc. (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Mexico; Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras
Vitola: Gordo; Physical size: 6 x 60
MSRP: $13.00
Rating: 93

This cigar launched as so many other Camacho products do — with a blowout cross-country promotional tour — and it’s been holding steady in popularity since. The second product in the brand’s Master-Built Series, Powerband’s name comes from the motorcycle world. It refers to the range of speeds at which a bike’s engine operates at top efficiency. The cigar itself is built a little differently — the bunching method combines the traditional Cuban entubado method with the more typically Dominican accordion style.

Whether that makes the cigar any more “efficient” is anyone’s guess, but we do know this cigar smokes like a dream.

8. Herrera Estelí

Manufacturer: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Honduras; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Piramide Fino; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $10.56
Rating: 93

Willy Herrera has been a hitmaker since he joined Drew Estate and — not long after — became the company’s master blender. This was the first Drew Estate brand to bear his name and it’s a reflection of his classic Cuban cigar sensibilities and remains a favorite of our tasting panel every time we put it to the test.

Drew Estate’s acquisition by Swisher seems not to have impacted the brand’s commitment to innovating in the premium space. Here’s hoping that FDA regulation doesn’t suppress Willy’s ability to showcase his creativity for too long. As accomplished as he is, his work at Drew Estate has still shown tons of promise and gives us lots of cause for excitement.

9. Rocky Patel Special Edition

Manufacturer: TAVICUSA (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Undisclosed; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 1/2 x 50
MSRP: $9.95
Rating: 93

If you follow cigar product releases at all, you know that Rocky Patel is known for being among the most prolific product-releasers in the game. He is to cigar making what a foodie chef is to cooking — always creating, always on the hunt for whatever will excite him and, ideally, his smokers next.

So when Rocky goes out of his way to call something “special,” you should be paying attention. The cigar is a brick-and-mortar exclusive, so you can’t find it online. It’s got coffee, caramel and chocolate notes that are big on flavor while steering clear of high-intensity smoke. You’ll feel this one, but you’ll want to light another. 

10. Sindicato Particulares

Manufacturer: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Delicioso; Physical size: 6 x 54
MSRP: $8.50
Rating: 93

Sindicato made big waves in the cigar industry when it burst onto the scene. The company is unique in that it’s the brainchild of a number of tobacconists, and the ownership group includes even more cigar store owners who were looking for a way to create a brick-and-mortar-only brand for themselves.

It didn’t take Sindicato very long to prove that its products deserve to be taken seriously, and Particulares — which, unlike many of their other products, sports classically Cuban-style packaging — represents the culmination of those tobacconists’ hard work. With this collaboration with Casa Fernandez, Sindicato has added a brand to its portfolio that not only brought the company into the Cigar Snob Top 25 for the first time, but broke the top 10.


Check out the rest of our 2016 list

The Top 25 Cigars of 2016 (11-15)

Every January, Cigar Snob releases its rankings of the previous year's 25 best smokes. This year's list comes on the heels of a rollercoaster year for the cigar industry, as the consequences of looming FDA regulation converged with the uncertainty of a tight presidential election to make waves through all 12 months of 2016. There were acquisitions, product releases and all sorts of shakeups at cigar brands big and small.

So how do we put this list together? It starts with a review of all the cigar ratings we released during 2016. Any cigar that scored 91 or higher was smoked one more time by our tasting panel. We used this feedback to create the list you see below.

Let us know your thoughts by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine.

Scroll to the bottom of this list for links to the rest of our Top 25 rankings.

11. Don Pepín Cuban Classic

Manufacturer: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: 1979; Physical size: 5 x 50
MSRP: $7.30
Rating: 93

12. Joya Black

Manufacturer: Joya de Nicaragua S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler:Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $7.96
Rating: 93

13. 601 Red

Manufacturer: La Zona Cigar Factory (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Torpedo; Physical size: 6 1/8 x 52
MSRP: $7.95
Rating: 92

14. La Flor Dominicana 48th TAA

Manufacturer: Tabacalera La Flor S.A. (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Cameroon; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Toro Gordo; Physical size: 6 x 54
MSRP: $9.40
Rating: 92

15. EP Carrillo Short Run 2016

Manufacturer: Tabacalera La Alianza (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $12.00
Rating: 92


Check out the rest of our 2016 list

The Top 25 Cigars of 2016 (16-20)

Every January, Cigar Snob releases its rankings of the previous year's 25 best smokes. This year's list comes on the heels of a rollercoaster year for the cigar industry, as the consequences of looming FDA regulation converged with the uncertainty of a tight presidential election to make waves through all 12 months of 2016. There were acquisitions, product releases and all sorts of shakeups at cigar brands big and small.

So how do we put this list together? It starts with a review of all the cigar ratings we released during 2016. Any cigar that scored 91 or higher was smoked one more time by our tasting panel. We used this feedback to create the list you see below.

Let us know your thoughts by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine.

Scroll to the bottom of this list for links to the rest of our Top 25 rankings.

16. Quesada Oktoberfest 2016

Manufacturer: MATASA (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Dominican Republic; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Das Boot; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $8.75
Rating: 92

17. Mombacho 10th Anniversary

Manufacturer: Mombacho Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 1/4 x 52
MSRP: $19.95
Rating: 92

18.Aging Room M19

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Palma (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Dominican Republic; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Fortissimo; Physical size: 5 3/4 x 47
MSRP: $13.90
Rating: 92

19. Leaf by Oscar Maduro

Manufacturer: Oscar Valladares Tobacco & Co. (Honduras)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Honduras; Filler: Honduras
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $9.00
Rating: 92

20. Crowned Heads Le Careme

Manufacturer: Tabacalera La Alianza (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: USA/Connecticut; Binder: Ecuador; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Hermoso No. 1; Physical size: 6 1/2 x 48
MSRP: $8.75
Rating: 92


Check out the rest of our 2016 list

The Top 25 Cigars of 2016 (21-25)

Every January, Cigar Snob releases its rankings of the previous year's 25 best smokes. This year's list comes on the heels of a rollercoaster year for the cigar industry, as the consequences of looming FDA regulation converged with the uncertainty of a tight presidential election to make waves through all 12 months of 2016. There were acquisitions, product releases and all sorts of shakeups at cigar brands big and small.

So how do we put this list together? It starts with a review of all the cigar ratings we released during 2016. Any cigar that scored 91 or higher was smoked one more time by our tasting panel. We used this feedback to create the list you see below.

Let us know your thoughts by writing us at feedback@cigarsnobmag.com; we might just publish your letter in an upcoming issue of the print magazine.

Scroll to the bottom of this list for links to the rest of our Top 25 rankings.

21. TABSA Aganorsa Leaf Connecticut

Manufacturer: TABSA (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 52
MSRP: $6.80
Rating: 92

22. H. Upmann The Banker Ingot

Manufacturer: Tabacalera de García, S.A.S. (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Undisclosed; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 54
MSRP: $9.25
Rating: 92

23. Heritage by Dunhill

Manufacturer: Scandinavian Tobacco Group (Honduras)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 50
MSRP: $10.15
Rating: 92

24. Villiger La Libertad

Manufacturer: ABAM Cigars, SRL (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Peru ; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Vitola: Torpedo; Physical size: 5 1/2 x 52
MSRP: $6.50
Rating: 92

25. Debonaire Maduro

Manufacturer: De Los Reyes Cigars, SRL (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: USA/Connecticut ; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Vitola: Belicoso; Physical size: 6 x 54
MSRP: $14.00
Rating: 92


Check out the rest of our 2016 list