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Top 25 Cigars of 2019 (16-25)

Top 25 Cigars of 2019

It’s 2020, which means we’re ready to release our last Top 25 list of the 2010s. We went back into our ratings for the entire calendar year and set aside every cigar (excluding limited-edition releases) that scored 91 or higher in Cigar Snob Magazine in 2019. Then our panel tasted those candidates all over again to whittle things down to this list of 25.

In this first batch, you’ll find the cigars that took spots 16-25 in our ranking. It’s a list that brings a lot of variety in profile and style, with some products that executed the understated elegance of old-school cigar making beautifully and still others that are more reflective of the new school’s bigger, bolder approach to blending. You’ll also find “boutiques” mixed in with some cigars by bigger manufacturers. On the other hand, you’ll find that this list is dominated by Nicaraguan cigars — a theme that, with exceptions, runs through the portions we’ll release later in the week. 

You’ll also find products from manufacturers — namely AJ Fernandez and My Father — that are making a noteworthy number of appearances on our list for the second year in a row. Again, stay tuned for the rest of our list’s release.

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


16. Plasencia Alma del Fuego

Manufacturer: Plasencia Cigars (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Candente; Physical size: 5×50
MSRP: $15.00
Rating: 92

When we named Plasencia Alma Fuerte our 2017 Cigar of the Year, the company was just barely into this new chapter of making its own super premium smokes. We said then that they were here to stay, and Alma del Fuego (which translates to “Soul of the Fire”) shows we were onto something.

17. Guardian of the Farm

Manufacturer: Aganorsa (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Apollo; Physical size: 6 x 44
MSRP: $8.20
Rating: 92

Named for the real-life dogs who guard Aganorsa tobacco (kind of… we’ve met them and they look more interested in napping), this cigar is a collaboration be-tween Aganorsa’s Max Fernández and Warped Cigars’ Kyle Gellis. At 44 ring gauge, the Nicaraguan puro is the thinnest cigar on this year’s list.

18. Aging Room Bin No.2 Nicaragua

Manufacturer: Plasencia Cigars (Nicargaua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: C Major ; Physical size: 5 3/4 x 54
MSRP: $13.25
Rating: 92

In the beginning, before it was acquired by Altadis USA, Aging Room’s portfolio con-sisted entirely of Dominican-made cigars like the Bin No. 1 that made our 2014 rank-ings. Bin No. 2, which is made at the Plasencias’ gorgeous Estelí factory using that family’s tobacco, is easily the most exciting cigar in the Aging Room lineup.

19. Crowned Heads Las Mareas

Manufacturer: My Father Cigars (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Olas; Physical size: 6 1/8 x 46
MSRP: $9.60
Rating: 92

After a trip to Hawaii, John Huber had an idea for a surf-inspired cigar brand; Las Mareas is Spanish for “the tides.” The smoking experience here is far more evoca-tive of Cuba than Hawaii. Crowned Heads has a longstanding relationship with My Father, but this is their first cigar made exclusively with My Father-grown tobacco.

20. La Galera 1936 Box-Pressed

Manufacturer: Tabacalera Palma (Dominican Republic)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Dominican Republic; Filler: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Chaveta; Physical size: 5 x 50
MSRP: $7.20
Rating: 92

A year ago, La Galera Maduro was ranked 23rd on this list. With the 1936 Box Pressed, Jochy Blanco’s Tabacalera Palma jumps up a few spots. The 5 x 50 Cha-veta is named for the blade that cigar rollers use to cut tobacco leaves on their tables, which is in keeping with the cigar factory theme for La Galera vitola names.

21. Sindicato Maduro

Top 25 Cigars 2019

Manufacturer: Aganorsa (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Mexico; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro; Physical size: 6 x 54
MSRP: $12.00
Rating: 92

Sindicato is owned by a large group of tobacconists who benefit from intimate knowledge of and relationships with the best cigar makers in the world. It’s no won-der that they turned to Aganorsa for this San Andrés-wrapped cigar, which was blended by the legendary master blender Arsenio Ramos before his death in 2018.

22. Highclere Castle Victorian

Top 25 Cigars 2019

Manufacturer: AJ Fernandez Cigars (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Brazil; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 50
MSRP: $14.00
Rating: 92

The manufacturing expertise of AJ Fernandez, the blending of Nicholas Melillo, and the historical heft of Highclere castle, one of the most significant Victorian mansions in Eng-land (and fictional titular home from Downton Abbey), make for a special cigar with a powerful blend that we wouldn’t have expected given the old-world castle connection.

23. Mombacho Liga Maestro

Top 25 Cigars 2019

Manufacturer: Mombacho Cigars (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Nicaragua; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Hermoso; Physical size: 6 x 46
MSRP: $10.46
Rating: 92

Most Nicaraguan cigars are from Estelí, but Mombacho’s picturesque factory is in one of Nicaragua’s tourism hubs, Granada. The colonial building might be the his-toric city’s most visited attraction; this beautifully executed cigar shows master blender Claudio Sgroi can make cigars as beautiful as the city they come from.

24. Vegas del Purial Gran Reserva

Top 25 Cigars 2019

Manufacturer: El Galán Cigars (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Ecuador; Binder: Nicaragua; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Super Toro; Physical size: 6 3/4 x 52
MSRP: $10.00
Rating: 92

The 7 x 38 Lancero took the No. 3 spot on last year’s list. This year, we were blown away by the Super Toro expression of Félix Mesa’s most decorated line, which was named as an homage to Félix’s grandparents on the farm on which they grew tobacco in Cuba. Few grandsons ever do this good a job of advancing the family legacy.

25. Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask

Top 25 Cigars 2019

Manufacturer: AJ Fernandez Cigars (Nicaragua)
Wrapper: USA/Connecticut; Binder: Brazil; Filler: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto; Physical size: 5 x 52
MSRP: $8.49
Rating: 92

It’s fitting that we round this list out with an AJ-made cigar. This follow-up to the original Whiskey Row is also the result of a partnership between General Cigar and Louisville-based Rabbit Hole Distilling. Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks are used to fin-ish Rabbit Hole bourbon before they finish this cigar’s Arapiraca binder.

_____

Check out the rest of our 2019 list:

Cigars 1-5

Cigars 6-15

Categories: Cigars, Top 25

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