The Top 25 Cigars Archive


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Currently viewing: 2007
Rank Cigar Country Score Price
25
Zino Platinum Crown Series Limited-Edition Special Wrapper Chubby Especial
Dominican Republic 91 $35
The term “special wrapper” truly fits this corpulent and pricey Zino. The regular Chubby is crafted with a pale Connecticutseed wrapper, but these versions have rich chocolate-brown wrappers that lend a bolder flavor to the smoke. The construction of the cigar—overseen by Hendrik Kelner of Davidoff fame—is impeccable and eye-grabbing: the bulbous smoke is a full 61 ring gauge around the middle, tapering on each end, and measures 5 7/8 inches long. The taste is big on the wood with some pepper and other spices, along with a toasty, earthy finish combining for a full body. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

24
The Edge Sumatra Toro
Honduras 91 $5
Rocky Patel has become a star in the cigar business thanks to his never-ending drive to meet cigar smokers and his creation of bold, fair-priced blends. His biggest hit has been The Edge, which began as an unadorned chest of 100 cigars packed without bands. The package did, however, have a label that warned of the strength of the cigars inside. The Edge begat several other versions from Patel, and the latest (released this past fall) is The Edge Sumatra Toro. The 6-inch x 52-ring smoke is strong and spicy, with wood and ground pepper notes. It’s powered by Nicaraguan filler and an Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, and made under contract for Patel at the El Paraiso factory owned by the Plasencia family. At just over $5, it’s a true bargain. Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date:

23
Padilla Signature 1932 Lancero
U.S.A. 91 $13
The sole American cigar to make our Top 25 list, the Padilla Signature 1932 Lancero is a gorgeous, thin smoke rolled by Pepin Garcia for brand owner Ernesto Padilla. A Miami resident, Padilla has developed a knack for creating flavorful blends with the help of Garcia, and his 1932 line is one of his best. He named it for the birth year of his father, Herberto. Lanceros are difficult cigars to roll, but the artisans at El Rey de los Habanos get it right, capping each with an artful pigtail. The all-Nicaraguan cigar is leathery and earthy, with a spicy fruitiness that informs a medium to full body. Read more

Country: U.S.A.

Cigar Size: Lonsdale

Issue Date:

22
La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurado Selectos de Lujos
Dominican Republic 91 $8
Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, one of the cigar world’s true masters, has re-created himself with his collection of La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurados, the best of which is the Selectos de Lujos. This gorgeous figurado, which has more supple curves than an Italian sports car, is made from middle priming tobaccos that give the cigar balance and elegance. A few extra months of aging helps. This 7 1/4-inch x 54-ring cigar also appeared on our inaugural Top 25 list. It’s always a rich and rewarding smoke, with a bright cedary flavor and a richness that goes on and on. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

21
Sosa Wavell
Dominican Republic 92 $5
For a pleasant blend combining sweetness, solid structure and creaminess, the Sosa Wavell can’t be beat. Bearing a suggested retail price of $5, the cheapest cigar on the Top 25 list by 15 cents, the robusto is packed with café au lait flavor combined with earth, hickory and light spices. The 4 3/4-inch x 50-ring cigar is quite the smoke. Sosas are made under the keen supervision of family patriarch Juan B. Sosa, who operates within one of the Fuente factories in the Dominican Republic. Sosa cigars are lesser-known smokes that are nevertheless truly delicious and rewarding. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date:

20
Gran Habano 3 Siglos Gran Corona
Honduras 92 $6
Gran Habanos have become the quiet brand that always seems to score well in CIGAR AFICIONADO taste tests. The young company has had several ratings in the 90s, and we’re quite enamored with its latest creation, the Gran Habano 3 Siglos, which translates to “three centuries.” The cigar line debuted in December 2006, and we were especially taken with the Gran Robusto, which only seems to have gotten better since its initial release. The 6-inch x 44-ring cigar has a complex blend and lots of leather and earth. G.R. Tabacaleras Unidas S.A., the factory owned by George and Guillermo Rico, is proving itself to be one of the leading rollers of smokes in Honduras. Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Corona

Issue Date:

19
Romeo y Julieta Aniversario Corona
Dominican Republic 92 $6
Romeo y Julieta is one of the great old names of the cigar business, dating back to Cuba in 1875. The non-Cuban version is made by Altadis U.S.A. Inc. in the Dominican Republic, and it has become the company’s largest premium brand. Romeo Aniversarios have been on the market since 2003, two years before the 130th anniversary of Romeo. The line is made from a bold blend incorporating Peruvian leaf (a specialty of blender José Seijas) with Nicaraguan and Dominican filler. The kicker is the rich, dark Ecuadoran Sumatra-seed wrapper. The 5 1/2-inch x 44-ring Corona is the only Romeo Aniversario to score in the 90s in our taste tests, and it’s quite a cigar, rich and dark bronze with cedar, earth, licorice and nuts on the palate. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Corona

Issue Date:

18
Felipe Power Special R
Dominican Republic 92 $10
Philip Wynne of Felipe Gregorio created Felipe Power to celebrate 15 years in the cigar business. For Wynne it wasn’t always an easy ride, with several tough years between his creation of Petrus and the 2006 launch of Felipe Power. While not as strong as their name would suggest, the cigars are wonderful: rich, hearty smokes with lots of character, powered by an intriguing wrapper leaf grown in Costa Rica from an old Cuban seed called Pelo de Oro (which means “hair of gold”). Wynne now makes his cigars exclusively in the Dominican Republic, and with Power he seems to have truly hit his stride. The Special Robusto (originally named Special R) is a fat robusto—5 inches long by 52 ring—that combines sweetness and woodiness in a pleasant package. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date:

17
Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic 1979
Nicaragua 92 $6
Yet another fine cigar from Pepin Garcia, the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic is a brand he makes for himself, rather than another company. The former Cuban cigar roller is now the owner of two factories, and this Cuban Classic is the product of his fabrica in Estelí, Nicaragua. The cigars in the Cuban Classic line are named for the birth years of various members of Garcia’s immediate family. The 1950 is named for Pepin. Our favorite was the 1979, a robusto size (5 inches by 50 ring), named for his daughter Janny, who works alongside him. It has lots of wood, leather and toasted almonds on the palate, a rich, medium- to full-bodied smoke with a long finish. Just when you think you’ve tasted it all from Garcia, he dazzles you with something new. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date:

16
Punch Double Corona
Cuba 92 £18
It wasn’t that long ago that the Punch Double Corona, as one of the hardest Cuban cigars to find on the market, was worth its weight in gold. That all changed in the last five or six years as consumer tastes evolved to shorter and fatter cigars. What remained the same is the 7 5/8-inch x 49-ring cigar’s astonishingly good taste, which offers cocoa and coffee bean flavors that are complex with toasty, leathery undertones. It’s a medium-bodied smoke, perhaps less powerful than it was a decade ago, but the tempered strength is more than made up for in finesse and refinement. Most of the Punch Double Coronas are made by top-ranked rollers in the new La Corona factory on the outskirts of Havana. Recent visits to key factories suggest that the cigars are now produced in very limited quantities due to waning demand. Read more

Country: Cuba

Cigar Size: Double Corona

Issue Date:

15
Tatuaje Havana VI Angeles
Nicaragua 92 $6
to make your day right, and it’s hard to find a better choice than the Tatuaje Havana VI Angeles. This 4 5/8-inch x 42-ring cigar is crammed with strong black cherry, spice and leather, and the finish is a mile long. We found it the strongest of the six-size Havana VI line, and our favorite of the bunch. Original Tatuajes, which were made in Miami, are hard to find, given their limited production. Havana VIs, the “red label” versions, are made in Nicaragua and easier to find. They’re also cheaper, thanks to the lower cost of labor in Nicaragua. As with all Tatuajes, these are made by Jose “Pepin” Garcia Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Petit Corona

Issue Date:

14
La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel Maduro
Dominican Republic 92 $7
With its black, wedge-shaped head, nothing in the cigar world looks quite like a Chisel Maduro. Its creation goes back to one day when La Flor’s Litto Gomez was driving from Santiago to La Canela in the Dominican Republic, chewing on a torpedo as he was deep in thought. By the time he reached his destination, the torpedo head had been flattened. Taken with the new shape, Gomez came up with the Chisel, a figurado with a head that looks like a hand tool or a woodwind instrument. The natural version is powerful, but this 6-inch x 54- ring leathery Maduro is sneaky strong—you don’t feel the power until it’s upon you. It’s a difficult shape to roll, this brainchild of Gomez, who is clearly one of the cigar world’s most innovative minds. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

13
Camacho Select Torpedo
Honduras 92 $7
Camacho Select is the first Cameroon-wrapped cigar from Tabacos Rancho Jamastran. Blended by family patriarch Julio Eiroa, the Camacho Select line is his rebellion of sorts against stronger cigars. Camacho Selects are easygoing and balanced, with nutty flavors and some dry notes. The Torpedo is the best of the line, measuring 6 1/8 inches by 54 ring. The Eiroas are tobacco growers as well as cigarmakers, and Julio has been growing in Honduras’ Jamastran Valley since 1962. Many of the cigars he makes are puros, but the Camacho Select is a hybrid, combining Honduran leaf with Cameroon, a somewhat uncommon blend. It makes for a cedary, earthy and nutty smoke with a pleasant smooth character, and not too much kick. Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

12
San Cristobal Monumento
Nicaragua 92 $11
No cigarmaker in the world today has more buzz than Jose “Pepin” Garcia. Mainly on the strength of the Tatuaje and Padilla brands, which he makes for other clients, his gutsy cigars have always graced our Top 25 list. Now Garcia has landed his largest client yet: the Levins, owners of the Ashton brand. The Levins asked Garcia to create San Cristobal in his new Nicaraguan factory, and he responded with a fine, rich smoke a bit more tempered than the leathery powerhouses for which he has become famous. The brand hit the market in August, led by the huge Monumento, a visually striking 7 1/4-inch x 49-ring cigar with a slightly tapered head and a wrapper the color of semisweet chocolate. The performance is typical Garcia, with spicy notes of nutmeg balanced by sweet cherry Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Churchill

Issue Date:

11
Montecristo Petit Edmundo
Cuba 92 £10
This is one hell of a rich smoke for such a small package. Only 4 1/3 inches by 52 ring in size, this little blockbuster delivers an opulent palate full of rich cocoa bean, sweet earth and pleasant floral notes that crescendo to a long, nutty finish. Smoking it is almost like drinking a rich, decadent Chinese tea. This cigar was created in the new H. Upmann factory in Nuevo Vedado in 2006 following the success of the Hoyo de Monterrey Petit Robusto. The Petit Edmundo is essentially a shortened version of the highly successful Montecristo Edmundo, which is 52 ring by 5 1/3 inches. The petit is actually stronger and more flavorful than the original. In fact, it’s hard to think of a cigar from Cuba that packs so much flavor in such a little format. Read more

Country: Cuba

Cigar Size: Odd

Issue Date:

10
Dunhill Signed Range Toro
Nicaragua 92 $12
Dunhills have a long and storied history in the cigar world, but in recent years they have been a hard find. Brand owner British American Tobaccos is devoting itself to changing that, and has reblended and refocused the Dunhill Signed Range. The result is delicious, particularly the Toro, which measures 6 inches by 50 ring. The cigar is made by Latin Cigars de Nicaragua S.A., a factory owned by the Toraño family. In typical Toraño style, the cigars are made from a multinational blend incorporating three countries, including a Cameroon binder, and finished with a stunning light-brown shade leaf grown in Nicaragua. Combining Dominican, Nicaraguan and Cameroon tobaccos results in a sweet, nutty smoke with balance and richness, smacking of caramel. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date:

9
C.A.O. Vision Prana
Dominican Republic 92 $16
C.A.O. Vision cigars are impossible to miss—they come packed in cigar boxes that resemble laptop computers, right down to a blue electronic glow that appears when the lid is opened. But don’t dismiss the cigar for its over-the-top packaging. The C.A.O. Vision Prana is a serious smoke. The 6-1/4 x 52-ring cigar has some veins in its wrapper, but that’s an easy concession to the heady flavor of the Dominican wrapper leaf that makes the cigar special. The cigar is earthy, woody and toasty, with roasted nuts on the palate and a pleasant medium body. The Vision is the first C.A.O. cigar— other than the Flavours by C.A.O. line—rolled in the Dominican Republic, and the first of the company’s cigars to place in CIGAR AFICIONADO’s Top 10. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

8
Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Maduro Epicure
Honduras 92 $5
Among the fattest cigars in the Hoyo Excalibur line, the Excalibur Epicure is a 50-ring cigar measuring 5 1/4 inches long. General Cigar Co. makes the cigars in its Villazon unit in Honduras, which is also home to the Punch brand. Angel Daniel Núñez, General’s president and chief operating officer, walks the company’s vast tobacco fields and visits each of its myriad cigar factories as he oversees production of General’s entire line. In maduro wrapper, the Epicure is a gem, a rare combination of two leaves of dark Connecticut broadleaf (one for the wrapper, one for the binder) around a bold filler blend combining Honduran, Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. It’s a leathery, earthy cigar with plenty of sweet cocoa and coffee flavor. It’s also an undeniable bargain, one of the least expensive cigars on this list. Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date:

7
Illusione cg:4
Honduras 93 $7
If you don’t read Cigar Insider, CIGAR AFICIONADO’s sister publication, you may have never heard of the brand Illusione. All nine cigars in the line were rated in an August issue of the newsletter, and all but one size scored 90 points or higher, about as impressive a debut as we’ve ever witnessed. The Central American cigars are powerful Nicaraguan puros with quirky names. The cg:4, which measures 5 5/8 inches by 46 ring, has balance as well as strength, with sweet leather, nuts and cocoa on the palate. The cigars are the brainchild of Dion Giolito, owner of the Reno, Nevada, cigar store Fumaré. Giolito doesn’t own his own factory, but the Illusione brand is small enough that he can visit Central America to testsmoke each batch of new tobacco before it is made into his cigars. Production was recently shifted from Nicaragua to Honduras. Consistency is the tough trick to the cigar business, so the real test is ahead for Giolito—maintaining the impeccable quality of these cigars so they live up to the early ratings Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date:

6
Cohiba Maduro 5 Secretos
Cuba 93 £10
The maxim that a cigar needn’t be bigger to be better is driven home by the new Cohiba Maduro 5. The Cubans launched the maduro range for their most famous brand in early 2007 with three sizes: Genios, 5 1/2 inches by 52 ring; Mágicos, 4 1/2 inches by 52 ring; and Secretos, 4 1/3 inches by 40. It was the smallest that really blew us away with complex flavors of coffee, leather, almonds and caramel. It’s a full-bodied smoke with a big heart for a little cigar. It’s like comparing a rich espresso with a simple filtered coffee. The Cubans claim to be using fiveyear- old wrapper for these cigars. The top leaves on the plants (called coronas) are picked later than normal to assure that the tobacco is as rich and ripe as possible. The tobacco is then fermented longer to give more color and flavor to the leaf. Almost all the Cohiba Maduro 5s are made in the Partagas factory in Old Havana near the capitol building. Read more

Country: Cuba

Cigar Size: Petit Corona

Issue Date:

5
Ashton Virgin Sun Grown Torpedo
Dominican Republic 93 $11
Some cigars take quite a while to gain popularity, but the Ashton Virgin Sun Grown line was a hit even before the cigars went on sale. The Ashton brand owner Robert Levin created a stir in 1999 when he handed out VSG samples at an industry trade show. The cigars grabbed attention with their dark color and invigorated the palate with a blast of undeniable power. Blended by the Fuentes, the VSG line helped usher in the era of the strong cigar. More than seven years after their debut, they remain immensely popular among those who prefer their cigars with full flavor. The 6 1/2-inch x 55-ring Torpedo is superbly crafted, with an earthy, cedary flavor and a full body. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

4
Oliva Serie V Torpedo
Nicaragua 93 $7
Oliva cigars are known for flavor, but not power. To reach cigar smokers yearning for more muscular smokes, Oliva Cigar Co. (no relation to Oliva Tobacco Co.) released the Oliva Serie V last year, its most full-bodied blend to date. The idea was to craft a stronger cigar that still has balance, and the result is a huge success. The best cigar in the line is the Torpedo, which measures 6 inches long with a fat 56 ring gauge. The cigar is made with a high-priming wrapper that cloaks all-Nicaraguan filler and binder leaves. The cigar is stronger than other Olivas, but still in the medium-bodied range. The important thing is that the cigars are rich, teeming with coffee-bean and caramel notes, and have balance and finesse. The Olivas are building a reputation for top-quality smokes that appear on our Top 25 lists. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

3
Montecristo No. 2
Cuba 94 £15
This renowned torpedo is an icon among Cuban cigars and remains one of the most popular smokes among aficionados around the world. At one time, production of the cigar was limited to the H. Upmann factory in Old Havana, but the cigar’s recent popularity has caused Habanos to expand its production to other key export factories in the city, and today about 3 million Montecristo No. 2s are made each year. The new H. Upmann factory in Nueva Vedado oversees the production of the cigar, and only top-ranked rollers on the island are allowed to make it. The Montecristo No. 2 has always been a favorite of the CIGAR AFICIONADO editors. It was one of the magazine’s star cigars in a 1992 article on the best cigars of Cuba, and it has ranked highly in just about every tasting for the magazine ever since. The 6 1/8-inch x 52-ring cigar is one of the most flavorful, best drawing smokes ever. It delivers loads of earthy and tobacco character with a full body and lots of spicy undertones. It’s great to smoke now, but will improve with age. We have had 50-year-old Monte No. 2s that were still rich, cedary and delicious to smoke. Read more

Country: Cuba

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

2
Fuente Fuente OpusX PerfecXion No. 2
Dominican Republic 95 $14
If you’re looking for a stunning pyramid with bold, full flavors, it’s hard to improve upon the Fuente Fuente OpusX. No brand in modern memory has sparked as much demand. The cigar is prized for its rare wrapper, a leaf grown under shade in the Dominican Republic. Sales have long been limited, boxes very difficult to come by. Unlike many things in life, the buzz around this brand is entirely justified. At one time OpusX cigars seemed to be sacrificing balance for strength—they were undeniably powerful, but they seemed to be missing the stabilizing sweetness that the brand first exhibited when it debuted in 1995. Those days appear to be over. This PerfecXion No. 2 is glorious, an impeccably crafted 6 3/8-inch x 52- ring pyramid with a solid backbone of power tempered by a delightful sweetness and richness. A coffee-bean note joins the signature OpusX spice and leather flavors (any cigar smoker who claims not to have tasted leather has not smoked an OpusX). It’s a complex masterpiece, as delicious to smoke as it is to behold. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

1
Padrón Serie 1926 No. 9
Nicaragua 97 $18
What a great cigar. The Padrón Serie 1926 No. 9 impressed our tasting panel again and again, rising to the top after repeated tests to become the best cigar of the year. In the end, when only a few cigars remained in the last blind tasting, this one stood above the rest: it was richer, rounder, more complex and rewarding than any other cigar we smoked. This pressed beauty is rolled in the recently expanded Padrón factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, under the watchful eye of José Orlando Padrón, his son Jorge and the rest of the family members who ensure that the 5 million or so cigars they produce each year are of impeccable quality. This is perhaps the finest of the line, just blossoming with flavor right from the first puff. It’s a complex smoke with perfect balance, showing flavors of chocolate, coffee and nuts, as well as some black cherry. The cigar has a finish so long it seems to never leave the palate. The 97 points it was awarded is the highest score we have given a recent-production cigar in many years. Padrón Serie 1926 cigars are a bit stronger than the company’s other luxe line, the 1964 Anniversary Series, and are considerably more expensive. The family has an affinity for anniversaries: 1964 is the year the company began making cigars, and 1926 is the year José Orlando was born. The cigar debuted in 2002, on José Orlando’s 76th birthday, a year later than originally intended. The company recently marked another milestone, the 80th birthday of its patriarch. The Padrón Serie 1926 80 Years hit the market in late November—five months after José Orlando’s 81st birthday. As with all things Padrón, their cigars cannot be rushed. The Padróns have never finished out of the top three in our Top 25 tastings, and this is the second time one of their smokes has been named the No. 1 cigar of the year. They are clearly at the top of their game Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date:

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