The Top 25 Cigars Archive


Select A Year


Currently viewing: 2009
Rank Cigar Country Score Price
25
Nestor Miranda Special Selection Coffee Break
Nicaragua 91 $6
The shortest cigar in our ranking is the diminutive but flavorful Nestor Miranda Special Selection Coffee Break. It’s another product of José “Pepin” Garcia, this one made for longtime cigar industry veteran Nestor Miranda, the founder of Miami Cigar & Co. Last year was the 20th anniversary of Miranda’s company, and he turned to Garcia to make the Special Selection blend. (This is the fourth cigar from Garcia on our list, tying his company with Fuente and Raices Cubanas for the most cigars in the Top 25.) It’s unusual to see a cigar from Garcia with Honduran and Dominican tobaccos. The short cigar is beefy and nutty, balanced by a touch of sweetness. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date:

24
Xikar HC Habano Colorado Belicoso
Nicaragua 91 $9
You know Xikar for its cutters, lighters and other cigar accessories, but it is dedicating increasing resources to the cigar-rolling business. The company has created a series of three blends for the Xikar HC Series, the strongest of which is the HC Habano Colorado. The Belicoso is its finest creation, made by Jesus Fuego in Nestor Plasencia’s Segovia Cigar factory in Nicaragua. Fuego is a creative cigarmaker, with a knack for working with nontraditional tobaccos, such as the Costa Rican leaf he uses in the filler blend for the HC Habano Colorado. The figurado is dark, oily and gorgeous, with a robust strength that is heavy on pepper and leather. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

23
C.A.O. Lx2 Toro
Honduras 91 $7
Nashville, Tennessee’s C.A.O. International Inc. has been in business for more than 40 years, and the C.A.O. Lx2 Toro is one of the best cigars it has ever made. C.A.O. president Tim Ozgener says he created Lx2 “to create a cigar that delivered a real full-bodied experience. But we don’t want to do a cigar just for the strength of it—we want it to be complex and have rich flavor.” The heart of this dark, oily cigar is a robust blend of tobaccos from Central America and the Dominican Republic, and it features tobacco from a farm called Pueblo Nuevo, which supplies tobacco only for C.A.O.’s use. The leaves combine in a savory mix of leathery sweetness. Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date:

22
Padilla Signature 1932 Torpedo
Honduras 92 $12
Miami’s Ernesto Padilla has his cigars made in a variety of factories. The Padilla Signature 1932 is a product of the superb (and small) Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras. The cigar is delicious as well as attractive, a gleaming, dark torpedo that is cedary sweet with rich chocolate and leather flavors and a long, lush finish. Padilla is the creative sort, with an interest in serious cigars built for lovers of stronger, more flavorful smokes, and has respect for the standard sizes. This 50-ring gauge is about as big a cigar as he makes. “I want to be synonymous with traditional cigars,” says Padilla. The cigar brand is named for the birth year of his father, Cuban poet Heberto Padilla. Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

21
Casa Fernandez Lancero
Honduras 92 $7
Tabacalera Tropical is the quiet giant of the cigar business. The company grows vast amounts of tobacco in Nicaragua via its Aganorsa arm and employs tobacco men from Cuba to turn it into cigars meant for a serious palate. Arsenio Ramos, who once worked for Cubatabaco and always seems to have a cigar crammed in his jaw, calls his Casa Fernandez "a man's cigar." It's a nearly flawless lancero fitted with a dark oily wrapper and pigtail cap and characterized by gutsy, powerful notes of hickory and chocolate on the palate. Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Panetela

Issue Date:

20
Mi Dominicana Lancero
Dominican Republic 92 $8
Mi Dominicana is one of a growing number of Dominican puros on the American market. The cigar is the brainchild of José Seijas, the man who runs the massive Tabacalera de Garcia Ltd. factory in La Romana, Dominican Republic. The factory is owned by the giant of the cigar business, Altadis U.S.A. Inc., and makes tens of millions of cigars, including such large brands as Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann and Montecristo. Mi Dominicana is a quiet, relatively small production brand not known to the general smoking populace. The cigars are dark and oily in appearance, with heavy nutty flavors paired with coffee bean, pepper and a long finish. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Panetela

Issue Date:

19
Illusione Epernay Le Ferme
Honduras 92 $9
Illusione is a small-production brand created by Dion Giolito, an eclectic cigar retailer from Reno, Nevada. Epernay is a lighter cigar than Giolito’s original Illusione brand and is made in Honduras from all Nicaraguan tobacco. Epernay takes its name from the town in France built upon chalk rock in the heart of the Champagne region. The smoke is beautifully rolled with an oily wrapper and round head. The first puffs have an incense and leather character, then take on spice and, fittingly, notes of Sauternes Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date:

18
Ambos Mundos No. 2 Robusto
Nicaragua 92 $5
When Pete Johnson created Tatuaje cigars with Jose "Pepin" Garcia in 2003, the high cost of Miami labor translated into a lofty price tag. Garcia's expansion into Nicaragua offered less expensive alternatives that allowed Johnson to create this bargain-priced brand, the least expensive on our Top 25 list. "I made this cigar partly due to the economy and partly because this is where I originally wanted the cigar to be priced," says Johnson. Despite the price, Ambos Mundos (which means "both worlds") is still handmade from long-filler tobacco. And it's tasty: a hearty cigar with roasted coffee bean, earth and leather notes, and a long, peppery finish. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date:

17
Partagas Salomon
Cuba 92 £19
German cigar merchant Christopher Wolters resurrected this classy, highly artisanal shape from the Partagas factory in 1996, when he asked the fabrica to make him 100 special humidors of 50 cigars, and they took a place among the most sought-after collectible boxes ever made. Twelve years later the big figurado became commercially produced as an exclusive for La Casa del Habano cigar stores. The smoke delivers wonderfully spicy and opulent aromas and flavors, and is ultra-cool with its large girth and substantial length. This is a cigar to take your time with, preferably in a Havana bar with a glass of rum, buoyant salsa and the right company. Read more

Country: Cuba

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

16
Alec Bradley Family Blend
Honduras 92 $7
Family is an important word in the business of cigars, an industry in which the secrets of tobacco are often passed down from father to son. Alan Rubin has made family a priority since he founded his cigar company in 1997: he named it Alec Bradley Cigars after his two sons. This year, he decided to honor not only his father, but the fathers of his two key associates in the business, by releasing Alec Bradley Family Blend, a onesize fat cigar capped with a tight pigtail. The smoke is marvelous, subtle, elegant and balanced, with a medium body. Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date:

15
Benji Menendez Partagas Master Series Majestuoso
Dominican Republic 92 $10
Benjamin “Benji” Menendez is one of the storied names of the cigar business. His father, Alonso, made H. Upmanns and Montecristos in Cuba, and Benji has worked for the biggest cigar companies in the industry. He began with General Cigar, then moved to Tabacalera de España (later part of Altadis) and now has returned to General. The Benji Menendez Partagas Master Series Majestuoso is his masterpiece, a cigar that is filled with flavor that belies its relatively slim girth. It has a lovely Cameroon wrapper, and nutty, salty notes with pleasant accents of red and black pepper. This just might be the best Dominican Partagas we have ever smoked Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date:

14
Fuente Fuente OpusX Reserva D'Chateau
Dominican Republic 92 $13
Fuente Fuente OpusX is one of the most talked about, written about and sought after brands in modern cigar history. Since its inception the brand has continued to earn the fanfare with quality and consistency—they are extraordinary cigars and frequent visitors to our top 25 list. (The OpusX Double Corona was our No. 1 cigar of 2005.) The Reserva D’Chateau is a classic Churchill size, blended to the tastes of Carlos Fuente Jr., who likes his cigars strong, spicy and resonant. This cigar doesn’t disappoint. It immediately comes on strong with coffee notes and a powerful leathery flavor that refuses to leave the palate. This is the fourth Fuente-made cigar on our Top 25 list. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Churchill

Issue Date:

13
La Flor Dominicana Salomon
Dominican Republic 92 $23
The thickest cigar in our ranking (at 64 ring gauge, it’s a full inch in diameter at its fattest point) the La Flor Dominicana Salomon is beautiful, strong, and complex. The man behind the cigar is Litto Gomez, who has become one of the most intriguing and talented cigarmakers in the world today. This Salomon showcases his considerable talents. His blend of homegrown tobacco from La Canela, Dominican Republic, and a stunning, dark wrapper imported from Nicaragua combines to bombard the palate with bold flavor of black cherry, licorice and rich cocoa. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

12
Casa Magna Colorado Extraordinario
Nicaragua 92 $11
How do you follow up on winning the Cigar of the Year? Make a bigger, more complex shaped version. Manuel Quesada, who created the Casa Magna Colorado Robusto with the Plasencia family in its Nicaraguan cigar factory, added this stunning Salomon size over the summer. While the cigar is nearly twice the price of the Robusto, which won accolades for being an amazing bargain, the Extraordinario is still a value cigar when you consider the price charged for most Salomones, which are very hard to make and require the work of only the most talented cigar rollers. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

12
Casa Magna Colorado Extraordinario
Nicaragua 93 $11
There's lots of flavor in this profoundly leathery tasting smoke whose bold savory core is balanced by earth, spice and complex sweet notes of nougat and cocoa. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date: 2013-06-01

11
Aurora Preferidos Maduro Robusto
Dominican Republic 92 $10
La Aurora S.A. struck gold in 1999 when it resurrected its oldest cigar size, a bulbous, bombshaped perfecto known as a Preferido. The smokes have been among the most popular the company makes, but they’re difficult to roll. How to move more? Take the Preferido blend and roll it in a robusto shape, the most popular cigar size in America. The Aurora Preferidos Maduro Robusto, which debuted in 2009, is the only cigar on our Top 25 list made with Brazilian tobacco. It uses a considerable amount, both in the filler blend and as the wrapper leaf. The result is a cigar heavy on hickory, black cherry and raisin notes, with considerable strength. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date:

10
Partagas Serie P No. 2 Tubo
Cuba 92 £16
Partagas has a long history for making rich and wonderful cigars, but the pirámide, more popularly called a torpedo, has never been a mainstay shape for the brand. Most Partagas figurados have been machine made, although we once saw a box of handmade Partagas torpedos from the early 1960s sold in a Christie's auction in London. However, it wasn't until late 2000 that the marque made a pirámide commercially available with the launch of the Partagas Edición Limitada Pirámide. It took another five years for it to become a core shape. Made at the Partagas factory in Havana, the smoke has always delivered the benchmark rich, earthy, almost funky character that the facility is known for. The Partagas Serie P No. 2 was our favorite Cuban figurado in 2009. In its hip black-andred tube, it's a great cigar to have in your pocket for one of those spontaneous moments that call for a big and juicy Habanos. Read more

Country: Cuba

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

9
Ashton Virgin Sun Grown Torpedo
Dominican Republic 92 $11
Ashton Virgin Sun Grown cigars are the original powerhouse cigar. Made by Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. for Ashton Distributors Inc., the brand’s hallmark is its dark, Sumatra-seed wrappers grown under the perpetually cloudy skies in Ecuador at the foothills of the Andes by one of the legendary names in the tobacco business, the Oliva Tobacco Co. of Tampa, Florida. Ashton VSGs, as they are known, consistently take some of the highest scores in Cigar Aficionado magazine and Cigar Insider newsletter. The Ashton VSG Torpedo is a hefty figurado that stood out in a Cigar Insider vertical brand tasting in April 2009. (The average score for the 10-size brand was an exceptional 90.1 points.) The Torpedo is not as strong as we remembered, but brims with sweet cedar and nutmeg flavors, with a creamy texture. Always dependable, always flavorful. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

8
Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Maduro Torpedo
Honduras 92 $11
Rocky Patel continues to improve the quality of the many cigars that bear his name, and the Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Maduro Torpedo is a fine example. The thick cigar features a nontraditional wrapper leaf grown in Costa Rica around a core of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos, giving the cigar an earthy, leathery flavor with hints of coffee. Wrapper tobacco is key to Patel, who sells a wide variety of cigars. He begins with a wrapper style and builds his blend around it, making adjustments to the binder, then the filler. “I’ve spent a lot of time at the factory,” says Patel. “I don’t make a blend and give it to 10 people—I trust my palate and I know what I’m looking for.” Rocky Patel has had several cigars in our Top 25 list, but this is the first time that one of his cigars has appeared in our Top 10. Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

7
Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic
Dominican Republic 92 $8
The 1980s were lean years for the cigar industry in the United States, and for lovers of figurados, or shaped cigars, the situation was even more bleak. The perfecto, a classic shape with tapers on both ends of the cigar, had gone away. It was the 1983 revival of the Arturo Fuente Hemingway series of cigars that brought them back. Carlos Fuente Sr. found old cigar molds in an Ybor City, Florida, warehouse, brought them to Fuente’s factory in the Dominican Republic and taught his master roller how to make the intricately shaped smoke. Even those completely ignorant about the difficulty of making a cigar by hand will recognize that the Hemingway Classic has a supermodel’s curves. The sublime balance of ultra-thin and toothy Cameroon wrapper pairs exquisitely with Fuente’s filler and binder blend, resulting in a complex smoke smacking of orange peel, cedar and coffee. If you’ve never smoked an Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic, you’re missing out on one of the cigar world’s premier smoking experiences. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

6
601 Box Press Maduro Toro
Nicaragua 93 $9
This is the first time a 601 cigar has appeared on our Top 25 list. The brand comes from United Tobacco, a small company founded in 2003 by old friends Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega. The two came to the cigar industry by different routes: Ortega became enamored with cigars while delivering them via UPS in Miami; Espinosa married (and later divorced) a cigarmaker’s daughter. In August 2003 they formed their own cigar company, and after an unsuccessful start they found their way by having cigars made for them by José “Pepin” Garcia. While their brands remain small in quantity they have scored very well in Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider blind tastings, starting with scores in the high 80s and now with scores in the 90s. The 601 Box Press Maduro Toro is beautiful, with Garcia’s trademark triple-seam cap construction. It’s a smoke that has heavy, chewy, complex flavors loaded with notes of dark-roasted coffee, nuts and sweet cocoa. In short, the 601 Box Press Maduro Toro is both gorgeous and delicious. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date:

5
Oliva Serie V Liga Especial Belicoso
Nicaragua 93 $6
Oliva Cigar Co., not to be confused with Oliva Tobacco Co., makes its headquarters in Miami, Florida, and rolls its cigars in Nicaragua. The company was little known in the cigar business only a few years ago, but through persistence, patience and consistently putting out a quality product the Olivas have risen to the forefront of cigar production. Originally known for making bargain brands, the company now has cigars for the most sophisticated palates. This is the fifth year one of its cigars has made our Top 25 list. The Serie V Liga Especial Belicoso features superb construction, powerful, full-bodied flavors of meat and nuts and a balancing sweetness. The cigar is also very reasonably priced, selling for less than $6—the second most affordable cigar on the Top 25 list and the best bargain in our Top 10. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date:

4
Diamond Crown Maximus Double Corona No. 1
Dominican Republic 93 $18
The largest cigar on our Top 25 list comes from the Newman and Fuente families, two of the most storied cigar families in the entire business. Diamond Crown is a new version of one of the J.C. Newman Co.’s cigar brands from the mid-1990s. The original was made with golden-brown Connecticut-shade wrappers that had undergone extra fermentation, and was exceptionally mild. The creation of the Maximus version in June 2003 recognized the trend for fuller-bodied cigars and added an exciting spicy element to the Diamond Crown brand, with a bold and oily Ecuadoran Sumatra seed wrappers that are dark and alluring. The Double Corona No. 1 is a rich, sweet cigar with plenty of cedar on the palate and a finish with notes of espresso beans. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Double Corona

Issue Date:

3
My Father No. 1
Nicaragua 94 $10
José “Pepin” Garcia has taken the premium cigar world by storm. Once an acclaimed cigar roller in Havana, Garcia immigrated to the United States in 2003 and set up shop in a tiny fabrica in Miami’s famed Little Havana, making cigars of remarkable quality, teeming with flavor. The first cigar of his to achieve fame was Tatuaje, which he makes for Pete Johnson. Soon his own cigars began to scoop up industry accolades. Garcia’s son, Jaime, a talented blender in his own right, secretly went to work in Nicaragua on a new cigar blend, which he intended to hide from his father. Pepin learned that Jaime was preparing something new without the jefe’s permission. “I found out, and asked Jaime for three cigars,” said Pepin. Jaime handed them over. Pepin smoked them that night. The next day, he was moved when his son told him that he intended to name the brand “My Father.” The cigars feature Nicaraguan tobacco that the Garcias grew themselves and a Habano seed wrapper from Ecuador from the maestros at Tampa, Florida’s, Oliva Tobacco Co. The combination creates a stunning amount of rich flavor: the cigar is meaty, with leather and coffee bean flavors. The Garcia’s company now bears the name “My Father Cigars”—it’s a fitting tribute passed from son to father, and back again. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date:

2
Cohiba Siglo V Tubo
Cuba 94 £25
The Siglo line of Cohiba has been around for more than 16 years, and Linea 1492—the official name for the group of five—is one of the prestigious brand’s most successful names among true Habanos aficionados. Unofficially, the cigar line was started to replace the famous Davidoff Chateau series that was discontinued in 1991 along with the rest of the Swiss-based cigar merchant’s range. Production has been confined almost exclusively to the rolling rooms of the Partagas factory across the street from Havana’s capitol building. The Siglo V— called dalias in the rolling rooms—is the longest of the five smokes, identical in size to the ever-popular Partagas 8-9-8. However, the cigar delivers a richer and more refined character because of the special handling given to the tobacco for all Cohiba cigars. The filler and wrapper leaves are selected from the best plantations in Pinar del Río and then processed in a more precise way. The main point is that some of the filler tobacco undergoes a small, special fermentation process while it is held in Havana after being shipped in bales from tobacco warehouses in the provinces. The late Avelino Lara, who ran the Cohiba factory when the Siglo quintet was launched, called it “the special of the special for Cohiba.” The Siglo V Tubo was the best Cohiba and best Cuban cigar we reviewed in 2009. Read more

Country: Cuba

Cigar Size: Lonsdale

Issue Date:

1
Padrón Family Reserve No. 45 Maduro
Nicaragua 95 $25
The Padrón Family Reserve No. 45 Maduro first reached cigar shops on September 8, the 45th anniversary of the creation of Padrón Cigars Inc. by José Orlando Padrón. The 83-year-old Cuban émigré is the embodiment of the American dream, having come to the United States in the early 1960s with nothing more than a few hundred dollars, a solid work ethic and the burning desire to make cigars that tasted as good as the ones he smoked as a young man in Cuba. The image of a hammer on this special release commemorates a most precious gift given to him by a friend when he was virtually penniless—the tool allowed him to eke out a living as a carpenter, money he saved to form a small cigar company. The cigar smokers of the world owe that benefactor a great debt, for the Padrón family continues to give us one brilliant cigar after another. No company has dominated our ratings in the way Padrón Cigars has. This is the third time it has been named Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year, an honor that has only existed for six years. The No. 45 is stronger than typical Padróns and is an intense smoke jammed with rich, hearty, coffee notes and a heady amount of spices. The Padróns are tobacco hoarders, keeping stocks of tobacco for years, and this cigar is made with some of their oldest leaves. Company president Jorge Padrón says the leaves inside are as old as 10 years. The first of the Padrón’s Family Reserves were torpedos made from very old tobaccos, served only for special occasion dinners and never sold at retail. While the 45 shares the original’s old tobacco, it’s a slightly different blend and an entirely different shape, being a severely pressed parejo. While the majority of Padrón Family Reserve No. 45s are made with maduro wrappers, some are wrapped in natural leaves. The cigars come in tidy boxes of 10, the cover of which bears the signature of the Padrón clan. “This is something you carry in your blood,” says José Orlando Padrón about making cigars. “I was born in the middle of all that and that is why I love it so much.” Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date:

Take Me Back To The Top Of Page