The Top 25 Cigars Archive


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Currently viewing: 2013
Rank Cigar Country Score Price
25
Romeo by Romeo Y Julieta Toro en Tubo
Dominican Republic 92 $7
Romeo y Julieta is the best-selling premium cigar brand from giant Altadis U.S.A. Inc., so it was a bold move when the company opted to make a new version of the cigar. Modern, vibrant packaging was only the cosmetic part of the change for the new Romeo by Romeo y Julieta, which is blended around a hearty, dark leaf of Ecuador Havana wrapper. Inside is a mix of Dominican filler and binder, and the combination impressed us beyond any other Dominican Romeo we had ever smoked. Last year the Piramide size earned our No. 3 spot on the Top 25, and this year the Toro en Tubo takes its place in our best cigars of the year. The dark, oily smoke has meaty notes, hints of dark roasted coffee and a complex character. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

24
Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto
Honduras 92 $9
All readers of Cigar Aficionado should know the Alec Bradley Prensado brand. The Churchill size was named Cigar of the Year for 2011, the crowning achievement to date for the then 16-year-old Alec Bradley cigar company from Dania, Florida. Prensados are serious smokes, made in Honduras from an all-Central American blend of tobaccos, and they are gorgeous. Construction on the Prensado line rivals that of almost any other cigar. The smokes are finished with pressed, oily wrappers grown in the Trojes region of southern Honduras. The Robusto hits the palate with a flavorful interplay of cocoa powder and vanilla balanced by cedar and hints of dried fruit, making for a tasty smoking experience. Read more

Country: Honduras

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

23
Casa Magna Colorado Extraordinario
Nicaragua 93 $11
The Casa Magna Colorado Robusto became a cigar industry sensation when it was named Cigar of the Year in 2008. The cigar, which retailed for all of $5 at the time, was a team effort, blended by Manuel Quesada from the Dominican Republic and the Plasencias of Central America. A year later, they expanded the line with this size, the Extraordinario, a large figurado with intriguing curves. This is the second time the Extraordinario has made our Top 25 list, and one taste will show you why. The cigar has a serious leathery quality with plenty of sweet nougat and cocoa to balance the tannic leather. A bit of earth and spice add to the complexity. Casa Magna Colorado is a blend we clearly enjoy. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

22
La Palina Classic Toro
Dominican Republic 93 $8
The resurrected La Palina cigar brand has been on the market for only three years, but the brand has delivered several memorable cigars; this is the second year in a row a La Palina has placed on our Top 25. The La Palina Classic Toro comes from the PDR Factory in the Dominican Republic, which continues to impress us with its smokes. Made with a Brazilian wrapper grown from Havana seed, the cigar is considerably nutty, bright and tangy, with a light chocolate finish. The cigar is a bargain, especially among La Palinas, and this La Palina Classic brand is the least expensive cigar line produced by the company. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

21
Bolivar Royal Corona
Cuba 93 £15
The Bolivar Royal Corona is a standout smoke, one of Cuba's reliably flavorful robustos and a former Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year. Current production Royal Coronas are smoking extremely well, showcasing the traditional powerful complexity Cuban cigar aficionados have come to expect from cigars bearing the Bolivar name. Bolivars are named for Simon Bolivar, the liberator of South America, who is illustrated in the portrait at the center of each Bolivar band. The Royal Corona is a leathery and earthy smoke with a growing intensity, as well as notes of chocolate and spicy licorice. Read more

Country: Cuba

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

20
Nat Sherman Timeless Collection Divino
Dominican Republic 93 $8
Nat Sherman has been selling cigars for more than 80 years, and the company recently embarked on a comprehensive redesign of its Nat Sherman brands. The result is the creation of Nat Sherman Timeless, which appeared on our Top 25 last year. Today another size in the line has claimed a Top 25 spot, showing the brand has staying power. The Divino, an unusual little perfecto with a blunted head and a skinny foot, has a complex mix of rich flavors, including a touch of maple, some leather and an earthy finish. The tri-nation blend is rolled at Manuel Quesada's Manufactura de Tabacos S.A. (MATASA) factory, and brings a vibrant new flavor and energy to the Nat Sherman name. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

19
My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed
Nicaragua 93 $11
First came the My Father brand in 2008, created in secret by Jaime Garcia to honor his father, José "Pepin" Garcia. One year later, Pepin decided to pay tribute to his own father by making this line extension, the My Father Le Bijou 1922. The Le Bijou Box Press Torpedo is a Nicaraguan puro, unlike the original My Father, which has an Ecuadoran wrapper. The Le Bijou has an extremely dark wrapper dubbed Habano Oscuro by the Garcias. The pressed smoke delivers a red-pepper spice that evolves and sweetens, taking on a distinct cocoa powder and coffee bean character, yet remains balanced. The Garcias, makers of the 2012 Cigar of the Year, continue to impress with one top-scoring cigar after another. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

18
Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Robusto
Nicaragua 93 $10
Rocky Patel Premium Cigars sells millions of cigars every year, with a wide range of brands, and the ones that impress us again and again with consistently superior scores come from the Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary line. Made at Patel's Tavicusa factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, which is run by Amilcar Perez, the smokes have a robust and flavorful blend. The combination of high-priming Ecuador Havana wrappers grown by Tampa's Oliva Cigar Co. with full-flavored Nicaraguan filler and binder result in dynamite cigars that have a pleasant combination of flavor and elegance. In 2011, the Torpedo size placed on our Top 25. This year the Robusto excelled with its black cherry and dried fruit intonations around a rich core of coffee. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Robusto

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

17
La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Reserva Maximo
Nicaragua 94 $9
Ashton's La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor brand has made its mark on Cigar Aficionado's tasting panel. The Belicoso size was the magazine's No. 2 cigar of 2011, scoring 95 points, classic on our 100-point scale. After that accolade, Ashton decided to make a stronger, one-size version of the smoke and the result is the superb Maximo. Made with a similar, but not identical, blend to that of the traditional Mi Amor line, the Maximo gets some of its more powerful flavor via a high-priming wrapper leaf grown from Cuban seeds in Mexico's lush San Andrés Valley. The well-made cigar has hickory and almond notes that lead into hints of dark chocolate and earth. It's another memorable smoke from the Garcias and Levins. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

16
Asylum Premium 2012 Vintage 44x4
Nicaragua 94 $4
The shortest smoke on our Top 25 is a new brand launched by Christian Eiroa, the former president of Camacho cigars, and partner Tom Lazuka. This Nicaraguan smoke is a departure from the old Eiroa style, which was always heavy on Honduran tobacco. The all-Nicaraguan blend is vintage dated, a nod to the changing conditions of crop years that mimics what has become the standard in the premium wine industry. The short smoke is big on flavor and pleasantly tart, with savory leather, coffee and green apple notes. The Asylum lines are meant to be cutting edge and irreverent, with some bearing colorful names such as Schizo and Ogre, but the fine tobacco in this diminutive 44x4 is all the distinction it requires. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Odd

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

15
Fernando León Family Reserve Belicoso
Dominican Republic 94 $10
The León Family of the Dominican Republic has been making cigars by hand since 1903. To celebrate 110 years in the cigar business, La Aurora owner Guillermo León created a blend honoring his father, Fernando Léon Asensio, who died in 2009 after running the company for many years. The Fernando León Family Reserve is made with a blend of Peruvian, Dominican and Brazilian filler tobaccos (a formula familiar to La Aurora smokers) wrapped with Corojo-seed tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic. The result is a balanced, complex smoke with notes of raisin, spice and cocoa, and just a touch of minerals. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

14
La Flor Dominicana Oro Chisel
Dominican Republic 94 $13
Before he made cigars, Litto Gomez was a jeweler, so when he created a new cigar line in 2012 he decided to pay homage to his former career. His Oro line—oro is Spanish for gold—is made with his home-grown Dominican tobacco from La Canela under a dark, high-priming wrapper from Nicaragua. The La Flor Dominicana Oro Chisel brings a new taste to Gomez's trademark figurado size. It's considerably strong (would you expect anything less from a Chisel?) with spicy leather and tingly ginger on the palate, plus hearty hickory wood. The handsome cigars come packed in distinctive golden tubes. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

13
Fuente Fuente OpusX Super Belicoso
Dominican Republic 94 $13
Cigars made by the Fuentes have a strong track record on Cigar Aficionado's Top 25, particularly the Fuente Fuente OpusX—the Double Corona was Cigar of the Year in 2005. The Super Belicoso is a short, squat figurado with a gorgeous wrapper grown on Chateau de la Fuente, the palatial Fuente tobacco plantation located in El Caribe, Dominican Republic. The cigar is among the world's best full-flavored cigars, robust and leathery, with a strong backbone of spice leading to a complex and bold flavor. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date: 2013-01-01

12
L'Atelier LAT56
Nicaragua 94 $10
Pete Johnson took the cigar world by storm 10 years ago with his Tatuaje brand. Now he's branching out with new projects, spearheaded by a new brand he has dubbed L'Atelier. Made by Johnson's longtime partners the Garcia family of My Father Cigars (makers of the 2012 Cigar of the Year) L'Atelier cigars are complex and tasty, capped with pigtails that make them resemble Cohiba Behikes, on which they are loosely modeled. L'Ateliers are considerably tasty smokes, and our favorite is the largest, the LAT56, which is teeming with notes of chocolate and wood and just the right amount of truffle. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

11
Oliva Serie O Churchill
Nicaragua 94 $6
Oliva Cigar Co. has considerable tobacco stocks, and its Serie O brand is made with Cuban-seed leaves from the three major growing regions of Nicaragua: Jalapa, Condega and Estelí, where the cigars are rolled. The smoke is delicious, with a salty, earthy flavor punctuated by tasty dried cherries and hints of cocoa and cedar. And it's hard to beat the value—this is a cigar of considerable size (7 inches long with a 50 ring gauge) and it retails for a mere $6.20 a cigar, or $124 for a box of 20. Oliva has had a cigar in our Top 25 every year since 2005, which is a considerable and commendable feat. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Churchill

Issue Date: 2013-01-01

10
Ashton Virgin Sun Grown Spellbound
Dominican Republic 94 $14
The Ashton Virgin Sun Grown brand has established itself as a benchmark smoke among full-bodied enthusiasts. Its launch in 1999 brought a newfound interest to Ecuador Sumatra wrapper. Everyone speaks of the wrapper with Ashton VSGs. The leaves for these smokes were grown in the cloud-covered foothills of the Andes mountains by Oliva Tobacco Co., the Tampa, Florida, company that has brokered cigar tobacco for decades. Fuente takes the leaves that grow near the top of Sumatra-seed plants and ferments them in bulks, bringing out the oils and increasing the darkness. The result is a strong, oily, flavorful leaf that leaves an impression on the palate. It's one of the benchmark brands for Ashton Distributors Inc., a company owned by the Levin family, which has sold cigars since the 1950s. We've given high rating after high rating to Ashton VSGs over the years. The Spellbound size is the longest in the vast line (there are a dozen sizes) and has hearty flavor with a robust nuttiness and a caramel sweetness for balance. This is a cigar that combines three of the cigar world's best known families: the Olivas of Tampa, the Levins of Philadelphia and the Fuentes of the Dominican Republic. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Double Corona

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

9
Gurkha 125th Anniversary XO
Dominican Republic 94 $11
Gurkha cigars have long been known for eye-popping packaging, and considerably high prices. The company makes one cigar brand that sells for $700 a box, and another flavored with Cognac that retails for nearly $500 for a single cigar. A few years ago, however, the company set out in a new direction, adding new brands with more traditional pricing, and seeking out other cigar factories to make its brands under contract, expanding its portfolio. The new cigars have done well in our blind taste tests, none better than the Gurkha 125th Anniversary XO. Made at the standout PDR Factory in Tamboril, Dominican Republic, this cigar impressed us again and again in our tests. It has a lovely flavor of dried orange peel, some leather and cedar, and is a balanced smoke with no shortage of elegance. Brand owner Kaizad Hansotia dates the origin of the Gurkha name on cigars back 125 years; he bought the brand rights in the 1980s and brought Gurkhas to the United States in the 1990s. This is the first time one of his cigars has placed in our Top 25, and the best score we've ever given a Gurkha. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Grande

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

8
Herrera Esteli Piramide Fino
Nicaragua 94 $10
Drew Estate has grown into one of the world's largest makers of cigars by hand. It's an incredible success story. The company's roots began in New York in 1995 when Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel opened a cigar kiosk at the World Trade Center Mall in downtown Manhattan with all of 16 square feet. Today the company operates one of the world's largest cigar factories, a massive, colorful and beautiful creation that reflects the eclectic style of the founders. Drew Estate makes tens of millions of cigars each year, including the heavy bodied Liga Privada brand, wrapped in Connecticut broadleaf, and the infused Acid brand. In 2011, Drew Estate hired Willy Herrera, the former cigar blender from Miami's miniscule but standout El Titan de Bronze, a factory on Calle Ocho. After considerable time getting a feel for the new, much larger operation, Herrera put the finishing touches on a new cigar, and in early 2013 Drew Estate launched Herrera Esteli. We were taken from the beginning with the Herrera Esteli Piramide Fino, a chunky figurado (it looks more like a Cuban belicoso than a piramide) made from a mix of Nicaraguan, Honduran and Ecuadoran tobaccos that deliver a medium body, with notes of spice—both earthy and sweet—and a long, long finish. It's a brilliant smoke. This is the first time Drew Estate has made our Top 25, and the rating is its best ever from Cigar Aficionado. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

7
Buenaventura BV560
Nicaragua 94 $5
Buenaventura cigars are new to the pages of Cigar Aficionado, and likely to be unknown to many of you reading this entry. The brand is small and rather new, having made its market debut in October 2012. It comes from Andreas Throuvalas, a former European cigar retailer and the owner of the boutique company Curivari Cigars International. Curivari cigars got their start in Europe, and had no U.S. distribution until Throuvalas brought the brand to America in 2010. They have had a small but dedicated following, and have their share of scores in the high 80s. Buenaventuras have an old-school look, with vintage-style cigar bands and simple yet elegant packaging. The smokes are Nicaraguan puros, made with a mixture of tobaccos from Jalapa, Estelí and Condega. Curivari makes all of its cigars with Nicaraguan tobaccos, but it typically shies away from using tobacco from Condega, which might explain the standout nature of the Buenaventura blend. Buenaventura means "good luck," and we felt fortunate enjoying the Buenaventura BV560. The pressed cigar delivered a medium-bodied flavor profile with a decidedly creamy texture to the smoke, notes of roasted peanuts and a flavorful finish smacking of graham crackers. As an added bonus to the remarkable flavor, the cigar retails for less than $6.00, making it one of the least expensive cigars in our entire Top 25. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

6
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 2
Dominican Republic 94 $12
The Arturo Fuente Don Carlos line of cigars is a testament to excellence. Carlos Fuente Jr. blended the cigar to honor his father, Fuente patriarch Carlos Fuente Sr., for whom the cigar is named. The cigar has long been prized for its flavor and consistency. Unlike the company's spicy Fuente Fuente OpusX brand, Don Carlos cigars are nuanced. The cigars are wrapped in toothy Cameroon harvested from Western Africa. The filler and binder leaves include some of the oldest tobaccos in Fuente's extensive and massive tobacco inventory. The No. 2, which first hit the market in 1997, is a considerably fat pyramid, with a portly 55 ring gauge. As with most Don Carlos cigars, the smoke is a slow starter Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date: 2013-01-01

5
Cohiba Behike BHK 54
Cuba 94 £40
Say the name Behike and cigar lovers perk up their ears. Cigar Aficionado crowned the Cohiba Behike BHK 52 Cigar of the Year in 2010, heaping praise on the chubby, pigtailed smoke. While we've never truly embraced the largest of the trio, the BHK 56, we've always given good scores to the middle cigar of the bunch, the 54. Tasting it again this year, we feel the Cohiba BHK 54 is smoking better than ever. All Cohiba Behikes are said to be made with a bit of medio tiempo tobacco, small leaves that grow at the very top of some, but not all, Cuban-seed tobacco plants. That filler component, which once was heaped in with other ligeros, or strong tobaccos, today is separated and fermented on its own, and used as a special ingredient in the Behike blend. The result is a bold, leathery smoke with a solid earthy core and pleasant notes of coffee bean. This Behike is rich, flavorful and eminently memorable. Cohiba Behike BHK 54s are among the most expensive of Cuban cigars, but when they deliver this type of standout flavor, we believe they are worth the expense. Read more

Country: Cuba

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

4
Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Maduro Diplomatico
Nicaragua 94 $13
It’s never a surprise to see a cigar from the Padrón family high atop our list of Top 25 cigars. The company continues to create consistently superb cigars that score 90 points or more on a regular basis and holds an unprecedented three Cigar of the Year titles from the magazine. The Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series line debuted in 1994 to celebrate 30 years of Padrón cigars. It was a hit from the beginning, and nearly 20 years after its launch it remains one of the most popular and highly rated cigar lines on the market. The Diplomatico is the largest of the Anniversary Series cigars, save for the rarely seen 'A' In maduro wrapper, it's a dark, box-pressed smoke with a perfect draw that layers the palate with copious amounts of complex flavors including nuts and toast, with a sweet hint of raisin on the finish. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of Jose Orlando Padrón's amazing cigar company. We're certain the company will launch something memorable to note the benchmark year, and if history is any judge, you're very likely to read about it in these pages come next year. Read more

Country: Nicaragua

Cigar Size: Churchill

Issue Date: 2013-01-01

3
Davidoff Nicaragua Toro
Dominican Republic 95 $17
Davidoff cigars have been made in the Dominican Republic under the watchful eye of Hendrik Kelner since the early 1990s, and the vast majority of those cigars have been a mild- to medium-bodied blend of locally grown filler and binder leaves wrapped with creamy, light Connecticut-seed tobacco. With today's cigar aficionados having developed a tremendous appetite for Nicaraguan cigars, Davidoff's new leaders aimed at expanding their footprint, and Nicaraguan tobacco became the target. But rather than opening its own factory in Nicaragua, or contracting out a brand, the Davidoff team opted to make a different move and import tobacco from Nicaragua to its Dominican factory. There, they used tried-and-true construction and quality control methods to bring an entirely new taste profile to the venerable Davidoff brand. The result is Davidoff Nicaragua, the most exciting cigars from Davidoff in many years. The cigar line launched in the middle of 2013 to great fanfare, with three sizes: Robusto, Short Corona and Toro. The Toro was our favorite, showing complexity, elegance and balance, with floral notes, hints of coffee and leather and a very long finish. This is a beautiful, elegant smoke that's a worthy addition to the storied Davidoff name. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Corona Gorda

Issue Date: 2013-01-01

2
Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto
Dominican Republic 95 $9
The small Aging Room brand first appeared on our radar in 2011, when the Presto size performed well in our final tastings and took the No. 16 spot in our Top 25 list. Today a new version of the Dominican brand has done even better, standing out again and again in test after test to claim the No. 2 spot in our rankings. The Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto was created by brand owner Rafael Nodal of Boutique Blends Cigars and cigarmaker Jochi Blanco of Tabacalera La Palma. The name Concerto is a nod to the musical background of Nodal, an accomplished violin player and pianist who began selling cigars in 2002, first under the name Oliveros. Blanco, who grows tobacco and makes cigars, turned to some of his homegrown leaves for the bunch and a rather unusual wrapper to cloak the Churchill-sized cigar. The wrappers were grown on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and while Sumatra seed grown elsewhere is a big component in the premium cigar industry, the Sumatra that actually grows in Indonesia doesn't play as heavily in the premium cigar world. Indonesian tobacco gets more use on machine-made cigars, particularly the tiny dry-cured variety that are made in Europe. The story goes that the wrapper leaves used for this cigar had been sitting around in a warehouse owned by a German cigar producer before they were found by the Aging Room team. The result is a balanced, sophisticated cigar that displays rich notes of roasted coffee bean and sweet cedar. It's a lovely smoke that impressed our tasting panel time and time again. Read more

Country: Dominican Republic

Cigar Size: Churchill

Issue Date: 2013-01-01

1
Montecristo No. 2
Cuba 96 £22
The undisputed king of torpedoes is the Montecristo No. 2. The stately smoke with the pointy tip is known the world over and ranks as one of the best-selling cigars in the Cuban cigar portfolio. And unlike some things that sell well, Monte 2s combine commercial success with critical acclaim. We have rated Montecristo No. 2s dozens of times in Cigar Aficionado blind tastings. The first time was more than 20 years ago, when we gave it a score of 94 points. This score of 96 is the highest rating we have ever bestowed on the cigar in a blind taste test. Recent production Monte 2s (those we smoked were from April 2013) are extraordinary, teeming with rich but not overwhelming flavors of leather, such sweet spices as cinnamon and nutmeg and the cigar's trademark tangy wood note. They have enough flavor and power to satisfy those who smoke cigars on a regular basis without overwhelming those who puff less frequently. The Montecristo No. 2 is anything but new. The cigar is one of the original sizes of the Montecristo brand, which was created in Cuba by Alonso Menendez in 1935 and became the best-known of all the cigars rolled at Menendez, Garcia y Cia., the biggest cigar company in pre-Castro Cuba. The Count of Monte Cristo, the 1844 work of French novelist Alexandre Dumas that culminates in a dramatic sword fight, is believed to have inspired the name. Today, the Montecristo box features swords crossed in a triangular pattern, and the band has a majestic fleur-de-lis, a symbol of the French monarchy, in its center. While Montecristo No. 2s smoke beautifully in their youth, they also make superb aging cigars for those with the patience. We have smoked Montecristos that have been stored for 10 to 50 years in a humidor, and they only get better over time. The Montecristo No. 2 is a classic, and Cigar Aficionado's best cigar of 2013. Read more

Country: Cuba

Cigar Size: Figurado

Issue Date: 2014-01-01

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