Connoisseur's Corner

Connoisseur's Corner: A Perfect Cuban Circa 1950

(From the December 2015 issue of Cigar Aficionado) Step into a time machine, and dial the year back to the 1950s. The Second World War was over, the U.S. economy was thriving and consumers were ready to spend their cash. Cigar lovers puffed away on panetelas and perfectos made from Cuban tobacco, and cigars seemed to be sold everywhere, even in upscale department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue. If you walked into Saks in the 1950s, you may have been able to buy an H. Upmann Saks No. 30. We're certain it was a splendid smoke back then, but after some six decades protected in the beautifully branded foil wrapping within the box, the corona-sized cigar has turned into utter perfection. It was one of four smokes here rated classic, joining a trio of younger Havanas that scored 95 points or higher.

100 points

H. Upmann Saks No. 30 (circa 1950)

This is a spectacular cigar. It’s well aged with a smooth, easy draw and a superb wrapper. The smoke has cinnamon and flint on the palate with a pleasant touch of chocolate. One of the most enjoyable cigars I’ve ever smoked.

—Marvin R. Shanken

97 points

Punch Double Corona (1995)

Gorgeous to behold, this long, large Cuban has a silky wrapper, its shape squared off from being pressed in the dress box from whence it came. The initial notes are rather dry, but as the cigar warms and burns it blossoms. The smoke is floral, with lots of toasted almond, honeyed wood and a long, woody finish. This is a classic Cuban cigar that has only become better with age.

—David Savona

96 points

Davidoff Dom Perignon (1988)

A beautiful Churchill with plenty of oils to the wrapper and a significant amount of power considering its age. The first puffs are unctuous and luscious with roasted chestnuts, toast and freshly ground cinnamon. Bold notes of coffee bean really jump out midway through. There is still lots of life left here.

—Gregory Mottola

95 points

Saint Luis Rey Regios (1995)

This dark robusto is the color of a candy bar. It’s rich and robust from the first puff, brimming with high-octane flavor: leather, smoked meat and lots of wood. Despite being 20 years old, it remains a powerful smoke with a red pepper zing, plenty of cedar and a long, zippy finish that remains untempered by age.

—David Savona

94 points

La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’Or No. 2 (1997)

This is a typical Cuban La Gloria, not overpowering, but a very pleasant, solid lonsdale with well-balanced flavors. The cigar delivers some good coffee notes, as well as a hint of cinnamon on the finish. With nearly 20 years of age, this slim smoke is about at its peak, and should be smoked now.

—Gordon Mott

92 points

Romeo y Julieta Churchill (1992)

Squarely box pressed, this cigar takes awhile to warm up, starting light and a bit dusty, but then really opens up to show a finessed range of creamy citrus, sweet almond paste and a floral finish.

—Gregory Mottola

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