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Connoisseur's Corner

Connoisseur's Corner: Near-Perfect Smokes

(From the April 2011 issue of Cigar Aficionado) Age has turned four cigars into classic smokes—in some cases, near-perfect smokes. In 1992, Cuba produced a H. Upmann No. 2 pirámide size that, almost 20 years later, has blossomed into a complex cigar that scored 99 points. It often gets overlooked for the Montecristo of the same name and size, but if your retailer happens to be hiding some vintage stock of this H. Upmann, buy it and smoke it.

It may be a little more difficult to find the Cuban Davidoff 80th Anniversary, a huge “A” size almost 10 inches long, but full of flavor, even after a quarter century. It was rolled in honor of brand owner Zino Davidoff’s 80th birthday and scored 98 points. Both the Fuente Fuente OpusX Petit Lancero and the Cohiba Esplendido achieved “classic” status, scoring 96 and 95 points, respectively.

99 points

H. Upmann No. 2 (1992)

This cigar starts and keeps a perfectly smooth draw. There are toasty nutmeg and cinnamon notes on the palate, and a long nutty finish with a hint of olives. This is a great example of Cuba’s potential.

Marvin R. Shanken

98 points

Davidoff 80th Anniversary (1986)

A beautiful, beautiful cigar with a chocolate brown wrapper. It has a perfect draw. This “A” size cigar has an incredible core of nuttiness, with a strong nutmeg quality and a light toastiness throughout the incredibly long finish. It is hard to put down.

Marvin R. Shanken

96 points

Fuente Fuente Opus X Petit Lancero (1995)

This cigar is from the original release of this Dominican puro. It has a strong note of sweet cedar, and a long, long finish that turns out ground coffee flavors. Perfectly balanced.

Gordon Mott

93 points

Punch Punch (1998)

The dark, oily wrappers on these box-pressed smokes are a testament to the type of tobacco used before the turn of the century. Still plenty of coffee, nut, earth and spice notes. Surprisingly full bodied and probably will be for many years.

Gregory Mottola

93 points

Romeo y Julieta Corona Grande (1995)

This isn’t a powerhouse of a smoke, and is reminiscent of the 1995 vintage. There are hints of leather and dry caramel that are perfectly balanced on the palate.

Gordon Mott

95 points

Cohiba Esplendido (1991)

A gorgeous wrapper with perfect construction. It has a firm draw but has rounded out into a wonderfully smooth cigar. There are balanced tobacco flavors with hints of earth and cocoa.

Gordon Mott

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