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Connoisseur's Corner

Connoisseur's Corner: A Perfect, 55-Year-Old Cigar

(From the December 2011 issue of Cigar Aficionado) A perfect 100-point-score is a rarity in Cigar Aficionado magazine. We have never given a 100 in our main tasting section, and even here in Connoisseur’s Corner, where we focus on aged cigars, their appearances are fleeting. Here we have our first perfect cigar since February 2011. The smoke, a 55-year-old H. Upmann No. 120, combined rich flavor and ideal balance. The cigar is an unassuming perfecto, less than five inches long, with a ring gauge of about 46. It was a private-stock cigar made for an American retailer in the days before the Cuban Revolution. A slightly younger pre-Castro Montecristo No. 1 was near perfect at 98 points and two other cigars joined our ranks of classic smokes. An 11-year-old Edición Limitada showed the problems of Cuban cigars from the year 2000.

100 points

H. Upmann No. 120 (1956)

It’s not a cigar. It’s a dream. This 55-year-old cigar has a perfect balance of flavors with a smooth draw. There is a rich nutmeg note and hints of cinnamon on the finish. A truly remarkable smoke.

Marvin R. Shanken

98 points

Montecristo No. 1 (1959)

What a smoke. The rich tobacco flavors are reminiscent of nuts and almonds, backed up by a solid sweet core of cocoa. It is just a wonderfully complex cigar with a great texture and a near-perfect draw.

Marvin R. Shanken

96 points

Trinidad Fundadore (1998)

A bracing shot of salt up front was a surprise considering the age of this lancero. Once it settled, the savory aspects complemented a sweet palate of nutmeg, cinnamon and graham cracker before a ginger snap finish that recurred in the aroma.

Gregory Mottola

95 points

Davidoff Dom Perignon (1989)

There is a medium-brown wrapper with some light veins covering this cigar, which is rich and smooth, hinting of nutmeg and chestnut flavors. It has an even draw and full body.

Marvin R. Shanken

94 points

Por Larrañaga No. 44 (1960)

This cigar is beginning to fade just a bit. It is almost perfectly constructed with a great draw and an even burn. On the palate, there are strong notes of cedar with some pencil lead flavors. Still a wonderful smoke.

Gordon Mott

89 points

Partagás Pirámide Edición Limitada (2000)

Big earthy kick to start, touch of green wood, then it develops a coffee bean note with a touch of vanilla, minerals and stones. Aggressive in its youth, this cigar has mellowed considerably but is lacking richness and intensity. A good, not great, smoke from a tough vintage year for Cubans.

David Savona

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