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Connoisseur's Corner

Connoisseur’s Corner: A 25-Year-Old Cohiba Lancero Scores 98 Points

There was no shortage of classic ratings in this exceptional group of vintage cigars. Standing at the top is a well-aged Cohiba Lancero. In its 25th year, the smoke remains powerful, full of the hearty flavors that made Cohiba one of the world's most famous brands. Right behind is a Montecristo No. 2 of similar age, another cigar that has aged very well and remains vibrant, with plenty of promise to come. The oldest cigar in the bunch, a 52-year-old Punch that was one of the house smokes of Dublin/London retailer J.J. Fox, was far more delicate, showing flavors of honeyed dessert wine on the finish. And in case you think only Cuban cigars age well, look at the score for the 2003 Tatuaje, which was rolled in Miami. It has aged just as well as the smokes from Havana.

98 points

Cohiba Lancero (1992)

One of the original Cohiba sizes, and the favorite of former Cuban President Fidel Castro. This smoke is a nearly perfect version of the panetela. It is still a powerhouse. The smoke exhibits a mouth-filling combination of coffee beans and earthiness, with black pepper on the long finish, and just a touch of leather. A great cigar.

—Gordon Mott

97 points

Montecristo No. 2 (1991)

Just a completely different smoke from current production Montes. This cigar had a natural box press on it from its long aging. The wrapper was oily to the touch, and dark and glistening to the eye. There was a smooth pencil lead mineral note that evolved into a dark earthiness and cocoa bean flavors. Plenty of life left.

—Gordon Mott

96 points

Punch Néctares No. 2 (1965)

A cigar of this age needs some time to warm up. It’s delicate to start, but about one inch in it starts to open up and show off its former majesty. Almond paste, buttered nuts, honey and vanilla show up on the palate, along with a touch of earth. The cigar’s sweetness increases as it burns, giving it a finish reminiscent of a Sauternes. A delightful taste of history.

—David Savona

96 points

Romeo y Julieta Churchill (2010)

This classic cigar had a beautiful colorado wrapper. There were strong nut and coffee bean notes trending toward espresso on the mid-palate. There was also a lush sweetness on the long finish, almost like papaya; interesting and delicious.

—Gordon Mott

96 points

Tatuaje Unicos (2003)

Time may have toned down this tightly packed figurado, but it still offers plenty of flavor and pop. The cigar burns razor sharp, showing soft earth notes up front with a pleasant raisin sweetness. The nose offers a distinct cinnamon spice and faint almond notes. Citrus and leather come in at the midpoint, followed by a chewy nougat finish. Simply delicious.

—Andrew Nagy

94 points

H. Upmann Magnum 46 (2005)

A sharp-eyed friend found these in the corner of a Havana cigar shop not long ago. The cigar has a delicate, nutty start, then blossoms to showcase café au lait, light cinnamon and salty pretzel notes. A balanced and wonderfully elegant cigar with a brown-sugar finish that should remind you to always poke around when you’re cigar shopping.

—David Savona

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