Connoisseur's Corner: A Quartet of Classics
(From the June 2011 issue of Cigar Aficionado) We found a quartet of classic cigars in this tasting, three of them Cuban, one Nicaraguan, and all four aged superbly. The oldest smokes scored highest, a 1959 Por Larrañaga (98 points) and a 1960 H. Upmann No. 1 (97 points). Each was fairly smooth, especially the Por Larrañaga, and each cigar showed how an exceptional smoke can remain delicious even after 50 years. A far younger cigar, the robusto-sized Romeo y Julieta Exhibición No. 4 from 1993, showcased the high quality of production from that year. The 96-point cigar remains full bodied with a reverberant finish. As the Exhibición No. 4 approaches its 19th birthday, it is perhaps in its smoking prime. The Padrón Millennium, a limited-edition Nicaraguan release from 2000, shows remarkable intensity and elegance.
Por Larrañaga No. 3 (1959)
This is an elegant, classy smoke, now more than 50 years old. It has a very light note of nutmeg and cinnamon. There is nothing but smoothness here, from the draw to the finish. Great cigar. — Marvin R. Shanken
H. Upmann No. 1 (1960)
This English Market Selection shows the effects of long aging, with just a touch of dryness on the palate. But it has earthy notes, with a pleasant, peppery taste on the finish. It has a perfect draw. This cigar shows off Cuba at its best. — Marvin R. Shanken
Romeo y Julieta Exhibición No. 4 (1993)
A wonderful example of the 1993 vintage. Full-bodied with a long, deep finish. It is packed with a peppery overtone but very smooth, and has a backbone of sweetness with a light cocoa bean taste that leaves a full, mouth-watering roundness. — Gordon Mott
Padrón Millennium Maduro (2000)
This cigar remains very intense with earth and mint flavors on the palate, that shift toward a deep nutmeg note on the finish. It’s got a dark brown, blackish, oily wrapper. Despite the intensity, it is smooth from beginning to end.
— Marvin R. Shanken
Arturo Fuente Añejo No. 77 Shark (2005)
This partially pressed pyramid is loaded with leather and walnut notes, with a touch of raisins, minerals and hearty wood. Age has not tempered its Sampson strength—it’s an absolute powerhouse. — David Savona
Partagas Churchill De Luxe (1995)
This is a smooth, relatively medium-bodied smoke, with the restrained quality of a lot of cigars from 1995. Well-made with a good balance of leather and light wood flavors. Warms up with a smooth but fairly short finish. — Gordon Mott