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Connoisseur's Corner

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.

98 points

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
97 points

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
96 points

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
95 points

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

94 points

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
92 points

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
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