San Cristobal Monumento
No cigarmaker in the world today has more buzz than Jose "Pepin" Garcia. Mainly on the strength of the Tatuaje and Padilla brands, which he makes for other clients, his gutsy cigars have always graced our Top 25 list. Now Garcia has landed his largest client yet: the Levins, owners of the Ashton brand. The Levins asked Garcia to create San Cristobal in his new Nicaraguan factory, and he responded with a fine, rich smoke a bit more tempered than the leathery powerhouses for which he has become famous. The brand hit the market in August, led by the huge Monumento, a visually striking 7 1/4-inch x 49-ring cigar with a slightly tapered head and a wrapper the color of semisweet chocolate. The performance is typical Garcia, with spicy notes of nutmeg balanced by sweet cherry.