All-Time Top Cigars
A special reprint from the 1992/93 issue of Cigar Aficionado
In the winter of 1992, Cigar Aficionado ran profiles of five Cuban cigars hailed as the benchmarks of the cigar world. The cigars set the standard for quality craftsmanship, flavorful tobacco and overall performance. They were the cigars that smokers yearned to get their hands on, cigars to be savored until the smoker's fingers were near the burning point. A lot has changed in the cigar industry since then. Non-Cuban cigars have evolved into market competitors, rivaling Cuban smokes with their own style and quality. But that doesn't mean Cuban cigars have lost their identity, or that such brands as Cohiba, Montecristo and Hoyo de Monterrey are no longer held in the same regard as they once were. In 2002, these five cigars remain paradigms for aficionados, and are some of the most sought-after cigars in the world. Following are the descriptions and scores for these wonderful cigars, as they appeared in our Winter 1992/93 issue.
99 -- Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona
What more can be said about the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona? This is one of the biggest smokes with the greatest amount of flavor and style. Measuring 7 5/8 inches long by 49 ring gauge thick, the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona incorporates some of Cuba's finest tobacco and greatest workmanship.
98 -- Cohiba Esplendido
The Cohiba Esplendido is perfectly named. This is truly a splendid cigar to smoke. It has great richness and full tobacco flavors, yet it retains a great class and finesse on the palate. A Churchill-sized cigar, measuring 7 inches long by 47 ring gauge thick, it is called a "Julieta" in factories by the workers, and remains one of the favorite smokes of the rollers.
96 -- Cohiba Robusto
The Cohiba Robusto is one of the hottest selling Cuban cigars. No other offers such a burst of flavor in such a relatively small size. The Robusto measures 5 inches long by 50 ring gauge thick.
94 -- Punch Punch
Punch Punch is Cuba's cigar for the connoisseur. It offers plenty of captivating, creamy, coffee character yet maintains a harmony in aroma and flavor that leaves you spellbound. The Punch Punch is basically a shortened Churchill cigar measuring 5 5/8 inches long by 46 ring gauge thick. The thicker format gives the cigar richness, but the length makes it easy to enjoy in less time than a full-fledged Churchill. Called the "Corona Gorda" in Cuban cigar factories, the Punch Punch is rolled in the La Corona factory.
94 -- Montecristo No. 2
There's nothing quite like it. The Montecristo No. 2, sometimes called a torpedo or a piramide, represents the best in Cuban craftsmanship. It takes years to master producing this tapered cigar, called a piramide by the rollers themselves. Whatever you call it, it is a bombshell of a smoke, packed with spicy, rich flavors that go on and on with each puff. The Montecristo No. 2 measures 6 inches long and averages about 52 ring gauge thick.
TOP CUBAN CIGARS, 1992-2002
Of all the Cuban cigars that Cigar Aficionado has tasted blind since 1992, several have reinforced their legendary reputations with phenomenal performances. These are the top-scoring Cuban cigars in the history of the magazine. From quality construction to delicious, complex flavors, these are truly the best of the best.
99 -- Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona, Winter 1992/93
Rated 94 or higher four times, it's easy to understand why the Hoyo Double Corona is the quintessential Cuban cigar -- and why it's listed as one of the Star Cigars of Cuba. And the Hoyo de Monterrey brand is no one-hit wonder. Eight Hoyos have rated 90 points or higher over the years, including the Churchill, Epicure No. 1 and No. 2, and Le Hoyo Du Roi.
96 -- Cohiba Robusto, Autumn 1992
Another Star Cigar of Cuba, this is arguably the most recognized Cuban cigar brand worldwide. The Cohiba Robusto has been rated 90 points or higher seven times, and is joined by the Esplendido, rated 90 or higher four times, and the Siglo IV, which earned 90 points in the Autumn 1996 issue.
96 -- Flor de Cano Short Churchill, Autumn 1992
Created in Havana in 1932, La Flor de Cano is a lesser known Cuban brand, but one that holds its own in terms of flavor. In the first issue of Cigar Aficionado, the Short Churchill scored 96, and followed with a 93 in the Winter 1994/95 issue.
96 -- Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona, Spring 1995
96 -- Punch Double Corona, Spring 1995
Punch has consistently scored in the 90s during the last 10 years. Both the Double Corona and the Churchill scored in the 90s three times each, while the Punch Corona, Diademas Extra, Royal Selection No. 11 and the Punch Punch -- a Cigar Star of Cuba -- also scored 90 points or higher.
96 -- Romeo y Julieta Fabuloso, Summer 1993
Cuban Romeo y Julietas have scored 90 points or higher 22 times since 1992 -- the most of any cigar brand, Cuban or non-Cuban. Both the "A" sized Fabuloso and the Churchill scored in the Top 10 for Cubans, while the Exhibición No. 3 and No. 4 each scored 90 or higher on three occasions.
95 -- Bolivar Royal Corona, Winter 1994
After scoring a 93 in the magazine's premiere issue, the Bolivar Royal Corona followed with a stellar 95 score in Winter 1994/95 and then a 90 in December 1998. Besides the Royal Corona, Bolivar has scored in the 90s 15 other times.
95 -- Montecristo No. 2, June 2000
Second only to Hoyo de Monterrey, four Montecristo cigars rated in our Top 10. The Montecristo No. 2, perhaps Cuba's best-known cigar, scored in the 90s a remarkable seven times, most recently in June 2002 when it received a rating of 92.
95 -- Montecristo "A", Summer 1993
94 -- Cohiba Robusto, April 2001
94 -- Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona, October 1998
94 -- Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona, December 1999
94 -- Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2, Winter 1994