Cigars

10 Must-Smoke Cigars For The Holiday Season

Make merry with 10 cigars that all impressed with scores of 93 points or higher
Dec 22, 2021 | By Chris Esposito
10 Must-Smoke Cigars For The Holiday Season

This holiday season, we have a gift for you: a list of 10 cigars that all achieved outstanding or classic scores in one of the most recent issues of Cigar Aficionado. Whether the cigars are pigtailed parejos or curvy figurados, former Cigars of the Year or new releases, broadleaf or Sumatra wrappers, every cigar in the collection has one thing in common: it scored 93 points or higher.

Since it’s the middle of the holiday season, it might be an ideal time to ask for a late present or to pick up one of these delicious cigars for a fellow cigar lover (or give a gift to yourself). So get a smoke from your local brick-and-mortar, grab some friends and family members, light up, and enjoy.

Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado (95 Points, Nicaragua): It’s no surprise this cigar impressed yet again. In 2014, it was Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year and various Oliva Serie V cigars have made the Top 25 on multiple occasions. Pressed and double-tapered, this handsome figurado draws flawlessly, demonstrating textbook construction and combustion. All of this makes the Figurado a perfect vehicle for the rich, sweet and nutty smoke that envelops the palate with each puff. See full tasting note.

Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Concerto

Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Concerto (94 Points, Nicaragua): Aging Room let the music play with its Churchill-sized Concerto—whose cousin, the Maestro, was the No. 1 Cigar of 2019. Rich layers of chocolate, caramel and pecan unfold with each puff, all atop a backbone of espresso. Luxurious texture and precise detail make this medium- to full-bodied Nicaraguan puro an absolute delight to smoke, while keeping its strength. See full tasting note.

San Cristobal Quintessence Churchill (94 Points, Nicaragua): The Quintessence seems to be getting better every year, last scoring a 92 and landing on the Top 25 list of 2018 in its Corona Gorda form. Here, the high-scoring Churchill takes it to the next level with a rich and nutty smoke that also imparts complex layers of earth, coffee bean, malted milk and a bit of sweet baking spices before the cappuccino finish. At 7 inches long, it’s a rather large smoke and retails for less than $10, adding tremendous value to this tremendous cigar. See full tasting note.

E.P. Carrillo La Historia E-III

E.P. Carrillo La Historia E-III (93 Points, Dominican Republic): Veteran cigarmaker Ernesto Perez-Carrillo seems to be on a winning streak. He’s got two Cigar of the Year awards under his belt and even a No. 2 in 2014. That was for the La Historia E-III and this year, we rated it again. No surprise that it’s still fantastic. Wrapped in a gorgeous leaf of Mexican San Andrés tobacco, the La Historia E-III is driven by a strong core of coffee and earth with wood, black pepper and briny olive notes appearing as well. See full tasting note.

H. Upmann No. 2 (93 Points, Cuba): Its shape might remind you of another renowned Cuban pirámide of the same size: the Montecristo No. 2. And it may be a little harder to find, but it’s no less delicious. The tawny-colored torpedo shows rich dimension with heady notes of leather, nuts, wood and chocolate, all sweetened by a graham cracker finish. If you come across this tasty Cuban in your travels, buy it. See full tasting note.

Herrera Esteli Habano Robusto Grande

Herrera Esteli Habano Robusto Grande (93 Points, Nicaragua): Drew Estate’s master blender, Willy Herrera, has done outstanding work with the Herrera Esteli brand. There are many different versions in the series, composed of an Ecuador Habano wrapper, Honduran binder and Nicaraguan filler. It all comes together in the Robusto Grande for a bold, tasty smoke of earth and pepper brilliantly inlaid with tasty notes of salted peanut, caramel and candied pecan. See full tasting note.

La Dueña Petit Lancero No. 7 (93 Points, Nicaragua): Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson and My Father Cigars’ Jaime Garcia teamed up to make a cigar for Jaime’s sister, Janny Garcia, in 2012.  Spanish for “the female owner,” La Dueña puts an emphasis on Connecticut broadleaf, as the wrapper is made of this dark, American leaf, as are one of the two binders. There’s even some broadleaf in the filler, making for a smoke of leather, honeyed wood, sweet spices and rich mocha before a big, oaky finish. See full tasting note.

Partagas Salomon

Partagás Salomon (93 Points, Cuba): A beautifully tapered Salomon, this cigar is long, thick and delicious at 7 1/4 inches long and 57 ring gauge at its fattest point. With its tapers and curves, the size might be a little intimidating, but the nutty impressions of walnut, raw almond and sweet marzipan make this slow-burning Cuban Salomon worth the time commitment. See full tasting note.

Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Monarca (93 Points, Nicaragua): “Best of” cigar lists are rarely complete without a Padrón, let alone one from the 1964 Anniversary Series. The Monarca is a fine expression of the blend: a richly-hued, box-pressed toro full of Nicaraguan tobacco. The delightful palate of macadamia nut, cocoa powder and sour cherry all hint of dark chocolate and resonate on the finish. See full tasting note.

Saint Luis Rey Carenas Toro

Saint Luis Rey Carenas Toro (93 Points, Honduras): The Saint Luis Rey brand from Altadis is back after a two-year hiatus. Carenas, named after the old name for the Port of Havana, pays tribute to the country where its wrapper seed is from: Cuba. The result is an attractive, reddish cover leaf and a smoke that shows vibrant notes of savory wood, red pepper spice and almond. See full tasting note.

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