A new batch of cigar ratings, which first appeared in the October issue of Cigar Aficionado, has just been added to our extensive online tasting database. Like all Cigar Aficionado tastings, this selection of handmade cigars varies in price, size and country of origin, but all are rated blind.
Of the 83 cigars reviewed, three earned a rating of 93 points, the highest rating of this issue. While these cigars were from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, almost half of the cigars that scored 91 points or higher were made in Nicaragua, now the largest importer of cigars to the United States.
The October tasting rated cigars in six sizes: Churchill, corona gorda, figurado, lonsdale, robusto and miscellaneous. Of those, corona gorda performed best, with seven cigars scoring 91 points or higher.
Our panel of editors consider four different categories as they determine a cigar's rating: Appearance and structure count for a maximum of 15 points; flavor and smoking characteristics (quality of draw, texture of smoke, etc.) count for 25 points each; and the remaining 35 points are allotted to the overall impression, or level of enjoyment, of the cigar.
E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic (Dominican Republic, 93 points) Encore is a new brand from cigarmaker Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, which debuted earlier this year. It is the first blend from EPC Cigar Co. to be made solely from Nicaraguan tobaccos. See full tasting note
Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial (Cuba, 93 points) Epicure Especial is a robusto, measuring 5 1/2 inches long by 50 ring, that was first released as an Edición Limitada in 2004. It was introduced as a full-production size at the Habanos Festival in 2008. See full tasting note
Vegas Robaina Famoso (Cuba, 93 points) The Vegas Robaina brand bears the name of Cuba’s most-famous tobacco farmer, Alejandro Robaina. Robaina passed away in 2010, but his legend lives on though his grandson Hirochi, who serves as the unofficial ambassador of Cuban cigars. See full tasting note
Alec Bradley Black Market Estelí Toro (Nicaragua, 92 points) An extension to the Alec Bradley Black Market brand, Black Market Estelí bears little resemblance to the original blend. While both wear a Nicaraguan wrapper, Black Market Estelí stays true to its name and is made mostly from Nicaraguan tobaccos in Nicaragua, instead of Honduras. See full tasting note
Cohiba Siglo V (Tubo) (Cuba, 92 points) At 6 3/4 inches, this Cuban lonsdale is the longest cigar in the Cohiba Siglo line. This particular smoke is packed in a tubo and carries a box date from December 2017. See full tasting note
Illusione Cruzado Short Robusto (Nicaragua, 92 points) Cruzado debuted in 2008 as a milder offering to accompany Dion Giolito’s Illusione brand. When the cigar first hit the market it was made at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras, but production has since shifted to Aganorsa Leaf (formally known as Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. or TABSA) in Nicaragua. See full tasting note
Mombacho Liga Maestro Hermoso (Nicaragua, 92 points) When Liga Maestro was first released it started as a series made exclusively for Italy, but it is now available for the U.S. market. The brand got a makeover in 2016 for consistent packaging and better brand recognition. See full tasting note
Montecristo No. 2 (Cuba, 92 points) The undisputed king of torpedoes and 2013 Cigar of the Year. Montecristo No. 2 is known the world over and ranks as one of the best-selling cigars in the Cuban cigar portfolio. See full tasting note
Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Churchill (Nicaragua, 92 points) This non-Cuban version of the Ramon Allones brand is the first to be produced by Nicaraguan cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez. The brand launched last spring and earned an impressive average rating of 90.5 points in its debut vertical tasting in Cigar Insider. See full tasting note
Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Churchill (Honduras, 92 points) The blend of Rocky Patel's Vintage 1992 brand is centered around its cover leaf, a Sumatra-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador. The Churchill is squarely-pressed. See full tasting note
Villiger San'Doro Colorado Churchill (Nicaragua, 92 points) The San’Doro Colorado Robusto placed on the Top 25 best cigars of 2016 list with a score of 92 points. And the blend has remained consistent, as the Churchill, which is the same ring gauge but two inches longer, earned the same rating two years later. See full tasting note
Diesel Whiskey Row Churchill (Nicaragua, 91 points) This new cigar is named for its Mexican San Andrés binder leaf, which has been aged in barrels that were once used to age Kentucky-based Rabbit Hole Bourbon. See full tasting note
Matilde Serena Robusto (Dominican Republic, 91 points) The first cigar from Matilde Cigar Co. to sport a Connecticut wrapper, Serena launched in 2016 to round out the company’s portfolio, which did not include a mild cigar at the time. See full tasting note
Montecristo Línea 1935 Leyenda (Cuba, 91 points) While this new Montecristo brand first debuted at the 2017 Habanos Festival, it did not begin shipping until March of this year. In a vertical brand tasting conducted by Cigar Insider, the Leyenda proved to be the stand-out size with a rating of 91 points. See full tasting note
Oliva Serie G Churchill (Nicaragua, 91 points) This trunk-pressed Churchill wears a colorado-claro wrapper grown in the African country of Cameroon. The 91-point smoke is quite large and only costs $6.25, a great bang-for-your-buck cigar. See full tasting note
Plasencia Cosecha 146 San Luis (Honduras, 91 points) As part of a new series that will showcase harvest-specific tobaccos, Plasencia Cigars released Cosecha 146 in 2017. The cigar is blended exclusively with tobaccos grown during the 2011–2012 harvest on the Plasencias’ farms in Nicaragua and Honduras. See full tasting note
Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Toro (Tubo) (Nicaragua, 91 points) Cigarmaker Rocky Patel released his 15th Anniversary cigar in 2010 to celebrate a decade and a half in the cigar business. This year, the company updated its packaging with a brighter cigar band and less-bulky box. See full tasting note