The tasting from our August issue of Cigar Aficionado, which is now available to view in our online database, was impressive. Of the 79 handmade cigars tested by our editorial tasting panel, 18 earned a score of 91 points or better, with 33 cigars scoring 90 points or higher, outstanding on our 100-point scale. In other words, nearly 42 percent of the cigars tested in August scored 90 points or more—a true ratings monster.
While Cuba topped (or tied) four of the six size categories and had six cigars score 91 points or more, Nicaragua had a strong showing, too. Nine cigars from the Central American country scored 91 points or more and Nicaragua led or tied three size categories.
The August tasting rated cigars in six sizes: Churchill, corona gorda, double corona, figurado, panetela and robusto. Broken down further, the Churchill category produced more scores of 91 points or higher than any other category, with with five cigars, while three double coronas tied the top spot with scores of 92 points. Who says long cigars are dead?
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.
H. Upmann Sir Winston (Cuba, 94 points): This traditionally sized Churchill is one of the most coveted vitolas in the brand’s portfolio and, therefore, can be difficult to track down. See full tasting note.
Vegas Cubanas Generosos (Nicaragua, 93 points): After years of very limited production, the Garcia family (the makers of My Father, Tatuaje, and many other cigars) brought this brand back into regular production last year. See full tasting note.
The Wise Man Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua, 93 points): The darker offshoot to brand owner Nick Mellillo’s El Güegüense brand swaps the Corojo ’99 wrapper for a San Andrés wrapper grown in Mexico. See full tasting note.
Alec Bradley Black Market Estelí Churchill (Nicaragua, 92 points): This Black Market sub-brand is rolled with a Nicaraguan wrapper and two binders from Nicaragua and Honduras. See full tasting note.
Ashton Aged Maduro No. 60 (Dominican Republic, 92 points): Rolled by the Fuentes, this mainstay smoke is covered in dark broadleaf grown in Connecticut. See full tasting note.
Diplomaticos No. 2 (Cuba, 92 points): One of Cuba’s younger brands (it was established in the 1960s), this line currently comes in only one vitola. See full tasting note.
Juan Lopez Selección No. 2 (Cuba, 92 points): A Spanish businessman named Juan López Díaz founded this Cuban brand in the 1870s, and the No. 2 is one of its most popular vitolas. See full tasting note.
Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series "A" (Nicaragua, 92 points): Named for the year in which Padrón Cigars was founded, this 8 1/4-inch smoke is the longest size in this lauded brand. See full tasting note.
Ramon Allones Gigantes (Cuba, 92 points): While the Specially Selected vitola in this Cuban brand may garner more buzz, this double corona, the longest cigar in the brand, demonstrates it is no slouch either. See full tasting note.
Avo Maduro 30 Years No. 2 (Dominican Republic, 91 points): Blended to honor jazz musician and cigar lover, the late Avo Uvezian, this smoke wears a dark Connecticut broadleaf wrapper. See full tasting note.
Micallef Reserva Limitada Privada (Nicaragua, 91 points): The most expensive cigar in the Micallef portfolio uses tobaccos from five countries in its blend, including a dark, Mexican wrapper. See full tasting note.
My Father La Opulencia Robusto (Nicaragua, 91 points): The blend features a dark, Mexican wrapper, two Nicaraguan binders and various filler that were all grown on farms owned by the Garcia family. See full tasting note.
My Father No. 4 Lancero (Nicaragua, 91 points): Created by Jaime Garcia as as homage to his father, José “Pepin” Garcia, this cigar sports Nicaraguan binder and filler grown by the Garcias with a Sumatra Ecuador cover leaf. See full tasting note.
Oliva Serie V Lancero (Nicaragua, 91 points): This expertly constructed smoke uses only Nicaraguan tobaccos and retails for less than $8.00. See full tasting note.
Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Churchill (Honduras, 91 points): The Honduran broadleaf wrapper on this cigar has been well aged, and covers a Nicaraguan binder, with filler from the Dominican and also Nicaragua. See full tasting note.
Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill (Cuba, 91 points): Measuring 5 1/8 inches by 55 ring gauge, this stout smoke is the thickest vitola in the Cuban Romeo y Julieta line. See full tasting note.
San Lotano Requiem Connecticut Churchill (Nicaragua, 91 points): This mellowier follow-up to one of A.J. Fernandez’s first brands is covered in a lightly hued Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapper. See full tasting note.
Vegas Robaina Unico (Cuba, 91 points): The Robaina family has been growing Cuban tobacco on their Cuchillas de Barbacoa farm since 1845, but it wasn’t until 1997 that a brand with their name was introduced. See full tasting note.