We have just added 79 new cigar reviews to our extensive online tasting database, and many of them are exceptional, scoring 90 points or higher. It was an impressive showing, considering the span of countries—and price range—that made up this list.
The scores come from February’s Cigar Aficionado, and 22 of those premium smokes earned a rating of 91 points or above.
Most of the top-scoring cigars in this tasting came from Nicaragua (nine cigars) and Cuba (eight). But the top performer of this issue went to the 7-20-4 Lancero, a thin, boutique-brand smoke rolled in Honduras. It scored 93 points. And while there’s a fair share of pricy smokes on this list, such as the Rafael Gonzalez 88 Exclusivo Asia Pacifico (£25.68 on the British market, or $35.77 when converted to dollars), there are bargains as well, such as the Oliva Serie O Churchill, which costs a mere $7.65. Both scored 92 points
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.
7-20-4 Lancero (Honduras, 93 points) Created by Kurt Kendall, a cigar shop owner in New Hampshire, 7-20-4 is a boutique cigar brand rolled in Honduras. Kendall revived the name from an old American cigar brand that operated in the late 19th century in Manchester, New Hampshire. See full tasting note.
El Rey Del Mundo Choix Supreme (Cuba, 92 points) El Rey Del Mundo is one of Cuba’s lesser-known cigar brands. The Choix Supreme size is a robusto measuring 5 inches by 48 ring gauge. Our recent tasting found this cigar to be bold and flavorful, with an even burn and a full, opulent draw. See full tasting note.
Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo de San Juan (Tubo) (Cuba, 92 points) At 5 7/8 inches long by 54 ring gauge, the Le Hoyo de San Juan is the thickest cigar in Cuba’s Hoyo de Monterrey portfolio. The cigar is relatively new, released in 2014, but not offered in the tubo format until 2015. See full tasting note.
Montecristo Double Edmundo (Cuba, 92 points) Cuba's cigar monopoly has a hit on its hands with the Edmundo line extension, which dates back to 2004. Double Edmundo, which is longer, but not fatter, than the Edmundo, is the latest version, released in 2013. The cigar once earned a place on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2014 list. See full tasting note.
Oliva Serie O Churchill (Nicaragua, 92 points) Oliva’s Serie O brand is made with Cuban-seed leaves from the three major growing regions of Nicaragua: Jalapa, Condega and Estelí. The Churchill size is noted for scoring 94 points and earning the No. 11 spot on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 of 2013 list. See full tasting note.
Rafael Gonzalez 88 Exclusivo Asia Pacifico (Cuba, 92 points) This regional edition cigar, available only to licensed Habanos dealers in the Asia Pacific region, is rolled in a rare perfecto shape known as Británicas Extra. The cigars are tapered at the head and foot, and the heads are rounded rather than pointed. See full tasting note.
Tatuaje Black Petite Lancero (Nicaragua, 92 points) Black (a.k.a. black label) is one of the many cigar lines that make up Pete Johnson’s Tatuaje brand. The Petite Lancero is a thin cigar that offers big notes of oak wood and red wine before it unfolds to show complex intonations of dark chocolate, nuts and candied orange peel. See full tasting note.
Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig (Nicaragua, 92 points) Drew Estate’s Undercrown Sun Grown is a line extension of the Undercrown brand. It debuted in 2017. Rolled in Drew Estate’s signature Flying Pig vitola, this Undercrown Sun Grown smokes well, offering bright, zippy notes of pepper and sour cherry around a spicy, leathery core. See full tasting note.
Villiger La Flor de Ynclan Torpedo (Dominican Republic, 92 points) Villager revived La Flor de Ynclan in 2017. In an inaugural vertical brand tasting conducted by Cigar Insider, the readjusted blend—made with an Ecuadoran wrapper, Indonesian binder and a filler blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos—earned an average rating of 92 points. See full tasting note.
Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art Torpedo (Honduras, 91 points) Prensado Lost Art is a new extension of Alec Bradley’s award-winning Prensado brand, a former Cigar of the Year. In its first Cigar Aficionado tasting, the Torpedo size showed promise with 91 points. See full tasting note.
Don Pepin Garcia Original Lancero (U.S.A., 91 points) Fifteen years ago, Cuban expat José "Pepín" García opened up a small cigar factory in Miami’s Little Havana, where he began producing his namesake Don Pepin Garcia brand. Today, he one of the most respected cigarmakers in the world, and the original Don Pepin brand is still going strong. See full tasting note.
H. Upmann No. 2 (Cuba, 91 points) Cuba's best-kept secret may be this cigar, which shares the same dimensions as the more popular Montecristo No. 2. The H. Upmann brand has a reputation for being milder, but a core of toasty, leathery characteristics builds the body of this big figurado. See full tasting note.
Headley Grange Hermoso No. 4 (Dominican Republic, 91 points) Crowned Heads co-founder Jon Huber solicited the expertise of Ernesto Perez-Carrillo to blend his Headley Grange brand, which first debuted in 2013. See full tasting note.
Illusione Fume d'Amour Juniperos (Nicaragua, 91 points) Brand owner Dion Giolito released his Fume d’Amour line in 2014, and the Clementes size went on to be named the No. 3 cigar of that year. The thinner and longer Juniperos size uses the same tobaccos found in the award-winning vitola. See full tasting note.
Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro (Nicaragua, 91 points) Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez is made in Nicaragua at the Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua factory. Covered in a dark, Ecuadoran Habano wrapper, the cigar consists of a Nicaraguan Criollo '98 binder and a filler blend of Nicaraguan (Criollo '98) and Dominican (Piloto Cubano) tobacco. See full tasting note.
Montecristo Open Regata Tubo (Cuba, 91 points) The Montecristo Open line is marketed by Habanos S.A. as a medium bodied extension to the core Montecristo line, which is billed as medium-full. The Open Regata is a figurado measuring 5 3/8 inches by 46 ring gauge, a slightly shorter and thinner piramide than the iconic Montecristo No. 2. See full tasting note.
New World Puro Especial Short Churchill (Nicaragua, 91 points) New World Puro Especial is a Nicaraguan puro blended with tobaccos cultivated exclusively from different A.J. Fernandez-owned farms across Estelí. The core New World line debuted in 2014, which was followed by New World Connecticut in 2015 and New World Puro Especial in 2017. See full tasting note.
Norteño Lonsdale (Nicaragua, 91 points) Norteños come off the tables of La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate and from the mind of Willy Herrera, Drew Estate's master blender. The name, which translates to "northerner" in Spanish, refers to those in Estelí, which is where the Drew Estate factory resides. See full tasting note.
Padilla 1932 Robusto (Honduras, 91 points) Padilla 1932 first debuted in 2006, but brand owner Ernesto Padilla reintroduced this new version to market just last year. In a Cigar Insider vertical brand tasting, three of the five vitolas (including this Robusto) earned 90 points or higher. See full tasting note.
Padrón Serie 1926 40th Anniversary (Nicaragua, 91 points) This special cigar was awarded the first-ever Cigar of the Year accolade from Cigar Aficionado magazine. That was back in 2004, and our editors speculated that it “may be the best cigar the Padróns have ever made.” Today, the cigar continues to receive acclaim. See full tasting note.
Punch Punch (Cuba, 91 points) Measuring 5 5/8 inches by 46 ring gauge, the Punch Punch is one of the larger sizes in this small Cuban brand’s portfolio. Although it’s not to be confused with the Punch Double Corona, which measures a slightly larger 7 5/8 by 49 ring gauge. See full tasting note.
Ramon Allones Terra Magica Exclusivo Adriatico (Cuba, 91 points) Terra Magica is a Cuban regional edition cigar made for Camelot d.o.o., the official Habanos Distributor for Croatia and Slovenia. The corona gorda measures 6 1/8 by 50 ring gauge and has a well-constructed three-seem cap. See full tasting note.
San Lotano Requiem Habano Churchill (Nicaragua, 91 points) A.J. Fernandez had been making third-party cigars for quite some time before he branched out on his own and started the San Lotano brand in 2010. The Requiem Habano is one of the brand’s several offshoots. See full tasting note.