Cigar Aficionado's 134th blind tasting, which appeared in our October 2016 issue, is now live on our website. Of the 81 cigars rated by our panel of editors, 11 non-Cuban cigars scored 91 points or higher. These cigars are considered outstanding on our 100-point scale. Additionally, an impressive 13 cigars received a 90-point rating.
This tasting, like all Cigar Aficionado tastings, considers four different categories when determining a cigar's rating. Appearance and structure counts 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.
So if you're heading to your local brick-and-mortar, here are a few cigars that are sure to please right now.
Ashton Heritage Puro Sol Churchill (92 points, Dominican Republic) The Ashton Heritage Puro Sol wears a Habano wrapper grown in Ecuador, which seems to fare well with the blend, as this cigar was the highest rated Churchill in the tasting. See full tasting note.
Daniel Marshall Red Label Torpedo Box-Aged 1 Year (92 points, Nicaragua) Daniel Marshall has a long history in the cigar business, beginning as a humidor maker in 1982. Since then, Marshall has expanded to produce cigars, including his Red Label line. Our tasting panel found the elegant Torpedo to be quite rich, with an array of confectioner's notes on the palate. See full tasting note.
Fuente Fuente OpusX Double Corona (92 points, Dominican Republic) A former Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year, the Fuente Fuente OpusX Double Corona, like all OpusX cigars, is impeccably crafted by a small roomful of workers who make only about 75 cigars a day. In this most recent tasting, the cigar offered traces of cinnamon and candied fruit. See full tasting note.
My Father No. 2 Belicoso (92 points, Nicaragua) The My Father No. 2, which is made by the Garcia family, earned a spot on Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 list back in 2010 and has been smoking well ever since. In October's tasting, this beautifully rolled cigar crafted with a belicoso tip and oily wrapper earned a score of 92 points for the second time. See full tasting note.
Liga Privada Único Serie Feral Flying Pig (91 points, Nicaragua) This plump and pigtailed perfecto belongs to Drew Estate's Liga Privada brand. Known for its hearty blend powered by dark tobacco leaves, including a thick and oily broadleaf wrapper grown in the Connecticut River Valley, Liga Privadas tend to score well in Cigar Aficionado tastings. Last year, the Liga Privada No. 9 Corona Doble was named Cigar Aficionado's No. 10 Cigar of 2015. See full tasting note.
E.P. Carrillo Selección Oscuro Especial No. 6 (91 points, Nicaragua) E.P. Carrillo Selección Oscuro is rolled with a Mexican San Andrés oscuro wrapper, an Ecuadoran Connecticut-seed binder and all-Nicaraguan fillers. In a recent vertical brand tasting of the Selección Oscuro in Cigar Insider, four of the six cigars scored 90 points or higher, including the Especial No. 6. See full tasting note.
Hammer + Sickle Hermitage No. 1 Toro (91 points, Honduras) When Hammer + Sickle first released its Hermitage line in 2012, brand owner Eric Hanson said the name was meant to signify a place of rest and retreat. Notably, the blend features some filler tobacco grown in Germany. In October's tasting, the Toro size impressed our panel with its sweet and earthy notes. See full tasting note.
The Edge Lite Double Corona (91 points, Honduras) When Rocky Patel first released The Edge in 2004, the concept was simple: a roughly hewn wooden box that held 100 unbanded cigars. After the success of the original blends—Corojo and Maduro—Patel added an identifying footband and new varieties, including The Edge Lite. See full tasting note.
Romeo y Julieta 1875 Deluxe No. 1 (91 points, Dominican Republic) Romeo y Julieta is one of the great old names of the cigar business, dating back to Cuba in 1875. The non-Cuban version, made at Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic, features an 1875 line that pays homage to the birth of this heritage brand. The Deluxe No. 1—a Churchill—impressed our panel in this tasting with its lush draw and dead-even burn. See full tasting note.
Illusione hl (91 points, Nicaragua) According to Illusione brand owner Dion Giolito, hl stands for Holy Lance: a long, thin lancero meant to symbolize the biblical spear used to pierce the side of Jesus Christ shortly after he died on the cross. The 7 1/2 inch by 40 ring gauge cigar is gritty in appearance, but the draw and burn are even and aromatic. See full tasting note.
Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series "A" (91 points, Nicaragua) The Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series was launched in 1994 to commemorate Padrón Cigar Inc.'s 30th anniversary. The behemoth 8 1/4 inch by 50 ring gauge "A" is the longest cigar in the lineup and has never received a rating lower than 91 points. It's dark and elegantly pressed with a lush draw. See full tasting note.