The high summer temperatures have hit much of the United States, which means it’s as good a time as any to reach for a handmade cigar. Many in the U.S. must still adhere to Coronavirus lockdown measures, but there are still opportunities to get outside to a backyard or patio to light up a cigar and enjoy your favorite pastime.
To help you discover your next favorite cigar, we took a closer look at the May/June ratings, which are available on the website, to see what cigars are smoking well right now.
The quality of cigars in the June tasting was nothing short of astounding, as 35 of the 72 cigars we rated scored 90 points or higher. One cigar, the La Mission L'Atelier 1959, managed to score a whopping 95 points, achieving the lofty status of classic on our 100-point scale.
Analyzing the tasting by country, one can see that Nicaragua, Cuba and Honduras held firm, leading (or tying) for the top spot in each category.
La Mission L'Atelier 1959 (Nicaragua, 95 points): Inspired by a winery in France, this cigar created by Pete Johnson and rolled by the Garcia family wears an alluringly dark Mexican San Andrés wrapper. It was the top-scoring smoke of the entire issue and an instant classic. See full tasting note.
Cohiba Majestuoso 1966 (Cuba, 94 points): Rare, expensive, and quite thick for a Cuban of any brand, this Cohiba was specially rolled for a line of limited humidors released by Habanos S.A. to commemorate the 50th birthday of Cuba’s most treasured cigar brand. See full tasting note.
Montecristo No. 2 (Cuba, 94 points): One of the most popular torpedoes ever made, this smoke is consistently one of Cuba’s best sellers and was named Cigar of the Year in 2013. Of the many packaging formats that Monte No. 2s come in, these were from a 10-count box. See full tasting note.
Fuente Fuente OpusX Double Robusto (Dom. Rep., 93 points): Slightly thicker and longer than a traditional robusto, this size was added to the famous OpusX portfolio well after the brand debuted in the early 90s. See full tasting note.
Henry Clay War Hawk Corona (Honduras, 93 points): Most Henry Clays are maduros, rolled with Connecticut broadleaf. This newer version sports a light, Ecuador Connecticut cover leaf, but don't be fooled. It’s stronger and more flavorful than it looks. See full tasting note.
Oliva Serie G Maduro Churchill (Nicaragua, 93 points): This inexpensive and high-scoring cigar is covered in a dark, broadleaf wrapper grown in Connecticut and led all Churhills in the tasting. See full tasting note.
Villiger Cuellar Black Forest Churchill (Dom. Rep., 93 points): Made in the Dominican Republic at Jochy Blanco’s Tabacalera Palma, the Black Forest is defined by its dark, Mexican maduro wrapper. See full tasting note.
Montecristo Supremos Edición Limitada 2019 (Cuba, 92 points): One of the thickest Montecristos to ever come out of Cuba, this cigar comes packed in special, yellow boxes that bear the iconic Montecristo logo. See full tasting note.
My Father No. 1 (Nicargua, 92 points): A hearty, substantial smoke blended and rolled by the Garcia family using only tobaccos they grew themselves, save for the ruddy wrapper from Ecuador. See full tasting note.
Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Figurado (Nicaragua, 92 points): Melanio is named after Melanio Oliva, believed to be the first to grow tobacco in the Oliva cigarmaking family. This darker version of the 2014 Cigar of the Year wears a Mexican San Andrés wrapper instead of Sumatra. See full tasting note.
Partagás Lusitania (Cuba, 92 points): An iconic, Cuban double corona that’s earned its reputation for being one of the best longer cigars money can buy, if you can find it. See full tasting note.
Quai d'Orsay No. 54 (Cuba, 92 points): This cigar was created in 2018 when Habanos S.A transformed Quai d’Orsay from a regional to a global brand. The thicker vitola was intended to appeal to a wider audience. See full tasting note.
The Edge Maduro Double Corona (Honduras, 92 points): The dark wrapper draping this large cigar from Rocky Patel was grown in Costa Rica. At less than $10, it’s a relative bargain. See full tasting note.
Warzone Robusto (Nicaragua, 92 points): General Cigar Co. and Espinosa Cigars teamed up last year to create this smoke, which was blended around a toothy Cameroon wrapper. See full tasting note.
Alec Bradley Maxx Nano (Honduras, 91 points): This odd-sized, high-scoring cigar is rolled with a four-country mélange of tobacco from Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica, yet it retails for only $5.75. See full tasting note.
Dawn of Destiny Robusto (Dom. Rep., 91 points): The name may sound a bit melodramatic, but Dawn of Destiny is a serious collaboration between Ventura Cigar Co. and legendary cigarmaker Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. It’s covered in an Ecuadoran wrapper with binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. See full tasting note.
E.P. Carrillo Core Plus Churchill Especial No. 7 (Dom. Rep., 91 points): Another high-scoring cigar created by Perez-Carrillo, the Core Plus Churchill is beautifully rolled, offering, among other notes, hints of vanilla nougat, oak and mulled wine. See full tasting note.
Herrera Esteli Piramide Fino (Nicaragua, 91 points): Blended by Willy Herrera, who once made cigars at the tiny El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami, this wonderfully constructed cigar conveys dense, chewy smoke with a luxuriously sweet caramel and toffee finish. See full tasting note.
Illusione Fume d'Amour Concepcions (Nicaragua, 91 points): The name of this brand translates to “smoke of love,” and when you light one up you’d be forgiven if you come under its spell. Conceived by brand owner Dion Giolito, this smoke contains no ligero, the strongest type of tobacco. See full tasting note.
Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Churchill (Nicaragua, 91 points): From Nicaragua’s oldest maker of handmade cigars comes this strong and spicy blend that made its debut in 2002. As you might expect, it’s rolled entirely with Nicaraguan tobaccos. See full tasting note.
La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel (Dom. Rep., 91 points): Power and presence are the defining qualities of this striking, chisel-shaped cigar. It was unique in the industry when it debuted in 2003 and remains so to this day. The wedge-shaped head was actually trademarked eight years ago. See full tasting note.
Micallef Herencia Habano Torpedo (Nicaragua, 91 points): Micallef may be a newcomer to the cigar business, but this blend, which is also offered in a maduro version, exhibits balance and complexity with notes of saffron, candied ginger and dried rose petals. See full tasting note.
Padrón Executive (Nicaragua, 91 points): This long, rustic-looking smoke is packed with a rich core of earth and blackstrap molasses that give way to a toasted marshmallow finish. See full tasting note.
Trinidad Esmeralda (Cuba, 91 points): Released earlier this year, Esmeralda is the final size in a trio of new, regular-production Trinidads that were created to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary. See full tasting note.