Summer brought many memories, from socially distant barbecues to intimate moments with family–and everything in between. While we made the best of a novel situation, certain things remained true. One of those was the enjoyment of a handmade cigar, whether it was out on the patio or spaced out amongst friends and family.
Here at Cigar Aficionado, we never slowed down, trying no shortage of new smokes that cigarmakers relentlessly kept rolling out. To no surprise, the product we smoked and reviewed for the July/August issue of Cigar Aficionado (and issues of Cigar Insider) met a high standard.
Sixteen smokes scored 91 points or higher with our tasting panel, cigars from a host of countries, from Cuba to Mexico and Nicaragua to Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Check out all of the outstanding smokes from the past few months and get your hands on some for the new season.
Cohiba Esplendido (Cuba, 94 Points): Created as part of the 1989 Línea Clásica series, the dignified Esplendido–which earned the No. 11 spot in our 2014 Top 25–exhibits strong, complex flavors that alter at each stage of its smoke. Balanced with an excellent burn, this was one of the best sticks of the year so far–let alone the best of August. See full tasting note.
Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Imperial Maduro (Nicaragua, 93 Points): This box-pressed Toro carries Padrón’s classic cocoa and coffee profiles through a perfect, even draw. A tribute to the company's founding year, the limited-quantity puro is a perfect celebratory or everyday cigar. See full tasting note.
Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Connecticut Robusto (Nicaragua, 93 Points): Covered in light Connecticut-seed wrapper from Ecuador, this robusto is a milder blend in Joya’s spicy Antaño brand. However, the Antaño Connecticut brings it home with medium-full flavors of rum and chocolate from its Nicaraguan filler. See full tasting note.
Rocky Patel Number 6 Corona (Honduras, 93 Points): Though Rocky also produces cigars in Nicaragua, this cigar is made in Honduras with mostly Honduran tobacco. Named after its test blend number, the Number 6 Corona performed outstandingly. See full tasting note.
Casa Turrent Serie 1973 Torpedo (Mexico, 93 Points): A chubby, semi-pressed figurado, the Serie 1973 Torpedo is packed with flavor. Its Mexican wrapper, binder and filler–along with some Nicaraguan filler–show off Casa Turrent’s complex San Andrés tobacco from its farms in the San Andrés Valley of Mexico. See full tasting note.
Cohiba Lancero (Cuba, 93 Points): While thin cigars have always been in the Cuban portfolio, the long and slender Cohiba Lancero was the original size in this brand. First made for Castro himself, this rare smoke is full of flavor and history, and it’s a long, elegant smoke. See full tasting note.
Viva La Vida Jester (Nicaragua, 92 Points): Dark, powerful and cloaked in a Nicaraguan wrapper, the Jester doesn’t joke around. The Nicaraguan puro robusto by A.J. Fernandez draws heavy, delicious notes that form a bold flavor profile. See full tasting note.
Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro Lonsdale (Nicaragua, 92 Points): Namesake master blender Willy Herrera of Drew Estate combines Brazilian Mata Fina, Connecticut Broadleaf and Nicaraguan tobaccos to create a layered smoke that brings malt, coffee and earthy flavors to the forefront. See full tasting note.
La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial No. 2 (Nicaragua, 92 Points): Made by My Father Cigars for Ashton Distributors Inc., this robusto features a classically Cuban three-seamed cap, Cuban-seed wrapper from Ecuador and Nicaraguan binder and filler. See full tasting note.
H. Upmann Corona Major (Tubo) (Cuba, 92 Points): There's a lot of character in this small cigar, showing a rich, interesting palate of everything from almonds and nutmeg to vanilla cake and Scotch. See full tasting note.
Punch La Isla Exclusivo Cuba (Cuba, 91 Points): A Regional Edition just for Cuba, this robusto displays sweet notes of graham cracker and dried fig along with red-pepper spice, cinnamon and almond nuttiness. Only 10,000 slide-lid boxes of 10 were produced. See full tasting note.
Casa Cuba Doble Tres (Dominican Republic, 91 Points): When the late Carlos Fuente Sr. created this cigar 2013, it was the first new commercial blend that he'd made in decades. Old-school in style, it emphasizes finesse over power, but is bold in the right places without being too showy or brash—just delicious. See full tasting note.
Viaje Circa '45 No. 1 (Nicaragua, 91 Points): Once a European exclusive, the Circa is now available in the United States. The Nicaraguan blend is brand owner Andre Farkas’ tribute to Cuba. See full tasting note.
Fuente Fuente OpusX Fuente Fuente (Dominican Republic, 91 Points): One of the industry's first cult cigars, and perhaps the most mysterious, the OpusX is defined by its unique tobacco grown on the Chateau de La Fuente farm in the Dominican Republic. The Fuente Fuente size continues to live up to the hype. See full tasting note.
MUWAT Nightcrawler (Nicaragua, 91 Points): Layered with near-black San Andrés wrapper from Mexico, the Nightcralwer is complete with its Ecuadoran Connecticut Shade binder and spicy filler from Brazil. This value-smoke is made for Drew Estate by Joya de Nicaragua. See full tasting note.
Alec Bradley Black Market Estelí Churchill (Nicaragua, 91 Points): At full-strength, the Black Market Churchill brings the heat. While its flavor is strong, it remains balanced and enjoyable. See full tasting note.