Connoisseur’s Corner: A 99-Point Cabañas

Cabañas Numero 51 (1955)

This gorgeous little smoke has beautiful texture to the wrapper. It delivers a smooth draw, brimming with rich, creamy and toasty flavors and hints of sweet nutmeg. An elegant, near-perfect pre-Castro smoke. —Marvin R. shanken

la Flor de Cano Short Churchill (1992)

There are still plenty of oils seeping through the wrapper of this medium-claro robusto, which has been in a slide-lid cabinet for decades. The smoke is surprisingly dense and chewy for a cigar with so much age. It’s a sweet, nutty cigar, full of maple and brown sugar notes, roasted chestnut and sweet marzipan. —Gregory Mottola

Montecristo “A” (1995)

This imposing, nine-inch-long cigar is not something you would smoke everyday. The wrapper shows just a bit of tooth. The draw is slightly firm and the burn nearly dead even. It begins with a toasty, mellow, woody flavor, and stays medium bodied for most of the smoke, then builds in the second half. There are hints of dusty wood, cashew, and just a wisp of orange peel on the finish. A balanced, elegant cigar. —David Savona

Padrón Serie 1926 40th Anniversary Maduro (2005)

A dark and flawlessly wrapped torpedo plucked from one of the original, ornately carved wooden boxes. Upon lighting, the aroma is uncannily redolent of baking gingerbread, and those warm qualities recur on the palate. The smoke is heavy with baking spices and nutmeg but fortified with an earthiness one would expect from a Padrón. —Gregory Mottola

Partagás de Partagás No. 1 (2003)

This is a lonsdale with a beautiful colorado wrapper. It has a pleasant, medium-bodied profile for a 13-year-old cigar. There are some hints of cinnamon and leather on the palate with a pleasant, slightly dry finish that is very well balanced. It is a solid performer in both draw and burn, and it smokes as if it still has some years left. —Gordon Mott

Por Larrañaga Numero 3 (1958)

A skinny cigar with a torpedo tip that has a light, open draw. The smoke, sadly, is showing its age, tarnished with dried out flavors. Respectable, but not all that I had hoped for. —Marvin R. Shanken