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Connoisseur’s Corner: Don Candido Dunhill Selección No. 500

Don Candido Dunhill Selección No. 500

Partagás 150 Aniversario 109 (1995)

This is one of Cuba’s greatest special releases, and comes from a limited humidor (only 150 were made). The “109” shape, with a tapered head, seems to bring out the best in Cuba’s cigarmakers. It begins with notes of tea and cocoa powder but warms to show touches of white pepper and earth with a slightly sweet finish. It’s at its peak, but there are still decades left in this great smoke. —Gordon Mott

Cohiba Esplendido (1990)

This Churchill is nearly 30 years old, and it’s adorned with an old-style Cohiba band with dots instead of squares. The draw is superb, the cigar burning with a gray ash that’s more pepper than salt. A dry start is overtaken by a heavy peanut note, then a graham cracker sweetness dusted in baking spices. It gets stronger—and better—as it burns, but remains more mellow than the typical Cohiba profile. Elegant, balanced and delightful. —David Savona

Tatuaje La Vérité La Vérité 2009 (2009)

The fermented tobacco in La Vérité was not aged in bales as is standard practice. Rather, the idea was to age the tobacco after it was rolled into a cigar so it develops in the box the way wine ages in a bottle. Now that it’s spent 10 years in a 50-count cab, this Churchill has turned into a sweet, elegant smoke with nuances of chestnut, dried pear, mocha and almonds. Understated and delicious. —Gregory Mottola