Connoisseur's Corner: Two 100-Point Dunhills
(From the December 2012 issue of Cigar Aficionado) Perfection is rare, and here at Cigar Aficionado we seldom award 100-point scores to cigars. It has never happened for a current production smoke, and we’ve only given a relatively small number of such scores in this Connoisseur’s Corner section, where we light up well-aged cigars and taste them in a non-blind fashion, unlike our traditional tastings which are done blind. This tasting was extraordinary, giving us two 100-pointers. The younger of the two, a nearly 30-year-old Dunhill Estupendo, was perfect from start to finish. The tubed Churchill smoked virtually without effort. The second 100-point cigar also carries the Dunhill name, but it was decades older. Editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken named it one of his all-time best, no small compliment given the number of cigars he has enjoyed.
Perfection is hard to describe until you hold it in your hand. This cigar was perfect. Perfect oily wrapper. Perfect burn and draw. And, a depth of flavors that belied its 29 years of age. Those flavors ranged from a dark cocoa powder note to leather and an unbelievably long finish with just the hint of light cedar. From a previously unopened box. —Gordon Mott
This pre-Castro cigar, known as the Flying Pig, proves that 50-year-old plus cigars can be incredibly great smokes. This cigar was pure, with a smooth easy draw, and a delicious texture that includes nutmeg notes on the palate. One of the greatest cigars I have ever smoked; even better than a previous one. —Marvin R. Shanken
This picture-perfect, silky cigar came from a chest of 100 originally stored in London’s Dunhill keep. It has all the bright, lively character of a much younger cigar, full of chestnut and hickory flavors that take on a smoky sweetness with touches of molasses and nougat. —Gregory Mottola
A classic Cuban Churchill size. It has a dark wrapper with a smooth draw, and it smokes perfectly. There is a rich mix of sweet spicy flavors, including cinnamon and nutmeg. —Marvin R. Shanken
This cigar comes on with a perfect draw. There are strong hints of nuts, almost peanut like, and it has nutmeg flavor on the finish. It is still a bit earthy, but a touch of dryness holds it back. —Marvin R. Shanken
In the height of the cigar boom, Topper ordered a short-filler cigar but received this high-end premium by mistake. It was a one-time creation, and the one-off has aged well, showing an intense almond quality with a delightfully creamy texture to the smoke. It develops hints of cocoa later on. A fine example of a well-aged, medium-bodied cigar. —David Savona