Partagás Serie E No. 2
The fattest Partagás in the regular-production Cuban portfolio is also the best Partagás that Cigar Aficionado smoked this year. At 54 ring gauge, it's clearly part of Cuba's recent initiative to make its cigars larger and fatter in general. Traditionalists might scoff at the beefed-up parameters, but it would be a mistake as Habanos has loaded this cigar with plenty of fine, complex tobacco.
The Partagás Alphabet Series dates back to the 1930s, when the brand first appeared on the British market. When it debuted, the line included Series A through D with four sizes assigned to each letter, for a total of 16 sizes. The brand was discontinued in the 1960s but brought back incrementally in subsequent years. All cigars in the letter series are dressed in a distinctive red-and-gold band that separates them from the core Cuban Partagás cigar line.
For years, fans of the Partagás letter series only had the Serie D No. 4 to enjoy, but Habanos has taken a new interest in the Partagás sub-brand and added a number of new sizes over the last few years. The Serie E No. 2 was released in 2011, but the samples with a box date of August 2016 mark the most impressive Cuban of the year.