Top Cigar

Top 25 Cigar 2005

Written by nghi

Chào cả nhà, chào các tay chơi Xì gà, Cigar Thái Nguyên trở lại với bài viết Top 25 Cigar, đánh giá từ năm 2004 cho đến nay. Do tạp chí Cigar Aficionado đẳng tải. Đây là những đánh giá khách quan của người dùng, không phải của chuyên gia. Cho nên, nó phụ thuộc vào các yếu tố chính sau:

– Xì gà được hút nhiều nhất
– Xì gà cuốn tay ngon
– Xì gà có mức giá hợp lí nhất
– ……………..

CA-Top-10-at-Drapers

Cho nên, bài viết có tính chất tham khảo, để khách hàng biết về sản phẩm và tiêu chí đánh giá cũng như có thêm nhiều thông tin thú vị về xì gà thế giới qua các năm.

Sau đây là Top 25 điếu xì gà ngon nhất được đánh giá năm 2005.

Top 25: C.A.O. The Sopranos Edition Associate

CAO_Sopranos_Edition_Associate_box

  • Country: Honduras
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Length: 5″
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Nicaragua, Dom. Rep., Colombia
  • Binder: Honduras
  • Wrapper: Brazil
  • Size: Robusto
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 25
  • Distributed By: C.A.O. International Inc.
  • Made By: C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos
  • Score: 90/100

“The Sopranos” is such a cigar-friendly TV show that it even has its own cigar. C.A.O. International Inc. signed a licensing deal with HBO to produce a cigar named for the gangster series. The cigars come in three shapes, each named after familiar elements of mob life. The Associate, which measures 5 by 52, is (fittingly) not a mild cigar, but a gutsy, flavorful smoke with coffee, dark berry and charred wood flavors. To truly show off the cigars in style, C.A.O. went all out with the box, which is modeled after a car trunk, right down to the glossy cherry red exterior. If you don’t capisce the association between car trunk and mob life, perhaps this isn’t the cigar for you.

Top 24: A. Turrent Churchill

A. Turrent Churchill

  • Country: Mexico
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Length: 7″
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Mexico
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Mexico
  • Size: Churchill
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 24
  • Distributed By: Altadis U.S.A. Inc.
  • Made By: Nueva Matacapan Tabacos S.A. de C.V.
  • Score: 91/100

Mexican cigars have an image problem. The country’s largest cigar brand, Te-Amo, has an old school, rustic flavor that some people love and others don’t. Yet many of America’s largest cigar brands rely in part on Mexican tobacco, much of it grown by the makers of Te-Amo, the Turrent family. Once Mexico relaxed its trade restrictions barring the importation of tobaccos, the Turrents were able to obtain foreign tobaccos with which to improve their blends. After many years of tweaking, in 2005 the Turrents released the A. Turrent brand, which is more complex than Te-Amos. The 7 by 52 A. Turrent Churchill, the best of the five-size line, has a rich, earthy flavor and a creamy medium body.

Top 23: Macanudo Café Hyde Park

large_macanudo-hyde-park-5

  • Country: Dominican Republic
  • Ring Gauge: 49
  • Length: 5 1/2″
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Dom. Rep., Mexico
  • Binder: Mexico
  • Wrapper: U.S.A./Connecticut Shade
  • Size: Corona Gorda
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 23
  • Distributed By: General Cigar Co.
  • Made By: General Cigar Dominicana
  • Score: 90/100

Consider the greatness of the Macanudo Hyde Park Café. Nearly a million are made every year, yet they are the very model of consistency. Always smooth, always mild, with a flavor profile smacking of vanilla, bread and sweet spice. A perfect morning smoke and a perfect starter cigar. You can find Macanudos in most smoke shops, even in many convenience stores that have expanded intocigars. The Hyde Park is among the thicker sizes in the brand, measuring 5 1/2 by 49, with a reasonable price.

Top 22: Gispert Maduro Robusto

gispert-robusto-maduro

  • Country: Honduras
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Length: 5”
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Mexico
  • Size: Robusto
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 22
  • Distributed By: Altadis U.S.A. Inc.
  • Made By: La Flor de Copan S.A.
  • Score: 90/100

If you think what this world needs is a great $3 cigar, the Gispert Maduro Robusto is for you. It’s the least-expensive cigar to make our Top 25 list, with a retail price so low it approaches that of some bargain-bin brands. Gispert, an old Cuban brand name, was a casualty of the cigar boom until Altadis U.S.A. Inc. revived it in 2003. The maduro version came out in 2005. Medium to full in body, the robusto has creamy cocoa flavors and a good touch of almonds on the finish. As an added bonus, the five-inch-long robusto is extra thick for that size, with a ring gauge of 54. It’s hard to find a better value in the premium cigar world.

Top 21: Zino Platinum Scepter Series Chubby Tubos

Zino Platinum Scepter Series Chubby Tubos

  • Country: Dominican Republic
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Length: 4 15/16″
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Dom. Rep., Peru
  • Binder: U.S.A./Conn. Shade
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Size: Figurado
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 21
  • Distributed By: Davidoff of Geneva (CT) Inc.
  • Made By: OK Cigars
  • Score: 91/100

Davidoff reinvented the Zino brand by partnering with the Arnell Group to create Zino Platinum. The first release, the Crown Series, was of high quality, but with eye-popping prices of up to nearly $40 a cigar. The introduction of the lower-priced Scepter Series brought the prices down into the teens. The best of the line is the Chubby Tubos, a tubed perfecto measuring just under five inches with a 54 ring gauge at its fattest point. It’s a rewarding smoke, with notes of coffee, cocoa and nuts, and a pleasant chewy flavor.

Top 20: Joya De Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Gran Reserva Robusto Grande

joya-de-nicaragua-antano-1970-cigar-box

  • Country: Nicaragua
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Length: 5 1/2″
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Size: Corona Gorda
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 20
  • Distributed By: S.A.G. Imports Inc
  • Made By: Tabacos Puros de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Score: 91/100

The 2002 release of the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño line energized the slumbering Joya de Nicaragua brand. The success of that moderately priced cigar led its makers to set aside some of the component tobaccos for extra aging, resulting in this special release. The filler is aged for five years and the wrappers are the most select from the Nicaraguan criollo seed used to wrap the line. The 5 1/2 by 52 Robusto Grande is woody and earthy, with a long finish smacking of spice, leather and wood.

Top 19: Bolivar Petit Corona

Petit Corona

  • Country: Cuba
  • Ring Gauge: 42
  • Length: 5 1/8″
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Size: Petit Corona
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 19
  • Box Date: Oct. 2004
  • Distributed By: Habanos S.A.
  • Made By: Partagas (aka Francisco Pérez Germán)
  • Score: 91/100

It’s hard to find a short cigar that delivers plenty of richness and flavors, even in Cuba. However, the 5 by 42 Bolivar Petit Corona has nearly always delivered just that, with the exception of a bland period from about 1998 to 2002. Don’t buy the product of those years. Current production is a whole different story. We prefer the cigars in cedar cabinets of 50, but those that come in standard paper boxes of 25 are also excellent. Blast one of these babies with your morning java and you’ll understand the meaning of the phrase “size doesn’t matter,” especially with a good Habano.

Top 18: Camacho Corojo Diadema

Camacho Corojo Diadema

  • Country: Honduras
  • Ring Gauge: 60
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Honduras
  • Binder: Honduras
  • Wrapper: Honduras
  • Size: Figurado
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 18
  • Distributed By: Caribe Imported Cigars Inc.
  • Made By: Tabacos Rancho Jamastran
  • Score: 90/100

The 8 by 60 Camacho Corojo Diadema is an imposing sight. The all-Honduran cigar is the biggest cigar in our Top 25. It has a complex shape, with various curves, but its true beauty is in its flavor. There’s a lot of room in this cigar for tobacco leaves, and the Diadema has a fittingly complex flavor, with notes of sweet wood, cedar, walnuts and leather. It’s medium to full in body, one of the best cigars made by the Eiroa family. Production is limited due to the extremely large leaf needed to wrap such a monster.

Top 17: Montecristo D Edición Limitada 2005

Neues Oktober (16 von 20)

  • Country: Cuba
  • Ring Gauge: 43
  • Length: 6 3/4″
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Size: Lonsdale
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 17
  • Box Date: N/A
  • Distributed By: Habanos S.A.
  • Made By: Partagas Factory
  • Score: 90/100

Even while Cuba’s largest brand, Montecristo, is often criticized for having inconsistencies due to its immense production, the special Montes in the annual Edición Limitada program have received nothing but praise. Last year’s release, the slim and elegant D (6 3/4 by 43), packs a punch with its aged dark wrapper and sweet tobacco filler. It’s sort of a supercharged Especial No. 1, and is more than satisfying with its spicy, almost chocolaty character. Most of the cigars are made in the new H. Upmann factory, which opened in November 2003. It’s one of Cuba’s best factories at the moment—modern and well organized to make the best smokes.

Top 16: Peterson Gran Reserva Churchill

Peterson Gran Reserva Churchill

  • Country: Honduras
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Length: 6 3/4″Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Cameroon
  • Size: Churchill
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 16
  • Distributed By: Ashton Distributors Inc.
  • Made By: Flor de Copan S.A.
  • Score: 90/100

This is not the old Peterson, which was introduced in the middle of the ’90s cigar boom with a Connecticut-shade wrapper and typically forgettable boomtime flavor. In 2004, the team at Ashton Cigars hashed out a new blend for Peterson, turning to the northern Honduras factory that produces its Aroma de Cuba line. With a slightly sweet and intriguing taste, these Cameroonwrapped cigars are medium to full in body. The 6 3/4 by 48 Churchill and Robusto have performed best in our taste tests.

Top 15: Cohiba Siglo II

Cohiba-Siglo-II-cuban-cigars_360

  • Country: Cuba
  • Ring Gauge: 42
  • Length: 5 1/8″
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Size: Corona
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 15
  • Box Date: Sep. 2003
  • Distributed By: Habanos S.A.
  • Made By: El Laguito Factory
  • Score: 90/100

The Siglo line of Cohiba was launched in 1992, but only recently, with the introduction of the Siglo VI in 2004, did the brand really become popular. TheSiglo II has always been a serious smoke, but never one that blew off the shelves. We think that the market might have it wrong. The hearty cigar, which resembles the old Davidoff Chateau Margaux, measures 5 inches by 42 ring gauge. It always delivers lots of spicy, creamy character and a bright freshness from the specially processed filler tobacco. The Cubans say that some of the tobacco in the blend goes through a third fermentation, which provides the flavor and the finesse of Cohiba. The Siglo II is a consistently outstanding cigar.

Top 14: H. Upmann Magnum 50 Edición Limitada 2005

H. Upmann Magnum 50 Edición Limitada 2005

  • Country: Cuba
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Size: Corona Gorda
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 14
  • Distributed By: Habanos S.A.
  • Made By: Habanos S.A.
  • Score: 90/100

Some say that this cigar takes its inspiration from the legendary Por Larrañaga Magnum, which was produced until the 1970s in Cuba. Among cigar collectors few greater cigars exist, and the PL Mags have a profound ability to improve with age. Some of the editors have smoked 40- and even 50-year-old examples that are still wonderful smokes. The Limitada H. Upmann Magnum has the potential to approach such greatness. It’s a powerful, almost raw smoke at the moment, but with patience and plenty of box age the 6 1/2 by 50 cigar will become great. Another limitedproduction, aged, dark-wrappered winner from the island, it was produced only for last year. We would like to see this as a regular vitola in the Cuban stable.

Top 13: Padilla Miami 8/11 Robusto

Padilla-Miami-811-Robusto-2011-1

  • Country: U.S.A.
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Length: 5″
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Size: Robusto
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 13
  • Distributed By: Padilla Cigars Inc.
  • Made By: El Rey de los Habanos Inc.
  • Score: 91/100

It’s unusual for any cigar company to have versions of a brand rolled in three countries, and even more unlikely that such a brand would be among the smaller on the U.S. market, yet that’s the case with Padilla Cigar Co. Run by 33-year-old Ernesto Padilla, who has worked in the cigar business for only five years, the brand includes one Padilla rolled in the Dominican Republic and another in Nicaragua. The best is rolled in Miami, at El Rey de los Habanos. The Padilla Miami 8&11 Robusto (named in honor of the factory address, 8th Street and 11th Avenue) is a full-bodied masterpiece. Made with Cuban-seed Nicaraguan tobaccos, the 5 by 50 smoke has caramel, chocolate and spice notes and a long finish. They aren’t cheap or easy to find.

Top 12: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Best Seller

Arturo-Fuente-Hemingway-Best-Seller-Bui4Ever-002

  • Country: Dominican Republic
  • Ring Gauge: 55 Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Dom. Rep.
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Binder: Dom. Rep.
  • Size: Figurado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 12
  • Wrapper: Cameroon
  • Distributed By: Fuente & Newman Premium Cigars Ltd.
  • Made By: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
  • Score: 91/100

The Arturo Fuente Hemingway line of perfectos has captivated American cigar smokers since its debut in 1983. Since then, several cigars with the same shape— but not the Hemingway name—have come on the market, and most have been extraordinary. Our favorite is the Best Seller, a Hemingway in spirit, if not in name. The 5 by 55 smoke has amazing curves, with a nipple bottom that flares out into a fat bulb, which then gradually narrows to the rounded head. The cigar is as hard to make as it looks. Even if it weren’t so visually stunning, the Best Seller would be one of the world’s best cigars. It is made with well-aged tobaccos that express themselves with a sweet wood flavor and a touch of honey.

Top 11: Bolivar Churchill

Bolivar Churchill

  • Country: Dominican Republic
  • Ring Gauge: 49
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Dom. Rep., Nicaragua,
  • Binder: U.S.A./Conn.
  • Wrapper: Honduras
  • Size: Churchill
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 11
  • Distributed By: General Cigar Holdings Inc.
  • Made By: General Cigar Dominicana
  • Score: 90/100

In 2005, General Cigar finally decided to utilize its long-standing U.S. rights to the venerable Bolivar brand. It took control of the brand’s distribution and changed the flavor, relying on several leaves proprietary to the company. The binder is a forgotten Connecticut leaf called Havana, the wrapper is from San Agustín, Honduras, and one of the filler tobaccos is grown on the volcanic Nicaraguan island of Ometepe. The changes have injected life into a oncesleepy brand. The 7 by 49 Churchill is flavorful yet easygoing, stronger than most of General’s cigars yet not overpowering. It smacks of the distinctive sweet earthiness that comes from Ometepe.

Top 10: Juan Lopez Epicure No. 1

Juan Lopez by Altadis USA

  • Country: Nicaragua
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Issue: N/A
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Size: Corona Gorda
  • Top 25: 2005, Rank: 10
  • Distributed By: Altadis U.S.A. Inc.
  • Made By: Nicaragua American Tobaccos S.A
  • Score: 90/100

Altadis U.S.A. Inc. makes dozens of premium cigar brands, all of which until recently were made in the Dominican Republic and Honduras. Believing that it needed a Nicaraguan cigar, the company turned to Nicaragua American Tobaccos, a busy Estelí factory best known as the source of many low-cost brands for retailer JR Cigars. This frenzied, fast-paced factory showed that it could also craft a serious premium cigar by turning out the Juan Lopez Epicure No. 1. This fairly inexpensive smoke is a powerful and very dark Nicaraguan puro. The wrapper leaf practically drips with oils, and the 6 by 54 cigar is dark enough to be called a maduro.

Top 9: Gurkha 125th Anniversary XO

Gurkha-125th-Anniversary-XO

  • Country: Dominican Republic
  • Ring Gauge: 60
  • Length: 6″
  • Issue: Jan 01, 2014
  • Filler: Nicaragua, Brazil, Dom. Rep.
  • Binder: Ecuador
  • Wrapper: Brazil
  • Size: 660
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2013, Rank: 9
  • Score: 94/100

Gurkha cigars have long been known for eye-popping packaging, and considerably high prices. The company makes one cigar brand that sells for $700 a box, and another flavored with Cognac that retails for nearly $500 for a single cigar. A few years ago, however, the company set out in a new direction, adding new brands with more traditional pricing, and seeking out other cigar factories to make its brands under contract, expanding its portfolio. The new cigars have done well in our blind taste tests, none better than the Gurkha 125th Anniversary XO. Made at the standout PDR Factory in Tamboril, Dominican Republic, this cigar impressed us again and again in our tests. It has a lovely flavor of dried orange peel, some leather and cedar, and is a balanced smoke with no shortage of elegance. Brand owner Kaizad Hansotia dates the origin of the Gurkha name on cigars back 125 years; he bought the brand rights in the 1980s and brought Gurkhas to the United States in the 1990s. This is the first time one of his cigars has placed in our Top 25, and the best score we’ve ever given a Gurkha.

Top 8: Herrera Esteli Piramide Fino

Herrera Rob

  • Country: Nicaragua
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Length: 6″
  • Issue: Jan 01, 2014
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Honduras
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Size: Figurado
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2013, Rank: 8
  • Score: 94/100

Drew Estate has grown into one of the world’s largest makers of cigars by hand. It’s an incredible success story. The company’s roots began in New York in 1995 when Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel opened a cigar kiosk at the World Trade Center Mall in downtown Manhattan with all of 16 square feet. Today the company operates one of the world’s largest cigar factories, a massive, colorful and beautiful creation that reflects the eclectic style of the founders. Drew Estate makes tens of millions of cigars each year, including the heavy bodied Liga Privada brand, wrapped in Connecticut broadleaf, and the infused Acid brand. In 2011, Drew Estate hired Willy Herrera, the former cigar blender from Miami’s miniscule but standout El Titan de Bronze, a factory on Calle Ocho. After considerable time getting a feel for the new, much larger operation, Herrera put the finishing touches on a new cigar, and in early 2013 Drew Estate launched Herrera Esteli. We were taken from the beginning with the Herrera Esteli Piramide Fino, a chunky figurado (it looks more like a Cuban belicoso than a piramide) made from a mix of Nicaraguan, Honduran and Ecuadoran tobaccos that deliver a medium body, with notes of spice—both earthy and sweet—and a long, long finish. It’s a brilliant smoke. This is the first time Drew Estate has made our Top 25, and the rating is its best ever from Cigar Aficionado.

Top 7: Buenaventura BV560

buenaventura-box

  • Country: Nicaragua
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Length: 5 1/2″
  • Issue: Jan 01, 2014
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Size: Corona Gorda
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2013, Rank: 7
  • Score: 94/100

Buenaventura cigars are new to the pages of Cigar Aficionado, and likely to be unknown to many of you reading this entry. The brand is small and rather new, having made its market debut in October 2012. It comes from Andreas Throuvalas, a former European cigar retailer and the owner of the boutique company Curivari Cigars International. Curivari cigars got their start in Europe, and had no U.S. distribution until Throuvalas brought the brand to America in 2010. They have had a small but dedicated following, and have their share of scores in the high 80s. Buenaventuras have an old-school look, with vintage-style cigar bands and simple yet elegant packaging. The smokes are Nicaraguan puros, made with a mixture of tobaccos from Jalapa, Estelí and Condega. Curivari makes all of its cigars with Nicaraguan tobaccos, but it typically shies away from using tobacco from Condega, which might explain the standout nature of the Buenaventura blend. Buenaventura means “good luck,” and we felt fortunate enjoying the Buenaventura BV560. The pressed cigar delivered a medium-bodied flavor profile with a decidedly creamy texture to the smoke, notes of roasted peanuts and a flavorful finish smacking of graham crackers. As an added bonus to the remarkable flavor, the cigar retails for less than $6.00, making it one of the least expensive cigars in our entire Top 25.

Top 6: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 2

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 2

  • Country: Dominican Republic
  • Ring Gauge: 55
  • Issue: Jan 01, 2013
  • Filler: Dom. Rep.
  • Binder: Dom. Rep.
  • Wrapper: Cameroon
  • Size: Figurado
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2013, Rank: 6
  • Distributed By: Fuente & Newman Premium Cigars Ltd.
  • Made By: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
  • Score: 94/100

The Arturo Fuente Don Carlos line of cigars is a testament to excellence. Carlos Fuente Jr. blended the cigar to honor his father, Fuente patriarch Carlos Fuente Sr., for whom the cigar is named. The cigar has long been prized for its flavor and consistency. Unlike the company’s spicy Fuente Fuente OpusX brand, Don Carlos cigars are nuanced. The cigars are wrapped in toothy Cameroon harvested from Western Africa. The filler and binder leaves include some of the oldest tobaccos in Fuente’s extensive and massive tobacco inventory. The No. 2, which first hit the market in 1997, is a considerably fat pyramid, with a portly 55 ring gauge. As with most Don Carlos cigars, the smoke is a slow starter.

Top 5: Cohiba Behike 54

cohiba behike 54

  • Country: Cuba
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Length: 5 3/4″
  • Issue: Jan 01, 2014
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Size: Corona Gorda
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2013, Rank: 5
  • Box Date: June 2012
  • Score: 94/100

Say the name Behike and cigar lovers perk up their ears. Cigar Aficionado crowned the Cohiba Behike BHK 52 Cigar of the Year in 2010, heaping praise on the chubby, pigtailed smoke. While we’ve never truly embraced the largest of the trio, the BHK 56, we’ve always given good scores to the middle cigar of the bunch, the 54. Tasting it again this year, we feel the Cohiba BHK 54 is smoking better than ever. All Cohiba Behikes are said to be made with a bit of medio tiempo tobacco, small leaves that grow at the very top of some, but not all, Cuban-seed tobacco plants. That filler component, which once was heaped in with other ligeros, or strong tobaccos, today is separated and fermented on its own, and used as a special ingredient in the Behike blend. The result is a bold, leathery smoke with a solid earthy core and pleasant notes of coffee bean. This Behike is rich, flavorful and eminently memorable. Cohiba Behike BHK 54s are among the most expensive of Cuban cigars, but when they deliver this type of standout flavor, we believe they are worth the expense.

Top 4: Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Maduro Diplomatico

Padron1964AnnivMaduroTorpedo20

  • Country: Nicaragua
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Length: 7″
  • Issue: Jan 01, 2013
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Size: Churchill
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Top 25: 2013, Rank: 4
  • Score: 94/100

It’s never a surprise to see a cigar from the Padrón family high atop our list of Top 25 cigars. The company continues to create consistently superb cigars that score 90 points or more on a regular basis and holds an unprecedented three Cigar of the Year titles from the magazine. The Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series line debuted in 1994 to celebrate 30 years of Padrón cigars. It was a hit from the beginning, and nearly 20 years after its launch it remains one of the most popular and highly rated cigar lines on the market. The Diplomatico is the largest of the Anniversary Series cigars, save for the rarely seen ‘A’ In maduro wrapper, it’s a dark, box-pressed smoke with a perfect draw that layers the palate with copious amounts of complex flavors including nuts and toast, with a sweet hint of raisin on the finish. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of Jose Orlando Padrón’s amazing cigar company. We’re certain the company will launch something memorable to note the benchmark year, and if history is any judge, you’re very likely to read about it in these pages come next year.

Top 3: Davidoff Nicaragua Toro

davidoff_nicaragua_toro

  • Country: Dominican Republic
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Length: 5 1/2″
  • Issue: Jan 01, 2013
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Size: Corona Gorda
  • Top 25: 2013, Rank: 3
  • Distributed By: Davidoff of Geneva (FL)
  • Made By: Cigars Davidoff
  • Score: 95/100

Davidoff cigars have been made in the Dominican Republic under the watchful eye of Hendrik Kelner since the early 1990s, and the vast majority of those cigarshave been a mild- to medium-bodied blend of locally grown filler and binder leaves wrapped with creamy, light Connecticut-seed tobacco. With today’s cigar aficionados having developed a tremendous appetite for Nicaraguan cigars, Davidoff’s new leaders aimed at expanding their footprint, and Nicaraguan tobacco became the target. But rather than opening its own factory in Nicaragua, or contracting out a brand, the Davidoff team opted to make a different move and import tobacco from Nicaragua to its Dominican factory. There, they used tried-and-true construction and quality control methods to bring an entirely new taste profile to the venerable Davidoff brand. The result is Davidoff Nicaragua, the most exciting cigars from Davidoff in many years. The cigar line launched in the middle of 2013 to great fanfare, with three sizes: Robusto, Short Corona and Toro. The Toro was our favorite, showing complexity, elegance and balance, with floral notes, hints of coffee and leather and a very long finish. This is a beautiful, elegant smoke that’s a worthy addition to the storied Davidoff name.

Top 2: Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto

Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto

  • Country: Dominican Republic
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Length: 7″
  • Issue: Jan 01, 2013
  • Filler: Dom. Rep.
  • Binder: Dom. Rep.
  • Wrapper: Indonesia
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Size: Churchill
  • Top 25: 2013, Rank: 2
  • Distributed By: Boutique Blends Cigars
  • Made By: Tabacalera La Palma
  • Score: 95/100

The small Aging Room brand first appeared on our radar in 2011, when the Presto size performed well in our final tastings and took the No. 16 spot in our Top 25 list. Today a new version of the Dominican brand has done even better, standing out again and again in test after test to claim the No. 2 spot in our rankings. The Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto was created by brand owner Rafael Nodal of Boutique Blends Cigars and cigarmaker Jochi Blanco of Tabacalera La Palma. The name Concerto is a nod to the musical background of Nodal, an accomplished violin player and pianist who began selling cigars in 2002, first under the name Oliveros. Blanco, who grows tobacco and makescigars, turned to some of his homegrown leaves for the bunch and a rather unusual wrapper to cloak the Churchill-sized cigar. The wrappers were grown on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and while Sumatra seed grown elsewhere is a big component in the premium cigar industry, the Sumatra that actually grows in Indonesia doesn’t play as heavily in the premium cigar world. Indonesian tobacco gets more use on machine-made cigars, particularly the tiny dry-cured variety that are made in Europe. The story goes that the wrapper leaves used for this cigar had been sitting around in a warehouse owned by a German cigar producer before they were found by the Aging Room team. The result is a balanced, sophisticated cigar that displays rich notes of roasted coffee bean and sweet cedar. It’s a lovely smoke that impressed our tasting panel time and time again.

Top 1: MONTECRISTO No. 2

Montecristo No.2

  • Country: Cuba
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Length: 6 1/8″
  • Issue: Jan 01, 2014
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Source: Cigar Aficionado
  • Size: Figurado
  • Top 25: 2013, Rank: 1
  • Distributed By: Habanos S.A.
  • Score: 96/100

The undisputed king of torpedoes is the Montecristo No. 2. The stately smoke with the pointy tip is known the world over and ranks as one of the best-selling cigars in the Cuban cigar portfolio. And unlike some things that sell well, Monte 2s combine commercial success with critical acclaim. We have rated Montecristo No. 2s dozens of times in Cigar Aficionado blind tastings. The first time was more than 20 years ago, when we gave it a score of 94 points. This score of 96 is the highest rating we have ever bestowed on the cigar in a blind taste test. Recent production Monte 2s (those we smoked were from April 2013) are extraordinary, teeming with rich but not overwhelming flavors of leather, such sweet spices as cinnamon and nutmeg and the cigar’s trademark tangy wood note. They have enough flavor and power to satisfy those who smoke cigars on a regular basis without overwhelming those who puff less frequently. The Montecristo No. 2 is anything but new. The cigar is one of the original sizes of the Montecristo brand, which was created in Cuba by Alonso Menendez in 1935 and became the best-known of all the cigars rolled at Menendez, Garcia y Cia., the biggest cigar company in pre-Castro Cuba. The Count of Monte Cristo, the 1844 work of French novelist Alexandre Dumas that culminates in a dramatic sword fight, is believed to have inspired the name. Today, the Montecristo box features swords crossed in a triangular pattern, and the band has a majestic fleur-de-lis, a symbol of the French monarchy, in its center. While Montecristo No. 2s smoke beautifully in their youth, they also make superb aging cigars for those with the patience. We have smoked Montecristos that have been stored for 10 to 50 years in a humidor, and they only get better over time. The Montecristo No. 2 is a classic, and Cigar Aficionado’s best cigar of 2013.