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When it comes to choosing a great cigar, the vast array options can be dizzying at times. Like everything else in life, you end up with a lot of differing opinions—and whose really counts? Like many other things, enjoying a cigar is a subjective experience.
I chose to do our list of the “Best Cigars of 2016” with no particular formula in mind. I am sure there are great manufacturers that did not make my cut, but you remember that little comment about being “subjective?”
Here are my favorites:
10) Hammer + Sickle Tradición Churchill
Although the name and image of this may put you back on your heels a bit, do not be dissuaded. The hammer and sickle does not represent the Soviet Union (which incorporated a star), but symbolizes Russia’s industrial north and agrarian south. An up and coming boutique brand, Hammer + Sickle embraces traditionalism over trendiness and is beautifully packaged in a handmade, etched glass box. Its exceptional, yet understated floral quality, is accentuated by touches of nutmeg and a lightly sweet aftertaste.
9) Ashton Cabinet Vintage #10
Ashton Cabinet Selection cigars boast 4-5 years of an aged blend of Dominican long-fillers. This beauty is ensconced with a top-grade Connecticut shade wrapper that’s differentiated by an additional 12 months more of aging than the wrapper leaf on the Ashton Classic. This is a beautifully smooth smoke that combines six different tobaccos and delivers a toffee-like smoothness, accentuated by rich leather—outstanding.
8) Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona (Cuban)
Handcrafted in Cofradia, Honduras, formerly by master cigar maker Estelo Padrón, this cigar is becoming legendary. If you are taking the time for a leisurely and lengthy smoke, the tangy cocoa and leather-laced coffee notes, combined with a pleasant mix of sweet spices and orange peel, beautifully come together in this simply delicious and well rounded offering. Its enduring nature makes it a natural for a leisurely afternoon paired with 18 holes at your favorite golf course.
7) Montecristo #4 (Cuban)
Smooth and consistently blended, the #4 is one of the best selling Cuban cigars in the world. This size of this small corona makes it perfect for for a quick smoke when time may be a factor. A little earthy in the beginning, as you progress, spices come forward followed by soft notes of cocoa and coffee toward the end. Enjoy one of these Montecristo’s with that first eye-opening cup of fresh brewed java—a great way to start the day!
6) Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9
The first thing you notice about this cigar is its beauty. The dark Oscuro wrapper surrounds aged long-fillers from seven different farms creating an exciting smoke encompassing a bold and complex bouquet. Only the best cigar rollers in Esteli are tapped to roll the No. 9’s ensuring perfect construction. An extra year’s worth of aging delivers a rich cigar with various notes of toast, coffee and chocolate—a truly a satisfying experience.
5) My Father Le Bijou 1922
Highlighted by an Ecuadorian-grown Habano Oscuro wrapper and a healthy mix of Nicaraguan long-fillers, Le Bijou 1922 highlights a robust array of flavors delicately delivered in a smooth fashion. The date 1922 denotes the birth year of José Garcia, the father of José “Pepin” Garcia. Le Bijou is French for “the jewel” and this cigar is emblematic of all the Garcia family has accomplished. Upon lighting, it quickly opens up, bringing notes of hickory to compete with sweet cream, wood and a healthy dose of spice.4) Partagas Series P No. 2 Tubo (Cuban)
Made by hand of leaves carefully selected from the best tobacco plantations in the Vuelta Abajo area, exotic spices, rich coffee and hints of dry earth dominate this extremely bold smoke. With a beautifully oily wrapper that burns almost perfectly, the beautiful fresh wood and crushed pepper accentuate an underlying creaminess. The conical tip focuses the smoke on the front of the palate adding to the intensity of the flavor profile and delivering an unforgettable smoking experience.
3) Padron 1926 40th Anniversary Torpedo
Like all cigars in the 1926 Series, this Nicaraguan gem employs only tobaccos aged for five full years. The 40th Anniversary is sweet and rich bursting with dusty cocoa, espresso and is deeply layered with hints of chocolate, rich earthiness and wet leather. This celebratory expression is one that is certain to remain atop your ‘favorites’ list as it is rich and bold while effortlessly retaining a sense of refinement. This is quite certainly one of the best cigars Padron has ever made.
2) Fuente Opus X Reserva D’Chateau
This is a classic Churchill, blended to the discriminating palate of Carlos Fuente Jr., who is known to like his cigars strong, spicy and resonant. Opus X has commanded a global appreciation as it is somewhat peerless and it is one of the more sought after cigars on the market. The wrapper is grown in very limited quantities on the property of their Chateau de la Fuente farm in the Dominican Republic and because these cigars are made in very limited quantities, they are notoriously difficult to obtain. With that said, to the winner goes the spoils, and the spoils will have an extraordinarily memorable effect keeping you continually seeking more of these iconic stogies.1) Cohiba Sublime LE 2004 (Cuban)
This epic smoke confidently rests at the pinnacle of the cigar world. The leaves are carefully selected from the top of the tobacco plant and are aged for two years prior to blending. Firing up this masterful stogie greets you with a multitude of finely blended flavors that will quite simply rock your world. Bitter chocolate, hazelnut, cream and earthy leather greet you at the gates and a mix of spice, honey, coffee bean and vanilla follow. Some very mild pepper on the back end finish the story on what can only be described as a fairy tale.