Top 10 Lists
Casas Fumando “Average Joe” Top 10 of 2012
So here we are with the list Tony so graciously hyped up in his post earlier this week. It’s not going to be as impressive or fancy but it will be a list, and we all love lists! My plan here is just to go through some of the cigars that I’ve been re-visiting over and over again through the last year. It has nothing to do with release date but focuses more on what’s available to the everyday cigar smoker.
Now let me clarify something, I don’t mean “Average Joe” as in you are not special(I’m sure you’re all special…). I’m more referring to availability to the average person. As you run through Tony’s Top Cigars of 2012, many of them are still very new and haven’t hit some of the far reaching markets, especially not up here in Canada. They will roll out slowly to more shops but some may never make it to local B&M’s. Most of the cigars in my list below are pretty easily available nationwide, with a couple small exceptions, and they have nothing to do with release dates. It’s obviously biased to what’s easily available to me but I think my situation will mimic a lot of our friends out there.
As Tony mentioned in his post, this list is completely home-spun, written for the enjoyment of it, and I by no means consider myself any sort of expert smoker or expert shopper. Everyone’s opinion will vary and these might not be what you expect to see. But I’d love to hear your thoughts, let’s have some fun with this one!
#10 – My Father Le Bijou 1922
I had a bit of a tough time squeezing this cigar into this list, and I have a couple reasons for that. Firstly is the price, most of the vitolas are at or over the $10 range which makes them a little too pricey for most. The savior here is that you can grab the tasty little Petit Robusto for a much fairer price. My second concern was availability, they seem to be available in a lot of stores but also sell out quickly and are slower to re-stock to due the lower yield they have. But this is a cigar I’m constantly looking for, I don’t always buy it because of the price but when I see a sale or a package deal, I’m quick to throw one of these in there. The intense espresso flavors are almost enough for me to want this cigar, but it also gives great cedar, spice and cocoa all backed by a smooth and creamy finish. It’s an all around great cigar and will always be on my shopping list.
#9 – Padilla La Terraza Capa Habano
Now this is a cigar I honestly stumbled into by accident. I found it on sale, read a couple decent reviews and opted to grab a whole box for a steal of a deal. And I’m really glad I did! For the price of only about $2 that you can find these, the cigar is spot on and burns very nicely. You will find some woodsy, almond and coffee flavors here, perhaps a bit of a menthol kick at the start as well. All in a nice smooth medium bodied cigar. Just make sure to get the Habano version as the general consensus is that the Maduro just doesn’t match up.
#8 – Maldonado Dynasty “The Mogul”
This is a name you’ve probably seen pop up on our site before. Paul, leader of the Maldonado Dynasty, has been a great supporter and friend of Casas Fumando but that doesn’t mean we take his cigars lightly. I’ve been lucky enough to smoke through a whole bunch of these cigars, including some pre-release, first release and even a bunch from a fresh batch I received a few weeks ago. Paul is constantly working to make things better and it shows in his cigars. The quality of the sticks continues to rise while the flavors continue to impress. You can expect a silky medium-full bodied cigar with lots of coffee, cocoa, dried fruit and nutmeg flavors that will keep you on your toes. The availability of these is still a bit limited so it was a tough choice for me to add to this list, but if you don’t mind getting them shipped you can definitely find a place to buy these.
#7 – Perdomo Champagne Noir
I’ve always been a pretty big fan of Perdomo, they constantly impress me with top-notch construction on all of their sticks. It’s been rare for me to run into burn issues on their cigars and all of their sticks come in at fair prices. This is a definite commitment to quality that I can appreciate. Typically, Perdomo’s don’t make many top 10 lists because they don’t tend to be in the trendy boutique sphere and also don’t do anything too crazy. They seem to stick to their roots and just keep producing good cigars. I was a fan of the 10th Anniversary Champagne and when I heard about the Champagne Noir, I jumped to try it. I was happily greeted by a delicate mixture of baking spices, cedar, espresso and roasted almonds. Not to mention this was probably one of the slowest burning cigars I have ever lit up. The standard Toro size flew past 2 hours easily, normally I burn through a toro in under 1.5 hours.
#6 – La Aurora 107
It’s been quite a while since this cigar was released but I still find myself seeking them out. The flavors never cease to impress and they usually come in at a very fair price, especially if you find them on sale. There is a wide range of vitolas in this line for everyone. Every time I light one of these up I know I’m going to get an amazing mix of cedar, light spices and some fruity sweetness. These are available just about everywhere so if you’ve been skipping them over recently cause they aren’t all new and trendy, I think it’s time to re-visit this stick!
#5 – Padron 2000 & Londres
I think most everyone knows about this cigar and has probably had one at one time or another. I know I discovered these long ago when I first started smoking cigars. The prices on these are right in the sweet spot of most consumers and they are very widely available. The whole line is very good but I always tend towards the 2000 and Londres. Both the Maduro’s and Naturals seem to be pretty similar in the flavor department and you can expect to find lots of coffee and cocoa making this one tasty cigar!
#4 – Illusione 888 & 88
I couldn’t decide on which one of these I enjoy more so I decided to group them together since they are pretty similar in my eyes. The ~88~ and ~888~ are staples in my humidor. I know the prices are a bit high but the flavors and construction on these definitely make them worth my while. When you spark up one of these you can expect to find lots of earthy and cedar notes, but the two real winners here for me are the tarty sweet notes near the end and the amazing smooth creamy retrohale that they offer. If you haven’t tried one of these yet, make sure to pick some up! I added the link to our “~888~ Slam” here, the flavors were very similar to the regular ~888~ but I liked the vitola a little more just because it was more comfortable to hold, but both are winners.
#3 – Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial
The first time I had one of these it was sent to me by Tony and I was just blown away by the awesome flavors and construction. I mean who can complain, almost all the cigars out of the My Father factory are top notch. What really caught my attention and keeps me smoking these is the price they come in. For a premium cigar with some awesome flavors and constuctio, the price is amazing. They are also very widely available which can’t be said for all the My Father products. If you like a solid medium bodied stick with awesome flavors such as spice, cedar, espresso and cocoa, you will love this stick.
#2 – Montecristo No. 2 (Cuban)
I know, I know, this is not an easy one for most of our American friends to track down. But it constantly tops my list and many others as one of the best value for a premium cigar you can find. With the right connections, you can get these for under $8 per stick. They have tons of good flavors ranging from coffee to cedar to earthy to creamy, it’s just so good. They do benefit from a bit of time resting but are easily smokable fresh too, you just won’t get some of the more delicate flavors.
#1 – Drew Estate Undercrown
If you’ve been keeping an eye on my twitter feed or the Facebook page, you would have seen quite a few of these pop up over the course of the last year. The meaty and balanced flavors of espresso and spices in the Undercrown just seem to hit the spot everytime. Add on some excellent construction and spot on consistency, and this is a winner. I’m also a fan of the T52 and No.9 but I’ve had a lot more luck tracking down the Undercrowns and their price is also much more digestible as a more frequent cigar. I also love the wrapper on this cigar, it’s so dark and has a ton of toothiness and roughness to it, definitely some eye candy in the cigar world. As I write this I realize I’m running low on them and need to order another box… lol
There are tons more great sticks I could go into that are easily available, these are just a few that I’ve been smoking or wanting to smoke this past year. And this list could change completely in the next 6 months so take it for what it is and enjoy. If you have a couple that are on your constant shopping list and have been heavy hitters this year, let me know in the comments!