Well it’s that time of the year again folks. The time of year where each cigar media outlet sits down, reviews all their past posts and comes up with their best cigars of the year. Jeremy and I have talked about how interesting and hopefully diverse much of the lists will be this year due to so many releases being pushed out this year due to impending FDA regulations. As far as my list goes, there really isn’t much science in it. I’m not a professional cigar smoker, I am simply a man who enjoys cigars, and this list lays out the cigars that I smoked last year, that I enjoyed the most. Nothing more, nothing less. Enjoy.
#10 – Davidoff – Yamasa
In my opinion, Davidoff has released some of the best cigars in their portfolio lately. The Eclipse, the Nicaraguan, and now, the Yamasa. Davidoff has always made great cigars, but often I find myself wishing that there was something just a bit bolder about them. Well, that’s been answered. The Yamasa is a great, medium/full cigar with enough body and complexity to keep me entertained, without losing what makes Davidoff cigars so special. These cigars are box-worthy for sure if you are willing to drop the coin on them, as they are a bit high in price. You have come to expect act with Davidoff though, and in most cases, they deliver.
#9 – Illusione – Garagiste
I’m a very un-biased fan of Illusione. I love most cigars in Dion’s line, but that doesn’t ever stop me from giving my honest feedback. With that out of the way I think that the Garagiste is an absolutely stellar cigar. The cigar provides a ton of complex, yet balanced flavors with a flawless burn at a great price. Never once did the cigar get too strong, more did the body become too much for me while the complex flavors kept me on my toes from start to finish. This is a box worthy purchase for sure and one that will easily find its way into my regular rotation and might just make an appearance on my best cigar of 2016 list (which I haven’t put a lot of thought into yet to be honest).
#8 – Caldwell – Savages
I’ve really liked just about everything that Caldwell has released and the Savages only adds to an already long list. In fact, this is probably one of the best blends I have had by the company. It offers a unique flavor profile that delivers in both body and dimension without being too overpowering or strong. Sure, the price is steep but thats expected as Caldwell relies heavily on rare, limited, and vintage tobacco to make each of their blends.
#7 – La Palina – Illumination
I went into the La Palina Illumination knowing that it wouldn’t be a Goldie, but that it would be similar to it, and boy did this cigar deliver. The flavor profile is absolutely incredible. It’s complex and bold while maintaining very modest strength which is something I really loved in the Goldie. Sure, its no replacement, but for a low-cost full-production blend I can easily see this being a multiple box purchase in my book and expect it to be in my regular rotation for quite some time.
#6 – Foundation Tobacco Company – Tabernacle
Foundation Cigar Company knocks another one out of the park. The Tabernacle is a cigar packed with complexity, great flavors, bold body and strength, with a flawless experience. The price point is right where you would expect for an experience like this and now that Foundation Cigar Company has teamed up with Miami cigar for distribution you can expect to find their cigars much more easily. (NOTE: Miami is only distributing the Upsetters. Thanks Charlie for pointing this out!) This is a perfect cigar for those like me, who like bold, strong, complex cigars or even this novice cigar really looking to step their game up. I’ll be stocking up on these and adding them into my regular rotation.
#5 – Casa De Entrada – Entrada
For some reason, Casa Fernandez-made cigars are very distinct, and I can always pick them out, it reminds me how Padron, and Davidoff all carry certain district flavor profiles. Anyways, maybe it’s just me. The Entrada by Casa Entrada is a great cigar with falls in line with everything you would expect a Casa Fernandez-made cigar would be. The flavor profile is very bold right from the start, and pours on the flavor until the nub. While complex, all the flavors marry in very well with each other. The strength never peaked over medium, and the burn was flawless. This is a solid cigar for the price and once that I would love to have in my regular rotation.
#4 – Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust – Mi Querida
I absolutely loved the Sobremesa, and I can honestly say that the Mi Querida really gave it a run for it’s money. In my opinion, while both cigar’s performed incredibly, the flavor profile of the Mi Querida is much more up my alley and is something I could see myself smoking on the regular. The burn was flawless, the flavors incredible, and the price is on point. I don’t think I could really ask for more from a cigar.
#3 – The Crowned Heads – Las Mereas
Don’t let the looks of the Las Mareas fool you, this cigar preformed like a dream. Considering this was made by the hands of My Father Cigars, I was caught off guard. I was expecting more spicy, bold flavors while I was pleasantly surprised with something the closely resembles what we would expect from a Cuban cigar experience. The subtle nuances in flavors, slight change ups, with a very enjoyable body made for a wonderful smoke and something I could really see myself smoking very often. It’s a great cigar for those who often smoke Cuban cigars, those who are more experienced cigar smokers looking for a great milder cigar with a great body, or even the novice cigar smoker looking to getting into something premium that one, won’t break the bank and two, won’t kick their ass with strength and body. I’m really glad this is going into the Crowned Head’s full production portfolio as it’s a cigar that I plan on picking up quite often.
#2 – Tatuaje – TAA 2016
The Tatuaje TAA 2012 is easily one of the best cigars I smoked all year. It’s complex, yet easy to break down sporting a favor profile that carries a great amount of different flavors. The burn was flawless, the format is incredibly comfortable, the TAA support is awesome, and the price is exactly where one would expect it to be. I’m glad I picked up quite a few of these as this is a cigar I will really miss once they are gone.
#1 – Illusione – Haut 10
I am a big Illusione fan, and while that means I generally enjoy their cigars, it also means I can get critical of them really quick if they don’t live up to my set standards for them. Not only did the Haut 10 live up to those standards, but it blew them away. This cigar has it all, bold flavors with a balanced profile I really enjoyed, flawless construction, and perfect burn. The price is a bit steep, but the outcome from what Dion put into this cigar is evident. This is how Anniversary cigars are done. Congrats to 10 years Illusione, I can’t wait to see what’s next for you.