Top 10 Lists
Top 10 Cigars of 2018 – Tony Casas Edition
Its that time of the year again! While we are recovering from a much needed vacation celebrating time with friends and family we were also wrapping up our top 10 lists. Here is mine. Just to recap, we don’t really follow a certain rubric, score, or rules for our lists. Basically its the top cigars that we smoked/reviews the previous year. Here we go!
#10 Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust – Sin Compromiso
Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust’s Sin Compromiso is one of this year’s most highly anticipated / most sought after cigars. Making it’s debut at this year’s IPCPR show in Las Vegas Sin Compromiso or “Without Compromise” consists of tobaccos that were specifically grown just for this blend. Everyone knows just how picky, and meticulous Steve Saka, founder of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust can be so to hear that he went through the trouble of carefully picking and growing specific tobaccos to create such a unique experience creates a considerable amount of anticipation. The cigar starts with Nicaraguan filler tobaccos covered with an Ecuadorian Habano binder, then wrapper with a special San Andres Negro wrapper which is grown by using a similar process Japanese fruit farmers use. As the tobacco plant grows workers remove the bottle leaves of the plant which causes more nutrients to be consumed by the tap of the plant resulting in a much bolder tobacco leaf. The end result to all the hard work results in what Saka calls the blest blend he has ever created.
#9 Tatuaje – 15th Anniversary Habano Oscuro
The Tatuaje 15th Anniversary is a great celebration of 15 strong years in the cigar community. The cigar is bold, complex, with great flavors and great balance. The experience and construction is great, while the price point is just a bit high I don’t see that stopping me from grabbing more of these to keep in my humidor for those great nights when I am craving an extra special treat. I really enjoyed the flavor profile and the fact that the cigar burned so slowly taking me 2 hours to smoke down to the nub so you definitely get quite a bit of bang for your buck.
#8 The Crowned Heads – Four Kicks Maduro
Several months ago, I lit up the Four Kicks Maduro with my close friend and former boss. As soon as the smoke started flowing, I knew this cigar was something special and one I had to review. Full flavors, medium/full strength and a hefty amount of spice are masterfully matched up with balance and smoothness. Other than a single touch-up, I have no complaints on the performance. The price of $9.60 is a little more than I prefer to spend on a regular smoke, but the Four Kicks Maduro is one that is worth it.
#7 Caldwell Cigar Co. – The T
So, you decide you want to put 3 of the more prominent, forward thinking cigar minds in the game in one room to create a single product. In a lot of cases, the hype is stronger than the cigar, but in the case of The T. The outcome was an incredible cigar. From start to finish this cigar was flawless. The burn, the construction and the profile were all exactly what I look for in a cigar. The price is slightly high, but what I would consider on-point for a cigar of this stature and I would gladly pay it for what the cigar delivered. My only gripe would be availability as I know sooner rather than later this cigar is going to become a whale.
#6 Warped – Serie Gran Reserva 1988
I’ve really liked the Warped cigars that I’ve had so far, and this one is no exception. There’s a decent amount of complexity and the transitions are somewhat subtle, but it carries a great balance of rich flavors on a medium body, and makes for a very enjoyable experience. Combined with the one I previously smoked indoors, I would have to say that the construction is excellent, as is the burn. It can easily be smoked at various times of the day and will appeal to a wide range of smokers. With a more than fair price, I have no problem giving the Warped Serie Gran Reserva 1988 a strong recommendation, so pick up a few or a lot.
#5 Black Label Trading Co. – Bishops Blend
It’s not just Texas love ya’ll, Black Label Trading Co. has produced some of the greatest blends in the recent years and the cigar community has quickly grown to appreciate and embrace the boutique brand. I have been high on their blends for a few years now and Bishops Blend has made it’s way into one of my favorite blends they have made to date. My only issue is how hard it is to find. The construction is flawless, the experience is memorable and the flavor profile is complex an right on key with my own personal preference. I love how bold it was without being over the top, or over powering. The price point is perfect and this cigar would easily make its way into my regular rotation if it was easier to acquire.
#4 RoMa Craft Tobac – Black Irish
I have been a long-time fan of RoMa Craft Tobac’s releases and I have to be honest hear, the Black Irish is probably one of the best cigars I have smoked from the team. The flavor profile is unique, and incredible while the cigar sports perfect construction, and the price point is about where you would expect it to be. I bet you can guess that my only gripe is that these are pretty near impossible to find. So if anyone has been hoarding onto these… let me know.. now please.
#3 Drew Estate – Pappy Van Winkle Tradition
Its no secret that I have been a longtime fan of Willy Herrera’s blends, and in all honesty I think the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition is right up towards the top of my favorite cigars that he has made. The flavors are solid, meticulous, complex, and so well balanced without hitting you in the face. That’s something I have always been able to appreciate with his blends and why he fits right in and Drew Estate. The Pappy Van Winkle is an exclusive, limited, and expensive cigar which fits right in with the Pappy branding. In all honesty, I think this cigar is worth the coin. I dropped so much money on the La Palina Goldies and I can easily see myself buying a box of the Traditions as well. If you find them, buy them.
#2 Illusione – One Off
The Illusione OneOff is a fantastic cigar through and through and I couldn’t think of a better team than Casa Fernandez and Illusione to bring this brand back to life. While I haven’t smoked the original OneOff in years and years I do remember how much I enjoyed it which is similar to just how much I enjoyed this version of the cigar. It’s complex, bold from the start, has a wonderful flavor profile, and burned like a dream. While the price is a bit steep it’s not more than what I would personally pay to make sure I had this cigar ready and available in my regular smoking rotation. The 10 count packaging makes it much more manageable as well and I will go back on record for the thousandth time in saying the more manufacturers should follow that route.
#1 Joya de Nicaragua – Cinco Decadas Diadema
What a fantastic cigar. Not even going to try to hide how much I enjoyed it. Usually Joya de Nicaragua cigars are packed with both power and punch, but I found the Cinco Decadas was the perfect balance of full flavor without being an overly strong cigar. I kept finding myself really relaxing and taking in all the flavors the cigar had to offer. While this cigar is limited, and pricey, its a perfect cigar for a seasoned smoker who is looking for a special experience. The price would be the only thing keeping this out of my day to day rotation.