By The Editors of CigarAdvisor.com
As 2015 came to a close, the premium cigar media and bloggers were scrambling faster than squirrels at a nut-gathering convention to complete their “Best Cigars of the Year” lists. We reviewers at CigarAdvisor.com were no exception as we pored over dozens of possible candidates for the best blends. When it all panned-out, the list included cigars from Arturo Fuente, Macanudo, Montecristo, Rocky Patel, and Perdomo, for starters, while the list as a whole represents new discoveries, perennial favorites, and a few cigars that may surprise you.
The criteria we used boiled down to five key areas: construction, flavor, balance, consistency, and value. The reason we included “value” was we felt that, in addition to the tasting criteria, each cigar should also be worthy of its retail price. Coincidentally, most of the cigars have two things in common: For one, they’re robusto sizes, and secondly, they have Connecticut wrappers. What’s interesting about this is, Connecticut is “in” these days. During the 2015 release cycle, several manufacturers introduced full-flavored blends with Connecticut wrappers, with more to come this year, and several of our picks also fall into that category.
Finally, after living with our 10 Top-Rated Blends list for a few days, we said, “This collection would make a great sampler.” So, in the interest of giving our readers a chance to get to know these 10 cigars up-close-and-personal, the good merchandisers at Famous Smoke Shop made it so at a very smoker-friendly price. Now, without further ado, here they are submitted in the interest of cigar smokers everywhere, who are always in search of their next great cigar.
Nothing reeks more of “classic” than this little number from Arturo Fuente Cigars. Estate-grown Dominican long-fillers are rolled to Rothschild dimensions in buttery-smooth Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrappers that are protected by cedar sleeves. Medium-bodied and well-balanced with notes of sweet wood and spice.
This Corona Gorda serves-up a creamy, complex, medium-bodied smoke set in motion by 5 different Dominican-grown long-fillers, including a 25-year-aged leaf, rolled in a flawless U.S. Connecticut Shade wrapper. The balance is extraordinary in this earthy, woody, and delicately spicy cigar made more harmonious by its seductive aroma.
An exclusive blend of hearty Nicaraguan Ligero and Viso long-fillers, Honduran binder, and a select Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro wrapper lend a Cubanesque character to this medium-bodied robusto that shifts gears along the way, revealing layers of earth, sweet tobacco, and peppery spice.
You can’t keep a great cigar down, which is why this classic Macanudo continues to make “Best of” lists year, after year. Not complex or heavy in flavor; just incredibly creamy, well-balanced, and relaxing, especially the aroma, which comes from using the absolute best U.S. Connecticut Shade-grown wrappers. Mellow, cedary, and naturally sweet.
An exclusive blend of robust Nicaraguan and Brazilian Mata Fina long-fillers, a sweet Mexican San Andrés binder, and a rich-tasting Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper yield a balanced, medium-bodied smoke that builds to a juggernaut of non-stop flavor. Earthy, spicy, and slightly peppery with hints of espresso and cedar.
One of the best all-Nicaraguan core/Connecticut wrapper blends out there, and there’s no shortage of them, either. Oliva’s recipe results in a luxurious, medium-bodied smoke that allows all the depth and flavor of its Nicaraguan fillers to shine through. Earthy, creamy, and nutty, with notes of sweet wood and spice.
This big caliber robusto also features a Nicaraguan filler & binder bunch with a Connecticut Shade wrapper, but the difference is its silky, 6-year-aged U.S. Connecticut wrapper that offers an extra layer of creaminess, while the core blend cuts right through with intense flavors of roasted almonds, coffee, nutmeg, sweet cedar, and cocoa.
In the great Romeo y Julieta tradition comes this plumped-up robusto that blends Honduran and Nicaraguan long-fillers, a Nicaraguan binder, and a buttery Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. The smoke is smooth and creamy offering lots of rich tobacco taste imbued with a continual ebb and flow of sweetness and spice throughout.
A perfectly-balanced blend of Nicaraguan & Honduran longfillers finished in silky Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers combine for one of the most consistent medium-bodied cigars in their class. The cigar is well-packed and burns clean as caramelized flavors of sweet cedar and nutmeg lay the foundation for a lusciously creamy and fragrant smoke.
Starting with a bold Nicaraguan ligero center bound in a sweeter Cameroon leaf, an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper completes the mix in this robusto for a mostly earthy-woody smoke that strikes the palate with a sudden bolt of peppery spice and sticks it for a well-rounded cigar that’s filled with savory surprises.