CA Report 2017: Top 10 Celebration Cigars
By Gary Korb
If premium handmade cigars were reduced to having only one purpose, it would undoubtedly be for celebrating. I needn’t reprise here the usual myriad reasons for lighting up, yet, when a special celebration is in order, you don’t want to go without, because there’s no better time than now, when the year-end festivities are in full swing.
Cigars and celebrations go together like ugly Christmas sweaters and fruitcake. That’s why there’s no better time for celebrating with friends and family than the weeks of Christmas and New Years. To cap off your year right, I’ve assembled some of the finest premium handmades north of Havana across a variety of brands, blends, and price points. If you’ve been contemplating what cigars to set aside for the holidays, this collection will help you come to a momentous decision, whether it’s during the next two weeks, or well into 2018.
Listed here are 10 stunning celebration cigars for immortalizing just about any event: new year, new baby, new job, new marriage, new 4K TV . . . So, make room in your humidor for some of these tempting, top-drawer cigars, because there’s always something worth celebrating on any given day.
Arturo Fuente Sun Grown Chateau King B Rosado (6″ x 55 Torpedo)
Rumour has it that figurados aren’t as popular as they used to be. Be that as it may, here’s one Torpedo that’s definitely worth a celebration smoke from none other than Arturo Fuente Cigars. Protected by a cedar sleeve, when it’s revealed, the sun grown Rosado wrapper blushes with a buttery, brick-hued patina and smokes just as smoothly. Notes of sweet cedar, leather, and spice combine for almost two hours or more of pure, unadulterated relaxation made for a King, yet affordable enough for an on-the-job Knight. For this celebration, it’s “Damn the parejos! Long live the torpedoes!”
Camacho American Barrel Aged Robusto (5″ x 50)
Barrel aging is suddenly all the rage, even though a lot of blenders have been doing it for years. The Camacho American Barrel Aged is a perfect example of how barrel aging can make the flavor profile of a fine cigar even more inviting. Beneath the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper & binder lies a full-bodied core of Connecticut Broadleaf, Pennsylvania Maduro, and Honduran Corojo long-fillers, among which, the Corojo was aged 5 months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels. The Robusto issues lots of thick, chewy smoke with a peppery start, then rounds-out to reveal notes of roasted nuts, charred wood, and sweet spices with a subtle hint of bourbon on a long finish.
Davidoff Famous 75th Anniversary Toro (6″ x 50)
Davidoff Cigars tend to be top picks as celebration cigars for their flawless craftmanship, well-rounded flavor, and aristocratic reputation. Making that celebratory smoke a little more special is when it’s a limited edition cigar. Only 500 boxes of the Davidoff Famous 75th Anniversary Toro were made, and they hit this exclusive edition out of the park. Its blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers, Mexican San Andrés Negro binder, and an elegant Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, make for a deliciously creamy and complex smoke that shifts from medium to medium-full in body. Notes of earth, cedar, sweet spice, dark chocolate and berries entice the palate in this collector’s item in the making.
Liga Privada T52 Toro (6″ x 52)
If you like the Liga Privada No.9, chances are you’ll love the T52. The exquisite Connecticut-grown, stalk-cured Habano Oscuro wrappers are dark, mouthwateringly oily, and abundantly flavorful. Add the Brazilian binder Habano seed and the core of Nicaraguan Dominican and Honduran long-fillers, and you’ve got a creamy, chewy, and uber-robust smoke brimming with peppery spice backed by notes of espresso, aged wood, sweet spices, and more. A true aficionado’s cigar, perfect for following a big meal. As Jonathan Drew says, “The Liga Privada T52 story is about leaf,” and once you smoke this highly-rated Toro, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the art of tobacco blending.
Mi Querida Fino Largo (6″ x 48 Toro)
Not unlike the Liga Privada T52 above, in which Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust founder, Steve Saka, previously played a role, the full-bodied Mi Querida Fino Largo is a sight to behold and a dream to smoke. Using only the most judiciously selected Nicaraguan fillers and a drop-dead gorgeous Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, the Fino Largo pairs well with just about everything (try a dark, long-aged rum), and the chewy smoke simmers with nonstop, earthy-spicy flavors from top to bottom. As celebration cigars go, this is a masterpiece of a cigar on every count – and worth spending a good hour-and-a-half of uninterrupted downtime.
Montecristo Epic Toro (6″ x 52)
Few words are more appropriate than “epic” for describing this celebratory selection. Created by the Grupo de Maestros – the blending brain trust of Altadis U.S.A. – they’ve cobbled together vintage 2007 Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos and rolled them in a glistening Ecuadorian Habano wrapper for a nothing less than stunning, medium to medium-plus tour de force. The creamy-smooth smoke issues a complex concoction of caramelized flavors including earth, sweet spices, leather, dark chocolate, nuts, and toffee. Your palate may vary, but if nothing else, you can taste the passion that went into making this faithful companion.
Padrón Family Reserve 45 Years Toro Maduro (6″ x 52, box-pressed)
Survey any number of cigar smokers about their favorite celebration cigars, and a Padrón will most likely top the list. Padrón’s reputation has always preceded itself, and this 45 Years Toro Maduro from their “Family Reserve” selection is a flavor bomb extraordinaire in-waiting. This dark, shimmering, and meticulously box-pressed cigar boasts a full-bodied blend of 10-year-aged Nicaraguan tobaccos. The smoke is ultra-creamy, perfectly-balanced, and simmers with notes of earth, cocoa, espresso, pepper, and sweet spice. We’re talkin’ a real celebratory finger burner here. And take your time; you don’t want to miss any of it.
Perdomo Small Batch Maduro Toro Especial (5½” x 54)
Leave it to Perdomo to create a limited edition cigar that smokes like it should cost twice the price. This Small Batch Maduro Toro Especial is a full-bodied, 100% Nicaraguan leaf magnum opus with a very affordable price tag. All of the tobaccos are aged 10 years, undergoing the final stage in bourbon barrels – and Perdomo’s oily maduro wrappers are in a flavor league of their own. Notes of sweet tobacco, earthy spice, coffee, cedar, and a dash of pepper embody each well-balanced puff. (You might even pick-up a hint of bourbon along the trail, too.) If you’re looking for a celebration cigar that also qualifies as a great “everyday” smoke, this is it.
Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua 5½x54 (5½” x 54 Robusto)
Speaking of affordable celebration cigars, the Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua selection essentially reinvents this famed Cuban-heritage brand once again with an even punchier profile. Due to its glistening Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, it’s not a “puro” in the true sense of the word, but I’m not going to cry foul. The core of hearty Nicaraguan tobaccos is where the real action is in this full-bodied, “5½ x 54” beauty. Its thick, effortless smoke issues a creamy and complex tapestry of earth, leather, sweet woods, spices, and cocoa spun around a strand of black pepper that nudges its way into the mix for a stimulating and ultimately satisfying respite that pairs nicely with a dark, long-aged rum.
Rocky Patel Royale Toro (6½” x 54, box-pressed)
The Rocky Patel Royale Toro recently became one of my all-time faves for its excellent balance, naturally-sweet flavor profile, and striking complexity. Blended with estate-grown Nicaraguan tobaccos, plus Connecticut Shade and Connecticut Broadleaf binders, and a flawless Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, this box-pressed cigar is a runaway freight train of flavor. The smoke is ultra-smooth, lusciously creamy, issuing notes of earth, leather, toasted almonds, espresso, and sweet spices from end-to-end. Whether it’s for celebrating special times or just chilling-out over the weekend, you’ll want it to keep going, even when the stub threatens to sear your fingers.
Bonus Celebration Cigar!
Oliva Serie V 2017 Maduro Especiale Double Toro (6″ x 60)
I just had to include this limited edition Oliva Serie V 2017 Maduro Especiale Double Toro. Even though it’s a size I don’t usually smoke, it has one of my favorite wrappers – a gorgeous Mexican San Andrés Maduro that’s been cured, fermented and aged to perfection. The full-bodied smoke is smoother than a supermodel’s complexion, and when combined with the high-priming Jalapa-grown long-fillers, blooms into a virtual dessert cart of espresso, dark chocolate, sweet spices and other flavors that defy description. Its rarity alone makes it worth owning a box; that means, if you miss it, you’ll have to wait another year.
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