Summer Wrap-up: the 12 Most Relaxing Labor Day Cigars
By Gary Korb
As the summer of 2017 winds its way towards the cooler climes of fall, it can only mean one thing: Labor Day is on the horizon. For many cigar smokers, the end of summer marks a decline in participation, but if you’re lucky enough to live in the warmer climes of the country where you can partake 365, more power to you.
Regardless, with our national day of rest approaching, that’s all the reason you need to light up a good cigar and escape the woes of the workaday grind in a cloud of blue cigar smoke.
This year I’ve chosen 12 cigars that are mostly bigger and longer in size, and full-flavored in profile. My logic? You might as well get the most out of your Labor Day cigars, and I doubt you’ll miss with any of them – even if you don’t smoke some of these sizes that often.
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2012 by Oscar “Rebirth” Corojo Toro (6″ x 52, box-pressed)
One of the biggest surprises of the year, this Honduran-made selection has also recently become a national bestseller. Not surprising, considering that Oscar Valladeres and Byron Duarte have created this cigar with a perfectly-balanced blend of Honduran & Nicaraguan longfillers neatly pressed into a dark and flavorful Honduran Corojo sun-grown wrapper and rolled only in one size. The smoke is medium-full, ultra-creamy and chock full of complexity offering flavors of roasted nuts, graham cracker, and molasses, to name a few, on a magnificent finish. Savor this one slowly. You won’t want to miss one puff.
Asylum 13 The OGRE Sixty (6″ x 60)
Asylum is known for their supersized cigars, but I chose the 60 because, let’s be honest, anything bigger than a 60-ring can get uncomfortable, and that’s the last thing you want to be on Labor Day. What makes this vitola extra-special is its barber pole wrappers consisting of a dark Nicaraguan Habano and a light green Nicaraguan Candela leaf. Inside, you’ll find a diverse blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers. All combined, the smoke is thick, creamy and medium-bodied with notes of cream, sweet grass, chocolate and a modicum of pepper. All-in-all, a great “change of pace cigar” made for these types of occasions.
AVO Syncro South America Ritmo Torpedo Largo (7″ x 54)
This voluptuous Torpedo from the newest AVO Syncro range offers a rich-tasting, full-bodied blend with emphasis on tobaccos from South America. The core consists of Dominican, Nicaraguan, Honduran, Peruvian, and Brazilian long-fillers, plus a Mexican binder all deftly box-pressed in a flawless Ecuadorian wrapper. If that doesn’t sound like a complex cigar, I don’t know what does. Roasted nuts and black pepper kick-off this well-balanced flavorfest as notes of earth, sweet wood, white pepper, and a suggestion of tangy citrus converge on the palate, followed later by hints of cocoa and black coffee. A great cigar for decompressing after the Labor Day guests have left and you’ve put the grill to bed.
Camacho Nicaraguan Rum Barrel Aged Toro (6″ x 50)
This Toro comes from Camacho’s latest “Master Built/Power Band” series, and I’m talkin’ full-bodied flavor bomb folks. Box-pressed in a dark, 2000 vintage Ecuadorian Havana wrapper, below decks is a well-balanced mix of Dominican Piloto Cubano and Honduran Corojo, plus – and here’s the kicker – prime Nicaraguan Corojo aged 5 months in Flor de Caña Rum barrels. You’ll get a little whiff of the rum when you take the cigar out of its cello, but once lit, a sweet start laced with earth and pepper evolves into a chewy procession of chocolate, dark roasted coffee, pepper, and caramel, plus, a very subtle note of rum that reveals itself near the midpoint. By the last third, the smoke can get a little heady, so I’m recommending that only more experienced cigar smokers reach for this cigar filled with plenty of rewarding surprises – especially after dinner.
La Mareas Ciclopes by Crowned Heads (6″ x 54)
Las Mareas by Crowned Heads has become one of my new favorites for its deliciously sweet ‘n spicy flavor profile and flawless construction a la the My Father Cigar Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. Rolled to a hefty 6-inches by 54 ring, the Ciclopes consists of specially-selected, Garcia family estate-grown long-filler and binder tobaccos enveloped in a dark, savory Corojo ’99 wrapper leaf. A generous helping of molasses, cedar, roasted coffee, citrus, and Cubanesque floral notes greet the palate with perfect balance for one of the most relaxing treats, making this long-smoking selection an excellent choice for your favorite Labor Day cigars.
Hoyo by A.J. Fernandez La Amistad Robusto (5″ x 54)
A.J. Fernandez has been putting his signature on a lot of cigars these days, and if you like full-bodied cigars, this number he cooked-up for Hoyo de Monterrey cigars is a muscular treat that hits it out of the park. The blend sounds relatively simple, yet it packs a deliciously complex punch using an all-Nicaraguan core capped by a gorgeously dark and spicy Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Base flavors of earth, dark chocolate, charred wood, pepper and other spices settle-in after a stimulating start that awakens all the senses. The wide ring ensures a long, satisfying smoke, especially if you apportion your puffs with longer intervals. Not an overpowering cigar, but I suggest newer cigar smokers wait on this one.
Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez No.2 Torpedo (6″ x 50)
I’ve become a big fan of this selection and I chose the Torpedo for Labor Day – first, because no one handcrafts a better “No.2” shape than Montecristo, and secondly, the more concentrated flavors issued through the tapered head offer an even more complex smoke. Blended by one of the true masters of the leaf, Don Pepe Mendez, the core consists of Nicaraguan tobaccos plus Dominican Piloto Cubano, a Dominican binder, and a seamlessly rolled Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Notes of sweet spice, leather, toasted almonds, and dried fruit are just some of the niceties you’ll discover as you kick back with this phenom of a figurado.
Oliva Inferno Melt Churchill (7″ x 50)
Here’s another full-flavored cigar that hits on all cylinders. Oliva Inferno Melt is a Nicaraguan puro handcrafted with a diverse blend of Estelí Ligeros and Habano binder encased in a sun-kissed Broadleaf wrapper. The smoke issues a smooth sailing coterie of earth, spice, roasted coffee, nuts and sweet tobacco from start to finish. Undeniably one of Oliva’s best efforts, plus, they come in refillable, vacuum-sealed HumiJars which, along with the affordable price, is another nice little extra. Great Labor Day cigars to relax with after your barbeque, with an IPA or Bourbon.
Perdomo Original Habano Presidente (7″ x 54)
They say there’s nothing like the original, and for this Perdomo Habano selection, that is definitely the case. I remember smoking this cigar when they first hit the shelves in 2007, and as good as they’ve continued to be in recent years, smoking one of these Original Habano puros will make your Labor Day that much more special. Rolled with estate-grown Condega and Jalapa tobaccos in shimmering Corojo wrappers, the well-balanced smoke is smooth, creamy, full-bodied, and brimming with earthy-spicy goodness. Plus, the 7-inch by 54 ring format delivers almost an entire afternoon or evening’s worth of absolute indulgence. As elegant looking as they are tasty; if this sounds like your kind of cigar, pick one up for old time’s sake.
Rocky Patel Royale Toro (6 1/2″ x 54)
Sometimes I’m late to the party, like the fact that I just recently discovered this incredibly flavorful Rocky Patel Royale, thanks to a friend having sent me one. I was so impressed with the volume of chewy flavor in this cigar that I’m now recommending it to you as a Labor Day treat – or any day for that matter. A blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos box-pressed inside a superlative Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper evokes a virtual dessert cart of chocolate, espresso, toasted almonds, leather, nutmeg and other sweet spices that never quits. If you’re looking for a real “nubber” over the holiday weekend, you will not be disappointed.
ROMEO 505 Nicaragua by Romeo y Julieta Toro (6″ x 52)
Here’s a cigar that hit the ground running when it was released this past Spring. Box-pressed in a dark, shimmering Habano Jalapa wrapper, at the center of this flavor-bomb is a blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers from Estelí, Condega and Jalapa, plus an Habano Jalapa binder all grown from heirloom Habano Criollo ’98 seeds. The chewy smoke is full-bodied and loaded with complex flavors. Notes of earth, dried fruit, sweet cedar and leather are just a few delicacies you’ll pick up along the way. Goes great with your Labor Day IPAs, a long-aged single malt scotch or dark rum, the ROMEO 505 Nicaragua Toro is the perfect way to top-off the holiday weekend.
Southern Draw “Rose of Sharon” Toro (6″ x 52)
For those of you looking for a milder cigar with a little extra ZING! this Labor Day, the Rose of Sharon Toro from Southern Draw Cigars should be right up your alley. Made at Tabacalera Fernandez in Estelí, the core blend consists of spicy estate-grown tobaccos from A.J.’s farm in Nicaragua, plus fillers from the Dominican Republic box-pressed around one of the most flawless and silkiest Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut leaves you’ll ever curl your fingers around. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it was a U.S. Connecticut. The smoke starts out mellow and creamy, then builds to a solid medium-bodied smoke brimming with notes of honey, cashews, and cedar with a smattering of white pepper on the finish.
I hope you get to try at least a couple of these Labor Day cigars this coming weekend, but whatever cigars you decide to partake of, the important thing is that you get in some solid relaxation time and enjoy them to their fullest.
Please share your thoughts on your favorite Labor Day cigars by leaving a photo or comment.