Cigar Advisor's Holiday Gift Buying Guide 2010
La Aurora 107
Created in honor of Tabacalera La Aurora's 107 years in business, Guillermo Leon did a great job on these anniversary cigars. The Ecuadorian-grown wrappers are par-excellence, while the overall experience offers a woody-peppery start, blooming into a much more complex smoke as flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon and caramel enter the mix.
Famous Signature by Litto Gomez
Fans of La Flor Dominicana cigars should be pretty nutty for these. They're a genuine Litto Gomez blend, full-flavored, and flawlessly handcrafted. The Nicaraguan wrappers are gorgeous, capping a Nicaraguan core with Sumatra-seed binders. This is a rich, earthy and creamy smoke with just the right amount of sweetness. Considering the source, the price is pretty reasonable, too.
Speaking of reasonably-priced cigars made by expert blenders, Vudu by Amilcar P. Castro, is a great buy. (I know these have been promoted on famous-smoke.com a lot lately, but the reaction has been so positive, I felt they were worth including.) Earthy, spicy and sweet tobacco flavors prevail throughout in this Nicaraguan liga rolled in a flavorful Mexican maduro leaf.
E.P. Carrillo Limitada 2010 Elencos
The newest of the lot, I was fortunate enough to smoke a sample care of Ernesto Jr. and was really blown away by this full-bodied cigar. (Even Arthur was impressed, and that takes some doing.) Starting with a dash of white pepper, it quickly rounds out to a creamy, woody smoke laced with nutmeg plus other sweet spice and tobacco flavors. Well worth gifting to a friend or yourself, this may be EPC's best cigar yet.
This is such a tough category from which to make picks, because there are just too many good cigar samplers to choose from. So I chose samplers from various categories like "Test Flights," "Best-Of," etc.
Mi Barrio Test Flight
Since these limited edition Don Pepin Garcia masterpieces are getting rarer by the day, if you want to give some true collector's cigars, this 6-cigar sampler will wow them. It's probably one of the best cigars Pepin has ever produced, making it a "must have," but there are literally only a handful left.
Buyer's Guide Sampler #6
11 dynamite cigars at a great price. If names turn you on, how about these: Arturo Fuente, Padron, CAO, Oliva, and Rocky Patel, Pepin Garcia, Jesus Fuego, Nestor Plasencia, Abe Flores & J. Rodriquez. This sampler speaks for itself. (NOTE: It's going on sale starting Sunday, Dec. 12.)
Best of Arturo Fuente Sampler
This one's a can't miss. There's nary a cigar smoker who doesn't like Arturo Fuente cigars. This 14-cigar collection covers all the bases including two Hemingways, and the price is amazingly reasonable. A great gift, especially for rookies.
Famous Best of Maduros Sampler
For the ultimate Maduro lover, samplers don't get much better than this. 20 cigars, each dripping with dark, sweet, or spicy (depending on the wrapper), deliciousness. 601, CAO Brazilia, Padron and Rocky Patel are just some of the highlights in this pack.
Last year I selected various size cigar humidors at different price points. This year, I decided to select humidors from various manufacturers.
Orleans Cigar Toulouse Birdseye Maple
This well-made Orleans humidor has an stunning maple birdseye finish with walnut inlays and pretty reasonably priced. It holds up to 25 cigars, and one really nice feature about this humidor is the rib-paneled bottom that provides better air flow around the cigars.
Xikar Artisan Sapelli
Among the best made humidors for the money, this elegant, 100 ct. Sapelli finish model lives up to Xikar's reputation for excellence. Although it has some minor blemishes, the craftsmanship is top-notch, plus it comes fully loaded with state-of-the-art accessories. Your giftee's cigars will be very happy in their new home.
X-treme 18 ct. Travel Humidor
If you've got a friend who does a lot of traveling, you can't beat these X-treme cigar cases. They can take an enormous amount of punishment - not that you'd want to put the case in harm's way - and really keep your cigars fresh thanks to their air and water-tight seal.
Famous Quality Imports Tuscany
I chose this humidor because I own one, and its one of my most stable humidors, so, I can personally recommend it. Thick walls, brass hardware, plus a top tray, and a good humidification system are included, plus the price is great, and it seasons well over time.
Whatever type of cutter you prefer, I've pretty much covered every type below, and they're all affordable.
Xikar X8 Double Blade Cigar Cutter
You can't miss with the classic line of Xikar teardrop shape cigar cutters, but if you want to save a few bucks, or just don't like the feel of the traditional Xikar, then this more familiar shaped double-blade number is just the ticket.
Xikar Multi-Tool Scissors
Buy one of these and you'll be glad you did. Small and light enough to keep in your pocket, these ultra-sharp, folding cigar scissors will cut cigars with almost surgical accuracy up to a 54 ring. And here's the best part; it can be used to clear a plugged cigar, open a bottle, adjust your cigar lighter, and much more.
Great for clipping figurado cigars like torpedoes, belis, etc., because you don't have to worry about over or under-clipping. This hardwood model has appealing looks and the price is nice.
Havana Retractable Punch Cutter
For under $7, this rubber-coated punch cutter makes an affordable and thoughtful gift idea for the giftee who prefers a punch cut. The cutter automatically pops the plug out with the push of a button, too.
Another tough category to pick, because you often get mixed reviews on the reliability of most lighters, but here goes...
Blazer Torch Cigar Lighter
This little number has become a classic, and a favorite among a lot of cigar smokers. It holds a lot of fuel, which you can see, and really stands up to the elements. My office-mates, Hayward and Scott, each have one and they love theirs.
Madelaine Fury Torch Lighter
Now distributed by Xikar, these Madelaine lighters offer a powerful single jet flame and a large adjustment wheel. It's well-made, has a nice appearance, and is small enough to be comfortable in your pocket.
Alec Bradley Tabletop/Burner Lighter
This lighter is not only excellent for toasting and lighting cigars, it's somewhat of a conversation piece, too. It has push-button ignition, and you adjust the flame like a hurricane lamp. It takes a little getting used to, but the best part is it will last for years like the one in our retail store.
Vector Vulcan Triple flame
I've been hearing a lot of positive feedback on the Vector cigar lighters, so I chose this triple flame model. It's got a large fuel tank and is especially effective on wide ring cigars.
Remember, cigars are symbolic of the Holiday season; celebrating good times with friends and family. So watch your budget, give selflessly, give with affection, and the reward will come back to you tenfold.
In 2008 I posted A Cigar Gift-Buying Primer, which detailed how to choose the right gift for the right cigar smoker. If you're a new subscriber please be sure to check it out.
Want more ideas? Here's last year's Holiday Gift Buying Guide.
Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.Show all Gary Korb's Articles