Gary reviews 10 “Top Shelf” Maduro cigars: If you love the natural sweetness and savory aroma of Maduro wrapper, these dark discoveries are sure to please cigar smokers at every level of experience.
Rocky Patel Vintage 99 Torpedo
Best New Cigars of 2006
The Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 is among of the best new cigars of the year
It’s been another banner year for many of the top cigar makers. All of these cigars were introduced at RTDA 2006 Las Vegas in July, and are now available for purchase. There were so many cigars that impressed me, I had to break my list into two parts, the second of which I’ll post in the next issue. So here’s my take on the first batch, and I hope you soon have the chance to smoke them yourself and compare observations. Please note that I have listed the cigars alphabetically, not in order of rating or preference. I will also be posting more detailed reviews of these specific cigars in the very near future.
C.A.O. Vision Robusto – A rich and spicy cigar that’s incredibly smooth. This all Dominican-grown tobacco blended cigar will give the notorious Fuente Fuente OpusX a run for its money, maybe even its life. Plus, you can’t beat the outstanding effort CAO put into the presentation – a humidified box that lights up when you open it, plus a carrying bag to ensure they stay fresh and tasty. The cigar lit well and the first puff exuded a thick billow of smoke charged with a scent of coffee. The cigar was consistently spicy throughout, and when I put it down, I was also able to fully appreciate the wonderful aroma this cigar puts out, too. Recommended for heavy-hitters.
Final Score: 9.0
(Note: The release of this cigar has been delayed by the manufacturer until late January/early February of 2007.)
Alec Bradley MAXX – A super smoke in every sense of the word, blended with tobaccos from Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico and Costa Rica. Creamy, smooth and potent, yet not overpowering. Each draw was incredibly creamy, complex, and smooth with oodles of caramelized flavors. The cigar served-up some peppery notes, and sweet cedar on a spicy finish. I also enjoyed the aroma of this cigar – a big plus with me. I found the cigar modestly similar in character to the Alec Bradley Medalist line – some of the same tobaccos are in it – yet with a much more refined depth of flavor and aroma, and more sweetness to the tobacco.
Final Score: 9.5*
* Please Note: My critique was based on a 6″ x 50 Toro sample that was a made exclusively for the RTDA show, and is not part of the selection, although the closest to it would be The Ego at 9¼” x 50. Now that the cigars have arrived in stock, I will publish a more detailed review on one of the five MAXX frontmarks very soon.
Partagas Cifuentes Winter Blend Enero – Another amazing example of great teamwork by master blender Daniel Núñez and the gifted Benji Menendez. Ultra-smooth, medium-to-full in body, with a perfectly balanced blend of all Dominican tobaccos grown in three different regions of the country including a 1994-vintage Habano wrapper. A puro among puros!
Final Score: 9.3
Perdomo Lot 23 – Perfect in almost every way. From the Connecticut wrapper right down to the perfectly balanced core of all Nicaraguan tobaccos grown in a single field (Lot 23) that’s rife with some of the most naturally fertile soil in which the Perdomo family has ever planted. For my complete review on the Belicoso, which has already been published, click here. (I recently purchased a box of Lot 23 Toros, and they’re equally enjoyable.)
Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 Connecticut Torpedo (pictured at top) – Everything the phenomenal Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 and 1992 selections have going for them, but with a milder Connecticut shade wrapper from an outstanding 1999 harvest, and one other major difference – it’s not box-pressed. The smoke is toasty, with notes of cedar and nutmeg on the finish, and a wisp of caramel in the aroma. It was wonderfully smooth, creamy and quite flavorful all the way down, with a great ash, too. Highly recommended for smokers of every experience.
Final Score: 9.0
Look for more of my “Best cigars of 2006-07” coming soon.