Gary Korb takes one more look at the Holidays with his list of top shelf cigars adorned with fancy white & gold bands. Whether it’s a last minute gift idea or a humidor-worthy primo to ring-in the New Year, you’ll find 12 of them all dressed-up and ready to smoke.
The blend vs. the size of the cigar. What counts when rating it?
Q. What is the difference between the Excalibur #1, #2, #3 etc., besides the actual size. If the blend is the same, why do the ratings vary so much. Just curious.
A. The same tobacco blend is used in each cigar line, regardless of the brand. Size plays a critical role in the flavor of a cigar, because you have more or less tobacco in the cigar. But this is only one part of the reason ratings vary.
The other, and perhaps even more important part is, subjectivity. You, me, and a half a dozen other people could smoke the same cigar and come up with completely different opinions. Or, we could smoke different size cigars and have similar opinions. That’s why I usually try to avoid mentioning “flavors” in the cigar descriptions I write unless I’ve personally experienced them myself – and more than once. Even then, it doesn’t mean that someone else will taste those same flavors.
My advice is to try various sizes within a particular brand or brand extension until you find the one that tastes best to you. For one brand a Robusto may be the best. For another, a Lonsdale, a Torpedo, or a Churchill. For example, I prefer the Avo Maduro No. 2, because, for me, that size has been the most flavorful and consistent. I like the Flor de Oliva Sumatra Robusto, and the Davidoff Millennium Petit Corona for the same reasons. Three completely different blends, three different sizes.
Some experts say that if you really want to experience the blend as the Master Blender intended, try a Corona (usually 5″ x 42) or a Toro (usually 6″ x 50). Coronas are often used for testing in the factory, but the main reason for trying these two sizes is that they are proportional with regard to length vs. width, and therefore best suited to express the desired flavor, texture and aroma of the smoke. So keep experimenting. Your humidor should be filled with all sorts of sizes and shapes. That’s what enjoying premium cigars is all about. – G.K.