H. Upmann Filler: Dominican Republic / Nicaragua / Peru Wrapper: Cameroon
The H. Upmann name is one with a varied story behind it, including several versions of how this Dominican came to be. We still applaud the result of many years and generations for honing the art. All of the H. Upmann line is deserving of mention, but the Cameroon harkens to a day when this leaf was readily available and used as the staple of the brand. The toothy Cameroon leaf is highly sought after by many aficionados and casual smokers alike, and this is the best of the crop. Much like Connecticut Shade in its delicate nature, except the unique flavor is found only in this limited, rare tobacco. Savor the earthy, caramel, and nut-like flavors. Exemplifying all the elements of a fine cigar, this is one to treasure.
Jesus Fuego blends cigars that have been enjoyed for some time now, but never carried his own name. After years of planning, this one does. Fuego is unveiled as a master blender of the coveted Corojo leaf, well known for its bold qualities. This ring gauge perfectly delivers the complex, spicy flavor of the Corojo. The effortless draw is a very important factor to consider, as billows of smoke are brought forth with ease. We applaud the high quality of construction, a result of a genuine tobacco heritage. This cigar will be one to watch considering J. Fuego's super pedigree roots and proprietary, rare tobaccos. Tasty and smooth, the J. Fuego is a very nice, rich smoke, ranking among the greats.
Jose Seijas El Señor de La Romana Grande Toro
Created by the man who runs Tabacalera de Garcia, supervising the production of tens of millions of handmade cigars every year. Yet it's the only one that bears his name. This cigar is not for beginners, as many of the finer, more complex cigars becoming available lend a powerful essence, especially tobaccos originating from Peru and Nicaragua. An awesome smoke, surprisingly smooth for its full body, with flavors complemented by leather and earth undertones. Very well-made and interesting at 6 1/8 in length with a 52 ring gauge. The boxes are wrapped in leather over cedar to preserve the fine elegance of this beauty. The Jose Seijas is the cigar by a master blender made for himself, and we can appreciative that he did. If only they were not so hard to get!
The Joya name goes back to the 1960’s, when cigars from Nicaragua first became highly regarded. Internal strife and discontent in the political arena held this brand back, but it is now experiencing a resurrection on a grand scale. Look at the wrapper and you will find Criollo seed, the pride of all Nicaraguan puros. This cigar is an elegant thoroughbred poised to excite and entertain your taste buds upon lighting. Don’t let the lower price tag fool you, because this stallion runs way ahead of all the nags in the field. The tasting notes on this special release are full-flavored, yet seasoned and balanced. Subtle, yet assertive flavors, with hints of wood, earth and leather. Box-pressed allows for a cooler smoke, which many prefer. This is a complex offering, with bold and refined character, worthy of the few who seek it out.
Once again we find a Dominican puro at the top of the list. Nearly a century ago, Don Eduardo Leon Jimenes found an ideal combination of climate and soil to grow his Cuban-seed tobacco, in the Santiago de Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The wrapper is select Dominican-grown Corojo. Strong flavors of wood and spice prevail throughout, with a long finish. But this is just the beginning. There are nutty, Kona coffee flavors with touches of leather on the palate. Buttery yet tangy, with hints of caramel. Did we mention rich and complex? One of the oldest and most loved brands, the public appreciation of this fine cigar has been nothing short of immense. As you might have guessed, the Aurora 100 Años is a limited production with limited availability. Definitely worth the search.
Litto Gomez made only mild cigars for a time. Now he creates a knockout punch with some of the most powerful cigars in all the land. Produced under the supervision and guidance of Litto, this brawny cigar is full-bodied to say the least. Not to be smoked without first taking a seat or after a satisfying meal, this is one for the professional. The shape is incredible and fits quite comfortably to the mouth, providing for a unique experience not found with other cigars. Its strength is all cranked up due to the double ligero, or the top leaves which receive the most sun. This creates a richer flavor as the leaf takes on oil and spice not found in paler smokes. Relish the toasty flavor accompanied with licorice and earth. What a treat!
La Gloria Cubana Reserve Figurado Selectos De Lujos Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua Wrapper: Ecuador
Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, the unyielding patriarch of quality, and El Credito has created a cigar like none of his previous creations. Rolled by master torcedores to a gorgeous shape, this cigar demands respect. The overwhelming sensation is that of an aged blended tobacco of pure refinement. Smooth and delicious, with an appearance like velvet. Just hold this gem and feel the solid weight and heft. Construction is flawless and nary a vein, and it burns like a champ. The nut-like taste with solid earth core soothes the senses. Seeking this one out may be a challenge, as they are limited in production. Certainly one of the fifty best, and a must for any humidor.
Doug Wood, enamored by the art work and romanticism of this turn-of-the-century Cuban label, released La Perla in 1996. Through hard work and effort, the brand gained a world-class reputation. Regarded by some as the best value cigar on the market, with consistency as its hallmark. The Criollo wrapper and binder with Nicaraguan filler, provides a slightly peppery, cedar note, and smooth draw. Medium-bodied, the Black Pearl is equally succulent and spicy. Its oily wrapper makes for a rich tasting and satisfying smoke. The ash hangs on for a long while, attesting to quality construction. This is a lovely boutique cigar that has earned its place in the fifty best.
Macanudo Hyde Park Filler: Dominican Republic Wrapper: Connecticut Shade-Grown
Macanudo is the world's top selling cigar, taking top honors in craftsmanship and construction. With close to one million Hyde Park Café made each year, they are the most widely available cigar of all premiums. Macanudos have a very loyal following, confident in the consistency and quality of this mainstay great. Creamy, smooth, and slight touches of vanilla on the palette, with fresh bread undertones. This smoke is always a relaxing experience. A perfect starter cigar.
Possibly the most sought after cigar in the world, the Monte No. 2 ranks high among the fifty best. Inspired by the Alexander Dumas novel "Le Comte de Monte-Cristo", the No. 2 is the most famous size of the most famous brand out of Cuba, and with good reason. Beautifully rolled and meticulously handcrafted, this cigar begs for a light. But not just yet, as it should be admired even before putting a flame to it. Once you bring yourself to light this masterpiece, the burn is even and razor sharp. A complex, medium to full-bodied cigar. Hints of espresso and leather will entice your palate, with flavorful traces of buttery vanilla and cedar. This Montecristo will never disappoint. You will burn this cigar to the nub.