Wednesday 9 January 2013

Top 25 Cigars of 2012

With all the furore, excitement and debate surrounding Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 Cigars of 2012  I decided to do my own list. Only three Cubans are included in their list and seeing that I have little or no access to the other twenty two Cigars, I thought I would compile my personal favourites of 2012.

Bearing in mind that at the start of the year I was a complete novice. I had no idea of the rituals, etiquette or do's and don'ts when it comes to truly enjoying a 100% hand rolled Cigar. Throughout 2012 I have smoked a lot, and I mean A LOT of Cigars. Some were just OK, others I will try again and some were downright terrible. Compiled below are the Top 25 Cigars that I really loved.

My list was mainly decided on smoking experience  With a few of the Cigars included, I was overwhelmed by the flavours of Chocolate, Ceder, Coffee etc.. There are also Cigars included that I couldn't find a flavour if it was on a chart in front of me yet I still enjoyed smoking. I have also included Cigars that I have enjoyed because of the situation or surroundings I was in at the time of smoking each Cigar.

Finally I have included the Cigars I truly love, the Cigars that you don't have to pay attention to, the Cigars you enjoy while sitting around with friends, enjoying good company and solving the worlds problems. The Cigars that you hold in your hand, sitting back after hearing a good joke or story or maybe you're contemplating a though or idea and only breaking the silence to say
"This is a good Cigar"

Enjoy my List!!!!

1.Montecristo EL 2012 Grand Robusto

From the first draw of my first ever Monte El 2012 I fell in love with it. Full of Chocolate and Coffee and ending with a nice spice. This Cigar is Lush from start to finish and worthy of my Number one Cigar of 2012

2.Trinidad Fundadores

Sixteen years ago this was the rarest Cigar in the world. Only handed out by Castro to visiting diplomats. Thankfully it was released to the public in 1998. I love this Cigar!! Elegant and full of flavour it is a pleasure to smoke at any time or any occasion. If it hadn't been for my first experience with the Monte El 2012 this would have been my No.1 Cigar of 2012.

3.Vegas Robiana Unicos

A Go-To Cigar for me if I had enough of them. The VR Unicos seems to take on the flavour profile of whatever you are eating or drinking at the time and amazingly complements it. Well worthy of its place in the Top 3.

4.Partagas Series P No.2

This is my Go-To Cigar. A powerful spicy stick that never disappoints.

5.Jose Blanco 5 Wrapper Cigar

The Fudadores may have been the rarest Cigar in the World in 1997. This is probably the current one. Made by Joya de Nicaragua solely for Jose Blanco's Wrapper Seminars. I was lucky enough to be sent one and participated in the seminar online. A fantastic smoke made all the better as Jose talks you through the characteristics of each wrapper and the effect it has on the blend. If you get the opportunity to smoke this Cigar don't pass it up. I may never smoke another in my lifetime.

6.Partagas 898

I sampled my first 898 in Havana and it was that good I went out and bought a box. Typical Partagas spice and with a smaller ring gauge that brings out more elegant flavours than the P2

7.Cohiba Siglo V

Cohiba is a brand that I tend to overlook. Probably the most well known brand in the world and a price tag that matches. I wont buy a Cigar just because it is a Cohiba. The Siglo V may have changed all of that. I have tried the Robusto, Esplendido's and a few of the Siglo range. None compared to the Siglo V. Again, a smaller ring gauge cigar, full of flavour that I now recognise as Cohiba. I just may have been converted.

8.Montecristo No.2

Another Go-To Cigar for me. Milder than the P2 but doesn't fall down on flavour. A great afternoon smoke with friends. You can light a Monte 2 and on each occasion you know exactly what you will get. Probably the most consistent Cigar I have ever smoked.

9.Romeo y Julieta No.1
I had smoked so many large ring gauge cigars in 2012 that the though of smoking another was putting me off. I needed a small, short, pleasant smoke for those evening when a 50+ Cigar was too much effort. I found this baby and have never looked back. I love it so much that I think I will be buying a box as soon as I can.

10.Montecristo Petit Edmundo

Like a few others, this Cigar is placed largely on my first experience  I had just finished off a large meal and a few glasses of wine. I sat back, lit up the Petit Edmundo and lost myself for almost an hour. Any I have had since the first have also been top notch.

11.H. Upman Magnum 50

I dont smoke many H.Upmans and I sit here wondering why not. It is a brand I always forget to buy and based on the Magnum 50 I must be mad. A smooth rich easy smoke. Creamy and spicy at the same time. I really should try some more.

12.Grafton Reserve Salomon

This is a cigar I smoked early on in the year.  One of the Decent Cigar Emporium's own blends and it is delicious. When you walk into a Cigar Store and are faced with the array beautifully decorated bands and boxes its easy to forget the un-banded gem in the corner.

13.Partagas Series D No.4

Before I discovered the P2 this was my Go-To Partagas. I still love it. A small fat stick than never disapoints. Apparently the best selling Cigar coming out of Cuba today.

14.Ramon Allones El 2011 Allones Extra

Another Cigar that I tried for the first time while in Cuba. I smoked it in the idyllic surroundings of the Hotel National's terraced area in Havana. It looked great, a nice shiny oily wrapper had me excited and the taste didn't let me down either.

15.Macanudo Vintage 2000

My first Macanudo Vintage was smoked on the Champs Elysees in Paris. I loved it. I have had a few since and each one has been as good. A nice treat when you can get them.

16.Padron 6000

I picked up a couple of these one day without even thinking. I love a torpedo and they looked good. No more thought went into it. Thankfully it was a great choice. I have been told that there are better Padrons on the market. If they are better than the 6000 I will have to pick some up.

17.Trinidad Reyes

A lovely morning Cigar is what I was informed about the Reyes. Morning, Lunch, Afternoon, Night, having a shower, I dont care. This Cigar is good at any time. Typical Trinidad. Smooth and full of flavour.

18.Ramon Allones Specially Selected

I don't know if I would call this a Go-To Cigar. What it is for me is a Cigar I reach for when I cant make up my mind what to smoke. If I spend too long routing through my humidor I will just give up and smoke a RASS. I have never had a bad one.

19.Arturo Fuente Hemingway Work of Art

Doesn't it look great. No matter what anyone tells you, most Cigar choices are based on appearance and this cigar smoked as good as it looked. I had mixed experiences when it comes to Fuente Cigars. The Ugliest looking Cigar I have ever smoked was a Fuente Cuban Corona, however the WOA was superb.

20.Bolivar Belicoso Fino

Bolivar, like Cohiba, has a stigma attached to its brand. The most powerful Cuban you can smoke, only for the true aficionado, novice beware. In someways its true, they can blow your socks off however I found the Belicoso Fino to be bordering just below Full body. Be careful of the cut though, too little and it will be very harsh, too much and you risk losing your Cigar.

21.Montecristo Edmundo

The Big brother to the Petit Edmundo. Same flavour profile and just as good. I favour the Petit purely because as soon as you light it you are into the "Sweet Spot" of the Cigar. The Edmundo is on par, you just have to wait that little bit longer.

22.Davidoff Classic Special R

Ahh the Special "R". This Cigar will always have my affection as it was my "Starter" Cigar when I took up my journey. Subtle and very creamy. How could you not like it?

23.Davidoff Short Perfecto

Like the WOA it looks fantastic. Davidoff are a fantastic brand and when I want a change of pace from a spicy Cigar, I would reach for one.  I picked up a small pack of these in the Airport. A pleasure to smoke but I need to smoke more to get a real feel for them. They differ from the Special "R" because as well as all the creaminess coating your tongue there is a bit of a spicy kick that follows.

24.Punch Double Corona

I have not got into Long Cigars (Lonsdales aside) purely because I dont have the time to dedicate to smoking them. I dont see the point in lighting one if you are not going to enjoy it to the end. In saying that, I have had a few of these and they were very pleasent. You just need to give it the time it deserves.

25.Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill

This Cigar puzzles me. I could light one tonight and say its the best Cigar I ever had, light another next week and say its the worst. It barely made the list but I decided to include it for one reason. If you get a good one, you will love it!!


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