Diesel is rolling out Hair of the Dog, a limited-edition release that’s hitting retail this month.
Developed by AJ Fernandez with Justin Andrews and handcrafted at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua, Diesel Hair of the Dog is a medium-to-full-bodied smoke with earthy flavor, notes of pepper and a heady aroma. The blend is made entirely of Nicaraguan Habano, which is balanced by an Ecuadoran Habano wrapper and an Ecuadoran Sumatra binder.
Senior Brand Manager Justin Andrews said, “Diesel Hair of the Dog was blended to have just the right amount of kick. It’s not an overly powerful cigar, yet it really delivers on the flavor. For the cigar lover who’s looking for the hair of a dog after a night of over-indulgence, or for anyone who seeks the complexity of Nicaraguan tobacco, Hair of the Dog is definitely going to do the trick.”
Diesel Hair of the Dog is available in one size, a box-pressed Toro (6” x 54). The SRP per cigar is $10.00 and the cigars are packed rustic wooden boxes, each containing 10 cigars. Just 5,000 boxes have been produced.
Hair of the Dog complements Diesel Whiskey Row, a top-selling cigar launched last year in partnership with Louisville, KY-based Rabbit Hole Bourbon.
Handcrafted by artisans in Esteli, Nicaragua, Diesel cigars are “bold by design.” The brand challenges the current conventions of the handmade cigar category through the bold, unapologetic style of its Cigar Master, AJ Fernandez. Diesel cigars are unified by their deeply complex flavor which is achieved through AJ’s steadfast adherence to time honored cigar making techniques and his insistence on using the highest quality tobacco. The Diesel portfolio includes Whiskey Row which launched in 2018 and Diesel Grind which debuted in 2017. For more information, visit www.dieselcigar.com.
J.C. Newman Cigar Company will release its first Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) exclusive brand, Brick House Ciento por Ciento.
Brick House Ciento por Ciento offered as TAA exclusive
Handcrafted in J.C. Newman’s Nicaraguan factory, Puros de Estelí Nicaragua, S.A. (J.C. Newman PENSA), Ciento por Ciento only uses tobaccos grown in the rich, volcanic soils of Nicaragua. It is the first Nicaraguan puro blend in the Brick House line, hence the name, which means 100% in Spanish. The wrapper is a Habana-seed, corojo leaf grown in the Jalapa Valley which encloses binder and filler from three of Nicaragua’s mountainous regions.
Production has been limited to 500 boxes and is only available for purchase by TAA members. The cigars will only be available for purchase at the 2019 conference and will ship by the end of May.
Brand: Brick House Ciento por Ciento
Size: 6 1/4 X 54
Box Count: 25
About J.C. Newman Cigar Co.
Founded in 1895 by Julius Caeser Newman, J.C. Newman Cigar Company is the oldest family-owned premium cigar maker in America. J.C. Newman rolls its El Reloj, Factory Throwouts, and Trader Jacks cigars by hand-operated, vintage cigar machines at its historic cigar factory in Tampa, Florida. It also hand rolls its Brick House, Perla del Mar, El Baton, and Quorum cigars at the J.C. Newman PENSA cigar factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. J.C. Newman’s Diamond Crown, MAXIMUS, Julius Caeser, and Black Diamond cigars are handmade by Tabacalera A. Fuente in the Dominican Republic. With its longtime partners the Fuente family, the Newmans founded the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, which supports low-income families in the Dominican Republic with education, health care, vocational training, and clean water.
CROWNED HEADS ANNOUNCES ‘SANCTUARY’ EXCLUSIVE FOR SMOKERS ABBEY
On April 1, Smokers Abbey, a Nashville-based retail tobacconist, will debut a new Limited Edition cigar, “Sanctuary,” created exclusively for the boutique-centric retailer by Crowned Heads.
Produced at Tabacalera La Alianza, S.A., the factory behind Cigar Aficionado’s ‘Cigar of the Year 2018’ (EPC Encore Majestic), ‘Sanctuary’ is a 5 1/2″ x 52 trunk-pressed Genios vitola that features an Ecuadorian (Sumatra) wrapper and all-Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Total production of ‘Sanctuary’ is limited to 333 12-count boxes. “We’ve been amazed to witness the rapid rise of The Abbey since they began from square one five plus years ago,” commented Crowned Heads co-owner/founder, Jon Huber. “We’ve always had a mutually supportive local relationship and it’s really been a labor of love to create a shop exclusive for them. ‘Sanctuary’ have been aged for over fourteen months, and they are truly a special smoke for a special tobacconist.”
‘Sanctuary’ single cigars will be available for $11.99 and boxes will be priced at $129.99 (including shipping). Box reservations are currently being accepted by contacting Smokers Abbey at (615) 678-8458, via email at [email protected], or online at SmokersAbbey.com.
Founded in 2013 by Joshua Stump, Smokers Abbey is located in the heart of East Nashville. The Abbey was born from Josh’s passion for cigars and his desire to build community and fellowship amongst people. The Abbey has successfully carved a national reputation as a go to source for some of the most sought-after and hard-to-find boutique cigars on the market, as well as a place where all are welcome to come “Find Rest for Your Soul.”
(Miami, Florida) March 14, 2019—With much excitement, Villiger Cigars will introduce a European favorite, the Villiger La Meridiana to the U.S. consumer. Recently obtaining a 92 rating by Cigar Journal, the Villiger Meridiana was released in 1998 and has gained a loyal following, among full-flavored cigar enthusiasts in Europe. The Villiger Meridiana was conceived by Heinrich Villiger, as a way to pay tribute to some long lost Cuban cigar heritage.
The Villiger La Meridiana bases its historical roots, in a long forgotten Cuban factory named “La Meridiana”. The factory owned by Pedro Murias, was once of the largest and most well-known cigar factories, which determined the cityscape of Havana at the end of the 19th century. Sadly, Murias was forced to sell La Meridiana factory due to unrest in Cuba during the Cuban war of Independence. The sale went through shortly after the war ended in 1898, and just like that, Pedro Murias along with the original La Meridiana cigar factory became a fading memory.
The resurrection of “La Meridiana” came from Heinrich Villiger’s love of everything Cuban. During his many trips to Cuba he discovered the name and rich history of the Meridiana factory, and thought to create a full-flavored cigar, beautiful and elegant enough to carry on the La Meridiana name in honor of Pedro Murias.
The Villiger La Meridiana is a Nicaraguan full-flavored puro. This blend features complex flavors without overpowering the palate of the smoker. The uniquely distinct hue of the wrapper and flavor are born out of a special aging process of the tobacco which takes approximately four years.
The Villiger La Meridiana is elegantly packaged in 10 count boxes and is expressed in 5 vitolas:
Corona (5.5 x 42)………….MSRP: $6.50
Robusto (5×50) ………… MSRP: $7.50
Torpedo (6×52)……………MSRP: $8.00
Churchill (6 7/8 x48)………MSRP: $8.50
Toro Box Pressed (6×54) .MSRP $10.60
Rene Castañeda, President of Villiger North America said,” We feel that it is the perfect time to launch the Villiger La Meridiana to the US consumer. The Villiger La Meridiana is an exceptionally elegant and flavorful cigar that I am confident will satisfy the cigar connoisseur. We look to begin shipping to retailers in March of this year.”
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 — Miami, FL- Drew Estate announces today the return of the Herrera Esteli Habano Edicion Limitada Lancero exclusively for Drew Diplomat retailers and will begin shipping immediately. This cigar will be displayed to Drew Diplomat retailers attending the TAA Trade show held March 17-21st in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic.
Originally released in 2014, the Herrera Esteli Habano Edicion Limitada Lancero is wrapped in a spicy Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, with Honduran binder and complex Nicaraguan fillers. Due to the skill required in rolling the 7×38 lancero vitola, there are only 4 pairs of rollers at La Gran Fabrica allowed to produce this cigar.
From La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Master Blender Willy Herrera adds, “The lancero is a notoriously difficult vitola to master both from a blending and rolling perspective. The same rollers who make the L40 are assigned to this special blend since they’re the best of the best. We took our time here at the factory when we decided to re-release this cigar so that every aspect from flavor to construction is perfection.”
The Herrera Esteli Habano Edicion Limitada Lancero is available only at Drew Diplomat Retailers in 15 count boxes with an MSRP of $186.96.
Friday, March 8, 2019 — Miami, FL- Drew Estate announces the launch of its 2019 Barn Smoker Program, with ticket sales for the Florida and Pennsylvania events currently available on www.barnsmoker.com. Tickets for the Kentucky, Connecticut and Louisiana events will go on sale later this year. Drew Estate Barn Smoker highlights the American Tobacco Experience, bringing the cigar enthusiast to the field and farm level by teaching them the full gamut of growing, processing, and manufacture of premium cigars.
2019 is a transformational year for the program, creating a festival atmosphere that celebrates attendees love of the leaf and of the Drew Estate Culture. Envisioned and inspired by Jonathan Drew to bring people, brands, and local business to American Tobacco Farms, these events also serve to raise awareness for Cigars for Warriors, a 501(c)(3) charity whose sole focus is to support the American military.
This year, Drew Estate introduces for the first time a VIP package. Only a limited number of VIP packages will be available, so attendees will need to move quickly to purchase them. VIP attendees will be a guest at an intimate dinner the evening before or after the Barn Smoker, hosted by Jonathan Drew and the entire Drew Estate team, as well as receive 3 rare Drew Estate cigars. At the Barn Smoker event, VIP attendees will also be given a premium swag package, including a Barn Smoker torch lighter and cutter, a Barn Smoker rocks glass set and more.
From the Wynwood Safehouse, Jonathan Drew, President and Founder of Drew Estate notes, “The Barn Smoker Program is constantly evolving. From adding new locations, to transforming the event into a furious festival of brands, it’s going to be a sight to behold. We’re talking about a whole new level of Mega-ness. For those who join us at the VIP dinner the night before, you will get to enjoy rare smokes and an intimate night with Fabien, Willy, Pedro, Henry, Frankie Dranks and myself, plus a whole crew of amped-up Drewpees.”
The expansion of the program in 2019 creates an immersive dive deep into a variety of unique sensory activations focusing on additional brands, including Herrera Esteli, ACID, and more.
The Barn Smokers will be taking place on the following dates and locations:
Florida Barn Smoker in Clermont, FL on May 18th, 2019
Pennsylvania Barn Smoker in Strasburg, PA on July 20th, 2019
Connecticut Barn Smoker in South Windsor, CT on August 10th, 2019
Kentucky Barn Smoker in Hopkinsville, KY on October 5th, 2019
Louisiana Barn Smoker in Convent, LA on October 26th, 2019
Tickets for the Florida and Pennsylvania Barn Smoker events are on sale now.
February 20, 2018 — Black Label Trading Company is pleased to announce they are shipping vintage 2019 to select retailers this month. Bishops Blend is hand crafted in Esteli, Nicaragua at Fabrica Oveja Negra.
“I’m very excited about this release of Bishops Blend. We wanted to start the year off strong and release one of our most anticipated releases early. Bishops Blend boasts big bold flavors of anise, pepper, raisins and a sweet earthiness on the finish. It is very complex and extremely refined. As with the past vintages, the broadleaf fillers shine at the forefront and are perfectly balanced by the Nicaraguan filler tobaccos,” said James Brown, creator of Black Label Trading Co. and partner at Fabrica Oveja Negra.
Bishops Blend will be available in limited quantities at select retailers.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Maduro
Binder: Ecuador Habano
Filler: Nicaragua, Connecticut & PA Broadleaf
Corona Larga – 6.25 x 46 (20 count) MSRP $11.50
Robusto – 5 x 48 (20 count) MSRP $11.00
Black Label Trading Company is redefining the standards for cigar making. With a “less is more” philosophy, Black Label Trading Co. creates hand crafted premium cigars of the utmost quality in small batch, limited quantities.
BLTC cigars are available for purchase through Boutiques Unified.For more information contact [email protected]
As a native Texan, there is a phrase, like it or not, that will forever be embedded within my identity,
“Everything is bigger in Texas”.
There are staples within this state that purposely try to continue to uphold the tradition. Giant cowboys overlooking theme parks, or even the giant theme parks themselves. We have bigger cuts of meat that you can get for free if you eat it all, and cows that produce said meat with giant “Longhorns” unseen to many regions of the country. Our high school football stadiums look like colleges, and pro stadiums that have been likened to famous sci-fi lore. Needless to say, Texas has not shied away from the “bigger” connotation and most of us are damn proud of that.
However, in the cigar world that same theme is not always as widely accepted. Bigger does not always resonate with great popularity. Many cigar enthusiast’s, including myself, I tend to overlook or pass by some of the mega cigars that sit in humidors across the world. Large ring gauges and long lengths have a reputation of being solely made for aesthetic purposes. It’s simply that “look at me” affect. Whether it is construed as less quality tobacco or diminished flavor, bigger cigars just don’t get the same love most of the time.
I say, “don’t knock it till you try it”! Not long ago I was aimlessly wandering through the humidor at my favorite local cigar shop, shout out to Industrial Cigar Co., and one of the employees, who knows my palate very well, led me to this cleverly named smoke called the Pistoff Kristoff. Naturally with a name like that I assumed that it would be a much bolder smoke and I honestly hadn’t dipped into Kristoff’s catalogue in quite some time. Long story short I was very impressed.
That first introduction to the Pistoff was the (7 x 50) Churchill and I enjoyed it so much in fact, that it wound up making its way into our Top 25 Cigars of 2018! Probably the most impressive trait of this Pistoff Kristoff is the gradual change from start to finish. The namesake hits like a ton of bricks initially with bold spice and a hint of nuttiness to balance it out, as to not overwhelm the palate. Along the journey I picked up notes of toasted bread to compliment the aforementioned flavors. Then just as I began to wonder if that was all there was to it, the finish was so smooth with hints of sweet cream and toffee, acting like a very pleasant dessert to cap off a great smoke.
Already impressed with the Pistoff, here comes the true nature of me writhing this review. Announced late in the calendar year for 2018 was the introduction of the “Extremely Pistoff Kristoff” featured in a daunting (8.5 x 60) vitola. Again, my immediate impression was one of timid uncertainty. How could something already so good retain its quality in something that was visually equal to that of a novelty item you might see at an adult toy shop.
I found the answer rather quickly during a round of golf not to be forgotten. With a cigar of this size I will tell you now you absolutely cannot expect to enjoy it when pressed for time. So, I decided to pick the ultimate activity in which I could get the most out of this smoke. The morning was crisp, enough to delay tee times a half hour with a frost delay. By the time I got nice and loose and wet my lips with my second cup of coffee, I hit the first tee box ready to go. With a bit of a crowd in front and behind us, all antsy to get their rounds going, I decided to delay the cut and light till the second hole. A short par three was the task at hand, I grabbed my 52-degree wedge, my Colibri dual sided cutter and xikar lighter and made my approach to the tee box. With a perfect straight cut clip, I toasted the foot nicely while I waited on the rest of my family to hit their shots. My turn to tee off, the placement of my shot, hit thin and long past the green, was excused because my head was immersed in sweet flavorful tobacco.
My golf game is nothing to brag outlandishly about, but I will put a few good shots in here and there. However, the real winner in this day’s round was this Extremely Pistoff Kristoff. Hole after hole the cigar burned impeccably, with a nice ash that ranged from half inch to two-inch increments at a time. All the while my mind was blown by the fact that not once did I have to reach for my lighter. Whether setting down on the green to putt or placing it in my custom magnetic cigar holder attached to the cart, every single time I came pack for a puff it was still lit and burning like a champ. The turn has come and gone, and we approached the middle of the back nine, I am finally getting to that sweet toffee and cream that I remembered from the Churchill I had previously smoked. As we finished hole 11 the first signs of the end started to show. Still lit, the first little run began to emerge and a slight touch up was needed. With hole 12 now completed we approached the tee box on 13, and as I drew the cigar to my lips for another pull….bam! No smoke present and looked down to see just barely and inch of a brown nub placed between my fingers, that was it!
It was then that reality finally hit me, and I took the time to reflect on the magic that had just happened. Just over 3 hours and 10 straight holes of beautifully constructed mastery that never once had to be relit or even touched up until right at the end. Was this a one-time occurrence? Can I replicate this experience again? Only time will tell, but for at least this one moment, I no longer had the fear or uncertainty that I once associated with “Bigger” cigars.
The next time you walk into a humidor and see that one cigar that looks like it is more than you want to handle, don’t judge it so quickly, as it may just turn out to be a once in a lifetime experience. And if you find yourself with the inkling to give a big cigar a try, the Extremely Pistoff Kristoff is a great cigar to dive into for that experience.
If I was absolutely pressed with giving this cigar a rating, which most people are robotically tuned to require. I would rate this an easy 4.5 out of 5 stars in my own personal sense, but due to factors of being the right place and right time, and the length of smoke I will ease back and give it 4.25 of 5-star rating.
On November 20, 2012, Crowned Heads released what would become the first in a long line of Limited Edition releases, i.e., Four Kicks Mule Kick LE 2012.
Mule Kick LE 2012 featured a higher priming Habano wrapper and a slightly altered blend to the OR Four Kicks brand. Only 5,000 cigars were produced; however, Mule Kick quickly garnered rave reviews and captured the attention of the premium cigar community. The OR Mule Kick blend would go on to be re-released in 2017. In 2018, Four Kicks Mule Kick LE 2018 was released, utilizing the OR Mule Kick blend finished with a Connecticut (Habano) maduro wrapper.
Today, Crowned Heads announces Four Kicks Mule Kick LE 2019. Mule Kick LE 2019 features the same binder/filler combination as the previous years releases, and features an Ecuadorian (Sumatra) wrapper. “Mule Kick is an LE that holds a special place in all our hearts,” commented Crowned Heads co-founder, Jon Huber. “We’re always looking towards not necessarily re-inventing the wheel, but how can we innovate and improve upon existing ideas. I’ve always maintained that Ernie (Ernesto Perez-Carrillo) is the master of Sumatra wrapper and once we smoked the samples, we immediately knew that the Sumatra wrapper added another dimension of flavor and layer of complexity to the Mule Kick blend.”
Total production of Four Kicks Mule Kick LE 2019 will be limited to 2500 (10-count) boxes, and will have an MSRP of $10.95 per cigar. Manufactured at Tabacalera La Alianza, S.A. (Dominican Republic), under the supervision of Cigar Aficionado Hall of Fame member, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, Mule Kick LE 2019 will begin shipping in March.
January 29, 2019 – Benjamin Holt purchases Dissident Cigars.
Benjamin Holt states, “Over the past few years I have seen many cigar brands come and go. Some stopped operations due to fear of FDA regulations. Others because of failure to adapt to the changes in the market. My intent with Dissident is to learn from those lessons and utilize my experience from both the retail side and as a cigar representative to create a cigar brand for a new generation of cigar smokers.”
For the past 5 years Benjamin Holt has worked in different areas of the cigar industry to include starting off in retail at TJ’s Cigar Lounge in McGregor, Texas. In 2015, he joined Black Label Trading Co. as a sales representative assisting in expanding the brand and in the launching of their Black Works Studio line. In 2016, Black Label Trading Co. joined Boutiques Unified and Holt joined the team soon after, continuing in his role as a sales representative.
As to why he chose to purchase Dissident, he states, “I have always thought that Dissident had huge potential and in time I would like to bring this brand back into the market. There are numerous objectives that need to be met first before that can happen and I am working with some incredible people to see that come to pass.”
Holt will continue to be the representative for the brands distributed by LJ Zucca until further notice.
Dunbarton, NH – On February 6th, 2019, David Lafferty was named the future Vice President of Sales at Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (DTT).
Lafferty spent eleven years employed with Drew Estate in a sales position. He began his career as the New England Sales Representative to be promoted to the East Coast Regional Sales Manager and then again, he worked his way up to become the Director of National Accounts prior to his departing in May 2018. Lafferty then served as the Executive Director of Nat Sherman International in their premium cigar division until his scheduled departure on February 28th, 2019. He will assume the responsibilities of his new position with Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust on March 1st, 2019.
“Dave has a tremendous wealth of hands on experience working with retailers spanning from the smallest brick and mortar shops to the very largest of accounts in the US market,” states Steve Saka, Founder and Co-Owner of DTT. He continues, “I have no doubt he is going to prove to be tremendous addition to our team, but not solely because of his sales and management experience, but because of who he is as a person. Dave is hard working, down to earth, forthright and just an honest to goodness great guy. He is a rare breed in our business and Cindy and I could not be more pleased in our welcoming him to be an integral part of our small family business. I honestly cannot think of a single person that would be better suited for this position.”
Lafferty adds, “I started my career working with Steve in 2007 and I am very excited to be back working with him again. I have witnessed Steve’s creative genius, skills as a master blender of the very best cigars and unbridled passion first hand. He is known to be tough and difficult at times, but it is always with the goal of producing exceptional cigars.” He adds, “I want to thank Steve and Cindy for this incredible and exciting opportunity. I believe the future for all of us together is very bright.”
Upon hearing this Saka quipped, “Haaa… so bright! He won’t need sunglasses, he will need a flipp’n welding mask!”
About Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Established in 2015, the family held Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust was created to craft and distribute the very finest, traditional handmade puros. The company’s mantra is “Puros Sin Compromiso” aka “Cigar without Compromise” is not just a saying, but a personal promise from its founder Steve Saka to cigar aficionados. Within their portfolio exists Sobremesa, Mi Querida, Todos Las Dias, Umbagog, Muestra de Saka and Sin Compromiso – each brand awarded numerous awards and accolades including the 2018 Company of the Year and the 2018 #1 Cigar of the Year. For more information, please visit: DunbartonCigars
®Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, Sobremesa, Mi Querida, Todos Las Dias, Umbagog and Sin Compromiso are registered trademarks of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and/or affiliated companies.
January 23, 2019 — Emilio Cigars merges with Black Label Trading Company
Black Label Trading Company (BLTC) will take over the branding and marketing of Emilio Cigars. As part of the merger, all cigar production will move to BLTC’s own factory, Fabrica Oveja Negra in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Cavatina, LJZ, Papa Joe and Grimalkin cigar lines are already produced at Fabrica Oveja Negra. Scott Zucca, owner of Emilio Cigars, will remain involved and continue distribution for both BLTC and Emilio Cigars through his distribution company L.J. Zucca Inc., a family owned company which has been distributing tobacco and other products since 1947.
James Brown, owner of BLTC and Oveja Negra stated, “I’m very excited to take the Emilio brand to the next level. I believe this merger is the natural progression of things as we have been working closely with Scott Zucca over the past few years to expand the Emilio portfolio. We have big plans for the brand and I think it will fit well with our customer base. AF1 and AF2 will be releasing from Oveja Negra in the spring with Suave to follow. The Emilio portfolio gives me a lot of new blends to work with and as a cigar maker this is what keeps me inspired.”
Emilio Cigars are available for purchase through Boutiques Unified.For more information contact [email protected]
Well brothers and sisters of the leaf, it is time for our top 10 cigars from 2018! We appreciate you all checking out our site and hope you have enjoyed! Like our choices? Let us know! Think something shouldn’t be on here, we would love to hear what you would put up instead! So now onto the top 10!
#10 – Casa Fuente Maduro – Robusto
So, this cigar may be one of the harder sticks to get as it is only solid in the best city in the world, Sin City, good ol’ Las Vegas! This cigar is a house blend and can be found at Casa Fuente in Caesars Palace. The Maduro packs so much flavor but not one bit of it is over powering. Leather, earthy, a slight sweetness, and a little hint of vanilla towards the end are just some of the flavors you will enjoy with this cigar. While you are there, don’t forget to try their mojito! Coming from someone who was not a huge mojito fan, I can honestly say I just never had a mojito done right, like they do at Casa Fuente.
#9 – Patoro Platino (Robusto)
Being the newest release of the Patoro Line, the Platino exemplifies class and elegance. Aesthetically simple with the traditional single colored (Black) band exposing the Patoro “P”, and a Dominican Wrapper with the likeness of Gingerbread. The Patoro Platino features rich earthy tones with subtle hints of coffee and spice. While the presence of pepper isn’t predominate on the palate, it reflects a peppery aroma that keeps you interested. The Patoro Platino is a full-bodied smoke, medium to full in strength and dominated by Dominican tobacco from Wrapper to Fillers. Available in three vitola’s: Robusto (4.92 x 50); Toro (5.91 x 50) and Perfecto (6.3 x 50) and a MSRP of $16-17.
(Extra: The ash on the Platino is a thing of beauty!)
#8 – OSOK (One Shot One Kill)
Edgar Hoill is THE MAN with this version of the OSOK “One Shot, One Kill” San Andres. Named after his unique photography style Edgar has created this blend with the famous Casa Turrent family with the sole intention of bringing Mexican tobacco to the mainstream. The fast-growing popularity of the Mexican San Andres wrapper is taken a step further with this blend as the entire cigar features purely Mexican San Andres tobacco, making this OSOK one of the only true Mexican Puro’s on the market. The OSOK San Andres features full bodied yet smooth notes of cocoa and leather, as well as a nuttiness that plays nicely. The draw is light and airy and very easy to smoke. Featured in one Vitola (5 ¼ x 54) and retailing at an affordable $8.50 this is a cigar that you don’t want to miss out on if you can get your hands on it.
#7 – La Gloria Cubana Esteli – Toro
La Gloria Cubana has always been a company that you can trust to bring you a solid product and normally will bring you notes from a true Cuban cigar. The Esteli was introduced at the 2018 IPCPR as a modern take on the classic La Gloria Cubana blend. This smoke is bold, beautiful, and tasty. With a Nicaraguan Jalapa wrapper and Hondorun filler, this stick just embodies the ideal smoking experience. As you puff away, you will get notes of spice, pepper, cedar, and light earthy notes. With three sizes to choose from and a VERY reasonable price ranging around the $6 to $7 range, we can promise you will be happy you picked this up at your local shop.
#6 – Drew Estate Florida Sungrown – Toro
They say good things come to those who wait and that could not be more spot on when you talk about the FSG by Drew Estate. This cigar has been in the works since 2011! When you have great minds like Jeff Borysiewicz and the guys behind Drew Estate working together, you can expect things to be meticulous done to ensure all t’s are crossed along with the dotted I’s. One of the best features on this cigar is the gorgeous Brazilian Meta Fina wrapper. It is stunning in color, feel, and of course, taste. From lighting up to the final draw, you will get sweet and savory notes that will make you feel like a million bucks after a nice T-bone dinner, with taters of course. You have four sizes to choose from and a single cigar will run you about $12 or more. Every penny of that will be considered well spent once you are done.
#5 – Punch Diablo Scamp – Toro
This was a cigar was a highlight at this year’s IPCPR. This is definitely one of the bolder cigars on this year’s list. Sometimes bolder cigars lack flavor but this is not the case with the Punch Diablo. The Diablo is crafted in Esteli at one of AJ Fernandez’s facilities and features tobaccos from four different countries. Wrapped in a Ecuadoran Sumatra Oscuro wrapper, this cigar brings you a dark and bold flavor profile filled with notes of wood, earth, leather, and pepper. Also, this cigar normally runs around the $6.50 range so it is not only an amazing smoke, but an amazing price. There are three sizes to choose from including a Robusto (Diabolus), Toro (Scamp), and Gordo (Brute).
#4 – United Cigars Bandolero 54 – Vanidosos
We could go on and on for days about United Cigars, from their product to the men behind it. Nelson Alfonso is a mastermind of Tobacco and a Branding genius! And as always, a big shout out is certainly deserved for Oliver Nivaud who reps United Cigars to the fullest and is one heck of a guy! (Thanks for the cigars my friend, Salud!) As for the Bandolero, if you have had the pleasure of enjoying them you probably know this is about as solid of a stick as they come. The interesting thing about the Bandolero and the other two main cigar lines from United (Atabey and Byron) is that majority of the tobaccos used are kept secret to the makers only. Although “cough cough” I may have heard through a little birdie that some Peruvian could be a possibility. This medium body yet full-flavored cigar features a complex variety of notes from savory oak, spices such as cinnamon play throughout and we may have gotten a hint of citrus that likes to play a fun game of peek-a-boo here and there. The burn is just shy of perfect every single time and the draw is nice and open. This vitola, the Vanidosos is my favorite to date and retails right around $11, which is much more wallet friendly than the Atabeys or Byrons.
#3 – 1880 Casa Turrent – Toro
The Casa Turrent 1880 is another true testament to the greatness of Mexican tobacco that, in our opinion, goes relatively undervalued in today’s cigar market. Alejandro Turrent made it a point with this cigar to honor the heritage of the brand by the “1880” namesake capturing the year that the Turrent family began in the growing business. With minimal veins and visibly pleasing toothy wrapper, this dark chocolate brown San Andres Wrapper passes the eye test. Not quite a Mexican puro, the 1880 features the aforementioned San Andres Mexican wrapper, bound in Mexican Criollo 98, and fillers of Mexican and Nicaraguan Criollo 98 leaves. The Casa Turrent 1880 smokes much milder than the look indicates, but very smooth and pleasant from cap to foot. With a full creamy and smooth mouthfeel, this cigar provides notes of chocolate and earthy tones, complimented with every so slight hint of pepper and a tang we always have a hard time putting a finger on completely. Offered in a single vitola a Toro (6.5 x 54) and retails about $16 per stick. Sold in boxes of 10 these are not particularly easy to find widespread, however more production is rumored to be on the horizon for the near future. This cigar has been by far one of our absolute favorites of this year and the Turrent family brings Mexican tobacco to the forefront better than anyone else the country has to offer.
#2 – AJ Fernandez H. Upman – Robusto
So we know AJ Fernandez has burst into the cigar scene in the last couple of years and has been partnering with many amazing brands out there including Montecristo, Punch, Cigar Internationals Legends line, Romeo y Julieta and more but we did not see this partnership coming as H. Upmann has been such a staple of the cigar industry sticking very much to its roots. However, when they pulled the trigger to work with AJ, we knew we were in for a treat and this cigar is exactly that! This medium-full smoke features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper around Criollo 91’ and Piloto Cubano fillers that help bring you flavors such as roasted nuts, spice, very light pepper, and cocoa. We here at InTheHumidor have smoked many of these cigars and not once have we had a poor roll or a bad burn. It just shows when you pair 2 powerhouses together, you are going to be blown away. This cigar will run you about $8 and is available in a Tobusto, Toro, and Churchill.
#1 – Southern Draw Cedrus – Belicoso Fino
It is that time! Time to unveil our top smoke of 2018. Without wasting anymore time, coming in at #1 is another cigar debuted at this year’s IPCPR. It is the Cedrus by Southern Draw. Before we talk about the cigar, let us talk about the dynamic duo who run Southern Draw and that is Robert Holt and his lovely wife Sharon (commonly referred to as The Rose). When you start off in any industry, especially one such as the premium cigar industry, it is not easy to make a name for yourself and requires lots of work. Within a rather reasonably short time, Southern Draw has jumped from small boutique, to big boutique, to becoming a household name in the cigar world. That of course is partially because the cigars in their line are EXTREMELY tasty but also because these two work harder than nearly any person I have ever known. Traveling on the road nearly 300 days a year can only be done with the drive and passion these two have for the product they put out. With some of our favorites such as the Rose of Sharon and the Jacobs Ladder, we were VERY excited to try the Cedrus when we heard about it at the IPCPR. And let us say, it was beyond worth the wait. This cigar from start to finish burns amazingly with lovely, full clouds of smoke and it just puts you into a pure state of comfort. With notes including cedar (of course), pepper, spice, and even some creaminess throughout, it will just make you want to get up, grab your backpack and hike your butt back to the cigar shop to buy more of these beauties! If you have not tried a Southern Draw, please do yourself a favor and pick up one of these beauties and look out for Robert and Sharon. We can promise with the way they travel, you probably will see them at a shop near you!
So you now know how the list starts with cigars number #21 to #25, now lets take a bigger bite out of this top 25 and disclose our next section, #11 to #20. Sit back, grab a smoke, and read about some of the cigars you should try next!
Spots 20 – 11
#20 – Roma Craft Neaderthal – SGP
One of our absolute favorites from the RoMa Craft line, this has quickly become a regular in my go to rotation. The SGP vitola (4.25 x 52) is the perfect size to pack in all the Neanderthal’s rich and complex flavors. The Neanderthal SGP features a unique flat cap not traditionally seen which creates almost a game to be played with how to cut it. Cold draw notes of sweet chocolate and earthy flavors radiate from, yet another San Andreas wrapped cigar. Once lit the semi-sweet chocolate dances delightfully around rich savory notes of leather and further complimented by poblano peppers, with a black pepper retro hale. The SGP features several different tobaccos including the aforementioned Mexican San Andres wrapper; and fillers from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Pennsylvania broadleaf. The Neanderthal SGP retails at an affordable MSRP of $9, and will quickly become a favorite of yours I am certain.
#19 – Aj Fernandez La Amistad Silver – Robusto
This may or may not be the only AJ Fernandez cigar on the list but I can say this, this cigar is oh so tasty! The La Amistad Silver is the second release in the La Amistad line following last year’s Hoya La Amistad (Gold Band). This beauty is full bodied and packs all kinds of wonderful flavors including cocoa, spice, cedar, and hints of earthy notes. The draw and burn were just so spot on. Add all that with a very reasonable price around the $7-$8 mark (3 sizes available) and you got yourself a winner here!
#18 – Don Pepin 15th Anniversay – Toro
So this isn’t your everyday Don Pepin and from the cigar box to the coffin that the individual cigar comes in, you can tell that right away that you are in store for a special cigar! Each tobacco that was used in this special anniversary cigar was hand selected by the Garcia family and aged to their specific standards to make sure it was exactly how they wanted. This wonderful smoke is a Nicaraguan puro with a Habano Oscuro wrapper and features notes of rich spices, sweetness, a little bit of leather, and a little bit of earthiness that just leaves your savoring every puff.
#17 – Ashton VSG – Belicoso
Ashton VSG (or Virginia Sun Grown) is just one of those cigars that every time you light up, you remember just how much you enjoy smoking a premium cigar. With a Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper and binder and fillers from the Dominican, the VSG delivers a spot on smoke time and time again and with 12 different sizes, you will find one that will fit your preference. You will enjoy smooth flavors from start to finish but is also nice and hearty as well. Pepper notes along with notes of caramel and a little nuttiness are some of the more prominent flavors that will hit your palate.
#16 – Liga Privada #9 Toro
This is a cigar that you don’t see on a lot of top 25 lists but I can guarantee that if you ask any person about their top 10 cigars, chances are good the Liga #9 is on their list. The strong earthy notes accompanied by hints of coffee and chocolate just make this cigar a wonderfully bold smoke. Strong on flavor and strong on strength helps make this cigar the true heavyweight that it is. You really can’t go wrong with this cigar and with demand always high, this cigar needs to be in your humidor, even if for just a specialty smoke!
#15 -Crux Limitada IPCPR – Robusto
2018 marked the third release of the Crux Limitada IPCPR, being an exclusive annual release for the IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas. We personally have always thought that some of the coolest traits of this cigar include beautiful aesthetics from the signature Crux Marblehead cap, to the extravagant band that oozes old school Las Vegas nostalgia. As for the cigar, the Limitada IPCPR is chalked full of rich sweet flavors. From milk chocolate, maltiness and toffee, being rounded out by hints of nuttiness, espresso and a bit of peppery spice. The smoke is thick and billowy and will leave you sitting in a cloud of happiness. The Limitada IPCPR is offered in one vitola: Cuban Box Pressed (5 x 52) and MSRP of $11.
#14 – Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2 – Robusto
So many of us brothers and sisters of the leaf are familiar with the Cuban. It’s in movies, tv shows, music videos (shockingly still a thing) and when you say cigar, for many, that is synonymous with Cubans. Well sliding into the number 14 spot is the Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2. This is not what your normally hear about when you hear of Cuban cigars. You hear of Montecristo, Cohiba, and Hoyo De Monterrey. However, don’t let that fool you as this is a WONDERFUL Cuban cigar at a very reasonable price (around $11.00). The cigar burns perfectly, has nice fluffy smoke, and comes with the lovely flavors that we know and love in a Cuban cigar such as floral notes, a light earthiness, and very light citrus flavors. This is an underdog in the Cuban cigar world but as we know, you can’t count out the underdog.
#13 – Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No. 142 – Robusto
So, this Tabernacle is the follow up cigar from Foundation Cigar and is a modified, and in our opinion, upgraded version of the original 2016 release. This cigar is special as it has a Cuban seed wrapper grown in the Connecticut River Valley and is oily and so delicious! The rest of the cigar is made up of a Mexican San Andre’s Binder and fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras. When you see this dark and beautiful cigar, you would expect boldness and flavor bombs, which is exactly what you get. Strong notes of leather, spice, cedar, and a hint of chocolate will leave you in a place of bliss, your own personal Tabernacle as you say thank you to the cigar gods.
#12 – Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark – Belicoso
The “Eye of the Shark” is probably what some will consider the biggest layup, or give up cigar to make our list this year. Yes, it has received many accolades since being introduced in 2016 and is widely renowned by Fuente lovers all over the world. But damnit it is just that good! I will always argue one of the coolest features of this cigar comes from the semi box pressed/semi belicoso appearance. Not quite fully squared off, being flat on the backside and rounded out along the front of the cigar. Fuente’s elegance radiates from the band with the black and gold, accented by the red outline. With more traditional notes of baking spices, nuts and hints of cedar this cigar is already in my palate wheelhouse, but the citrus undertones are what really set this cigar apart in my opinion. That little “extra” makes this continue to be one of the top cigars on the market. The Eye of the Shark measures 5 ¾ x 52 and features Dominican binder and fillers, and is wrapped in a beautiful Cameroon wrapper. The real beauty of this cigar is the surprisingly affordable MSRP of around $12 per stick
#11 – Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour Toro
If you are a true brother or sister of the leaf, you know that when you grab a Davidoff, you are going to get a quality cigar. While this cigar may be one of our pricier choices, we can tell you that it is well worth every single penny. This is not your normal super smooth and creamy Davidoff but packs a little more punch, just like Winston Churchill himself did. The Late Hour features Nicaraguan fillers that are aged in single malt scotch barrels for 6+ months and a Habano Ecuador Wrapper that not only looks stunning but brings some amazing flavors as well. With notes of sweetness, pepper, leather, and wood, this medium full smoke it the perfect cigar to pair with a nice whiskey and bourbon as you plan your attack on the following day.