Smoking Contenders and the Contest Winner

It snowed in some unusual places in the US over the last few days, but it’s not that unusual here. Yesterday it snowed a few inches in PA, so I painted a room, and managed to smoke a cigar in between coats. Unfortunately, I also smoked an entire cigar while on the phone with a major retailer trying to work out a delivery issue. I suppose the cigar prevented me from losing my mind…anyway, I spent this week smoking though 2 Guy’s Smokeshop‘s Cigar of the year contenders pack that I bought while I was there a couple of weeks ago. Included in the pack were: Aladino, Eiroa First 20 Years Colorado, Luminosa by Crowned Heads, The Oscar Habano, Perla Del Mar Maduro, Vegas Cubanas, Wayfarer by Serino Cigars, and The Wiseman Maduro. These are all in robusto format, except for the Wideman Maduro which is in a corona size, and is on the schedule to smoke today. Being slightly CDO (which, as we know, is OCD in alphabetical order like it should be), I smoked them in the order they were listed on the insert in the box. 


AladinoAladino: this is from JRE Cigars, Julio and Justo Eiroa, father and brother of Chrsitian Eiroa. The cigar is authentic Corojo grown on the Eiroa’s farm in Honduras. This was a 5″x50 robusto and I was really quite happy smoking this cigar. It was a great start to the pack, and was my favorite so far 😀.

Eiroa First 20 Years ColoradoEiroa First 20 Years Colorado: CLE cigars is the company Christian Eiroa formed after selling Camacho to Davidoff. This cigar celebrates his twenty year anniversary in the cigar industry. This was a 5″x50 with a severe box press, and was a beautiful cigar. Christian worked with his father on this cigar, a Honduran puro.  Vastly different from the Aladino, didn’t do it for me, which is consistent with my feelings on most of Christian’s cigars now.  Funny, I loved the Camachos when he made them, CLE and Eiroa don’t seem to fit my tastes.

LuminosaLuminosa by Crowned Heads: I’m not normally a fan of Crowned Heads, but I am a fan of Ernesto Carillo, so this one was  little confusing. I enjoyed the cigar, it had an interesting flavor, but the look of the cigar was “bundle-ish”. The orange band made me think of the Don Jose bundles from the 90s. Preconceived notions aside, it was a pretty good smoke, but to me it was just another Ecuador Connecticut cigar. I’m absolutely mystified that this cigar doesn’t appear on the Crowned Heads website, but the guys at 2 Guys felt is was in the running for their cigar of the year.

OscarThe Oscar Habano: Another cigar from Honduras, this typically has a candela leaf outer sleeve, along the lines of the Leaf by Oscar. The candela leaf was absent on the Contenders samplers, I’d be very suspicious if Dave Garofalo came out with a new Candela cigar in the near future. I know he’s a fan of the green leaf (…that’s a joke, son). The Oscar has jumped to the front of the line for me. This was a solid cigar with great flavor and just a darned pleasure to smoke. I have a toro floating around the humidor I think, and have smoked the 6×60 and really enjoyed them, but, like I mentioned to Oscar Valladares when I met him in an Elevator in Vegas, I’m a fan of his work.

Perla del MarPerla Del Mar Maduro: this is a budget line from J.C.Newman, and it a nice smoke.  I like a maduro, and this is a good one, although maybe I’m becoming a snob, but it just didn’t have anything special enough to warrant COTY consideration. I wouldn’t pass one up, it’s a solid choice for someone who can’t or won’t spend a lot on a cigar. That said, I wasn’t left disappointed or unsatisfied.

Vegas Cubanas_InvictosYesterday I smoked the Vegas Cubanas and  Wayfarer Cigars. The Vegas Cubanas is an old brand from Don Pepin Garcia that was re-issued last year. It’s got a Corojo Rosado wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers. This is the cigar that prevented me from losing my cool on the phone with customer service. This was another Wayfarer by Serino Cigarsenjoyable cigar, the presentation is beautiful, and the cigar smoked well.  The Wayfarer is the latest from Serino Cigars. It’s blended to be similar in profile to the cigars out of Havana. I can see that to some extent. It was a 5″x52 robusto with an Ecuador Corojo wrapper. This is an interesting line in that they use some construction details that are reminiscent of the Cuban cigars. I enjoyed the cigar, although I like the cigars in the Serino Royale line better.

So that leaves us with The Wise Man maduro, which is the maduro version of the El Güegüense from Nick Mellilo’s Foundation Cigar Co. I smoked the Toro Huaco a couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic. I think, for me, it’s going to come down to this or the Oscar for my vote, not that my vote carries much weight. 2 Guys COTY is based in part by votes, but also in part by sales in their three stores and on-line.  I’ll be interested in hearing about the winner, which will be announced on The Cigar Authority. Will they get it right?



Caliber 4RIt’s time to pick a winner of the Western Humidor Calibur 4 R digital hygrometer, courtesy of my friends at Cigar Oasis. I’m a little annoyed with myself, Chaim of Cigar Oasis gifted me a really nifty lighter in celebration of their anniversary, and it, along with my Xikar MTX scissors, were put someplace that I can’t remember! I rarely lose things, I know I packed it someplace for a trip and can’t figure where. Anyway, the winner of the hygrometer is Christopher Brose.  Please send me your address so I can ship this out! I need to get my Secret Santa packed up and shipped too! Thanks again to Cigar Oasis for the cool prize!  


That’s enough for today. Just so you know, the stuff about 2 Guys and their COTY and Cigar Authority are unsolicited. I bought their contenders pack with my own money and the opinions expressed are my own. Heck, none of the contenders are even advertisers. I’ve got no skin in the game, just thought it would be fun to see how my thoughts match up with theirs and throw them a bone!  Until the next time, 





Filed under Contest, Review

8 Responses to Smoking Contenders and the Contest Winner

  1. Bob Borgeson

    I still have a few of the original Vegas Cubanas tucked away. Love ‘em! Hope the new ones are good. Of course, the old ones were made in Miami. Can’t be exactly the same.

  2. Lonnie W. Brooks

    Congrats Chris and thanks for sharing about the Contenders Craig!

  3. Jimmy

    Well i have Tried The Wise Man And The Oscar Habano. Both Excellent sticks but my pick goes to The Oscar. So enjoyable and makes you look forward to smoking another one right away.

  4. Craig, you are the man! Best cigar blog out there. I love reading your posts. Thanks for creating such a great place to visit and learn about Cigars.
    Happy New Year my friend.

Leave a Reply