This is a little early but Sunday’s post just might be another contest and I don’t want to confuse things! I was trying to get this posted Wednesday, but things weren’t working out the way I wanted them to! Just like last year, my criteria is simple, a cigar that I consider “Memorable” is one I smoked, made a positive impression on me to the point where I really want to smoke more of that cigar. I noted last year that this format, in no particular order, would keep me off Halfwheel’s Consensus list, but I just recently came to find out that my 2016 was included on their 2016 Awards: The Consensus Top 25 Cigars which included at least three of my five most memorable. So, without further ado, here’s my list of memorable cigars of last year.
I’ve been a fan of La Gloria Cubana cigars since the mid-nineties when I started really getting into the premium cigars. Back then they were made by Ernesto Perez Carillo in Miami and later the Dominican Republic and were excellent. Time has passed, along with ownership of the company, and Ernesto has gone on to do his own thing, but he came back to partner with General to make the Coleccion Reserva. one a side note, the current contest running now until Sunday includes ten of these great cigars, and let me tel you it’s going to be hard to let go of them! I kid, I’m happy to share such great cigars. These are manufactured at Ernesto’s Tabacalera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic using materials from both companies. I like them so much I bought a box of the Presidente size for full retail! This cigar exemplifies the cooperative nature of the cigar industries where competing companies work together. It doesn’t always work, but in the case of the La Gloria Cubana Coleccion Reserva is does. Smoking one with Ernesto at a local event puts it at the top of my most memorable list ( I know, I said it was in no particular order!).
Cornelius and Anthony makes an appearance again this year, I still go to the Cornelius Toro as my “go to” special occasion cigar, but there aren’t a lot of cigars in their portfolio that I don’t like. OK, I don’t think there are any that I don’t like. OK, OK, there aren’t any I don’t like! This year they released two new lines, the Aerial with a Ecuador Connecticut Shade wrapper, and the Señor Esugars with a San Andrés wrapper, which is my second selection on my memorable list. These are made at the La Zona factory in Esteli. I really dig this cigar, which, like the Aerial, has a super secret US grown binder. they are tight-lipped about the origin of the leaf they use, but considering the Bailey family has been growing tobacco in Virginia for 150 years, one cant help but think it’s grown in Virginia. It certainly adds a unique component to the cigars, and the Señor Esugars hits my palate just right. There’s a super cool dog on the box too. Full disclosure: Cornelius and Anthony is an advertiser on CigarCraig.com, but the only effect that has on my opinion is in that bearing contacted by them to advertise put them on my radar, and meeting Steven Bailey and his team adds to the memorability.
Southern Draw Cigars has been on my radar for a while, but at this year’s IPCPR I finally got to meet Robert Holt, his wife, Sharon, and their family. Upon meeting, Robert did a convincing job of knowing who I was and was generous with his time. Robert is a gentleman, a veteran, a spiritual man and is behind some of the best cigars coming out of Tabacalera AJ Fernandez. New to me this year was the Jacobs Ladder, his Pennsylvania Broadleaf flavor bomb. The name hints at his commitment to family and faith, and the cigar is awesome. I’m currently on the hunt for more, because it’s one I want to smoke more of, and it’s an especially good choice for the cold weather we’ve been having as the weight of the flavor cuts through the crisp air. The Rose of Sharon is also a stellar offering in the Ecuador Connecticut wrapper (there should be little doubt by now that a maduro is almost always winning out over a shade wrapper with me!), it’s among the best out there (the above mentioned Aerial and the Fratello Oro get honorable mentions). So that makes the Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder my third memorable smoke of 2017.
Next up is another cigar I really enjoyed this year, the Oscar Habano. Funny think about this one is that I had bought some of the Toro and Gordo sizes an really enjoyed them, but it wasn’t until I had the Robusto that was part of 2 Guys Smokeshop‘s Contenders pack that I really saw the beauty of this cigar. Listen to The Cigar Authority tomorrow (Saturday 12/30) to see if they get it right and select this cigar as the Cigar of the Year. As I think about it, I may dig out the one toro I still have and smoke it today. Oscar makes some great cigars, the Leaf by Oscar line is very good (there’s another Ecuador Connecticut cigar that’s really good!), it’s nice that he made something exceptional to put his name on (wait…his name is on the Leaf by Oscar isn’t it?) Great smoke, I hope 2 Guys Smokeshop makes the right call on this one.
Finally, I really can’t get enough of the Florida Sungrown from Drew Estate. This uses tobacco that’s grown on Jeff Borysiewicz’s (Corona Cigar Co.) Farm where he’s growing Corojo tobacco, the first time Cigar tobaco has been grown in Florida for something like 40 years. Willie Hererra blended the cigar using Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos with the Florida leaf adding that little something different in the flavor. I have to admit, it was a toss-up between the FSG and the Undercrown Sungrown, both are exceptional and I really dig them, but the FSG has a great story and inches out the Undercrown by a hair. Drew Estate continues to bring new and interesting cigars to the market, I have to admit that I rather liked the new Acid Kuba Candela too. While I’m more of a traditional cigar smoker, this one was a treat, the bitterness of the candela wrapper offset the sweetness of the infusion. Good stuff.
That’s it for my five most memorable cigars of the past year. There were probably others that I thought were excellent but didn’t have the little extra to make them stand out. The La Palina El Año 1816 was on my list too, I just need to smoke a few more before I can make a strong recommendation (the La Palina Classic Maduro I smoked last night was really quite tasty too!). Hopefully 2018 brings some new and interesting cigars. Once again, thanks to all the readers and sponsors, without whom I’d be typing for my own entertainment!
That’s all for now, don’t forget the contest! Until the next time,