StogieNet.com's Cigars of the Year 2012

Introduction

Before we continue on to the list, I would like to preface it with the following disclaimer: These are the ten best cigars that I smoked this year - not the ten best released this year or the ten best anywhere. While there are loads of cigars out there that outrank the ones on my list, I just simply do not have the time, money, or lung capacity to smoke them all. There are a few that I wanted to try that I just haven't found yet. This is a list of my opinions. Nothing more. I also tried to keep it interesting by introducing three separate categories aside from the ten best and they do not always follow the ratings you see on my site. This list is meant for your enjoyment - and to help me remember what I enjoyed smoking this year. Enjoy! And Happy Holidays to everyone!

-Jack

Best New Cigar: CyB (Formerly the Cuenca y Blanco)

This cigar is absolutely amazing. While I normally would have put it into my standard top 10, I feel it deserves a separate award. This one really shocked me. One of the ingredients is Peruvian tobacco which, I imagine, gives this cigar such a creamy and unusual flavor. If they keep it up, this could be in my top three for next year. The flavors are incredibly smooth and the finish is amazing. You owe it to yourself to smoke this new masterpiece from the stables of Drew Estate.

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Honorable Mention: B-Cuz by Graycliff

Best Cheapie: Schizo

Always on the lookout for a terrific cheap cigar, I was shocked at the price to quality ratio of the Schizo line. At a buck cheaper than Pete Johnson's L'Atelier bundles, I was not expecting much....I mean, how can you beat a $3.50 Tatuaje? This is how. For $2.50, the Schizo provides an experience you would expect from a cigar that costs four times as much.

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Honorable Mention: Trocadéro bt L'Atelier

The Worst of the Year: Toraño Salutem

How would you like a cigar that tastes like candied fruit from a Christmas fruitcake your Aunt gave you last year? Then the Toraño Salutem is the cigar for you! In my opinion, this cigar is way too tart. Way too fruity. Way too young. The tobacco needs to be aged longer to get that smooth mellow character that typically exemplifies the Toraño brand. I don't think aging it in your humidor will help in this case. The stock they use to roll these just needs longer in the barns before being rolled. I have read one review wherein the reviewer liked the Salutem....and five face-to-face reviews that did not.

#10: El Triunfador No. 7

You will find that any list of my favorite cigars will be heavy with Pete Johnson's creations....But they really are THAT good. El Triunfador is a phenomenal cigar. Smooth, tasty, and not too hateful on the budget, the El Triunfador is the perfect cigar with a cup of coffee in the morning. This is an exceptionally consistent cigar as well. I have smoked quite a few of these and every one has performed flawlessly and tasted like something that should cost $20 or more!

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#9: Tatuaje Miami Unicos

When I started my mania for Tatuaje cigars this summer, I had only tried a petit corona size when then line was brand new to the market. At that time, I really didn't enjoy the cigar much....I know, I know...silly me, right? Well, after trying about every size in the Miami line, I settled on the Unicos as the most consistent and tasty of them all. The flavors are terrific, construction is flawless, and the enjoyment factor is certainly there. The price is a little hefty, but worth every penny. In my humble opinion, this cigar really shows off Tatuaje's roots and should be considered a classic.

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#8: Tabacos Baez Serie H

Using money from my 40th birthday this summer, I picked these up from Cigars International...and it was the deal of the century! What a terrific cigar! The bevy of flavors I experienced within these Don Pepin creations was staggering. Sugar cookies? Pumpkin spice? Hazelnut? I am still amazed that these cigars haven't received a bigger following.

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#7: Warlock Robusto

This Altadis offering from Omar Ortiz is terrific. I find myself daydreaming about the single one of these I picked up this past fall. Speaking to several fellow cigar smokers and shop owners, the reviews on this cigar are mixed. It's a strong cigar with deep rich flavors that could easily overpower the unwary smoker. The enjoyment factor the Warlock provided has me watching box prices very closely.

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#6: El Suelo by L'Atelier

While it should be no shock at this point that I am biased towards Don Pepin and Pete Johnson cigars, this one was more than I ever expected. Complex and rich with terrific construction and at an insane price of about three and a half bucks, the El Suelo is a cigar that I could smoke all the time. My only gripe with this line is the massive girth of each cigar - the smallest being 56! I would love to see this line include a 6x50 or smaller size.

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#5: Vega Fina Sumum 2010

Talk about a shock! I picked one of these up as a lark from a local shop I hadn't been to in years. I am pretty sure I had a mild stroke after smoking this cigar - it blew my mind! The Vega Fina Sumum 2010 is absolutely terrific. Beautifully constructed and elegantly presented, if I had the ability to fill my whole house with these, I would. They are a pretty rare cigar these days, so if you come across them you should snatch them up and hoard them like a miser! I must apologize for not having a review of this incredible cigar on the site. I smoke them so fast that I never have time to review one!

#4: L'Atelier LAT54

A brand new Pete Johnson cigar offering a hybrid wrapper leaf blended by Pepin? Sign me up! The LAT54 was one of the most enjoyable and complex cigars I have ever smoked. It's elegantly beautiful in construction and simply amazing in the flavor department.

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#3: Tatuaje Cabaiguan Coronas Extra

My highest rated cigar of the year, if not ever. I shocked myself by not giving this cigar the number one spot by default....but to be honest, I smoked a fistful of these after the initial one and, while each one was an amazing smoke, I couldn't repeat the same experience the first one provided. Kind of like the first time you read a great book or see an incredible movie....you can't repeat that feeling twice.

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#2: Illusione Epernay Le Ferme

Try as I might - and I didn't try that hard - I couldn't stay away from the Epernay. Hey, that sounds like an advertising slogan! "I can't stay away from the Epernay". This cigar is just incredible in every respect. Delicious, consistent, beautiful. That honey-sweet tobacco flavor and extremely Cuban profile make this cigar an instant classic.

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#1: Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles

Here we have it. My cigar of the year. I smoked my way through five different sizes of this line and found the Nobles to be the most consistent and enjoyable....Actually the most consistent cigar I have ever encountered. The construction is always perfect. The draw is so open you could use it as a drinking straw. As for flavors, the opening spice, rich coffee and woody middle section, and the clean bright finish just makes this cigar incredible. They leave you satisfied and wanting more and everytime you put one out it saddens the soul a little bit.

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