I know this is a little late, but I thought I should probably post about a few cigars that I feel worthy of some credit. I smoked a ton of cigars during 2021....I mean, it's the days of COVID lockdowns, so what else is there to do? Watch some TV or a movie, smoke cigars, rinse and repeat. The amazing thing is that during 2021 there were some incredible cigars released despite the state of the world.
I didn't post a ton during 2021. Instead, I chose to relish and enjoy the cigars - typing reviews as you smoke is not as easy as you think - while taking mental notes along the way. So, without further ado, here is my Top Five of 2021.
Number Five: Partagas Cortado
This little guy really shocked me. I have always been a fan of Partagas cigars - I still have a few Partagas 150s and RyR in my humidor from 2001 - but over the years I have largely overlooked their stuff in favor of boutique cigars and the like. The corona size, which was given to me as a sample to try, absolutely blew me away. Flawless construction, insanely complex flavors, and just an overall terrific smoke, the Partagas Cortado is a cigar worth smoking every day and at $7 for the robusto size it is an easy cigar to do that with. Easily a 94 from me!
Number Four: Crux Epicure Maduro
I smoked my way through the entire rebuilt Crux catalog between November and December and while they are all terrific I found that the Epicure Maduro had become my go-to maduro cigar. It has a wonderfully oily sheen, loads of rich complex flavors, and stellar construction. Plus, that vintage teal color on the band really makes it stand out on the shelves. At around $10 they are reasonably priced...a steal if you factor in how good they are! An easy 94 from me!
Number Three: Zino Nicaragua
This cigar could have been a disaster. I mean, it's named after Zino Davidoff and is one of the flagship Davidoff lines. When I first saw the release info and the prices on these cigars, I thought Davidoff was off their rocker and that we would end up with a sub-par cigar. Boy was I wrong! The Zino Nicaragua has all the things you love - or should love - about Davidoff tobacco with a price tag that would make anyone grin like a kid in a candy store. Loads of creamy smooth complexity, that hallmark Davidoff musty flavor, plenty of spice, and amazing construction. An easy 94 from me here as well!
Number Two: AVO Caribe
This cigar really moved up on my list this year. At the initial release, the cigars showed that they needed to sit for a few weeks. After about a month, I tried them again, and they really turned into something special. Loads of Davidoff tobacco complexity with a really nice exotic undertone and plenty of spice, the Caribe has quickly become my favorite AVO - and that is really saying something. An easy 95 here!
Number One: Tatuaje T110 Thermonuclear
Hands down the best cigar I smoked this year. Which one? The Sumatra or Broadleaf? Pick one. The Capa Especial - Sumatra - is clearly more spicy, while the Reserva - Broadleaf - is slightly sweeter. I started smoking both in equal numbers and then switched to the Reserva most of the time. The pepper blast from this cigar is incredible. It's not just pepper heat, it's complex with caramel sweetness and loads of complexity. My only gripe is the 4.5 inch length means the cigar smokes too fast. If this thing came in a churchill or even a toro, I would smoke it all day all the time. Just astoundingly good. Let's just hope Pete sends more of them out in 2022! An easy 96 here!
Honorable Mention: Diesel Sunday Gravy San Marzano
A $5 cigar on the list? Heck yes! Cheap, tasty, and constructed with a slide rule, this cigar is loaded with complex and unique flavors. I love the Diesel lineup, and this one is my favorite today - since the original Hair of the Dog has gone the way of the Dodo. I can't wait for the next cigar in this series.