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Commentary: Stogie Guys Top Picks of 2012

13 Dec 2012

As the year draws to a close, it seems everyone’s making best-of lists. Rather than try to pinpoint and rank-order the best of the 2012 releases, I thought I’d look back at the cigars rated five stogies out of five this year. You’ll find a complete alphabetical list of the cigars that earned the rare five-stogie rating going back to 2006 here.

This year, there were five, and they represent a wide range of cigars. Perhaps the most notable is Drew Estate’s widely anticipated Liga Privada Único Serie Velvet Rat, which Patrick A. was wowed by at a pre-release event. It isn’t expected to be in regular release until 2013 and will almost certainly be at the top of everyone’s gotta-get-but-hard-to-find list.

Another new cigar getting five stogies is the Aging Room F55 Quattro Concerto that I thought was great. Patrick S. similarly raved about the Berger & Argenti Entubar V32 Rogue Rothschild, a pricey limited edition.

The other two that received five stogies in 2012 have been around for a while. The Illusione Epernay Le Matin came out several years ago, and an EO 601 Serie “Blue” Toro was a maduro that had been in my humidor for two years.

We have high standards for handing out five-stogie ratings, and a glance through previous years seems to confirm that. Five in a year, out of scores of sticks reviewed, seems to be close to the average. In past years, we’ve had as many as seven and as few as three.

Of the 36 smokes that made the list over the years, only 7 are Cuban. Among those made elsewhere, top manufacturers and blenders represented include names such as Pete Johnson, Don Pepin Garcia, Paul Garmirian, Litto Gomez, and Rocky Patel.

You’d expect to find an Opus X and Padrón Serie 1926 listed, and they are. But I think you might also find a surprise or two. Take a look. Let us know what you think of our selections and what cigars you find worthy of five stogies.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

8 Responses to “Commentary: Stogie Guys Top Picks of 2012”

  1. Jaxon Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    An excellent list for sure this year, though not sure I'd agree with the Berger & Argenti Entubar V32 Rogue Rothschild.

    My list this year would include the CyB by Drew Estate. Really love that stick; can't wait to try the Velvet Rat.

    • mphxaz Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

      Just FYI, the CyB is actually made by Joya De Nicaragua at the JDN factory. Drew Estate is the US distributor for JDN cigars, but does not manufacture them. I agree the CyB is a Great Smoke and a nice change of pace for JDN!

  2. Greg Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    Great list. I just finished the "Old Man and the C" Black Label Culebra and I have to agree that its definitely worthy of five stars.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. BSV Friday, December 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    I find it hard to believe that less than 20% of the highest ratings are Cuban. Maybe because as Americans, Cuban cigars are a little harder to come by? Also I understand that you must get a lot of cigars to review for free from various non-Cuban retailers/manufacturers so maybe that factors in. Even taking those factors into account, that high of scoring ratio of NC vs CC is crazy IMO.

    In all the NC and CC I have tried, the CC beat the NC counterparts 10-1. Don't get me wrong, there are a few gems in the NC arena but out of 100 cigars I smoke, 5 may be NC.

    Of course to each his/her own but I have never seen that large of a discrepancy comparing the two unless the smoker is going for straight power of flavor. I find a lot of NC over-bearing in the power and spice department (as well as being one dimensional).

    Anyway, thanks for the template for discussion and have a great holiday season!

    • George E. Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      BSV — In my case, I rarely smoke, or even see, Cuban cigars. I'm not a frequent traveler outside the U.S. and I've never ordered Cubans through the mail. Another factor in the paucity of Cuban reviews by me is that as rarely as I smoke them, it's even rarer for me to smoke several of one, a generally necessary step if I am to do a review. On the subject of free cigars, believe me, I'm not inundated with them, though I do get quite a few at IPCPR and I receive some occasionally by mail. The vast majority of cigars I review, though, are from personal purchases.

      • Josh Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 6:46 am #

        I think its great that you review mostly NC cigars. Its frustrating to see CC on ratings charts and not being able to obtain them. I don't understand why there isn't a CC list and a NC list. Just keep on doing what your doing!

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