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StogieGuys.com’s Top Cigars of 2017 (Part II)

28 Dec 2017

As always, the StogieGuys.com list of the absolute best cigars we smoked throughout the year is small: just four. That is, though, the same as in 2016. In fact, through the years, the number of five-stogie cigars has been relatively consistent.

Another constant in our five-stogie ratings is diversity. This year’s list, for example, features the debut of MBombay, a stellar line of cigars rolled in Costa Rica for Californian Mel Shah’s Bombay Tobak, and Cornelius & Anthony, a firm with longstanding ties to the tobacco business but is relatively new to premium cigars.

On the other hand, you’ll spot the familiar name Tatuaje. This marks its 10th five-stogie cigar, quite a few more than any other brand.

In order to achieve a five-stogie rating, a cigar must be better than good. As we note in the explanation of our rating system, a five-stogie cigar is “tasty, complex” and “truly an occasion.”

Here’s a chronological look at this year’s top-rated cigars:

MBombay Gaaja Maduro TorpedoWhile this is the first cigar from MBombay to score five stogies, it is not the first to be rated highly. Two others got four stogies and one received four and a half. The Gaaja Maduro was introduced early in 2017 and made a strong impression. Our review called it “delicious,” “harmonious,” “well-balanced,” and “up there with the finest.” It also urged readers not to be put off by the $15.50 MSRP: “This is one not to miss.”

Tatuaje Reserva Broadleaf Collection Havana Cazadores: When Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson introduced a 100-cigar collection rolled in Miami with a price tag of $1,200, the brand’s devotees were captivated. One of the distinguishing features of these cigars over similar earlier releases was the use of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper rather than an Ecuadorian. The review found this lonsdale-sized smoke featured “tempered strength that walks the fine line between balance and full flavor.” It also called it “a perfectly constructed combination of full Nicaraguan flavors with the restrained richness that Connecticut Broadleaf provides.”

Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto: In just a few years, Cornelius & Anthony has created an impressive line of cigars. The Aerial—rolled at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Nicaragua—has a creative combination of an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with Nicaraguan filler and an unnamed U.S. binder. The Robusto has a $9.25 MSRP. As the review noted, “…the first few puffs are bursting with spice and a strong finish. By the start of the second third, the spice has backed off and tobacco sweetness moves to the fore. In the final third, the spice amps up again, mingling with leather and a light earthiness.”

Muestra de Saka Nacatamale: Since reentering the cigar business in 2015, Steve Saka, with his Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, has knocked ‘em out of the park like Aaron Judge: a five-stogie rating in 2015 followed by numerous four-and-a-half rated smokes. This year’s entry comes packed in a wooden coffin with an MSRP of $15.95. “What makes Nacatamale so outstanding—and, yes, it is absolutely outstanding—is not any individual flavor,” said our review. “This cigar is a great example of how the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.”

You can find all 58 five-stogie rated cigars with reviews dating back more than a decade here.

Here’s to many more wonderful cigars in 2018!

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

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