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StogieGuys.com’s Top Cigars of 2018

19 Dec 2018

Compiling the annual StogieGuys.com cigar retrospective is always interesting. How many smokes did we find outstanding? How does this year compare to the past? Was there any dominant brand or startling newcomer?

Only a handful of cigars achieve the top five-stogie rating. In more than 12 years of reviewing, only 59 have made it, an average of just under five a year. (You can find the full list of five stogie-rated smokes here and an explanation of our ratings system here.)

In 2018, only a single cigar scored five stogies out of five: the 7.5-inch, 40-ring gauge Illusione Holy Lance (hl). It was hailed in the review as “a balanced symphony of complex, authentically Nicaraguan flavors.”

Illusione cigars have long been highly enjoyed at StogieGuys.com. Dion Giolito’s brand has two other five stogie-rated smokes, as well as others with an outstanding four and a half stogie-rating, including one this year.

The review also called it “one of the finest lanceros in production today, and these aged cigars showed that they lose nothing after a few years, and might have gained some added complexity.”

For comparison, we had four five-stogie cigars in both 2017 and 2016, six each in 2015 and 2014, and two in 2013.

Considerably more cigars were rated four or four and a half stogies, numbers not dissimilar to those of 2017. I tallied 22 four-stogie smokes (the same as last year), and 13 four-and-a-half-stogie smokes (down three from 2017). They run the gamut from small company productions and limited editions to a couple Cubans to releases from cigar giants.

Below is an alphabetical listing of the four-and-a-half-stogie cigars from 2018 with a quote from each review.

Caldwell Savages Corona Extra: “Once an even light is established, the draw opens almost instantly. What follows is a bready, medium-bodied profile of white pepper, cocoa powder, oak, and soft cayenne heat.”

El Triunfador (Original Blend): “Complexity is the name of the game. There’s a lot going on here.”

Fable Fourth Prime Sapta: “It tastes of nougat, cream, dark chocolate, and coffee bean. There is little spice or heat.”

Fratello Navetta Atlantis: “The individual flavors remind me of espresso, roasted nuts, black pepper, and cayenne heat.”

Hoyo de Monterrey Hermoso No. 4 Añejados (Cuban): “Ultimately, you pay a premium for an assurance of a cigar that isn’t under-aged, but the balanced, rich flavors… still earn it a very solid rating.”

Illusione La Gran Classe Rex: “It’s a balanced cigar that provides surprising nuance in such a small vitola.”

Intemperance BA XXI Vanity: “While Vanity is an awesome cigar for any time of year, I especially appreciate it during the cold months here in Chicago.”

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente (TAA Exclusive): “It is full-bodied, yet smooth, creamy, and nicely balanced.”

La Gloria Cubana Colección Reserva Robusto: “In addition to enjoyable flavors and solid construction, the price ($7.59) makes this an impressive offering. “

MBombay Classic Torpedo: “… creamy with cedar notes, but the Torpedo also evokes some citrus and other fruity sweetness for added complexity.”

Quai d’Orsay Secreto Cubano Exclusivo Francia RE (2016): “I’ll admit this cigar surprised me, in a good way. Despite its small size, it provided nearly an hour of enjoyable, interesting, complex flavors.”

Sobremesa Robusto Largo: “As the Robusto Largo progresses, flavors like dark cherry, green raisin, cedar, molasses, and caramel come and go.”

Villiger La Vendedora Toro: “… the most impressive, complex, encompassing smoke Villiger has produced to date”

We look forward with great anticipation to the wonderful smokes 2019 is sure to bring.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

4 Responses to “StogieGuys.com’s Top Cigars of 2018”

  1. Stan Walker Thursday, December 20, 2018 at 11:53 pm #

    Just wanted to take this time to tell you all how much I appreciate the time you all spend giving us the information on this wonderful hobby we have.
    I got into hand rolled cigars after I retired about 3.5 years ago. As I do with most things I get interested in, I try to absorb all that I can and your site was the first I read. I went back and rest almost all the past stuff as well as each new one that comes up.
    I hope all of you have a great Christmas and Happy New Year. I look forward to the coming year and tasty, new blends. And reading the reviews in Stogie Guys.

  2. George E Friday, December 21, 2018 at 7:43 am #

    Stan – Thanks for the kind words. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you as well!

  3. Arless Friday, January 18, 2019 at 11:43 am #

    Interesting list fellas. You obviously aren’t chasing the “hot new cigars” even though you list some very popular brands. I have only smoked two from the list, so I have a bunch to be on the lookout for. Always appreciate your reviews for their clear and ‘cut to the chase’ content. Thanks and may 2019 treat you well!

    • George E Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 12:28 am #

      Arless – Thank you for the kind words. And may you have a great 2019 as well!

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