Staff Picks

Our hard-working staff is busy smoking dozens of cigars, so you don't have to! Each week, they choose their favorite stick from the bunch.
Rene
AGE:33
TASTE:Wood, Earth, Leather
HOBBIES:Guitar, Beer, Sarcasm
STRENGTH:Medium/Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Liga Privada No. 9
Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro
Tatuaje Miami Seleccion del Cazador
Kristoff GC Signature Series
Eiroa CBT Maduro

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Las Calaveras Edicion Limitada 2020 LC48 51/2 * 48
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Every year, boutique smokers everywhere look forward to the latest iteration of Crowned Head's limited Las Calaveras blend. Pretty much since its introduction in 2014, I've been eagle-eyed while waiting for their annual arrival at Neptune, being that I am always impressed with the release. For 2020, the limited cigar sports a purple and gold band, with a gorgeous Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that encases premium Nicaraguan components. Upon removing the golden footer band, I cut my Las Calaveras and giddily began lighting it up. After a small blast of pepper in the beginning, it wasn't long before I was smack dab in the middle of Flavor Town. Creamy notes of cedar, earth, and almonds were prominent, with the spice subsiding and only showing up again periodically, albeit at the most opportune moments. Towards the end, the Las Calaveras became quite leathery, and rounded the final lap with more earthy tones and a naturally sweet finish. Overall, I would rate the strength as in-between medium and full. As always, the burn was even, no relights were necessary, and the draw was beyond excellent. It amazes me how this line consistently gets it right even after experimenting with various blends year by year - a true testament to Crowned Head's expertise. There were only 1,000 boxes of each vitola made for the entire world, so make sure you stock up on this scarily impressive offering before they're gone. I am always on the look-out for this series, and I firmly believe every smoker should be as well. Picked on 07/12/2020
My Father The Judge Robusto TAA Exclusive 2020  51/4 * 52
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This My Father The Judge TAA cigar was recently released from the factory. The My Father line usually uses their original blends for their TAA cigars but change the sizes/shapes. This year The Judge TAA is a robusto size with a round body as opposed to their original box pressed shape. They blended the cigar with Nicaraguan fillers and binder with both corojo and criollo leaves being incorporated into the mix, along with an Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro wrapper. The cigar showcases the same gorgeous banding but added the TAA ribbon at the foot. I really like the original Judge line so was very excited to start the experience. Upon first light, earthy and pepper notes are upfront and then joined shortly by cedar notes and a nice sweetness. Into the second third, somewhat of a floral note appeared, along with the earth and pepper notes. Into the final third and continuing to the very end was that delicious sweetness coming back in to join the earth and pepper notes. This smoking experience kept me interested until the very end. I see a slight difference in taste from the original blend box pressed line to this round shaped TAA. It comes across a bit milder than the original--a good cigar for the novice smoker or beginner! Construction throughout was spot on--great draw, great burn! The price is also spot on for a luxury experience. I very muched enjoyed this TAA and I do believe you will as well. Only 1500 boxes of 23 sticks were produced so don't wait too long or you will definitely miss out. Enjoy Picked on 06/25/2020
Jose Alonso
TASTE:All
HOBBIES:Watching movies, listening to music, spending time with family, reading, writing, photography
STRENGTH:Any

FAVORITE BRANDS
Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real
Davidoff 702 Series
Liga Privada Unicos

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My Father No. 1 Robusto 51/4 * 52
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From its elaborate and tastefully ornate band to its rose-tinted Ecuadorian Colorado maduro wrapper, the My Father No. 1 robusto is one eye-catching stick, that definitely got my attention. Typically, I’m not a big fan of heavily decorated bands, but this one seemed to capture the essence of old-style cigar bands without being too flashy or overdone. As for the wrapper, it could not be any more perfect even though its veins were a little visible. The construction was firm with very little give. The aroma coming off the body and foot was all tobacco with some spice. The cold draw was effortless, and the flavor coming through it was spicy. Once lit, it delivered a rich tobacco flavor with more of the spice coming through. The retro-hale had a strong peppery feel. Its long spicy finish danced on my tongue for some time. From the first to the final third, the flavor profile stayed consistent. Overall, the draw was perfect, and the burn was sharp. Strength-wise, it was a medium to full-strength cigar that did not fight the warm tobacco flavor. I’d recommend the My Father No. 1 robusto to aficionados who like a well-made stick that has a consistent flavor. Picked on 06/23/2020
Marianela Mena
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Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 61/4 * 54
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Being the first Kristoff San Andres box press cigar I can surely say I’m impressed with the results. Hands down I like it better than the original round vitola. Yes, this is the same blend of the Kristoff San Andres  but in a different presentation. I can attest the cigar is delicious, tasty and smooth as velvet. Don’t get me wrong, the cigar is a solid medium to medium plus at some point when the pepper reach its higher point and the flavor gets full develop but still smooth and creamy. With a mix of light pepper, earthy notes and a sweetness that to be honest caught me by surprised.  I was waiting for the wrapper to be predominant here and to apport more pepper to the mix, while this might be disappointed for other cigar smokers waiting for that San Andres to show up in full mode I found it great, both, full body and mild to medium smokers can smoke this cigar and be pleasantly satisfied. Excellent draw performance, the ash is a little too flaky to my taste but it keeps an even beautiful burning line. I would say wood, earth and mild to medium pepper are the predominant notes of this stick. The creaminess goes all the way to the end and it makes the cigar so easy to smoke and so enjoyable that I am sure you are gonna smoke more than one. A Dominican rum is perfect to pair with this cigar but let me know your ideas of pairing, I am open to try them all! Picked on 06/14/2020
Joaquin Ortiz
TASTE:Natural
HOBBIES:Diving, tennis, the beach, boating, music & computers
STRENGTH:Medium-Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Acid Yellow
Partagas
Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real
Arturo Fuente Hemingway Natural
Alec Bradley Tempus
La Galera 1936 Box Pressed

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Aladino Cameroon Lonsdale 6 * 43
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Julio Eiroa the patriarch of the Eiroa family has been growing Corojo tobacco since the 1960s, and I had the opportunity to visit his factory in Honduras last January. Everybody knows that I'm a big fan of Aladino cigars especially the Connecticut and now the new Aladino Cameroon. This beautiful medium-bodied stick features a Cameroon wrapper that is grown in Honduras, which covers a Corojo filler and binder. The fairly light-brown wrapper has a gorgeous hue with very little veins, a nice oily gloss, and it is very smooth to the touch. The cold draw has a subtle cream soda sweetness with a hint of cinnamon. The aroma off the foot showcases some barnyard notes of cedar and when the cigar is cut and carefully toasted the initial notes are a creamy sweetness. In the first third of the Aladino Cameroon you can find notes of vanilla, caramel and cedar all merging together to provide a mouth-watering experience with a beautiful light gray ash. The retro hale had some peanuts and pepper. The second third revealed some maple sweetness with some earthiness in the background. Here the retro hale had some pepper but it was not overpowering. The Aladino Cameroon is a finger burner, which means I smoked it until there was virtually nothing left to hold. It remained sweet with some earthy components and a fairly lengthy finish. I loved it. Enjoy! Picked on 06/02/2020
Luz Normand
TASTE:Earthy, Pepper
HOBBIES:Cooking, Reading, Traveling
STRENGTH:Medium

FAVORITE BRANDS
Arturo Fuente
La Aurora Preferidos Cameroon Platinum
Tatuaje Black Label
Montecristo Espada
Crowned Heads Headley Grange

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CAO Session Garage 51/4 * 54
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Smoked the CAO Session Garage while listening to Rick Rodriguez, cigar blender for CAO, talking about how he calls meetings to smoke new blends and calls them "Sessions". So that is where the name comes from for this new CAO offering, the CAO Session Garage. Perfect visual of a few people smoking stogies in Rick's garage. The cigar itself is visually appealing with a bright orange and blue band and dark chocolate Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper. In these times where there is a shortage of Broadleaf, it is a great opportunity to pick up a CAO Session if your regular maduros are out of stock. I rarely smoke maduros. They take more time to get the burn going, and sometimes I find them too sweet. The CAO Session is well balanced in that regard. It is sweet, and you feel it as soon as you take the first puff, but not too sweet. It did take a bit to get going in terms of burn, but once it was lit it burned beautifully and evenly with a nice white ash. The construction of this cigar was 5 stars. This is definitely a medium to full bodied cigar, not for the mild cigar smoker and if you are looking for medium, be prepared for some extra nicotine. Overall, this cigar Session was very enjoyable with pleasant and complex flavors that were earthy, chocolaty, woody, and peppery. Get ready to sit, smoke, and chill with this one, it's a great pick! Picked on 06/01/2020
George P.
TASTE:All. Except soft
HOBBIES:Smoking good cigars, watching movies, Jazz music, spending time with family
STRENGTH:Medium , Medium to full, Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Oliva Serie V
La Flor Dominicana Limited Edition
Espinosa Habano
CAO Flathead
New World
Asylum 13 Ogre
La Galera Habano
CLE Prieto

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Nicaragua Magnum 6 * 60
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But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and the new Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Nicaragua is the sun. This great cigar is made by the formidable combination of tobacco gurus Rafael Nodal and AJ Fernandez. The first thing that caught my attention was its beautiful wrapper. Not even one puff in and expectations are already high! At first light, you are introduced to a nice woody flavor, with a smooth medium-body strength profile. A small hint of pepper is present also. Half way through the cigar, I notice the cedar and pepper mix is still there, but never did I become bored or hoping for a change, as the rich flavor was enough to make the cigar enjoyable for its entire duration. What I did notice was the strength picks up a little bit midway to classify it as a medium-full body smoke. Another worthy note is this cigar's delicious aroma, which had more than one passer-by ask what I was smoking. All in all, the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Nicaragua is a fantastic stick that all fans of either Rafael or AJ will definitely enjoy. Picked on 05/30/2020
Edwin A.
TASTE:Wood , Pepper, Coffee and Earthy
HOBBIES:Working Out, Traveling and Smoking Good Cigars
STRENGTH:Medium-full , Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Perdomo Reserve Champagne Connecticut
Liga Privada T52
Tatuaje Nicaragua
Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970
Sin Compromiso

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Padron 1964 Anniversary A Natural 81/4 * 50
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I believe most cigar smokers are familiar with Padron, and that makes sense since (in my opinion) they make some of the best! Because of this, I wanted to maximize the time I had with this delicious cigar, and chose the Padron 1964 "A" in a Natural leaf. I had already smoked plenty of 1964 Padron's before, but I wanted to see if there really was such thing as "too much of a good thing". The Padron "A" is an 8 and a half inch stick that comes from Nicaragua, and in the Natural wrapper provides a medium-bodied profile with woody notes of nuts and white pepper. I never had to relight, and the burn was perfect, just like I expect from the Padron brand, and the aroma was as intoxicating as always. The cigar lasted me 1 1/2 - 2 hours, which some may find a little underwhelming at first due to its size, but remember that this is a modest 50 ring gauge, so it won't necessarily be the slowest burner. Nontheless, the Padron "A" was a lengthy and luxurious smoke that I really enjoyed from the very first puff until the very last. So far, the expression I mentioned earlier continues to prove false; at least with this cigar, you can never have enough. Picked on 05/26/2020
RJ Clyne
TASTE:Creamy, chocolate, cinnamon
HOBBIES:Making money and writing poetry
STRENGTH:Mild to medium

FAVORITE BRANDS
Ashton Symmetry
Arturo Fuente Magnum R
The Oscar Maduro
H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez

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Deadwood Crazy Alice Robusto 41/2 * 52
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At a first glance I see exactly how this cigar got its name, Deadwood Crazy Alice. It has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper which is usually an indicator of a full-bodied cigar, but of course this petite corona is mild to medium. I did not notice the aroma, because of the overwhelming taste of honey from the few puffs. The blend is an array of sweetness mixed with subtle undertones of spice, a dash of pepper, and coffee beans. This smoke makes for a very unique Connecticut Broadleaf that comes equipped with a strong whiteish grey ash. It is easy to smoke and is not too heavy on nicotine. This corona, standing a little over 4inches, is the epitome of short and sweet. With an even burn all the way through towards the end, the acidity of the flavors increases, but does not overwhelm the pallet as the sweetness is consistent throughout. In the last third, the flavors neutralize, yet the honey spreads like a wildfire to finish the cigar. A very enjoyable smoke for an amateur, the wife as well as for a big cigar aficionado looking to break the monotony of the traditional every day blend. Picked on 03/02/2020
Curtis Yap
TASTE:Spice, Sweetness, Oak, Roasted nut, Coffee
HOBBIES:Smoking excellent cigars, Cooking, Going to new restaurants and bars, Playing badminton, Muay Thai, Always enjoy a good whiskey, scotch or tequila
STRENGTH:All

FAVORITE BRANDS
Arturo Fuente Fuente Opus X
Illusione "Original Documents"
Illusione Maduro
Davidoff Nicaragua
El Gueguense
Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour

Warzone Toro 6 * 52
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When I heard General Cigars and Espinosa were teaming up to create a cigar, utilizing their own unique styles, to say I was excited would be an understatement. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one. The cigar is constructed nicely, and I appreciate the thought process that went into designing the band, and the Warzone has a beautiful one. The cigar has a Cameroon wrapper, with a Honduran binder and a filler from Colombia and Nicaragua. The Warzone is a medium to full-bodied cigar with notes of white pepper, cedar and cocoa. On the cold draw you will pick up on the cocoa and cedar. As the cigar is toasted, you can smell the cedar. The first third lends itself to the cedar. As it transitions into the second third, the cocoa and white pepper become more prevalent especially on the retro hale. On the final third, the white pepper stands out a bit more but not to overwhelm your senses. The Warzone pairs well with a dark rum. It’s a good cigar to end your day. Picked on 01/03/2020
Adam
AGE:40
TASTE:All
HOBBIES:Music, Reading, Art, Nature, Craft Beer, Slacking
STRENGTH:All

FAVORITE BRANDS
Arturo Fuente
Liga Privada No. 9
Tatuaje Black Label
Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970

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Leaf by Oscar Maduro Lancero 6 * 38
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The Leaf line by Oscar has had me intrigued since it first arrived on the scene some time ago. They are rustic, the twisted tobacco leaf that each one is packaged in is far more interesting of a vessel than cellophane, and even the band itself is made from tobacco stems. I give them a lot of credit for their creativity alone. When I discovered that they added a lancero to the line, I jumped on it. This stick starts off with a nice peppery kick. On top of the pepper, I picked up flavors of earth, plum, cocoa, and molasses, though it is definitely not the sweetest maduro I have had as of late. The pepper seemed to fade and return on and off as I smoked, but the cigar remained fairly strong throughout. That said, I would recommend smoking this with some food in the belly. The draw was impressive...fairly easy for a lancero. Construction was well executed, though as noted previously, it has a rustic, old world feel to it including bumps, lumps and veins. It is not quite as “polished” as many other cigars out there. Some may disagree but I find that adds to the charm. Burn required minimal adjustments, smoke production was right about medium, and the ash was light grey. Espresso or perhaps an imperial stout would both be excellent pairing choices. I was fortunate enough to enjoy mine while sipping on 40 year old port, and had to pinch myself a few times to make sure I hadn’t passed and moved northward. Cheers and happy smoking! Picked on 12/28/2019
Michael Diaz-Silveira
AGE:25
TASTE:Wood, Leather, Nut, Maple
HOBBIES:Guitar, Investing, Travel
STRENGTH:Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Herrera Esteli Habano
Eiroa CBT Maduro
Liga Privada No. 9
Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Connecticut
CAO Amazon Basin


BONUS
Adrenaline Junkie!
Eiroa Dark Natural 5 * 50
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The Eiroa Dark Natural is one of the newer releases from Christian Eiroa. This cigar caught my attention 1st being an Eiroa, Eiroa makes some of the most exquisite cigars on the market today, and 2nd its presentation. The cigar has an elegant wrapper that was just screaming my name. I began by torching the foot of the cigar till it was completely charred black. At first puff I was taken to paradise. The cigar is creamy, it’s nutty, and has a small amount of spice. The cigars ash burned evenly and the draw was perfect. I would say to pair this cigar up with a woody whiskey, or a dark coffee. Another great addition to the Eiroa line be sure to pick one up and try it. Picked on 09/01/2019
michael Perez
TASTE:ALL
HOBBIES:Motocross, fishing , cooking, smoking a good cigar
STRENGTH:Mild to Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
CAO Flathead
Arturo Fuente Hemingway Natural
Padron 1964 Anniversary Natural
Rocky Patel Vintage 2006

La Galera Habano El Lector Toro 6 * 54
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The Galera Habano El Lector is a great cigar made by Jochy Blanco a 4th generation cigar maker. This Cigar has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and has a Corojo binder and Dominican Filler. This cigar has a beautiful golden wrapper with minimal veins. This is a great medium body cigar that is packed with so much flavor. Once I lit the cigar I got notes of wood with some sweetness in the back ground with a mild hint of cinnamon. The second third was very creamy with some sweetness and spice towards the end. The final third of this cigar gave me hints of wood and chocolate notes with a hint of black pepper. This is a great cigar to enjoy that is made by a cigar maker who has a passion for growing tobacco. I strongly recommend this cigar. Enjoy and keep smoking Picked on 04/11/2019
Leonardo Segura
TASTE:Cedar, Dark Chocolate, Coffee, Hydrating/Refreshing, Oaky, Earthy, Creamy
HOBBIES:Golf, Long walks on the beach, Smoking cigars, Traveling, Learning
STRENGTH:Mostly Full, Some Medium

FAVORITE BRANDS
Ambos Mundos Habano
Brick House
La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero
Casa Fernandez Aganorsa Leaf
San Lotano Habano
La Galera Habano

Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto 5 * 52
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If you’re looking for a cigar that you can enjoy without scrutiny, look no further than the Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli. This robusto is unapologetically consistent in flavor all throughout. While this lack of complexity might traditionally discourage a cigar connoisseur from picking this stick up, it is not a detrimental quality. This is a valuable characteristic for the smoker looking for a cigar that they can pay little mind to as they relax on a poolside. Furthermore, this stogie also has a peculiar feature in its smoke. The smoke one draws is heavy and lingers on one’s tongue until it is all expelled. This lets one enjoy the rich grassy and earthy flavors this cigar carries to its fullest extent. This is a stick to pick up on your way to an all-inclusive beach resort vacation, where you might want to smoke a cigar with simple good flavors rather than nuanced notes. The Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto: a cigar for someone with a drink in their hand, on a beach, without a care in the world. Picked on 04/04/2019
Emmanuel Bermudez
TASTE:Earth, cedar, woody, Spicy
HOBBIES:Photography, Music Production, Sampling Wine/Whiskey, Cooking, Art, Nature, Sunbathing, Reading, Meditation
STRENGTH:Mild To Medium

FAVORITE BRANDS
Ambos Mundos No. 1 Habano
Rocky Patel Olde World Corojo
Brick House
Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Connecticut
My Father

Ambos Mundos No. 1 Toro Habano 6 * 50
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After building my palate with milder, Connecticut-wrapped cigars, I wanted to expand and develop it further with the next natural step - a Habano wrapper. The Ambos Mundos No. 1 Toro Habano is from Nicaragua, and has a smooth Ecuadorian Habano wrapper along with Nicaraguan binder and filler. After lighting and getting a couple of puffs in, I immediately noticed the aroma... burnt cedar and cinnamon. This complimented the earthy, spicy notes found from the get-go extremely well. Midway through the cigar, the taste took a turn towards the cedar side, while still maintaining the earth and spice throughout, adding some nice complexity. I also have to mention that the draw was perfect, the burn was even from beginning to end, and no relights were needed. I highly recommend this cigar to both new smokers trying to broaden their horizons, and experienced smokers who enjoy a flavorful Habano wrapper. Picked on 11/28/2018