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.
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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La Palina Number 2 Robusto 5 * 52
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I am a traditionalist when it comes to most things. But, every now and then, I like to try something different. It's why I picked up a La Palina Number 2. The dark, maduro wrapper appealed to my traditional side, but when I learned that the wrapper was from Costa Rica, I knew I had to try it. For some time now, Costa Rican tobacco has been making a name for itself in the cigar community. Known for its rich volcanic soil and excellent climate, Costa Rica is an ideal location for growing cigar tobacco. And, since I have never smoked a cigar made of Costa Rican tobacco, the La Palina Number 2 was the ideal choice. Plus, the fact that it was handmade at the famed Plasenica Cigars factory sealed the deal. The cold draw gave me a hint of the spicy experience I was about to embark on. The draw was smooth and effortless from start to finish. For the most, the La Palina Number 2 had a nice even burn throughout, but it did experience a little tunneling halfway. However, I was able to fix it with a little touch up. A peppery flavor introduced itself during the first third. Somewhere into the second third a woodsy aroma started to become pronounced and it carried through into the third. Overall, I'd recommend the La Palina Number 2 to cigar aficionados who want a full strength cigar, and for those who want to try a Costa Rican maduro. Picked on 11/16/2018
Macanudo Inspirado Black Toro 51/2 * 54
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A new process for making this Connecticut broadleaf wrapper was used, allowing the leaf to "ripen on the stalk" as opposed to the original practice of stalk cutting. The wrapper is a beautiful extra dark color--and along with the black and silver packaging makes a sharp statement. The filler is Nicaraguan along with an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder. Upon first light, I was surprised to see the large smoke output! The primary notes upfront were of espresso, leather and earth with a peppery finish. An almost licorice flavor also appears. Into the second third, the licorice and leather notes dominated as the pepper notes diminished totally. Into the final third, the licorice note was still upfront and was also combined with a very nice sweetness and notes of espresso to carry you to the end. Excellent draw, solid ash, and even burn. Extremely good value cigar. There was not a lot of complexity but it had a nice consistent flavor profile which I enjoyed, A must try! Picked on 11/13/2018
Marianela Mena
TASTE:All
HOBBIES:Reading, running and smoking good cigars
STRENGTH:Medium-Full and Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Liga Privada T52
Eiroa by CLE
Tatuaje Miami Seleccion del Cazador
Aging Room Quattro F55
Ashton VSG
Joya de Nicaragua Antano Dark Corojo

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Nestor Miranda Collection 75th Anniversary Salomon 71/4 * 57
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A puro Nicaraguan created to commemorate Nestor Miranda 75th birthday. Miami Cigars hit the ball out of the park with this gorgeous cigar. It has the look, it has the flavor and it has the name. Everything about this cigar is said to be top of the line : The beautiful white and gold box wrapping the most gorgeous cigars I’ve ever seen. Featuring two cigar bands ,one is white with gold letters and the other one completely gold which highlight the dark corojo wrapper making a very nice contrast and giving the stick a luxurious look. This Salomon shape makes this cigar even more interesting. The dimensions 7 ¼ by 57 makes one look at it with respect, it’s not a small cigar and of course just looking at it one can imagine how flavorful and delicious its going to be. The first third brings notes of nuts, coffee surrounded by a touch of dates and some pepper. The pepper intensifies a bit after the first ½ inch without being overpowering, just completing the whole. Second third the cigar delivers a touch of floral sweetness combined with notes of cedar, wood and some salt lingering around; with the taste of red pepper still in the background. The last third of the cigar is all about nuts, cedar, and a dash of salt with some pepper. The construction is flawless, no touch up required and a perfect burning line ( I would like you guys to see the pictures I took), there’s nothing else to say. Its definitely a must try…for a special occasion or if you have a healthy budget as an everyday smoke...while you can get it, this cigar is worth every penny!! Picked on 10/28/2018
Joaquin Ortiz
TASTE:Natural
HOBBIES:Diving, tennis, the beach, boating, music & computers
STRENGTH:Medium-Full

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

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Caldwell Hit and Run Super Toro 6 * 54
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Caldwell Hit and Run Toro size create by Robert Caldwell and Matt Booth and manufactured by AJ Fernandez in Dominican Republic has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper combined with the Indonesian binder and Dominican filler. Is a nice medium-bodied blend with a nice brown wrapper with visible veins, invisible seams and a double cap. Went you smell the stick has a light aroma of sweet tobacco and tea note. From the beginning I taste a slight pepper with sweet tobacco and cedar note, but after the second have appears some caramel, roasted almonds, and pepper notes. At the end of a nice smoke I feel a few notes of chocolate but the woody flavor was strong. With a very good draw this cigar has a nice burn line with white and big ash but my favorite part was the cedar aroma throughout the burn. This cigar is perfect for a morning smoke with a cup of coffee. Enjoy Picked on 10/21/2018
JP Dubois
TASTE:Earth, Leather, Cedar, Nut
HOBBIES:Antique Cars and Motorcycles, Sports, Cooking
STRENGTH:Medium to Full with the occasional Mild

FAVORITE BRANDS
Montecristo Grupo de Maestros
Camacho Connecticut BXP
Alec Bradley Mundial
Padron 1926 Serie Natural
Davidoff Winston Churchill Series
Davidoff Escurio Series
Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Maduro

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Avo Improvisation 30 Years LE 71/2 * 50
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This time around I chose to review a Double Corona, the AVO 30 Years Improvisation. The AVO 30 Years uses a Dominican blend highlighted by a light Ecuadorian Marron wrapper. The cigar is dressed with a combination of two rings. The primary band uses a style similar to what has been seen on previous AVO releases while the second band is a ring that is being used across all of the releases that are a part of the AVO 30th series. The band has an antique white color with an orange pinstripe along the lower edge. Using a v-cutter, I started my pre-light draw ritual, and after a couple of pulls, I found that the cold draw delivered a mix of cedar, cream, and, to my surprise, some citrus notes. At this point, I was ready to light up and await what the enjoyment phase would have in store. The AVO 30 Years Improvisation opened up with notes of cream, cedar, classic, and some black pepper (which was not apparent during my cold draw). It didn’t take long for the citrus notes to move to the forefront as the cedar, cream and pepper notes lingered in the background. I do want to add that there was a nice sweetness to the citrus that was not overpowering. During the transition from the 1st third to the 2nd third, the cedar notes moved into the forefront as the citrus began to change and move to more of an orange rind flavor. By the end of the 2nd third, the orange rind, cedar notes were sharing the limelight, and were complemented by the pepper, and cream notes in the background. The flavor profile didn’t radically change in the last third. For the most part, the orange rind and cedar notes remained on the forefront. There was a slight increase in pepper during the latter part of this stage and this is how the AVO 30 Years Improvisation closed out. The draw leaned slightly towards the open side and the cigar maintained a straight burn path from start to finish with zero need for the occasional touch-up. Overall, I was really surprised by the AVO 30th Improvisation Limited Edition. It is a medium bodied cigar, that it is full flavored with some unique notes as well. It serves the legacy of AVO and it is a definitely must have for fans of the brand.1 Picked on 10/12/2018
George
TASTE:All. Except soft
HOBBIES:Smoking good cigars, watching movies, Jazz music, spending time with family
STRENGTH:Medium , Medium to full, Full

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

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Oscar Valladares Ciseron Blue 6 * 52
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When the world first met Oscar, it was via the Leaf by Oscar, a bonafide hit in and of itself. With the introduction of the Oscar Valladares Ciseron, Oscar has outdone himself big time. From the first puff, your palate is introduced to a nice, creamy taste that contains subtle notes of pepper and cocoa. As this medium-bodied cigar continues, the pepper subsides a bit and leads way to a delicious coffee flavor. By the end of the smoke, the creamy notes of coffee and cocoa had intertwined to become more of a silky mocha, and I was happy to report that construction was spot-on and no relights were needed. I gladly recommend the Oscar Valladares Ciseron to anyone looking for a solid, creamy, medium-bodied cigar, which also happens to have beautiful, limited-run artwork by Honduran artist Elmer Ciseron Bautista. Enjoy. Picked on 10/01/2018
Adam
AGE:39
TASTE:All
HOBBIES:Music, Reading, Art, Nature, Craft Beer, Slacking
STRENGTH:All

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

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Herrera Esteli TAA Toro Exclusive 6 * 52
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Herrera Esteli has a penchant for subtle, classic elegance. This stick shares the same philosophy yet ups the game a notch by adding some color to the main band, and a secondary band that makes it clear that you are smoking a TAA exclusive cigar. That, combined with the gorgeous mahogany colored Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper equals a phenomenal looking cigar. But does it taste as fantastic as it looks? Absolutely. Though I would not deem this stick incredibly complex, the flavor profile was right up my alley.... coffee, cherry, pepper, cinnamon, earth & leather. Yum. There was also an underlying sweetness throughout the whole smoke that can possibly be attributed to the Brazilian Mata Fina binder. The burn was decent, not perfect, but decent. It needed minimal correction. Smoke output was high, the ash pale and firm. The draw was near perfect. I found that somewhere into the second third of this smoke i noticed that it very creamy, almost buttery...perhaps it was that way from the start and I just failed to notice it right away... Try pairing with a decent Bourbon....the flavors compliment each other very nicely. Cheers! Picked on 09/30/2018
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

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La Palina Number 1 Toro 61/2 * 52
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The review that I am doing today is on the Palina # 1 which is a great cigar. It has a four country blend which includes an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, Costa Rican binder and Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobacco. Upon lighting the cigar I get notes of leather and sweetness upon retro hale. La Palina # 1 has a nice milk chocolate look to it with tight and visible seams to it with minimal veins. This combination of tobacco has notes of leather and hay with a peppery finish towards the end of it. This stick has a good razor burn with a long ash to it. This is a great stick for the price. It is packed with so much flavor to it. Overall this is a stick that I would recommend for your everyday smoke. You can’t go wrong with this stick, especially from a popular brand like the Palina. So pass by and pick up you’re stick today, I promise that you will enjoy it. Picked on 09/23/2018
Rene L
AGE:31
TASTE:Wood, Earth, Leather
HOBBIES:Guitar, Beer, Sarcasm
STRENGTH:Medium/Full

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

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Warped La Colmena Amado No. 44 51/2 * 44
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I'll admit -- I'm a sucker for cigars that look good. When a cigar has that outward appearance that lets you know it was meticulously rolled with utmost attention to detail and extra special care, it grabs my attention and I instantly want to see if the book lives up to the cover. There is something about the simple yet elegant presentation of Warped's La Colmena that made it irresistible to me, and I'm ecstatic to report that it tastes as good as it looks. Rolled exclusively by select Level 9 master rollers at Miami's famed El Titan de Bronze factory, La Colmena exudes craftsmanship found only in cigars made by the best of the best. Between the veinless silky-smooth Ecuadorian DeFlorada wrapper, the classy color scheme of the band against the hue of said wrapper, and the textbook-perfect pigtail cap, I truly almost felt bad setting it ablaze. That said, I also couldn't wait to indulge in what I was sure to be a real treat from the experts at Warped. Upon lighting the flawlessly closed foot, I was greeted with cedary notes of figs and honey, with velvety floral notes appearing as the ash made its way into the second third. By the end of the smoke, the honey notes were still present, along with a pleasant Irish cream flavor that concluded the session magnificently. All in all, the only knock I would have to say about La Colmena is that due to its thin, fragile wrapper, I needed to correct the burn line a couple of times, but that's the small price to pay for the use of such a rare and delicate leaf. Besides that, I found La Colmena to be a super solid, mild to medium-bodied delight, and I encourage anyone who appreciates what a little TLC can do to give this one a try. Picked on 09/06/2018
Michael Diaz-Silveira
AGE:23
TASTE:Wood, Leather, Nut, Maple
HOBBIES:Guitar, Football, Basketball, Volleyball
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!
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Crowned Heads Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018 71/2 * 38
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I’m a big fan of maduro and lancero cigars. But, it’s hard to find a cigar that employs these two elements in a satisfying manner. Well, guess what? Crowned Heads has expertly melded these two aspects into one cigar: the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018. Long and lean this lancero measures 7 1/2” in length, and it’s packed with flavor. How did they do it? As you know, the cigar’s wrapper is where most of the flavor is held. By using a small 38 ring gauge (that’s a little over a half-inch in diameter), the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero uses less filler, which allows the wrapper’s flavor to stand out. The Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018 burns splendidly, and tastes great. But don’t wait too long to get your hands on one. The Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018 will be around for a limited time (in case you’re wondering, the LE stands for Limited Edition). Crowned Heads made only 1,500 boxes. Each box contains 10 cigars. And once they’re gone, they’re gone! Picked on 09/03/2018
Luz Normand
TASTE:Earthy, Pepper
HOBBIES:Cooking, Reading, Traveling
STRENGTH:Medium

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

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Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro 6 * 52
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Ramon Allones is one of the oldest brands founded in 1837. I am delighted to see this version of the brand by AJ Fernandez see the light. This brand was one of his father's favorite cigar when they lived in Cuba. Since this cigar uses a Medio Tiempo wrapper, its production is limited to the availability of this rare leaf. When you first see this cigar, you'll notice immediately the dark chocolate brown wrapper and your first instinct will be to think that it must be strong. Scratch that. The dark hue in this cigar does not signal a full bodied smoke. To me, this is a medium bodied cigar that is sweet and nutty with some spice and strong leather in the palate. Allow this beautiful stogie to rest for 1-2 months in your humidor and enjoy the flavor bomb that is Ramon Allones. Picked on 08/12/2018