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.
Joe P.
TASTE:Nutty, creamy, woody, leathery
HOBBIES:Rap, making music, basketball, comedy
STRENGTH:Medium to full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Arturo Fuente Hemingway Natural
Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro
Liga Privada Unicos
Davidoff Nicaragua

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Saga Short Tales TOMO IV 4 * 44
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Man, do I have a great one for all you "small commitment" smokers! I give you the Saga Short Tales TOMO IV. I really found this size to be quite perfect for convenience purposes, and it may even seem a bit familiar to you, being a similar vitola to another small Dominican cigar with "Short" in its name... I myself am not the type to usually commit to longer smokes so this one quickly found a home in my humidor. After smoking this shorty for the first time, I experienced a lot of interesting notes throughout. Beginning with subtle floral & cedar notes, it balanced out with some dried fruit notes and a touch of spice, leaving a pleasant overall taste. Upon entering the second half of this smoke, the complexity deepened. From that florally fruit profile we transition into a more tobacco-forward profile with some notes of cocoa as well. It carried these flavors throughout the rest of the cigar for the most part and overall had a great draw and construction the entire time as well. Overall, the Saga Short Tales TOMO IV is definitely one for the "books" if you ask me! It's a winner from start to finish. Picked on 02/20/2024
Sam
TASTE:Natural tobacco / anything new
HOBBIES:Video games, dogs, documentaries, smoking new cigars
STRENGTH:Medium to full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Oliva Serie V Melanio
ADVentura the Navigator
Crowned Heads Mil Dias

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Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sun Grown Torpedo 61/2 * 54
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Perdomo's 20th Anniversary Sungrown Torpedo is, well, I guess its all there in the name. If you look at the effort that went into this cigar and the price tag on it we really find why Perdomo is a name most of know. The tobaccos selected for this cigar are 8 years aged, high priming, and topped with a bourbon barrel-aged wrapper. This cigar really nailed the sungrown experience of cedary, spicy, with a sweet finish. The extra kick on the front end of this cigar is a great way to get your mouth glowing but as the palate adjusts to the experience it tames out nicely into a medium to full strength stick. The sweet finish blends into earthier notes at end of this cigar and the spice softens keeping this stogie flavorful but balanced throughout. Burn time at 50 minutes, no construction issues, friendly price, bold but not unhinged. I would recommend this cigar to any sungrown fans and Perdomo as a whole to those who don't know it. Great cigars, great prices, and an easy to navigate product line. Cheers! Picked on 02/20/2024
Rene L.
AGE:37
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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Crowned Heads Tennessee Waltz 51/2 * 52
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As a self-proclaimed lover of broadleaf wrappers, there are certain brands that I simply KNOW will deliver in this field, and Crowned Heads is at the top of that list. With many delicious broadleaf offerings over the years, I was excited to try the Tennessee Waltz due to its limited and exclusive nature. In case you don't know, the Tennessee Waltz is normally available only in the state of Tennessee, with select retailers having the option to sell limited stock if they are lucky. Neptune happens to be one of the lucky ones! Adorned with only a bright orange footer band, this dark stick begins exactly as you may think, spicy and bold. Not long after, I started to detect notes of creamy citrus, which was a welcome surprise and a perfect compliment to the rich nature of the broadleaf. Nicaraguan binder and filler ensured a tasty profile that had notes of pepper and leather, with the leather really picking up towards the end of the experience. All in all, if you want a damn good broadleaf smoke, and don't feel like taking a trip to Tennessee, place an order for the Crowned Heads Tennessee Waltz ASAP, because this is one blend that is not available all too often, and it's certainly worthy of your humidor. Pair with a good bourbon and enjoy! Picked on 02/18/2024
Gabriel Novas
TASTE:All
HOBBIES:Playing guitar, watching movies, reading
STRENGTH:Medium to Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos
Crowned Heads Le Careme
Liga Privada H99
Foundation Olmec Claro

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Villiger Cuellar Connecticut Kreme Torpedo 61/4 * 52
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For my review this week, I selected the Villiger Cuellar Connecticut Kreme Torpedo. Appearance wise, this cigar is gorgeous. The elegant white band draped over the silky smooth Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper make for a very inviting presentation. Upon lighting you're greeted with a wave of nutty, creamy aromas. The torpedo has an excellent draw and prduces lots of smoke. Tasting notes of cashews and hay envelope the pallet in the first third. I detected a subtle aroma of spicy cedar in the retro-hale, which I thought complemented the cigar quite well. Moving on to the second third, the spice is fades while that nutty sweetness lingers. At this point in my session the burn needed correcting a few times. No drastic corrections were required however, owing to its good construction. Warm flavors of baked bread and honey are present, and its spice still tickles the nose. The Kreme started strong and ended strong with the same sweet and nutty flavors. A smooth finish of café con leche lingers on the pallet after finishing. This light, creamy Dominican selectionn makes for a great morning cigar to pair with a coffee and a crossword puzzle to start your day right. Picked on 02/18/2024
William
TASTE:Nutty, woody, pepper, cream
HOBBIES:Video games, watching football and MMA, movies
STRENGTH:Medium-Full
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CAO Gold Label Torpedo 61/4 * 52
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As I pick up the CAO Gold torpedo I feel lots of black pepper and dark-roast coffee notes. Mellow spices and hints of dark chocolate and leather enter. Notes of cedar and butterscotch characterize the retro-hale. After about an inch, the flavors become somewhat salty and citrusy, but still mild to the touch. The second half is nicely balanced. The retro-hale is spicy while an overall creaminess unfolds. The long, lingering finish is a perfect balance of citrus and leather with notes of charred oak but the creaminess from the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper keeps it really intriguing.And also this cigar would be a perfect pair with a cup of whiskey Picked on 02/15/2024
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
Liga Privada Unicos
Davidoff 702 Series

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Perdomo Lot 23 Belicoso 5 * 54
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The Perdomo Lot 23 Belicoso was one torpedo that hit all its targets. Its smooth, reddish Nicaraguan Habano wrapper ended with an expertly tapered tip. The construction had a nice firmness. At first light, I got a blast of spice that quickly shifted to deep earthy notes with hits of spice and coffee. As this Nicaraguan puro burned, the profile shifted to a mellow creaminess but with subtle spikes of spice. Into the second half, the creaminess and spiciness stayed the course. The finish was woody and nutty. The cigar did have a slight burn issue, but a quick touch-up fixed it. Overall, this medium-bodied cigar strikes an excellent balance between flavor, intensity, and smoothness. This belicoso is an affordable smoke that looks as good as it tastes. Pair it with a coffee and milk, extra sweet. Picked on 02/12/2024
JOSE PAZ
TASTE:Cedar and earth
HOBBIES:Traveling, family time, dancing, and movies
STRENGTH:Medium

FAVORITE BRANDS
Montecristo
Romeo y Julieta 1875
H. Upmann 1844 Reserve

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El Rey del Mundo Natural Rectangulares 55/8 * 46
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A cigar that is easy to smoke, not complicated, but complex, great aroma, Perfect burn from beginning to end. Medium to full flavor. With a pleasant note of espresso and a touch of pepper that does not unbalance the pleasure of this economical cigar. Without a doubt, it is a cigar that pleases both novices and experts. A fully satisfying experience. Picked on 02/09/2024
Luis Novas
TASTE:Habano, Broadleaf, Mexican San Andres
HOBBIES:Cooking, writing, reading, cigars, cycling
STRENGTH:Medium to Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Tatuaje Miami Seleccion del Cazador
Crowned Heads Four Kicks Maduro
Sin Compromiso

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Senseis Sensational Sarsaparilla Belicoso 51/2 * 52
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This week I picked up Espinosa’s Sarsaparilla in a belicoso format. I’ve been gravitating more towards belicosos, perfectos and torpedos lately, and I’ve really been enjoying the experience. This cigar was well built, packed with tobacco all the way through. Additionally, it didn’t have any large seams or pronounced veins. Upon light up, however, the draw was a hair too tight. Definitely nowhere near being unsmokable, though. The first notes are bold and pleasant ones of earth, chocolate, and pepper. These notes continue throughout the first third of the cigar, at which point the smoke gains a better consistency. I found this cigar to be an enjoyable medium-full body, and as described on the box art I really do think root beer would pair well with it. It has slightly sweet, spiced notes that are reminiscent of root beer. Picked on 02/06/2024
Luz Holguin
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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Matilde Quadrata Robusto 51/4 * 50
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This box-pressed beauty uses an Ecuadorian habano wrapper encasing Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. I chose the robusto size because I needed something that would take 30-45 minutes, and cut it with a V-cut. Immediately noticed how good this cigar looks, very good construction, and the orange band looks so nice on the oily dark brown wrapper with minimal veins. Excellent draw. Before you light this cigar, you can already enjoy the earthy aromas and dark chocolate notes. First third offers more chocolate, cinnamon, and pepper flavors, with a medium body. Citrus flavors (possibly foreshadowed by the orange band) also make their appearance as you continue to smoke. The stick is complex and by the final third you've experienced cedar and nutty hints as well, even licorice. I would say the strength is medium to full. Coffee is a great pairing for this stick, in my case I had strong espresso with a bit of milk. Perfection. Picked on 01/23/2024
George Perez
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

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Chateau Real Shade Gran Templar Toro 6 * 50
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Upon lightup, Drew Estate's new Chateau Real proved to be a great choice in the mild-to-medium category. The smoke had a great consistency to it and the cigar had an even burn throughout, but that's not to mention the flavor. Upon lightup it was slightly spicy, but before long that smoothed out into an incredible experience of nuts, wood and cream. This cigar might be on the lighter side of what I usually like to smoke, but that doesn't mean there's not an occasion for everything! The second third continued the smoke's creamy consistency, while also adding notes of wood and subtle sweetness. All in all, it is a great smoke to pair with something like a coffee or beer. The natural sweetness and creaminess would go great with coffee, and it won't overpower the taste of whatever beer you're drinking either. Picked on 01/11/2024
Martin Ruiz
AGE:30
TASTE:All
HOBBIES:Sports, video games, food, good beer
STRENGTH:All

FAVORITE BRANDS
Liga Privada No. 9
Padron 1926 Serie Natural
Arturo Fuente Fuente Opus X
Flor de las Antillas

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La Palina Classic Natural Toro 6 * 54
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The Palina Classic Toro sports a beautiful Honduran wrapper and binder with a combination of Dominican, Honduran, and Nicaraguan Fillers. From the very beginning, this cigar fascinated me with how creamy it was. Notes of Caramel, nuts, and lovely chocolate were present from the start. The creaminess of the cigar was so smooth that I could not find myself wanting to put the cigar down. The notes stayed consistent with minimal changes throughout my smoking session. I did not have to relight the cigar, with only minor problems with the draw but nothing out of the ordinary. This cigar has made me want to try more La Palina Cigars, and if they are anything like this one, I cannot wait. This cigar is more of a mild to medium cigar, great in the morning with a cup of coffee. Picked on 01/11/2024
Eliu Arroyo
TASTE:All
HOBBIES:MMA, Listening to music, Photography, Videography
STRENGTH:Medium to Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Padron 1926 Serie Maduro
Leaf by Oscar
The Tabernacle

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Macanudo Inspirado Red Robusto 5 * 50
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Tasting Notes: Bold cigar with leathery and cedar notes Appearance: The look of the cigar is a dark brown with a slight oily finish First Third: Straight from the light I get hints of ceder and earthy tobacco. The draw is excellent but not a thick flow of smoke. The cigar hits the medium mark I’d say. Second third: About 20 minutes in I’m getting the same cedar and leather notes with a slight hint of pepper. Burn is still perfect and has not had to be re-lit once yet. Last Third: Going into the last third of the cigar. The smoke production has gone from light smoke to heavy smoke. It’s kept its consistency through the smoke not a super complex cigar. It has kept the same tasting notes the entire time. Overall a great smoke I would recommend to anyone that wants a consistent and good smoke. Picked on 01/10/2024
Aramis C.
TASTE:Earthy, cedar, cocoa
HOBBIES:Family time, grilling, combat sports
STRENGTH:Medium to full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Oscar 2012 Sumatra
Arturo Fuente
Aladino Classic
Tatuaje Havana VI

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Camacho Triple Maduro Gordo 6 * 60
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If you like your cigars BOLD, then you may want to pay attention. The Camacho Triple Maduro is a dark, rich and full flavored cigar. Camacho managed to blend up a San Andres wrapper, a Corojo maduro binder, and finished it off with Honduran, Dominican and Brazilian fillers -- in simple terms: Full. Blown. Flavor. During the first third I noticed very pronounced woody flavors with subtle chocolate notes but very smooth. The second third was just as smooth as the first with the notes of chocolate being a little more present and pronounced and that beautiful Camacho spice picking up. The final third was nothing short of amazing, for such a strong full bodied smoke, the flavor profiles stayed present all the way through, it did not get boring and the thick clouds of smoke leave a nice creamy aftertaste to balance out the spice. I also picked up notes of leather showing up at different points throughout the experience, and since this stick is made by Davidoff, you already know the construction was perfect with a great draw. I highly recommend this cigar to anyone looking for a strong yet super smooth cigar with just as much flavor and complexity to match it. Pair with a Guinness to really send this bad boy to the moon. Picked on 11/20/2023
Robert Vallee
TASTE:Coffee, dark chocolate, earth
HOBBIES:Smoking, making music, playing cards
STRENGTH:Medium to Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Padron 1926 Serie Maduro
The Tabernacle
Punch Diablo

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Casa Magna Colorado Gran Toro 6 * 58
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Created by legendary cigar blenders Manuel Quesada and Nestor Plasencia, this Nicaraguan puro sports a reddish Colorado maduro wrapper that has a nice oily finish to it. Medium to full body but very smooth to smoke and easy to retrohale with flavors of cedar, coffee, cream and black pepper. Burns incredibly stable requiring no touch ups and has a nice sturdy light gray ash. If you are looking for the perfect concoction of complex rich flavors, a Nicaraguan puro that won’t have you reaching for a glass of milk, this is a silky smooth full flavored smoke with perfect construction that would make a worthy addition to your humidor. Picked on 11/10/2023
Moe Afyouni
AGE:30
TASTE:Creamy, fruity, sweet, vanilla, coffee
HOBBIES:Football, basketball, golfing, traveling
STRENGTH:Medium-Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Padron 1964 Anniversary Natural
San Cristobal
H. Upmann 1844 Reserve

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Sixty by Rocky Patel Sixty 6 * 60
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This time I went for something I don’t usually smoke, this cigar was rated one of the top 5 cigars of 2022 which peaked my interest. Rocky Patel loves to celebrate any big milestone and for his 60th birthday he unveiled this cigar. It is a boxed pressed cigar and the first note that immediately hit me once I lit this bad boy up was chocolate. The chocolate comes in from start to finish and has undertones of coffee, Earthy, nut and a very slight spice. I am not usually a fan of spice in cigars but I have to say this was one of my favorite new smokes and I have already stashed some in my humidor. I smoked this cigar with an espresso iced coffee and I haven’t enjoyed a cigar this much in a while. Picked on 11/03/2023
Kimball Jones
TASTE:Pepper
HOBBIES:Bass guitar, building computers, reading, concerts and cooking
STRENGTH:Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
CAO Brazilia
Plasencia Alma Fuerte
EP Carrillo Pledge
Aganorsa Leaf Aniversario Corojo

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Enclave Figurado 61/2 * 52
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AJ's Enclave is Ecuadorian wrapper with a Cameroon binder and Nicaraguan/Piloto Cubano filler. AJ never lets me down and this cigar is no acceptation. The Figurado is the perfect size for me a good hour and a half smoke. First half had just enough pepper to keep it interesting and smooths out into the rest of the cigar with hints of cedar and Cocoa. On the retrohale picking up fruit and more cocoa. I am falling in love with the Cameroon all over again as something that can be a definite recommendation in any humidor. Picked on 09/05/2023
Adam Stewart
AGE:44
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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CAO Cameroon Perfecto 4 * 48
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This little perfecto surprised me. I was not expecting it to be bad by any means, but, being an inexpensive small cigar, I assumed it would be mediocre at best...something to smoke on while taking the dog around the block, etc. In actuality, it was excellent. While not being incredibly complex, it is well constructed and pumped out a decent amount of smoke. it also burned impeccably, and did not require any touch ups or relights, despite the foot starting out nearly as thin as a pencil. The flavor profile was somewhat typical for a Cameroon cigar....sweet, nutty, earthy, with subtle hints of cocoa / coffee. For just over $5.00, it is hard to say no to this little guy. AF Short Story fans seriously need to take note.... if your Short Stories are not available, or if you just feel like saving a couple of bucks.... this stick is for you. Try pairing with a Café con leche morning, noon or night and you will not be dissapointed. Cheers. Picked on 05/02/2023