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.
Edwin Alfaro
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

RoMa Craft Baka Bantu 4 * 52
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The Roma Craft Baka Bantu is a limited cigar, as they only make 1,000 boxes a year. Roma Craft never disappoints with their cigars and how they have changed the way we look at Cameroon tobacco. The wrapper is a Cameroon, binder and filler are undisclosed. The pre-light/cold draw is a sweet taste with some hints of pepper and a woody taste. The Baka starts with a nutty taste and still some hints of pepper and very earthy flavor. Due to the small format the second part of the cigar changes somewhat dramatically with an increase in strength but not for long. It goes back to a medium profile , keeping the earthy notes on the retro-hale. The final third of the cigar keeps the woody and earthy notes with an amazing burning line. Picked on 11/14/2019
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

FOLLOW
Mombacho Cosecha 2014 Toro 6 * 52
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The Mombacho Cosecha 2014 Toro is a medium bodied cigar that has been aged in a specially designed room since 2016. It is a Nicaraguan puro from wrapper to filler that is handmade in Nicaragua. The Mombacho Cosecha 2014 has a medium brown color with a subtle rosado tint to it. There was a light coating of oil on the surface of the wrapper, which had some thin visible veins and thin visible wrapper seams. Went I lit the Mombacho Cosecha 2014, it started out with a mix of sweet cedar, natural tobacco, earth, and a combination of white and red pepper. Early on the cedar and natural tobacco notes moved into the forefront. There was an orange-rind component that also was joined at-the-hip to the cedar notes. For the most part, I found the natural tobacco to be more prominent on the draw, and the cedar more prominent on the finish/after-draw. Meanwhile, the retro-hale delivered additional notes of red pepper and cedar. Later in the first third, some of the earth notes developed into more of a classic coffee bean flavor. This flavor moved up into the forefront and alternated in intensity with the natural tobacco. The cedar/orange rind note also remained grounded in the forefront. Meanwhile, there were still hints of pepper in the background. The last third saw the coffee bean notes increase in prominence, again rejoining the natural tobacco in the forefront. The draw was perfect, and the ash was also on the firm side and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. If you are looking for a cigar that emphasizes flavor over strength, this is going to be the cigar for you. Picked on 11/13/2019
Southern Draw Kudzu LUSTRUM Medio Tiempo Belicoso Fino 51/2 * 52
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I chose this Kudzu Lustrum to review as I was a huge fan of the original Kudzu. This cigar is a box pressed Belicoso fino with a gorgeous oily habano wrapper. This Nicaraguan puro is a limited production. It is made using the highest priming leaves on the plant-- uses vintage tobacco which has been aged five years, thus celebrating Southern Draw's 5 year anniversary. Only 2500 bundles of 10 cigars have been produced. Upon first light, black pepper jumps into action along with earthiness. Into the second third, the pepper and earthiness are still around along with a delicious sweetness which makes a perfect combo. Construction thus far is spot on -- great draw and burn. A medium plus in strength at this point. Into the final third, pepper calms down a bit and woody notes are upfront. There is a nice complexity of chocolate, cocoa, woody, creaminess and pepper throughout. You will definitely feel the nicotine strength in this cigar! This has been a very decadent, rich smoking experience -- a must try! Picked on 11/08/2019
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

FOLLOW
Trinidad Espiritu Toro 6 * 54
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The Trinidad Espiritu Toro is a Nicaraguan cigar made by AJ Fernandez. Its wrapper, binder and filler are all Nicaraguan. The first thing that caught my eye on this cigar was the colorful band. Then I noticed the color of the cigar itself, a very nice brown color. I was intrigued that much more. At first light, the taste was great. Little hints of cream and small hints of pepper introduced themselves. It has a great aroma and flavor. The burn was good also. At the half way point, the pepper hints diminishes. But then I am introduced to some earthy notes. The creamy flavor is still present. That combination is making the cigar that much better. Towards the end of the cigar, all of that flavor is still present. It is hard to find cigars nowadays that are this consistent. Anyone looking for a great medium body cigar made by AJ Fernandez, I would definitely recommend the Trinidad Espiritu Toro. Picked on 11/05/2019
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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Fratello Navetta 60 Enterprise 6 * 60
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When a NASA employee, who is drawing a six-figure salary, walks away from his job to pursue his one true passion, I take notice. Especially, when that passion is cigars. Luckily for me, Omar de Frias, cigar crafter and founder of Fratello Cigars did just that! For my staff pick, I chose the Fratello Navetta Enterprise. It’s hefty 6” x 60 ring size instantly told me that I was going to be in for a bumpy ride. I fastened my seatbelt and hit the ignition switch on my lighter. The Navetta Enterprise has a nice solid construction. Its dark Ecuadorian wrapper was a little bit veiny, but it did not affect the smoke. A pre-lit sniff revealed a strong natural tobacco scent. Once lit, the Enterprise boldly transported me to a wonderful world of flavor and aroma. Throughout the first third, I mostly tasted the tobacco, but a little bit of sweetness and cedar started to introduce itself in the second third. In the final third, the tobacco flavor stayed right on course without wavering while subtle notes of cocoa and nuts introduced itself. The burn was razor sharp and the ash was mostly white. Having a Nicaraguan filler added to the Enterprise’s strength and gave it a spicy edge. Strength wise, the Navetta Enterprise had all its thrusters on. It was a good thing I had had a hearty dinner before burning this big stick. However, the strength did not overpower the flavor making it a well-balanced stick. I would recommend the Fratello Navetta Enterprise to a veteran cigar smoker because of its strength and flavor. Picked on 11/04/2019
Marianela Mena
TASTE:All
HOBBIES:Reading, running and smoking good cigars
STRENGTH:Medium-Full and Full

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

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AVO Unexpected Tradition 6 * 50
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I think the Unexpected series is one of AVO’s best releases ever. l confess I love them all, they are good looking, well balanced… and even though it’s almost a whole new terrain for this brand, which started with the Avo Nicaragua and then Avo Ritmo, one has to admit it has reached a new level of expertise with the Unexpected Series. The Tradition is my favorite blend. It appeals to my sight, my sense of smell and my palate, it has everything I like and look for in a cigar: flavor, strength and complexity. With a mix of pepper and wood the cigar starts very promising. Some vanilla and fruity notes appear to make the smoke a lot more interesting by leveling and adding different nuances to the mix. I can taste sweet and some subtle saltiness that balances and add to this wonderful array of flavors. The cigar is delicious from the beginning to the very end. Satisfying in all of the crucial points: appearance, flavor, complexity and construction, maybe a little high when it comes to the price but, if you overlook that detail it’s very close to perfection. If you are up to experiment with new flavors or you are not into alcohol I suggest to try this cigar with Ginger Tea. It will take you to heaven! Picked on 11/04/2019
Rene L.
AGE:32
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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Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu No. 5 4 * 40
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Cigar smokers in a hurry sometimes find themselves with a dilemma at hand -- try and race through a favorite stick at the expense of rushing the meant-to-be relaxing indulgence, chucking the literal piece of art halfway through, or alternatively, selecting from the stressfully small catalog of tasty, high quality cigars that won't consume more than a half hour of your precious time. Throughout the years, I've found myself constantly coming back to my favorite little smoke when I don't have too many minutes to burn: meet the Tatuaje Verocu No. 5. This petite cigar is made in Nicaragua by boutique giant Tatuaje, and is unbelievably delicious. Boasting a dark brown Ecuadorian Habano wrapper on top of premium Nicaraguan binder and filler, this medium-bodied long-filler beauty is made with the exact same benchmarks as its bigger brothers, and you will be hard-pressed to find another cigar that packs as much remarkable flavor into such a small package... particularly with the same expert construction and impeccable burn that normally is reserved for more, ahem, endowed examples. Rich notes of cocoa, coffee, leather, and just a splash of spice round out the experience, which is a delightfully convenient 25-30 minutes. If you don't believe the Tatuaje Verocu No.5 can be every bit as satisfying as a full-size stogie, I have 7 words for you: Don't knock it 'til you try it. You can thank me later! Picked on 10/26/2019
Elvis Batista
TASTE:Anything but BITTER CONNECTICUT
HOBBIES:Cooking, Swimming, Cycling, Racing Sports & Cigars
STRENGTH:Depends on the day, but usually from Medium to Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Liga Privada T52
Aging Room Quattro F55
Arturo Fuente Hemingway Natural
Camacho Nicaraguan Barrel Aged

FOLLOW
La Galera Connecticut Chaveta Robusto 51/8 * 50
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This is probably the cigar I hate to love, just because I am not a Connecticut Wrapper smoker and this cigar proves me wrong every time. La Galera cigars are known to be flavor bombs. Famous cigar maker Jochy Blanco does not have many top 10 Cigar Aficionados cigars under his belt just out of luck, he makes amazing blends and in this particular cigar, he just went mad scientist for the blend. The La Galera Connecticut Chaveta Robusto has a light golden brown on its Ecuador Connecticut Wrapper and gives floral and nutty notes on the first draw. Salivation will be the key to the success of this cigar with non-Connecticut smokers, and this is achieved by the Piloto Cubano on this cigar, it is a tobacco leaf that makes you over salivate, but in this blend with a Connecticut wrapper that naturally gives you a dry palate, each tobacco balance each other out making the palate have a full perception of all the carefully tobaccos picked for this cigar. The second third, brings a bit more power from the strength of Piloto Cubano raising the strength of this Connecticut cigar to a much more enjoyable mild to medium, molasses sweetness and white cedar notes are very present throughout the entire cigar but really have their main performance as you burn in to the third of this cigar. Deciding when to put this stick down is easy as you will burn your fingers before putting it down. Tabacalera Palma is one of my favorite Dominican cigar manufacturers because I can always count on a well-constructed cigar and just perfect draw, and this La Galera Connecticut Chaveta Robusto was not the exemption. Picked on 10/21/2019
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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San Lotano Dominicano Robusto 5 * 50
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San Lotano is AJ Fernandez' brand made in Nicaragua, but for this line, he has blended the stick with Jochy Blanco of Tabacalera La Palma in Dominican Republic. This is the reason why the secondary band on this beautiful cigar says AJ & Jochy. The wrapper is Brazilian, binder from Dominican Republic and filler from Dominican Republic & Nicaragua. If AJ and Jochy were looking to deliver a cigar that would remind them of the aroma of cacao fields in the tropical countryside, they succeeded. This smoke is both earthy and sweet and chocolaty, with just a bit of spice but definitely not too much, and medium body and strength. Picked on 10/15/2019
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
Illusione "Original Documents"
Illusione Maduro
Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour
Davidoff Nicaragua
Arturo Fuente Fuente Opus X
El Gueguense

Aging Room Bin No. 2 C Major 53/4 * 54
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Let me start out by saying "WOW!!!" The Aging Room Bin No. 2 C Major is a must for anyone who is a fan of Nicaraguan cigars. This 100% puro is wrapped in a Nicaraguan leaf, binder is from Ometepe as well as some of the filler. To round out the blend, tobaccos from Esteli and Jalapa were also used. As you smoke the cigar you will pick up notes of earth, leather, some sweetness, and little spice. Overall its a wonderful smoke, has a good draw and burns nice and slow. As I mentioned before if your a fan of Nicaraguan cigars or just a full body smoker this cigar should be in your rotation. Picked on 10/03/2019
Michael Diaz-Silveira
AGE:24
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
Adam
AGE:40
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

FOLLOW
Plasencia Alma Fuerte Sixto II Hexagon 6 * 60
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"The hexagon is nature’s most perfect shape...think of the honeycomb." - Nestor Andrés Plasencia Before I say anything else about this stick, I've got to start with its truly dynamic appearance. Elegant dark tobacco, glistening with oil, adorned with black and gold labels, pressed into a hexagon shape. Aesthetically speaking, this is one of the most beautiful cigars that I've ever had the privilege of laying my eyes upon. The Alma Fuerte is a Nicaraguan puro, composed of tobaccos from four different regions... Jalapa, Condega, Estelí, and Ometepe, the wrapper being grown in the shade in Jalapa. Even pre-light one can smell the richness just oozing off of this stick. Yes, my expectations are high. Upon lighting, flavors of earth, pepper, licorice, espresso & dark berries immediately greet me. The draw is easy and pleasant. The strength...and intensity of the flavors... begin to dramatically increase as I work my way through the stick. On an interesting note, a subtle herbal, almost Creme de Menthe like flavor joined the party somewhere in between second third / halfway point. As for the burn, while not terrible, it was not perfect either. A few touch ups were required...but I was blazing it outside during a moderately windy day, so that may have been a contributing factor. All in all though, I found it to be a very satisfying smoke, and plan to sample the others sizes of this blend in the not so distant future. I have also read that six months to a year or so in the humidor does wonders for this blend...I'll be throwing a few in there shortly to revisit down the road. As for pairing...go bold...select a good Rye, or, if you really want to make your taste buds dance...mix up a Carthusian Sazerac to sip on while you burn. Cheers! Picked on 05/26/2019
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