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.
Michael Diaz-Silveira
AGE:22
TASTE:Wood, Leather, Nut, Maple
HOBBIES:Guitar, Football, Basketball, Volleyball
STRENGTH:Full

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


BONUS
Adrenaline Junkie!
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Ashton VSG Robusto Especial TAA 51/2 * 50
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The Ashton VSG TAA Robusto Especial is an excellent cigar. At a glance it is quite dark, contrasting with a beautifully crafted band emphasizing the wrapper color. The construction is flawless and burn is even; ashing only when directed to. I even left the cigar for a little came back and it was still lit! The cigar boasts rich flavors of molasses, nuts and slight pepper. It was delicious from the very first puff to its very last as I was practically burning myself trying to savor every last puff. Picked on 06/25/2017
Herrera Esteli Miami 53/4 * 48
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I have always been a Herrera Esteli fan, but this Miami edition may be my most favorite. With an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Sumatra binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers what could be bad!! This mix makes for a very intriguing blend which left me definitely wanting more!! This Miami edition comes in just one size, which to me is perfect. The first third starts off with earthy, toasty notes. Cocoa and espresso notes pop in along with a little pepper. Into the second third, a nice creaminess appears along with nutty notes. It definitely picks up in strength. Into the final third, the nutiness increases as the creaminess disappears. The flavor is very rich. Sweet and spicy join together for a perfect ending. Construction was great from start to finish -- no relights, nice ash. This was a very enjoyable 1 1/2 hr smoke!! Picked on 06/24/2017
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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H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez Churchill 7 * 54
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There's no doubt AJ Fernandez is the hottest cigar blender right now. Every blend is different than the previous and each line has his own personalized flavor profile. This cigar is a complete change from the traditional H Upman cigar, the bright colors in the packaging have been designed to attract a younger audience and a more modern smoker. Flavor wise this cigar is a gem, coffee and cedar are the predominant notes with a subtle nuttiness in the retrohale and a hint of spice. Medium to full in strength and flawless construction, solid ash, easy draw. The price point of an everyday smoke with the quality of a high end cigar...what else can one ask? Picked on 06/18/2017
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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Padron 1926 Serie No. 90 Tubo Natural 51/2 * 52
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A 5-Star cigar in all categories, the Padron 1926 No. 90 Natural is the perfect cigar to cap off a very special celebration. In the case of the Padron family, this cigar marks the 90th birthday of their patriarch, Jose Orlando Padron. In my case, I lit up this tubed beauty for my daughter's graduation and was regaled with rich, earthy taste and complex flavors. Unlike other Padron 1926, this one is round, not box pressed (note to those who dislike the square shape, you can smoke this one!). I tasted cedar notes, some pepper, cocoa, and even caramel...every puff was more delicious than the one before. All the while the cigar drew perfectly and burned with a beautiful solid ash. I did put the cigar off before I smoked the final third, because I ran out of time...but I didn't want to! Picked on 06/10/2017
Tyler Bartley
AGE:29
TASTE:Everything
HOBBIES:Drawing, Traveling, Formula 1 racing, Baseball, History
STRENGTH:Medium to Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Matilde Renacer
Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Years
Tatuaje El Triunfador
Dunhill 1907
Don Pepin Garcia Blue Edition
Rocky Patel Vintage 1992

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Romeo y Julieta Vintage II 6 * 46
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The cool retro style cigar band on this smoke is what initially made me gravitate towards it. I was looking for something on the mild side so I decided on the vintage. The cigar itself has a very smooth Connecticut shade wrapper and gives off a light appearance. The initial first few minutes of this stick were to my surprise very mild with none of the instant pepper and spice you get with most other cigars. The first half is what I would consider very mild but still flavorful containing many distinct notes. Predominately I can taste traces of honey and cinnamon throughout with a bit of very faint white pepper as well as other mild seasonings. Towards the middle the cigar continues to stay mild and at no point is it really overpowering or harsh. Towards the last third the cigar does indeed pick up the spice a little but still retains its overall mild character. I would have to say that this is one of the more flavorful cigars out there that still retains its mild strength from beginning to end. Picked on 05/20/2017
Daniel Gutierrez
AGE:26
TASTE:Wood, Cream, Cedar
HOBBIES:Painting, Animation, Music
STRENGTH:Medium/Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Padron 1926 Serie Maduro
Partagas
Arturo Fuente Fuente Opus X

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La Aurora Preferidos Double Barrel Aged No. 2 Tubes 5 * 54
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The cigar is beautifully made with minimal veins, no blemishes, and with an oily touch. I love the unique perfecto style La Aurora make, it’s very simple and straight forward; Less is more they say. From the pre-light I get leather, wood (Oak-ish), currant, and rum in a way that’s like an after taste. The draw was great and the oak and leather were prominent on the palate. Going through the inch and a half, some sweetness does come in to play and it’s just amazing from there. I do get notes of dry fruit here-and-there which is quite nice. The ash does hold from only around two inches or so. The cigar remains consistent throughout flavor and note. You can pair this cigar with a light to medium scotch or brandy. I nearly burnt my finger nail trying to finish this cigar, I didn’t want it to stop! Definitely has a spot in my humidor for the next smoke, Enjoy! Picked on 04/02/2017
Adam
AGE:37
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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Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 Gran Perfecto 6 * 60
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Though this cigar has been on the market for quite a while now, it has not lost any of its appeal. It is a big, fat (perhaps not by today's standards, but still...) Nicaraguan Puro that is well packed and feels heavy in the hand. Its reddish brown chocolaty wrapper is beautiful and flawless. Be patient when you first light it as the draw will be tight until you work through the tapered foot. Once it opens up however, it will open with a bang. You will be hit with an intense and wonderful aroma followed by flavors of spice, cocoa, molasses, raisin, cedar, earth and licorice. The spice will get more intense as you work your way through the stick, but it at no point does it override the other flavors. The ash is sturdy and white. When you figure out just how good this cigar is in combination with its very reasonable price tag...you will understand why there are always at least a few of them in my humidor. Much like a 64.5 Mustang or a well worn pair of Levy's, this cigar is a classic. Picked on 04/02/2017
Rene L
AGE:30
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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Romeo 505 Nicaragua Robusto 51/2 * 50
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It has been a LONG time since I've smoked a Romeo y Julieta. If you've followed my reviews, you might be able to guess why I decided to light this one up - it's Nicaraguan! My favorite country of origin for tobacco is the highlight here, being that it is the very first RyJ to utilize it to the fullest extent; it features 100% Nicaraguan tobacco AND is rolled there as well. Naturally, I knew at the very least that I would probably LIKE the cigar, but I was surprised at how much I actually did. I happen to love box-pressed cigars, so that was already a point in its favor, but once it was lit and about an inch in, I already knew it would be my next Staff Pick. There was a momentary blast of spice in the very beginning, though that subsided fairly quickly and opened up into a very rich, leathery note that never let up. Earthy notes are also detectable, and hints of cinnamon showed face as well. No relights were needed, the burn was more than fair, and the cigar just looked and felt well constructed. I encourage you to try this one, especially if RyJ had perhaps gotten a bit lackluster as it had for me in recent times. Cheers! Picked on 02/23/2017
Andrew
AGE:25
TASTE:Leather, Wood, Espresso
HOBBIES:Golf, Hanging with my dog, Smoking cigars
STRENGTH:Medium/Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Tatuaje Black Label
Ashton
Illusione "Original Documents"
La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero

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Eiroa Toro 6 * 54
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If I were to blend my own cigar, it would definitely be on a corojo wrapper. I really enjoy the spicy kick you get out of the wrapper. When it comes to corojo wrappers, in my opinion, no one does it better than Eiroa. The Eiroa Toro is an Honduran puro that is rolled at their Aladino Factory. The Toro starts off with red pepper and woodsy notes. The draw was a bit firm at first but eventually opened up during the first third. As the cigar progresses, some notes of dark fruits appear that leave a sweet after taste. You can really appreciate all of the fruity and spicy notes on the retrohale. Towards the final third, the cigar has developed toward a full bodied smoke. The Eiroa Toro is a consistent cigar offering great flavors and a generous smoke output. I usually prefer my corojo wrappers no bigger than a 50 ring gauge so I can taste the wrapper a bit more. However, this cigar was still excellent despite being a tad bit thicker than my preference. If you enjoy your cigars on the stronger side, I suggest you give one of these a try. Picked on 02/10/2017