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.
La Aurora Reserva Especial 2008 61/4 * 52
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I waited for Mothers Day to smoke this special cigar and it was the perfect way to end my day! This vintage cigar is a limited release -- only 500 boxes of 10 were made. It comes in one size only and one shape -- belicoso. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian sumatra wrapper and binder , with fillers that have been aging for almost 10 years made up of Brazilian, Nicaraguan and Dominican. I must say from start to finish this cigar produced! Draw was perfection along with the burn. Upon first light, a sweetness appears along with a nuttiness. Earthy notes hop in along the way. Into the second third, the sweetness is very apparent -- almost like molasses. A cocoa flavor works its way in also. The last third is pretty much the same but is so delicious and smooth to the very very end. The beginner smoker can enjoy this medium to full bodied smoke as well as the very experienced smoker due to this smoothness. This cigar was worth every puff! Come and try before you miss out. Enjoy. Picked on 05/13/2018
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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San Cristobal Quintessence Epicure 6 * 52
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San Cristobal’s Quintessence is a beautiful cigar. The combination of the medium-brown Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, and this cigar’s band, with its colorful bird and flowers, to me, represent what a premium cigar used to be. When I first sniffed the wrapper, I noticed hints of leather, mild barn smells and some sweetness. The dry draw was mild and somewhat sweet. On the first draw, there was a definite bitter/sweetness with a note of pepper. The flavor quickly settled in to grassy with hints of pepper. There were definitely changes in the Quintessence’s flavor as I smoked. In the second third I experienced more grassy notes and pepper, with the sweetness almost gone. The final third became much spicier, with pepper becoming the predominant flavor. It also went up in strength but stayed well-balanced and rich. I believe that San Cristobal’s Quintessence is more than a medium bodied cigar, as it starts to head toward full-bodied at the end. It was never overly strong but was pleasantly potent. It was an all-around tasty, Nicaraguan profile cigar. Picked on 05/09/2018
Scott Covington
TASTE:All
HOBBIES:Reading, music, weight lifting, photography, travel
STRENGTH:Medium-Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
CAO Flathead
La Palina Illumination
Arturo Fuente
San Cristobal
Caldwell Long Live The King

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Villiger La Flor de Ynclan Torpedo 6 * 52
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I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this particular stick for some time. I’ve smoked a couple of them In the past and have been very pleased each time! Upon removing the cigar from the cellophane the appearance has a slight sheen and is well constructed. The aroma has hints of citrus and floral subtleties. A hint of honey sweetness if you will. FIRST THIRD: A mild sweetness with hints of cinnamon appear initially, followed by a suggestion of walnut and cedar. Burn is slightly uneven, but nothing unmanageable. SECOND THIRD: The flavor of chocolate starts to appear at the point, with subtle indicators of spice. The walnut and sweetness have subsided and a slight saltiness accompanies the chocolate as well as the orange flavor.The burn has stabilized and is more even, with a good amount of smoke coming from each pull. THIRD: The citrus/orange flavor has become more pronounced, along with hints of chocolate. The walnut flavor is noticeable as well. The burn continues to be even, with an ample amount of smoke with each puff. If you like a medium body cigar with some simple complexity throughout, you’ll enjoy this cigar! Picked on 04/30/2018
Adam
AGE:38
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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Casa Fernandez Miami Aniversario Serie 2015 Lancero 71/2 * 40
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First of all, I really dig lanceros. The ratio of tobaccos makes it a superb vitola to shine a spotlight on the wrapper...which in this case is five year old Corojo 99 wrapper from the Aganorsa factory. This box pressed Nicaraguan Puro is packed well, but definitely not as densely as some of the other cigars I have reviewed prior. I believe that was a strategic decision. If the rollers are not meticulous when constructing lanceros, the cigars could end up with a restrictive draw. Not the case here...the draw is quite pleasant, which is a testament to the skill of our local rollers right here in Miami, where this cigar was constructed. Upon lighting up, expect to be greeted by flavors of rich tobacco, honey, cedar, citrus and cherry, followed by a ginger/white pepper zing. There is another peculiar flavor dancing around here as well that I struggled to identify... it is reminiscent of wild yeast or sour dough. It is a unique and interesting profile that I enjoy quite a bit. As the cigar burns down it gets a little bit sweeter and creamier. I did not experience any issues with combustion or construction at all... this stick is a pleasure to burn from start to finish. Try pairing it with a Tank 7 Ale on a sunny afternoon. Cheers! Picked on 04/28/2018
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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Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Belicoso Fino 5 * 50
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The Pappy Van Winkle Belicoso by Drew estate. The pappy consists of an Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper with an Indonesian Binder. The filler consists of a combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican filler. This cigar has a nice soft dark chocolate brown wrapper with minimal veins and a good draw to it. My pre draw aroma consist of a sweet earth and leather notes. This cigar is a medium to full body with full complex flavors to it. During the first third I get aromas of a fruity sweet and a creamy leathery start to it. During the second third the sweetness is still there, but with a hint of spice to it. Once I get to the final third I start getting hints of a Barnyard and nutty and leather flavors to it. Overall this is a great cigar with tons of flavors to it. Drew estate did it again with master blender Willy Herrera blending this great cigar. So come on by and pick one up and enjoy this great cigar. Enjoy and happy smokin’’ Mike P. Picked on 04/22/2018
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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Plasencia Reserva Original Toro 6 * 50
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The Plasencia family is well known for its enormous tobacco growing operation and for been manufacturing cigars for other companies, now they are using that experience to produce its own brand. The Plasencia Reserva Organica, a cigar made with organically grown Nicaraguan tobacco is one of the lines they are offering. the Plasencia Reserva Original is the world’s first and only organic cigar made completley with tobacco certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association. The Plasencia Reserva Original is very appealing to the eye. The wrapper of this Nicaraguan puro looks like a Café con Leche claro. With a delicate aroma of cedar and honey on it. Once lit it smells rich and earthy and starts as a plain medium smoke. A inch into it, I can feel it picks up on strength, adding pepper and coffee notes but with a hint of sweetness leveling out the blend. My palate is really enjoying this stick... This natural tobacco sweetness holds and increases in the last third. The pepper notes fading but do not disappear and the cedar, earth and coffee notes predominating in this stage, the cigar becomes very creamy with a pinch of mild pepper on the finish. Complex, well constructed no draw or big burning issues. I would say medium in flavor and body. Picked on 04/21/2018
Mike Freire
TASTE:Taste-earthy,Cream
HOBBIES:Art, Jazz Music, Reading
STRENGTH:Medium to Full

FAVORITE BRANDS
Arturo Fuente
Padron 1926 Serie Natural
Ashton VSG
La Aurora 100 Anos

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Hoyo La Amistad Toro 6 * 50
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Prior to lighting, barnyard and earthy scents are easily detectable from the gorgeous Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. From the unlit foot of the La Amistad there are cocoa and leather aromas. An easy cold draw lets through earth, pepper, cocoa and dried fruit notes. The Hoyo La Amistad begins with some pepper and earthy notes right from the start. As the Hoyo La Amistad gets going, there is a steady pepper that's backed up by notes of earth, cocoa, espresso and a slight saltiness. On the retrohale, there is a pleasant blend of cocoa and pepper. Black pepper tends to be the dominant note as the cigar burns into the second third. Earth, cocoa and coffee combine with the pepper throughout the second third of the cigar, and the pepper really picks up during the final third of the cigar, although it doesn't ever become overpowering. Complex yet smooth. The draw on the Hoyo La Amistad by AJ Fernandez is near perfect. The rum drinker will find that the La Amistad pairs very nicely with a good sipping rum. Picked on 04/16/2018
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
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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Romeo y Julieta Crafted by AJ Fernandez Gordo 6 * 60
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Romeo y Julieta Vrafted by AJ Fernandez Gordo 6x60 AJ Fernandez has done it again. He has brought his style and flavor over to Romeo y Julieta. This cigar has a wonderful taste from the start. A nice medium to medium full cigar. From the beginning of the cigar, your palet is introduced to little spice and some nutty flavor. As you continue to smoke it, a nice creamy flavor takes over and makes the cigar that much better. You will also fine a nice hint of cocoa through out the cigar. With the little changes throughout, it makes the experience, that much better. Picked on 04/12/2018
Michael Diaz-Silveira
AGE:23
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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Espinosa Reggae Dread Toro Grande 6 * 56
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In the cigar world you see a lot of cigars and spirits but not many cigars and music pairings. Erik Espinosa went there with the Espinosa Reggae Dread cigar, currently produced in his factory La Zona in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Dread cigar has its own dreadlocks made of tobacco coming out of the head of the cigar, and the band boasts Rasta colors: green, yellow, and red. A funny looking, yet dark and beautiful cigar. I decided to punch my cigar being that it is a fatter cigar then I am used to smoking. The ash remained on the cigar and only fell when I tapped it on the ashtray. Espinosa's Dread boasted flavors of sweetness along with some earthiness and spice to balance it out. A medium to full bodied cigar, this cigar is so hearty you should make sure to eat a good meal before. Picked on 04/06/2018
Joaquim 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

La Galera 1936 Box Pressed El Lector Toro 6 * 54
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This cigar made in Dominican Republic by Tabacalera Palma sports an Ecuatorian Habano Wrapper, Dominican Criollo Binder and Dominican Piloto Cubano/Dominican Criollo Filler. Excellent medium-sized cigar with a medium brown wrapper that is mostly consistent in color, but with some dark, nearly black splotching. What I love about it is how incredibly smooth it is and that the wrapper is oily. Great flavors that well together and are well balanced, with a nice spicy edge to the smoke and a hint of saltiness, and an earthy finish. The burn is even and the burn line is thick with a white ash. This cigar got an 86 rating in Cigar Aficionado and was positioned number 23 for the year on Cigar Snob. It is one of my favorites, perfect for any occasion! Picked on 03/27/2018
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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Illusione Haut 10 51/2 * 52
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This is the cigar Dion Giolito created to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Illusione brand, a boutique brand that since its inception has been graced with popularity among cigar lovers and great ratings from cigar magazines. The Haut 10 uses a Nicaraguan wrapper that is very light brown and select Aganorsa tobacco in the filler: Nicaraguan Criollo 98 and Corojo 99 Seco. The size is one that I have come to appreciate more and more these days: a chubby robusto 5 1/2 inches by 52 ring gauge. Still small but the ample ring gauge allows for lots of smoke, fuller flavor, and an effortless draw. The appearance is nice with a triple cap that ends in a pigtail and a very understated band. The taste of this cigar is varied and complex: nuts, earthiness, pepper, toast, coffee, cedar...all flavors were very satisfying and shifting throughout the 2 hour smoke (to the nub, yes!). The burn and ash can only be described as sublime. I highly recommend this amazing cigar! Picked on 03/25/2018
Rene
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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Warfighter Nicaragua .50 Cal Field Maduro Robusto 5 * 52
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The Warfighter Tobacco Company is owned and operated by combat veterans who love cigars so much, they decided to make some of their own! Blended in part by active member of the U.S. Army David Blanco (Blanco Cigars) and hailing from the Plasencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, this halfway rustic-looking .50 Cal Field Maduro takes no prisoners. Full-bodied and rich, I was instantly greeted with heavy notes of leather, and as the minutes passed, earth and even a hint of oatmeal showed face. The burn was decent; it started off a bit iffy but then corrected itself about an inch or two in. Towards the end, notes of cedar and nuts began to appear, making for a more neutral finish than how it began. The aroma that emitted from this cigar was exceptionally noticeable and pungent; musty, but still interestingly pleasant. I can imagine some folks perhaps finding it a bit intrusive, but that's not necessarily the target audience Warfighter is aiming for. They're looking for those who like it a bit rough. Those who will spit every other minute whilst smoking. Those who will have this cigar hanging from their mouth as they clean their gun. Those who don't mind fighting for what they believe in. And especially those who can do all of the above and still crave an excellent premium cigar. Pick this one up to show some support for those who've risked their lives for their country, and if you happen to be reading this and are active military or a veteran - Thank you, and enjoy. Cheers. Picked on 01/15/2018