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
Liga Privada Unicos
Davidoff 702 Series

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Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto 5 * 50
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The Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto is the second release by, you guessed it, Alec and Bradley Rubin, the progenies of Alan Rubin, who founded the popular Alec Bradley Cigars brand. Whew! Talk about a name game. But one thing is certain, the Gatekeeper is one stand-up smoke that doesn’t play games. Its deep brown Ecuadorian Habano wrapper had a nice oily sheen to it. The construction was firm, and the cold draw was slightly tight. It had a warm earthy aroma. At first light, I got a copious amount of smoke. The first couple of puffs were spicy and peppery with an underlying sweetness. Into the second third, I picked up some earthy and leathery notes, and the spice tapered down just a bit. The heat loosened up the cigar which allowed the smoke to flow easily. The burn was sharp, and the ash leaned a little towards the dark side. For the final third, the profile transitioned, and notes of espresso and chocolate took the forefront, but the spice was still noticeable. As the cigar reached the nub, I wish I had chosen a longer vitola because this “Gatekeeper” let me enter a garden of smoking delights. Overall, this is a medium-bodied cigar that makes for a great everyday stick. I would pair it with a dark American coffee, and after eating a hearty hamburger. Picked on 10/18/2021
David Williams
TASTE:Anything and everything, I’ll try anything once.
HOBBIES:Collecting coins, basketball cards, cigars, cigar swag and playing video games
STRENGTH:Mild in the mornings and medium to full in the afternoons and nights, depending on my meals.

FAVORITE BRANDS
Liga Privada T52
Casa Fernandez Maduro
Muestra de Saka
Foundation Charter Oak Maduro
RoMa Craft Intemperance Whiskey Rebellion 1794

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RoMa Craft Intemperance EC XVIII Goodness 5 * 56
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Recently we received a good selection of new cigars, but one in particular had stood out to me. Not just because it was a Roma Craft with the word GOODNESS on the box, but because it was a box pressed Connecticut. Being a sucker for box pressed cigars, I jumped at the chance to try it. As I giddily removed the cigar from the cellophane, I was greeted with a sweet hay and brown rice aroma. After applying a straight cut, I started to toast the exposed foot. Upon first puff, I tasted smooth cream and dry bread toast notes. Taking sips of my big cup of coffee, the natural creaminess of the cigar nicely enhanced the creamer I always add to my coffee. Half way in and enjoying the generous smoke output, the cigar changed to a heavy cedar taste with a light pepperiness to the finish and retro-hale. Chugging coffee and puffing my way past the band, I was hit with a strong blast of animal cracker notes. At the end with about a half inch left, I can happily say this is a great cigar for the mornings. The burn gets a little sideways at times, but I never had a real issue and it always corrected itself. I highly recommend any type of coffee, a single malt scotch or a light whiskey to pair with this cigar. Now go out and get some before we smoke them all! (ooga ooga) Picked on 10/12/2021
EP Carrillo Encore Valientes 61/8 * 52
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Walking through the aisles of Neptune to choose what to smoke is a challenge in and of itself with so many amazing options. However, the EP Carrillo Encore Valientes caught my eye. Its name and the illustrious EP Carrillo Brand made it a must try. Valientes means brave in Spanish and that alone made me want to pick it up and give it a smoke. This beautiful torpedo shaped cigar comes in a Nicaraguan wrapper, binder, and filler! After lighting it up, I got remnants of fruitiness and spice after the first couple of puffs. The first third was sweet with a small hint of vanilla and woodiness and small amounts of spice. As it transitioned into the second third, I started to feel some cinnamon and some baking spices, but the earthiness was still there, the smoke output was just right. The draw was perfect albeit I had a little trouble keeping the cigar lit. Going into the final third, I got some hints of vanilla again, but it had gone more towards baking spices along with some creaminess. This cigar was definitely a medium-bodied smoke with an amazing combination of flavors and aroma that just left me wanting more. I would keep a flame nearby as I caught myself having to relight it a couple times. A must have cigar, one of my new favorites from EP Carrillo. If you are feeling "Valiente" enough a nice glass of bourbon would be an excellent addition to enhance the already amazing flavors! Picked on 10/09/2021
Luz Normand
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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Laranja Reserva Azulejo Gordo 6 * 60
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The latest cigar in the Espinosa family, the Laranja Reserva Azulejo is a Nicaraguan cigar made at the AJ Fernandez San Lotano factory. The Espinosa team has hit it out of the park with this one: the dark Sumatra wrapper is very appealing and the box pressed shape makes the Gordo size easy to smoke. The binder is Brazilian Arapiraca, which creates a more rounded and mellow taste. It also accounts for why the burn and ash of this cigar are so smooth. The fillers are Nicaraguan tobaccos from Esteli, Jalapa, Condega, and Ometepe. The cold draw tastes cedary and sweet. Once you light this cigar, the draw and burn are fantastic. The Azulejo is an earthy, complex smoke with solid medium strength from beginning to end. You will taste spice, cocoa, brown sugar, leather, wood, and toasted nuts when you smoke this elegant cigar. It teems with flavors that are well balanced and compliment each other nicely. I found myself smoking this one to the nub. Picked on 10/08/2021
Rene L.
AGE:34
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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Toscano Nobile 61/2 * 40
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I wanted to smoke something a bit different recently, so I took the opportunity to enjoy a brand that I have put on the back burner for long enough - Toscano! Admittedly, this rough-looking stogie won't win any beauty contests, but as with humans, it's what's INSIDE that counts. Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Italy's founding, the Toscano Nobile is hand rolled in Lucca, Italy, and continues the famed rustic vitola shape that the brand is known for. If you're new to Toscano, let me share some knowledge: tradition dictates cutting the cigar in half and either sharing that half with a friend or saving it for later. Since I was feeling particularly greedy at the time, I elected to do neither, and I lit up the Nobile as-is and began puffing away. Composed of tobacco from both Italy and the United States, this thin perfecto had an immediate smoky and charred flavor that made me make sure I had a glass of water nearby. Although some classify this cigar as a stronger smoke, I felt as though it maintained a balanced medium strength throughout, and while it certainly had an intense retrohale, it was simultaneously smooth and enjoyable at the same time. Front to back I encountered notes of oak, hickory, and even subtle bits of chocolate. The smoke output was minimal (mostly due to a slightly tight draw), yet chewy and super aromatic. If I could turn back time, I would probably follow tradition and cut the Toscano in half, as I feel that that would improve the draw on this otherwise delightful stick. A good Kentucky bourbon or a black cup o' Joe would also elevate the experience enough to exclaim, "Ciao, bella!" Picked on 10/05/2021
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

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AVO Classic Belicoso 6 * 48
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Avo has a great tradition in cigar manufacturing. Davidoff has added their unique touch to this incredible line. The Avo Classic Belicoso is just the cigar they worked on. At first light, you are introduced to a nice hint of cedar and some creaminess. A hint of pepper is introduced after a few puffs. The flavors do not overwhelm one another. It is in perfect harmony to make you enjoy this medium body cigar from the start. At the half way point, some nutty hints are now introduced. The pepper notes diminish a bit. The cedar notes are still present, and the strength of this cigar is still there. It has a great draw to it. Toward the end of the cigar, the pepper notes reintroduces itself. The cedar notes and nutty hints are still present, and are consistent throughout. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a tasty morning smoke to pair with their coffee. Enjoy. Picked on 10/05/2021
Mari Mena
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ADVentura the Navigator Pinzon 51/2 * 50
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Are you ready to discover “the unknown pleasures of the world.”? Take a puff and explore this magnificent cigar. A harmonious blend of four different types of tobacco put together by the experts hands of the best Rollers in Dominican Republic. A cigar with the right amount of spice and cream, with a mouthwatering intense yet smooth aroma. Right from the beginning notes of almond and pepper take over my palate, the flavor is exquisite. Upon lighting a hint of spice that blends perfectly with mocha notes which leads into a very creamy almond finish that lasts the entire smoke, Don’t get me wrong the pepper gets more intense but not overwhelming, just to keep it interesting with underlying cocoa notes from the beginning to the end, Well balanced and flavorful, solid construction with a solid white ash and even burn. No relights needed, This cigar is medium to full in strength…definitely full in flavor, Perfect to be paired with some nice Dominican Rum! Picked on 10/04/2021
Warped Flor del Valle Sky Flower Lancero 7 * 40
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Any chance I get I jump to smoke a new Lancero as this size is always loaded with flavor. Hence, the Flor Del Valle Sky Flower by Warped. This beauty is a Nicaraguan Puro --Corojo 99 wrapper, Corojo 99 and Criollo 98 fillers, and a dual binder that is undisclosed. This special release was made using 100% Aganorsa tobacco produced in the Casa Fernandez factory in Nicaragua. Warped has used very powerful medio tiempo tobacco -- leaves found at the very top of the plant -- making it very rare! Upon first light, pepper notes are upfront along with a very nice creaminess. A bit of nutiness joins in but the pepper notes stay upfront. Strength and body thus far are at a solid medium. Construction is perfect at this point. Into the second third, pepper notes are still upfront along with a toasty taste to join, as well as the nutiness still lingering. These notes are definitely calming down the pepper. It is still a very solid medium smoke at this point. Into the final third, a lovely sweetness pops into play along with some cedar notes -- definitely adds a nice amount of complexity. Pepper notes are still lingering in the background. Construction throughout was spot on. This Lancero was definitely a slow burner which really surprised me! Overall it was a very enjoyable smoking experience. The strength did not rise above a solid medium -- a novice or a beginner can equally enjoy the experience. With the complexity amping up in the final third, it made for a beautiful ending. Take your time and enjoy! Picked on 09/19/2021
Erik
TASTE:Leather, wood, earth
HOBBIES:Working out, going to concerts, learning new instruments
STRENGTH:Medium

FAVORITE BRANDS
Mombacho Cosecha
Tatuaje Mexican Experiment
Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro

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Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic Sungrown 7 * 46
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Something about an Arturo Fuente Hemingway that always catches your eye. Not to mention when it’s a “classic" sun grown wrapper that’s actually released once a year in small batches. You’ve probably seen this unique narrowed foot shape on their other popular sizes such as "the best seller" and "shorty story” this one being the 7 X 48. The elegance of the wrapper color and perfecto shape just makes this cigar beautiful. With it’s unique design, just simply lighting it with a single match makes it so much more satisfying. Once lit I got deep notes of cedar, earth and coffee. All that credit goes to the delicious SG wrapper which gives off a good thick Medium smoke output. Mid way it still kept a great draw with consistent flavors, pepper and caramel coming into play. The burn was quite perfect and kept a solid ash throughout. Was a bit on the dry side for my taste but still kept it’s tasty consistent flavor to the end. Honestly a great priced cigar for the quality you’re getting. Picked on 09/03/2021
Joaquin Ortiz
TASTE:Natural
HOBBIES:Diving, tennis, the beach, boating, music & computers
STRENGTH:Medium-Full

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

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Oliva Connecticut Reserve Petit Corona 4 * 38
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Sometimes we don't have too much time to smoke a nice cigar, it’s one of the reasons why I always have with me a petit corona. The Oliva Connecticut Reserve Petit Corona is a mild, short panatela that is handmade in Nicaragua. Its Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with a Nicaraguan binder and filler has an open draw with a creamy and woody flavor. When I began to smoke it, I tasted notes of cedar and earth. The retro-hale of the cigar offered spice, but there was a sweet finish to the cigar after pushing the smoke through my nostrils. In the second third, the earthiness was the primary taste. In the last third of the Oliva Connecticut Reserve, the cedar and spice notes remained strong on the retro-hale and aroma with a subtle sweetness. For having a short size, this cigar had a nice strong ash with a smooth draw. For all those reasons, it didn’t surprise me that in 2014 the Connecticut Reserve received a 91 Rating from Cigar Snob magazine. Enjoy! Picked on 08/23/2021
Adam Stewart
AGE:42
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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Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Toro 6 * 52
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Since its introduction nearly a decade ago, I have been a fan of the Oliva Melanio series. The subtle box press, the intricate profile of spice and caramel, the simple yet elegant appearance… all factors that contribute to my fondness of this line. When they released the Maduro variant, I became even more of a fan. In my humble opinion, Oliva took a contender, and turned it into a champion. The Mexican San Andreas wrapper was the perfect addition to an already excellent blend, as it invited notes of chocolate and espresso to the party. It also intensified the sweet caramel flavor already present in the original. Aside from the delicious flavor profile, consistency is the name of the game when it comes to the Melanio. It is very rare to get a box containing that dreaded cigar that seems to want to fight you every inch of the way down. The draw on these are nearly always perfect. Fans of Padron 1964 & 1926 take note…. This cigar is a very close competitor. This smoke will pair nicely with a mellow bourbon, but I found that pairing it with a craft root beer, kind of an eclectic choice, was actually quite amazing. Cheers! Picked on 08/12/2021
RoMa Craft CroMagnon Mastodon LE 41/2 * 60
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The stubby look of the Roma Craft Mastodon suits its name being that it is a hefty 60 gauge. The dark wrapper and box pressed construction caught my eye immediately. On the cold draw I picked up hints of chocolate and coffee, and upon lighting it the aroma was very pleasant, I could almost detect what I thought to be a very soft vanilla scent. Now onto the most important part - the smoking experience! If you enjoy a leathery tobacco flavor this is the cigar for you. Delicious notes of leather and pepper stomped all over my palate with gusto, and the coffee notes detected in the cold draw made an appearance once again about halfway through. This is a cigar you will want to give attention to when smoking as I found myself relighting it a couple of times. The draw on this stick is amazing but you do not want to keep the ash as it will hinder the draw. As I neared the band, I wanted to remove it and after some fiddling I ended up sliding it off with no damage to the wrapper. Overall, this was an excellent cigar with monstrous flavor that I can’t wait to smoke again. Picked on 07/07/2021
Javier Sanchez
TASTE:Leathery, woody cigars with pepper or spice
HOBBIES:Outdoors, hiking, music, traveling
STRENGTH:Medium

FAVORITE BRANDS
Davidoff Nicaragua
Davidoff Signature Series
Aladino Corojo Reserva

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Fratello Oro Gordo 6 * 60
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Cigars and NASA - not usually a pair most people associate with one another. Nonetheless, Fratello taught us they can be brought together to create a unique relationship that is truly out of this world. Former NASA employee Omar De Frias launched Fratello in 2013, finding his passion for cigars impossible to ignore any longer. The Fratello Oro Gordo is a Dominican cigar made in the famed La Aurora factory, and carries a Connecticut Shade wrapper with Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Colombian fillers. Upon first light, we have lift off with heavy notes of pepper and cedar. These two primary flavors last the entire smoke, giving you consistency on the flavor and no issue with the draw. I found the Fratello Oro to be medium-full in strength, with a rich smoothness that any cigar enthusiast will enjoy. The Cameroon binder added some delicious natural sweetness every now and again. Overall, I was very impressed with the Oro, and it is definitely a smoke to try when you want to experience some of the nicest flavors the universe has to offer. Picked on 04/05/2021
Edwin A.
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

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HR Signature Sublime 61/2 * 54
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Every blend by Hirochi Robaina has much history behind it, and rightfully so, considering his grandfather is the famed "Godfather of Tobacco" Alejandro Robaina. The Robaina family has been growing tobacco in Cuba since 1845, and it shows in the HR Signature Sublime. Covered by a beautiful Ecuadorian Habano (H2000) wrapper and ending in a closed foot, the HR Signature Sublime starts with a mix of flavors, from earthiness with a mix of cinnamon, to some notes of cocoa. The retrohale contained notes of black pepper and dark chocolate. Entering the second part of the cigar, the cocoa evolved into more of a dark chocolate with a mix of white pepper and cardamom. By the third and final part of the Signature Sublime, the flavor now has delicious notes of espresso and earth. The burn line was amazing and flawless, and I found the cigar to be perfectly medium-bodied and well balanced. What surprised me was how the cigar kept the same level of flavor and richness from the first puff to the very last! I highly recommend the HR Signature Sublime, and if possible, pair it with a nice coffee in the morning, or, a premium rum after dinner ;) Picked on 01/26/2021
RJ Clyne
TASTE:Creamy, chocolate, cinnamon
HOBBIES:Making money and writing poetry
STRENGTH:Mild to medium

FAVORITE BRANDS
Arturo Fuente Magnum R
Ashton Symmetry
H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez
The Oscar Maduro

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Villa Zamorano Robusto 5 * 50
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What even needs to be said besides elegant, when referring to Villa Zamorano by Maya Selva Cigars. To its golden-brown Sumatra wrapper. With a Honduran binder, and Nicaraguan/Honduran filler this cigar can go one of two ways. Sweet or spicy which is what Honduran Cigars are known for. The first time I had the pleasure of trying the Villa Zamorano amidst a gala far too fancy for I, with the only word on the menu I could understand being Champagne. Usually an odd pairing for a cigar but with the cocoa and almost vanilla cream flavor brought the best out of this cigar. The first inhale of this cigar I was immediately hit with a touch of spice, a resistant draw which is a sign of a masterful roll, and an aroma that had people around me asking what I was smoking. It immediately transitioned to Coffee, Roasted Nuts, Dark Chocolate and notes of cream throughout. Overall a very smooth and nice medium body cigar especially for the price ranging from $4-$6. I almost don’t want to recommend this cigar to anyone for how much I enjoyed it. Picked on 10/14/2020
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
Arturo Fuente Fuente Opus X
Illusione "Original Documents"
Illusione Maduro
Davidoff Nicaragua
El Gueguense
Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour

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Warzone Toro 6 * 52
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When I heard General Cigars and Espinosa were teaming up to create a cigar, utilizing their own unique styles, to say I was excited would be an understatement. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one. The cigar is constructed nicely, and I appreciate the thought process that went into designing the band, and the Warzone has a beautiful one. The cigar has a Cameroon wrapper, with a Honduran binder and a filler from Colombia and Nicaragua. The Warzone is a medium to full-bodied cigar with notes of white pepper, cedar and cocoa. On the cold draw you will pick up on the cocoa and cedar. As the cigar is toasted, you can smell the cedar. The first third lends itself to the cedar. As it transitions into the second third, the cocoa and white pepper become more prevalent especially on the retro hale. On the final third, the white pepper stands out a bit more but not to overwhelm your senses. The Warzone pairs well with a dark rum. It’s a good cigar to end your day. Picked on 01/03/2020