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.
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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Trinidad Espiritu Series No. 2 Magnum 6 * 60
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When you bring together two great minds in the cigar industry like Rafael Nodal and AJ Fernandez, chances are high that you'll get a great cigar. Luckily, that is exactly what you get in the Trinidad Espiritu No.2 Magnum. What first caught my eye was the super dark Brazilian wrapper. At first light, you are introduced to a nice earthy note and a hint of pepper. It has a great draw to it, which is always welcomed. If you like to retrohale when you smoke, try it with this one - the earthy notes intensify big time. So far, I found the strength to be medium-full. At the halfway point of the cigar, the pepper notes do diminish a bit, with the earthiness still present. The strength does pick up now to a straight on full body, but not that much that will make you put the cigar down. Towards the end of the cigar, the pepper notes do make a comeback. The best part about this is that it's not overwhelming, just enough to make you enjoy the cigar that much more with a deliciously smooth spice. Overall, this cigar is one that all full-body smokers will definitely enjoy. And if you really want to send your experience to the moon, enjoy this Trinidad Espiritu with a good drink. I would recommend a glass of either Johnnie Walker Black or Tomatin. It will compliment it just right! Picked on 04/10/2021
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
San Cristobal Quintessence Robusto 51/2 * 50
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I chose the San Cristobal Quintessence to review as it had been a very long time since smoking this. I am very happy that I rekindled this very enjoyable smoke made by Ashton Distributors. This Quintessence cigar line was produced in 2016. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Habano made with high priming leafs which adds extra flavors. The binder and fillers are Nicaraguan. Upon the first light, I was hit with a blast of pepper. Not far behind was a light sweetness and creaminess along with nutty notes. The meshing of these notes with the pepper leads to a beautiful balance! Into the second third, the pepper seems to amp up a bit more but as in the first third is slowly joined with the sweetness and creaminess to balance out the smoke. Nutty and leather notes are also popping along with some notes of chocolate. The cigar at this point is a medium full to full in strength. Into the final third, complexity amps up even more-- fruity, chocolate, spicy and peppery all rolled into one! This cigar has strength and smoothness which is a key factor. I had no construction issues at all throughout the experience. I very much enjoyed this cigar and I am certain you will too!! Picked on 04/02/2021
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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AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Maduro Robusto 51/2 * 52
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The Bellas Artes Maduro by AJ Fernandez Robusto is a beautiful dark box-pressed cigar with a Mata Fina wrapper from Brazil, a San Andres binder and a Nicaraguan filler that makes it a complex cigar. The wrapper is smooth in texture and has notes of leather, wood, and dry earth. The foot gives off an aroma of rich earth, dark chocolate, strong spices, and pepper. When I light this cigar, the first third opens up with some intense dark chocolate flavors and some heavy, rich earth. This is a cigar that smokes at a solid full level for strength, body and flavors. The second third delivers a lot of the same qualities that are present in the first third, and I am getting some dark chocolate and spicy notes. The final third delivers notes of sweet spices and espresso beans. It is followed by some leather and earth qualities with a hint of oak. It is not as full as the first two thirds, but still full overall. The draw was perfect with a well-balanced burn and beautiful solid light gray ash. The AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Maduro was a solid smoke. If you like a full-bodied smoke, then you need to try this stick. Picked on 03/30/2021
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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Casa Cuevas Habano Toro 6 * 50
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The Casa Cuevas company has been on my radar for some time, now I figured I’d give it a go. The red and gold band along with the aged habano wrapper is a flawless classic. Pulling the cello off, the cigar had a nice mild smell and after cutting the cap the cold draw had a nice earthy taste. After the toast and first puff I had a super thick smoke that left a nice cedar flavor on my pallet. I was enjoying the flavor but I noticed a slight change on the finish, which now turned into a sweetness that was hard to figure out at first. After about 20 minutes in, the sweet taste has been amping up and throwing me off (in a good way). The smoke is so smooth I can retrohale a complete puff. Then it hit me, it was like my grandmas homemade cherry pie! You can almost even taste the toasted crust and cherry filling. As I approached the last third or 45 minutes in, the flavors are still dominant and I’m loving every puff of this cigar. Now at 55 minutes in, I literally could not smoke anymore or I would have blistered my lips being that I only had less than half of a inch left. Never had I felt a strength kick and I only had to touch up the burn a couple of times due to it burning uneven. This cigar left me highly impressed and I am now adding it to my weekly rotation. Go pick up a couple and try it for yourself! Picked on 03/25/2021
Marianela Mena
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Oscar Valladares Altar Q Toro 6 * 52
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The Altar Q has a very impressive look. The packaging and labeling are very well done and they tell a story. One about Mayan kings and rulers, about divinity and ancient monuments so fascinating and interesting as the cigar itself. An oily Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper gives cover to Honduran binder and fillers. Very attractive, silky to the touch with some small veins and a small pigtail on the cap. The aroma is a pleasant combination of citrus, subtle leather, hay and some pepper. Starting out, the Oscar Valladares Altar Q is so creamy and have this sweetness mixed with some woody notes, citric flavors, and white pepper giving the final touch to this array of flavors making one palate to rejoice, In the second third of the Altar Q, the creaminess note actually gets stronger, I would say that in this level flavors are more plants oriented. I can taste more cedar and more tobacco notes with hints of salt and some spice. At this point the cigar is a solid medium-plus. strength continues to increase during the final third of the stick, the creamy cedar still there along with the white pepper and the same spice since the beginning. The cigar has become very nutty, the citric notes have receded and its more leathery now. I got a lot of smoke since the beginning, a beautiful even burning line and an excellent draw. Construction wise the cigar is perfect. I could easily smoke this cigar every single day, it is so easy to enjoy, so creamy and satisfying, It has become for me one of those cigars you smoke when you are looking for comfort, when you don’t want any surprise and you are sure at the end you will be happy with the selection you have made. Picked on 03/21/2021
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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Harvester Connecticut Churchill 7 * 50
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Like most cigar aficionados, I like the expensive stuff. But there are times when I don’t want to shell out $20 or more on a cigar. However, I still want a good quality smoke. Eureka! I think I found it in the Harvester & Co. Connecticut Churchill. This is a little-known cigar with an interesting back story that was recently brought back by Altadis U.S.A. It features a beautiful Connecticut shade wrapper, and it is filled with Nicaraguan tobacco. Plus, it is made by Plasencia Cigars. At slightly over $5 a pop for a Churchill, who could ask for more? The cigar was named after a British racehorse from the late 1800’s., which was featured on the original packaging when the brand was first introduced in the mid-twentieth century. It now features a duck in flight. The cigar itself had a fairly firm construction with little give. Before lighting, I detected a nice grassy aroma and tobacco sweetness coming off the foot. Out of the gate, the tobacco aroma and flavor took the lead with the grassiness running a close second. Into the second lap, the tobacco sweetness stood in front with some spicy notes hugging the rail, and a very peppery retro hale. In the final stretch, the tobacco sweetness commanded the lead all the way past the finish line. Overall, this long, lean stick had an effortless draw with a sharp burn, and the ash leaned a little on the dark side. The strength was mild to medium. I highly recommend this cigar for smokers looking for a great everyday stick. For the money, the Harvester & Co. Connecticut is a winner! Picked on 03/15/2021
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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Micallef Migdalia Corona Extra 6 * 46
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Yesterday was International Women's Day, and in honor of this, I lit up the Micallef Migdalia, named after Migdalia Sanchez, a truly important figure in the premium cigar world. Migdalia represents decades of Cuban tradition and heritage with expert knowledge on everything tobacco, heavily involved in the industry ever since receiving her tobacconist certification at only 17 years of age. Her involvement in this eponymous Micallef blend showcases her knack for producing exceptional cigars, and it is with great pleasure that I get the chance to indulge in the fruits of her labor. The Micallef Migdalia carries a striking San Andres Habano wrapper on top of a Sumatra binder, containing both Nicaraguan and Dominican filler that have been meticulously married to offer a tasty blend that wowed me from the very first puff. The Migdalia starts off with some prominent cedar notes along with an undertone of hay. Not before long, an earthy sweetness appears, and by the time you reach the middle, a delicious note of roasted coffee becomes the focal point. At this point, I'm at a loss for words as to how a cigar can be so complex and satisfying. As I enter the final third, a sense of figs and berries hits my palate, and once I remove the band and hit the final stretch, a last minute one-two combo of vanilla and leather finish things off with authority. The Micallef Migdalia is medium in strength with an easy and open draw and an even burn throughout. It's not often I'm speechless after smoking a cigar, but I cannot express enough how good the Micallef Migdalia is. This will be one of my go-to sticks when I want a complex offering that shows how a good blend can change and evolve as you smoke. Do yourself a favor and try one, and see how quickly you deem it box-worthy. I am still stunned! I've always known that some things are greatly improved with a woman's touch, but Migdalia Sanchez proves this in spades. Cheers to the Sisters of the Leaf! Picked on 03/09/2021
Erik Ruiz
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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Drunk Chicken Fat Hen Torpedo Shorty 4 * 60
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As odd as the brand's name might be, The Drunken Chicken “Fat Hen” really surprised me with its flavor and profile. Drunken Chicken Cigars is a small boutique brand that has been around for two years. It is an American made brand from DC that is actually veteran owned. Now on to the stick! The unique "torpedo shorty" 4x60 shape of this delightful medium strength, full flavored cigar definitely caught my attention. This stick sports a Habano wrapper on top of a combination of Ecuadorian, Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. During the first portion, I noticed flavors of wood & earth with a hint of black pepper. The ash held very solidly and had a beautiful white tone to it. Towards the middle, flavors of nuts and chocolate came in to play with the pepper still lingering. Regarding the construction, it is a very well made and oily cigar with a solid triple cap and wonderful nutty aroma to it. Towards the end, the temperature did get a bit high, but the flavor kept me going. The pepper did die out during its final portion, and it finished with only smooth, creamy notes. This was one of those very few cigars that I’ve smoked to the nub because of how delicious it was. My ash was SOLID throughout the whole experience to the nub. I highly recommend this fatty. Picked on 02/10/2021
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
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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Flor de Selva Doble Corona 71/2 * 52
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Great find for Connecticut shade wrapper enthusiasts. The Flor de Selva Double Corona earned "Cigar of the Year" by L'Amateur de Cigare in 2017 and "Best Buy" by Cigar Journal in 2015. This Honduran puro is a different take on the classic Conn Shade cigar, as you will find sweet marshmallow, cinnamon, and creamy flavors with a sprinkle of nut and pepper (like a sweet potato casserole haha). There is a woodiness and earthiness to the flavor that balances splendidly with the to other notes. The aroma is subtle and refined. The cigar burns and draws like a champ and it is overall a very pleasant, mild to medium smoke with a body that is right in the middle and flavorful. Whether you are a novice wanting to try a tasty, well crafted Honduran or a more seasoned smoker who wants a milder offering in their humidor rotation, this cigar fits the bill. Bravo to Maya Selva and her factory on this instant classic! Picked on 01/16/2021
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
Adam
AGE:41
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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Padron 1964 Anniversary Exclusivo Maduro 51/2 * 50
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As odd as it may sound considering the current state of affairs in the world, I have barely had any time lately to sit down and spend some quality time alone enjoying a decent smoke. That said, when the opportunity arose, I wanted to make it count, and decided to go with something tried and true… something I knew would not let me down. Enter the Padron 1964 Anniversary Exclusivo Maduro. This particular vitola is possibly my top choice in the Padron Anniversary line up for a couple of reasons. It is not too big, yet not too small either, and usually burns for about an hour. The draw is nearly always perfect. It is smooth, but very flavorful. I also find it to be one of the best values in the Padron Anniversary series, which is always a nice benefit. Upon firing it up, I was immediately greeted with rich notes of cocoa and molasses, which persisted all of the way through the stick. The one I just burned had spent a year or more resting in my humidor, so it had barely any noticeable spice. You might notice a greater level of spice emitted from younger ones with less time in the humi, but never anything too intense on these. Smoke output was also excellent, with delicate clouds rolling away from the cherry even while at rest. The cocoa / molasses flavors seemed to be the most dominant in this stick all the way through, with hints of cherry along with macadamia nut beginning to mingle as it burned. Toward the end I was experiencing all of those flavors along with black coffee or espresso. No touch ups required all the way through. Simply put, this cigar is a classic that has endured the test of time. It is simple, yet elegant. It has no need for flashy branding or packaging, and yet, it remains a consistent best seller. If you have not done so thus far… do yourself a favor and pick a few up. Try one right off the shelf, and then leave one or two inside your humidor to put some age on them. You will be happy you did. Cheers. Picked on 07/27/2020
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