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
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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Back2Back URNY Nicaragua 6 * 60
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Since I can always appreciate a fine piece of art, the first thing about the Back2Back URNY Nicaragua that caught my eye was the beautiful design on the box. Then I actually saw the cigar, with the same colorful art design on its foot. Davidoff did a fantastic job getting my attention with this little artistic touch. This medium to full-bodied cigar has all Nicaraguan components, so I had a feeling it would be incredibly rich. Fortunately, I was not wrong. When I first lit the cigar, a nice hint of coffee and chocolate greeted me. Entering the second third of the cigar, I was introduced to a nice cedar and cream flavor, all while still tasting the hints of chocolate and coffee. All of these flavors complimented each other perfectly, and never overpowered one another. The draw on the Back2Back was spectacular, and the burn was mostly even the entire way. The last third of the cigar was great, with all the flavors from before still present while introducing a smooth leathery texture towards the end. Very consistent stick all the way through, and excellent construction to boot, which is to be expected from an industry leader such as Davidoff. Enjoy! Picked on 01/14/2019
Adam
AGE:39
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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Padron 1926 Serie No. 48 TAA Maduro 51/2 * 60
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This cigar looks and feels much like a brick of dark chocolate. Even the pre-light scent of it is reminiscent of a fine desert.... sweet, complex... a little cedar & spice. It is very well packed, very dense, with little to zero give when gently squeezed. That fact, combined with the box press and 60 ring gauge make this cigar feel somewhat formidable. Yet it is so refined and inviting, its magnetism is hard to fight off, much like the song of a siren. If you succumb to temptation and fire up this stick however, it will not lead to a wrecked ship upon a rocky coast, it will lead to about an hour and 15 minutes or so of unadulterated bliss. After applying fire, you will be greeted by intense cocoa and cedar flavors. Although less dominant, yet still present, you will also notice flavors of dried cherry & white pepper. It seems to have a fairly long finish that leaves your mouth with a pleasant, almost buttery aftertaste as if you just finished consuming a handful of macadamia nuts. The draw is lighter than it is on some of the other Padron anniversary cigars, but not in a negative sense...I mean, it is a 60 ring gauge after all. The burn and construction are spot on. (as you would expect from Padron) I have been trying to come up with something about this smoke to complain about (other than the slightly high price point) but I keep coming up empty handed. Try pairing with a serious stout like a North Coast Old Rasputin or a Grand Teton Black Cauldron.... Salud! Picked on 01/13/2019
Michael Diaz-Silveira
AGE:24
TASTE:Wood, Leather, Nut, Maple
HOBBIES:Guitar, Football, Basketball, Volleyball
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!
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Zino Platinum Crown Series Chubby Especial 57/8 * 61
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In the essence of true luxury, the Zino Platinum brand was created. The Platinum Chubby is a exquisite-looking perfecto shaped cigar that boasts its 61 ring gauge with pride. A light Ecuadorian Shade wrapper is offset by the black and silver Zino band. Lighting the cigar, my palate immediately registered a creaminess with a hint of spice to start it off. A few puffs down the road, the creaminess is prevalent while setting aside the light spice somewhat. Arising from the smooth textured smoke, notes of cedar and nut came to mind. The cigar and its flawless burn caught the eye of other smokers around me, and only dropped ash when I wanted it to. All in all, an opulently priced premium smoke that is very well worth it. The Chubby also makes an excellent gift and even better “special occasion cigar”. Life is short - everyday is a special occasion! Picked on 01/12/2019
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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Oscar Valladares Ciseron Green/Blue 6 * 52
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The Oscar Valladares Ciseron is named after Elmer Ciseron Bautista, a local Honduran artist, well-known for his Cubist Sub-Realist/Post-Cubist Minimalist art. I’m not an art expert, but if I have to draw comparisons, Ciseron’s work reminds of Marc Chagall, an internationally famous Russian-French artist. Oscar Valladares created the Ciseron brand to help promote not only Ciseron’s art, but the work of local Honduran artists as well. Both the boxes and bands feature art by Ciseron that were exclusively commissioned for this cigar line. The Ciseron brand is available in five different lines: Blue, Green, Green/Blue, Purple, and Red. All have the same blend, which consists of a natural Ecuadorian wrapper that surrounds a binder and filler made of Nicaraguan tobaccos. For this review, I chose the Green/Blue. A pre-light sniff offered up a woodsy aroma. When lit, the woodsy aroma became more prominent and stayed through to the end, but it was accented with notes of cocoa and nuts. The Ciseron’s excellent draw and burn is a testament to its superb construction. The Oscar Valladares Ciseron is an excellent cigar that while not too complex makes for a great everyday smoke. Picked on 01/11/2019
Rene L.
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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Liga Privada Unico Serie Nasty Fritas 4 * 52
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It's no secret that Drew Estate is responsible for some of the most acclaimed and sought after premium cigars in the world, and the Liga Privada brand is not only one of them, but one of my personal all-time favorite smokes. And thus, I was extremely excited to light up the new Liga Privada Unico Serie Nasty Fritas. This cone-shaped little stogie has a charmingly rustic look to it, and is part of the renowned Unico line of Drew Estate's catalog, which feature specially selected aged tobacco based largely on the vitola at hand. Eager to begin, I forgoed the cutter and simply twisted off the pigtail cap at the cigar head and started giddily torching the shaggy foot. Immediately, I was greeted with a noticeable yet manageable pepper blast that lasted for the first couple of puffs, that led way to a rich profile consisting of notes of dried earth, leather, molasses, and oak. The slick USA Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper has a beautiful oily sheen to it that hinted at the boldness this cigar was about to provide, and in no way was I disappointed. I would classify the Nasty Fritas as medium to full-bodied during the first two thirds, with it picking up strength closer to the finish line. Underlying pepper remained for the entire duration of the smoke, but expertly so as it never once became overwhelmingly spicy, but 'just right'. The pyramid form factor of the Nasty Fritas contributed to its nearly flawless burn line, and also allowed it to billow out smoke relentlessly (Don't have a chimney in your house? Now you do.) All in all, the Liga Privada Unico Serie Nasty Fritas is a superb addition to the highly-respected Unico line from the mighty Drew Estate, and is perfect for when you want a short-ish smoke that doesn't sacrifice one single bit of flavor. Pair it with a quality single malt scotch to amplify the deliciousness even more! Cheers. Picked on 01/06/2019
Partagas Legend Toro Leyenda 61/4 * 54
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Comment: This Partagas Legend caught my attention the second I laid eyes on the box. I just could not get over the price for a Partagas cigar but curiosity got the best of me—had to try it. I was pleasantly surprised!! First of all, this cigar was made to honor 5 men who had a big part in establishing the Partagas brand. The Legend is made with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Honduran binder and aged Dominican Piloto filler—a beautiful rustic looking box pressed cigar. I have to start off by saying that this cigar is extremely smooth but at the same time very intense. Upon first light, notes of chocolate, espresso and earth are popping out. A nice spiciness also combines with the sweetness for a great balance. The cigar definitely started off being a strong medium bodied smoke. Into the second third, the cigar becomes very complex and much stronger and very delicious! Red and black pepper alternate along with amazing creaminess and sweetness. Into the last thi rd, the complexity amps up even more—crazy. I am tasting many things at this point—pepper, creaminess, espresso, nuts, cocoa and sweetness—amazing. Overall, this cigar was almost perfect and was a big surprise. Besides a bit of a tight draw in the beginning, which opens up, I can’t say a bad thing. Definitely worth the money and a must try for the more experienced smoker. It held my attention from start to finish. Enjoy! Picked on 01/04/2019
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

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My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo 6 * 60
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As you know, I’m a huge fan of Connecticut wrappers. It’s why I tried the My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo. This premium cigar features a handsome Connecticut wrapper, with a Nicaraguan Corojo binder and a specially blended filler composed of Nicaraguan Criollo and Habano tobaccos. A very attractive cigar, the My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo’s wrapper has barely visible veins and seams. A pre-light sniff of the foot offered up an interesting aroma of cedar and aged tobacco with a slight hint of freshly ground pepper. Once lit, this fine cigar greeted me with a pleasant taste of toasted nuts and an exciting peppery sensation. During the first third, I picked up notes of aged tobacco and cinnamon. The second third was consistent with the first although the peppery notes had mellowed out a bit. The cigar’s intensity picked up considerably in the final third. At one point, there was a shift in the profile, which added richer notes of white chocolate and French bread with a buttery texture. The My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo’s has a nice and easy draw, and the flavors are easy to pick out. Overall, the My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo is a very smooth Connecticut shade smoke with strong and prevalent notes. This is definitely a beautiful, medium-bodied cigar that can be enjoyed by a both the veteran and novice cigar aficionado. Picked on 12/31/2018
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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Micallef Experiencia La Crema 7 * 52
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Micallef Cigars is a new brand backed up for three generations and 134 years of experience in cigar making. Experiencia means Experience and this is what one gets when smoking this cigar. Featuring a beautiful elaborate design band with blue, gold and red colors contrasting beautifully with the oily light colored Mexican leaf. It feels firm without being tight to the touch with a nice nutty and earthy aroma. The Cigar is made in Nicaragua by the Gomez Sanchez family. The cigar starts off with coffee notes accompanied by a dash of pepper. Some sweetness and a very creamy finish. After a few minutes it becomes woody with an increase on the peppery notes, hints of leather in the background. Towards the second half nutty notes are all over my palate. The cigar is creamier and very earthy at this point. Cocoa and leather appears and one can taste some spicy for a couple of minutes but it goes back to be velvety and subtle in the medium strength range, still there till the final third. The leather becomes predominant at the end. The cigar truly is a enjoyable smoking experience: Flavor, complexity, long finish, good draw, a sharp burning line…what else can I say? It has everything!!! Picked on 11/29/2018
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

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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
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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Southern Draw Rose of Sharon Perfecto 6 * 56
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I was really drawn to this cigar because of its beautiful perfecto shape and the delicate golden brown wrapper which compliments nicely the design of the gold/pink band. The whole thing looks very elegant and I expected the experience to match up to the expectations. I believe the brand is named after Sharon Holt, who owns Southern Draw Cigars with her husband, Robert. The cigar is handrolled at the AJ Fernandez' factory in Nicaragua and only produced in small batches. All tobaccos in the blend are from Nicaragua with the exception of the wrapper which is Ecuador Connecticut seed. This cigar hit all the notes that I love: creamy, smooth, woody, nutty, with just a light pepper in a medium bodied, mild-medium strength smoke. Not a heavy smoke by any standards, yet very nice flavor and aroma. Draw and burn were beyond reproach. I recommend this excellent cigar to both new smokers and seasoned aficionados. Picked on 11/25/2018
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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Avo Improvisation 30 Years LE 71/2 * 50
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This time around I chose to review a Double Corona, the AVO 30 Years Improvisation. The AVO 30 Years uses a Dominican blend highlighted by a light Ecuadorian Marron wrapper. The cigar is dressed with a combination of two rings. The primary band uses a style similar to what has been seen on previous AVO releases while the second band is a ring that is being used across all of the releases that are a part of the AVO 30th series. The band has an antique white color with an orange pinstripe along the lower edge. Using a v-cutter, I started my pre-light draw ritual, and after a couple of pulls, I found that the cold draw delivered a mix of cedar, cream, and, to my surprise, some citrus notes. At this point, I was ready to light up and await what the enjoyment phase would have in store. The AVO 30 Years Improvisation opened up with notes of cream, cedar, classic, and some black pepper (which was not apparent during my cold draw). It didn’t take long for the citrus notes to move to the forefront as the cedar, cream and pepper notes lingered in the background. I do want to add that there was a nice sweetness to the citrus that was not overpowering. During the transition from the 1st third to the 2nd third, the cedar notes moved into the forefront as the citrus began to change and move to more of an orange rind flavor. By the end of the 2nd third, the orange rind, cedar notes were sharing the limelight, and were complemented by the pepper, and cream notes in the background. The flavor profile didn’t radically change in the last third. For the most part, the orange rind and cedar notes remained on the forefront. There was a slight increase in pepper during the latter part of this stage and this is how the AVO 30 Years Improvisation closed out. The draw leaned slightly towards the open side and the cigar maintained a straight burn path from start to finish with zero need for the occasional touch-up. Overall, I was really surprised by the AVO 30th Improvisation Limited Edition. It is a medium bodied cigar, that it is full flavored with some unique notes as well. It serves the legacy of AVO and it is a definitely must have for fans of the brand.1 Picked on 10/12/2018
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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La Palina Number 1 Toro 61/2 * 52
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The review that I am doing today is on the Palina # 1 which is a great cigar. It has a four country blend which includes an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, Costa Rican binder and Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobacco. Upon lighting the cigar I get notes of leather and sweetness upon retro hale. La Palina # 1 has a nice milk chocolate look to it with tight and visible seams to it with minimal veins. This combination of tobacco has notes of leather and hay with a peppery finish towards the end of it. This stick has a good razor burn with a long ash to it. This is a great stick for the price. It is packed with so much flavor to it. Overall this is a stick that I would recommend for your everyday smoke. You can’t go wrong with this stick, especially from a popular brand like the Palina. So pass by and pick up you’re stick today, I promise that you will enjoy it. Picked on 09/23/2018