Cigar Journal Top 25 Cigars of 2017

Cigar Journal’s Top 25 Cigars of 2017: #13 to #8

Each year, our panelists smoke hundreds of cigars in blind tastings so that in our tasting notes we can give you the most objective impressions possible of our smoking experience. For the Top 25 list published at year’s end – that is, the cigars that particularly stood out for us – we asked numerous panelists to pick their personal favorites from the tastings of 2017.

Only the cigars that received a combined score of 91 or more, and those that were initially released less than two years ago were eligible for selection.

#13 | Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro

Altadis USA, which in the United States has the trademark rights for this iconic brand, has repeatedly expanded the Montecirsto several times in recent years with new, exciting lines. For example, the Espada by Montecristo, and Espada by Montecristo Estoque, produced by Plasencia. In 2017, Nicaragua’s rising star A.J. Fernandez was allowed to add a further line: the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez. It is available in the four box pressed formats Belicoso, Corona, Robusto, and Toro, and costs between USD 10.50 and 11.25. There was a small test run between Altadis USA and A.J. Fernandez: in 2016 the company launched the Montecristo Crafted by AJ Fernandez, which, however, was only available through JR Cigars and Santa Clara Inc.

Tasting notes: A very tasty cigar with forest floor, grassy, roasted, and cedary aromas. A complex blend, with notes of fruit, chocolate, and cereals. It is creamy in the smoke, and complex.

Owner: Altadis U.S.A., Inc
Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars
Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua, Dom. Rep.
Size: 6 x 55 | 152 x 21,8 mm
Released: 2017

Cigar Journal Top 25 Cigars of 2017

#12 | Joya Black Doble Robusto

The Joya Red line, released in 2014, is joined by its dark-colored twin sister, Joya Black. In its overall brand identity, both embody the arrival of the new generation at Joya de Nicaragua. The final result, however, came about through close collaboration of the young management team and experienced master blenders. For the first time in the company’s history, Joya de Nicaragua used a Mexican San Andrés Negro wrapper, which gives the Black line its velvety, dark touch. Joya Black is available in the formats Robusto, Toro, Doble Robusto, and Nocturno.

Tasting notes: The sumptuous sweetness of dried fruit, caramel, and fruitcake accompany this cigar. It is underscored by wheat tones, pepper and coffee. Now and then in the creamy smoke there are also notes of citrus.

Owener: Joya de Nicaragua, S.A.
Factory: Joya de Nicaragua, S.A.
Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexico
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Size: 5 x 56 | 127 x 22,2 mm
Released: 2016

#11 | A.J. Fernandez New World Puro Especial Robusto

Since the brand New World was launched by A.J. Fernandez three years ago, the classic line has been expanded by the New World Connecticut and, this year, by the New World Puro Especial.

A.J. Fernandez, who originates from Cuba, is – literally – on everybody’s lips. Not only has he had success with his own, strong brands, he also mixes successful blends for major cigar companies such as Altadis USA and General Cigar. The New World Puro Especial is on the market in the formats Robusto, Short Churchill, and Toro. The blend – a Puro made with Nicaraguan tobaccos that are entirely grown on company-owned plantations – was created by A.J. in conjunction with his father, Ismael.

Tasting notes: Following the pepper in the first few draws, a pleasant sweetness comes through. Coffee, cedar, and leather aromas then develop. The spiciness of ginger and the sweetness of honey. Exciting.

Owner: A.J. Fernandez Cigars
Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars
Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper, binder, filler: Nicaragua
Maße: 5 1/2 x 52 | 140 x 20,6 mm
Erschienen: 2017

Cigar Journal Top 25 Cigars of 2017

#10 | Bolívar Tesoro ER 2016 5ta Avenida

The origins of this brand, named after the South American freedom fighter Simón Bolívar, lie in Havana around the year 1900. At first the brand wasn’t a leading export, but from the 1950s it became very popular, particularly in Great Britain. Today, it’s considered a “connoisseur” brand, known for its earthy, full-bodied flavors. For this Edición Regional an elaborate format was chosen: the Double Figurado Salomones. Unfortunately, there are only 6,000 boxes of this fantastic cigar in circulation!

Tasting notes: At first, this cigar releases intense nutty and woody aromas, which is accentuated by a fruity sweetness and delicate peppery spice. In the second half, in the creamy, velvety smoke, a lot of spice is added.

Owner: Habanos S.A
Factory: Cubatabaco
Origin: Cuba
Wrapper, binder, filler: Cuba
Size: 7 1/4 x 57 | 184 x 22,6 mm
Released: 2017

Cigar Journal Top 25 Cigars of 2017

#9 | Eiroa The First 20 54×6

With the Eiroa The First 20 series, the “Master of the Corojo,” Christian Luis Eiroa (CLE), is celebrating his first 20 years in the cigar business – years that mark his meteoric rise. With his youthful age of 45, Eiroa is one of the world stars in the industry. In 2015, his Eiroa Prensado 48×4 was named cigar of the year. This year, he has managed to reach the very top once again. All tobaccos are aged for at least four years and are considered the best that the family has cultivated, with a century’s worth of experience in tobacco growing. The tobaccos, as well as the cigars, come from Honduras.

Tasting notes: The first impression: hazelnut, cedar wood and cane sugar, followed by a spice explosion with a pepper kick. Then, increasing sweetness, several roasted and bitter tones. Complex and harmoniously blended.

Owner: C.L.E. Cigar Company
Factory: Aladino
Origin: Honduras
Wrapper, binder, filler: Honduras
Size: 6 x 54 | 152 x 21,4 mm
Released: 2016

Cigar Journal Top 25 Cigars of 2017

#8 | Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generación V

The tobacco tradition of the Plasencia family spans five generations and five countries: the Canary Islands, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Honduras. The family employs 6,000 people, runs four factories as well as eight plantations, and produces around 40 million cigars per year. The youngest generation, with Nestor, Gustavo, and José Luis Plasencia, presented the Alma Fuente line in summer last year. It encompasses three powerful vitolas called Sixto II, Néstor IV, and the #8 in our Top 25 of the year 2017, named Generation V.

Tasting notes: A tangy box pressed salomón with a nutty impact, subtle roasted aromas and slightly peppery mint. Its earthy and woody aromas increase during the smoke; likewise, the sweetness of dried fruit. Full-bodied and balanced.

Owner: Plasencia Cigars S.
Factory: Fabrica de Puro Plasencia Cigars
Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper, binder, filler: Nicaragua
Size: 7 x 58 | 178 x 23 mm
Released: 2017

Cigar Journal Top 25 Cigars of 2017

Top 25 Release Schedule

December 11, 2017 (Monday): No. 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20
December 12, 2017 (Tuesday): No. 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14
December 13, 2017 (Wednesday): N0. 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8
December 14, 2017 (Thursday): No. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
December 15, 2017 (Friday): Cigar of the Year 2017


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