Each year, our tasting panel members smoke hundreds of cigars in order to give you the results of these blind tastings with the most objective impressions possible through our ratings. At the end of the year, we traditionally use the occasion to select those cigars that have remained in our memory.
As in the previous year, we asked our panelists to name their personal favorites from the year’s tastings. Only the cigars that received a combined score of 90 points or more and those that were initially released less than two years ago were eligible for selection.
#25 | Macanudo Inspirado White Toro
Believing that good things come to those who wait, Macanudo introduced the Macanudo White in 2017, a cigar using a six-year-old Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper and four-year-old fillers from Nicaragua and Mexico to create an Inspirado that is beautiful yet bold; complex yet nuanced. The original Inspirado lines (Orange and Black) were originally limited to Europe and online retailers, respectively. The White rendition joins the aforementioned Orange, the reblended Black (which was released alongside the White for even more contrast), and the recently debuted Red.
Tasting notes: A smooth cigar with a fine cedar aroma, notes of wheat, some freshness of mint and subtle bitter tones. It has a slightly malty note; delivers spices, nuts, fruity tones, sweetness, and gentle pepper.
Owner: General Cigar
Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
Filler: Nicaragua, Mexico
Size: 6 ½ x 50 | 165 x 19,8 mm
#24 | La Flor Dominicana La Volcada Churchill
Known for making cigars that are full of strength, La Flor Dominicana follows up its 2016 release of the Andalusian Bull with the debut of La Volcada. Like the Andulasian Bull, La Volcada was inspired by founder Litto Gomez’s roots in Spain and Uruguay. Inspired by the steps of the tango, a dance that many argue originated in Uruguay, the Volcada’s roots are unquestionably Dominican as its filler leaves are grown on the Gomez’s personal farms in La Canela.
Tasting notes: A pretty cigar with a pigtail, creamy smoke, and exciting in the course of the smoke. Alongside the scent of flowers and citrus notes, it has the sweetness of molasses, pepperiness, bitter notes of Angostura, earthy and roasted aromas, as well as wood aromas with cacao.
Owner: La Flor Dominicana
Factory: Tabacalera La Flor S.A.
Origin: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Size: 7 x 48 | 178 x 19 mm
#23 | My Father La Opulencia Robusto
My Father Cigars, headed my Don Pepín García and his son Jaime, is a giant in the cigar industry. With multiple award-winning lines, the powerhouse based in Doral, Florida, is synonymous with Nicaraguan cigar manufacturing. Their already full lineup of offerings became even more comprehensive in 2017 with The Opulent, or La Opulencia. Debuting at the 2017 IPCPR, La Opulencia has the look, feel and taste that cigar enthusiasts are accustomed to from My Father. With traditional artwork displayed on the box and on the bands, La Opulencia sports the signature cream-and-gold My Father band, with a secondary band displaying the latest name. This line stands out due to the emerald green ribbon adorning the foot.
Tasting notes: A classic: coffee and chocolate, roasted nuts, toast, crackers and again espresso. A winning blend with herbal hints, a delicate sweetness and exciting aromas throughout.
Owner: My Father Cigars, Inc.
Factory: My Father Cigars
Size: 5 ¼ x 52 | 133 x 20,6 mm
#22 | Joya Silver Corona
Made by the oldest and one of the most renowned factories in Estelí, Nicaragua, the Joya Silver is Joya de Nicaragua’s forth and latest installment in its modern cigar lineup, geared towards those new to the cigar lifestyle. The release of the Silver coincides with Joya de Nicaragua’s 50th anniversary. To add to the “edginess” of the flavors and marketing of the Silver, it is also the first box-pressed cigar of the Joya portfolio and is developed by what the company calls the youngest executive team in the industry, and the most senior master blenders of Nicaragua.
Tasting notes: Offering up contrasting notes of bitter earth and milk chocolate, this cigar creates an interesting battle of competing notes in a display of intriguing complexity that is rounded out with espresso.
Owner: Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
Size: 5 1/4 x 42 | 133 x 16,7 mm
#21 | La Aurora Hors d’Age 2017 Toro
Known as the original cigar factory in the Dominican Republic, La Aurora Cigars released the Hors d’Age 2017 this year. This limited release, first introduced at the Procigar Festival in the Dominican Republic and then at the IPCPR in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a cigar that was literally 12 years in the making. The Hors d’Age, whose tobacco was harvested in 2006 and was aged twice as long as other cigars in La Aurora’s line-up, is limited to just under 100,000 cigars.
Tasting notes: A gentle, harmonious, well-balanced cigar with subtle sour notes, the sweetness of dried fruit and also toasted and leathery aromas. The creamy smoke is underscored with pleasant notes of spice and a fruity sweetness.
Owner: La Aurora S.A.
Factory: La Aurora
Origin: Dominican Republic
Filler: Columbia, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Size: 6 x 54 | 152 x 21,4 mm
#20 | Tatuaje RC No. 3
Since 2003, there have been few cigar companies hotter than Tatuaje. Founded by Pete Johnson, who is also wine maker, the Tatuaje label has become a “cult classic” for producing popular regular releases, seasonal series and sought-after, event-only cigars. Tatuaje is recognized as the original boutique cigar company and continues to expand its already large portfolio to appeal to all segments of the cigar community. The RC (Retro Cuba) No. 3 is a European exclusive that covers half of the cigar in a foil wrap, reminiscent of an old Cuban packaging method.
Tasting notes: Aromas of leather, nuts and whole wheat cookies combine with fruity notes, and pleasant bitter tones like coffee and dark chocolate. A creamy cigar with a light ginger sharpness and full harmony.
Owner: Tatuaje Cigars
Factory: My Father Cigars
Size: 6 ½ x 56 | 165 x 22,2 mm
Top 25 Cigars of 2018 Release Schedule
Cigars # 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20: December 10
Cigars # 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14: December 11
Cigars # 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8: December 12
Cigars # 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2: December 13
Cigar of the Year 2018: December 14