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.
#7 | Partagás Series No. 1 Edición Limitada 2017
The Partagás Series No. 1 Edición Limitada, produced under the factory size Nobleza, sits alongside the Cohiba Talismán and the Punch Regios de Punch as 2017 Edición Limitada releases from Habanos S.A. Although it didn’t receive as much media coverage as the Cohiba Talismán, the Partagás Series No. 1 Limited Edition satisfies the most ardent Partagás fans with flavors that stay true to the brand. For a fresh cigar that is probably yet to hit its stride – which it will with a couple of years in the humidor – it’s a gorgeous one that deserves much more attention than its Class of 2017 colleagues.
Tasting notes: This cigar is excellently rolled and starts off with aromas of leather, earth, wood, and nuts as well as an intense spicy taste. An expressive cigar with a toasty element and subtle pepperiness in the finish.
Owner: Habanos S.A.
Size: 5 3/8 x 52 | 137 x 20,6 mm
#6 | Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed 60×6
The Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed 6 x 60 was the first new vitola since the Davidoff Nicaragua line was first released. The 6 x 60 box-pressed format, combined with a blend of Estelí Ligero, Jalapa, Ometepe and Condega tobaccos intrigued our blind-tasting, cigar-review panelists. In this first instance of a 6 x60 box-pressed cigar from Davidoff, master blender Henke Kelner has created a unique masterpiece for those who prefer a big ring gauge, box-pressed Nicaraguan puro.
Tasting notes: Tangy cedar wood, nutty roasted aromas; the sweetness of dried fruit … this cigar pulls out all the stops. Delicate bitter tones combine on the palate with discreet sour notes and a fine caramel sweetness.
Owner: Oettinger Davidoff AG
Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 6 x 60 | 152 x 23,8 mm
#5 | Perdomo Habano Bourbon Barrel Aged Epicure Sun Grown
Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, who had been making cigars in Cuba since the 1930s, Nick Perdomo Jr. founded Perdomo Cigars in 1992 and quickly became a powerhouse in the cigar industry. This Miami-based company that owns and operates one of the largest cigar factories in Nicaragua produces millions of cigars a year for itself and for many others in the industry. Perdomo Jr. was one of the first in the cigar industry to age cigars in bourbon barrels. The wrapper leaves of the Habano Bourbon Barrel Aged Epicure Sun Grown are first aged for six years, before spending an additional 10 months in bourbon-soaked oak.
Tasting notes: This spicy, creamy blend delivers fine wood aromas, coupled with walnut and a touch of a whiskey finish. Later, the profile develops more towards coffee and chocolate. This is pure harmony.
Owner: Perdomo Cigars
Factory: Tabacalera Perdomo
Size: 6 x 54
#4 | Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Robusto Grande
Pappy Van Winkle whiskey has achieved cult status among Bourbon lovers, and the Pappy Van Winkle line of cigars, created by Drew Estate, has reached similar cult status among cigar (and bourbon) enthusiasts. Unlike its predecessor, Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented cigars, the Tradition line is not aged in barrels that once contained Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon. Tradition is said to be one of the first blends that Willy Herrera made for Drew Estate when he came on board. With nothing to do with former Pappy Van Winkle barrels, the blend is one that Julian Van Winkle, president of the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, really enjoyed. We admit, we thoroughly enjoyed it, too!
Tasting notes: With nutty, coffee and toast aromas as well as wood and a cocoa/caramel sweetness, this cigar makes a promising start. It develops delicate salty, earthy tones and a very interesting sweet-sour play on the palate.
Owner: Drew Estate, LLC
Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Size: 5 ½ x 54 | 140 x 21,4 mm
#3 | Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Soberano Maduro AT
Celebrating the Padrón company’s 30th anniversary in 1994, the Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series is one needing no introduction. That said, the packaging of the Natural and Maduro Soberano additions represent the first time that Pardón has introduced a square-shaped tubo to its collection. The Maduro’s expressive taste stood out and delivers a fantastic cigar experience.
Tasting notes: This cigar has a whole herb garden, with eucalyptus, tarragon, pepper … and, in addition, a fine sweetness as well as gentle bitter tones. Coffee, roasted and nut aromas accentuate the expressive taste.
Owner: Padrón Cigars, Inc.
Size: 5 x 52 | 127 x 20.6 mm
#2 | A.J. Fernandez Enclave Broadleaf Churchill
A third-generation Cuban grower and cigar manufacturer, A.J. Fernandez has made a name for himself in the industry for both creating many popular cigars bearing his name and for a multitude of other companies. Sought after not only for his extensive knowledge of farming, production and quality control, Fernandez’s name has become synonymous with Nicaraguan tobacco. The Enclave Broadleaf, which is the second release in the Enclave line, is the first cigar in the Fernandez portfolio to use a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The original Enclave was blended by A.J. Fernandez and his father, Ismael.
Tasting notes: An extremely tangy Churchill with earthy, nutty and leather aromas. This cigar develops an exciting play on the palate between the sweetness of chocolate and licorice as well as a zesty tang. A perfectly harmonious blend.
Owner: A.J. Fernandez Cigars
Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez
Wrapper: United States of America
Size: 7 x 52
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