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CIGAR JOURNAL’S TOP 25 CIGARS OF 2019: #13 TO #8

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.

Only the cigars that received a combined score of 90 points or more and those that were initially released less than two years ago are eligible for selection.


#13 | Balmoral Añejo XO Connecticut Petit Robusto Flagtail

blankFollowing the successful launch of the Balmoral Añejo XO Connecticut in the United States last year, the new line was launched in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland in May 2019. Royal Agio Cigars was founded in 1904 by Jacques Wintermans and today is managed by Boris Wintermans. The blend of the new line is the lightest in the Balmoral Añejo XO family. It is available in the following formats: Petit Robusto, Corona, Rothschild Masivo, Gran Toro and Torpedo.

Tasting notes:
This cigar is adorned with a pretty pigtail. It presents fine sweetness, earthy and cedary aromas, slightly bitter nutty tones and a touch of fruit. A smooth blend, balanced and harmonious, entertaining and intense.

Owner: Royal Agio Cigars
Factory: Royal Agio Cigars
Origin: Dom. Rep.
Wrapper: USA
Binder: Ecuador
Filler: Dom. Rep., USA, Brazil
Strength: 5 (out of 10)
Size: 108 x 19.0 | 4 1/4 x 48
Released: 2018

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#12 | Antigua Esteli Segovias Maduro Robusto

blankThe Segovias Maduro Robusto utilises a spicy San Andrés wrapper, lovingly crafted in the south of the Mexican state of Veracruz, where warm winds blow, and volcanic soil produces signature notes. The cigar is made by Antigua Estelí at the Diamond Cigars S.A. factory in Estelí and was showcased at the 2019 IPCPR (now PCA). The cigars come packed in boxes of 21, complete with Boveda packs to maintain humidity.

Tasting notes:
The sweetness of vanilla, licorice, a bit of cinnamon and fruit agree perfectly with the roasted aromas of coffee and subtle bread and sponge-cake aromas. This Robusto has a razor-sharp burn. The smoke texture is super creamy, with gentle pepper.

Owner: Antigua Esteli Tobacco Corp. Inc.
Factory: Barreda Cigars
Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexico
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Strength: 8 (out of 10)
Size: 140 x 20.6 | 5 1/2 x 52
Released: 2019

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#11 |Gurkha Ghost Gold Shadow

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Long associated with exotic cigars and flamboyant boxes and humidors, Gurkha released the Ghost Gold Series at the 2018 ICPCR (now PCA). A blend of Dominican, American and Nicaraguan tobacco, the Shadow is the smallest vital in this line, with a wrapper of Ecuadorian Habano leaf and a Criollo 1998 binder.

Tasting notes:
This cigar develops a rainbow of aromas: earth, wood, cacao, nuts and cereals are underscored with a cinnamon sweetness. The cigar becomes spicier, more robust, but also sweeter. At the end, a peppery kick also comes into play. Exciting.

Owner: Gurkha Cigar Group, Inc.
Factory: PDR Cigars
Origin: Dom. Rep.
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Mexico
Filler: Dom. Rep., Nicaragua, USA
Strength: 8 (out of 10)
Size: 127 x 20.6 | 5 x 52
Released: 2018

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#10 | VegaFina 1998 VF52

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This cigar embodies the new wave of innovation at VegaFina; the 1998 series was launched in June 2019. Together with the VF52, two other vitolas were launched to complete the series: the VF50 (114 x 19.8 | 4 ½ x 50) and the VF54 (155 x 21.4 | 6 1/10 x 54).

Tasting notes:
This cigar draws and burns excellently and builds up a solid ash. The fruit-accentuated gentle acidity is a nice counterpoint to the creamy, velvety smoke texture of the cigar. It develops roasted, cedary, and earthy aromas.

Owner: Tabacalera S.L.U.
Factory: Tabacalera de García
Origin: Dom. Rep.
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Indonesia
Filler: Dom. Rep., Nicaragua, Colombia
Strength: 5 (out of 10)
Size: 135 x 20.6 | 5 3/10 x 52
Released: 2019

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#9 |Rocky Patel Tavicusa Toro

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Created by Rocky Patel to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of his Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A., also known as the TAVICUSA boutique factory in Estelí, the Tavicusa Toro features tobaccos from Condega, Jalapa, Estelí, and San Andrés. Along with the Toro, the Tavicusa line also features a Robusto and a Sixty, all presented in 20-count boxes.

Tasting notes:
Sweetness, piquant notes and roasted aromas contest for supremacy in this cigar. In the creamy smoke, at first the raisin sweetness leads, then the BBQ notes again; then gingerbread, then again pepper and ginger. Exciting harmony.

Owner: Rocky Patel Premium Cigars
Factory: Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A. (Tavicusa)
Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexico
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Strength: 7 (out of 10)
Size: 165 x 20.6 | 6 ½ x 52
Released: 2018

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#8 | Plasencia Alma del Fuego Flama

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The Plasencia Alma del Fuego Flama, a Panatela, is Nicaraguan puro featuring tobacco from Ometepe and a sun-grown wrapper from Jalapa. Presented in striking red-lacquered boxes of 10, and with the lid doubling as an ashtray, the entire Alma del Fuego line and packaging is a work of art and a sight to behold. The Panatela will delight fans of Nicaraguan puros and thin-ring-gauge cigars.

Tasting notes:
This slim cigar pulls out all the stops: from sweet to peppery, from salty to tart, from acidic to meaty. The palate and nose experience a rainbow of flavors and aroma sensations. And all this carried by thick, creamy smoke.

Owner: Plasencia Group
Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A.
Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Strength: 7 (out of 10)
Size: 165 x 15.1 | 6 ½ x 38
Released: 2019

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TOP 25 CIGARS OF 2019
Cigars # 25–20: December 9
Cigars # 19–14: December 10
Cigars # 13–8: December 11
Cigars # 7–2: December 12

Cigar of the Year 2019: December 13


 


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