We're bringing you Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 Cigars of 2017 right here at Cigars.com. We'll announce them here each day according to their reveal schedule. Who will be the best of the best this year? Stay tuned to find out.
Monday, December 18: Cigars No. 10, 9 and 8
Tuesday, December 19: Cigars No. 7, 6 and 5
Wednesday, December 20: Cigars No. 4, 3 and 2
Thursday, December 21: The Cigar of the Year
Friday, December 22: Cigars No. 11 through 25
January 10, 2018: The Best Bargain Cigars of 2017
#1 • 2017 • Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark
And here it is, the moment we’ve all been waiting for— Cigar Aficionado’s Top Cigar of 2017: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark! And what an experience this 97-rated premium smoke is, from start to finish. The blend, which is a modification of the brand’s original Don Carlos cigar, was originally set a commemorative release for the 80th birthday of Fuente’s father, ‘Don’ Carlos Fuente Sr., who later passed away the same year. Though the Don didn’t see this tribute come into fruition, he is graciously celebrated on the label of each cigar. And oh, what a cigar this is…
Usually, when praising a stogie, both fans and critics alike point to two components: flavor and construction. But we can’t just limit Eye of the Shark’s superiority to just two things, because everything about this premium gem is great, and equally distinct. Its unique demi-press shape makes it stand out in any humidor; with a half box-press that gradually transitions to a more conventional form. It uses a delectable Cameroon wrapper, along with a binder and quality blend of premium fillers, both from the Dominican Republic, to set it apart from the other 24 nominees, as the crème de la crème of 2017. Just one puff of this extraordinary cigar will set the stage for one of the most enjoyable smoking experiences of your life. One that’s worth every cent of this luxurious blend, and one that truly keeps the spirit of Don Carlos alive and well. Congratulations to Arturo Fuente, on this well-deserved honor!
#2 • 2017 • Padrón Serie 1926 No. 2 (Natural)
Wouldn’t it be strange for a Padrón to not be in the top five? This is the company that set the bar for not only Nicaraguan puros, but a level of overall quality for premium cigars in general. Cigar Aficionado has never had a top-10 list without a Padrón, and this year, the Padrón Serie 1926 No. 2 (Natural) has once again earned its distinction among the best-of-the-best. This is actually the second appearance in the number 2 slot for the No. 2 (say that three times fast). With an astounding 96-rating, the Padron 1926 Series No. 2 Natural line utilizes hand-selected Nicaraguan tobaccos of only the highest quality, which are then aged for another five full years. Considered to be the pinnacle of Nicaraguan perfection, the Series 1926 take sits name from the birth year of Padrón founder José Orlando Padrón, who unfortunately passed away on December 5. But the cigar icon leaves being a legacy as a game-changer, and this full-bodied masterpiece is one of the best. If you’re a flavor enthusiast or top-shelf connoisseur, in search of a sophisticated, but luxurious smoke, then the Padrón Serie 1926 No. 2 is the smoke for you. Just look at its longstanding consistency and you’ll know you cannot go wrong. A company can turn out 1000 cigars in a batch, and despite a high-level of quality, there’s bound to be one that burns funny or pulls tightly; something that’s completely understandable. But let me tell you, I’ve smoked a lot of Padróns— and there has never been a dud. Salute to your legacy José, and congrats to the brand for another strong year!
The number 3 cigar of 2017, the Oliva Serie V Belicoso, is a stunning Nicaraguan puro that’s loaded with rich flavor and bold aroma. A vigorous, full-bodied cigar, Series V boasts a stellar blend of aged Nicaraguan ligero tobaccos from the land’s Jalapa Valley. Handmade within the Tabacalera Oliva S.A. factory, this 95-rated gem is no stranger to glory. Oliva Cigar Co.’s Series V has been a favorite among cigar lovers for over a decade now. When the company was bought last year, the brand’s devoted enthusiasts realistically feared looming changes to the product, especially their beloved Series V lineup. But despite the change, the result is as rich and complex as ever, maintaining the same levels of exemplary quality that made Series V a benchmark in premium cigars long ago. In addition to its craftsmanship and superior flavor, Oliva’s Serie V has also kept its lower price point, truly making it one of the best deals in the industry, and a cigar you can bank on cracking the list again in 2018.
#4 • 2017 • Bolivar Belicoso Fino
Coming in at number four is the Bolivar Belicoso Fino. This fuller-bodied Cuban puro is becoming increasingly available (as all Cuban cigars are), making it an ideal selection for any full-flavored enthusiast. The Belicoso Fino comes handcrafted and gorgeously presented, displaying a balanced profile of sweetened and earthy nuances. With its commendable 94-rating, this quality smoke is one of the most intriguing and intricate cigars you’ll ever experience. Its earthy profile is nowhere near as mossy or woodsy as one’s mind would gravitate into thinking upon hearing the word. Instead, Bolivar has created a rich and incredibly balanced complex that stands above even the finest Cuban offerings. Augmented by their stunning cedar-lined boxing, the Belicoso Fino is a prime display of the traits that have made Bolivar cigars some of the most desired among their dedicated followers. An incredible stick for an enjoyable smoking experience; and completely deserving of its spot in this year’s top 5.
#5 • 2017 • Alec Bradley Tempus Natural Centuria
Cracking the top 5 cigars of 2017 is the Alec Bradley Tempus Natural Centuria. The Alec Bradley brand is one of the most desirable and continually well-received boutique manufacturers in the world today, so the inclusion of the delectable Tempus Natural Centuria among the best-of-the-best comes as no surprise. The original Alec Bradley Tempus was the result of owner Alan Rubin’s first-go at a full-bodied premium cigar, over a decade ago. This reimagined Natural Centuria variation is notable for using a distinct wrapper grown from the Trojés region of Honduras. Though extremely palatable, this unique leaf is regarded for its unusually specific taste, which immediately sets Tempus Natural Centuria apart from any other top-shelf selection released this year. A Honduran/Indonesian binder, and a lush filler mix comprised of bold Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos, perfectly complement the unorthodox leaf— resulting in a top-notch cigar with unprecedented taste, and an admirable 94-rating.
#6 • 2017 • Ashton Symmetry Belicoso
Coming in at number 6 is a 94-rated collaboration between Ashton and Arturo Fuente— Ashton Symmetry Belicoso. Handmade within the Tabacalera A. Fuente Y Cia factory in the Dominican Republic, this premium gem boasts a perfectly refined Ecuadoran wrapper, and a binder and filler mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos; which notably makes this quality smoke the first Ashton-branded cigar to utilize Nicaraguan leaf. This exceptional stogie lives up to its namesake with its unparalleled balance, or what its master blenders have labeled as ‘symmetry.’ This is a fantastic medium-to-full bodied smoke, which delivers impeccably balanced nuances of rich sweet and spicy flavors. Cigar buffs eagerly awaited another Ashton and Arturo Fuente team-up— and coming in just shy of the top 5, we’re happy to report that Ashton Symmetry was certainly worth the wait!
#7 • 2017 • My Father The Judge Grand Robusto
All rise for the number 7 cigar of the year: My Father The Judge Grand Robusto. I just knew this box-pressed beauty would make the cut! My Father Cigars S.A.’s esteemed father and son team of José and Jaime Garcia have done it again, this time employing a reddish-brown Ecuador Sumatra-seed wrapper and two (!!) Nicaraguan binders, over a vigorous medley of choice aged Nicaraguan tobaccos, grown of course from their renowned family farm. This powerfully luxurious stogie delivers a tremendous burst of cocoa, leather, roasted nuts, toasted cedar and accompanying spices, which both full-flavored enthusiasts and ‘My Father’ devotees are sure to take to. The My Father The Judge Grand Robusto is immensely flavorful, masterfully crafted, and visually stunning— and is truly worthy of racking up its impressive 93-rating.
#8 • 2017 • Guardian of the Farm Apollo Selección de Warped
Coming in at number 8, we have a collaborative cigar from Max Fernandez of Casa Fernandez, and Kyle Gellis of Warped Cigars fame— the Guardian of the Farm Apollo Selección de Warped. Named in tribute of the youthful master blender’s canine companions, Guardian of the Farm is a fantastic stogie, brimming with rich, nutty character. Comprised of some of the finest Nicaraguan Aganorsa tobaccos in the world, this exceptional smoke uses a savory blend of 100% premium Criollo and Corojo vintage leaves, and comes topped with a flavorful Corojo ’99 wrapper. With its medium-bodied profile and satisfying complexity, this quality stogie managed to conjure up an impressive 93-rating, earning a coveted top-10 spot in 2017. Handmade within the Tabacos Valle De Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) factory with a slender frame and uncut foot; Guardian of the Farm is a must-try cigar, overloaded with fragrant nuances that any full-flavored enthusiast is sure to love!
#9 • 2017 • Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V
You can’t have a list of some of the year’s best without including one of the most prominent names in premium cigars! Coming in at number 9, we have the Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V. The Plasencia family has been a longtime provider of high-quality tobaccos to some of the most distinguishable names in the premium cigar industry— but since unveiling their very own distribution label, the family has been striking gold on their own with each release of their revolutionary ‘Alma’ series. This Alma Fuerte Generacion V comes from the father-and-son team of Nestor and Nestor Andrés Plasencia, and uses 100% Nicaraguan tobaccos from four of the nation’s best growing regions: Estelí, Ometepe, Jalapa and Condega. Generacion V features vintage Criollo ’98 filler tobaccos, a Jalapa Shade Grown wrapper, and comes presented in a special box-pressed Salomon size. These nifty 10-count cigar boxes even double as an ashtray! Living up to its name, which translates to “strong soul,” these rich, fuller-bodied cigars have earned a stellar 93-raing, and are some of the luxurious full-flavored smoke out there.
#10 • 2017 • Villiger La Flor de Ynclan Robusto
Villiger has stepped into the premium cigar limelight with the number 10 ‘Top Cigar of 2017’— Villiger La Flor de Ynclan Robusto. This incredibly flavorful, 5 x 50-sized premium gem, has racked up a credible 93-rating, a far cry from the brand’s previous attempts to transition into the premium cigar game. With heart and determination, Chairman Heinrich Villiger turned to the renowned José Matias Maragoto, to completely reinvent the La Flor de Ynclan— and we’re happy to report that this Robusto variety has shattered expectations, earning its way to a top-10 debut in Cigar Aficionado’s much-revered lineup of exemplary smokes! La Flor de Ynclan Robusto uses Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers, an Indonesian binder, and a gorgeous Ecuadorian wrapper; delivering an invigorating rush of bold, aromatic nuances, that are seamlessly balanced again an intricate backbone. The result is a complex smoke from the very first puff, all the way through its last, that has surely earned a worthwhile spot in any cigar humidor or premium cigar collection. Persistence has certainly paid off with this one. Welcome to the fold, Villiger Cigars!