We, Brian and Rudy—founders of Cigars.com, are not simply administrators and corporate workers, we are complete cigar nerds. We're constantly smoking the newest blends from the world’s leading manufacturers not just in order to sell them, but for the pure enjoyment of it. Most of us were cigar smokers long before we were employed here. So, we would like to share with you what some of our favorites are. We’ll be posting lists of what some of us recently had the pleasure of smoking. This is more than just a review section. It is also a way for beginners to get an idea of what we enjoy and maybe pick up a few tips on what new brands to look out for.
#1 Illusione Haut 10
I had the pleasure of enjoying this limited anniversary blend from Illusione. Dion Giolito has sure outdone himself with this one. Before we even discuss the cigar, lets talk about its style. Haut 10 is French which loosely translates to Top 10. This was inspired by the 10th anniversary of the Illusione line. The box has a fantastic depiction of the architecture of the Great Pyramids. I’m not sure why, but it’s awesome. This release is only available in the robusto extra size, which I was delighted by.
It is a Nicaraguan puro, using a top blend of Criollo and Corojo tobaccos throughout, giving it an amazingly complex profile. Its starts off with notes of nuts and a dash of pepper. The pepper develops overtime, being accompanied by a nice hint of toast and a zesty creamy finish. This is one of Illusiones most highly rated cigars, and I can now see why.
#2 Quesada Espana Corona
I am part of a large underground following that feels that Quesada does not get the respect they deserve. Think about it for a minute, have you ever had a Quesada that wasn’t amazing? Hats right, you haven’t. This small limited line was originally only available in Spain, hence the name “Espana”. After Manuel gave out some samples to American retailers, they begged him to release it in the states. Now, there is a limited quantity, but I implore you to smoke them if you find the.
This hand rolled gem is hand rolled with Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers and binders, which create a nutty yet zesty aroma. The wrapper is an unusual Ecuadorian Arapiraca leaf. Arapriaca is famous for being grown in Brazil, but they figured let’s see what happens when the country with the best wrappers takes a shot at it. Well the results are in and all I can say is, yeah.
This smoke starts off with a decent hit of pepper, before settling down and developing wonderful notes of cocoa and leather. Soon hints of chocolate and raisins start to come into play, yt all the flavors remain balanced. The last third a surprising creaminess started to hit my palate and stayed through till the end. Please smoke this cigar, and tell your friends about it. I want Quesada to go viral!
#3 Espinosa Laranja Reserva Corona Gorda
I’ve gone on record saying this, and by god I will say it again. The Laranja from Erik Espinosa is one of the greatest cigars of all time. From the first time I ever smoked one I was totally hooked. From is simple yet elegant band to its complex blend and smooth rich aroma, it is everything I look for in a cigar. So honestly, smoking one of these was not a rare occasion, in fact its become quite common.
Hand rolled in the legendary La Zona factory, this highly rated cigar is crafted with the finest aged Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos. The finishing touch is a zesty and stunning Brazilian wrapper that has a definitive orange hue to its color. The name of the cigar comes from the Portuguese word for orange. Time for another fun fact, Portuguese is the official language of Brazil. The band reminds of my youth, when I would order an orange creamsicle from the ice cream truck.
Although this cigar is full bodied, it starts out incredibly smooth. Only later does the strength really start to build, but it is never overwhelming. The initial hints of pepper and leather are soon joined by wonderful notes of citrus and nuts. The final few puffs see all these flavors coming together for a tremendous crescendo. A Truly wonderful smoke and one I hope you add to your lineup.
#4 Caldwell Anastasia Churchill
The weird thing about the Anastasia is I smoked a few of them before they were officially released. In fact, I was enjoying this cigar long before it was released. People just seemed to pass them around, like a secret marketing campaign. Well, it worked because the hype started to grow and now everyone wants them.
This Churchill is a collaboration between my dear friend Robert Caldwell and the famed E.P. Carillo. Take the designs and and creativity of Caldwell and mix that with the knowledge and ingenuity of Ernesto, and the results are out of this world. The name is taken from the famous daughter of Russian Emperor Nicholas II. Caldwell fans should already know Nicholas, as he was the subject of Roberts highly coveted Last Tsar. The blend has been kept a total secret, which really makes me mad. I need to know what magical equation of tobaccos made this outstanding cigar.
This smoke stays consistent all the way through, a testament to the quality of a Carillo cigar. It is incredibly complex, with a different flavor coming almost with every puff. You start out with some cedar and dried fruit nuts, and then suddenly you’re getting hints of honey and pepper. By the middle of the cigar, I was even tasting raisins and nutmeg. This is a cigar that will certainly keep your taste buds guessing.
#5 Warped Flor Del Valle Las Brumas
Warped has always held a special place in my heart. Kyle Gellis is one of the coolest guys you can ever meet and his is a master at creating new and exciting blends. The Flor de Valle has consistently been one of my favorites and has received critical acclaim across the board. This smoke was made for Warped by the legendary Casa Fernandez. For those of you who do not know, Casa Fernandez has an amazing reputation and is responsible for blending cigars for Illusione, Foundation, and their own name brand lines.
This petit robusto is hand rolled with a variety of rare Nicaraguan tobaccos. It only uses a special type of Cuban seed tobacco known as Aganorsa. Its wrapper is a Corojo from the Jalapa regon, giving it a very unique and enticing flavor. Its filler is a mix of Corojo and Criollo tobaccos, which give sit its complex aroma.
Flor de Valle translates as “Blossom of the Valley”, while this particular size is from the Spanish word for the mist. It seems like an odd name until you light it up. At first you get amazing notes of cinnamon and a rich oak taste. Then a subtle floral note develops that really balances out the whole blend. It smoked perfectly from end to end and due to its vintage blend, it burned for a long time. Il be honest, I was sad that it was over.