2009 was an awesome year for cigars and I’m anxious to see what Walt and Brian have listed this year. I had a difficult time paring the list down to just ten. To help me pare the list down, I limited it to cigars I reviewed here on Stogie Review in 2009. These cigars weren’t necessarily released in 2009, just reviewed throughout the year. If I didn’t smoke enough of a cigar to review it, then I felt that it wasn’t on an even playing field and could not be fairly compared. Whew…now, onto the list:
10. Cuba Aliados Miami Robusto -> While my actual review was based on a lone cigar, I was able to smoke plenty more throughout the year. While its predominant woody and peppery tastes are common flavors, Rolando Reyes Sr. was able to work his magic so that a common blend smoked in a unique way.
9. Room101 Cigars by Camacho 702 (11/18) -> A controversial cigar that put my street cred in question with some of my loyal following. I still stand by my opinion that the Room101 in the classic Camacho 11/18 size is a special cigar that has just as much substance as it does flare.
8. Illusione ~hl~ -> Not the most popular size made by Dion Giolito. The knock on it is that it is lacking a robust flavor and body when compared to the remainder of the Illusione lineup. The ~hl~ won my heart with its complex woodsy and white pepper flavor profile, all wrapped together inside a sexy Lancero size. Dion is the master of blends that pop in small ring gauges.
7. “Cruz”ado Domenicos -> Where would Stogie Review be without this gem. Badass name that inspired Don “Cruz”ado in Mafia Wars. Again, not the most popular size in the “Cruz”ado lineup and it is overshadowed by the more popular Illusione line. What I found most unique about the “Cruz”ado was its bouquet of aromas that complimented its flavor profile very well. The smell of freedom has never smelt better.
6. CAO MX3 -> It was tough to put the MX3 in this position. I wanted it to place higher but the competition was just too fierce. While some knock it because it’s not a national release, I’m actually happy that its not. More for me. Old school maduro flavors with new school levels of richness. Truly a gem of a cigar that is, hands down, the best of the entire Escaparate collection.
5. CAO La Traviata Divino -> An instant classic cigar. The CAO La Traviata is legit. Balanced with a savory spicy/sweet taste that eventually incorporates a syrupy, woodsy flavor that had me from beginning to end. With back to back CAO entries, I can hear the chants of fanboi starting.
4. Man O’War Ruination Robusto #1 -> If there is one cigar that I smoked the hell out of this year, its the Ruination. There was a time that I had two 50 count humidors filled to the brim with these powerhouse cigars. The ruination combines power with an array of refined flavors which really make it a winner in my opinion. One day, and one day soon, the mainstream cigar media will give AJ Fernandez the overdue props he deserves.
3. Tatuaje Noella Reserva -> Mmmm…easily and without debate, the Tatuaje Noella Reserva could easily be in my top spot. Like I said in my original review, imagine if a Tatuaje Black and a Tatuaje Brown got together, hooked up, and had babies. Pete Johnson describes these Reservas as a “little monster” (in reference to The Frank in his Monster Series) but I call them a flavor bomb! If I were to play a game of Thermonuclear War, I’d want this flavor nuke on my side. It would be game over for my enemy!
2. Padron Family Reserve 45 Years -> The odds on favorite to be The Cigar of The Year for that “lifestyle” publication and without a doubt, if you smoked “The Hammer”, you’d see why a top spot in any list is justifiable. The Hammer continues to show why Padron is top notch in the cigar industry.
1. Davidoff Colorado Claro (Special T) -> It doesn’t get much more special than this. Meeting the Pope is a once in a lifetime event and so is the smoking experience of the Davidoff Colorado Claro. Its out of that “comfort” zone that most of us like to stay in but like other things in life, its worth the treat.
Closing Thoughts & Honorable Mentions
Well, there you have it. My Top 10 Cigars for 2009. Any of the Top 3 could easily take the top spot. But wait, there is more…no list would be complete without a few honorable mentions. These are cigars that if there weren’t so many limited edition cigars would’ve definitely made the list.
Camacho Connecticut 11/18 -> Again the classic 11/18 size of Camacho adds something special to the mix.