EDITOR’S NOTE – We go back a long way with Bob and Dale from Cigar Radio. Walt, Brian and I have made guest appearances on their weekly show. We’re always happy whenever the opportunity arises that we can feature them here on Stogie Review. I’m not as creative as Bob when it comes to introductions but Bob and Dale are much more than fellow cigar personalities, much more than friends…we consider them family. Like many families, we might only see each other once a year and we might not talk as much as we use to, but we know, we’re there for each other. With that, lets hear from Dale Roush, the Master Cigar Technician.
There is no doubt in my mind that today’s cigar passionado has the widest choice of the best cigars ever produced to pick from – whether they want to enjoy a peaceful smoke alone, share good cigars with close friends or meet other cigar lovers at the biggest herfs. We are blessed to have such fierce competition for our business, as it drives improvements at the agricultural level, the manufacturing level and at the retail level. As smokers of premium cigars, even in these tough political times (if you’ve not had a smoking ban affect you, you are lucky indeed) we can retreat into the joys of pure tobacco – lovingly grown, fermented, aged & rolled into works of art that satisfy all the senses.
At this time of year, many in the cigar media will put together their Top 10 lists. Top 10 lists are always a challenge. At best, they are personal observations & experiences over a long period of time that others can relate to. At the most basic level, they are just a list of the cigars that one person, or perhaps a small panel of folks, put together based on some stated criteria. Even then, much about cigars is subjective. It’s easy to rate the quality of construction and the way a cigar burns. Those are objective characteristics most could agree on. Even the flavors, strength and body of a cigar can be identified and sorted. What can not be objectively ordered is different people’s preferences.
When it comes to my top ten cigars of 2009, I decided to limit my list to cigars that were released in 2009. Thus, I open myself to more disagreement than usual just because our collective experience with these cigars is relatively limited. There are likely many people who have not yet had an opportunity to sample one or more that I find worthy. My intent is not to catagorically state that my list is THE definitive list, rather, if you follow my cigars reviews on DogWatch Cigar Radio and find your tastes are similar to mine, I hope this list will encourage you to seek out some you may not have tried. Even with limiting myself to the relatively small list of new releases this year (as compared to all available cigars in 2009), this list will not be the same in another couple of months as it is today. My tastes may change, some of the cigars may not remain consistent or I may find others which I have not yet smoked to replace one or two. This is simply my list, based on a simple criteria of quality of construction, quality of tobacco and mostly, how they taste to me in this moment in time.
You will note that while there are cigars on my list manufactured in the USA, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, all but two of them are Nicaraguan Puros or contain a significant percentage of Nicaraguan tobacco in the blends. Again, I’m not making any statements about the quality of tobaccos from any region, this just shows my personal preference for the tastes, aromas and body of Nicaraguan tobacco in general. You will also note that there are a couple cigars on my list that may not be easy for everyone to obtain. Some are only available in very limited release. One is not allowed to be imported into the US. They do all have a couple things in common, however, and that is they all are top quality cigars made by dedicated tobacco people. Most importantly, they are cigars that provide the range of flavors and depth of experience I look for when I go to choose my next cigar.
Almost all of these cigars have been reviewed on DogWatch Cigar Radio, Stogie Review and other sites over this past year, many of those reviews are much more eloquent than mine. Just because my palate may pick out certain flavors does not mean everyone else will get the same experience, thus I will not include my tasting notes here. You know where to go to hear how I and others have described these cigars! My hope is that if you have not tried any of these, you do so and create an experience for yourself. I hope you find one or two that become part of your regular cigar rotation.
With best wishes to all for a safe and joyous holiday season, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a premium cigar filled New Year.
Now….in my preference from #1 to #10, my Top Ten Cigars from 2009.
Padron 45th Family Reserve (Nicaragua)
Esencia Lancero (Honduras)
Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 (USA)
H. Upmann Magnum 50 (Cuba)
Oliva Cain Maduro (Nicaragua)
Elogio LSV Corona Extra (Nicaragua)
Tatuaje Boris (Nicaragua)
Illusione mj12 (Nicaragua)
Esteban Carreras Habano (Nicaragua)
Capadura Series 898 Extra Ligero (Dominican Republic)