It is that time of year again, where Top 10 Lists are in abundance and manufacturers salivate at the opportunity to Re-Tweet, Share, and +1 all of the praise that their cigars receive. I generally enjoy this time of year and am eager to put a list of my own together. This year, however, I am absolutely dreading it.
In years past I would open up the Cigar Review Index and take in all the cigars we’ve reviewed throughout the year. Most times the index wasn’t necessary as there were several cigars that stood out in my mind as being a fantastic smoke. This year, there are three.
It isn’t that releases this year were sub par, it is simply that my variety has been sub par. Due to finances and my work situation at the time, I had to pass on attending the IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas. To make matters even worse, Kensington Tobacconist, my local cigar shop, went out of business earlier this year. Getting the odd sample, a chance run in with area cigar reps, gone.
Don’t take this as a ‘woe is me’ post. I have hundreds of cigars stashed away in coolers that I’ve collected over the years. The problem is, I have very little ‘new’ product and have fallen into a rut. When it is time to buy cigars, I pick up the phone and order what I know I like. I can’t afford to take a chance on a five-pack these days, and I mean that in the literal sense. Dropping cash on cigars these days is hard enough, I can’t chance spending $35+ on a five pack that I may not like.
So where does that leave us? To be honest, if I knew where this article was heading I would have gotten to the point already.
I suppose it would be best if I talked a bit about what cigars I have enjoyed this year. I can promise you that most of my list will not be new and exciting, but these cigars have put a smile on my face throughout the year.
Nestor Mirando Special Selection – Buckhead Cigar Edition
To make a long story short, I’m not a fan of the Nestor Miranda Special Selection lineup. Back when they were regular sellers at my local shop, I tried on several occasions to like them. The Oscuro and Rosado simply weren’t for me. Not only did I not like them, I thought they were expensive for what they were (easy to say if you have already determined that the line isn’t for you, I suppose).
Shortly after my daughter was born, I met Shing999 for a cigar. He handed me a Nestor Miranda Special Selection Oscuro with an additional band. At the time I was well aware of Buckhead Cigar Club. Not only had I met Mike at an IPCPR Trade Show and talked with him on Twitter, Buckhead is Brian’s local shop. I thanked Paul for the cigar and slipped it into my shirt pocket.
A few days later I thought I’d give the Nestor Miranda Special Selection one last try before giving up hope. The story was that the Buckhead variety had an extra ligero leaf in the blend. I didn’t think it would make much of a difference in how the cigar tasted. I was wrong.
The very next day I climbed into my car and drove back to Kensington Tobacconist. I walked into the humidor and picked up a Nestor Miranda Special Selection Coffee Break, feeling like a junkie trying to get his fix. Not only was that cigar a disappointment, I recall pitching it before the half-way point and lighting up something else.
It didn’t take me long to order a five-pack from Buckhead. I’m not sure how many I’ve smoked this year (I’m looking at two empty boxes right now) but when it comes to my smoking the Nestor Miranda Special Selection, it is either the Buckhead blend or nothing.
EP Carrillo New Wave – El Decano
A few months back I received a Direct Message, on Twitter, from Ernesto Perez Carrillo. Ernesto asked if I would be interested in trying a new size of the EP Carrillo New Wave and giving him some feedback. I can’t express how much I appreciate being asked to give feedback on a line. Being asked to review a line is nice but being asked to give feedback back to the manufacturer is a completely different animal.
I told Ernesto that I’d be happy to smoke a few samples and let him know what I thought. A few days passed by and some mammoth sized cigars arrived for me to smoke. I later learned that these cigars were the upcoming EP Carrillo New Wave El Decano.
I’ve never been a big fan of sixty ring gauge cigars. I think they taste watered down and not nearly as enjoyable as the smaller vitolas. I began smoking the monsters and think of them as gentle giants. They were mild to medium in body and oh-so-creamy.
It was as if this blend was made specifically to be paired with a piping hot cup of black coffee. The El Decano won me over and is one of the few sixty ring gauge cigars that I’ll actually go and seek out.
Since being introduced to the El Decano, I’ve easily smoked 20+ cigars. I’m convinced that it is the ultimate “Lazy Sunday Morning Cigar”.
Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2011
The Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2011 surprised me. I’ll be honest, before lighting up I didn’t have high hopes for it. Disappointment is an understatement of how I felt about the 2010 release. Not to get all theatrical on you, but last years release had no soul. It was like Oliva stole one of my favorite lines away from me.
When I was handed my very first Serie V Maduro 2011, I was skeptical. I thought, “hey, at least it isn’t a torpedo, I should at least get a decent draw out of this one”. I opened up the cigar and set flame to foot. That cigar genuinely surprised me. It smoked and tasted great.
Since that first one, I’ve smoked about a box. It was a sad moment taking the last cigar out of that 10 count box. I wish I’d have gotten more. At this point I just hope that Oliva stays away from the torpedo shape next year.
Thats all your giving us?
Yeah, thats all you’re getting out of me this year. Adding any more cigars at this point would only water things down. I’ve had the pleasure of trying a couple of the more recent cigars, some of which rank high on other peoples Top 10 Lists, but that was just it, there was a cigar here and a cigar there.
If you’re eager to read about other cigars to try, check out Jerry’s Top 10 Cigars of 2011. If that isn’t enough, I’m sure Brian, Mike, and Charlie have their own lists in the works, to be published in the near future.
30 thoughts on “Walt’s Favorite Cigars from 2011”
I was expecting the EP Carillo Maduro to make the list too.
I had a couple of samples of the EP Carrillo Maduro and it was excellent. After quickly smoking through the samples, I ordered a box. While they were good, they weren’t as good as the initial samples.
Nice write up Walt, I love the Series V Maduro and the New Wave, I haven’t had the Buckhead line of NM but I have had their Coffee Break line and thought it was decent but a little over priced. Last time I saw one was at Kurts. Happy New Year
I’d offer you a Buckhead Special Selection but I smoked my last one yesterday. The next time I order them I’ll make sure to set one aside for you.
Thanks and Happy New Year
Cool write up, I like you only grab new cigars here and there. Financial strings are tight but I do what I can. Hope 2012 can bring us more reviews from you! Have a great holiday!
One of my New Years resolutions is to get back to posting/reviewing on a more regular basis.
You have a great holiday as well.
Short, simple, and to the point. I’ll have to look out for these! Thanks Walt! Happy New Year!
Thanks for reading the article.
Happy New Year
Nice to see that you weren’t compelled to put up an obligatory number. I hope to see you posting more often in the coming year.
Have a great 2012!
The plan is to fall back into a regular routine with reviews/articles (I miss writing and this particular post was fun).
You have a great 2012 as well.
I’m gonna be honest with you Walt, this was a very disappointing post/article by you. I certainly understand going through a job transition and finances being tight, I’ve been there before. But only giving us 3 cigars you liked for the year? With you being a reviewer of cigars, I’m certain that several manufacturers sent you samples of their cigars for review and without you having to pay for them. At the rate of which you smoke your cigars and provide reviews, a top 10 (or at least 10 that you enjoyed) for the year would be feasible in my opinion. I still enjoy reading your reviews and I’ll continue to visit the site, but I’ll say it again this was very disappointing to read. It’s almost like a slap in the face to your followers.
I’m sorry you feel that way. Would you really prefer me to list off a few more cigars as “Cigars of the Year” candidates with me only smoking ~2 samples? There seems to be a common misconception that as a cigar reviewer there is a steady flow of free cigars.
A month and a half ago I got 2 Lanceros from a manufacturer to try. Back around August I got 2 sticks of each new release from another manufacturer (probably 12-14 in all). I might be missing another brand or two that sent 1 or 2 sticks, but that pretty much covers the last 6 months.
The only other cigar that I’m remotely comfortable adding to the list would be the Nestor Miranda Casa Miranda and I smoked 3 or 4 of them. What I have listed came from the heart. Anything more and I think I would have just started watering down the post.
Again, I’m sorry you feel that way. I appreciate you taking the time to speak your mind.
A interesting list of cigars,I do not smoke that much, have had the EP Carrillo New Wave, it was very good. Always enjoy reading your reviews. Have a good New Years. Looking forward to 2012.
Let me turn the violin in the background down…LOL
I think missing IPCPR isn’t what did you in this year but more that your local cigar shop went away. While I’m sure you can find all the new releases through our many sources there is nothing like walking into your regular shop and seeing them on the shelf in person or discovering a gem no one had heard of.
We are all about honesty here and letting things happen naturally. I was looking forward to your Top 10 List but totally appreciate the honesty and not forcing something that didn’t feel right.
Walt – I can appreciate where you are coming from with this list. It makes sense that you didn’t force yourself to pick 10 cigars for the sake of having a “Top ten.”
While I had quite a few good cigars on 2011, only 3 really slapped me in the face and made me say “WOW This is F’in great!” So like you, my list was only 3 cigars.
Here are my top 3 words for you Walt…
Thanks for the post, Walt. As far as being disappointed goes, the only disappointment is in hearing that you folks who put so much into the industry by way of reviewing and in essence advertising other people’s products only are given a handful of cigars to smoke each year. That’s a shame. I know you guys aren’t doing this for free cigars. But I’m certain that a lot of people traffic this site and buy cigars based on what they read here… even if it’s not always a shining review I know that when I see a flavor or attribute mentioned that I like, I go try it. That’s free advertising.
I’d love to see the industry embrace you all with a little more love. Stogiereview is the first place I search when I’m looking for a review on a cigar I have yet to try. Case in point, I too was really disappointed with the Oliva V Maduro from 2010… I didn’t pick up the 2011. After reading your thoughts on it, I’m definitely going to seek these out.
Thanks for all of the reviews and entertainment that you and the rest of the crew here and all over the internet provide. It always ALWAYS makes my enjoyment of cigars more fulfilling. If a few people don’t like what you have to offer then they can pound sand… Maybe they don’t know what it’s like to have to chose bills and family over an extra box or two of cigars every month.
Hats off to you and here’s to a great 2012!
No disappointment here! Only gratitude and respect for your candor and honesty. Just makes you all the more real, Walt – down to earth and one of us….acknowledging real life. Thanks so much for that. Looking forward to much more of it this New Year! All the very best for a kind and successful New Year!))
I totally understand your reasoning behind your short review, i find it pretty sad that cigar reps don’t supply new products for you to try and provide a review for many potential buyers that there are on here and on twitter etc!
Have a happy new year!
I find it weird that people are disappointed that you only covered 3 cigars in your list of favorites. While I can understand the disappontment of not having anymore to read, I truly can’t see your write up being a disappointment.
I like your writing style and enjoy reading your reviews. I also appreciate the amount of work and effort that goes into keeping a site like this up and running. Its just a small perk to get some free samples. Huge perk to get to meet and greet actual manufacturers though ;0)
Keep up the good work.
I’m kind of upset that there’s not a Top 10 this year but I choose to look at it like this; I wont have to spend $$$ tracking down 7 other smokes this year 🙂
lol excellent perspective 🙂
Very sad top 3.Walt ts my favorite.But the list was lackluster.Thank You Walt for trying.I just lost my job from layoff. and can understand 100% about getting your hands on new sticks. But I respect your honesty.and manhood.Hopefully we will see more of you in 2012.Your the best and Happy New Year Walt.
Walt, appreciate the post man. Honesty is always the thing that keeps me coming back to your guys site. Only thing I’ll say is I hope you get back to doing more reviews in the new year just because I’ve found that my pallet is pretty much spot on with your likes and dislikes. As far as the top 10 lists go, give me a break there’s a hundred lists out there on all the different blogs with the same 10-20 cigars. keep keeping it real. Best of luck in the new year!
Kind of surprised ur are catchiNg so much for the top ten, thought you would get more “glad you are still on stogie review” type posts since it has been a while since u have done a full “Walt type review”
Look forward to more stuff from you in the future…as a fellow father of a 1 yr old daughter I get it I would just post something quick that there will be no review if you can’t find the time or funds so I go back to changing a diaper instead of looking to see if ur review is just late
In all seriousness you guys do a great job….thanks for ur efforts…and all reps pony up some samples to these gents..lord of mouth is ur best friend in this industry
Less guns…more cigars.
We Want Our Walt Back!
I agree with Harry’s comment…less guns…more cigars.
Maybe instead of a 2011 top ten, give us an all time Walt’s top 10. That would be way more interesting anyway!
Good list Walt. I would have been interested in knowing what cigars you loved from your stash even if they weren’t produced this year. While not in the spirit of 2011 cigars it would certainly be interesting to know what cigars you love over all.
Keep up the good work 🙂