The Box-Worthies: Brian’s Top 10 Cigars of 2011

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The Box-Worthies: Brian’s Top 10 Cigars of 2011

‘Tis the season for cigar lists, and here’s mine. I like to think of what follows as my real top 10 list. Meaning that, when I lift the humidor lid, the following cigars are the ones I really hope to find waiting for me front and center. New or old, complex or straightforward, these are the smokes I’m always happy to light up, the ones I do my best to keep in supply. Of course, it didn’t always work out that they were what I was smoking at any given time in 2011. My weekly reviews kept me busy seeking new blends, but you can bet they were in the mix between reviews, even if they weren’t featured in the Week In Smoke.

10.) J. Fuego Origen Originals (aka “The Soft Pack”)
These little paper-wrapped cheroots deserve a spot in my top ten for the role they’ve taken as my defacto driving smoke. I almost always have a pack of these in my pocket when I leave the house. The Origen blend really shines in this format, and it surprises me that I prefer it to the Grand Reserva Corojo Originals blend.

9.) Davidoff Colorado Claro Double R
The Colorado Claro Double R has been my favorite special occasion smoke for some time. Despite the intimidating price tag, I’ve put together a small stash of these lengthy rich and decadent gems. Burning one is bittersweet, they’re usually hard to find and expensive to replace. Which is probably the reason I try to talk myself out of smoking them, generally without much success.

8.) La Flor Dominicana Colorado Oscuro
The Colorado Oscuro is a cigar that’s beautiful both to look at and to taste. The deal is made even sweeter by the comfortable price tag. I couldn’t stop smoking them when they first appeared at my local shop.

7.) J. Fuego Sangre De Toro
Jesus Fuego’s latest offering is a winner, and worth tracking down online if your local shop doesn’t carry them. Its intriguing sweet, spicy and faintly herbal wood profile has me making box purchases.

6.) El Primer Mundo Rosado Oscuro Figurado (aka “The Black Label Perfecto”)
The Rosado Oscuro Figurado is a cigar I’ve been a fan of for years. But in 2011 it really made a comeback in my smoking rotation. In fact, there aren’t many cigars I’ve smoked more in the past year than this tasty perfecto.

5.) Illusione 88
The 88 is still a go-to, a cigar that is far greater than it’s size, and also the one responsible my lack of familiarity with some of Dion’s other vitolas. It’s hard to try another Illusione when you know this one is exactly what you want.

4.) Tatuaje 7th Reserva
This is one place where I’m in complete agreement with Jerry, the 7th Reserva is delicious. After I smoked my first, I went back and bought what remained of the box, smoked those, and returned many more times.

3.) J. Fuego Grand Reserva Corojo No. 1
This one won’t surprise anyone, the Grand Reserva Corojo has been a top 10 selection of mine for several year. Still an incredible cigar, one that always fits the bill. (In fact, I was smoking one as I made this list.)

2.) My Father Le Bijou 1922 Corona Gorda (B&M Exclusive Blend)
This special edition was made exclusively for shop here in Atlanta and is packed with what seems like and impossible amount of flavor and healthy dose of power and it just gets better with time. Unfortunately, it was a one time deal, though I’ve heard unconfirmed rumors about a second batch (or perhaps a secret stash). I really hope there’s some truth to it, my stockpile won’t last forever.

1.) Liga Privada T52
I don’t know how it happened, but more than any other cigar I’ve smoked in the past year, the stick I most want to find looking back at me from the top tray of my humidor is Drew Estate’s Liga Privada T52. I love the rich, earthy and smoky flavor, and how it seems to taste great with just about any beverage, or after any meal, any time of the day. Heck, it’s the cigar that smokes itself, that alone is pretty impressive.

Bonus List: Brian’s Favorite New Cigars of 2011
The problem with my annual top 10 is that I focus on my favorite cigars, not just the hot new smokes. So it doesn’t answer the question that’s frequently asked, what were your favorite new cigars this year? It turns out it wasn’t hard to come up with a list. It was harder to pare it down to just 10 smokes, so I didn’t. I went with 15.

15.) Nestor Miranda Grand Reserve
A beauty of a smoke. It’ll be a shame when these are gone.

14.) Room 101 Namakubi Papi Chulo
I may busted some balls in my review of this cigar, but I Matt Booth has my attention. It’s a great little smoke, and a hint of good things to come from Room 101.

13.) Drew Estate Undercrown
It’s hard not to like the Undercrown if you enjoy the Liga Privada T52.

12.) EP Carillo Edicion Limitada 2011 “Dark Rituals”
Big dark and decadent, what’s not to love.

11.) Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada
I wasn’t a fan of the Casa Magna, but I loved this limitada.

10.) El Primer Mundo Epifania
Sean Williams keeps delivering the goods with the Epifania. It was so hard not include this stick in my top 10.

9.) San Lotano Oval
Another great smoke from AJ Fernandez.

8.) Tatuaje Black Petite Lancero
I smoked a lot of these in the past year, and it was definitely in the running for my top 10.

7.) EP Carillo New Wave Connecticut
The New Wave is such a great, and unique Connecticut.

6.) Casa Fernandez Miami
As is well established by now, I’m a fan of the cigars produced by Casa Fernandez and the new Miami was really good. Who needs cubans when you can smoke one of these?

5.) Illusione 88 Maduro
I was really impressed by this maduro interpretation of the 88, and regretted not buying more the one opportunity I had. I wasn’t alone in my enjoyment, the box was long gone when I returned for more.

4.) La Flor Dominicana Colorado Oscuro
Also made #8 in my top 10. See my comments above.

3.) J. Fuego Sangre De Toro
Also made #7 in my top 10. See my comments above.

2.) Tatuaje 7th Reserva
Also made #4 in my top 10. See my comments above.

1.) My Father Le Bijou 1922 Corona Gorda (B&M Exclusive Blend)
Also made #2 in my top 10. See my comments above.

enjoying cigars since 1997

48 thoughts on “The Box-Worthies: Brian’s Top 10 Cigars of 2011

  1. Brian,

    Great lists 🙂

    The Le Bijou was re released (another 200 boxes of the same blend)…100 boxes went to Puff n Stuff (who are apparently selling them only to in store customers) and the other 100 boxes are being sold by Rick at Federal Cigars (who does ship)…

    Hope that helps!

    1. Thanks, and thanks for the heads up! Seems kinda wrong that someone in another state is telling me what’s happening in a shop not more than 10 miles from me. I’m really slacking.

  2. Awesome box worthies! We seem to have similar taste- when my local shop had a J Fuego event, I smoked an Origen and a Corojo Reserva. Couldn’t believe them so I walked out with a box of each that night! Both are staples in my humi! I read about the sangre del toro release but never saw them on the shelves and eventually forgot about em. May look to buy some online now that they are back on my radar. Thanks!

  3. Interesting choices. I will definitely add to my must try list. Admittedly I am not a fan of the Liga Privada line, but I’ll give the T52 a shot based on your recco. Cheers!

  4. Is it sad I’ve only had one of those cigars on your list? The Illusione 88 is tied for my favorite cigar of all time (so far). Thanks for the list!

  5. Why not just call this your Top 50 Cigars or The Complete List of Cigars I Smoked…what is up with Stogie Review…your the content, quality and even your web server are inconsistent. Sometimes you guys rock, other time you guys suck. Lately, its more of the later.

    In year’s past you all did a Top 10 list and that was fantastic…this year you all did something different making it impossible to gauge what you guys think as a whole.

    Fix your site…fix your content.

    1. So we should all smoke the same cigars and have the same opinions – hmm

      Maybe we should do a StogieReview top 10 next year and combine everyones lists into just the 10 that all of us liked the best.

      Wow, that seems like some lifestyle magazine’s way of thinking…hmmmm

  6. I respectfully disagree with Kevin. I regularly visit this site because of the opinions, not a slavish adherence to rules. I really like knowing what you reach for, not just what’s trending. Great list, Brian, stay true to your opinions! Consistency sucks.

  7. QUOTATION:   A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  8. I think Brian’s list is pretty good considering his ongoing battle with severe alcoholism. The fact that he can type complete sentences impresses the hell out of me.

    I’d like to close with a quote from a very famous person…
    “Haters are my motivators.” DJ BT ~ 2011

    1. Thank you, I’m glad somebody understands me. The time I spend writing and spell checking lists like this robs me of valuable drinking time. By the end of it, I was nearly sober enough to drive legally! It’s a dark place I hope to never see again.

      That’s my second favorite quote from DJ BT, the first being “Ah wicky wicky ha ha!”

  9. Awesome lists Brian! I always enjoy and respect the time and work you guys put into this site. I check it every day. May be do to similar tastes but I was looking forward to your “Top” list the most this year and ended up with two! Great job.

  10. Mike – what I am saying is I’d like to see Top 10 List from all of you. Look at Jerry and Charlie lists. I can look at them and see that they have 5 cigars in common. Makes it easier to make a decision of trying a cigar. Brian’s list was just way too much and Walt’s was way too short.

    I like all of you guys and I like to see what smokes you guys agree on and what cigars you disagree on. How is that anything like Cigar Aficionado. If you spent more time realizing I’m offering feedback and less time being defensive you’d understand my point.

    1. I’ve got an easy solution. Ignore everything but the top 10 at the top. The second list is only intended to answer the question, “what were your favorite new cigars?” The my favorites from that list made it into the “real” top 10.

    2. So then why bitch about my list? I put the top cigars I have smoked this year. I have not tried all the new stuff! Hell even from Brian’s list, I have only smoked 4 (out of the top 10) and only 1 of the list of 15 new ones!

      I am getting defensive because it seems like you want to ridicule us for not being able to find or afford all the new smokes to make a list. Like I said, there is a major misconception that bloggers get thousands of free samples constantly. You can go back through my reviews and see when I was actually sent a free sample since I tell everyone it was free.

      There is nothing wrong with any of the lists, in my opinion and I never said my list was going to be a top anything of the cigars released in 2011 or it would have been a lot less than 10, I can assure you, because I never got to try them.

    3. Not sure what I enjoyed more, the list or the drama in the comments section. With that said I am entering the drama…here it goes:

      Kevin, pretty sure everyone that read your comments felt you were being demeening, rude and disrespectful. Choose your words and sentences wisely.

  11. I now have this image of Brian driving around town with a cheroot in his mouth quoting Clint Eastwood from Hang ’em High.

    Brian if anyone else complains just tell them “when you hang a man, you better look at him”

    lol

  12. Great list Brian and I like both lists.

    It’s interesting to me to see what you thought of the new releases since they get so much press time and worth noting that your top 10 is inclusive of all the cigars you smoked and not just the top for this year.

    IMHO too much emphasis is placed on new releases when they may be good or great but your top 10 is the TOP.

  13. So, I need to try more J.Fuego? I keep the soft packs but have not explored from there. I’ve only sampled 4 of the 10 list and 5 of the 15. Need to acquire some new stuff. Thanks for taking the time to list. Cheers!

  14. Brian – Fair point. But maybe you should change the title of your post to Top 25 and not Top 10 or maybe posting two lists?

    Mike – Where…anywhere did I ever say anything about new releases or one’s ability to purchase cigars? I don’t think I did anywhere! All I am saying is that when it comes to Top 10 Lists from the same site that you guys should do them the same way so its easy for YOUR VISITORS to interpret, compare and make a better informed purchased based on your lists.

    I’m not attacking individuals here. I’m just offering feedback on the site as a whole. You guys proclaim to be the best but when someone challenges you or offers feedback that you don’t like, you get defensive. I’m trying to help you guys and if you’d take a moment to realize that you won’t get so bitchy about it.

    1. Hey Kevin – Again, thanks for all the in depth feedback. We are always looking to improve things for our visitors. We have experienced a lot of issues with our web server ever since we recovered from our stuff being deleted accidentally by our host. Hopefully some of things changes we’ve made in the past 24 hours will stabilize things. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished since 2006 and are confident that we’ve made a positive contribution to the industry and information via entertainment to our visitors.

      Just like we don’t believe in a rating system, we don’t believe in doing things the same amongst us. Each of us are individuals and the strength of Stogie Review is the eclectic (and sometimes eccentric) personalities. We each bring something different and unique to the table. You might not be able to identify with all of us but I’m pretty confident you can connect with one of us.

      We only have a few standard things that all members a bid by. I’ve mentioned them many times. The standards are to be open, honest and to be yourself. If you do any one of those three things, the other two will come automatically.

      1. Well said, Jerry. Homogenizing the site would just take the personality and joy out of it. Perhaps if Keven wants to offer feedback – and I have no reason not to believe this was his intent – he should learn to better express himself, so as not to offend. Terms like “half ass lists” and “you guys suck” are hardly conducive to a positive response. Keep in mind that taste and preferences are subjective, the written word, not so much.

    2. Because it’s a top 10 list. The rest (the list of 15) is a bonus, which you can disregard for your compare and contrast purposes. Trying to meet you halfway here, but I don’t see the problem. However, I dig all the comments and traffic it generates.

  15. I don’t know if we can trust anyone’s lists. I mean look at Mike- hes got some seriously long hair. Now look at Jerry- no hair at all. If we can’t trust our cigar reviewers to keep their hair length in moderation, how can we trust their lists? Its time for hair moderation folks.

  16. Great reviews! With my limited budget, I only wish I could have smoked all 25 cigars! Of the cigars I did smoke this year, I have to split it between two different cigars. The Torono Exodus 50 year and the Tatuaje Anarchy.

  17. Best list I’ve seen for 2011. I love how you split the lists. It’s the best list I’ve seen because both of them seem to mirror my tastes. Nice job Brian! Great call on the 7th Reserva too. This stick seems to get lost in the plethora of Pete Johnson’s world class sticks but I agree this is one of his best.

  18. Awesome list! I like this one a lot better than a certain magazine, and what’s better I know you smoked the ENTIRE cigars instead of one inch, and multiple times each!

    The T52 is one of my current favorites as well, and the MF Puff n Stuff is an amazing cigar!

  19. And I personally LOVE the added “new cigars” list because there is a big difference between the “best new cigar” and the overall “best cigar.” Since most sites tend to review mostly newer cigars, I think they are often weighed more heavily when the overall “best of” lists come out.

    Honestly, I’d add a “best LE” list as well, since some people intentionally hunt the best LEs and others avoid them.

  20. Wow Brian, I cannot believe that Cromagnon isnt on your list!! The Cromagnon, while in limited availability, is probably one of THE best Cigars in 2011 hands down! I know that not many have access due to the unique marketing strategy but if this smoke were available mainstream at your local B&M I would bet it would be flying off the shelves. BOX WORTHY FOR SHURE!!!!!!

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