When the various annual lists of top cigars of the year are released, it’s always a contentious issue. Everyone’s palate and preferences are different, with some people loving certain cigars that others hated, and vice versa. More than any other, the list that usually elicits the most debate and controversy is the top 25 published by the leading cigar “lifestyle” magazine. For better or worse, there are often more than a few surprises contained in that particular list, but at least it stimulates a healthy discussion (ha!) about the relative merits of each selection.
As we’ve done for the past couple of years here at the Stogie Review, we’d like to share our thoughts on the cigars highlighted in said top 25 list, before you head to your local cigar shop with a print-out in hand. As always, your mileage may vary, but it never hurts to get a second opinion before you plunk down you hard-earned cash for a potentially overrated dud.
Illusione Epernay (additional review)
Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Maduro
Rocky Patel Fifteenth Anniversary
Casa Magna Colorado (additional reviews)
As you can see, we’ve got the entire top 10 covered, except for those forbidden sticks which originate from a certain island south of Miami. Some of our reviews focused on vitolas other than the ones selected for the aforementioned Top 25 list however, but at least we can provide you with a second opinion about what we thought of the blend itself, even if we evaluated a different format.
Additionally, we’ve got most of the rest of their Top 25 covered (between full reviews, first impressions, and brief notes in The Week in Smoke posts):
Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum (additional review)
Casa Fernandez Miami (Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 9,
Week in Smoke – TGT Edition 14)
Ashton Estate Sun Grown (Week in Smoke – Cigarfest 2011 Edition)
E.P. Carrillo Core Natural Line (Week in Smoke – TGT Edition 3)
Winston Churchill (additional review)
La Reloba Selección Sumatra (Jerry recently reviewed it)
Oliva Serie V Liga Especial (additional review)
La Flor Dominicana Air Bender (additional review)
Camacho Corojo (additional review)
Not to be outdone by the “big boys,” each of us at the Stogie Review has compiled our own personal list of the Top Cigars of 2011, where we get to be the sole judge of which cigars really “wowed” us over the past year. Be sure to take a minute to peruse our lists where you’ll find recommendations for even more great sticks. We’re confident that you’ll want to rush right out to your favorite brick & mortar retail cigar shop (or to the web for online exclusives) to pick some up.
Top 10 Cigars – TGT Edition (2011)
Walt’s Favorite Cigars from 2011
The Box-Worthies: Brian’s Top 10 Cigars of 2011
Charlie’s Top 10 Cigars of 2011 (plus giveaway)
Also, don’t forget to enter my contest where I’m giving away a Stogie Review travel humidor filled with my Top 10 Cigars of 2011. Entering is easy, and there are three different ways to do it, so be sure to take advantage of all three entry methods. Contest ends January 17, 2012 — don’t wait!
And while you’re at it, you should also enter to win Walt’s great giveaway prize: a Black Label Viceroy table torch lighter, courtesy of Lighters Direct.
So what do you think? In the comments section below, tell us which of these cigars you think don’t deserve to appear in the top 10 or 25, as well as what you’d choose to replace them.
Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he is currently pursuing a PhD in computer science, focusing on artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Delaware, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker
13 thoughts on “Second Opinions: The Top Cigars of 2011”
Not a single Drew Estate product on the list? No Tatuaje, Really?
I have been really disappointed with CA for many years now!
I smell an addvertisement Dirty RAT!!!!!
I love what you’ve done here comparing SR’s reviews to that of the major cigar “lifestyle” publication. Personally I’ll take your word over theirs any day! Great job and Thanks for all your hard work.
I still can’t understand why everybody keeps questioning CA top 25, lol
Who gives a crap anyway?
I think the interesting thing in regards to CA and the Bloggers who hate them is that when the bloggers discovered the world of premium cigars, what publication do you think they couldn’t wait for every two months? The all knowing high and mighty need to remember where they came from and what publication gave them their training wheels. Sure is fun to read though.
I agree, somewhat.
I don’t hate CA, hell I would work for them if offered LOL
I think what most bloggers dislike about CA is how they have so much content for the rich lifestyle that it takes away from the cigars. If you can afford to stay in $38,000 a night hotels why would those people want to only spend $5 on a cigar.
Also I would like to see more of how they determine a cigars rating. Heck do some videos Let us in to the world of CA and show everyone what the process is. Bloggers do not have secrets, we show exactly what we do in video (well most of us).
I never subscribed to CA until this past year and I never actually read one either. I was influenced by the blogs more than anything due to the open architecture and the all around feeling that I could shake one of their hands and smoke a cigar with a normal everyday guy not some pompous ass who thinks cigar quality and enjoyability is based on price.
It is funny also that CA can pick a 2009 cigar for 2011 cigar of the year and nobody bitches yet when bloggers pick older cigars everyone wants to yell and scream that our lists are not right 😉
I really love the Casa Magna Dominus Magnus also. Absloutely beautiful cigar, pigtail, medium box press and just amazing flaors. Hope you do a limited edition next year too.
To me the Room !)! Namakubi is a definite Top 10 cigar that has gotten aboslutely no love from ANYONE. I would have thought that it would be a shoe-in for CA being that Room 101 is very big into the “lifestyle” thing. That and the fact that it is blended by Christian Eiroa who is tied to Davidoff. I thought that this was a layup. I guess with the negative publicity that the first 101 had, not too many people gave this one a shot. Oh well, all the more for me. As far as which one it could replace? I didn’t fall over the first time I smoked that AB stick, so why not get it the hell out of there.
Charlie Minato at Halfwheel has an interesting post related to this, a “concensus” or composite list from just about every blogger he could find, complete with spreadsheet. For me, I just don’t think it’s worth getting worked up over whatever CA thinks. There are reviewers here and elsewhere whose opinions I trust because I know how their tastes run. And they actually smoke all of their cigars.
Too bad the folks at Halfwheel couldn’t come up with an original idea and had to take one of our original ideas:
Ah, I was not aware of that post. Does that mean you’re giving Mr. Hewitt credit for an original thought? lol And congrats on tying with Barry for the most picks.
Keep up the great reviews Mike. You have alot of followers including me who learn about different cigars before having to make ill-informed purchases. Mahalo for that!
This is the right site for anyone who wants to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that has been discussed for years. Great stuff, just great!