Where does the year go? Is it really mid-November? The past week I’ve received invitations from different cigar shows for me to come on before the end of the year and to discuss what are the top cigars of 2012. The attention whore that I am immediately accepted every invitation and ignoring the fact that I haven’t given my top cigars much of a thought. I’m sure I’ll talk about this more in depth when I make these appearances and again when I publish my list next month but when I sat down recently and started thinking and looking back at the cigars we’ve reviewed on Stogie Review in 2012 or made appearances in this Week in Smoke series, that 2012 has been a bit mediocre when compared to previous years. I don’t know, I can really only count a handful of new cigars that really made me stand up and take notice. The majority of cigars I’ve been introduced to this year have been in that ever crowded category of ‘pretty good’.
Little Boris by Tatuaje Cigars – Definitely one of my favorite cigars of the year. The original Boris was probably one of my favorite cigars Pete has ever released. I’m always conflicted about limited edition cigars being part of a Top 10 list. On one hand it is a cigar that I enjoyed all year but on the other hand, a cigar that isn’t easily obtainable. Regardless, the Little Boris falls in that perfect medium body range with a balanced, smooth, full flavor profile. Lots of rich natural tobacco flavor with a slight sweetness that tempers the pepper early on. Throw in a sprinkling of creamy and nutty notes makes for a winner of a cigar.
E.P. Carrillo New Wave Connecticut – Undoubtedly its hard to think of a cigar thats created such a wave of enjoyment than the New Wave Connecticut. It doesn’t get much better than this and I’m not just talking in the context of Connecticut Shade wrappers. The New Wave Connecticut impressively smokes uniquely different than any other Connecticut Shade out there. With its fully defined and complex flavor profile you’d never guess this was a Connecticut. Plenty of woodsy flavors with a nice smooth buttery texture. Mmmmm…Ernesto has the hottest hands right now and those hands have redefined the Connecticut Shade wrapper.
E.P. Carrillo Core Line Natural – I always overlook the Core Line Natural opting for the buttery New Wave or the alluring dark wrapper of the Core Line Maduro. The Core Line Natural is a solid cigar with a nice toasty woody flavor and a slight pepperiness on the finish. If you choose your cigars with just your eyes it is very easy to overlook and go with something else.
E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro – I’ve been smoking a lot of the Core Line Maduro lately. I just can’t stop craving it’s smokey and flavorful profile. Choc full of smokey wood, pepper, dark chocolate, espresso…just a wonderful assortment of flavors and aromas. Beautiful cigar to smoke and enjoy. Another cigar by Ernesto that distinguishes itself from the pack. Pairs perfectly with a wide range of beverages…I enjoy mine with that evening cup of black coffee.
E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Natural – The newest addition to the EPC lineup is the Cardinal. Ernesto was nice enough to send me samples of both the Natural and Maduro versions. During IPCPR Ernesto referred to the Cardinal as the ‘red box’. He gave us samples at the show and I thought it was one of the best cigars coming out of the show. I didn’t know at the time that there would be a Natural and Maduro version. The Natural version I’ve only had the one sample Ernesto sent and I thought it was an amped up version of the Core Line natural. Lots more of everything. Around the halfway point though, the cigar started to fall a part with the wrapper popping forcing me to put it down. I haven’t found anyone near me who is carrying the Natural version yet but I’m looking forward to trying the cigar again.
E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Maduro – The Maduro version of the Cardinal is what I suspect I sampled at IPCPR and is the version I’m finding locally. The sample at IPCPR was amazing and the dozen or so that I’ve smoked since they started hitting shelves have all been impressive and full of flavor. Amped up version of the Core Line Maduro. There is no such thing as too much of a good thing. You can literally smell the espresso and dark chocolate notes bounce off the wrapper. Amazing!
La Gloria Cubana Serie R Maduro – The Serie R Maduro was one of the cigars that got me into cigars. I always talk about my early rotation of cigars when I first started smoking and the Serie R Maduro was one of those. It was nice to go back and smoke the Serie R. I don’t know how much the Serie R has changed but I do know my palate has changed a lot over the years. Regardless of time and any changes, the Serie R Maduro was nice and refreshing to revisit. In this day and age of ‘whats new’ its nice to take a break and revisit the cigars that got us started.