In Honor of Your Success…5 Celebration Cigars
Victory Cigars for Overachievers
By John Pullo – Cigar Advisor Managing Editor
You closed the deal. Gave the speech of your life. You landed a blue chip client, or got a promotion. Who knows, maybe you did all of these things. Just as smoking a cigar has historically been a celebratory event to mark life’s milestones (graduation, birth of a child, etc.) – cigars now have their own special place when celebrating that new high mark in your personal or professional life. You’ve set a goal, and you’ve achieved it…now it’s time to celebrate with an excellent cigar, because a good cigar just won’t do.
As a testament to self-improvement, I’ve long considered cigars the secret to happiness. They’ve become part of my style and my lifestyle, and helped motivate me to continually work toward perfecting both. Cigars like the ones I’m going to tell you about are those opportunities to stop and smell the roses: your successes should make you feel good, and you should take some time to enjoy them before you get back to work.
Before we get started, a side note: while cigar smokers frown upon “rules” per se, there are some important etiquette tips to which you should pay heed when celebrating. We are not godless heathens, after all – we are gentlemen, and a gentleman always acts the part. We’ve written extensively at Cigar Advisor about etiquette, so before you drop by your local cigar shop (gas stations don’t count – c’mon, man), or shop online for cigars at a place like Famous-smoke.com – hit us up for a brief overview, and be brilliant at the basics.
To be clear and upfront, these 5 cigars are all way up high on the top shelf; and depending on the selection, will set you back as much as 25 bucks…but these aren’t your everyday cigars. Considering the usual celebratory alternative is scarfing down a hefty steak dinner with all the sides and trimmings, they’re meant to be an even more savory, and well-spent, 2 hours of your time. Look at it this way: when Jordan led Chicago to the first in a string of championships, you didn’t see him chomping on a filet mignon while holding his trophy in the locker room…
One of my first recommendations for your victory smoke is Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Destino al Siglo cigars. Meaning “destiny of the century,” these were made to celebrate 100 years of the Fuente family’s premium cigar legacy. And in this smoke, they’ve used nothing but the best: super-premium Dominican tobaccos, aged for complexity and balance, wrapped in a select Habano leaf that was cultivated specifically to make this cigar. Fuente’s Opus X is often mentioned as the cream of the crop – but you’ll enjoy the Destino al Siglo for it’s slightly less spicy taste, while maintaining a robust and full flavor.
Davidoff cigars are epicurean by their very nature, and the tobaccos used for Davidoff Aniversario cigars live up to the description. The Aniversario series make for fantastic celebration cigars; they’re typically mellow and very smooth, being rolled with choice Dominican leaf that’s been aged 4 years; they’re then cloaked in a Connecticut seed wrapper that was grown in Ecuador for some extra bright and snappy flavors.
Considering they were made to honor brand founder Zino Davidoff’s 80th birthday, this is a solid pick for your big milestone event, too.
Next on our list are Diamond Crown Maximus cigars, the work of three top families in tobacco. For the core, it’s a Fuente-blended mix of extensively aged Dominican tobaccos; the Oliva family grows the unique and exclusive wrapper tobacco on their plantation in Ecuador, and the JC Newman family brought it to market as the richest and hardiest smoke in their lineup. Regularly produced but limited in supply, the powerful Diamond Crown Maximus is a treat for those who enjoy full body and flavor – I consider the smooth hint of coffee bean and cedar notes a plus.
Liga Privada No.9 cigars kind of adhere to the old adage: “eat where the locals eat.” That’s how you find the best, right? The Liga Privada (“private blend”) started as a house blend, intended only to be enjoyed by Drew Estate’s top brass; but as word got out about this rich and savory blend, they couldn’t keep it to themselves any longer. The LP #9 is comprised of 7 different tobaccos from 7 separate farms, making for complex and robust flavors – that’s thanks to the expert handiwork of the most experienced cigar rollers at the factory, the only folks tasked to make this impressive celebration smoke.
As I said before, you don’t smoke the cigars on this list every day – even if you have that many good days in a row. Like the others here, Padron Family Reserve cigars are meant to be savored. To reward your taste buds, the Padron Family Reserve recipe consists exclusively of Nicaraguan tobacco: potent and tasty, with a kick. The tobaccos are aged 10 years to impart a smoothness to this heady smoke, and box pressed in the traditional Cuban method to impart more flavor as you smoke it. The blue ribbon winner in the Padron Cigars’ stable, and a proven winner to celebrate your big win.
That’s five; but there’s only one problem…there are too many best of the best cigars to stop there. So let me give you three picks, and see if maybe these Honorable Mentions sound like a good fit to mark your success:
Rocky Patel Platinum: flavor abounds from top-grade Nicaragua tobaccos, bound in a spicy-sweet Mexican San Andres leaf; it’s all wrapped up in a deep, dark Habano Oscuro wrapper that glistens with natural oils. Sound good enough for you? It is for the owner of the company – the Platinum is rumored to be the favorite blend of Rocky Patel himself.
Ashton Virgin Sun Grown: also known as the Ashton VSG. It’s another Fuente-made cigar, and squeezes a ton of flavor out of the Cuban-seed Dominican fillers inside. Box-pressed for a longer-lasting experience, which you’ll enjoy even more thanks to the aged, Ecuador-grown wrapper’s taste.
Montecristo Epic: I’m sure you already know the Montecristo name, as it’s one of the most famous in the cigar world. The Epic is an update to the original Dominican blend, adding a vintage 2007 Nicaraguan tobacco that amps up the body and flavor of this mild classic, making it more medium-full – and delicious.
If you really want to go the extra mile, get a hold of a good cigar and spirits pairing guide. A good guide will make recommendations to you based on what you prefer to drink and what flavors appeal to you, as taste is a subjective thing – because when enjoyed together, a cigar and spirit pairing will work together to enhance the natural flavors in both the smoke and the drink.
While these eight are a great place to start, it really comes down to this: the perfect cigar with which to celebrate is the one you like the most. But if you’re going to overachieve, why not get a cigar that does too? Don’t let it be said that you don’t have taste…
John Pullo is Managing Editor at CigarAdvisor.com & Famous Smoke Shop
John Pullo is an occasional low-fi musician, and gentleman of professional leisure. Due to his need to maintain anonymity after the “Collins Incident,” he is rarely seen in public without his beard – which is also where he stores useful cigar knowledge. And smelling salts.
Interestingly, his Social Security number is all ones.