Cigar News: Stogie Press 2023 Top Cigars – Ranked and Stacked

Happy New Year to all. 2024 is upon us and I hope everyone has an excellent and prosperous year.

Today I would like to present to you the Stogie Press Top Cigars for 2023. As mentioned in previous articles, there are 3 categories (Large, Medium, Small Companies). Each category has 15 cigars in it and of course a top cigar in each category. From the three top cigars, 1 is selected as the overall top cigar for 2023 on Stogie Press.

Before we get into the winners, let me say that there was 100’s of cigars to sample and rate through the year. Not all cigars I sampled got a review because they just were not that deserving of a review and the time it takes to publish one; besides – I am not in the business to slam cigar brands.

It is also noteworthy that the majority of the top cigars, on Stogie Press, this year again, originated from Nicaragua by about a 3-1 majority. Those from the Dominican came in second in number. The best cigar in each category also hailed from Nicaragua.

The overall top cigar cost about $21.00. The Top Large Company cigar will set you back $14.00 and the Top Small Company cigar is only $9.00.

When it comes to the list of factories that produce these fine cigars, Joya de Nicaragua was the winner for putting out the largest number of top cigars in the list. It should also be noted that there are quite a number of factories creating some pretty fine cigars. These range in various sizes and age of operation.

I was asked by my good friend and great BOTL, Lou Piscitelli, what the predominate wrapper was on the top cigars. An excellent question. He thought it would be Mexican San Andres but surprisingly it was Ecuadorian Habano by far. In fact, if you examine the graph below a little deeper, and were to include other varietals of leaf from Ecuador, you will note a vast majority of these top cigars use Ecuadorian leaf.

It is also interesting, that of all these top cigars, there were 5 Nicaraguan puros. No other puro is on the lists.

So, without further ado, here is the 2023 Top Cigars, starting with the Overall #1 Cigar of the Year on Stogie Press.

Medium Size Company

#1 – Muestra de Saka Krakatoa

Overall #1 Stogie Press Cigar of the Year 2023

  • Wrapper – Grade A1 Ecuador Habano Seed
  • Binder – Nicaraguan Sungrown
  • Filler – Nicaraguan Broadleaf, Criollo, Corojo ligero

The initial draws of the Muestra de Saka Krakatoa presented a delightful, toasted cracker essence, subtly underscored by a touch of sweetness. As the experience unfolds, pepper and cocoa nuances gracefully weave into the flavor profile. A subtle hint of leather emerges, contributing to the complexity of the early stages. Transitioning into the final moments of the first third, the initial sweetness transforms into a luscious caramel undertone. A well-balanced oiling just above the burn line enhances the overall aesthetic. The cigar maintains a solid well-formed ash that eventually drops, revealing a perfectly formed burn cone.

Progressing into the second third, an enjoyable interplay of pleasant spice notes enriches the overall experience. Moving into the final third, a captivating blend of dark chocolate and fruity undertones finish the satisfying and flavorful journey. This is by far a truly amazing cigar from foot to nub (yes, I used my nub tool to get every last essence of this gem). Grab a box of these before they are gone for sure. I would say the profile is one that any cigar enthusiast would truly enjoy. I rate this a 98 – great job Steve!

Point Deductions: NONE

Bonus Points: (+1) Box Buy; (+1) Pristine Burn; (+1) Excellent Oiling Above the Burn Line; (+1) Positive experience is the same through multiple samples

The Rest of The Medium Company Field

# 2. Black Label Trading Co. La Madonna Negra Rothschild

  • Wrapper: Connecticut (USA) Broadleaf
  • Binder: Ecuador Habano
  • Filler: Nicaragua / Pennsylvania

#3. Caldwell Cigars Long Live the Queen – Queen’s Club

  • Wrapper – Cameroon
  • Binder – Indonesian Sumatra
  • Filler – Dominican Republic and Nicaragua

#4. Black Works Studio 2023 S & R Robusto

  • Wrapper: Sumatra, Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Ecuador Habano
  • Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican

#5. DBL Cigars 10th Anniversary Oscuro Cameroon

  • Wrapper: Sumatra, Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Ecuador Habano
  • Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican

#6. Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Mi Querida Black PapaSaka

  • Wrapper – USA Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder – Mexican San Andrés Negro
  • Filler – Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua

#7. Byron 19th Century Petit Poemas

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian
  • Binder – Ecuadorian
  • Filler – Nicaraguan (ligero & seco) and Peru (volado)

#8. Dalay Nicaragua Robusto by Luciano Cigars

  • Wrapper – Ecuador (Corojo 98)
  • Double Binder – Brazilian (Arapiraca) and Ecuador (Corojo 98)
  • Filler – Nicaraguan (Pueblo Nuevo, Jalapa, Esteli and Massatepe)

#9. Crux Epicure Habano Robusto

  • Wrapper – Nicaraguan Habano seco 
  • Binder – Nicaraguan
  • Filler – Nicaraguan

#10. Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust – Dondurma Golden Child

  • Capa: La Meca Ecuador Habano Double Dark Rosado
  • Capote: San Andreas Negro “Cultivo Tonto”
  • Tripa:
    • US Lancaster Seedleaf Seco
    • Nicaraguan Esteliano C98 Viso
    • Nicaraguan Gadalupe C99 Viso
    • Nicaraguan Aganorsa Ligero

#11. Nestor Miranda Special Selection Connecticut Toro

  • Wrapper – Undisclosed
  • Binder – Undisclosed
  • Filler – Undisclosed

#12. Emilio Cigars audiophile Robusto

  • Wrapper – Ecuador Maduro
  • Binder – Ecuador Habano
  • Filler – Nicaragua

#13. Micallef Black Robusto

  • Wrapper – Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder – Ecuadorian habano
  • Filler – Nicaragua

#14. D’Crossier Seleccion Escogida Lumina Double Corona

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian Habano Claro 
  • Binder – Dominican Republic
  • Filler – Jalapa, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

#15. Luciano Cigars Foreign Affair Belicoso

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian Sumatra 
  • Binder – Nicaragua and Ecuador
  • Filler – Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic

Small Size Company

#1 – Ohana Nui Cigars Aloha Toro

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian habano
  • Binder – Nicaraguan (Condega)
  • Filler – Nicaraguan (Estelí and Jalapa)

The journey of Ohana Nui Aloha commences with a delightful fusion of luscious fruit and velvety cream notes, creating a truly exceptional starting point. In the backdrop, a subtle nuance of cedar emerges, adding depth to the sensory experience. Though the perfectly restricted draw, a remarkably solid light grey ash takes shape, a testament to the expert craftsmanship. As the journey unfolds, the flavor profile is enriched with the emergence of dark chocolate notes, which elegantly weave into the tapestry of tastes.

Transitioning into the second phase, a captivating evolution occurs as a trace of spiced honey unfurls, adding a new layer of complexity to the journey. Midway through, a mouthwatering interlude emerges, where the essence of citrus rind takes center stage, perfectly harmonizing with the gradually intensifying spice elements. The beautiful “Stacking Dimes” ash finally drops in a substantial fragment, revealing a meticulously defined and precisely centered burn cone, showcasing the precision of the craftsmanship.

Throughout this experience, a subtle yet enchanting aroma reminiscent of sweet crackers wafts gracefully from the foot, enhancing the overall sensorial delight. The early sparks of spice morph into a tantalizing crescendo of cinnamon as the journey reaches its culmination, leaving an indelible impression on the palate. This is most certainly a box (bundle) buy. I rate this a solid 98.

Point Deductions: NONE

Bonus Points: (+1) Pristine Burn; (+1) Positive experience is the same through multiple samples, (+1) Box Buy; (+1) Extreme Solid Ash

The Rest of The Small Company Field

#2. Konscious Cigar Lancero

  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan

#3. West Tampa Tobacco Co. – Red Toro

  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan

#4. Artesano Del Tobacco El Pulpo Toro Grande

  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro
  • Binder: Nicaraguan (AJ Fernandez farms)
  • Filler: Nicaraguan ( AJ Fernandez farms)

#5. Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale Box Pressed Toro

  • Wrapper – Cuban seed Ecuador Habano
  • Binder – Dominican
  • Filler – Dominican and Nicaraguan

#6. German Engineered Cigars Weltschmerz Robusto

  • Wrapper: Ecuador – Habano Oscuro
  • Binder: Nicaragua – Jalapa
  • Filler: Nicaragua – Esteli & Jalapa

#7. Mega Legend Dorado Series Lancero

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian
  • Binder – Ecuadorian
  • Filler – Dominican, Nicaraguan, Peruvian

#8. The New England Cigar Militia Reserve No. 1

  • Wrapper – Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder – Undisclosed
  • Filler – Nicaraguan

#9. Lovely Cigars Elegante X2 Toro

  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Mexico
  • Filler: Nicaragua

#10. Cigar Clowns Master of Puppets Volume 1 “The Geppetto”

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian maduro hybrid from a Brazilian seed
  • Binder – Habano
  • Filler – Aged Dominican and Nicaraguan

#11. Apostate Cigars The Initiatory

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder – Mexican grown San Andres
  • Filler – Dominican

#12. TraiDora by D. Ellan Robusto

  • Wrapper – Habana 2000 Ecuador
  • Binder – HVA Dominicana
  • Filler – Dominican Republic – Piloto Cubano, Criollo 98

#13. Flatbush Cigar Co. The Doorman Toro

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder – Nicaraguan Habano
  • Filler – Nicaraguan (Condega and Jalapa)

#14. Tabacalera Caballeros Connecticut Toro

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder – Sumatra
  • Filler – Undisclosed

#15. Amendola Family Cigar Co. NYC Series – West Side Story Switch Blades

  • Wrapper – Brazilian Arapiraca
  • Binder – Indonesian Sumatra
  • Filler – Nicaraguan and Dominican

Large Size Company

# 1 – Perdomo 30th Anniversary Sun Grown Torpedo

  • Wrapper – Nicaraguan Sun Grown
  • Binder – Nicaraguan
  • Filler – Nicaraguan

The Perdomo 30th Anniversary Sun Grown Torpedo is exactly what I expect from a milestone cigar checking all the boxes for flavor, aroma, and burn. The journey commences with a delightful interplay of toasted cracker and almond nut flavors. A smooth retro-hale introduces a mild pepper note, complementing the experience. The air is filling with the scent of maple syrup intertwined with nutty fragrances. The almond notes grow pleasantly prominent in the initial phase, while hints of cinnamon spice dance on the palate. Transitioning, the aroma evolves into a subtle touch of chocolate. As the cigar progresses, the cinnamon notes gain intensity alongside a gradual increase in overall strength. Tangy citrus notes make a refreshing entrance, adding a delightful dimension to the profile.

The lengthy ash eventually drops, revealing a well-formed and established burn cone. Midway through, natural tobacco sweetness intertwines with hints of fruit. Deep into the second phase, a faint undertone of cocoa powder adds additional dimension to the already complex profile. The finale unfolds with a final touch of added spice, rounding off this amazing journey. I have to say, the ash fell just once though the experience. This is by far a box buy. Just note that the strength does inch up on you, so smoke this after eating a meal. I rate this a solid 98.

Point Deductions: NONE

Bonus Points: (+1) Box Buy; (+1) Extreme solid ash before falling; (+1) Positive and consistent experience is the same through multiple samples; (+1) Even Burn throughout

The Rest of The Large Company

#2. Davidoff Millennial Lancero LE 2023

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian 151
  • Binder – Mexican Sumatra seco
  • Filler – Dominican Republic (Piloto mejorado seco, Piloto seco, San Vincente viso, Yamasa ligero)

#3. Espinosa Premium Cigars Knuckle Sandwich Connecticut Short Churchill G

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian Connecticut 
  • Binder – Nicaraguan 
  • Filler – Nicaraguan 

#4. Don Pepin Vintage Edition Nicaragua TAA Exclusive

  • Wrapper – Nicaragua (Corojo 99)
  • Binder – Nicaragua
  • Filler – Nicaragua

#5. Joya de Nicaragua Cinco de Cinco Toro

  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan

#6. Villiger de Nicaragua Edición Limitada 2022

  • Wrapper – Ecuadoran
  • Binder – Mexican 
  • Filler – Nicaraguan and Pennsylvanian

#7. Espinosa Premium Cigars – Las 6 Provincias CMW

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian habano 
  • Binder – Nicaraguan
  • Filler – Nicaraguan

#8. Drew Estate Liga Privada 10 Seleccion De Mercado

  • Wrapper (Capa) – Connecticut Criollo
  • Binder (Capote) – Mexican San Andres
  • Filler (Tripa) – Nicaragua and Pennsylvania.

#9. J.C. Newman Brickhouse Bricktoberfest 2023

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian habano rosado
  • Binder – Nicaragua
  • Filler – Nicaragua

#10. Room 101 Farce Nicaragua Toro

  • Wrapper – Nicaragua
  • Binder – Nicaragua
  • Filler – Nicaragua

#11. Villiger 1888 Nicaragua Toro

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian Sumatra-Seed
  • Binder – Nicaragua
  • Filler – Nicaragua & USA Pennsylvania

#12. Partagas Valle Verde Toro

  • Wrapper – Mexican San Andrés (Harvested 2020)
  • Binder – Cameroon (Harvested 2015)
  • Filler – Mexican San Andrés, Nicaraguan Jalapa and Esteli (Harvested 2020)

#13. Gurkha Pure Evil Toro

  • Wrapper – Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder – Nicaraguan
  • Filler – Nicaraguan

#14. Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato

  • Wrapper – Nicaraguan
  • Binder – Nicaraguan
  • Filler – Nicaraguan

#15. Diesel Atonement TAA Exclusive Box Pressed Toro

  • Wrapper – Dark Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder – Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Filler – Nicaraguan

Well, That’s All Folks

Wow, 2023 was a terrific year for Stogie Press and congratulations to the brands that made our top cigars for the year. It is not easy to keep cranking out new blends and achieve quality on a year over year consistent basis, so my hat off to you all.

As we move into 2024 let me say, first and foremost, that I am thankful for the support of everyone in the industry that have helped grow Stogie Press over the last decade. As of this posting we have achieved the mark we set out to do, over 1 Million views on the site since we started. This year alone contributed close to 25% of that number and surpassed all prior years. I also set my sights on getting in shape and losing 80 lbs to climb Mt. Fuji in Japan and raised over $10,000 from the cigar industry for Autism Speaks. Thank you once again – you all are amazing!

Now as many of you know, I will be officially retiring from my day job and 40 plus year career as an Engineer. You can expect even more content on Stogie Press in 2024 as we embark on the next decade of bringing you the most honest cigar reviews, news, and entertainment. We have some projects in the works that will add more fun to the brand and hope you continue to enjoy the site.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2024 for everyone. I will see you around the world.


James (Boston Jimmie) Vita

Editor and Publisher of Stogie Press