FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MELBOURNE, FL – I know the lists just seem to keep flowing out the media. But as you know, and as I promise, every year we like to offer our list of the top Connecticut wrapped cigars for that year. The list always comes out in mid January after most have digested the other top 10 or top 25 list published. The top Connecticut list is special as it is open to all manufacturers big and small, whereas our top 25 focuses on the boutique brands.
This year there were quite a few Connecticut blends that hit the market. These cigars have been remarkable in so much as the flavors and even the strength have been getting better year after year as master blenders figure out how to match the Connecticut Shade with bold fillers and binders from around the world. So let’s get into the list.
The Stogie Press Top Connecticut Cigars of 2017
Number 1 – The Macanudo Inspirado White Label
Macanudo may not be a cigar you would expect to see on a top cigar list, let alone the number one pick. But I have to give credit to General Cigars for stepping out of the box with the creation of this magnificent cigar. They got the number one spot for a few reasons. First and foremost, the Macanudo Inspirado White Label is outstanding, but that can be said about all the cigars on this list.
What really makes this the number one, is how it impacts the industry as a whole. Macanudo cigar lovers have been known as loyal to the brand and enjoy the fairly mild smoking experience the cigar offered. With the Inspirado White Label, General Cigars has turned the page and brought a bolder and somewhat spicier blend to the Macanudo lover, which may expand the palate of their fans. This blend also may draw in others who love such bolder spicier blends to try the Macanudo Inspirado White Label and even experience the full Inspirado line. When you factor in the price of this fabulous smoke, there are few cigars that can offer such value with a premium cigar experience.
Congratulations to the whole general Cigar team and especially the Macanudo team for reminding the cigar world that Macanudos are rocking again.
Number 2 – The Highclere Castle
The Highclere Castle was simply exquisite. The balanced complexity of this cigar is a testament to the blending skills of Nick Melillo and the manufacturing capabilities of his Foundation Cigars Co. It had some especially unique flavor notes including the orange blossom honey that played through the burn. This is one cigar that should be smoked to the nub to truly appreciate the complexity, as that is where it seems to fire up all taste sensors. There is so much going on in the final third it was like smoking the first 4 inches in just two inches.
Number 3 – The Crux Epicure
It was a long wait for the introduction of the Crux Epicure but well worth it. This young and growing company showed the world they can produce an amazing Connecticut cigar experience that provided a complex flavor profile of balanced sweetness, fruit, spice and earth. The burn was pristine throughout and offered no issues. As the company notes, this is certainly a cigar to enjoy with a late night cordial. The Crux Epicure shows that patience is a virtue when it comes to the cigar business and I am glad they took their time with this.
Number 4 – The Cubariqueño Protocol Themis
Rounding out their portfolio this year, the team at Cubariqueño decided to go blonde with the Protocol Themis. It absolutely hit the mark with its delicious and complex flavor profile paired with a medium body and strength, that was easy to smoke and enjoy. It is certainly a cigar that could be enjoyed anytime of the day and would pair well with a morning cup of Joe or a spiced rum in the evening. I have said it before, there is quite a number of Connecticut releases this year and each one has shown its own personality.
Number 5 – The Southern Draw Rose of Sharon
The Southern Draw Rose of Sharon, was a magnificent cigar with some unique flavors in the profile. You can expect notes of, pepper, coffee bean, almond, chocolate, and apple cinnamon. Besides the pleasurable and unique flavor profile, the burn was perfect and trouble-free throughout. I smoked all the different vitolas and each offered a comparable experience and flavorful journey. With its medium strength and full flavor you can enjoy this anytime of the day.
Number 6 – The Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce
The Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce is a magnificent cigar that offered a complex flavor profile delivered through creamy and full strength smoke. This is certainly a cigar that an experienced palate will enjoy, but if you are a newbie, you want to tread lightly smoking it as this blonde will kick your ass. Known for full body cigars, Riste hits it out of the park with this blonde, proving blondes can be more fun, when talking cigars.
Number 7 – The Cornelius & Anthony Aerial
The Cornelius & Anthony Aerial is an excellent addition to the already highly rated blends in this young and growing portfolio. If you think this is a mild cigar I say think again as the Cornelius & Anthony Aerial offers a nice dose of pepper and spice wrapped in a delicate graham cracker sweetness and nut. This is cigar is one that is delicious from foot to nub and offered a great burn and ash along the journey. I would pair this with a morning cup of coffee or late evening with a highland malt scotch.
Number 8 – Rock A Feller Vintage Nicaragua Connecticut
I found the Rock A Feller Vintage Nicaragua Connecticut a very pleasant cigar to smoke. It carried more flavors than most Connecticuts I have experienced and had little bitterness to it. Even when the bitterness appeared, it was underpinned with a cocoa note, only enhancing the flavors. It had a perfect, trouble-free burn, through the journey.
Number 9 – The Crowned Heads Luminosa
The Crowned Heads LUMINOSA is just as Jon Huber described – a perfect start of the day or late evening after desert smoke. The ash and burn was outstanding and the flavor profile was very delectable from pre-light down to the nub. I certainly recommend the LUMINOSA to all regardless of your cigar smoking experience. Pair this with a sweet coffee or an evening cordial to bring out the notes of maples, vanilla, almond and sweetness.
Number 10 – The Caldwell Blind Man’s Bluff Connecticut
The Caldwell Blind Man’s Bluff Connecticut was a surprisingly flavorful cigar. Of course I would expect nothing less from Robert Caldwell, as he always seems to search out and find some of the best leaf on the market. The Blind Man’s Bluff Connecticut was no exception as it delivered a pristine burn and consistent sweetness, fruit, and spice flavor with occasional bursts of subtle palate pleasing notes and aromas. It was a bit of a wolf in sheep clothing as the strength crept up on me as it moved through the second half. First cigar of the day and it lit me up before breakfast. Remember folks, the wrapper is not a sign of strength.
Number 11 – The Hiram Solomon Entered Apprentice
The re-tweaked Hiram & Solomon Entered Apprentice is by far, steps above the original when it comes to flavor. The burn was just as pristine. With a lower price point these cigars are now in the average wheel house for the consumer and remember a portion of proceeds helps the charity. The blending skills of David Blanco coupled with the Plasencia factory craft shine in this beauty. Expect notes of cinnamon, cedar, orange zest, and spice running through it.
Number 12 – The 2012 by Oscar Rebirth Connecticut
The 2012 by Oscar Rebirth Connecticut was a pleasantly mild to medium cigar that delivered a delicious smoking experience. Like many other new generation Connecticut cigars, the blend in this cigar found a way to cut any classic bitterness and instead brought notes of pepper, nut, cedar, butter cream, cedar, and even sweetness. This is a cigar that is perfect for the start of your day as it was mine. Pair this with you morning cup of Joe.
Number 13 – The DBL Amarillo
The DBL Amarillo was a break from the previous stronger blends that DBL has offered. It is a welcome addition to the full production lineup for the company. This is an outstanding cigar especially when the flavors amped up in the second half. The DBL Amarillo is a perfect cigar to start the day and the price point of the Amarillo makes this an easy purchase.
Number 14 – The Patina Connecticut
The Patina Connecticut was a pleasant and easy smoking experience. Though not complex in flavor, there was just the right amount of balanced transitions to make me want to smoke another one soon. The burn was perfect and the ash outstanding. This is certainly a well constructed and tasty Connecticut cigar that was blended and aged to eliminate any characteristic bitterness one normally gets from Connecticut wrapped cigar.
Number 15 – The La Palina Classic Connecticut
The La Palina Classic Connecticut was not an overly complex cigar but did deliver some enjoyable notes of pepper, cedar, sweetness, and cocoa powder. I would say the flavors transitioned well. This is an easy cigar to smoke especially in the morning and may well be enjoyed by a new cigar smoker.
The Ventura Cigars Case Study CS04 Limited Edition is fine example of what a master blender at one of the best cigar factories can accomplish with a Connecticut wrapper. There was only a slight bitterness to start which gently faded to give way to a truly pleasurable yet mild smoking experience. The construction was spot on with a pristine burn and long ash. It is sad that this is a limited edition cigar as I would like to see more of these available, but that’s how the leaf rolls.
The Casa Cuevas Connecticut surprised me with its berry, nut, and sweetness considering the pre-light and initial pepper sensations I got. This is an elegant cigar with enticing aromas and solid burn. The price point makes this an easy buy. If you are looking for a mild yet flavorful smoke to add to your rotation the Casa Cuevas Connecticut may be your choice.
The Providencia Cigars El Padre was a smooth and delightful smoke. It has less dimension than the El Santo but still offered solid flavor notes through a creamy smoke. Construction was spot on with no burn issues. This is certainly an early morning or late evening cigar, light to medium in strength it will pair well with a creamy cup of coffee or a late evening Irish Cream cordial.