Matt’s Top 10 Cigars of 2010



by at 8:27 pm No Comments Cigar Reviews

With the arrival of 2011, I’ve been looking back trying to figure out my favourite cigars of 2010. I’ve spent a good amount of time looking through notes, reviews, and the empty tequila bottle where I keep all my cigar bands trying to put together a list.  After a lot of head scratching and some discussion with Les, I’ve finally got my ‘Top 10’ prepared.  Please note that this is a list representing MY personal favourite cigars, selected from all the cigars I enjoyed in 2010. If I didn’t enjoy at least one of them, it won’t be on here.   While the ‘first place’ cigar is one that I feel really strongly about, the remaining 9 are each good enough to be anywhere on the list.  Without further ado, here’s my top 10:

1)Drew Estate Liga Privada No.9 ‘Flying Pig’: This cigar probably impressed me more than anything else in 2010. Featuring a unique shape, flawless construction,  molasses-dark wrapper, the ‘Flying Pig’ was a sight to behold.  None of these factors would have mattered however, if it was a lousy cigar. Thankfully, this cigar rocked from start to the very very end.  Thick, thick flavours that changed up just enough to keep you guessing, combined with a flawless burn made this my favourite, and most memorable cigar of 2010. Imagine getting hit in the mouth with a baseball bat made of leather and cocoa, and you’re starting to understand the ‘Flying Pig’.

2) Joya De Nicaragua 1970 Antano (robust grande size) : Just read the recent review I did on this, and you’ll understand why this one makes the list. The ‘Antano’ is a marriage of flavours and character you wouldn’t expect to find together in one cigar. It’s a study in contradictions, and was the last cigar of 2010 that really made an impression on me.  The ‘Antano’ line also scores points for being reasonably priced and fairly accessible.

3) Cohiba Robusto:  What? A Cohiba on a ‘Top 10’ list? How boring and predictable. Fortunately I don’t care. There’s a reason that the Cohiba name holds the prestige that it does, and that reason is cigars like the Cohiba Robusto. Keep in mind that I had the advantage of smoking and reviewing not just any Cohiba, but a robusto that had been carefully aged for about 20 months.  Yes, that makes a huge difference. The Cohiba was smooth, smooth, and smooooth, achieving what most cigar makers try for but few ever really master.  Tastes of leather and cedar will cruise into your mouth on an air ride suspension should you be fortunate enough to light up a Cohiba Robusto.

4) CAO La Traviata ‘Divino’:  Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to review one of these on Cigaropolis, but I enjoyed quite a few of them in 2010, and also handed out several of them to friends.  The La Traviata ‘Divino’ is a well made,  Nicarguan cigar which pays tribute to an old Cuban brand.  This cigar shines from start to finish, hitting you with a little spice off the start before evolving into a nice, well rounded stick that unleashes rich smoke.  At about $5 US for one of these, you won’t find anything that beats the La Traviata in ‘bang for the buck’.

5) San Cristobal ‘Classico’:  This fine cigar is close to a robusto in size, and made by Ashton.  The San Cristobal is made entirely of Nicarguan tobacco, and will rock your crotch. The first time I ever smoked a San Cristobal it was April 2010 and I was alone in my garage.  After a few minutes, this cigar was so good I was actually talking to myself.  “Wow!”  “Holy… what the”  “Hoooo!!!”.  Yep.  This cigar started with an intriguing smell and just kept changing.  Flavours of earth, cedar and a hint of citrus were all part of my first San Cristobal experience.  This cigar impressed me far beyond anything I expected, and has continued to do so.

6) Illusione ‘MJ12’:  Simply put, this cigar is a savage beast.  It demands about two hours of your time, and strangely enough, will probably leave you wishing you had another one ready to go. If you’re lucky enough to land an MJ12, expect a deadly smooth cigar that manages to deliver rich flavour without being overpowering.  Big clouds of smoke brought a nice leathery flavour with hints of nutmeg or cinnamon and an awesome creamy undertone.

7) Drew Estate Liga Privada T52 robusto: This cigar was recommended to me by Dave and Hal from Empire Cigar. I think it went something like “Maann, if you like the Liga Privada No.9, you’re really gonna  love the T52”. That was enough for me to buy a few.  Since then, I’ve bought several more, and I continue to love these cigars.  The Liga Privada T52 blend has smack you in the face strength balanced nicely with bits of pepper, spice, a cocoa like goodness that you have to experience to understand. Just make sure you experience it slowly, and on a full stomach.

8 ) Illusione Epernay ‘Le Ferm’:  So the same people who might complain about two Drew Estate sticks in my top 10 can now complain about another ‘Illusione’ in my top 10. The Epernay, simply put, is a cigar that makes me love smoking cigars. The Epernay is Nicaraguan, and will likely destroy everything you think about Nicaraguan cigars. This stick is a delicate masterpiece that hit me with cedar and notes of dried apple or pear.  An almost dry finish has hints of nutmeg or cinnamon, and left me wanting more.  It’s also still a deal at about $8 USD.

9) Carlos Torano ‘Exodus’ 1959 (Robusto):  I picked this up on a whim after reading about it in a cigar magazine.  Putting a story behind a cigar won’t help one bit if it’s poorly made, but the ‘Exodus’ really shines.  A Brazilian wrapper holds Honduran binder and Nicaraguan filler. The result is a full bodied, full flavoured experience.  This cigar has kick, but will also surprise you with subtle flavours.

10) La Aroma De Cuba (Robusto):  The final entry on my ‘Top 10’ was a really tough call. It was back and forth between this one and my time honoured Partagas Serie ‘D’ No.4.  In the end, I chose the ‘La Aroma De Cuba’ because it was a cigar I just discovered this year.  A trip to Maui is where I enjoyed my first LADC.  A dark, Connecticut wrapper and a blend of Nicaraguan tobacco had me totally blown away. Soon I went back to buy more, and then a few more after that.  Big, thick, earthy flavour that could almost be Cuban at times is paired with a nice medium to full strength blend. If you haven’t tried one, make it a goal for 2011.

That’s it!  That’s the ‘Top 10’. Before I sign off I’ll mention that the Camacho ‘Liberty’,  Partagas Serie ‘D’ No.4, Illusione ‘MK’ and Brickhouse robusto were also strong contenders, but for one reason or another fell just short of the 10 most memorable for me.  Also: The ‘La Aroma De Cuba’ and ‘Epernay’ photos were not taken by myself, but from the Ashton website, and an online cigar merchant. The ‘Flying Pig’ photo is excellent, but also not mine. It came from google without credit to the photographer. If someone out there happens to read this and can source the photo, please let me know.  I didn’t have the chance to get photos of these two before smoking them, but wanted people to be able to see what I’m talking about.  Cheers,


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