11 Big Smokes For the Big Game – Cigar Aficionado
Super Bowl Sunday is almost here, and at Cigar Aficionado we like to enjoy the big game with big cigars. Here are 11 top-rated “A”s, double coronas and Churchills that are sure to impress. Light one up at kickoff and you’re likely to make it until halftime with a great smoke.
Fuente Fuente OpusX PerfecXion A (94 points): The “A” size was born in Cuba, and traditionally it has been the longest size in a brand. No matter the country, today they are made in small quantities, for few people have the time to smoke one and it’s hard to find quality wrapper leaf large enough to cover these nine-inch-plus smokes. This one from the Fuente Fuente OpusX brand is 9 1/4 inches long with a 47 ring gauge. It’s amazingly complex, rich and delicious with layers of baking spices, coconut and wood—a Dominican cigar through and through.
Illusione Haut 10 Churchill (93 points): We’ve long been fans of Illusione smokes, and the Haut 10 Churchill is no exception. This all-Nicaraguan cigar has a pigtail twist at the top, and when lit it delivers a nutty burst of flavor, along with some slight, spicy zip.
Oliva Serie G Maduro Churchill (93 points): If you only know Oliva cigars for its Serie V line, you’re missing out on some of the company’s other blends. The Serie G Maduro Churchill is a bargain, retailing for a mere $7 (before taxes). It’s warm, toasty and balanced, and at that price, if you finish one in the first half you can afford to light another for the third and fourth quarters.
Enclave Broadleaf Churchill (92 points): Cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez is a passionate fan of American football, so it’s hard to imagine a more fitting smoke to puff during the big game than his Enclave Broadleaf Churchill. Powered by a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan insides, this bold smoke has a solid minerality, plenty of spice and a sweet hint of chocolate—three good reasons why it made our 2019 Top 25 list.
Partagás Lusitania (92 points): Name a cigar for an ocean liner and you’re making a statement. Cuba’s Partagás Lusitania has been a statement maker for decades, and depending on your taste, the finest double corona made in Cuba. If you’ve put these away for a special occasion, now’s the time to light them up.
Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Churchill (91 points): A combination of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobacco come together beautifully in this strong yet balanced smoke from Alec Bradley, which measures 7 inches long by 50 ring. Don’t let the name throw you. Tasty as they are, all the tobaccos in Black Market are legal, even if you feel like you’re breaking the law.
La Flor Dominicana Coronado Double Corona (91 points): When this cigar was created, it was known as Coronado by La Flor, and it was the No. 2 Cigar of the Year in 2006. Cigarmaker Litto Gomez kept the blend but changed the name on this superb smoke. The blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos make for a complex, sweet-and-spicy smoke of red pepper, honey and almonds.
Montecristo Nicaragua Series Churchill (91 Points): Non-Cuban Montecristos were originally milder smokes. Not this Nicaraguan version, which was made by A.J. Fernandez and has a solid medium body. It brims with notes of leather and cocoa, with a sweet finish that smacks of baked apples.
Padrón Executive (91 Points): Padrón Cigars have been impressing cigar smokers since 1964, and today the brand’s ultra-luxe lines get the most attention. But don’t forget the core line, and this big, rustic smoke. The Executive is 7 inches by 50 ring, full of molasses and dried fruit notes, and a solid bargain at only $8.50.
Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Churchill (90 Points): The Newman family has been in the cigar business for 125 years. The story began with Julius Caeser Newman, who founded J.C. Newman Cigar Co. in his hometown of Cleveland in 1895. Today, his family honors his memory with this namesake smoke, which is strong and tasty.
Don Pepin Garcia Original Delicias (90 Points): This Churchill is notable for its flavor alone—which smacks of licorice, gingerbread and toast—but it’s also a rarity, a premium, handmade cigar crafted in the United States. The Miami-made smoke comes from the Garcia Family and My Father Cigars, and has a medium to full-bodied character.