Bundle up, grab your lighter and pour a glass of your favorite spirit because winter is here. Whether you’re braving the snow, still lounging by the beach or anywhere in between, these superb smokes are here to heat up your winter months.
We took the 17 best cigars from the September/October issue of Cigar Aficionado and recent issues of Cigar Insider. Each smoke on this list has scored at least 91 points in one of our blind taste tests, outstanding on our 100-point scale, making this an elite list of smokes.
Let’s toast to the season and the New Year with these cigars, each of which is worthy of a celebration. Here’s to 2021 and happy holidays.
Oliva Serie V Melanio Churchill (Nicaragua, 94 Points): The Melanio blend, which earned Cigar of the Year in 2014, has a long and impressive track record. Maintaining this high level of consistency, the rich, box-pressed Churchill brings layers of chocolate and nuts throughout all of its seven inches. See full tasting note.
Punch Short de Punch (Cuba, 93 Points): The Short de Punch was the first addition to the core Cuban Punch line in decades when it came out last year. The medium-bodied robusto carries an abundance of complex flavors, including a warm graham cracker note that drives until the end. See full tasting note.
Illusione Haut 10 Churchill (Nicaragua, 93 Points): Brand owner Dion Giolito celebrated Illusione’s 10th anniversary with the Haut 10 (haut meaning “top” in French) using only what he thought of as premier Nicaraguan tobacco. We agreed that this medium-to full-strength Churchill certainly meets the high standard. See full tasting note.
Plasencia Cosecha 146 La Vega (Nicaragua, 92 Points): Cosecha 146 means “Harvest 146” in Spanish and it’s composed of leaf from Plasencia’s 146th crop. Gleaming with oil, the medium-strength robusto brings sophisticated tea and cinnamon flavors to the palate. See full tasting note.
Padrón Family Reserve No. 46 Maduro (Nicaragua, 92 Points): Once again, Padrón finds itself amongst the best with its Family Reserve No. 46 Maduro. The all-Nicaraguan celebration of Padrón’s 46 years in the business (a milestone the company reached in 2010) burns evenly as usual with a delicious range of spices. See full tasting note.
La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial No. 1 (Nicaragua, 92 Points): Recently reblended with higher-priming tobacco for more body, the Edicion Especial No. 1 combines Cuban-seed wrapper and filler from Ecuador with Nicaraguan filler for a savory and sweet smoke. The delicious, medium-bodied toros are rolled at the Garcia’s My Father Cigars in Estelí for Ashton Distributors Inc. See full tasting note.
Don Lino Africa Duma (Nicaragua, 92 Points): Nestor Miranda was so inspired by his trip to Africa, he dedicated this entire line of cigars to the continent. The Duma (“Cheetah” in Maasai) has a Cameroon binder from Africa, and the medium-bodied robusto has a creamy smoke with flavors from caramel to fruit. It’s made in Nicaragua by A.J. Fernandez.See full tasting note.
Partagás Serie E No. 2 (Cuba, 92 Points): A larger, beefed-up version of the popular Partagás Serie D No. 4, the Serie E No. 2 brings strong, earthy flavors of wood, oak and leather, balanced by a creamy caramel core. See full tasting note.
Aganorsa Leaf Connecticut Churchill (Nicaragua, 92 Points): Aganorsa has been taking its effective growing game to the factory, producing some fantastic cigars like the Connecticut Churchill. It’s priced reasonably for its seven-inch size, burns evenly and brings a creamy richness to the palate. See full tasting note.
Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Nicaragua Toro (Nicaragua, 92 Points): A.J. Fernandez and Rafael Nodal (who produced 2019’s Cigar of the Year) combined forces to produce the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Nicaragua, a stronger follow-up to the Reserva Real. Its even draw and burn are complemented by complex flavors. See full tasting note.
Cohiba Pirámides Extra (Cuba, 92 Points): It’s rare that a best-of list doesn’t include Cohiba. In fact, the Pirámides Extra itself regularly scores in the 90s. The rich, imposing torpedo invites you with a sweet, floral start and then smacks with an abundance of delectable flavors.See full tasting note.
Diplomaticos El Diputado Exclusivo Belux (92 Points): It may only be available in Belgium and Luxembourg (for now), but if you can get your hands on one of these Cuban Regional Editions it’s worth the nearly 18 euros (about $21.50). The robusto is layered with walnut, cedar, coffee and more. See full tasting note.
Romeo y Julieta Club Kings (Cuba, 91 Points): You can only buy these Cuban petit coronas in tins of five. At 5 1/8 inches by 42 ring gauge, the richly hued and oily cigars make for great morning, midday or on-the-go smokes. Plus, you get a swanky carrying case. See full tasting note.
Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Superior (Nicaragua, 91 Points): Lonsdales may not be as popular as they once were, but long, slim and box-pressed cigars like this prove why they’re still relevant. It’s a medium-strength, all-Nicaraguan cigar, with a lower price point than some of the other 1964 Anniversaries. See full tasting note.
Alec Bradley Prensado Torpedo (Honduras, 91 Points): The Prensado Torpedo, dark and rich in appearance, smokes at medium strength. Rolled at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras, the cigar has a mixture of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos. Its counterpart, the Prensado Churchill, came by storm in 2011 by scoring a 96 and earning Cigar of the Year. See full tasting note.
Intemperance EC XVIII Faith (Nicaragua, 91 Points): The Intemperance brand is made by the team at RoMa Craft Tabac, a 1920 bootleg-inspired cigar brand that encourages aficionados to smoke back against anti-cigar bureaucrats. And this tan perfecto exposes some binder with its uncut foot, perhaps flashing a little raw tobacco for those who shun our favorite pastime. See full tasting note.
Cuevas Reserva Natural Toro (Dominican Republic, 91 Points): A trend towards darker, stronger cigars doesn’t mean mild-to-medium smokes can’t still satisfy. Take the Cuevas Reserva Natural Toro for example, a combination of tobaccos from Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Pennsylvania. It’s creamy and coffee-like, leaning more on finesse than raw power. See full tasting note.