Ben’s Top 12 Cigars of the Year

Well, its that time of the year again. You are probably getting overwhelmed with all the Top 10 or whatever list from everyone now including the magazines. I enjoy reading them myself as I like to see what everyone has liked over the year. That’s the great thing about cigars. There is a cigar for everyone. Everyone’s taste is different so its interesting to see what everyone thought was the top cigars for them. This year was harder for me to narrow it down to just 12 cigars. There were so many great releases this year on top of already great lineups from manufactures. So, without further adieu, here is my top 12:

12. La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Chisel

The new chisel size in the Air Bender line is the best vitola in my opinion.  The Chisel creates a cooler smoke by the way you smoke it and really brings out the most flavors from the blend.

11.  Nestor Miranda Art Deco

When I first tasted this cigar at IPCPR in New Orleans, I was blown away.  This cigar is a collarboration between Nestor Miranda and Don Pepin Garcia and I think they hit a home run.

10.  Oliva Serie V Torpedo Maduro

This is always a must find during the holiday for me.  The limited  release cigar from Oliva is a maduro version of my favorite Oliva, Serie V.  This year, instead of a Connecticut broadleaf maduro, the used a San Andreas Mexican maduro wrapper.  The new wrapper is excellent and really imparts some great flavor.  Best of the releases, in my opinion.

9.  Illusione Eperney

Having this great cigar line at number 9 was a challenge.  I LOVE these, especially when paired with champagne like in the photo.  The champagne really make the floral notes pop in the cigar.  The Eperney line is just an exquisite mild-medium body smoke.  If you haven’t  tried these yet, you’re punishing  yourself.

8.  Liga Privada Unico Serie Dirty Rat

This cigar made the bloggers circuit before its official release this year at IPCPR and was received with much fan fare.  This is probably one of the best coronas on the market.  Just a petit flavor bomb well worth all the attention its receiving.

7.  La Aurora 107 lancero

This is the internet sensation of the year.  Conceived purely on Twitter out of conversation between myself, Guillermo Leon, Jose Blanco, Jason Wood, Barry from and Mike from Buckhead Cigars, this cigar made it to the market and was only available to retailers who order it through Twitter.  Like the corona, the lancero make the blend really shine because of the smaller ring gauge.  Amazing cigar.  Definitely one of the best lanceros…ever.

6.  Viaje Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter

You knew that a Viaje would show up sooner or later did  you?  When I first  smoked this, I was completely blown away in the first inch and knew  this cigar was something special.  Intense flavor right from the beginning that never let up.   The only draw back was that it sold out in one day.  You have to be quick when Viaje  releases a cigar, but super quick on these limited releases.

5.  Nestor Miranda 2010 Danno – Buckhead Cigars Edition

Mike  at Buckhead Cigars sent me a sample of this cigar when I got my box of La Aurora 107 lanceros from them.  I had several of the Dannos which I really enjoyed, but the Buckhead version has an Ecuadorian wrapper which makes it stronger.  The extra strength really makes this cigar shine.  I can’t get enough of these.  The spicy flavor, especially the spiced pecan note I got, mixed with sweetness and a hint of cocoa and coffee really make this cigar stand out for me.

4.  Illusione HL Maduro

This year at IPCPR, Dion release several new cigars under the Illusione flag and the HL in maduro was one of them.  Dion gave me one of these at the show to try out and I have got to say the flavor of the maduro version had me at first puff.  The notes of sweet coffee, leather and cedar are just amazing.  One of the best lanceros ever made……ever.

3.  Liga Privada T52 Flying

This was one of my most anticipated cigars of the year for me.  I absolutely love the T52 line of cigars from Drew Estates and when I heard that they are bring out the limited edition size Flying Pig in the T52 blend, I just had to have it.  The Flying Pig really smokes well and truly shines with the stalk cured T52 tobaccos and is well worth the $11 price tag.

2.  Avo Heritage Short Robusto

The Avo line of cigars has always been known for their high quality, but also their higher price tag.  Their cigars are also known for their milder flavor and strength profiles.  Enter the Avo Heritage.  This is the one cigar that I sampled at IPCPR in New Orleans that I had to sit  down at the Avo lounge and finish.  Amazing flavor that really is concentrated in the short robusto size.  With a price tag of about $6, for an Avo, you just cannot go wrong.

1.  Viaje Satori

This cigar blew me away every time I smoked it.  Available in 3 sizes, I preferred the Zen perfecto size.  I’ve never had a cigar change so much  in flavors while I smoked it.  The burn was excellent and the room aroma is even pleasing to non-smokers.  Hard to find, like every Viaje, its well worth the search to find enlightenment.

Honorable Mentions

These cigars I also think were amazing this year, but JUST didn’t make my list.

Guillermo Leon Signature

Tatuaje J21 Reserva

Zino Platinum Crown Emperor 2010

La Aroma De Cuba Mi Amor

Gran Habano Azteca

Torano Master

262 Paradigm

Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary

La Gloria Cubana Artesanos De Obelisco

El Primer Del Mundo Liga Miami

Surprise Cigar of the Year

J. Fuego Origen Original

This cigar really surprised me.  When Jesus Fuego gave us a sample of this cigar during IPCPR, we were blow away.  Such a small cigar packing a massive flavor punch….in a soft pack of five….for $10?  No way.  These have done so well Jesus Fuego has release is great Gran Reserva Corojo No. 1 in these soft packs as well.  If you haven’t tried these, don’t wait any longer.  GREAT little cigar.

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Awesome list Ben. You and I share very similar taste profiles. I’ve had most of what’s on your list but not all. I have to track down some Viajes for sure.

I thought your list was awesome. I had the Satori in my Top 3.

Ben, I always love your reviews, and I have to say that your Top 12 list is just so much better than a Certain Alternate magazine’s list.

Not only do I agree much more with your choice of cigars (the fact that they don’t review Liga Privada should be a federal crime), but I also trust your lists/reviews more because I know that you smoke the WHOLE cigar and more than a couple of each. There are a few sticks on your list that I’ve not had yet, and I’m far more likely to want to try those now. Thanks bro, keep up the great work!

I’m yet to try the Flying Pig and Dirty Rat. Damn


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