Brian’s ’09 in Review

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE everyone! Let me first start off by saying that I was not planning on doing a top ten list as I feel they are entirely played out. A caveat to that is that despite my feelings on these lists, it sure was fun to put it together and look back at everything I have smoked this year. I would suggest to anyone to do this. You find yourself saying “oh yea…I remember that smoke” a lot. Like our reviews this list is entirely subjective. If you happen to find that your tastes line up with mine most of the time then you may find some value here. Anyway, it came down from above that I “do an f’n list and like it,” so here it is. I am going to do things a bit different and give you my top 5 new cigars and my top 11 cigars that I smoked this year regardless of release dates so you can see how I thought these new blends stood up to past proven performers. (Yes 11. These were too close to call)

Another reason I don’t like this idea is that I haven’t had a chance to fully sample all of the new blends and some that I have sampled have been in limited numbers so in full disclosure, here are the new blends that I have been lucky enough to try: Room 101, Camacho Connecticut, Tatuaje Drac, Ambos Mundos (both wrappers), Rocky Patel Winter Blend 2009, Patel Bros., Patel 1961, Padilla Dominus, Man O’ War Ruination, Diesel by AJ Fernandez, CAO La Traviata, Torano Exodus 50 years, My Father Le Bijou, San Cristobal Seleccion del Sol, Oliva Serie V Maduro ’09, Oliva Connecticut Reserve, Punch Rare Corojo ’09, and the JC Newman Brickhouse. Full disclosure #2: I am writing this list a week before it’s post date so I have no idea what the other guys will come up with. It will be interesting to see how our lists compare.

So here you are for what it’s worth.  Be safe tonight and hope you all have a great 2010.

Top 5 New Blends:
5. My Father Le Bijou Toro – Great meaty smoke. Absolutely loved this one. Looking forward to getting more of these. Apparently we haven’t done the Le Bijou so I may have to get one up here.
4. Diesel by AJ Fernandez Belicoso – Very similar to the Ruination just a bit less complex but for almost half the price it is a phenomenal smoke. See what Ben thought of it here.
3. Rocky Patel Winter Blend 2009 Robusto – This first time I had this smoke I was blown away with the spice and the wonderful flavors that were unlike anything I have ever had. I have not been able to recreate that experience with the winter but that one experience is stuck in my head. It’s not the Robusto, but check out Brent’s review of the RP Winter here.
2. CAO La Traviata Divino – Awesome earthy smoke. These are quickly gaining ground in my all time list. Check out Charlie’s review here.
1. Man O’ War Ruination Belicoso – Fabulous smoke. Rich, peppery and very full bodied. Oak was the predominant flavor here. This stick is just a great experience. Check out my review here which by the way was one of, if not the first review done on the Ruination.

Top 11 (regardless of release date) that I smoked in 2009:
11. Oliva Serie V Lancero – The Oliva Serie V line as a whole is just plain great and the lancero takes everything up a notch with great woodsy flavors and wonderful complexities. See the review here.
10. CAO Lx2 Lancero – By far my favorite vitola in the Lx2 line. I feel the flavors are much more complex than in the larger ring gages. Spicy and full-bodied, I always look forward to this one. See Chris and Charlie do their first ever video review with the Lx2 Lancero here. Nice hats gentlemen!
9. Rocky Patel Winter Blend 2009 Robusto – See Above
8. CAO La Traviata Divino – See Above
7. J. Fuego Delerium Robusto – An awesome complex, flavorful smoke that just coats the palate with earth and chocolate. Hope to do a review soon.
6. La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial No. 1 (Corona) – Great smoke. Very complex with wood, earth, spice and a nice cinnamon sweetness. I did a review of the No. 3 here.
5. 601 Green Label Oscuro Corona – A little firecracker. This has your typical Pepin spice with some wonderful flavor. I plan on a review of this in the near future. Check out Chris’ review of the robusto here.
4. Fuente Fuente Opus X Robusto – My “Birthday” smoke this year. This is probably the most flavorful smoke I have ever had. You can see my birthday post here .
3. El Triunfador – Great flavors make this lancero just a wonderful experience from beginning to end. I absolutely love this smoke. See my review here.
2. Man O’ War Ruination Belicoso – See Above
1. Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic 1979 (Black Label Robusto) – Still my all time favorite. The Ruination surpassed it for a bit but after I went back to the DPG I fell in love all over again. Rich and spicy with great flavor, it will be very difficult for anything to take its place at the top.  We don’t have the 1979 up but here is Chris’ classic “family” review of the 1952.

Well thats it folks. Sorry no pretty pictures, but I could only scrounge up about 3/4s of them and it was all or nothin. Anyway, have a great New Year and smoke a fine cigar to 2010 being much better than 2009.

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Great list Brian; for me, the Brickhouse and the La Traviata were the surprises of the year–especially because of the value. Have a safe night yourself!

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Great post. I do agree that the top lists get a bit old after a while, but as you say, if someone has the same flavor profile as you, this list might help them pick some more really good cigars to try!


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