Shawn’s 2011 Cigars of the year

Christmas has passed us up this year so that means the year is coming to an end. Each year, I try to make a list of my favorite cigars that are released each year. This year, being no exception to the others, I sat down a thought about this year’s new releases favorites, and came up with this list. Due to the fact I liked them all alot, its hard to give them a numerical order, so I didn’t give them one. They are called my “Delightful Dozen” and are in no particular order. My top cigar of 2011 is at the end of this post.

“Delightful Dozen”

* Viaje Exclusivo Tower 45th Anniversary – I’ll probably catch alot of grief with this being a limited production cigar; but this cigar really impressed me. It was a cigar for one particular retailer, Tower Cigars, I was able to split a box with Ben. This smoke was amazingly good right out of the box and has been getting better with some age on them. I knew as soon as I smoked it, I knew it would be one of my top cigars of the year.

* Crowned Heads – Four Kicks Robusto – The highly anticipated release from Jon Huber was on my “have to get” list. And I was not disappointed by it at all. I had a few of each and decided the Robusto was the best. But the other vitolas were also very good as well. Either size you get, you are getting a solid medium bodied smoke with lots of flavor.

* Adrian’s Cro Magnon Knuckle Dragger – Ben had gave me this unbanded dark wrappered cigar and said “Just try it, I know you’ll like it”. So I did right then and there. About an inch or so into it, I said “Wow! These are powerful and flavorful!” Thats the one thing I like about the Cro Magnons; they are powerful and flavorful. Unlike alot of the other “powerhouse” cigars, the Cro Magnon has alot of awesome flavor! I had the EMH, and even in the larger RG, it was still awesome, but still preferred the smaller RG.

* My Uzi Weighs a Ton (MUWAT) – An amazing collaboration of Drew Estate and Joya de Nicaragua, the “Uzi” is one of the few 60RG cigars that I like and actually smoke on a regular basis. The 60rg has always been too large of a ring gauge and never felt quite right. But the Uzi comes in all 60rg in 5,6,&7″ lengths. It was a toss up either the Undercrown or the Uzi, and the Uzi seems to have a little better flavor profile that I like. The name would let you think that its a powerhouse smoke, but in all actuality its a nice medium-full bodied smoke thats full on flavor.

* E.P. Carillo – New Wave Connecticut – Now, the first thing I think of when I see a Connecticut wrapped cigar is “mild and flavorless”. The New Wave Connecticut is totally different with a nice medium body with very nice flavors that offer a little spice, sweetness, and nuttiness. I don’t smoke many Connecticut wrapped cigars, but this one is on the list of a regular smoke. It goes great with a good cup of not so strong coffee and is a great morning or afternoon smoke. I was really impressed with this smoke for a Connecticut.

* Viaje Late Harvest – Toro – I was at a time where I wasn’t going to chase down any LE cigars, and the Late Harvest happen to land in my humidor and I’m really glad it did. I have smoked both the Robusto and Toro and both are magnificent! I couldn’t pick an overall winner in size. But, the Toro seemed to be my favorite, just do to the longer smoking time. A great flavored cigar that shows a cigar doesn’t have to be full body to be good.

* La Caridad del Cobre – Javelin – I am always on the lookout for new Lanceros and Ben knowing this, handed me one a few months back and just said “try it”. Well, he didn’t have to tell me to try a lancero, but I am sure glad he did! This cigar is at the top, if not the #1 lancero I have ever had! Nice and strong body with great flavors. The shape alone is very interesting in the fact its a lancero/perfecto vitola. With sweet coffee like and spice notes, this cigar was a winner in my book. I did try the La Cucaracha (perfecto) and liked it as well, but the Javelin was still my overall favorite.

* Emilio Cigars – Grimalkin – A simple band design with two eyes staring at you covers up the complexity of the cigar underneath it. Grimalkin means “evil looking cat” and this cat is full of flavors that lead me to wanting more and more. Gary Griffith nailed this smoke as well as his others he has put out. But the Grimalkin reigns as the winner in my book with the nice cocoa notes and subtle spice.

* New Havana Cigars – Capa Especial – Only 70 boxes made, Ben and I were able to split one and I am sure glad I did! Similar to the Tatuaje 7th Capa (same sumatra wrapper), this smoke is totally amazing! This cigar is the NHC Seleccion Limitada with the 7th Capa Sumatra wrapper. The Sumatra wrapper really makes this cigar pop! I am a huge fan of Sumatra wrapped cigars and this cigar didn’t disappoint me one bit!

* San Lotano Oval Robusto – I enjoy alot, if not every cigar that AJ Fernandez comes out with. I saw alot of talk about these on twitter from numerous people when they came out. So when I was at Buckhead Cigar Club I had to try one, and ended up smoking a few. I had the Corona (in which I also reviewed) and the robusto. Out of the two, the robusto seemed to be the best balance of flavors and also seemed to be the favorite size out of many I talked to as well.

* Tatuaje Black Petite Lancero – Once again, a lancero gets in my top cigars of the year. Even though its a petite lancero, I still like this cigar alot. To me, its the flavors of a Tat Black, but more condensed down into a flavor bomb. The price tag of around $9+ kept me away from them some, but it still was not enough to keep me from buying them. I like the Tat Black Tubos, but the rarity of them has me leaning to like the Petite Lanceros alot more.

* Viaje Exclusivo Shorts – At first, these were a little on the “fresh” side and needed some rest. Every month or so, I found myself pulling one out of the humidor and each time, I enjoyed it more than the one prior to it. These are one of my favorite “short smokes” for when I want a powerful & flavorful cigar in a short amount of time.

“Sweet Spot Smokes”

This small selection of smokes is for the cost conscious cigar enjoyer or a new cigar smoker who doesn’t want to or can’t spend $10 or more on a cigar, but wants a good tasting smoke. I’m calling them my “Sweet Spot Smokes”. I refer to my “sweet-spot” price point at being around $7.00. Not that these cigars are cheaply made smoke, but just an affordable good tasting new smoke.


* Padilla LA Terraza Habano – At around $4.50, this smoke is a long filler smoke that shows you don’t have to break the bank to have a good smoke. Me and a few buddies cleared out a B&M of these during one trip they are a great smoke.

* My Father La Reloba Mexican – Don’t get me wrong, the Sumatra and Habano line of these cigars are good, but the Mexican selection is just a little bit better in my eyes. I think its the San Andreas wrapper from Mexico that really turns me onto this smoke. Usually a Mexican grown tobacco is not very high quality, but in this case, I could care less. Its a great smoke at about $5.50.

* Tabacums by Habana Port Cigar Merchants – When I saw the $3.50 price tag for a long filler handmade smoke I thought to myself “Its worth a shot, it may be a diamond in the rough”. And my thoughts were exactly right. Ben and I liked them enough we did a “quad review” of these cigars right on the spot at the B&M with Thomas Bender and Louis Molina. Its hard to find a hand rolled, let alone a good hand rolled cigar for under $4 these days and this one is definately one of them!

* Room 101 Namakubi – Papi Chulo – For $6.20, this cigar may seem a little over priced for a petite corona size, but if you want a Limited Run Cigar that has great flavors and have little smoke time, try these. A bit of sweetness then some black pepper. Its starts off sweet and ends off with a Severed Head of Black Pepper.

* Tatuaje P Series – I like almost every Tatuaje cigar produced. I saw the “P Series” and learned they were a Sumatra wrapped mixed filler smoke, I had to try them. At about $4.50, they are a milder smoke than most typical Tatuajes, but for a mixed filler, I really liked it. A Sumatra wrapped Tatuaje at a great price is a win-win in my book!

* Man O War – Puro Authentico – A Cigars International exclusive is the only drawback I have with this smoke. But a $6 price tag with awesome flavors that to me are very similar to a very popular cigar (with a “T” in the name) at half the cost is winner to me! I absolutely love these smokes’ flavor, size and price tag. An over all flavor bomb!

My 2011 Cigar of the Year

Tatuaje Avion 11

I guess I am turning into a “Tat Whore”, but when this cigar came out, I almost didn’t buy it. The $10.65 price tag at the time was a little too much I wanted to spend on a cigar. But I went ahead bought it, smoked it, and enjoyed it enough that I suspect I probably bought a 3/4 box over time.
The woody/earthy core with slight pepper and a faint sweetness is the flavor profile that I have to come to enjoy. The size of 6 3/4″ x 48/52rg (Perfecto Grande) is a great size cigar when you have time to enjoy a smoke. I have enjoyed many of these cigars as well as some of the others in the Fausto line; but the Avion seems to be the best of the line. A cigar with a full body and full (awesome) flavored Nicaraguan smoke is why I consider this my 2011 Cigar of the Year.


2011 Wrap Up and Special Thanks 

I’ve had alot of good, great, and not so great cigars this year. I would like to thank all my friends who have gifted or suggested me cigars. Without you, it would be a tough decision on what to smoke at times and I would have possibly missed out on some great cigars. Though I have only been with NTA a few months, I am appreciative of all of your comments, suggestions, and ideas. I look forward to what next year brings. Thank you!

“Nothing Beats a Nice Tight Ash”

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Great list with great highlights, Shawn! Happy New Year!


Awesome, Shawn! Thanks for the recognition of our Tabacums! FYI if people want to order it they can do so through:


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