At the beginning of November I began to gather my notes for the cigars I have smoked since last year’s Top 25 posting, and here we are a year later. It has been a great year since December 21st, 2011, and I have smoked some terrific cigars. Every year it is incredibly difficult to break down all the cigars I have smoked into the Top 25 of the year, and this year it was no exception. I actually found this year to be one of the most difficult I have had to work on, and that is what you want to see. Manufacturers are producing some incredible smokes these days, and this year we saw some great cigars from the smallest of cigar companies to the largest. Each cigar in my Top 25 I have smoked countless times this year, and it all began by creating a Top 50. From there I was able to cut down cigars to make a Top 30 list, and from there came the hard part of cutting out five. After all that work I am here today to continue publishing my Top 10 of 2012
10. Last year this company skyrockets in the online media with the release of the Grimalkin, and this year they have continued to soar as a company. Led by the genius Gary Griffith, Emilio Cigars has quickly found their ways into tobacco shops nationwide. I have found that once a smoker discovers Emilio Cigars they are hooked and can not get enough. With amazing and unique cigars that are all so very different on the market Gary has created cigars for every smoker. With his solid cigar core line Gary announced the release of a limited edition cigar. For 2012 we saw the release of the Draig K. The cigar begins by the use of a unique wrapper from Colombia called Colombian Cubanito, and production was limited to a total of 1,200 boxes for three vitolas. I smoked the robusto and corona vitola and found the corona vitola to be out of this world. With a flavor profile as complex as I have seen with any cigar the Draig K was truly a wonderful release. I know these cigars moved fast, and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on several of each size. If your shops by some chance still has these you need to snatch them up right away. Coming in as the Number 10 Cigar of the Year is the Emilio Draig K Corona.
9. For this phase of the Top 25 we are seeing two manufacturers make a second appearance. Coming in as the Number 9 Cigar of the Year is a personal favorite. The core Illusione line, illusione “Original Documents,” was the first line that Dion Giolito brought to the cigar industry and it was a success from day one. This Nicaraguan puro was blended to capture those old school Nicaraguan flavors that you found in cigars prior to the Sandinista Revolution in 1979. The cigar is made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas, and is made in the Cuban fashion. It is categorizes as a Lonsdale in vitola and has a great length with a 44 ring gauge. The ~f9~ gets its name from two things, the F standing for finesse. When Dion was blending this cigar he was speaking with Arsenio and Romai down in Nicaragua and Honduras, and he said that if they could make the perfect blend for the vitola “it could rule the world.” The 9 stands for the former ninth planet, Pluto. The cigar really showcases the great aspects of the line, and while you may have fluctuation in wrapper coloring each cigar is construed wonderfully and has a great flavor profile. This is one of those old faithful cigars, and will be for a long time. The Number 9 Cigar of the Year is the illusione ~f9~.
8. So in the spring of this year I discovered a new boutique company that was actually based out of my state. I actually should say that I was informed about this company, and not take credit for discovery. The company takes on the name Lou Rodriguez Cigars, and is run by Lou Rodriguez. Besides running a cigar company Lou Rodriguez is also in the medical field and it is interesting to see a manufacturer do both. The company is incredibly boutique, and is based out of Nicaragua. They own their own factory, and with that have their own fields in the country. They use propitiatory Nicaraguan fillers and binders for all their cigars, and then apply the finest of wrapper leaves from the most prominent regions. He is most well known for his maduro portfolio, but it was in his Connecticut Line that I found a truly remarkable cigar. the Lou Rodriguez Connecticut Lancero is a masterpiece of a cigar, and the finest Connecticut lancero I have had to date. The smooth and light cigar produces a complex bouquet of flavors, and it is almost like dessert when smoking. It was with this cigar that I truly became a Lou Rodriguez nut, and look forward to his rising in the cigar industry. Coming in as the Number 8 Cigar of the Year is the Lou Rodriguez Connecticut Lancero.
7. Every year Pete Johnson graces us with a limited release smoke around the Halloween season. We are in the fifth year of this series, and for this years installment Pete outdid himself. I believe it to be the best Monster Series cigar released, and with that it is offered in an incredible size. The Tatuaje Mummy is the fifth installment in the Monster Series, and it is a cigar based somewhat off the Black Label. The cigar is a massive Churchill/Double Corona, and is finished with a closed foot. From beginning to end the cigar has a complex flavor profile, and with that a great strength level. I have always been a huge fan of the Black Label line, and with that it was no surprise I would love this cigar. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one the sarcophagi that the cigar is packaged in for the dress boxes, and it is a box I will hold on to forever. Tatuaje never ceases to amaze smokers with their new releases, and I think this one might be the best he has had in some time. Coming in as the Number 7 Cigar of the Year is the Tatuaje Mummy!
6. Coming in at Number 6 this year is a cigar that is the newest offering from E.P. Carrillo, and a great one at that. Since 2009, well 2010, E.P. Carrillo has been growing in popularity and with amazing limited edition and short run smokes they have had some of the best core line cigars on the market. They are a company that offers smokes with incredible construction and complex flavor profiles with terrific prices. They are a company that I consider to have some of the best regular production cigars on the market, and give us even more with their limited edition smokes. Showcased at the 2012 IPCPR was the E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Series. It had a softer showing to the INCH Series, but I believe that it will be growing in popularity more and more as smokers discover the line. It is considered to be the most full bodied of smokes coming out of their factory, and with great strength is tremendous flavors. Coming in as the Number 6 Cigar of the Year is the E.P. Carrillo Cardinal 52 Maduro.