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The Tastes
of Fall

Summer heat is quickly giving way to fall breezes, and the era of quality and consistency from the purveyors of premium cigars continues apace - at least judging by the high scores awarded by the overwhelming majority of Smoke's Cigar Review panelists (Special props to our online contest winners, Michael Guttman, Ben Maphis, and Rocco Yiu). The bar was set high once again, with a majority of entrants scoring at least a 4.0, or excellent, on our rigorous 5-point scale. Even when one of the tasters of any given cigar was underwhelmed by its attributes, the other three invariably had a higher opinion of them, sometimes much higher. And if one panelist thought a cigar was absolute perfection (rare, but it occurred in several cases in this particular Review), the other three brought it down to Earth with slightly more critical appraisals. Thus, the numerical field is fairly narrow. How then to decide which cigars are truly the best for you?

SMOKE Cigar Ratings
RatingQuality
0-2.0Poor
2.1-2.9Fair
3.0-3.9Good
4.0-4.5Excellent
4.6-5.0Superior
Simple, really. Numbers, while a good shorthand way to denote quality, have never been Smoke's forté. That's why we publish the most in-depth commentary available on premium cigars, rather than a couple of lines and a number. We feel that each consumer is entitled to get the full, unbiased picture of a cigar from a variety of sources, and make up his or her own mind. Sometimes the cigar that gets the highest rating may still not be your style, based on the description (Some smokers, after all, may simply not care for certain wrappers, sizes, shapes, or even types of tobacco). Sometimes you may see a cigar that receives a more middle-of-the-road score, but upon reading the comments, you realize it's exactly what you're looking for (especially if, as in many cases, value for the price is a consideration).

Of course, as folks who love trying new smokes, we hope readers are willing to put aside preconceived notions to expand their horizons - and we certainly think that our highest scoring entrants this issue - especially the Camacho Corojo Monarca and La Aurora Cien Años, both pulling down an impressive 4.6 - are great smokes worthy of the honor. Bottom line is that we're not here to tell you what to spend your money on; we're here to help you become a more informed, educated cigar consumer. After all, you're the reason that so many cigars are so much better than they were just a few years ago.
- The Editors


Want more? For the full details of each review, including all the panelists views on aesthetics, construction, flavor, and more, subscribe now - or pick up a copy of SMOKE Magazine at a Tobacconist near you!

PUROS INDIOS VIEJO No. 4 Especiale
Country:
Hon
Manufacturer:
Puros Indios Cigars
Size:
5 1/2 x 44
Filler:
DR/Nic/Braz
Binder:
Ecu
Wrapper:
Ecu
Panelist #1 A good-burning cigar. I would take a box to my 27th high school reunion to pass out to the fellows. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #2 The cigar to have when you don't want to think about choosing. Could be a good 'first cigar' experience. RECOMMENDED
Panelist #3 With so many inferior cigars on the market, it's a pleasure to find one so well-made and relaxing. RECOMMENDED
Panelist #4 Flavors were consistent, though I found them somewhat neutral. Most could enjoy this any time of day. RECOMMENDED

LA AURORA CIEN AÑOS Robusto
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
La Aurora
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
DR
Panelist #1 This cigar stood out from all the other samples. I would have no problem talking this one up. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #2 This is a cigar I would smoke after a big porterhouse steak dinner and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #3 Pair this up with some of Kentucky's finest spirit and put a little bit of spice in your life. An easy choice. RECOMMENDED
Panelist #4 Simply put, it delivers. All samples were consistently delicious and elegant, without a trace of harshness. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

CUSANO MC Robusto
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Dom Rey Cigars
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
Conn
Panelist #1 Good things come in plain packages. A go-to choice, despite an ash that grows faster than the deficit. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #2 I'd call this a pleasant morning smoke that would improve with a better fill. Novices will enjoy it. MILDLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #3 Definitely a cigar to smoke in the morning. Perfect for a beginner looking for a 'training wheels' smoke. FAIR
Panelist #4 I'd recommend this cigar to just about anyone, anytime. All the samples were consistently satisfying. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

VICTORY Vintage Torpedo
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Victory
Size:
7 x 52
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
Braz
Panelist #1 The flavor saves the day! Try this with your favorite foie gras and chase it with a Scotch on the rocks. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #2 Very nice flavor, not so nice in the draw and burn department. I'll give this one another shot someday. MILDLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #3 If you like that sweet Nicaraguan taste with impeccable construction, this cigar may be for you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #4 A bold cigar statement, beautifully marrying complex flavors. I enjoyed it with a Sandeman's Reserve porto. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

GRAYCLIFF CRYSTAL President
Country:
Bah
Manufacturer:
Graycliff Cigar Co.
Size:
7 x 48
Filler:
Br/Gre/Hon
Binder:
Indo
Wrapper:
Ecu
Panelist #1 Every sample was enjoyable. This is the kind of big, luxurious smoke you'd have during a ballgame. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #2 A worthy smoke from beginning to end. This one is best smoked after a heavy meal, and it's not for a novice. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #3 Not knowing the price, I can't say I'd buy it. The cigars were consistent, but somehow miss the mark. FAIR
Panelist #4 A definite top-fueler with wonderful taste and complexity. It's even got a little Cuban 'twang' to it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



CAMACHO COROJO Monarca
Country:
Hon
Manufacturer:
Caribe Imports
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
Hon
Binder:
Hon
Wrapper:
Hon
Panelist #1 Encore, encore! I would buy a box and age them. If this cigar were a woman, it would be a perfect 10. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #2 Night time is the right time for this one. This rich, serious short maduro has some after-dinner gravitas. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #3 This full-bodied treat has a nice balance of flavor and strength, with just the right amount of complexity. RECOMMENDED
Panelist #4 One of the best in the tasting so far. If you're looking for a relaxing evening smoke, this could be it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

SAVINELLI FUERTE Toro
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
Savinelli, LTD
Size:
6 x 50
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1 Age these first to smooth out the hills and valleys, then light up! This one's definitely an evening stogie. RECOMMENDED
Panelist #2 You can't help but love this one. Excellent with a capital E from the mellow start to the robust finish. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #3 Not my favorite, but an acceptable after-lunch cigar, best enjoyed with coffee or a glass of stout. MILDLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #4 It might not be the best-looking, but it's surely one of the best-tasting. I'll be getting me some of these. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

DELECTADOS Seletos No. 4
Country:
Braz
Manufacturer:
Puros do Brasil
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
Braz
Binder:
Braz
Wrapper:
Braz
Panelist #1 An excellent after-lunch smoke, which I thoroughly enjoyed with both an ice-cold lager and a latte. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #2 This little guy turned out to be a wonderful after-dinner treat, complemented with a glass of brandy. RECOMMENDED
Panelist #3 If samples were more consistent in their construction, I would feel more comfortable recommending these. FAIR
Panelist #4 The kind of cigar that reminds a lady of a good man: strong, dependable, with a slight smirk and attitude. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

JOYA DE NICARAGUA ANTAÑO 1970 Machito
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
MATASA
Size:
4 3/4 x 42
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1 A great everyday cigar. I could see myself enjoying this with a pint of ale while watching a football game. RECOMMENDED
Panelist #2 You'll always have room in your inside pocket for a couple of these. Maduro magic in a small stick. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #3 A tasty small smoke. These should age nicely. I've always enjoyed this vitola when it's done right. RECOMMENDED
Panelist #4 A little cigar that packs a big punch. Flavors dance on your tongue from the first pull of mouth-filling smoke. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

SANCHO PANZA EXTRA FUERTE Barcelona
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
General Cigar Co.
Size:
6 1/2 x 48
Filler:
Hon
Binder:
Hon
Wrapper:
Hon
Panelist #1 This long-burning cigar gets my highest kudos. It should last for the whole first half of a football game. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #2 A good early-evening cigar to enjoy with your favorite libation. It cleanses the palate nicely with good rum. RECOMMENDED
Panelist #3 The samples stayed smooth even after a relight. I hope these aren't expensive; they taste that way! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Panelist #4 Appearances notwithstanding, this cigar's flavors make it a gem in the rough. And taste is what counts! RECOMMENDED





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