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Surviving the Holidays

With the mad rush of tortured souls fending off the stress of the holidays, it’s no wonder one doesn’t begin to yearn for the innocent bliss of the Sears Wish Book-era of one’s childhood—a magical time when the holidays were all gain, and little-to-no pain. Adulthood has a nifty way of changing all that, what with the burdens of budgets, inlaws, cholesterol counts, and dreadful neighborhood mixers. Of course, with all that comes the opportunity for serious self-determination. We’re grownups now: we can toss the canned beer for microbrews. Ditch the Jell-O shots for single malts. Even if the big luxuries are out of reach, we can all shoehorn in a few affordable luxuries now and then.

If you don’t normally spend a whole lot of time sniffing around the fragrant humidor of your local cigar store, this time of year brings about a clear sense of accomplishment, curiosity, and, well wonder, and it’s hard to resist the toy store-like draw of the tempting tobacco shop window displays. Hey, I survived another year: I deserve to celebrate. The prospect of some special holiday-time cigars—some old favorites for sure, but definitely some new and different selections—seems to hover like visions.

SMOKE Cigar Ratings
RatingQuality
0-5.9Poor
6.0-6.9Fair
7.0-7.9Average
8.0-8.5Good
8.6-9.0Very Good
9.1-9.5Excellent
9.6-10.0Superior
Now, we all know the season isn’t about receiving, of course, but giving. But frankly, rest assured that cigar fans are among the most generous folks around: when we’re not handing sticks outright to our friends, we still get together and trade them around. Who else does that?

You may have no idea what to do with that gift from your mother-in-law, but you can still count on 20 of the bravest, most intrepid cigar reviewers around

taking time out of their busy schedules to sample and rate 32 premium handrolled cigars—as well as one machine-made cigar and one flavored cigar—in this special holiday issue. The results may surprise and astound you. Among the top rated were Tabacalera Perdomo’s Corojo Toro (9.5), Camacho’s SLR Maduro Toro (9.4), Crown David Exquisto Baldy (9.4), or the Cuban Cohiba Siglo VI (9.5). Other tasty treats in this issue include the Adan and Eve perfecto from Eden’s Gate and the pecan-aged Avalon Honeyboy. In all, plenty of great ideas to kick back and relax.

We at Smoke hope that, as always, these reviews help give you the courage and confidence to broaden your smoking horizons. We hope that you find some cigars here that you want to save for a special occasion all your own.

— E.H., C.S.


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!

H. UPMANN VINTAGE CAMEROON Belicoso
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Altadis USA
Size:
6 1/8 x 52
Filler:
DR/Nic/Peru
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Cameroon
Panelist #1 The cigar did not lack in any area.It was well constructed, nice to look at, and just as nice to smoke.
8.9 VERY GOOD
Panelist #2 Normally I’m a fan of milder cigars than this, but given the cigar’s construction I would try this one again.
9.0 VERY GOOD
Panelist #3 This was a strong cigar that was generally appealing. It left a slight aftertaste that I didn’t care for.
8.8 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 The bitter aftertaste hurt what otherwise would have been an excellent cigar. I might buy this again.
8.9 VERY GOOD

SAVINELLI 1876 NICARAGUA RESERVE Churchill
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
Savinelli U.S.A.
Size:
7 x 52
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1 A little too light for me. I enjoyed the subtle flavor of it. It’s not as strong as I would think for its size.
8.8 VERY GOOD
Panelist #2 A good cigar at worst. The tobacco had body and depth of flavor but lacked punch. No cigar hangover.
8.7 VERY GOOD
Panelist #3 An interesting cigar that had complexity but no real power to it. I would smoke it again though.
8.7 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 Very nice cigar. I don’t think I would have a problem buying one or suggesting it to a friend.
8.8 VERY GOOD

CUVEE ROUGE Robusto
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Domrey Cigar LTD.
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
DR
Panelist #1 While this cigar might prove too complex for a beginner, it is an excellent cigar for a veteran smoker.
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 I highly suggest this cigar for anyone. It brings a combination of rich flavors and sturdy construction.
9.4 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 Cigar is loaded with rich, creamy
9.3 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 While I would only suggest them to a “real smoker,” I would not hesitate to buy them for myself.
9.1 EXCELLENT

CANIMAO LIMITED EDITION Robusto
Country:
Hon
Manufacturer:
Attaby Inc.
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
DR/Nic
Binder:
Ecu
Wrapper:
Ecu
Panelist #1 A mild cigar that is perfect for smoking after a heavy, rich meal. Not too harsh or too mild for any palate.
8.8 VERY GOOD
Panelist #2 A light smoke so you probably wouldn’t want to have it with a strong drink or rich foods.
9.0 VERY GOOD
Panelist #3 The cigar was strong but at the same time relaxing. It would be a great way to unwind after work.
9.0 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 Slightly disappointed by how dry it was and the messy ash. The complex, peppery flavors made up for it.
9.0 VERY GOOD

ZINO CLASSIC Double Corona
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Davidoff of Geneva
Size:
7 1/2 x 52
Filler:
Hon
Binder:
Hon
Wrapper:
Ecu
Panelist #1 This cigar in one hand, and the remote control in the other was all
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 A nice, meaty smoke to save for a cool evening with friends. Try it with a pint of oatmeal stout.
9.3 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 Despite my initial problems with this one, I ended up enjoying it fully. I would suggest it to veteran smokers.
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 A classy smoke for a nice night out on the town. I would probably buy one if I knew what it was.
9.2 EXCELLENT



ARGANESE MADURO PRESIDENTE Robusto
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Arganese Cigars
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
Brazil
Panelist #1 I would suggest this cigar to a friend and likely smoke it again myself. I have no problem with this smoke.
9.0 VERY GOOD
Panelist #2 While I tend to like my cigars a little spicier, this particular cigar made for a welcome change of pace.
9.0 VERY GOOD
Panelist #3 Well constructed with lots of flavor up front. I would gladly suggest this cigar to a new cigar smoker.
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 A rich, bold cigar with lots of savory flavors and a real cigar feel to it. Not for a first timer though.
9.1 EXCELLENT

PUNCH GRAN PURO Rancho
Country:
Hon
Manufacturer:
General Cigar Co.
Size:
5 1/2 x 54
Filler:
Hon
Binder:
Hon
Wrapper:
Hon
Panelist #1 This firecracker is a great follow-up to a rich and spicy meal. Newbies may want to steer clear, however.
9.4 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 I’d recommend this cigar to any level of smoker. The punch that it delivers might be a little strong for some.
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 Phenomenal. I would suggest it to anyone who likes a rich, bold smoke. It compliments any drink well.
9.5 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 A remarkably good smoke, the flavors were a little muddied by their combined richness.
9.5 EXCELLENT

TRILOGY EXOTIC MADURO Torpedo
Country:
Hon
Manufacturer:
Alec Bradley
Size:
6 1/8 x 52
Filler:
Nic/Columbia
Binder:
Indo
Wrapper:
Brazil
Panelist #1 This baby is just plain enjoyable any time of day, an uncomplicated smoke you can always light up.
9.2 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 This torpedo kept me interested for a good hour. I’d buy and spend a long Sunday afternoon with one.
9.3 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 This cigar did not disappoint: an almost perfect size, and an ideal smoke to savor after dinner.
9.3 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 I would love to know what this cigar is so that I can go out and get myself a few in the future.
9.5 EXCELLENT

SAN MARTIN Libertador
Country:
Peru
Manufacturer:
Tabacalera Del Oriente International
Size:
6 x 52
Filler:
Peru
Binder:
Peru
Wrapper:
Peru
Panelist #1 While enjoyable, this is a cigar I’d lay down for a while; about a year of aging, and this could be a knockout.
8.6 VERY GOOD
Panelist #2 The powerful, smooth finish lingers nicely. Seasoned smokers should enjoy this with a good whiskey.
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 This cigar offered a good late-afternoon smoke; the shape is a nice change of pace from my usual.
8.8 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 While it had a decent flavor profile, and is now a Very Good smoke, I’m sure with time it could be better.
8.7 VERY GOOD

CHAMUCO SOUL Belicoso
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
Chamuco
Size:
6 x 54
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Ecuador
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Panelist #1 A well-constructed cigar that featured depth of flavors and body. It was neither too bold or too weak.
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 It is as if there are two cigars here; the smooth rich one we start with and then the spicy one that finishes.
8.9 VERY GOOD
Panelist #3 I enjoyed 99.9 percent of this cigar.
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 I would likely smoke this again. The tart/sour finish was one blemish in an otherwise quality smoke.
8.8 VERY GOOD



LA CAROLINA Gran Robusto
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
Cuban Crafters
Size:
5 1/2 x 50
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1 A reasonably well thought out stick with an interesting flavor profile to compliment fine craftsmanship.
9.2 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 A well-constructed cigar that has a sophisticated flavor profile. I would gladly sample this again.
9.2 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 As a fan of subtle cigars this was a little strong for me. Certainly not everyone will see this my way.
8.9 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 Given its citrus flavors and obvious Latin influence I would smoke this while sipping a fine tequila.
9.1 EXCELLENT

PERDOMO HABANO COROJO Toro
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
Tabacalera Perdomo
Size:
5 1/2 x 54
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1 Of the cigars that I have smoked as a reviewer, this is my favorite. Not too strong, not too mild. Perfect.
9.7 SUPERIOR
Panelist #2 Bravo. Whomever is responsible for this work of art should be rewarded, if not in this life then the next.
9.4 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 This well-balanced stick takes flavor to another level. Have it after a satisfying meal and savor it.
9.2 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 This is one of the finest I’ve had in a while. I suggest it and in fact I’ll be buying a box, if I can find one.
9.6 SUPERIOR





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