So, I guess you could call this my “best of” for 2013. I smoked a few cigars, enjoyed some, hated some, and fell in love with a few. Some of these were new for 2013, some of them are old stand-bys. In the end, however, they were all brand new to me.
Padron 1926 #35 Maduro
TLJ Legend Reserve 63 Habano
AKA Nth Degree
Headly Grange Drumstick
Quesada Octoberfest Kaiser Ludwig
Aging Room F55
Kristoff Sumatra Lancero
Tatuaje Petit Cazadores Reserva
Herrera Esteli Lonsdale
Viva Republica Rapture
The Padron 1926 #35 Maduro was one of my first cigars ever. In fact, I think it was the third cigar I ever smoked, after a Padron Executive Maduro and a Flor de las Antillas. I guess I’m kind of spoiled after all. The 1926 Maduro was excellent to say the least. Smooth, rich and creamy. I always think about getting another, but haven’t yet done so.
I had some work to do to get my hands on the TL Johnson. I first knew about the fly rods made by the same person, Terry Johnson, so I just had to give the cigar a try. In the end, I had to find the local rep, then get him to come down to Portland. I fell in love the with Legend Reserve 63 Habano as soon as I fired it up. Fortunately for me, there is now a local retailer carrying them, so they’re easier to keep in my humidor.
I won the AKA Nth Degree from CigarFederation.com. It took awhile for my 4-pack of AKA cigars to show up as they were still waiting for the cigars to arrive from the D.R. Once they got here, though, I was very impressed. Each of the cigars were wonderful, but the best of the litter was the Nth Degree. It has great flavor but doesn’t blow it all out at the beginning. They come on slowly to tease the palate.
With only a couple hours left of 2013, the Headly Grange Drumstick from Crowned Heads barely makes the list for the year. I’m glad I didn’t have to wait until next year to tell you that this cigar is “best of 2013” material, especially since there may not even be any Headly Grange Drumsticks around by this time next year. That’s the problem with limited edition cigar releases. Only 15,000 Drumsticks were rolled.
It’s my understanding that the Quesada Oktoberfest Kaiser Ludwig is the least produced size of the annual release. Fortunately I was able to smoke a few Kaiser Ludwig, and several of the robusto (Kurz) size variations as well. They all smoked excellently, and I can’t wait for late-August when these will find their way back into stores. Only about 500 boxes are made.
I smoked my fair share of Aging Room cigars this year. Of all the blends, the F55 is the one that stands out as one of the best cigars that I’ve had all year. Actually, the new Maduro is pretty high up there too. But the F55 is one that you can smoke at any time and know you are experiencing one of the best cigars on the market. Sadly, the F55 will likely come to an end, as there was a very short supply of the 10 year old Sumatran wrapper leaf.
Early on in my smoking days, I learned quickly that I liked Sumatran wrappers. I was also curious to see what the talk was with lancero sized cigars. Enter the Kristoff Sumatra Lancero. This sounded like everything I would love, and, wouldn’t you know it, it was. Unfortunately the pricetag keeps me from smoking these with more regularity.
I think I have smoked more Tatuaje Petit Cazadores Reservas in 2013 than any other cigar. The petit corona format is perfect for short smoking opportunities and the full flavor and strength of the cigar is more than satisfying too. These little bombs are always in my humi, and one of the most likely cigars for me to point out at work whenever someone wants to try something new. Because of their size (petit corona) they are often overlooked.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Herrera Esteli Lonsdale, but I knew the blend had some great reviews, and the lonsdale format is one of my favorites. It proved itself to be a great cigar, and one of the best I’ve had from Drew Estates in 2013. Yes, I consider it better than the Liga Privada line up.
There aren’t a whole lot of people that have heard of the Viva Republica Rapture, and, to be honest, before I started working at The Stash, I hadn’t heard of it either. Turns out the Rapture is probably one of the best cigars you’ve never heard of. Rolled at the La Aurora factory, the construction is excellent, and the flavors do not disappoint.
In the end, yes, I’m a sucker for Sumatran wrappers. The Aging Room F55, Headly Grange Drumstick and Kristoff are all Sumatran wrappers. The rest vary with some a couple Habanos, a couple broadleafs, and this and that.
Please, chime in and tell me what some of your favorites were