Cruising Cigar Man
Outstanding Cigars of 2004
Notable smokes of the past year
May. 7, 2005 03:00 PM
2004 saw the debut of some excellent cigars, and in this issue I want to share with you (in no particular order), some of the more outstanding cigars released last year. I say “outstanding” because I don’t believe any cigar is “the best” any more than I believe any one movie or record album is “the best”; each cigar is unique in and of itself, which this list embodies.
Davidoff Limited Edition 2004 Robusto Real “Especiales 7”
Another remarkable luxury cigar from Davidoff made in very limited edition. The Robusto Real cigars are blended with 7 entirely unique tobaccos deftly hand-rolled inside an exquisite Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper. The cigar presents a full-bodied, complex and perfectly-balanced smoke. The wrapper is dark, oily and virtually flawless, plus it gives off a wonderful aroma for which Davidoff cigars are known, and gives the blend just the right amount of depth. This is one of those cigars you actually have to smoke to fully appreciate, so be on the lookout for these cigars, because many retailers are already out of stock.
This is the first cigar that I can say truly knocked me on my keester. Named for the ancient Nicaraguan Indian chieftain, Nicarao cigars (pronounced Nik-a-ra-oh) are blended with 100% full-bodied, all Nicaraguan-grown tobaccos with a spicy, Cuban-seed, Corojo 1999 wrapper. As soon as you light the cigar, you feel its intensity. The first few puffs are very full-bodied, which eventually round off to a very creamy, aromatic and consistently robust smoke from end to end. This is not a cigar I want to smoke on a daily basis, but rather, when I want to escape from reality. An absolutely stunning cigar with a very distinctive body and character that I feel will give cigars like Fuente Fuente Opus X, Padron Anniversary ’64 and 1926 a good chase for a lot less money, too.
La Gloria Cubana Figurado
This was one of those cigars that I think I liked even more after I smoked it because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Made in very limited edition, the Figurado is a small Cuban Diadema-like shape wrapped in an oily, cocoa-brown, Ecuadorian wrapper with a needle-like flag cap. Although comparisons are extraneous, this cigar came as close to a good Havana as anything I’ve had in recent memory. The prevailing character of the cigar is woody with alternating notes of sweet cedar and spiciness, which gains in strength and spiciness as the cigar smokes. Moreover, it’s during the last third that this cigar fully reveals its striking beauty. The cigar also produces a lot of thick, hearty smoke – a trademark of La Gloria Cubana. A very enjoyable cigar, undoubtedly best-suited for more experienced palates.
The Edge was one of the most talked-about cigars of the Retail Tobacco Dealers Show in Las Vegas last year. Created by Rocky Patel of Indian Tabac cigars and blender, Jesus Fuego, the company line is “for professional smokers only,” but if you’re a cigar smoker who’s at the crossroads of tackling more full-flavored cigars, these seductively smooth, yet potent cigars present an incomparable smoking experience. The all Honduran-tobacco blend is presented in two shapes (Toro and Pyramid) in a savory Corojo wrapper or a dark, oily Maduro wrapper. Yes, seasoned cigar aficionados will appreciate the heartiness and bottomless depth to this cigar, not to mention its provocative aroma. Here again, The Edge represents a more easily procurable and a very formidable contender to the Fuente Fuente Opus X as well as some of the better Cuban cigars.
The Griffin’s Special XX
The Griffin’s Special XX was one of the best-looking cigars I came across last year. It’s rolled so well that you can barely make out the seam of the wrapper. The Griffin’s Special XX was made in limited edition (only 3,000 boxes) to celebrate the luxury label’s 20th Anniversary. The wrapper is a specially-cured Ecuadorian Connecticut with a well-balanced, vintage Dominican tobacco blend. The aroma is rife with cedar fragrance and just a scintilla of vanilla, plus the ash is hard as nails. The smoke is moderately sharp with a very rich, woody taste, leaving notes of pepper and spice on the palate. Comparatively speaking, it’s a marvelous fusion of the milder Griffin’s classic and the more robust Griffin’s Fuerte. Many retailers are already sold out of this cigar, but if you’re lucky enough to find one, you’re in for a wonderful treat.
Plasencia Organica Reserva – although this cigar officially debuted at RTDA in 2003, it didn’t really surface until last year and is now in the very healthy stages of growth among more consumers. What makes Plasencia Reserva Organica cigars so unique in both construction and taste is that they are the only 100% organically-grown premium cigars made today. The process, re-introduced by Nestor Plasencia in Nicaragua, involves the same farming and curing methods used by the Indians dating back over 500 years. When smoked, it reveals a naturally pure tobacco taste that’s mellow with a toasty, mild to medium-bodied character. Another case of a true, one-of-a-kind cigar that to really appreciate, must be smoked.
I hope you’ll get the chance to enjoy these fine cigars during the course of this year. As the cigars continue to improve in quality, I can only imagine what 2005 has in store.