Stanford Newman approached Carlos Fuente with a new idea for his treasured Diamond Crown line, to create a full-bodied version. The Maximus derives its mystique from the El Bajo sun grown wrapper harvested on the Oliva family's Ecuador plantation. Not to be confused with a Maduro, it is made from the richest, heartiest tobacco cut from the top priming of the plant. The flavor lingers somewhere between a cappuccino and a double espresso-- neither delicate nor intense. Very rare and befitting the Crown name, even the band speaks loudly to what pleasurable offerings the tobaccos will deliver. This cigar hits the mark and is a true treasure in any aficionado's humidor.
Don Pepins have captured the love and admiration of many followers, and with very good reason. The first cigars made by Jose "Don Pepin" Garcia were under the Tatuaje label, but are now produced with his own label. Made in the El Rey de Los Habanos factory, following the Cuban style as closely as possible, without the use of Cuban tobacco. These cigars are of the finest quality, using a triple cap to complement a truly magnificent appearance. Cloaked in an oily Nicaraguan Corojo leaf, the wrapper is of a lovely cinnamon hue, banded in blue depicting both the Cuban and American flags. This cigar is strictly for professionals and not for beginners.
Born and raised in Switzerland, Philip Gregory Wynne, the namesake behind Felipe Gregorio cigars, was always fond of the Cuban-style, full-bodied Havanas he smoked in Europe. His first cigar, the Petrus, was introduced at a time when most smokers were favoring the lighter-bodied smokes, but still he persisted. Thankfully so, because he now produces some of the finest smokes around, with the Fusion as one of his many efforts. A technique developed by Wynn is the fusion of wrapper, binder, and filler, fermented together in the same bales, from the very beginning of the manufacturing process, enhancing the superb flavor. The Fusion is an obvious world-class performer with boutique qualities and Havana style. Noted for its fine aroma, not flavored or potpourri-like, yet pleasing to the senses. A noticeable increase in power develops as the cigar burns to the end. Smooth, regal and very well-constructed. Only 50,000 are made in each size, making it a rare find indeed. Capture one and relish the experience of smoking this fine cigar.
The Fonseca brand began in Havana, Cuba, way back in 1891. In 1974, the MATASA Cigar Factory opened in the Dominican Republic, and started rolling the Fonseca brand to satisfy the U.S. market. Made famous by Manuel Quesada, this cigar was introduced to commemorate that auspicious occasion. MATASA produces the 30th Anniversary in only two shapes, the Perfecto and the Toro. Of particular note are the deliberately selected leaves grown on a small micro farm in the Cibao valley, with a wrapper made from the topmost leaf, Olor Dominicano. These fine tobaccos endow this intense cigar with a diverse, yet specific flavor of chocolate pudding. Delicious.
They said it could not be done, but Arturo Fuente proved everyone wrong. With Cuban seed silken Rosado wrapper grown under shade on the Fuente farms in the Dominican Republic, and rolled with impeccable craftsmanship. A wonderful puro, meaning all ingredients are indigenous to one country, and many believe the best of the best. Medium-full bodied but never overpowering, this cigar is close to perfection. Take note of the complex flavors of wood, black cherry and leather, with coffee bean on the finish. A rare treat that is very hard to find. If they do have this one in stock, most retailers will limit purchases and charge plenty. But don't let that stop you, for this jewel is lustrous. If you're willing to wait, this cigar should also improve with age quite nicely. Enjoy!
GR Tabacaleras Unidas was founded in 1995, the love child of Guillermo Rico and his son George. As a third generation leaf grower, this family understands tobacco both in recognizing potential and then nurturing it to its fullest extent. Every step of the process, from seed to cigar, is cultivated with care and knowledge. The medium reddish-brown Corojo wrapper has a very lovely oily hue that actually shines. Notice the heaviness when held, denoting the fully packed tobacco leaf construction. The Gran Habano is a delicious Nicaraguan handmade with a medium body and spice/peppery flavor. This is a dark, attractive smoke with an elegant draw and burn. Towards the end, a savory creaminess develops, replacing the distinct taste of spice with almond. Priced much less than many of its Fifty Best peers, it's a definite bargain. Smoke it and feel the love!
The Graycliff Cigar Company has achieved worldwide fame for its handcrafted cigars, produced within the lush tropical setting of the prestigious Graycliff Hotel. At one time, these cigars were meant to be enjoyed exclusively by the elite guests visiting the hotel, to be paired with the finest of wines and gourmet fare. Enrico Garzaroli, originally from the Lake Como area of Italy, is the founder of Graycliff cigars and owner of the Graycliff Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas. To realize his dream of producing world class cigars to complement the hotel’s supreme excellence, Enrico partnered with the well-known Cuban cigar legend Avelino Lara to create Graycliff's high-end, limited production cigars. This cigar has a smooth-burning Indonesian wrapper, with tobaccos emanating from notables such as Brazil, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. If you ever have the opportunity to enjoy one of these limited offerings, do not think twice, as pleasure is best seized at the moment.
A result of enormous devotion by Kaizad Hansotia himself, the label is a tribute to the fierce Nepalese fighters known as “Gurkhas”. Made by Beach Cigar Group, the Gurkha line of cigars never cease to amaze. Referred to as the “Rolls Royce” of cigars, the Black Dragon is the epitome of refinement. Simply superb in taste, construction, elegance and packaging. The wrapper is Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro and hails from a vintage 1990 crop. 15 year-old Cameroon binder, together with 12 year-old Dominican filler completes the cigar’s pedigree. The resplendent boxes made from camel bone with interiors of Indian teak, are as exquisite as the cigars. To say that this cigar is limited is an understatement. The demand for Gurkha cigars is through the roof, and the loyal customer base ever increasing. A final note, few rare cigars sport ten year-old wrapper, this is a ten year-old cigar.
Hoyo de Monterrey began in 1865, when Don José Gener y Batet opened his cigar factory in Havana. Translated from Spanish to "the hole of Monterrey", in reference to the concave terrain favored by growers of premium tobacco. As with other formats from Hoyo de Monterrey, the prominentes are one of the best ever made. The Double Corona is particularly prized among connoisseurs, and many believe this cigar sets the standard to which all others are compared. Strong and savory, with a convincing aroma. The flavor is consistent throughout, exhibiting elegantly rich characteristics. Look for the presence of spice, most notably cinnamon, which builds towards the end.
H. Upmann Magnum 50 Havana, Cuba
German bankers, August and Hermann Upmann, founded their family-owned operation in 1844 in Havana, Cuba. Avid cigar smokers, the brothers used cigars packaged in cedar boxes as a promotion tool for their bank. H. Upmann was known to be President John F. Kennedy's favorite brand. The Magnum 50 is a gorgeous creation. Some claim that this cigar is a boost into paradise. Think chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Be sure to make note of the Upmann's unique floral and citrus-like qualities. Lighter than some of it’s Cuban counterparts, this light-bodied cigar is appropriate for a beginner who desires complexity in their cigar smoking experience. A cigar that will age beautifully!