Fake Cubans on the Rise

Best Cigars of the Year  -  2017

Get the real deal

Due to the change in the embargo restrictions there are more "Cuban" cigars in the market.  There seems to the a rise in fakes and your attention to detail is paramount.  A few tips to keep in mind is to look for the correct box seal, make sure the box has a factory code and date stamp, and make sure the printing of the bands and seal are of high quality.  Other things to note based on the cigar is raised printing on bands vs. flat on the fakes, etc. 

You should always take the extra step and check your box bar code on the Habanos authenticity site.  This is easy to do and works very well.  If you are at a store somewhere and are unsure, pull out your phone and check them before you buy them!

Click here to check your Cubans!

Top 5 Cigars of 2016

1. Cohiba Robusto – 99
(Smoked August 2016) – Box Code = ETP Sep 2015

This rating came from a night I smoked this cigar off of camera.  (From the same box that we reviewed though)  This box offered ratings from 94-99 which is a wide range but they are still very young.  They rate so high it is hard not to smoke them.  (Although ten are being put aside)  The flavors of lemon grass, hay, and tons of honey mixing with that Cuban tobacco flavor with a nice twang created a basically perfect cigar.  Lasted about 70 minutes, burned perfect, and it made me forget I was playing poker.  I have to say, to the last draw, this was one of the best cigars I have ever smoked.  Sweet Cuban flavors noted above to the very end…Truly amazing.

2. Bolivar Belicoso Fino - 97
(Smoked Jan - 2016)  - Box Code = ULA Oct 2014

A great cigar that I still remember like it was yesterday.  Musty earth, cocoa, cream, walnut, cinnamon, & white pepper.  Smooth, well balanced, and construction that was great.  I didn’t think it would be this good…but is simply was.

3. Montecristo Edmundo – 96
(Smoked Feb – 2016) – Box Code = ARG Jul 2014

Walnut, creamy coffee, and milk chocolate is throughout this cigar.  I well balanced cigar that has become one of my favorite cigars that won’t kill your wallet.  Cream notes help keep this a smooth smoke throughout and black and white pepper notes with an ever so slight charcoal flavor from time to time make this a special smoke.

4. Liga Privada Ratzilla – 96
(Smoked Jan 2016)

I remember the first time I smoked this cigar and I thought it would be much like a Liga 9, I was wrong.  (No disrespect to the No 9)  The flavors are plentiful providing woody earth notes, cream, cherry, vanilla, cedar, herbal flavors, mint and black pepper.  All of these hints pop out like it was blended by a true master.  I would suggest this cigar to anyone fairly new because the flavors are very pronounced, deliberate, and all without much nicotine. 

5. Liga Privada L40 – 96
(Smoked Feb – 2016)

Black pepper and dark earth flavors hit you off the bat but settle to a nice well blended tangy earth.  Flavors of earth, black pepper, creamy leather, white pepper, maple syrup, and some cocoa.  The end of this cigar is my favorite part as the flavors turn to steak with salt and pepper…yup, steak!  These cigars never disappoint and you can’t go wrong with these. 

Honorable Mention List - All great cigars

Ramon Allones Superiors – 96
Padron 1926 – 95
Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial - 95
Romeo Y Julieta Exb No 4 – 94
Sobremesa – 94

Worst cigar of 2016

Latitude Zero

I started this stick for a review and had to really hunt for the flavors and the day mouth was severe.  By the end of the first third bitterness took over and never went away.  In fact if I was not reviewing the cigar it would have gone in the trash can.  A few weeks later I thought I would give it a second chance since I had another one…it was even worse!  Maybe it was from a bad box but I threw it away before I got to the end of the first third.  One of the worst cigars I have ever smoked unfortunately. 

Cigar Audit Team - Top 5 Lists - 2016 Best Cigars

Ed – Best Cigars of 2016

Bolivar Belicoso Fino
Cohiba Robusto
Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial
Cohiba Silgo IV
Liga Privada Papas Fritas

Worst cigar of 2016
Acid Cigarillo (What did you expect Ed?  I guess it is the only thing you could find at 3am at a gas station…)

Karl – Best Cigars of 2016

Padron 1926
Partagas D4
Montecristo Edmundo
Cohiba Robusto
Acid Kuba Kuba

Worst cigar of 2016
Makers Mark

Jared – Best Cigars of 2016

Bolivar Royal Corona
Montecristo Edmundo
Ramon Bueso Olancho Vintage
Bolivar Gigantes
Camacho Criollo

Worst cigar of 2016
Punch Signature (Tasted like bad meat)

Matt G – Best Cigars of 2016

Diamond Crown Maximus
Ramon Allones Superior
Graycliff Heritage Royale
Tabak Especial
Graycliff Professional

Worst cigar of 2016
Gurkha Genghis Khan (Almost burned my face off and was bitter!)

2017 has provided the cigar world great cigars but some performed better than others.  (One of the best years in a while)  We put together a list of the best performers we enjoyed this year, some being fully reviewed by Cigar Audit.  (The others will soon be reviewed!)  We realize this type of list is very subjective but we tried hard to focus on the performances of the cigars regardless of our preferred profile.  Here we go…

Some new/newer releases were fantastic and caught our eye this year in addition to some of the old standards which only added to the already tough job of narrowing our list to ten.  Fairly new releases that amazed us this year were the 1926 90th from Padron, the Sobremesa from Dunbarton Tobacco, and the Highclere Castle from Foundation Cigar Company.  Some of the old favorites making a strong impression this year included the Short Churchill from Romeo y Juliette (Cuban) and Cohiba Siglo IV (Cuban). 

After the dust settled there was one clear top performer this year, well sort of…It’s a tie!  (Kind of)  Our top spot goes to the Montecristo Edmundo (Cuban) & the Montecristo Petit Edmundo (Cuban) from Habanos.  These cigars are essentially the same blend (just different lengths) and are well balanced yet complex blends that offer very clear flavors with great construction!  All of the recent years (box codes from 2015, 16, and 17) smoked by our team this year performed great and made the Edmundo duo the clear winner.  We can only hope this level of quality continues for this line from Habanos as we love these cigars. 

Enjoy our list and start to put your list together…Let the discussion and debate begin.  Find our social media posts on our top ten and share your picks with us.  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 

1.   Montecristo Edmundo (Cuban) – Habanos – Robusto 98

1.   Montecristo Petit Edmundo (Cuban) – Habanos – Petit Robusto 97

Flavor Profile …Walnut opening with milk chocolate,

cocoa, creamy coffee, and mixed sweet spices

2.   1926 90th in Maduro – Padron – Robusto – 96
Flavor Profile … Toasted bread opening with cocoa, earth,

coffee, cedar, and black pepper

3.   Romeo y Juliette Short Churchill (Cuban) – Habanos – Robusto 96

Flavor Profile … Toast opening with floral notes, light cedar,

rose water, musty earth, and sweet spices

4.   Sobremesa – Dunbarton Tobacco - Corona 96

Flavor Profile … Leather and cream opening with earth,

espresso, leather, bell peppers and sweet spices mixed with

black pepper

5.   Liga Privada Unico L40 – Drew Estate – Lancero 96
Flavor Profile … Leather and black pepper opening with earth,

cocoa, floral sweetness, salty steak and sweet spices

6.   Highclere Castle – Foundation Cigars – Corona 95

Flavor Profile … Opening with a creamy dark earth &

leather moving to a smooth leather, earth, cream,

citrus/tangerine, green beans, black and red pepper

7.   Cohiba Siglo IV (Cuban) – Habanos – Corona 95
Flavor Profile … Opening with toast & hay moving to

lemon grass, earth, honey, pepperoncini, lemon zest

and pops of white pepper

8.   Bolivar Belicoso Finos (Cuban) – Habanos – Belicoso – 95
Flavor Profile … Toasted sweet bread opening then

musty earth, cocoa, cream, cinnamon, and white pepper

9.   Alpha Defuser Maduro – Alpha Cigar – Robusto 95
Flavor Profile … Starting with a well-blended toast, cocoa,

and earth then floral, herbal, earth, espresso, dark cocoa,

vegetal flavors, cream and mixed white, red, and black peppers

10.   Winston Churchill – Davidoff – Robusto 94
Flavor Profile … Wood and floral opening moving to a

musty earth, woody earth, floral, leather, plum, and white pepper

Honorable Mention List - All Great Cigars

These list below are cigars that were so close and didn't make the top ten but this years was very tough competition.  Can't go wrong with these!

  • Por Larranaga Petit Corona (Cuban) – Habanos – Petit Corona
  • Liga Privada Ratzilla – Drew Estate – Lonsdale
  • Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 – Habanos – Robusto
  • Kristoff San Andres – Kristoff - Robusto
  • Liga Privada #9 – Drew Estate – Toro

Best Budget Cigars in 2017   

These are great cigars at amazing prices that perfom so well.  They may not have the complexity of the top cigars but are great value cigars that you have to try!

  • Ramon Bueso Genesis The Project
  • JR Alternative Cuban Montecristo #2
  • CAO Brazilia
  • Por Larranaga Petit Corona (Cuban)

Best Cigars of the Year 2019

Best Cigars of the Year 2016

Supply the Troops!

This year Cigar Audit decided to review the year a little differently.  We know many are tired of the usual top 25 lists around the world so we wanted our year in review lists to be a little more helpful for those looking for guidance.  We hope these selections help you pick out some winners!

Our BEST OF 2019 lists are below...Enjoy!

Most Consistent Daily Performers of 2019

CAO Italia & Undercrown Shade (Rating 91)
-  Both of these have performed exceptionally well and were consistent throughout the year – Great daily cigars

Favorite Box Buy of 2019

Oliva Serie V Double Robusto (Rating 94)
-  These are awesome and when purchased by the box the price is great – Great cigars with spicy leather & butter notes

Favorite Special Occasion Cigar of 2019

Liga Privada A (Rating 95)
-  This is a hard to find cigar but often is given away at Drew Estate
events – This 3 hour smoke that has a few minor transitions but the flavors are great to the nub!

Favorite NEW Cigars of 2019

Joya de Nicaragua Antano CT & Tabernacle Havana Seed Lancero (Rating 94)
-  The Antano CT is a great Connecticut wrapped cigar that had a medium full body with more spice compared to most Connecticut cigars - a must try
-  The new Tabernacle Havana Seed provides a spicier complexity to the line that leaves you looking for a great Scotch pairing – A great cigar by Nick (as usual)

Favorite Budget Cigar of 2019

San Cristobal Revelation & Bahia Maduro (Rating 92)
-  Both of these offer great performance for the money – Revelation offers a creamy butter and leather profile while the Bahia provides coffee & earth notes with spice and dark chocolate
-  Note the Liga Papa Fritas, Por Larranaga petit corona, and the Isla del Sol are still amoung of favorites!

Favorite Light Bodied Cigar of 2019

DBL Amarillo (Rating 92)
-  Smooth notes of light fruits and cinnamon with cream mixed in – Try or use as a change of pace

Favorite Medium Bodied Cigar of 2019

Mr. Brownstone by Esteban Carreras (Rating 93)
-  Great underrated cigar that provides a rich leather profile with hints of fruit, earth, cream, cinnamon and cocoa – Go find one!

Favorite Full Bodied Cigar of 2019
Menelik by Foundation (Rating 95)
-  An amazing cigar that is hard to find providing notes of earth, raisin, plum, dark cocoa, cayenne pepper and coffee with a blend of sweet spices – another home run by Nick

Cigar Audit’s Cigar of the year for 2019
Andalusian Bull by LFD (Rating 97)
-  An amazing cigar that is better now than previous year releases – Notes of cocoa, earth, leather, cream, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, coffee, and great construction...A must smoke

Cigar Audit’s Cigar of the Decade
Cohiba Robusto - Cuban (Ratings 97-99)
-  This cigar has performed so well over the last 10 years even when Cuba has had their struggles – lemon grass, honey, hay, white pepper, tangerine, lemon zest, cream, and shortbread are blended so well it is a special thing...

Other Mentions that were so close to making the top spots…

Cigar of the Decade – Petit Edmundo (Cuba) - 97 Rating

Favorite Special Occasion – My Father No 4 - 95 Rating

Favorite Box Buy – New World by AJ Fernandez - 93 Rating

Favorite Full Cigar – Sin Compromiso - 94 Rating

Favorite Budget Cigar – JR Alt Edmundo - 90 Rating

You got em, let them smoke em!

We want to make sure that we thank the men and women that protect our great country in the best way possible, via cigars!  There are a few good organizations that make sure cigars get to the soldiers in need and cigars for Warriors is one of the best.  Be sure to check out their site to find ways to support those who support us all. 

They also have a way to find store drops so you can always pick up a few extra when there and donate. 

Check out Cigars for Warriors!

Drew Estate Announces the Drew Estate Lounge at BB&T Center and the “Year of the Rat” Commemorative Cigar

Drew Estate announced today that a Drew Estate Lounge will open at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., home of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers. This new Drew Estate Lounge is a major milestone in the company’s Lounge Program, officially placing Drew Estate in a professional sports arena for the first time. “This new lounge brings the Rebirth of Cigars to a broad new audience of hockey fans at the BB&T Center 

Drew Estate also announced a new cigar called the “Year of the Rat”. The new cigar will be joining the ultra-premium Liga Privada Unico Serie line and is a commemorative cigar celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Florida Panthers 1996 Stanley Cup team. This cigar will launch April 1st and will only be available for sale at this Drew Estate Lounge.The new “Year of the Rat” cigars presented in a 5-1/2 x 46 vitola featuring the iconic fan tail featured on many Unico Serie cigars. The cigar will feature a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with a Brazilian binder and Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers.  I'm sure this will be yet another good Liga Privada cigar.

Drew Estate has many events and seems to be one of the most progressive cigar companies out there...

If anyone gets their hands on the Year Of The Rat, we would be happy to review it, hint hint :)

Drew Estate Opens New Lounge

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