December 18, 2011

Dan's Best of 2011 Cigars

Every year most blogs put out a end of the year "best of" list.  I myself haven't ever done one before, so this is my first attempt. All of the opinions in this list are my own and do not reflect my partner's favorites of the year. Maybe I can talk Mario into making his own list but I can't make any promises. So here we top five cigars of 2011.

#5 - My Father El Hijo
The My Father El Hijo was the third release in the Smoke Inn's Micro Blend series made exclusively for their shops in Florida. I was completely blown away by this cigar and I will write it again like I did in my full review: in my opinion, this is the best cigar ever made with the My Father brand name attached to it. Lots of spice, cedar and a robust caramel flavor fill this cigar's taste profile making it flavorful and unique.  Full review here.

#4 - Emilio Cigars Grimalkin
I smoked two different blends from Emilio Cigars this year and, while both were decent sticks, the second one I tried (Grimalkin) gave me what probably was my biggest surprise of the year. I had heard about this cigar and the rumblings of who may or may not have made it, but I never felt any real urgency to smoke the samples I had. If I only knew then what I know now. The Grimalkin had a distinct vegetable-like flavor profile mixed with more traditional black pepper. My smoking partner and I both nubbed these and were equally stunned by our findings.  Full review here.

#3 - Padron SI 15 Maduro

Just like my #5 cigar of the year, the Padron SI 15 comes from the Smoke Inn Micro Blend series. This stick proved just how wrong I could be about my constant proclaiming that smaller ring gauge cigars are always better. Coming in at a 6 x 60 vitola the Padron SI-15 is every bit as massive as it sounds, not only in physical size, but also in flavor. Dark chocolate and coffee notes dominate the flavor profile (and with a lot of strength to back it up.) I would put this stick up against any Padron Family Reserve release and say it would beat it.  Full review here.

#2 - Illusione Epernay Le Taureau
For the last few years, every time I smoked any size of the Illusione Epernay I always asked myself, "Why don't I smoke more of these?" Well in 2011, I did just that and put the Epernay line into the front of my normal rotation of cigars. Toward the end of this year, New Havana Cigars got a small shipment of new sizes of the Epernay and I think one of them (the Le Taureau) is the best vitola yet in the line. This 56 ring gauge cigar has a ton of power, but even more than that, it has a ton of flavor. I will still hold to my statement in the review that the Epernay is the single-most balanced blend on the market today in premium cigars.  Full review here.

#1 - Tatuaje La Vérité 2009
Taking the number one spot for me this year (and on my first ever top 5 list) will come as no surprise if you have talked to me about cigars in the last 6 months, have seen some of my twitter updates when people are talking "best of", or if you happened to catch my guest spot on Kiss My Ash Radio. I've not been able to stop praising this cigar and I honestly think it is well deserved. The Tatuaje Vérité 2009 is clearly the stand out cigar of the year. The blend is extremely complex in flavor and the experience of smoking one of these makes you feel like you are enjoying something special. Pete Johnson and the team at My Father cigars outdid themselves on this one and I am very happy that I have a decent supply. I can't begin to express how much I am looking forward to the 2010 version. Full review here.

Well that's it. Thanks for reading my top five cigars for 2011. I hope that you agree with some and maybe disagree with others.  Please leave a comment and tell me what you think. I'll wrap up this post with a few honorable mentions that just barely missed the list.

Honorable Mentions:
Surrogates Cigars Bone Crusher - Very strong cigar that is perfect when looking for something heavy. Not in limited quantities like a lot of other releases this year, which is a plus.  (review)

Subculture Studios MY UZI WEIGHS A TON - Another 6 x 60 sized cigar, but another easily enjoyed. Easy to smoke and solid medium strength, flavorful cigar.  (review)

Illusione MK Ultra - This is the cigar I was most excited to be released this year and it delivered. Classic Illusione taste ramped up into a  more powerful cigar.  (review)



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