Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2019
The time has finally come for the most anticipated list in the entire cigar industry. Since 2004, the cigar community has waited with bated breath every December to see which 25 cigars the publication deems the best of the year.
I feel like this was one of the best years in recent memory for releases, so it’s safe to see I am incredibly excited. So without further a due, let us look at which cigars have made the list for 2019.
1. Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Maestro
I have said it time and time again… Aging Room is the most underrated company in the industry. For over a decade, Rafael Nodal has been working with different factories on the Aging Room, and each version seemed to improve upon the last.
After developing a deep friendship with AJ Fernandez over the past few years due to his work with AUSA, Rafael had asked for his next Aging room line to be produced at AJ’s factory. The cigar is a combination of the vision of Nodal with the blending talents of AJ. The result is quite spectacular.
A Nicaraguan puro, the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua is a stunning smoke with deep, rich flavor and outstanding construction. I feel as though one of the best aspects of this cigar was its simplicity. It was a crazy, rare anniversary edition nor did it come in a special humidor. It was rolled out as another solid Aging room cigar, but it is far more than that. Today, Aging Room and Rafael get the recognition they so rightly deserve.
2. Padron Serie 1926 No.6
This wouldn’t be a complete list with out an entry from Padron. They are one of the most consistent companies in the industry, which explains their constant high rankings, even on blends that have been out for several years. As any one of our viewers would know, the Padron 1926 is among my favorite cigars of all time.
The Padron family is able to effortlessly combine full strength with a smooth, balanced blend. Each puff delivers a new layer of depth and complexity while the construction is sturdy the entire way through. The Padron 1926 has been named to this list several times, and it is a testament to the quality and ability of Padron.
3. Warped Serie Gran Reserva 1988 Robusto
I have been smoking this Warped consistently for the past year and have placed it in numerous top 5 lists. It has been among my favorite releases from Kyle Gellis and, in my mind, is one of the most well-balanced cigars to come out of Nicaragua.
The name refers to Kyle’s birth year, showcasing his amazing talent at such a young age. The 1988 is hand rolled by Aganorsa using a blend of tobaccos that combined for a complex and rich profile. Notes of earth, coffee, and chocolate come together for a vivacious yet smooth cigar that ranks high among my personal favorites.
4. Cuban Cohiba Robusto
In the world of premium cigars, the name Cohiba is synonymous with excellence. Since its inception in 1964, the Cohiba brand has been known as one of the finest luxury cigar brands in the world. Even though they have had countless limited editions, including the famed Behike series, the original blend of Cohiba is still among the highest rated in the cigar community.
The Cohiba Robusto was for a time the thickest ring gauge offered in the Cohiba portfolio. Its blend of five different tobaccos from Cuba’s finest growing farms results in a powerful, complex and rich smoke with luscious notes of wood, nuts, and a dash of vanilla. You would be hard pressed to find a Cuban cigar more deserving of appearing on this list.
5. Rocky Patel A.L.R. Second Edition Toro
I had the pleasure of reviewing this cigar just a few days ago and I have to say, I am totally on board with this placement. The Rocky ALR Second Edition has become my new favorite cigar from Rocky Patel.
While these buzz words are used for almost every cigar release, they really hold true with this cigar. They are among the rarest and most expensive cigars that Rocky has ever released. After aging the tobacco on its own, the cigars are then rolled before being aged for an additional two years. The result is a deeper, more complex smoke with rich notes of chocolate and vanilla.
6. Oliva Serie V Lancero
The Oliva V is one of the most featured cigars in the history of the Top 25. Between the original and the Melanio, the Oliva V has been named to the Top 25 nine different times, including a cigar of the year and several top ten listings.
This year, CA made the unique choice of going with the lancer. While the Oliva V Lancero is beloved by connoisseurs, top lists usually lean towards thicker ring gauged cigars. However, they couldn’t ignore how perfect this blend works in this thinner size. The flavor is amplified, the strength is a bit more subtle, and the construction is unbelievable.
7. Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary D'Aosta
Dion Giolito and the team at Illusione continue to provide us with top of the line cigars. The Epernay line was first released 10 years ago, and since then has appeared on this top 25 list four times. This Anniversary edition was crafted to really demonstrate the elegance and subtly that many Nicaraguan cigars often give up in favor of strength.
Notes of citrus, caramel, vanilla and a dash of ginger make this a smooth and refined smoke that really showcases the complexity of each kind of tobacco, rather than just pure strength. While I usually lean towards the One-Off, the Epernay will always be a top choice for me from Illusione.
8. Fuente Fuente OpusX Reserva d'Chateau
One of the most honored cigars in the history of the industry, the Opus X has made its way back to the top 25. The original cult cigar, the Opus X has been on the market for 25 years and is still considered one of the best each year.
Its Dominican blend features one of the first Dominican wrappers ever used on a cigar and is still one of the most sought after cigars in the world. It is full bodied, full flavored and boasts near perfect construction. This is the first cigar on Mt. Rushmore, hands down.
9. Tatuaje Nuevitas Jibaro No. 1
This is definitely an interesting choice, and one I’m glad the CA team has made. The Nuevitas was originally one of the first cigars under the Tatuaje name and was made at an entirely different factory.
Last year, Pete resurrected the line and asked for it to be made by Don Pepin Garcia. The result is a complex and intriguing smoke with rich notes of leather, spice, and wood. The first inch is actually just exposed binder tobacco, which gives it a unique profile and really showcases how flavorful every part of this cigar is.
10. H.Upmann 175th Anniversary Churchill
Well, would you look at that! The cigar that we couldn’t stop raving about was given the recognition that it fully deserves. The H.Upmann 175th is a spectacular cigar and was the perfect blend to celebrate this storied brand.
Handcrafted in Nicaragua by AJ Fernandez, the 175th is blended with aged Nicaraguan tobaccos including a special, rare crop of Medio Tiempo for the wrapper. It is flavorful, complex, and well-balanced. I’m happy to see a cigar from our Top 25 make it this high on the CA list.