Premium Cigars to get you Through Summer 2020
Whether we are quarantined or not, summer 2020 is in full swing. While you might not be able to do your normal summer activities, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the season.
The beaches are starting to open slightly, and of course, you can always do a social distance BBQ in your yard; there are always ways to find enjoyment, even in times of confusion and worry.
With that in mind, adding a few cigars to your summer plans are the perfect way to enhance our summertime fun. For this list, I have decided to focus on some of the best premium cigars that you can enjoy for the rest of the season. So check out our limited sampler below to try some of our favorite summertime smokes.
Ashton is known to take a long time between major releases, at least for the Ashton name brand. So, when the Symmetry was finally announced, the cigar industry was incredibly excited.
There is not an Ashton on the market that would be considered a dud, with each one receiving high marks and critical acclaim. The Ashton Symmetry continued that tradition in amazing fashion.
As with all the Ashton name brands, this beauty was blended and rolled by the legendary Fuente family. It uses aged Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, followed by an oily and flawless Ecuadorian wrapper.
While I will always love the Ashton VSG, the Symmetry has surpassed it as my favorite from the brand. Its combination of flavor, visual characteristics, and above all balance make it a true gem.
Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper
Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper is a hot new line that was crafted by brand owner Alan Rubin sons, Alec and Bradley. The two collaborated with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo to make this premium cigar for the masses. Alan did an exceptional job passing down his knowledge and blending expertise to his sons. Alec and Bradley have taken the torch and completely run with it straight towards their individual success.
The Gatekeeper Robusto is cloaked in an Ecuador Habano wrapper, with a binder from the Nicaragua, and filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. This smoke just oozes with rich flavor notes such as sweet tobacco, cedar, cashews, cocoa, and leather. If you’re looking for a relatively short smoke to enjoy one of those gorgeous summer nights, then the Gatekeeper by Alec and Bradley is the smoke for you.
H. Upmann 1844 Anejo
Flor de Copan is the Honduran headquarters for AUSA. The company is responsible for a wide variety of highly-rated cigars in the AUSA lineup, including the revered Henry Clay War Hawk. This year, they added a new highly rated smoke to their resume.
Under the watchful eye of Rafael Nodal, and the blending skills of up and comer Ernesto Kranwinkle, this newest addition to the H. Upmann line up is truly amazing.
The H. Upmann Anejo uses a blend of tobaccos, each of which has been aged for five years. Its blend of Nicaraguan, Dominican and Honduran filler tobaccos give it a complex yet smooth center.
The Broadleaf binder adds in a touch of sweetness and richness while the Habano wrapper offers up tremendous notes of spice and leather. In the past few years, we have seen some top-notch H. Upmann releases, and this is definitely one of them.
Joya de Nicaragua Antano Connecticut
Last year saw the release of some of the best Connecticut cigars I’ve had the pleasure of smoking. From the Sobremesa Brulee to the Henry Clay WarHawk, companies were able to create some smooth yet complex and flavorful cigars using a Connecticut wrapper.
Two of them came from Joya de Nicaragua. There is the Numero Uno, which is a limited store only release, and of course the newest addition to the Antano line, the Antano Connecticut.
This ranked as one of the best cigars of the year, even being named to our Top 25 Cigars of 2019. Using a blend of aged Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos along with a flawless Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, this smoke can continue the legacy of the Antano line.
It offers up a full and rich flavor. However, it takes the strength down to more mellow to medium and adds in a smooth as silk aroma.
At first, the Illusione Epernay Le was a limited release in 2008. But then in 2010 and was awarded a spot in the Top 5 of 2011’s Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year. The Illusione Epernay was produced by master bender Dion Giolito. Dion Giolito decided to name this cigar after the champagne region of France, where he has frequently visited to gain inspiration.
When it comes to the Epernay Le Matin, it is rolled in a popular 6.50 x 46 corona gorda size that can ideally be enjoyed while your poolside enjoying a beverage or catching a tan! This Nicaraguan Puro is a medium to full-bodied smoke that has luscious flavor notes of leather, sweet cedar, cocoa, and white pepper. Get your hands on the Epernay Le Matin from Illusione as soon as possible!
Now although these two honorable mentions aren’t apart of this week’s sampler, these are still two highly sought after and enjoyable smokes that you could have at any point in the summer.
Crowned Heads La Coalicion
One of the biggest releases of last summer and one of my favorite cigars of the year, this project was born over a year ago as a collaboration between two titans of the industry; Jon Huber and Willy Herrera have been friends for such a long time.
So, when a collaboration idea was first brought up, they jumped at the chance. After over a year of blending tests and back and forth, they finally found their perfect blend, and the La Coalicion was born.
This bold and flavorful smoke is hand-rolled at the Drew Estate factory in the heart of Esteli, Nicaragua. It uses vintage Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, followed by a rich and flavorful Sumatra binder that adds in great flavor of coffee and nuts.
The finishing touch is a bold and oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. This leaf is packed with heavy notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and dried fruit along with a very enticing aroma. This was another great entry to our Top 25 Cigars of 2019.
Illusione Haut 10
In recent months, I have had the chance to talk with Illusione founder, Dion Giolito, numerous times and I have to say, the man borders on genius. His ability to study tobacco and understand what each blend needs is a weird mix of science and art. Check out one of our chats in this Virtual Herf.
That is why each and every one of his cigars. He has released several beloved lines, including my favorites the Epernay and the OneOff. However, I keep finding myself going back to the Haut 10 all the time.
First released back in 2016, the Haut 10 was blended by Dion at the Aganorsa factory, utilizing their tobacco. It is a Nicaraguan puro, with a special Corojo leaf used as the wrapper.
The Corojo tobacco from Aganorsa has a signature sweetness that really enhances the blend. This amazing smoke received several high ratings, including a 94 from HalfWheel and a place on the Top 25 from Cigar Aficionado.