Top 15 cigars of 2011

It’s that time of year again to weigh in with my opinion of the top cigars of the previous year. There are a few surprises, but many of them made some other lists as well. It’s been a fun 3 years at acigarsmoker.com and I really look forward to sharing my year end list. But as always, I invite you to smoke as many releases as possible and formulate your own opinion. After all, we know what they say about opinions..

15. Cro-Magnon – I love it when a little guy, makes his mark on the world. In the world of cigars Skip Martin and Michael Rosales team up to give us the  Cro-Magnon and this full bodied smoke really delivered. It will put hair on your chest and turn you into a caveman if you aren’t careful.

14. Quesada Espana – This stick was created for the Spanish market, but it was met with great fanfare from the online community which forced the hand of Matasa to release this stateside. The sticks are available in a limited amount of stores so tracking them down can be difficult, but they are worth the effort.

13. Room 101 Namakubi – I had been disappointed with Room 101 and the releases they put out, but the Namakubi really changed things up for me as a consumer.  Namakubi turned out to be everything Room 101 wasn’t and brought forth a renewed interest in the brand.

12. EP Carrillo New Wave ConnecticutIn any other year this smoke could of been a top 3 cigar. The EP Carrillo New Wave Connecticut might be the best Connecticut shade to ever grace the marketplace. Mild in strength but with a complex profile this cigar should be around for many years to come.

11. Casa Magna Dominus Magnus – Hanging out in Tobacco Plaza in Long Island, Pete Johnson told Manuel Quesada that he was crazy for making this a limited edition cigar and that it should be a regular release. Sadly, lack of tobacco prevented that from happening. A box pressed treasure is the best way to describe this smoke.

10. Jamie Garcia Limited Edition 2011 – At the Big Smoke in NYC I was in awe when Jaime Garcia recognized me with a salute through the crowd and was blown away when he stopped to talk to me with his wife. It’s good to see Jaime embracing the English language and I hope to have another conversation with him in the future when he realizes his English is better than he thinks.

09. Emilio AF 1 – The brand from Gary Griffith is a cigar that most people don’t know is around. This is a shame, as it is an epic cigar. Flavor, balanced and priced right this cigar should become the new wave of boutique cigars that will have everyone clamoring for more.

08. Undercrown – The latest from Drew Estate hopes to fill in the void for those who can’t get the Liga Privada No. 9. Full strength, and a nice profile the cigar delivers better then expected. Just be sure to smoke in a well ventilated area as this cigar produces some amazing volumes of smoke.

07. Fausto – Billed as a cigar where the strength goes to 11, I tend to disagree with it. It was also billed as being based on the same blend as the T110 and I tend to disagree with that. What I do agree with is that this smoke was a top 10 cigar for 2011, so the first two points are moot.

06. Illusione 88 Candela -Most Candela cigars that have been on the market since I began smoking in 1999 have been awful. In fact, I can’t think of one I would smoke again. That is until now. The Illusione Candela is a great cigar, and easily the best Candela ever made.

05. Litto Gomez Small Batch #4 – The small batch #4 forced me to rewrite my list, this cigar uses a Pelo de Oro wrapper and is a flavor bomb, the price however is a bit much in the New York market which kept it from ranking a bit higher.

04. San Lotano Oval – Made by AJ Fernandez the San Lotano Oval is an oval pressed cigar. It feels perfect in the hand with a nice profile and a good price. Remember the name, AJ Fernandez as I predict he will be a house hold name in the cigar industry within a couple of years.

03. Casa MirandaMiami Cigar & Company stepped outside their relationship with My Father Cigars to release the Casa Miranda. Made in Miami by Titan de Bronze in Calle Ocho the stick is labeled Chapter One, so you have to wonder when Chapter Two will be on the market.

02. Four Kicks – I toyed around with naming this cigar, cigar of the year but in the end it comes in as #2. Made by EP Carrillo for Crowned Heads this stick was the first released from Jon Huber and the former CAO gang. Currently limited to 66 stores, the smoke should be a wider release next year.

01. La Casita Criolla – This pick is sure to get a lot of feedback. Within my circle of friends this cigar might be the most polarizing stick on the market. In fact, Pete mentioned a friend of mine texting him how much he disliked the smoke when it first came out on Stogie 411. For me however, this Connecticut Broadleaf Puro is so different than anything currently on the market that it keeps calling me back again and again.