As 2018 has just ended and the biggest cigar journals/websites have already blessed us with their rankings of top smokes of 2018, we would like to present our own Cigar&Tie list. However, we believe that giving points and placing particular cigars on particular spots is a pointless task unless you point out the details of each stick (keep in mind that a cigar is a handmade treasure and it is hardly ever consistent). That’s why, instead of giving scores, we would like to provide you with our best and worst cigar experiences of 2018.
We truly believe that smoking cigars is an experience that either vanishes off your head, or grips there forever. So our list does include sticks from different time zones, yet each and every cigar was smoked in 2018 and became our best (or worst) cigar experience in 2018.
My best smokes of 2018:
5. Bolivar Soberano LE 2018
This late 2018 release is a great cigar. Still unavailable in Poland, but when it appears there, you have to try it. It is a strong powerhouse that you will remember. I can only hope there will be no problem with the supply in the future.
4. Diplomatico Bushido
This cigar came a long way since its release. At the time everyone was comparing it to Sancho Panza Eslavo, which was another 109 release that came at lower price, and on top of that, in cabinet 50. At the time Eslavo was a clear winner. Now I lean towards Dimplomatico! Big time!
3. Cohiba Behike 54
I was lucky to host an event at LCDH Maastricht where I’ve decided to pair incredible Luis XIII with this amazing cigar. To me, this size remains the only true Behike. Shame they are nearly impossible to find these days.
2. Sancho Panza Gran Quixote RE BeLux
WOW! Just wow! Perfect construction, taste and burn. This shows that it takes only best rollers to roll double figurados.
- 1970s Partagas Presidente
This one was my birthday smoke. Kindly gifted to me by a friend in Hong Kong earlier this year. I had a chance to compare it with 2017 and I must say the blend is pretty much unchanged despite 1995 blend change. Pure powerplant, full of black pepper and earthy notes. WHAT a cigar!
My biggest disappointments of 2018:
5. Por Larranaga Regional cigars
Here I’m talking about Gran Robusto for The Netherlands and Corona for 5th Avenue. I wasn’t disappointed with the flavour but the construction. None of these cigars were excellent once it smoked well. Unfortunately, I had way too many plugged or undefiled cigars. My disappointment is even bigger as Por Larranaga is my daily smoke. I start my day with either Montecarlo or Petit Corona.
4. Romeo y Julieta Taco LE 2018
Another disappointing (for me) RyJ Limited Edition. I did not enjoy any of the cigars which were wearing the second band since Duke LE 2009.
3. Cohiba Talisman LE 2017
I would expect this cigar to change and mature already. Unfortunately a few I smoked – let’s say did not hit the spot. With each LE coming from Cohiba there is always a massive expectation. And don’t get me wrong. First third is good, sweet spot is awesome and then all of a sudden, it turns to something really really disappointing. Let’s wait and smoke it again in 2019. Fingers crossed.
2. Diplomatico Ammunition RE Phoenicia
Great cigar and no construction issues. Why is it on the list of biggest disappointments then? Because it’s so fucking difficult to get! Really get yours if you get a chance!
- Ramon Allones Gigantes
My friends know that this is my all time favourite Prominente. Unfortunately, recent boxes suffer from terrifying construction issues. My most recent box had 9 plugged cigars. This is an extremely poor record.
My biggest wish for 2019? PLEASE HABANOS! DON’T RUIN MY FAVOURITE DOUBLE CORONA!
My best smokes of 2018:
Honorable mention: Montecristo Linea 1935 Maltes
It was my last smoke in 2018, which I tried during pre-opening visit to a new cigar lounge in Sopot (The Cigar Shop Whisky Lounge – here our overview). The funny story about this Maltes is that it had a Leyenda band – after receiving it, I found out that I got one of the few cigars from badly labelled boxes. So, despite having Leyenda label, it was a legit Maltes. Generally, it gave me 90 minutes of Cuban pleasure. It is not on the list because I believe that it needs some ageing.
5. Hoyo de Monterrey Escogidos LCDH
I had an opportunity to try this one out during its worldwide launch party in Warsaw (here is our article). It was a really great event and for sure it helped Escogidos enter the list. Despite having a slightly tight draw (however, the second time I smoked it, the draw was perfect), it had a great construction, really nice looking wrapper and classic Cuban earthy notes. I’m looking forward to lighting it up again in 2019.
4. La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull
The first non-Cuban stick on our list, LFD Andalusian Bull was the cigar of the year in 2017 according to Cigar Aficionado, and I have to admit that the spot was well-earned. I smoked it in the summer, enjoying hot, sunny days along with my friend Łukasz from Cigar and Scotch. This Dominican cigar features beautiful Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper, which covers Dominican tobacco used in binder and filler. It is a huge medium to full body cigar that surprised me with its unique strong flavour of chestnuts blended with leather. A great great cigar.
3. San Cristobal de la Habana La Punta
I had never smoked San Cristobal cigars before 2018. So La Punta was my first try and from the very start, I fell in love with this cigar. I remember smoking it alone in one of the cigar lounges in Gdańsk (ELIKSIR). I had a great peaceful time that evening. I started it with a veal with mushrooms and later I smoked La Punta pairing it with a chocolate, creamy dessert with sesame biscuits and a sweet-bitter rum cocktail. It gave me a great experience of a well-blended stick full of woody and fruity notes.
2. Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado
My second non-Cuban cigar and this time spot no. 2. Oliva Serie V Melanio is a box-pressed cigar, which features an astonishing Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and binder and fillers from Oliva farms in Nicaragua. I smoked it during Whisky&Cigar night event in Gdańsk (my overview) where I met Thomas Gryson (O MY CIGAR) from J. Cortes who represented Oliva and gave me the insight into its philosophy.
The party was great, but Oliva V Melanio flavours and Thomas’ company made it even better. The cigar was the most consistent stick I smoked in 2018 – its construction, draw, everything was flawless. When it comes to flavours – rich and nuanced. Sweet, yet peppery. A great cigar experience.
- Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure de Luxe LCDH
Even though Epicure de Luxe is not a fancy-looking, difficult to obtain or extraordinarily expensive cigar, smoking it became my top cigar experience of 2018. Why? Because of a perfect Cuban blend, great size and flawless construction. Because it has everything that a classic Cuban go-to cigar needs to have. When it comes to flavours – it is full of pepper, earth and sweet creaminess. It was my first smoke of the night during HdM Escogidos launch in Warsaw, and it somehow opened up and defined the whole event for me. Believe it or not, but it was so good that I forgot to take a proper photo. In our social-media times, it should be quite telling 🙂 Habanos, bow down!