My Favorite 10 Cigars Of The Past 2 Years (Part 1)

Capitulo II by La Flor Dominicana

A praise-worthy smoke

I bought this smoke because of it’s red and wonderfully oily Nicaraguan wrapper topped with a lovely chisel-tip head.

I’ve heard The Capitulo II called a one-trick pony of flavor. That may be a bit true, but -HOT DAMN – it’s a great trick! The sensations experienced when enjoying this cigar are difficult to describe.

The prominent – and, arguably, the only – tasting note is a deep, heavy and full-bodied earth. However within that single flavor lives a world of complexity.

First you have an earth that is damp, dark, dense and musty. It’s a tasting note that I can only describe a subterranean earth.

Next, you’re yanked back above ground and hit with a different earth note that is a bit lighter and much brighter with a sort of intense, mildly tropical humidity throughout.

There are times when the bright and dark qualities of this tobacco overlap, and it feels like being buried underground and soaked in sun at the same time.

Few cigars can compare in terms of beautiful subtlety.

New World Cameroon – by AJ Fernandez

Smoke this on Easter Sunday

Imagine celebrating the start of a new spring with a nature walk. A breeze rustles the grass as you stroll through a glade. The many scents of the freshly-budded landscape – flower petals, raw soil, the parsley and thyme aroma of brier patches and wild underbrush – are gathered in the breeze, combined into a single fragrance of nature’s resurrection and gently blown upon you. Your body, drunken at the promise of warm days, feels energized and renewed.

Really, Marlow? You got all that from smoking a nine dollar cigar? Yes, absolutely! When the Nicaraguan binder and filler mix with that brilliantly mellow, African wrapper leaf, magic happens. It’s the Cameroon wrapper that makes this stick top-notch.

This is Fernandez’s magnus opus, as far as I’m concerned. Think of the NWC’s flavor profile as akin to a really pleasant Dominican puro with tasting notes of green tea, thyme, cedar, cilantro and all of the other classic Dominican flavors.

Now, imagine those flavors smoothed out and turned down in intensity until the tasting profile is a bouquet of airy, garden-fresh and indescribable spring vegetation nose and mouth sensations.

May the name of AJ Fernandez be spoken as a sacrament!

Charter Oak Connecticut Shade by Foundation Cigars

The fruit of the Connecticut River Valley

Before the Charter Oak CS, I had no idea what aficionados meant when describing a cigar as creamy. How on earth can tobacco be creamy, I wondered.

Moments after lighting this butterscotch-colored broadleaf, I knew the pleasure of a creamy cigar. The texture of the smoke is so soft and fluffy, exhaling is like a deep-tissue massage on your lips.

Even the movement and appearance of the snow-white smoke looks like a spiraling plume of whipped cream hovering in the air of a spaceship.

Replete with cedar, cashews, pepper and spiced cream, the Charter Oak CS is a poster boy for delicious Connecticut taste.

The Exclusivo USA (blue) by Regius

Salted chocolate

You may have noticed I love cigars that – on the merits of sophistication and complexity – transcend everyday descriptors of cigar flavor wheels. The Exclusivo USA belongs to this class of coveted cigars.

The first thing you’ll notice when smoking this stick is an incredible saltiness. I actually nicknamed the Exclusivo USA Sodium Stick in my cigar journal.

The second thing you’ll notice is that the flavor provided is far from the familiar table salt or even the rougher varieties of salt used in the chemical industry or as a preservative.

If you’ve ever swam in the ocean, you will recognize the tanginess of organic, aqua salt in each draw. That natural flavor is so particular I’m reminded of swimming in the Gulf of Mexico during family vacation as a kid every time I smoke an Exclusivo USA.

To make matters more delicious, the Mexican San Andres wrapper clothing the Nicaraguan fillers adds a delightful dark chocolate element.

If you love good things, you’ll love the Exclusivo USA Blue.

La Coalicion by Crowned Heads

Best smoke of 2020

La Coalicion is my favorite cigar of 2020. I love it because of how it combines a tasty base profile of classic, old-school cigar flavors with the nuances you’d expect from more modern blends.

At first, La Coalicion starts out strong with a very traditional cigar-y/humidor-y sensation to warm your palate. Think of what you taste and smell when inside a well-maintained, walk-in humidor – warm cedar, fresh tobacco, ect.

After the first third, La Coalicion treats you with a non-stop stream of unique and savory flavor transitions – sugar, allspice, maple syrup, ginger, tree bark, autumnal seasoning.

The smoke is perky yet cottony, just thinking of it makes me want to buy a box.

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