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

Picking up where we left off

Camacho Connecticut

My go-to everyday smoke of 2019-20

The Camacho Connecticut tastes exactly like peanut butter. The taste is so strong and precise, you’d swear it was infused with artificial flavoring. It’s not, of course. That’s the magic of fine cigars. With just two organic ingredients – tobacco and fruit pectin (used as glue) – and the gifts of a master blender, nature provides a flavor experience better than any Frankenstein chemical compound synthesized in some creepy laboratory.

The Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper of each CC I’ve smoked greeted me with a slick film of tobacco oil. Along with the already mentioned focal note of peanut butter, look forward to a unique medley of smooth, Connecticut flavors. A friend got me a box of gordos for a steal. Each one I smoked had hints of warm cedar, charred twigs, syrup, fireplace hearth, peanuts and a nice, peanut brittle crunch.

The Camacho Connecticut quickly became my go-to, everyday smoke to enjoy when working, driving, reading, going for a walk or watching a movie. I smoked through my box quickly. However, there are still a few aging in my humidor. I suspect them to develop further with time.

Long live the Camacho Connecticut!

The Pistoff Kristoff by Kristoff

Favorite cigar of 2019. Think of an Andes Mint made with very dark chocolate.

Last Christmas I vacationed in Santa Fe. On my way downtown for an afternoon stroll, I made a pitstop at the Stag Tobacconist cigar shop to grab a bag of holiday smokes.

To my welcome surprise, I found a diverse selection of Kristoff cigars. Back home, in Chicago, I’d been unable to find Kristoff in the local shops. Based on favorable reviews, I chose a Pistoff Kristoff and continued on my way.

Before light-up, I noticed a strong smell of mint chocolate. The San Andres wrapper was satiny to the touch. Off the bat, before flavors made an appearance, I was aware of the dark full-bodied strength of the Pistoff. This stick packs a big punch.

On the flavor front, the Pistoff Kristoff is reminiscent of an Andes Mint. You may also notice the taste of dark coffee beans, peppermint and musty leather. Despite it’s heavy impact on the palate, a dry sweetness remains throughout.

Since I first smoked a Pistoff Kristoff on December 29th, 2019, walking amongst the cheerful visitors and Pueblo architecture of Santa Fe, I’ve thought of it as a strong and powerful Christmas cigar. I plan on smoking one during the upcoming holiday.

King T by Arturo Fuente

Exceeds the high bar of Fuente’s reputation

For a while, I was convinced that Arturo Fuente manufactured the same exact cigar, again and again, decorating the clones with different bands. They all tasted exactly the same to me. Moreover, Fuente inspired neither joy nor disappointment. I couldn’t get past the mediocre quality of such a storied and appreciated company.

Enter the King T. Finally! The mold is broken.

The Sun-grown Rosado wrapper intoxicates with a wonderful, sweet thyme aroma. The draw is flawless and burn is self-correcting. The King T greets you at the first draw with a satisfying pepper-bomb zinging through the nostrils.

What follows is an hour of glorious tobacco bursting with sweet lumber, oak, white sugar, molasses and honey flavors.

The King T by Arturo Fuente is nothing short of marvelous.

Kristoff Criollo by Kristoff

The palate rejoices

An uneven pack bulges beneath a wrinkly criollo wrapper redolent of pepper.

My Kristoff Criollo was a partial dud. The construction was dreadful. The light was flakey. The burn never stopped needing attention. The draw was almost totally closed. I realized early on that the cigar was plugged by a knot. I was forced to clear the path with an unfolded paperclip. This improved the draw, but pulling out enough smoke to fill the mouth still remained a challenge.

Despite the poor construction, this was a remarkable stogie.

The Kristoff Criollo is a masterpiece of medium-bodied flavor. Wheat crackers. Toasted baguette. Croutons with oregano seasoning. Fresh bread. This is a cigar planted squarely in the yeasty domain of the flavor wheel with one brilliant transition after another.

The Kristoff Criollo stands head and band above other cigars of it’s ilk.

The Ashton Symmetry

Handcrafted perfection meets it’s due reward

The Symmetry is an all-time great from a world-class luxury cigar brand.

A single, long puff fully lite the cigar, and I immediately noticed zero resistance in the draw. The burn needed several corrections and the cigar has a smoke time of less than one hour; these are the only negative critiques.

Nicaraguan long-fillers and an Ecuador Habano wrapper deliver a phenomenal smoking experience. For me, The Symmetry is exemplar of Nicaraguan tobaccos at their best. I’ve always thought that my favorite Nicaraguan cigars, without fail, tasted of melted nougat, caramel, and sugar paired with a texture that could be called gooey, warm and sticky. Sure enough, that description fits The Symmetry to a tee.

This cigar is like smoking a rich, heavy desert. I tasted oven-baked cookies and it almost gets saccharine at a point, but I never stopped enjoying it. I actually rated The Symmetry at 97/100 making it one of my best reviewed cigars ever.

Reserve The Symmetry for your near and dear.

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