The time has come again for everyone to release their favorite 25 cigars of the year. This is my first time handling the top 25 list at CigFed, so in the interest of transparency, I’d like to explain how we arrived at it before getting into the list.
We decided that rather than simply compile a list of our top reviews for the year, we would go the less structured, more ‘open-form’ route that some other sites use. Any cigar that was released for sale in 2017 was eligible, and of course, at least one of us had to have smoked it. After we compiled a list of the competitors, made a rough ordered list, and then essentially debated why each cigar deserved to be on the list until we had a list that everyone was comfortable with. Unfortunately, we can only smoke so many cigars, and we weren’t able to get our hands on everything out there this year, so some great cigars may not be on the list.
With that out of the way, read our top 25 list below, or watch our discussion video here.
25. Hoyo La Amistad Silver Robusto
"The Hoyo La Amistad Silver is the follow up to the gold-adorned version that was launched in 2016. It improves on it’s predecessor by ramping up the sweetness, spice, strength, and body. The smoke offers notes of nuts, fruit and black pepper." - Tripp
24. Patina Connecticut Robusto
"Rather than put a new twist on the classic Connecticut Shade cigar, the Patina Connecticut is just a damn good expression of the classic style with a creamy sweetness, light baking spice, but none of the overly bitter, papery flavors of the Shades of yesteryear." -Tripp
23. Gurkha Master Select 2017 Toro
"Yes. Against all odds, a Gurkha made our list. Everyone knows Gurkhas reputation, but when we smoked this at the IPCPR, we were blown away. It starts off with a cedar note, and a bit of spice, and slowly builds in to a rich, sweet and creamy final third. If you haven’t smoked this one, try it before you make up your mind." - Tripp
"I look forward to all of the comments from people who have never smoked the Gurkha Master Select 2017. A blend that dates back to the early 2000s, I think if most boutique cigar smokers were to smoke this blind they would be asking what this new boutique blend was.
22. Undercrown Sungrown Corona
"The Undercrown Sungrown is the third blend in the Undercrown line and debuted at IPCPR 2017. The blend features an Ecuadorian Sumatra Sun Grown wrapper over a Connecticut River Valley stalk cut and cured sun grown habano wrapper with fillers from Nicaragua. Check out Jason’s review here.
The Undercrown Sungrown is a great example of a medium-full bodied spicy cigar that also offers balance and full flavors. This is a cigar that is likely to become a welcome part of your regular rotation. It works well for any time of day and is a cigar that will reward you for taking it slow and focusing on the flavors, but is also very enjoyable to smoke in a herf setting where your primary focus is not always on the cigar." - Jason
21. Joya de Nicaragua Gran Reserva Belicoso
"A beautifully crafted offering that reminds us all that strength can still be delicate and complex. Matured to perfection, this cigar is nuanced by dried fruit and chocolate, with plenty of well-balanced black pepper to round out the familiar and unique smoking experience we’ve all come to love and expect from Joya De Nicaragua" - Denis
20. Tatuaje Skinny Jason Cazadores
"A unique offering to an already special cigar, it’s big brother the Tuatuaje Monster Series Jason, the skinny Jason offers a refreshing take on a true powerhouse. While not as powerful as the full-sized original, this cigar offers the same exciting complexity with earth, cedar, and white pepper taking the stage in a vitola that is both lovely and accessible to any cigar smoker." - Denis
19. Winston Churchill Late Hour Toro
"For the past few years, Davidoff has really been moving outside of what would traditionally be considered a Davidoff blend. For me the Winston Churchill Late Hour is a solid return to what I would consider to be traditionally Davidoff.
18. Protocol Probable Cause Lancero
"Cubariqueno and La Zona do it again. There are only a handful of factories and blenders out there that can put out a true lancero and make the blend sing. This is another grand slam hit which only leaves me wanting more." - Cigar Surgeon
17. Room 101/Caldwell Hit & Run Toro
"After leaving the industry somewhat suddenly at the beginning of the year, Room 101’s Matt Booth announced his return just before the IPCPR in July, in the form of a collaboration with Robert Caldwell. The cigar offers rich flavors of black tea, with a hint of spice and a delicate sweetness." - Tripp
16. Protocol Themis Toro
"The Protocol Themis begins like a spicy twist on the classic Connecticut, but builds up into a rich, sweet and creamy smoke. While it retains the approachability of the Connecticut Shade wrapper, it has enough body and complexity to satisfy veteran smokers." - Tripp
15. Black Label Trading Company Morphine Lancero
"The Black Label Trading Company Morphine is a limited annual release and in 2017 it was offered in three sizes, a short robusto (4.5 x50), Lancero (7.25 x 42), and a corona (5.5 x 42). The cigars features a San Andres Maduro wrapper over a Nicaraguan Habano binder with fillers from Nicaragua.
The Morphine is simply a fantastic cigar. It does a great job of highlighting the classic sweet notes of the Mexican San Andres wrapper without allowing them to be too overbearing. The Nicaraguan binder and fillers give the cigar some really nice earth and coffee qualities with a touch of spice." - Jason
14. Fratello Oro Robusto
"The Fratello Oro starts off with an unexpected blast of pepper, and while it has some of the elements of a classic Connecticut Shade blend, it’s anything but. As you make your way through the first 2 thirds, flavors of cinnamon, ginger, and citrus appear, slowly coming together until you reach the final third, culminating in rich layered finale." - Tripp
13. All Out Kings Smash
"A surprise announcement during the 2016 Cigar Federation Cigar Safari revealed that Robert Caldwell would be collaborating with Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera on a new blend. After almost a year of blending, combined with production delays, the cigar was finally released in march of 2017. The collaboration created a cigar that perfectly mixes the styles of Drew Estate and Caldwell, resulting in a balanced combination of spice, sweet and savory with some of that classic Dominican earth and nutiness." - Tripp
12. Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Toro
"The history and tradition of Pappy Van Winkle stands proudly in this homage of a masterfully crafted cigar. With an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper and Indonesian binder, notes of oak, white pepper, and a pleasant touch of espresso transport the smoker to a world where all you need is a great cigar, a glass of whiskey, and comfy leather chair to sit back, relax, and get lost in enjoying the simple things in life." - Denis
11. Todos Las Dias Half Churchill
"Saka's version of a Nicaraguan puro is rich with notes of earth and cocoa and starts off with a red pepper spice that slowly intensifies during your journey to the final third. The Half Churchill is one of the smoothest expressions of the blend, resulting in a slightly more refined and almost delicate smoking experience" - Tripp
10. Mombacho Cosecha 2012
"Sometimes as a media person you get pulled into the inner circle. The challenge is that anything revealed in the inner circle has to be put away in the vault, never to be spoken of again.
9. Highclere Castle Toro
"This cigar is the result of an unexpected partnership between the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, owner of Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England, Nick Melillo, founder of Foundation Cigar Company. What looks like a typical Connecticut Shade cigar from the outside turns into a spicy, nutty experience with a bit of a floral quality that is unlike anything I've smoked with a Connecticut Shade wrapper." - Tripp
8. Southern Draw Jacob's Ladder Toro
"The Jacob’s Ladder is a new line from Southern Draw cigars debuted at IPCPR 2017. The cigar features a broadleaf wrapper from Lancaster Pennsylvania over an Ecuadorian maduro binder with fillers from Nicaragua, including some ligero leaf from Esteli. Check out Jason’s review here.
The Jacob’s Ladder is a strong cigar! Don’t smoke this first thing in the morning unless you have an iron stomach, but do try and smoke it on a fresh palate. The depth and complexity that this cigar offers for being such a full bodied smoke is impressive. Also impressive is how this cigar is able to use the Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper in such a full flavored and strength blend, without having any of the bitterness that sometimes occurs in blend using that wrapper. This will be a go to cigar for pairing with barrel aged stouts after supper." - Jason
7. Tatuaje Havana Cazadores Broadleaf Collection
"Thick and creamy smoke from the gorgeously toothy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is accented by a lovely sweetness that stays on the palette just long enough to crave another draw. Notes of coffee and anise, along with a truly razor sharp burn make for an absolutely wonderful smoking experience." - Denis
6. Black Label Trading Company Bishop's Blend
"I was far too late in the Bishops Blend 2016 release to get my hands on more. When the Bishops Blend 2017 was announced, you better believe I was in the queue slamming that F5 refresh button.
5. Muestra De Saka Exclusivo
"The Exclusivo is a departure from Steve Saka’s usual reputation as a medium-full bodied blender and smoker. For this blend, his challenge was to create a more mild-mannered, creamy Nicaraguan puro, whereas they are typically stronger due to the heavier tobaccos hailing from Nicaragua. The resulting cigar is mild-medium bodied, yet bursting with flavors of sweet cedar, cinnamon and cream, balanced with just enough spice." - Tripp
4. BLK WKS Boondock Saint
"The Boondock Saint is a limited annual release from Black Works Studio (BLK WKS) featuring a Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper over a Nicaraguan habano binder with fillers from Connecticut, Nicaragua and Pennsylvania. Check out Tripp’s review here.
The Boondock saint has a great peppery spice that hits the “just right” point on the spice level and offers a full range of flavors that evolve as the cigar progresses. This cigar is full flavored but medium-full in body and very smooth." - Jason
3. El Gueguense Maduro
"The Wiseman Maduro is a fantastic cigar that improves on it’s already great predecessor, and arguably the best example of Nicaraguan tobacco with a Mexican San Andres wrapper It’s got an intensity and complexity that works fantastically when you’re concentrating on the flavors and aroma in solitude, but works almost as well when you’re not giving it your full attention." - Tripp
2. Atabey Misticos
1. Muestra De Saka Nacatamale
"Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust founder Steve Saka set an interesting challenge for himself with this cigar. Rather than using tobaccos from different varieties, farms, and crop years, he set out to blend a cigar with every component coming from the same farm in Jalapa. The result is nothing short of stunning. A beautifully constructed toro with rich layered flavors ranging from intense black pepper to sweet cinnamon. This is an incredible smoke that truly demands your full attention, and narrowly beat out the Atabey Misticos."