My Blog: My Best Cigars in 2012

January 2nd, 2013

I smoked some wonderful Cuban cigars in 2012. I believe the quality of Cuban cigars is excellent at the moment. I attribute it to a reduction in production and exports as well as more attention to quality control from the leaf to the cigar. Cuba seems to make better cigars when its production and exports are less than 100 million units, and it’s been like that for a number of years now. 

I noticed an article in Cigar Insider that tallied all their cigar ratings in 2012, and it underlined how much better the cigar quality in Cuba is compared to other major cigar producing countries. For example, CI reviewed 28 cigars from Cuba in 2012 and 25 were outstanding, or 90 points or more. That’s almost 90 percent of all the cigars. Only about 40 percent of Dominican cigars rated received 90 or more. Nicaragua was the same. Honduras was a dismal 34 percent. 

The big surprise for me was the superb quality of two of last year’s Edición Limitadas. This is why I put them at the No. 1 and No. 2 position of the best cigars I smoked in 2012. Cubans finally got their blends right with the dark, more mature wrappers of the limitadas. In the past, in my opinion, the wrappers often dominated the flavor profiles of the limitadas. The two cigars below prove otherwise.

Of course, the Behike line continues to be Cuba’s best and most expensive regular production cigars. And the 56 is a perfect smoke.

The market selection smokes are also interesting, but too many are bland and taste the same, suggesting that many markets have no idea about blends nor do they appear to care. I put two of these cigars in my Top 10 – Mexico and Italy. I know both heads of the distributors in these respected markets and they are top cigar collectors and tasters. It shows in their cigars. They were both actually released in late 2011.

There are two current production torpedos on my list that you need to smoke. I am not a fan of this size but the quality and flavor is just too compelling not to: Monte No. 2 and Cohiba. 

I am not sure that many of you will get the chance to smoke the great cigar in last year’s special Trinidad humidor to celebrate the brands 40th anniversary, but it’s a great smoke. It reminds me of a super charged Trinidad Robusto T. Shame that robusto is no longer made on the island.

I had to throw in an aged cigar and the Davidoff Dom Perignon is a classic. Honestly, many of the Cuban Davidoffs are now drying out, so be careful of buying old boxes. Be sure that they have been stored properly. Otherwise, they can taste of nothing but cardboard.

Click for the notes - available to subscribers or using a free day pass.

1. Montecristo 520 Edición Limitada 2012 98 points 

2. Partagas Serie C No. 3 Edición Limitada 2012 97 points

3. Behike 56 100 points 

4. La Escepción Selectos Finos Edizione Regionale Italia 2011 97 points

5. Cohiba 1966 Edición Limitada 2011 95 points

6. Cohiba Piramide Extra 94 points

7. Montecristo No.2 97 points

8. Trinidad 40th Anniversary Humidor Cigar 96 points 

9. Edmundo Dantes El Conde 54 Edición Regional Mexico 95 points

10. Davidoff Dom Perignon 95 points

Photos courtesy of Habanos S.A.

Comments

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JohnnyB

January 5, 2013


My cigar of the year was a Behike-54 on December 29th. Beautiful mild spice and so smooth with a great draw. The 1977 Taylor Fladgate I enjoyed before was a perfect set up. Here's to great cigars in 2013.

stickman

January 5, 2013


'Hell of a list! I'm envious! :D I'm still hunting the 2012 ELs, I'm eager to get more recent production Monty #2s, and I've never met a Trinidad I didn't like.

The statistics from Cigar Insider are interesting. I've been moving away from 'puro' thinking, as many of my favorite 'non-island' smokes are international blends with at least two countries represented, often with the wrapper being different from the rest. I've become particularly fond of Ecuadoran Habano and Criollo wrappers over primarily NIcaraguan binders/fillers. Don Pepin has a new wrapper that's a hybrid between Criollo and Pelo de Oro, which I think is promising. I can only imagine what Don Pepin would come up with if he could include Cuban tobacco in his creations!

All in all, this is an exciting time to be a cigar smoker!

fredba

January 8, 2013


I found your list quite easy to build : there are only expensive, or rare cigare - Exception made of Montecristo n°2 (perhaps were you thinking of gran reserva, which among the others would perfectly fit in because the Monte 2 is the perfect defnition of a boring and a more than common cigare, being completely overwhelmed by products like Upmann N°2, the Cuaba Piramides EL, PL Valiosos....).

Regarding the last 3, I higly doubt that they were available to public as a smoke / However, being rare, discontinued and expensive does not mean good. / Even if it is always amazing to have those in your humidor "for the show".

Disapointing, because to easy.

James Suckling

January 8, 2013


FREDA

You have a bad day or something?

Most the cigars in my list are available at retail. May be not in France.

fredba

January 8, 2013


No bad day :-) just disapointed, was expecting something surprizing, and it is just the enuemration of the most expensive cigars available.
With the exception of Monte 2 (did you mean the gran reserva ?) Dom Perignong is not even a classic. Out of 10000 cigar smoker there might one personn able to buy one and smoke it / if the cigar can still be smoke.

A good cigar in 2012 would be a cigare you can buy and keep in your humidor. Not pieces that you will smoke one time, because every cuban smoker knows that you can't figure out a cigare by just smoking one.

Well that said, this list :
Is useless for a beginner, because he won't understand what he is smoking, and won't probably be able to find hal of them
Is useless for a occasionnal smoker, because, we don't need this to know that Cohiba is the cuban cigare safe heaven or Montecristo the global taste of cuban cigare
Is useless for a seasonned smoker, because there is nothing new or surprising.

That is why I'm really disappointed, I was expecting more. :-)
But you know...French people...

James Suckling

January 8, 2013


Thanks. You are obviously passionate about it, just like the rest of us. I was surprised as you are by the outstanding quality of the "boring" Monte No. 2. So what is your cigar of the year?

fredba

January 8, 2013


For the cuban part Montecristo 520 Edición Limitada 2012 I agree with you it is a really fine piece of cigar, the return of San cristobal through the LCDH issues, like officios. Among Trinidad, I found the 2012 release of Fundadores especially sweet and complex.
Available this year on retail were ERDM Tainos 2001, a very subtile and vegetal churchill, as well as La gloria cubana (immensos).
Regarding regional releases, many magnifiscent releases of Por Larannaga.(Belicosos, Valiosos) that are now 3 to 4 years old, and yet very mature.

As non cuban, for my personnal taste, I was pleased by the Tatuaje Reserva J21 as well as Cojonu 2012 release, tasty, smooth and surprizing.
Good thing on Avo in dominican republic, as well as Ashton with the VSG line, mint and chocolate, and very sweet. Not to mention a very good for value Vega fina by Seija

It is a difficult question because what mean my favorite cigar ?
I've smoked cigars that were astonishing (Montecristo Maravilla is among them)
I've smoked regular production 2012 cigars that I found excellent (Siglo IV, Fundadores...)
I've smoked new production cigar that are made by passionate (Pitbull carlito, don horacio)
I've smoked cheaper cigar / good for value (don horacio, seija, cao)

There can't be only Grands Crus :-) !
What would you call the best cigar ? - that would probably help me to understand your point

The cigar that gave me the greatest pleasure this year was a Maravilla Montecristo (and god knows how much I'm not a montecristo afficionado), with friends. It was my 2012 perfect smoke.

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