JC Newman

December 11, 2017

2017 Best of the Year recap

Video review HERE.

This was another good year for new cigars. For the most part there were quite a few in my wheelhouse. In total I reviewed 75 cigars. All are listed below but I am highlighting the top 10.
The name of the cigar is shown, size, score, and date reviewed. Click the name of the top 10 to go directly to the original blog post. My reviews differ from other reviewers because I concentrate on new releases. So, let's get to it.

Protocol Probable Cause Lancero (7 1/2 x 38) [96] 6/17/17

This cigar held the top spot for 1/2 of the year. It was simply head and shoulders above the rest.

The initial flavors (which I got almost immediately after lighting the cigar) were a candy-like orange citrus, brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, black coffee which could almost be called an espresso. One inch in (12 minutes) the flavors are mixing so well. They are almost like a fermented mixture. Now there is the addition of cinnamon. As the cigar ended (1 hour 9 minutes) the only thing that changed in the flavors were the citrus notes decreased slightly but the other notes of brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and black pepper remained very good.

No. 2
CAO Amazon Anaconda (6 x 52) [96] 9/10/17

The initial flavors were a sweet, rich orange citrus and blackberry preserves. Quite a combination. There was also butter and lots of brown sugar. About 1/2 inch in (11 minutes) you can add cinnamon to the mix of flavors. There are a lot of sweet notes popping in this cigar right now. At the midpoint (40 minutes) add chocolate notes to the mix. The cigar lasted 1 hour 20 minutes. The flavors continued very much as they were to the end. This is a pretty consistent cigar after the midpoint.

No. 3
Protocol Lancero (7 1/2 x 38) [95] 2/18/17

The initial flavors at light up were a massive amount of black pepper which I rated at a 9. When you retro hale you really get a blast! There was also a nice orange/apricot mix combined with brown sugar and cinnamon. At, or just past the midpoint (28 minutes) the flavor notes are now orange citrus, brown sugar, caramel, and cinnamon. The cigar lasted 54 minutes which is about normal for a lancero. The brown sugar and cinnamon really came out in the latter stages. The citrus and caramel remained very good, as did the black coffee base.

No. 4
Viva Republica Advanced Warfare Lancero (7 x 35) [95] 3/18/17

Note: 3 of my top 4 cigars are lanceros. I am not a lancero guy but there was simply no denying how great these cigars were. The flavors were amazing in these small ring cigars.

The initial flavors were a very sweet cedar and loaded with brown sugar and sprinkles of cinnamon. There was also some caramel mixed in. The cigar is almost buttery rich. 1 1/2 inches in (11 minutes) I am changing my mind on one point. There is so much tangy sweetness in the cigar I am now saying it is an orange citrus instead of a cedar. 2 inches in (19 minutes) there is now chocolate and black coffee. At the midpoint (35 minutes) the caramel notes are really coming out. The main front end flavor may be orange citrus or it may be cedar. There is plenty of brown sugar, caramel, and cinnamon. The chocolate and coffee continue to round out the cigar and add depth. The cigar lasted one hour. The main flavors now are massive amounts of caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

No. 5
Nomad Martial Law (6 x 50) [94] 1/26/17

The initial flavors were cinnamon and brown sugar mixed with orange citrus. About one inch in there seems to be a dark, sweet flavor of caramel. At the midpoint there is a smoothness to the cigar. There seems to be a buttery flavor in the mix now. Shortly after the midpoint orange citrus, brown sugar and cinnamon continued to be the lead flavors. Not much changed to the end, which was just fine with me. The combination of citrus, cinnamon, brown sugar, and caramel were amazing. The cigar was very sweet and the cinnamon notes were very intense. The caramel gave a smoothness to the cigar and the coffee gave it depth.

No. 6
The T Toro by Matt Booth, A. J. Fernandez, and Robert Caldwell (6 x 52) [94] 11/11/17

The initial flavors were a sweet orange citrus, brown sugar, a dollop of whipping cream, chocolate, and black coffee. 1 1/2 inches in (24 minutes) the whipping cream notes are gone but now there are cinnamon notes. Close to the midpoint (38 minutes) you still have the citrus, some brown sugar, some cinnamon, and now the chocolate has changed to a dark chocolate and it's quite prominent. Throughout the cigar there are nice nutmeg notes that accentuate the overall cigar.

No. 7
Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Barrel Fermented Robusto (5 1/4 x 52) [94] 3/12/17

The cold draw had tons of hickory smoke flavors. The initial flavors at light up were marshmallow cream with brown sugar, caramel, and a ton of black pepper rated at an 8 1/2 to 9. You really get a massive amount of pepper when you retro hale. 1 1/2 inches in (17 minutes) there are some sweet cedar notes and hickory smoked flavors. With about 2 inches remaining (36 minutes in) this is the first time I got coffee notes in the cigar. You still have plenty of the marshmallow cream, brown sugar, caramel, and cedar. With about 1 inch remaining (47 minutes) I'm into the Tapa Negra wrapper. The flavors are now heavy with black coffee, or you may even call it espresso. The cigar ended at 55 minutes. There were still heavy coffee, or espresso notes at the end with more sweet cedar. It increased in the final inch or so. It has some nice sweet brown sugar with it.

No. 8
Guardian of the Farm Campeon (6 x 52) [94] 2/11/17

The initial flavors at light up were the typical Arganosa vegetable like flavor combined with a sweet orange citrus and brown sugar with a light black coffee base. One inch (20 minutes) in the vegetable flavors have become very manageable. There is still a nice orange citrus and brown sugar but now there is also a touch of cinnamon and dry cocoa. The light black coffee holds a nice base. The cigar is very sweet; almost candy-like. The cigar is medium bodied. At the midpoint (43 minutes) the flavors are in equal proportion; very balanced. At the end (1 hour 30 minutes) the cigar continued to be very balanced but I noticed flashes of butter here and there.

No. 9
Serino Royale Medio Petite Sublime (5 3/4 x 54) [94] 7/22/17

The initial flavors were a nice orange citrus central flavor surrounded by honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, cream, light leather, and light black coffee. Close to 2 inches in the flavors are mixing very well. The flavors are very even.The honey notes give a very thick sweetness to the cigar. The leather and coffee notes are at a perfect amount. Just beyond the midpoint the cigar continues to be very balanced. The amazing flavors continued right to the end. The cigar was consistent and balanced.

No. 10
CAO Fuma Em Corda Robusto (5 x 50) [94] 6/18/17

The initial flavors were a sweet, pink grapefruit citrus, brown sugar, and an earthy black coffee. About 1 1/2 inches in you can add in chocolate notes and a dash of whipping cream flavor. As I approached the rope band (50 minutes) the whipping cream has morphed over to a sweet caramel. As the cigar ended (1 hour 6 minutes) the chocolate notes became elevated. The cigar had a good mix of flavors. It ended medium to full bodied.

The remaining cigars with scoring from 11-25 shown.

94 Rated
11 Drew Estate Undercrown Sun Grown Corona (5 5/8 x 46) 9/30/17
12 Viaje Ghost Pepper (4 7/8 x 51) 4/8/17
13 Serino Cigars Wayfarer The 109 (6 1/4 x 50) 10/28/17
14 Villiger La Flor De Ynclan Torpedo (6 x 52) 7/1/17

93 Rated
15 Tabernacle by Foundation Cigar Co. (6 x 52) 1/28/17
16 The Judge Toro (6 x 56) by My Father Cigars 1/7/17
17 H. Upmann Nicaragua by A. J. Fernandez (6 x 54) 5/27/17
18 Warped Cigars Lirio Rojo (5 1/2 x 44) 3/4/17
19 H. Upmann Banker Ingot Rose' (6 3/4 x 48) 10/21/17
20 Protocol Probable Cause Churchill (6 1/2 x 48) 3/11/17
21 Las Calaveras Edicion Limitada 2017 LC46 (5 5/8 x 46) 7/9/17
22 Drew Estate Florida Sun Grown Robusto (5 x 54) 8/26/17
23 Viaje Stuffed Turkey Edicion Limitada 2017 Dark Meat (5 x 58) 11/24/17
24 Protocol Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) 4/9/17
25 Viaje Friends and Family Edicion Limitada Le Joueur (5 x 52) 1/22/17
Nestor Miranda Collection Corojo Robusto (4 1/2 x 50) 1/15/17
Viaje Zombie Super Shot 2017 (3 1/4 x 54) 8/6/17

92 Rated
Partagas Maduro No. 1 {Aug. '16} (5 1/8 x 52) 1/14/17
La Aurora 107 Cosecha 2006 Corona Gorda (6 x 47) 1/29/17
Partagas Serie D no. 6 (3 1/2 x 50) 2/19/17
La Aurora 1903 Cameroon Robusto (5 x 50) 4/2/17
Crux du Connoisseur No. 1 (7 1/2 x 38) 4/14/17
Serino Royale Connecticut Torpedo (6 1/8 x 52) 4/29/17
San Isidro Toro by HVC Cigars (6 x 52) 5/20/17
2017 Viaje Zombie Antidote (6 1/4 x 50) 5/29/17
Viaje Pina Mahana (6 x 52) 7/2/17
Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro (6 x 55) 7/8/17
Hoyo La Amistad Silver Robusto (5 x 50) 7/29/17
Gispert Intenso Toro (6 x 50) 7/30/17
La Gloria Cubana Coleccion Reserva Torpedo (6 x 54) 8/19/17
Todos Las Dias Toro by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (6 x 52) 9/16/17
Macanudo Inspirado White Robusto (5 x 50) 9/24/17
Edition One Cloud Hopper No. 53 (5 1/4 x 42) 11/26/17

91 Rated
Villiger 1888 Robusto (4 7/8 x 50) 1/8/17
Nomad SA-17 Toro (6 x 50) 1/21/17
Gotham Heroes Alec Bradley Robusto (5 x 50) 2/12/17
La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro Robusto (5 x 52) 3/5/17
Romeo 505 Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) 4/15/17
La Palina El Ano 1896 Oscuro Belicoso (6 1/2 x 52) 4/22/17
Cohiba Blue Robusto (5 12 x 50) 5/21/17
Protocol Themis Robusto (5 x 52) 6/11/17
Romeo y Julieta Belicoso by A. J. Fernandez (6 x 52) 6/25/17
Viaje Birthday Blend (6 x 52 Belicoso) 7/15/17
Serino Royale Maduro XX Sublime (6 1/2 x 54) 8/5/17
AJ Fernandez New World Puro Especial Short Churchill (6 x 48) 8/20/17
Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) 9/17/17
Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Belicoso Fino (5 x 50) 10/1/17
Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro Rothschild (5 5/8 x 46) 10/14/17
Macanudo Inspirado Black Robusto (4 7/8 x 48) 10/21/17
Partagas 1845 Classico Robusto (5 x 50) 11/12/17
La Aurora ADN Dominicano Toro (5 3/4 x 54) 11/18/17

90 Rated
Casta Cigars Pre-Embargo Puro (5 1/2 x 44) 4/1/17
Hit & Run Robusto (4 3/4 x 52) by Matt Booth and Robert Caldwell 10/8/17
LJZ Robusto by Emilio Cigars (5 x 52) 10/15/17
Camacho Nicaraguan Barrel-Aged Toro (6 x 50) 12/2/17

89 Rated
All Out Kings Smash by Caldwell Cigars (5 x 52) 3/25/17
Viaje Exclusivo Leaded Double Edged Sword (5 3/4 x 52 Perfecto) 4/23/17
Caldwell Cigars Lost & Found Backdoor Bambi (5 1/2 x 46) 7/16/17
Diesel Grind Toro (6 x 50) 9/23/17
El Gueguense Maduro Toro Huaco (6 x 56) 11/25/17

88 Rated
San Cristobal Quintessence Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) 11/19/17

87 Rated
Esteban Carreras Mr. Brownstone Speed Ball (5 x 54) 10/22/17

86 Rated
Casta Cigars Fusion (5 1/2 x 44) 4/30/17
My Father La Opulencia Toro (6 x 54) 11/5/17

85 Rated
Partagas Heritage Rothschild (4 1/2 x 50) 5/28/17

And there you have it. Every cigar reviewed this year with it's rating. Overall, a very good year. As you know, next year will have a new scoring system but even if that system were used for this year the overall results would pretty much be the same. The top 10 would still be the top 10.

So, with that we end 2017. I am already looking forward to 2018 and a new batch of great cigars!

No comments: