As the year, and indeed the decade, both draw to a close, we find ourselves looking back and taking stock of the last twelve months. We look back on beloved memories, personal accomplishments, and the events that captivated the world. And of course, the very best of what the year had to offer.
With industry award shows like the Grammys making ready their lists of nominees, we thought it was only right that we should do the same for the cigar community. So without further delay, here are our nominees for the best cigars of 2019.
1. Rocky Patel Hamlet 25th Year Salomon
To smoke, or not to smoke? That is the question—whether ’tis nobler to the smoker to deny oneself this cigar to savor, or to strike flame against a sea of flavor and, by so doing, relish it?
Alright, so maybe Shakespeare’s verse is a little difficult to adapt to an endorsement for a cigar. Nevertheless, Rocky Patel’s Hamlet 25th Year is a big, bold cigar that lives up to the drama of the play.
The Hamlet actually takes its name from legendary Cuban-trained master cigar roller Hamlet Paredes, one of the senior members of Rocky Patel’s cigar-making team. And if this were to end up being the lone cigar that he’s remembered for, it would be a worthy legacy.
The Salomon cut sits at 7 ⅝ inches in length with a ring size of 58, so it’s hardly a lightweight. It’s a difficult shape to work with, meaning that the blend must be carefully constructed throughout. So it is with the Hamlet, with a sublime blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers expertly wrapped in a Pennsylvania Broadleaf binder.
The result is an elegant, flavourful cigar that is supremely easy to cut, light and smoke.
2. Romeo Anejo by Romeo y Julieta
Furthering our Shakespearean theme, our next nominee will certainly give you a reason to fall in love. Fortunately, there’s nothing star-crossed about our affair with the Romeo Anejo.
But perhaps the lovers born of conflicting houses were an inspiration for this cigar, as it combines fine, aged tobaccos from four different countries. The filler is a Nicaraguan and Honduran mix, combined with a Dominican binder and all wrapped up in a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper.
These disparate origins combine to create a flavor profile that goes from spicy, rich, and then creamy and smooth. This is one luxurious, full-bodied cigar that enthusiasts would be remiss to miss.
3. Regius Maduro
Much like our previous entry, this nominee is the result of disparate influences. In this case, however, it is its masterminds who have come together from different houses to bestow this cigar on the world.
The Regius Maduro is the brainchild of cigar entrepreneur Akhil Kapacee and Havana cigar maestro Mitchell Orchant. Together, they have created a spicy, medium rich smoke that is sure to delight.
These are Nicaraguan cigars, grown and rolled, and their Maduro wrappers are aged for no less than two years to bring out their decadent flavor and color. With notes of sweet ginger and burnt cedar, they pair quite nicely with a good after-dinner scotch.
4. E.P. Carrillo La Historia El Senador
It would appear that E.P. Carrillo simply can’t lose with their La Historia line of cigars, and El Senador is no exception. Boasting a 92 rating, this cigar is certified as an instant classic.
Devised by the venerable master Ernesto Carrillo, this cigar combines Nicaraguan filler with an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder and a beautiful Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper. These all combine to deliver a full-bodied robusto smoke with flavors of cocoa, leather, coffee, and pepper.
It’s an excellent choice for any occasion that merits a bold, flavorful cigar. So most occasions, really.
5. My Father Cigars La Opulencia
My Father Cigars has been digging deep into old cigar lore with their offerings this year. This spot nearly went to their La Gran Oferta cigar, which is a reference to a long-defunct Cuban brand from 1913. But while La Gran Oferta is an excellent cigar, we elected to award this spot to another Cuban-inspired offering of theirs.
In Spanish, La Opulencia means “the opulent one”, and that right there tells you what this cigar is all about. With a mixture of Nicaraguan tobaccos rolled in a Mexican Rosado Oscuro wrapper, the opulent one lives up to its name with notes of cocoa and chocolate that give way to sweet, oaky flavors before burning down to a creamy finish.
All told a sweet and satisfying throwback to the golden age of Cuban cigarmaking.
6. Davidoff Chef’s Cigar – 2nd Edition
If you think about it, cigars and chefs are a natural combination. After all, who would be better at designing at blending a premium cigar than someone whose entire profession is pleasing your palate?
That seems to have been the idea when Davidoff decided to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their White Brand by enlisting a dream team of chefs from around the world who also happen to be cigar connoisseurs.
Through their combined efforts, they arrived at a medium-plus-strength toro, with flavors of creamy chocolate, pepper, and ginger. As a chef would never have the time to sit down to a cigar in the course of an average working day, the idea was to great a smooth, gentle smoke that could be enjoyed throughout the day and into the evening.
Which makes this an easy cigar to recommend to anyone who keeps a full itinerary. As if you were a reckoned chef working a busy night, you can enjoy a few puffs here and there and then set it down for the next moment when you can catch your breath.
7. E.P. Carrillo Core Plus Maduro Churchill
Last year saw the E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic being christened “Cigar of the Year” by Cigar Aficionado. This year, it is succeeded by the E.P Carrillo Core Plus.
Rated a more-than-respectable 93, this cigar will please even the most discerning of smokers. This medium-full bodied cigar boasts a mix of the finest Nicaraguan fillers and binders, neatly wrapped in a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper.
Though there’s no accounting for taste, we feel that we’ve saved the best of the year for the last with this elegant cigar.
Here’s to the Best Cigars of 2019
As with those award shows that we swear not to care about each year, there are bound to be plenty of favorites left off of this list. That’s the trouble with trying to produce a definitive selection of the best cigars of any given year: you’ll never get everyone to agree with you.
But then, that’s the beauty as well. There’s an inexhaustible wealth of cigars out there to enjoy.
If you don’t know where to begin, this fall’s Limited Edition Inch From E.P. Carrillo is an excellent place to start. Though modest in size, they’re anything but short on flavor. They just shipped in October, so pay your local cigar bar a visit to and try one out.