FLOR DE LAS ANTILLAS TORO
Length: 6” Ring Gauge: 52 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Strength: Medium MSRP: $8.10
On one hand you can count the number of cigar makers who arrived on the scene and changed the game. At the top of that very short list is Jose “Pepin” Garcia and boy did he turn the industry on its ear. At the time, there was no one making cigars that captured the essence and flavor of Cuban cigars. His unique fermenting and blending style, coupled with his small batch production in Miami quickly catapulted his cigars to the top of aficionados hit lists. With his well-deserved success, expansion was the only way to keep up with demand. He quickly established the My Father factory in Nicaragua and began to transfer production and expand his portfolio. One of the first big hits his new factory produced was the Flor de las Antillas. It was a smash hit and was his first blend to earn Cigar Aficionado’s prestigious Cigar of the Year award.
The name Flor de las Antillas translates from Spanish to Flower of the Antilles. It is Pepin’s homage to Cuba (the largest of the Antilles Islands) where he was born and raised. At 11 years old he began his life’s work in tobacco. He learned everything he could and eventually rose to be one of Cuba’s most respected cigar makers. Using the skills he learned in Cuba, Pepin set out to make his Flor de las Antillas in the tradition of a classic Cuban cigar using all Nicaraguan tobaccos. This may sound a bit unusual, but the result speaks for itself. Pepin combined a special blend of well-aged Nicaraguan tobaccos for the filler and binder. The wrapper is a Rosado Sun Grown leaf grown on a Garcia owned farm. Tasting notes include notes of coffee, nutmeg, and white pepper with hints of marzipan and cocoa. These cigars are delicious!
HERRERA ESTELI HABANO TORO ESPECIAL
Length: 6” Ring Gauge: 52 Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Strength: Medium MSRP: $9.75
Willy Herrera, Drew Estate’s master blender, seemingly appeared on the cigar scene out of know where. While few people had heard of him (or his family’s Miami cigar factory El Titan de Bronze), there was a buzz on Calle Ocho about his talents and the cigars being blended and crafted at the small, storefront factory. When Drew Estate made the announcement that Willy had joined the team, many people were shocked. Who was this guy from Miami that was taking over the creation of new products for Drew? Could he do it? Would the cigars be any good? Lots of questions swirled about the company’s future prospects. While it took Herrera some time to get his bearings, his Herrera Esteli blend quickly put any doubts to rest.
When Herrera joined the team, he spent the better part of a year at Drew Estate’s Esteli factory playing with a wide variety of tobaccos that he had never worked with before. He spent the time experimenting with different ratios and types of tobaccos, creating over 100 different blends for Drew’s tasting panel to evaluate. It was one of the 1st blends he created that became Herrera Esteli. Using choice Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, a Honduran-grown binder leaf, and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Willy’s Herrera Esteli is a tribute to classic Cuban cigars. It is a smooth but complex blend that balances sweet and spice. Tasting notes include cream, cedar, and toasted nuts with hints of pepper and vanilla that mingle to create a wonderfully enjoyable experience.
MIL DIAS DOUBLE ROBUSTO BY CROWNED HEADS
Length: 6 3/8” Ring Gauge: 50 Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Strength: Medium-Full MSRP: $10.75
Back in 2011, a couple of alums of CAO set off on a path to create a new cigar brand called Crowned Heads. They burst onto the scene with some great cigars and a whole lot of deserved hype. The company was founded by the duo of Mike Conder and Jon Huber with a different philosophy than that of their previous employers. Rather than spending tons of money of advertising and fancy packaging, they chose to invest in quality tobaccos and partnerships with cigar factories with the hope of creating an authentic brand that consumers would flock to. It’s safe to say that their brand and way of cigar making has achieved the success that they had hoped for. Their blends have been well received over the years, but their new Crowned Head Mil Dias is on another level.
The story of the Crowned Heads Mil Dias began with an impromptu meeting between Jon Huber and their manufacturing partner at the Tabacalera Pichardo factory in Nicaragua. The blend they presented to Huber that day was something unique that would require patience to complete. After enjoying quite a few samples, Huber knew this blend was special and accepted that this outstanding blend would test his patience by taking over 1000 days to come to market. Hence the name Mil Dias. Using a complex blend of filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Peru along with a Nicaraguan binder, and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, the Mil Dias is a complex yet balanced cigar. Featuring flavors of earth, cedar, cream, and nuts with hints of pepper, cinnamon, and caramel the Mil Dias is a blend that was truly worth the wait.
H. UPMANN CONNECTICUT TORO BY GRUPO DE MAESTROS
Length: 6” Ring Gauge: 50 Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Strength: Mild-Medium MSRP: $9.25
In 1843, a German banker named Hermann Upmann moved to Havana, Cuba to open an import/export business for a German firm that bought and sold tobaccos. In 1844, he purchased a small local cigar factory and soon after the 1st H. Upmann cigar was born. Hermann could never have imagined that his little endeavor would become one of the world’s best known cigar brands. He was known for his innovation in the tobacco business and is credited with being the 1st cigar maker to package his cigars in cedar boxes. Honoring that commitment to innovation is what Altadis’ Grupo de Maestros is all about. Their guiding principle is to push the boundaries of a brand, while honoring the traditions and heritage of the brand’s past. The H. Upmann Connecticut is just such a cigar.
Take one look at the H. Upmann Connecticut by Grupo de Maestros and you’ll immediately notice this is something unusual for the brand. To start, the cigar is wrapped with a light colored wrapper but the cap uses a dark tobacco. Next you’ll notice the bright colored band that uses hues of cream, yellow and gold. The overall look grabs your attention to remind you this is something a bit different. Grupo de Maestros selected Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, a Dominican binder leaf, and a Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper for this special blend. Let’s not forget about that dollop of Maduro leaf for the cap. Tasting notes include coffee, cream, and woods along with hints of pepper and citrus on the finish. It’s a delightful mild-medium strength blend.
PERDOMO RESERVE 10TH ANNIVERSARY MADURO EPICURE
Length: 6” Ring Gauge: 54 Wrapper: Maduro Strength: Medium-Full MSRP: $9.00
It’s hard to believe, but the Perdomo Reserve brand has been on the market in one variety or another for over 20 years. Before the craziness of 2020 set in, Nick Perdomo already had a vision of what he wanted this new iteration of the Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Maduro to be. While the Connecticut version (dubbed Champagne) has and continues to be a runaway success, the Maduro version of the cigar never quite lived up to success of the Champagne. So Nick does what he does best and innovates. He updates the packaging throughout the 10th Anniversary Reserve line featuring bold colors to compliment the cigars they adorn. Most importantly, he re-blends the Maduro from the ground-up to be superstar. It burst onto the scene with great acclaim, received a 91 rating at Cigar Dojo, and was even Cigar Authority’s 2020 Cigar of the Year.
The Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Maduro Epicure is a splendid Medium to Full bodied cigar that will envelop your tastebuds with wonderful flavors. It’s a unique blend in the Perdomo portfolio as it uses 6-year aged Cuban-seed Nicaraguan tobaccos for the filler and binder. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan grown 6-year aged Cuban-seed Maduro leaf that has been aged in Bourbon Barrels for 14 months. Tasting notes include layers of woods, dark chocolate, and espresso with hints of cocoa and honey. The Epicure shape is a wonderful expression of this outstanding blend and allows the flavors to generously roll across the palate for maximum enjoyment.