OSCAR VALLADARES WILD HUNTER TORO OSCURO
Ring Gauge: 52
Oscar Valladeres hit a walk-off homerun with his debut of Leaf by Oscar in 2012. While he is a long-time veteran of the industry, Leaf was the first cigar he produced at his new factory and was his introduction to the consumer side of the business. And what an introduction it was! Leaf took the market by storm thanks to its unusual packaging as each finished cigar is wrapped in a rough tobacco leaf. While it was a bit gimmicky, the cigars themselves were excellent. Because of his quality cigars and the following they developed, he quickly became one of Danli, Honduras’ most prominent boutique blenders.
In a first in the premium cigar industry, Oscar Valladares has created a cigar specifically designed for hunting and outdoor enthusiasts. Look beyond its outdoor, camouflage-themed packaging and you’ll find a delightful, well made cigar that is hearty and is perfectly at home in the great outdoors or next to a firepit. Valladares is a fan of using Honduran tobaccos whenever possible, and the Wild Hunter brand is a puro featuring hand selected Honduran leaf for the filler, binder, and wrapper. Tasting notes include flavors of cream, pepper, and earth along with hints of caramel, cedar, and baking spices. Wild Hunter by Oscar Valladares is another exciting entry into his ever growing portfolio of premium cigars.
AGING ROOM BIN NO. 2 C MAJOR
Length: 5 3/4”
Ring Gauge: 54
Aging Room is the brainchild of Rafael Nodal. While he may not be a household name in the cigar industry, he’s been around as a brand owner for over 20 years and has seen his fair share of ups and downs. His original foray into the industry was a brand called Oliveros, and it saw mild success in the early 2000s. However, it wasn’t until 2010 that he decided it was time to change course and rebrand. His company was renamed from Habana Cuba Cigar Co to Boutique Blends, and he went from the concept of mass production to small batch production. His manufacturing partner, Jochy Blanco, appreciated the concept and began working on their first collaboration. In 2011, Nodal launched his first new brand dubbed Aging Room M356, and Boutique Blends was off to the races. The M356 was named to Cigar Aficionado’s 2011 Top 25 Cigars list and each subsequent Aging Room product has earned high praise.
Like all Aging Room cigars, the Aging Room Bin No. 2 was blended by the musical mind and fantastic palate of Rafael Nodal. While many of his blends are a hodge-podge of tobaccos from various countries, Nodal focused specifically on Plasencia-grown, extra aged tobaccos for this Nicaraguan puro project. The blend uses a Nicaraguan wrapper, Ometepe binder, and fillers from Estelí and Jalapa. These tobaccos have been grown and fermented with care by the Plasencias, and the Ometepe binder is the special tobacco that was the spark of Nodal’s inspiration. “As soon as I tasted this rare tobacco, I knew it had to be the start of a blend,” Nodal says. “Just like a composer creates a concerto for orchestra and a specific instrument.” Tasting notes include flavors of leather, woods, and coffee with hints of pepper, earth, dried fruits, and sweet cream. Another masterful composition from Rafael Nodal of Aging Room cigars!
LA GLORIA CUBANA CRIOLLO DE ORO TORO
Length: 5 3/4”
Ring Gauge: 54
La Gloria Cubana is a storied brand with a rich history, and it is recognized the world over as one of the finest premium cigar brands. The brand was reincarnated for American consumers by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. In the mid 1990s, the brand developed a cult following and set them on a trajectory for success. The brand grew so quickly, in fact, that Perez-Carrillo opened a new factory in the Dominican Republic. With his meteoric growth during the cigar boom, he sold his brand and factory to General Cigar in 1999, but he continued to oversee the factory and blending for another decade before handing over the reins to his team and retiring (at least for some time). La Gloria Cubana continues to be a leader in the industry that produces distinct, Cuban-inspired blends that continue to captivate the hearts and minds of cigar smokers everywhere.
La Gloria Cubana Criollo de Oro is a fantastic take on this storied brand. While the brand is known for its bolder blends, the Criollo de Oro strikes a different path. The blenders of these cigars decided to focus on flavor instead of a combination of strength and flavor. The result is a spectacular medium strength blend with a wonderful flavor profile. Using a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos, along with a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, La Gloria Cubana Criollo de Oro is topped with a hybrid Criollo de Oro wrapper (that was developed by crossing Criollo ‘98 with Pelo de Oro). Tasting notes include flavors of cedar, earth, and natural tobacco along with hints of pepper, roasted nuts, and molasses. This La Gloria Cubana Criollo de Oro blend is very approachable and can be enjoyed any time of the day.
CUEVAS RESERVA NATURAL ROBUSTO
Ring Gauge: 52
If you’re around the premium cigar industry long enough, you start to notice a few things. It’s a small industry with many multi-generational, family-run factories and farms. While the Cuevas name is not well known, for four generations this family has been growing tremendous tobacco and manufacturing cigars. Today, their Las Lavas factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic manufactures many brands of premium cigars, including the ones that bear the family name. In 2016 they launched and began distribution of their core Casa Cuevas lines, and in 2019 they debuted the Cuevas Reserva to showcase some of their talents.
Interesting side note about Cuevas cigars: they were originally scheduled to launch in the early 2000s. Business was really good, and with factory commitments for contact brands, they decided to postpone the release. Fast forward about 15 years, and the Cuevas brands have finally found their time in the sun. The Cuevas Reserva Natural features a mix of fillers from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and the U.S.A., along with a Havana-seed binder. It’s all wrapped in a glowing Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. The result is a silky-smooth, mild to medium body cigar featuring flavors of cream, vanilla, and toasted nuts along with a gentle hint of citrus, pepper, and sugar. Smoking a Cuevas Reserva is a very satisfying and pleasant experience.
PARTAGAS ANEJO PETIT ROBUSTO
Length: 4 1/2”
Ring Gauge: 49
For over 175 years, Partagas has been proud to craft premium, sophisticated tobacco blends that delight distinguished cigar smokers from across the globe. But, those who only look to the past are certain to miss the future. By staying true to their traditions, doubling down on their values, and looking to the horizon with a fresh perspective, Partagas has been redefining what it means to be a premium cigar company with a rich history. From their humble beginnings in Cuba to the Partagas Black and beyond, every cigar that bears this storied name is meticulously crafted with the finest tobaccos and the highest of standards. This is why the Partagas name has endured and continues to gain new fans after almost two centuries.
For the Partagas Añejo, the brand managers wanted to create something unique, special, and undeniably Partagas. Añejo is the Spanish word for aged, and it’s fitting for this mark thanks to its special double wrapper setup. The blend uses a Cameroon wrapper from the 1998 crop and a Connecticut shade wrapper from 2013 together in a barber pole design. As for the rest of the tobaccos, the blend features a binder from the Dominican Republic and fillers from Mexico and the Dominican Republic. These special tobaccos combine to deliver a medium strength cigar with well balanced flavors that include notes of woods, leather, and earth with hints of cocoa and pepper. Partagas Añejo is a showcase for the creativity that powers this historic brand to new heights!