RARE LEAF RESERVE TORO BY AGANORSA
Length: 6” Ring Gauge: 54 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Strength: Medium-Full MSRP: $11.50
Aganorsa Leaf’s company motto is “Our Leaf Is Our Strength.” For the better part of the last two decades, the company has focused on its tobacco growing by perfecting their process and defining what they deem as their signature tobaccos. These signature tobaccos mainly fall into the Corojo and Criollo varieties, but they are known for growing some of the most Cuban-like tobaccos in the world at their Aganorsa farms in Nicaragua. These special tobaccos are known for their aroma and flavor, and are used in some of the best brands on the market. Aganorsa’s pursuit of becoming even better lead them to experiment with small crop tobaccos. They want to cement their reputation of growing the finest Cuban-style tobaccos in the world. To honor that pursuit, they blended a cigar using these small crop production tobaccos and will release it in limited quantities as Rare Leaf Reserve by Aganorsa.
The Rarer Leaf Reserve was not designed to be a one and done limited edition line. The focus was to create a limited production cigar that would be available as the tobaccos allowed. The concept was to showcase their Criollo tobaccos as they poses a distinct flavor and smoking profile. The blend begins with Corojo 99 & Criollo 98 filler tobaccos along with a double binder consisting of two types of Criollo 98 grown on different farms. Topping the blend is a Jalapa-grown Nicaragua wrapper that has a beautiful reddish-brown color. It’s a masterpiece blend that truly showcases their pride in their tobaccos and their blending skills Tasting notes include earth, cedar pepper, and cream with hints of vanilla, espresso, citrus, and nuts. The Rare Leaf Reserve is a wonderfully complex cigar!
PLASENCIA ALMA DEL CAMPO TRAVESIA
Length: 6 1/2” Ring Gauge: 52 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Strength: Medium MSRP: $17.00
For more than five generations, the Plasencia family have been known as some of the best tobacco growers the world over. They have been manufacturing cigars for just as long and known for their quality. Although not a household name (yet), you’ve likely seen their handiwork in brands like Rocky Patel, Gurkha, & Romeo y Julieta just to name a few. A few years ago, the Plasencia’s decided they wanted their moment in the limelight and launched the exceptional super-premium Plasencia cigars. It was designed as a vehicle to showcase their talents as tobacco growers and cigar manufacturers. One of their most popular lines is the Alma del Campo.
The Plasencia Alma del Campo is the family’s tribute to the fertile land where their fields of tobaccos are carefully grown and cultivated. Utilizing some of the best tobaccos grown exclusively on Plasencia farms, the Plasencia Alma del Campo is expertly constructed and features a blend of all Nicaraguan filler, binder, and wrapper tobaccos. That’s all they are willing to divulge about this blend, but the wrapper is a beautiful chocolate brown color and has a lovely sheen to it. The Plasencia Alma de Campo Travesia is a medium strength blend with lots of flavor. Tasting notes include complex and balanced flavors of coffee, nuts, and earth with hints of salted caramel and pepper. The Tavesia vitola is another superb example of why the Plasencia family has thrived for generations.
MONTECRISTO CLASSIC SERIES CHURCHILL
Length: 7” Ring Gauge: 54 Wrapper: USA Connecticut Strength: Mild-Medium MSRP: $14.50
Montecristo is one of the most hallowed and recognized names in the world of premium cigars. With that kind of reputation and name recognition, introducing a new Montecristo requires not only careful planning, but a blend that continues to elevate the Montecristo brand to new heights. It’s this philosophy that drove Montecristo’s blenders to create a new cigar that honors the brand’s past triumphs and glory. How do they do this you may ask? It’s no easy feet. In this case, they began searching their vast tobacco stores for leaves that are worthy to be included in the Montecristo Classic Series of cigars.
The Montecristo Classic Series is a surprisingly flavorful blend that delivers more than one would expect from this blend on paper. It begins with a blend of well-aged Dominican filler and binder tobaccos. Topping this unassuming blend is a top quality, USA-grown Connecticut Shade wrapper that is golden brown in color and simply beautiful. This special blend features tasting notes of cedar, earth and pepper with hints of nuts and cinnamon. This Montecristo blend is captivating and will leave you wondering what other Montecristo blends deserve your attention.
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.
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.
SOBREMESA BRULE BLUE BY DUNBARTON TOBACCO & TRUST
Length: 6 1/4” Ring Gauge: 46 Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Strength: Medium MSRP: $15.00
In 2015, Steve Saka burst back onto the cigar scene by launching his Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust brand. Having recently completed his 2 year non-compete after departing as Drew Estate’s CEO, many people were curious to see what the guy who created the Liga Privada line for Drew had up his sleeve. His freshman release was called Sobremesa and it was met with mixed reviews. It’s not that the cigar wasn’t good (in truth it was excellent), but it wasn’t the $12 Liga Privada that people were hoping for. After peoples fever dream wore off, people started to come around to the brand and Dunbarton has been on a steady climb since. They now offer several lines that include a few variations of the Sobremesa line-up including the wonderful and intriguing Sobremesa Brule Blue.
The Sobremesa Brule Blue is a tribute to one of the best cigars Steve Saka has ever smoked. He has a notoriously excellent palate and an excellent memory for the cigars he has enjoyed over the years. With the Brule Blue, he wanted to tweak the Sobremesa Brule blend and create a modern rendition of the Habana Davidoff Dom Perignon. Many will say this is one of the finest cigars ever produced. While he set out to create this cigar in the same shape as the original, he settled on a Corona Gorda shape as it better accommodated the flavors and strength he was looking for. Flavors are complex and feature notes of cream, sweet vanilla, and coffee with hints of pepper, cedar and browned butter. The Sobremesa Brule Blue was one of the most talked about cigars to be released in 2020. Enjoy one and it’s easy to understand why. It is masterclass in complexity and balance.