Stogie Review Top 10 Cigars of 2008

This is the Walt edition of the Top Ten Cigars of 2008. This list is made up of ten cigars which I reviewed at some point during 2008. The cigars listed below may not necessarily have been released this year.

#1: Padilla Signature 1932Made in the El Rey de los Habanos Factory
Padilla Signature 1932 - 2

All in all, I think that this was a wonderful cigar which was very tasty from start to finish. Due to the price alone I can’t justify smoking them very often, not that I wouldn’t want to, but they are most definitely a cigar that I would like to have a couple of on hand.

Of all the “super premium” cigars I have had to date, the Padilla Signature 1932 has quickly risen to the top of my list of favorites. I would definitely recommend giving them a try if you find yourself with $14.00, or so, burning a hole in your pocket.

#2: Padilla MiamiMade in the El Rey de los Habanos Factory
Padilla Miami -2 - Pepin Made

I keep thinking to myself that this cigar tastes similar to a Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic in a generic flavor sort of way, but is on a completely different level in terms of character and complexity. With the price point of around $9.00 at the local level it is a little out of my comfort zone, but definitely worth the price in regards to the enjoyment I received from it.

Each and every puff delivered more body and complexity which I found very enjoyable. I would most definitely recommend picking up one or two to try, even if you plan to hold on to them for a special occasion.

#3: Cubao by EO Brands
Cubao by EO Brands - 3

When it was finally time to lay this cigar to rest I was completely satisfied. I enjoyed the flavors and complexity a great deal and would definitely recommend this to anyone on the market for a rich medium bodied cigar.

The flavors of the Cubao were intriguing enough that I didn’t want to move onto the next set of flavors, but at the same time couldn’t wait to see what was around the corner. In fact, I enjoyed this cigar so much that if I were to make a top ten list f cigars for the year of 2008, this would definitely make the top of the list.

The thing I found just as interesting as the flavors, was the total package in terms of packaging. I got a kick out of the heavily distressed boxes, rough and mottled wrapper, and the simple band. I think EO brands has a real winner here and look forward seeing what they unveil next year to top the Cubao.

#4: Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial
Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial - 3

Overall I am very impressed with the Maduro Especial. It was not what I expected, but in a good way. Having smoked a number of Liga Especial cigars, I had the thought in my head that this cigar would be very similar in body and flavor with a bit of a Maduro twist. This cigar was anything but that, it had wonderful flavor that was all its own.

If I had to make a comparison among existing Oliva cigars and this one, I would have to say that it has the body, power, and spice that I have come to love in the El Cobre, while having the richness, complexity, and refinement of the original Serie V. Personally I think that Oliva has hit a home run with this cigar and has produced exactly what people were crying out for when they asked for a Serie V Maduro.

The added price puts this cigar just outside of my general comfort zone, but I think it is certainly worth the extra dollar and a half. With the production being limited, I think that if you are interested in trying this smoke, you shouldn’t hesitate to make the purchase if you come across one in your local shop.

#5: Top Shelf Signature Select Black Label
Top Shelf Signature Select - Black Label - 4

Just like the Blue Label Signature Select, I think that this is a rich and enjoyable smoke. Being a house blend it isn’t something that is easily picked up at your local smoke shop, but I’m told these will become available at the wholesale level to smoke shops. The single size available is a little larger than I smoke on a regular basis and I was happy to learn that these were also going to be available as a Cuban Corona in the very near future.

#6: El Titan de Bronze Redemption
El Titan De Bronze Redemption - 2

Overall I was thoroughly impressed with the El Titan De Bronze Redemption. The flavors were deep and full of character which made for a relaxing and enjoyable smoke. With a price point in the $5.00 to $6.00 range I think that these are a good value.

With the release of these cigars coming in July at the IPCPR trade show, I hope to see them more readily available at the local B&M level. If you get the opportunity to get your hands on one, I would definitely recommend giving it a shot.

#7: Xikar Defiance
Defiance Cigars By Jesus Fuego for Xikar

To be completely honest, I can’t figure out why these cigars aren’t talked about very often. The blender is well known, as is the company behind the brand (Xikar). The flavors and complexity of the smoke make the cigar a winner in my book.

The defiance is mild enough to be smoked earlier on in the day while being heavy enough to be smoked at night. All while providing an enjoyable experience. Having smoked one of these cigar per day for the last three days I can definitely see myself picking up more in the future.

If you happen to find a Defiance in a store near you, I would definitely recommend giving it a try. Aside from getting a fine cigar you will also be helping fight anti tobacco legislation.

#8: J. Fuego Delerium
J. Fuego - Delirium - 2

Overall I found the Delirium to be a pleasant smoke. As with my previous example of a J. Fuego, in the form of the Defiance, the flavors come across as very unique. While the descriptions may sound like traditional Maduro flavors, they really come across as something special.

I would certainly recommend this cigar to any smoker that enjoys a rich Maduro smoke with a lot of flavor and character behind it. Keep an eye out for J. Fuego, if he continues to produce cigars such as this and the Defiance, I think you will begin to hear his name as often as you hear the word Pepin.

#9: Illusione f9
Illusione f9 - 3

When it was finally time to set this cigar down to rest, looking back on it I really enjoyed the Illusion f9. The flavors were complex and full of character which made it easy and enjoyable to smoke. I believe that the issue I had with the void in the filler was a fluke and if I were to smoke ten more, I probably wouldn’t run into that problem again.

The entire Illusione line of cigars is a little tough to get ahold of due to Dion’s incredibly strict quality control standards. The availability is low and it is easy to see when out and about trying to track them down. After the first day of the IPCPR trade show Dion was sold out and had signs all over his booth to make that clear.

If you happen to come across these cigars in your local shop I wouldn’t hesitate to pick one up and give it a shot.

#10: Nub Connecticut
Nub 460 Connecticut - 2

Overall I think that this was a very enjoyable cigar. With its short length and large ring gauge it isn’t nearly as unwieldy as many other cigars that contain this much tobacco. In fact, packed in its small size it holds more tobacco, by weight, than a 52 x 8.00 Presidente, which makes it both cool burning and easy to smoke.

I would definitely recommend getting out to an event in April before CA gets their hands on it and makes it difficult to get ahold of.