The Box-Worthies: Brian’s Top 10 Cigars of 2011

‘Tis the season for cigar lists, and here’s mine. I like to think of what follows as my real top 10 list. Meaning that, when I lift the humidor lid, the following cigars are the ones I really hope to find waiting for me front and center. New or old, complex or straightforward, these are the smokes I’m always happy to light up, the ones I do my best to keep in supply. Of course, it didn’t always work out that they were what I was smoking at any given time in 2011. My weekly reviews kept me busy seeking new blends, but you can bet they were in the mix between reviews, even if they weren’t featured in the Week In Smoke.

10.) J. Fuego Origen Originals (aka “The Soft Pack”)
These little paper-wrapped cheroots deserve a spot in my top ten for the role they’ve taken as my defacto driving smoke. I almost always have a pack of these in my pocket when I leave the house. The Origen blend really shines in this format, and it surprises me that I prefer it to the Grand Reserva Corojo Originals blend.

9.) Davidoff Colorado Claro Double R
The Colorado Claro Double R has been my favorite special occasion smoke for some time. Despite the intimidating price tag, I’ve put together a small stash of these lengthy rich and decadent gems. Burning one is bittersweet, they’re usually hard to find and expensive to replace. Which is probably the reason I try to talk myself out of smoking them, generally without much success.

8.) La Flor Dominicana Colorado Oscuro
The Colorado Oscuro is a cigar that’s beautiful both to look at and to taste. The deal is made even sweeter by the comfortable price tag. I couldn’t stop smoking them when they first appeared at my local shop.

7.) J. Fuego Sangre De Toro
Jesus Fuego’s latest offering is a winner, and worth tracking down online if your local shop doesn’t carry them. Its intriguing sweet, spicy and faintly herbal wood profile has me making box purchases.

6.) El Primer Mundo Rosado Oscuro Figurado (aka “The Black Label Perfecto”)
The Rosado Oscuro Figurado is a cigar I’ve been a fan of for years. But in 2011 it really made a comeback in my smoking rotation. In fact, there aren’t many cigars I’ve smoked more in the past year than this tasty perfecto.

5.) Illusione 88
The 88 is still a go-to, a cigar that is far greater than it’s size, and also the one responsible my lack of familiarity with some of Dion’s other vitolas. It’s hard to try another Illusione when you know this one is exactly what you want.

4.) Tatuaje 7th Reserva
This is one place where I’m in complete agreement with Jerry, the 7th Reserva is delicious. After I smoked my first, I went back and bought what remained of the box, smoked those, and returned many more times.

3.) J. Fuego Grand Reserva Corojo No. 1
This one won’t surprise anyone, the Grand Reserva Corojo has been a top 10 selection of mine for several year. Still an incredible cigar, one that always fits the bill. (In fact, I was smoking one as I made this list.)

2.) My Father Le Bijou 1922 Corona Gorda (B&M Exclusive Blend)
This special edition was made exclusively for shop here in Atlanta and is packed with what seems like and impossible amount of flavor and healthy dose of power and it just gets better with time. Unfortunately, it was a one time deal, though I’ve heard unconfirmed rumors about a second batch (or perhaps a secret stash). I really hope there’s some truth to it, my stockpile won’t last forever.

1.) Liga Privada T52
I don’t know how it happened, but more than any other cigar I’ve smoked in the past year, the stick I most want to find looking back at me from the top tray of my humidor is Drew Estate’s Liga Privada T52. I love the rich, earthy and smoky flavor, and how it seems to taste great with just about any beverage, or after any meal, any time of the day. Heck, it’s the cigar that smokes itself, that alone is pretty impressive.

Bonus List: Brian’s Favorite New Cigars of 2011
The problem with my annual top 10 is that I focus on my favorite cigars, not just the hot new smokes. So it doesn’t answer the question that’s frequently asked, what were your favorite new cigars this year? It turns out it wasn’t hard to come up with a list. It was harder to pare it down to just 10 smokes, so I didn’t. I went with 15.

15.) Nestor Miranda Grand Reserve
A beauty of a smoke. It’ll be a shame when these are gone.

14.) Room 101 Namakubi Papi Chulo
I may busted some balls in my review of this cigar, but I Matt Booth has my attention. It’s a great little smoke, and a hint of good things to come from Room 101.

13.) Drew Estate Undercrown
It’s hard not to like the Undercrown if you enjoy the Liga Privada T52.

12.) EP Carillo Edicion Limitada 2011 “Dark Rituals”
Big dark and decadent, what’s not to love.

11.) Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada
I wasn’t a fan of the Casa Magna, but I loved this limitada.

10.) El Primer Mundo Epifania
Sean Williams keeps delivering the goods with the Epifania. It was so hard not include this stick in my top 10.

9.) San Lotano Oval
Another great smoke from AJ Fernandez.

8.) Tatuaje Black Petite Lancero
I smoked a lot of these in the past year, and it was definitely in the running for my top 10.

7.) EP Carillo New Wave Connecticut
The New Wave is such a great, and unique Connecticut.

6.) Casa Fernandez Miami
As is well established by now, I’m a fan of the cigars produced by Casa Fernandez and the new Miami was really good. Who needs cubans when you can smoke one of these?

5.) Illusione 88 Maduro
I was really impressed by this maduro interpretation of the 88, and regretted not buying more the one opportunity I had. I wasn’t alone in my enjoyment, the box was long gone when I returned for more.

4.) La Flor Dominicana Colorado Oscuro
Also made #8 in my top 10. See my comments above.

3.) J. Fuego Sangre De Toro
Also made #7 in my top 10. See my comments above.

2.) Tatuaje 7th Reserva
Also made #4 in my top 10. See my comments above.

1.) My Father Le Bijou 1922 Corona Gorda (B&M Exclusive Blend)
Also made #2 in my top 10. See my comments above.