As always, choosing the ten best cigars from a cast of thousands is not easy, and my humidors are chock full of smokes that I love that didn’t make the cut this year (not to mention the new blends I haven’t had a chance to smoke yet.) Top Ten lists are always a little capricious anyway, and this one is no different. Better pour yourself another cocktail.
This year I’m separating the best cigars of ’08 by body: full, medium and mild, keeping in mind that this categorization is itself a subjective one. (New Year’s resolution: fix that subjectivity thing.) Some are new cigars, some have been around for years, but I certainly hope all of them survive the economic turmoil we can expect in 2009.
Best Mild Cigars
Mild cigars get short shrift amongst aficionados, but they most definitely have a place in my collection. My top three mild smokes this year have been (in order of bestness):
- Fundacion Ancestral Vuelta Abajo – corona $$$
- Bravo Columbian Gold – toro $$
- La Tradicion Cubana – robusto (Deluxe Anniversary if you can find them.) $
Best Medium Bodied Cigars
Medium body is where I live. I could make a list of ten scrumptious medium-bodied cigars alone, but that’s not the deal this year. This was hard, but here they are:
Best Full Bodied Cigars
Some hard core cigar smokers claim full bodied cigars are the only ones worth smoking. I disagree, but even a pinot sipping middleweight like myself needs a good belt once in a while. My top full-bodied cigars of 2008:
- Oliva Serie V – lancero $
- Arturo Fuente Añejo No. 48 – churchill $$$
- Rocky Patel Sungrown – torpedo $$
And finally, one standout that transcends boundaries, a cigar that sends me over the edge every time I smoke it, and for me the Numero Uno of 2008:
$ 5 USD or under $$ 5 to 10 USD $$$ Over 10 USD
The big concern for 2009 is the SCHIP tobacco tax and how it will affect the market for fine cigars. There is no doubt that retailers and consumers alike will feel the pinch, but it is unknown how the manufacturers will respond. In any case, the outlook is rather grim since passage of the tax appears inevitable.
In the meantime, light up a stick from your premium stash, remain vigilant, and hope for the best.
Stay tuned for Lucky7’s top cigars of the year… when he returns from his duty in Afghanistan I’m sure he’ll want to weigh in on the subject.
Have a safe and happy New Year everyone!