Best Cigars of 2009

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As a new decade pounds on the front door I’m presented with my annual quandary: to sort through the pilones and find the ten best cigars of 2009. Early in the year I devised a new cigar rating system, the intended purpose of which was to assist me with this annual roundup. But I encountered two problems as I was ranking the ratings for 2009: there were a lot of tie scores, and there were some scores that, after further review, I might now want to revise.

Which is to say that this year’s list of “best cigars” is just as arbitrary as last year’s… and the years before that. All of these cigars have been reviewed on Keepers of the Flame in 2009, which means that the hundreds of cigars that I didn’t review are not eligible for inclusion here. As much as I’d like to, I can’t smoke everything.

If you are a regular reader here you know the type of cigars I favor: rich, aromatic, medium-bodied smokes, and this list reflects that preference. If you are new to cigars, some of these may be a little too heavy for you. If you’re a veteran who loves full-bodied sluggers, these sticks may seem a bit too light. Caveat lector.

10. Cabaiguan Maduro 46

9. Particulares Robusto

8. Padilla Signature 1932

7. Montecristo Reserva Negra Robusto

6. Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story

5. La Tradicion Cubana Deluxe 15th Anniversary

4. Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Double Robusto

3. La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurados Maduro Flecha

2. Illusione Epernay Le Grande

1. Padron 1964 Anniversary Exclusivo Maduro

This isn’t the first time a Padron Anniversary edition has crowned a Top Ten list, and it will most likely not be the last. There are some great new blends out there, but few can live up to the flavor, balance, and construction of the 1964 Anni. The only question that lingers is… maduro or natural?

While 2009 wasn’t the best of years for the American cigar industry — there was the SCHIP tax, the persistent finger-wagging of local and state nannies, and now the minatory gaze of the FDA — it actually was a decent year for new cigar blends, some of which I look forward to reviewing in the next year. (Yes, I am a bit slow, but with a respectable quarter-million page views last year it looks like some people are still reading.)

Thanks for a great 2009, everyone, and have a wonderful 2010! Happy New Year!



8 thoughts on “Best Cigars of 2009

  1. I have only smoked two cigars on the list, fortunately one of them was the Padron 1964! A very fine smoke that deserves better than the rushed half hour to 45 minutes I devoted to it. The other is the Short Story; another great smoke that recently has directed more of my attention to the Arturo Fuente line. Thanks for your reviews and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  2. The Monte Cristo you mentioned is one of my favorites. Great List!!!

    BTW, I’d like to make a suggestion too, if that’s okay. This past Christmas my wife gave me a wonderful and unique gift. Typically, I buy at least two cigars I’ve never tried, whenever I visit my local tobacconist. Sometimes, you find a gem! Anyhow, she bought me a cigar package from a company named Bow Tie Cigars. It was great because the package was all-inclusive. It had the cigars, matches, cutter and even mints. I took the package to a New Years Eve party at my brother’s bar. We all smoked and the package really went over well with everyone. Needless to say, I have a new brand of cigar that I smoke. For any readers that enjoy trying new cigars, the address is Happy 2010!!!!

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