Best Cigars of 2011

Despite all the adversity the cigar industry faced in 2011 — threats of unfair government regulation, an economy stuck in neutral, the gradual elimination of venues that permit the time-honored tradition of setting fire to tobacco — there are still fantastic cigars on the shelves. Blenders continue to be as inventive as ever, and cigar prices are as reasonable as can be expected. It was a bad year for a lot of things, but cigars helped us through them.

I didn’t get to review as many new cigars as I wanted to this year, but with the blossoming of the cigar review blog scene, it wasn’t really necessary. The quality of reviews has never been better, and many sites are reviewing blends before they’re even released. The cordiality of many cigar manufacturers, blenders, and distributors has made the blogging experience only that much more enjoyable for all of us. It says a lot about the cigar community that this is the case.

A little over a third of the cigars I reviewed this year scored 90 or better, which either means I need to raise my standards or there are some really good smokes out there. In addition to these, there are many others that I have enjoyed but either didn’t review, or didn’t review in 2011. So it’s not very accurate to call this list the Best of 2011. It’s more of a retrospective, a glance back at 2011 on this last day of the year, and a very limited one at that.

Which is to say: All of the usual disclaimers apply.

10. Alec Bradley Family Blend D3

9.  Berger and Argenti Clasico Rothschild

8.  Carlos Toraño Master BFC

7. Undercrown Robusto

6. Padilla Dominus Robusto

5. Los Blancos NINE Toro

4. JML 1902 Torpedo

3. Carlos Toraño Single Region Serie Jalapa Toro

2. Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto

And El Puro Numero Uno de 2011: 

1. La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Magnifico

Have a safe and happy 2012, everyone. 


19 thoughts on “Best Cigars of 2011

  1. Beautiful list and to be honost I haven’t try most of them since my last year was more in to Cubans, yet that could fill my shopping list :). I can see that CT has the lion share with with to winners here. The only cigar I tried here was the AB family blend and it want stand in my top 25.

    All the best my adviser in the new year, smoke more cigars with good healthy.

  2. Nice to see the Los Blancos Nine on the list. It seems to be a much overlooked cigar. And the Torano Master is in my mind one of the great values out there.

    Thanks for an affordable and accessible (i.e. practical) list of cigars for those of us without deep pockets or connections.

    • Affordable and accessible are my favorite descriptors, next to woody and spicy. 😉 It’s hard to smoke what I can’t find or afford, so I plan on keeping it real until I can afford to scatter cash to the winds. Thanks for your comments, jjo!

  3. I had a UNDERCROWN gordito just yesterday, my only experience with your list. I am a big ring gauge guy;this stick was very nice! I am a mild to medium cigar smoker and this one fit my wheelhouse!

  4. Excellent list, I find it interesting and reassuring that your top 2 cigars are also those of Cigar Aficionado (even though they are not the same vitolas). Proof that their list is not based on marketing budgets 🙂

    • That’s pretty wild. I think it’s largely coincidental, but maybe I’ll have to re-examine my thoughts about CA! In any case I’m glad my list came out before theirs did.

  5. Congrats on another fine year.

    I am but a casual traveler in this past time and I value every moment I spend enjoying a fine handmade cigar. My journeys of discovery lead me to your blog more often than not in an effort to gather valuable insights and experiences in hopes of adding something of significance to my own.

    From my perspective the cigar landscape is too broad for any one person to venture into alone and it’s a pleasure to find a guide post, once in a while, pointing to new, interesting and enticing experiences. I enjoy finding a balance of relevant and interesting information (as with the Alec Bradley Pensado review) along with your observations on construction, taste, aroma and etc.

    Based on reviews over the last few years I have added 5 additional smokes to my rotation which I greatly enjoy. For that alone I extend my gratitude.

    Keep up the fantastic work and I will look forward to another great year following Thanks to the Keepers of the Flame.


  6. I agree, you’re one of the best! I love reading your reviews & inspecting the pictures you post. Wanted to let you know I just ordered a round for the new year. Picked up some Peppin Blues, and on your recommend the Dominus Robusto and La Aroma De Cuba. Shipment arrived today and I couldn’t wait so I had one of the Dominus- Amazing!!! What a smoke!

    Keep up the good work my friend!


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