Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2011: Draper’s Selections

1. Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill As gorgeous a cigar as you’ll ever see, with a picture-perfect head and a stunning wrapper. But it is the flavor that makes it a classic smoke. The Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos come together to create leather, chocolate and spice notes.
2. La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso Nicaraguan filler and two binder leaves, with this dark, Mexican wrapper, the combination is sublime. A box-pressed smoke that burns beautifully and has a woody component balanced by notes of sweet nougat and copious amounts of nuts on the palate.
3. Illusione Epernay Le Taureau Made without ligero tobacco, it’s blended for balance and elegance rather than strength, it has a chocolate sweetness, plenty of rich nutty flavors and a complex, leathery aftertaste.
5. Padrón 1964 Exclusivo Maduro Packed with Nicaraguan tobaccos from Jalapa, Condega and Estelí, all sun grown. sharply pressed in a distinctive style, the cigar is dark, with that trademark rich Padrón cocoa flavor.
6. Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Torpedo Combining Nicaraguan tobaccos with high-priming Ecuador Habano wrappers. Patel says “some of the richest and spiciest tobaccos I’ve ever had.” laden with coffee bean, cocoa and earthy flavors that grow in power.
7. Cabaiguan Guapo Stunning to behold, balanced flavor, with sweet but not cloying notes of cocoa powder, a sprinkling of black pepper and cedary, leathery intonations.
10. Casa Magna Colorado Diadema A fat, long stick with a pigtail tip twisted tight against its tapered head, cocoa bean, cedar and spicy notes that come together in balanced fashion, culminating in a savory, leathery finish.
11. Arturo Fuente Rosado Magnum R 54 The old wrappers came from much lower on the plant, giving them less power and spice. The result is a sublime, balanced and elegant cigar with plenty of sweet wood and earth flavors, just a touch of leather and a sweet finish.
13. Ashton ESG 22 Year Salute A gorgeous pyramid that packs considerable power beneath a supple wrapper, quite intense, full of copious amounts of rich, nutty flavors and coffee notes, shows considerable balance.
14. E.P. Carrillo Golosos A 60-ring-gauge behemoth that is creamy yet spicy, taking on savory notes of leather and a black-cherry sweetness.
18. La Gloria Cubana Rabito de Cochino A bargain, selling for $15 per box of three, balanced and elegant, with substantial woody notes, followed by hints of cocoa and toast.
22. Oliva V Double Robusto Powerful Nicaraguan filler, finished with a Habano-seed wrapper leaf grown in Nicaragua. The result is a full-flavored cigar with balance and complexity, a nutty and spicy cigar, complemented by notes of vanilla and cloves.
23. La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Matatan Beneath a dark and oily wrapper grown in Ecuador lies Dominican tobaccos grown on Gomez’s farm. The complexity of flavor comes from using three seed varieties in the blend: Sumatra, Corojo and Piloto Cubano, bold and zingy, with a considerable red pepper kick.
24. Camacho Corojo Torpedo Reddish brown in color, are tasty and bold, with flavors of leather and earth culminating in a cocoa and nougat sweetness.
25. Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Pyramid Loads of rich coffee flavors, along with some sweet and spicy wood. This is the third cigar from Fuente to make our Top 25.