Archive for December, 2009

Size: 6” x 47

Vitola: Grand Corona

Wrapper: Dominican Rosado

: Dominican Republic

Age: Fresh

There is no harder cigar to find from the Fuentes than the 8-5-8 Rosado.

They are prized as collector’s items, so I was interested in seeing how such a rare cigar actually tasted.

The appearance of this cigar doesn’t suggest anything special.  The reddish tint and few veins make it attractive, but it really doesn’t jump out at you.

After lighting it and taking the first puff, all I can say is “Holy crap!”.



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Size: 6 ¼“ x 44

Vitola: Lonsdale

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Origin: Dominican Republic

Age: Fresh

Angelenos is a new cigar distributed by Prometheus and made by the Fuentes.  It was made to celebrate the people of Los Angeles.  OK…

This cigar is a little different than I expect, for whatever reason I expected more strength from this cigar.

It’s pretty mild, smooth but a little lacking.  I get wood and a little cream and not much else.


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Size: 5 ½” x 54

Vitola: Robusto

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Origin: Dominican Republic

Age: Fresh

This super limited cigar is only available at Davidoff retail stores.  This as purchased from the Madison Avenue store.  It is the second in the Royal Series, the first being the incredible Salamone.

The cigar starts out smooth and creamy with some woody notes along with an underlying creaminess.  That Kelner “musk” is also present in full effect.


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Now it really heats up!

Limited Edition cigars do not have the constraint of tobacco availability and the need for mass production when developing the bend.  it’s just the best cigar a manufacturer can make with the best tobacco on hand.  Price and availability did not factor in my picking of the Top LEs of 2009.  I also did not pick multiple cigars from the same line.

So without further ado, here’s the list as I see it:

Tatuaje Boris – better than the Frank, better than the Drac, this LE is one of Pete’s and Pepin’s best.

La Flor Dominicana El Museo – this really hard to find LE was made by Litto with the best wrapper out there right now, his Ecuadorian Habano wapper. This edged the Salamone only because it burned better.

Davidoff Seleccionne 702 Toro – so Davidoff only makes mild cigars, huh?  Try this and you will be blown away, the strongest and most flavorful Davidoff ever made.

Padron Anniversary No. 44 – only available at Padron events, this cigar is way better than the Family Reserve, in fact, its the best Padron ever made!

AVO Companero – rivaling the famous LE05, this special cigar is one of AVOs best.  And yes, AVO is technically owned by Davidoff, but it is a different brand…

Punch CRA Edition Toro – only available to members of the Cigar Rights of America, this limited Edition cigar was the best of the sampler and the best cigar General has ever made hands down.

Ok, so here’s the poll, write-ins are welcome and yes there are 6 cigars on the list instead of 5, but hey, I’ll let you guys decide!

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I was too!  I wrote and asked Litto about this and this is what I got:

The air benders will be released soon,they will come in four sizes. The wrapper is habano from Ecuador and the filler and binder are from our farm in La Canela. The result is a very flavorful cigar with lots of body.



So still a somewhat cloudy picture, but my guess is the name hints at it’s strength?  Maybe this is the next level Double Ligero!  If so, yikes!

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Alright, here we go!

Please keep in mind all cigar eligible for the Cigar of the Year, must not exceed retail price of $10 (for the most part).  Here is my Top 5 Candidates for Zen Cigar of the Year in random order (picked from the 2009 list):

Alec Bradley SCR (Special Cabinet Reserve) – it was between this and the Casa Fernandez, but since both are made by Arsenio Ramos at the Raices Cubanas factory, I went with the SCR as it has a little more bang for the buck.

Liga Privada T-52 by Drew Estate – this cigar barely beat the buzzer, arriving only a few weeks ago.  But this stalk-cut Habano-wrapped cigar is strong, rich and complex!

Room 101 Cigars by Camacho – this cigar got me interested in Camachos again.  A dynamite Honduran cigar!

Oliva Connecticut Reserve – a very early release this year, but this a great mild but flavorful cigar that’s also light on the wallet.

Punch Uppercut – this one came in at the last moment for me and it’s really a toss-up between this and CAO’s La Traviata as the “pleasant surprise” of the year.  Not a strong as the name implies, but very flavorful and fairly complex.

So there you have it folks!  The Top5 Cigars of the Year, as seen by yours truly.  I’ve given it a lot of thought and tried to pick cigars from different ends of the spectrum to give all readers a potential favorite in the running.  If it hasn’t been released yet, it did not go into the running and will carry over to the 2010 ZCOY.  The poll is below, please vote, and if you feel strongly I left your favorite off, write-in votes will count to the Zen Reader’s Cigar of the Year.  Please remember the cigar to qualify cannot be a limited edition or release and has to be available in more than one size.

I will announce my choice at the end(ish) of the month, along with the final results from the poll.  The poll will be open until I close it, I’ll let you know soon.

Stay tuned for the Limited Edition Top 5!

The Zennie

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The Zennie

Ok, this year will be a little different from last.  I’m making a couple of changes to the Zen Cigar of the Year.  Here they are:

1.  The definition of affordable has changed in light of overall cigar prices.  Ten bucks a stick is now considered affordable (even though it really isn’t for most – very few cigars came out under that price range).

2.  Due to all of the great Limited Editions there will now also be a Zen Limited Edition Cigar of the Year.  No max value, just the best LE produced that year.

3.  Reader get to vote on the Top 5 candidates.  There will also be a Zen Readers’ Favorite Cigar of the Year.  This will be fun as it’s interactive for you readers and it helps me gauge what you guys like to smoke.  Remember it’s only new releases for the year.  Write-ins count.

4.  There will be a Zen Readers’ Favorite LE igar of the Year too.  Write-ins count.

The Top 5 will be out later this week.  Look forward to it!


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