Brand evangelist, digital marketer, cigar and spirits expert specializing in consumer tasting and educational events. Matthias made the long trek from his hometown of Portland, Oregon to New York City in 2007, and in nine years has hosted more than 120 events and helped promote and launch dozens of cigar and whiskey brands in the U.S. In 2016, he joined the Cigar Journal Tasting Panel, blind-reviewing pre and new release cigars.
Pinellas Park, FL – August, 22, 2022. AVO Cigars, the global premium cigar brand, is proud to announce the newest addition to the Syncro series, AVO Syncro Caribe. Avo Syncro Caribe is the fourth line in the Avo Syncro series and is available in 20-ct boxes of Robusto, Toro and Special Toro vitolas.
“The AVO Syncro series is centered around the concept of tobacco synchronization. This is an incorporation of the diversity, complexity and compatibility of selected tobaccos from varying regions,” states Lana Fraser, Director of Marketing and Retail at Davidoff of Geneva USA. “With the newest addition of the AVO Syncro Caribe, we strive to deliver new frontiers in cigar experiences.”
The AVO Syncro Caribe focuses on the characteristics of the Caribbean. This dynamic cigar was blended to showcase a process we are calling ‘Natural Distribution’ in which the proportions of the tobaccos on any given plant is perfectly matched in the blending process. Specifically, the ratios of tobaccos from each priming are matched in the blend in all vitolas.
The Dominican wrapper and filler tobaccos are paired with a binder from Ecuador. Tobaccos from Nicaragua are also incorporated into the filler. This selection showcases a lively, dynamic and harmonious flavor profile of Caribbean flavors: aromatic spices and complex cocoa ebb and flow through the experience accompanied by a subtle sweetness resembling tropical fruits. The flavors, rhythm, and lifestyle of the tropics are encapsulated in one of three vitolas and presented in wooden boxes matching the vibrance, energy and zest for life we all have come to know and love about the Caribbean.
Wrapper: Dominican Republic Binder: Ecuador Filler: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
2020 was a great year for new cigar releases, from boutiques like RoMa Craft Tobac all the way up to iconic brands like Montecristo and Trinidad. But it’s a new year, and that mean’s there’s a lot of people wondering what the best new cigars are to smoke in 2021. We’ll be adding more cigars to the list as we blind review cigars throughout the year, but we’ll start with some of the greatest blends we’ve encountered over the course of the last 24 months.
The Best Cigars to Smoke in 2021
The most expensive cigar on our list of must-smoke cigars in 2021 is the Cohiba Royale. This blend earned a huge 93 rating in our blind review in 2020, and deservedly so. The combination of rich tobacco, earth, cherries, spice and a creamy finish gives this cigar a complexity and deliciousness that are hard to beat.
Release Year: 2020
Box Price: from $260
Buy the Cohiba Royale from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Nicaragua
The original Reserva Real from Romeo y Julieta has long been a classic. The team at Altadis worked tirelessly to create a Nicaraguan follow up that delivers a classic Romeo y Julieta experience while adding a bit more body than the Dominican original. An elegant smoke, ideally suited for new cigar smokers. Read our full review here.
Release Year: 2020
Box Price: from $197
Buy the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Nicaragua from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Joya de Nicaragua Antano Connecticut
Don’t let the Connecticut wrapper fool you: the Joya de Nicaragua Antano Connecticut is a flavor bomb, albeit slightly milder than many on the market. In our blind review, we were impressed with the creaminess, oak, leather and wood that gave this cigar so much flavor.
Release Year: 2019
Box Price: from $150
Buy the Joya de Nicaragua Antano Connecticut from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Herman’s Batch The Banker by H.Upmann
Released in 2020 and blended by AJ Fernandez, H. Upmann Herman’s Batch impressed us with its spicy, strong start that morphs into a delicious combo of toast, coffee, leather and honeyed notes.
Release Year: 2020
Box Price: from $160
Buy the H. Upmann Herman’s Batch from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Fonseca by My Father
One of the true break-out blends of 2020, receiving a whopping 93 rating in our blind review. My Father Fonseca is expertly constructed and features notes of sweet spice, milk chocolate, tea and floral notes that develop nicely throughout the blend. A must smoke, especially for the veteran cigar smoker.
Release Year: 2020
Box Price: from $155
Buy the My Father Fonseca from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Decadas
The Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas presents a flavor profile that no JdN fan could miss: dark oak and charcoal, creamy cocoa, leather, and light spiciness. What Cinco Décadas achieves is to take the JdN flavor profile that we know and love and elevate it into the realm of art. We know that is high praise, but it is true, particularly given the cigar’s sheer complexity and balance. Highly recommended.
Release Year: 2018
Box Price: from $152
Buy the Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Decadas from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Aging Room Pura Cepa
Once again, Rafael Nodal of Aging Room has hit the ball out of the park. The Aging Room Pura Cepa makes the list of best cigars to smoke in 2021 with notes of smoky wood that’s augmented by light chocolate, cream, floral, and leather notes. Impeccably constructed, this cigar achieved a score of 90 and we highly recommend it.
Release Year: 2018
Box Price: from $234
Buy the Aging Room Pura Cepa from Famous Smoke Shop here.
And there you have it, our initial recommendations for the top cigars to smoke in 2021. We’ll continue adding to this list as stellar blends from our 2021 blind reviews come in.
Affiliate note: we may receive a small commission for purchases made through links on this page–but that doesn’t affect our review scores or recommendations.
You’ve read his reviews here on Fine Tobacco NYC or heard him describe tasting notes on our Perfect Pairings events. Now hear Fine Tobacco NYC contributor Kevin Sun talk about the Zino Platinum Crown Series Limited Edition 2020 with the guys at The Straight Cut, one of the more entertaining cigar podcasts available online.
You can listen to the podcast on Spotify by clicking here.
In the midst of a global pandemic that has shuttered businesses everywhere and seen the end of NYC cigar industry heavyweights like Nat Sherman, there is a rare piece of good news for NYC cigar smokers. Merchants NY Cigar Bar , which closed in December of 2016, has announced plans to reopen on December 2nd, 2020. The website is back up, complete with a new logo, new design, and much more.
One of the few in NYC to serve cigars, drinks and food in one place, Merchants Cigar Bar will return with an all-new menu of premium cigars, cocktails, and food service. The lounge will have a new look and feel too. When the cigar bar was shuttered in 2016, management redesigned the interior space to a Mad Men-esque mid-century modern vibe and relaunched as Sugar East, a bar where patrons could smoke cigarettes but not cigars. The new Merchants Cigar Bar will keep the same bones, but with updated leather furniture and new visual features.
Fernando Rodriguez, Director of Operations at Merchants Hospitality, describes the new space having a “chill, modern feel” in contrast to the older, more traditional lounge. When asked about how the venue plans to open during COVID, Rodriguez described the rigorous health and safety measures being undertaken. “We have spared no expense creating a venue that New Yorkers can feel safe and comfortable in,” Rodriguez said. “From basics like heightened sanitation and mandatory masks for staff to plexiglass separators for tables and a world class filtration system that kills airborn bacteria and viruses, we are ready to open and welcome patrons in to our new experience.”
To start, the lounge will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 5pm to 10pm. Currently, the lounge has a maximum capacity of 30 people, less than a quarter of its total capacity.
Merchants Cigar Bar is located at 1125 1st Avenue on the southwest corner of 1st ave and 62nd st on the Upper East Side.
News broke this week that Nat Sherman and its Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan will permanently close in September. First reported by Cigar Aficionado and then a slew of other cigar blogs, the news came as a shock to many, especially those in the New York City cigar community that frequented the Townhouse on 42nd street for its incredible selection, great prices, and the knowledge and hospitality of its staff.
In the midst of a stressful and taxing global pandemic, the news was a hard blow for me personally. I worked and lived in Midtown just blocks from the Townhouse for a number of years, stopping by multiple times a week—sometimes to pick up a few cigars for a weekend get together with friends, other times for a quiet smoke during lunch hour.
Nat Sherman has been in business since 1930, and got its start during the Great Depression. Though it wasn’t always located in the Townhouse on 42nd street, the Townhouse became for many the iconic symbol not just of the Nat Sherman brand, but of the ethos of the cigar culture in New York. The store was particularly memorable in the winter. Like so many others, I remember pulling hard on the heavy front doors to escape freezing rain or snow and being greeted by a cozy atmosphere (sometimes accompanied with a jazz band playing on the second-floor balcony) and a sea of smiling faces.
I remember the cigar launch parties that the store would throw, especially those that the Quesada family attended—perhaps the kindest family in an industry of kind families. Those events were always well attended, full of laughter and friendship, and always accompanied by a few good jokes from Michael Herklots thrown in during the evening’s festivities.
The historic brand was made immensely richer and more defined by Mr. Herklots after he joined the team at the head of brand and retail. Not only did he spearhead the release of incredible blends (Timeless, Bench Series, Joel Sherman 75th, the list goes on); he put his heart and soul into the brand, and the increased foot traffic and consecutive 90+ point cigar ratings prove it.
The industry is losing a great and storied brand. The city is losing something as well. But the price it pays for Nat Sherman’s closing won’t be in tax revenue or foot traffic on 42nd street. Thepeople of this great city will pay in all the new friendships, polite conversations, and quiet thoughtfulness that will never happen at the Townhouse again. This might sound sentimental, but in our polarized age of ceaseless noise… is it?
Someday, we might hope, another enterprising young man will open the next cigar shop that lives on another 90 or 100 years. But the city will always be poorer for the closing of the Nat Sherman Townhouse.