The Top 10 Cigars of 2018

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Dear Readers,

The Fine Tobacco NYC team is excited to finally release our second annual Top 10 Cigars of the Year list!

Over the last twelve months, we’ve carefully inspected, photographed, reviewed, and rated over 100 cigars—mostly new releases. While we aren’t able to review every one one of the many hundreds of new cigars released to the market each year, we did get a chance to smoke most of the major releases from large and boutique brands. 

Our ratings are based on a number of factors, chief of which are complexity, balance, harmony of flavors, and overall enjoyability. In short, we’re looking for cigars that tell a coherent, discernible, delightful, and surprising story. 

For each cigar that made the list this year, we’ve provided a brief description of our impressions, along with a link to our full review.

On behalf of our entire team, congratulations to all our 2018 Top 10 winners!

The 2018 Fine Tobacco NYC Cigar of the Year
2018 Cigar of the Year
#1. Quesada Vega Magna

A hearty congratulations to Quesada Cigars for taking home the #1 spot in our Top 10 Cigars of 2018. This cigar blew us away, and with a rating of 94 achieved the highest score of any new release we smoked this year. 

To smoke Vega Magna is to be pulled in to a passionate dance of flavor, texture, and aroma. The cigar is complex, balanced, and harmonious, hitting sweet, salty, savory, and bitter—sometimes all at once. We loved the salted milk chocolate and slightly bitter leather that came first. Then we were transfixed by the savory spices and dry sliced apricot woven in past the halfway mark.

To quote our own review from October: 

“It’s the kind of cigar you just get lost in.”

Size: 6 x 50 (Toro)
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 94
Read the full review here

Cinco Decadas
2. Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Decadas

Joya de Nicaragua prove in Cinco Decadas that they know how to celebrate a half century of craftsmanship. The Cinco Decadas fires on all cylinders, with the Diadema format adding shape and dimension to an already expansive flavor profile. 

Size: 5 x 54 (Diadema)
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 93
Read the full review here

Room 101 Farce
3. Room 101 Farce

Room 101’s Farce Lonsdale is a true flavor bomb, and worthy of a top 3 finish. We were surprised by well-crafted notes of salted popcorn, bitter leather, vanilla, and measured pepper.

Size: 6 1/2 x 42 (Lonsdale)
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 93
Read the full review here

Gran Reserva 1988
4. Warped Serie Gran Reserva 1988

Though understated in presentation, the Warped Serie Gran Reserva 1988 is anything but understated in flavor. This cigar wowed us with impressive flavor development throughout the smoke, showcasing oak, espresso, burnt toast, and molasses with a nicely creamy finish.

Size: 5 1/4 x 50 (Robusto)
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 92
Read the full review here

La Relatos
5. Warped La Relatos

Kyle Gellis has produced one of the best cigars under $10 in recent memory. A deeply rich smoke, La Relatos masterfully balances sweet, bitter, and spicy flavors. Effortless construction, and a pure joy to smoke. 

Size: 6 x 38 (petit lancero)
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 92
Read the full review here

Copy of 88
6. Gran Habano Blue in Green

The newest from Gran Habano, Blue in Green is easily the best Connecticut wrapper cigar we smoked this year. Deeply complex and harmonious, Blue in Green delivers nuanced notes of toasted bread, gentle spices, coffee, and apricot. 

Size: 6 x 54 (Gran Robusto)
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 92
Read the full review here

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7. Aging Room Pura Cepa

Possibly our all-time favorite blend from Aging Room. Pura Cepa has it all: flavor, finesse, and a ton of style. Solidly medium in terms of body and strength, Pura Cepa produces well-balanced, complex, and harmonious smoke in spades.  

Size: 6 x 54 (Mezzo)
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 91
Read the full review here

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8. Drew Estate Nasty Fritas

Nasty in name only, this Drew Estate blend punches well above its weight class, and not only in strength. Although quirky in presentation, the closed foot and deeply tapered format create a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable smoke. This should be a humidor mainstay for short-cigar smokers everywhere. 

Size: 4 x 52 (Petit Torpedo)
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 91
Read the full review here

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9. Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez

General Cigar Co. was smart to entrust the revivification of the Ramon Allones brand to AJ Fernandez. The Habano Oscuro wrapper lends tantalizing flavor and depth to this blend, with leather, oak, and dark chocolate balanced expertly alongside vanilla, orange peel, and an elusive dark cherry note. 

Size: 5 1/2 x 50 (Robusto)
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 91
Read our full review here

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10. CAO Nicaragua

Though not actually a Nicaraguan puro as the name suggests, the CAO Nicaragua nonetheless nabs our number nine spot for 2018 for its pure enjoyability. Though not overly complex, it’s impossible not to love the way the CAO Nicaragua combines notes of espresso, chocolate, roasted peanuts, and mild spice.

Size: 6 x 50 (Toro)
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 90
Read the full review here

For more information on our ratings, check out our scoring system

Want to be considered for our 2019 ratings? Contact us here

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