There’s a reason why more cigars and related accessories are sold during the holidays than at any other time of the year. After all, this is the season for giving and sharing, and there are few things that say “comfort and joy” better than a box of premium cigars. We have picked out 8 of the best cigars that will be the perfect luxury gift for the cigar smokers of your life.
HVC Hot Cake
Reinier Lorenzo immigrated to America from Cuba and founded his HVC cigar making company in 2011 as a tribute to his native Havana. Well respected in the industry, his cigars have garnered numerous admirers. So after stating that his cigars are “selling like hotcakes,” he made a cigar to prove it. This is his latest tribute to keeping the memory of Havana alive. With a Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper, Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 binder, and a filler that includes three different varieties of newer tobacco called Corojo 2006 Maduro, this is a medium-full cigar with an underlying blanket of sweetness. Three sizes are produced, a 5 5/8 x 46 Corona Gorda, 4 ½ x 52 Laguito #4, and a 6 x 54 Laguito #5.
My Father Cigars La Promesa
The inspiration for this cigar came from a promise Jose “Pepín” Garcia made to himself and his family when he left Cuba in 2001: to become successful and to make his family proud of him. This medium- to medium-full-bodied cigar is proof that he has more than achieved that goal. Made in Garcia’s flourishing factory in Estelí and using filler and binder tobaccos harvested from his various Nicaraguan farms, this luxury gift incorporates some higher primings that have been aged from two to three years. Once rolled, the cigars have aged a minimum of six months, which deepens the already-rich flavours of the reddish-brown Ecuadorian Habano rosado-oscuro wrapper and the Nicaraguan filler and binder. Candied sweet chocolate with a touch of oak predominate. Five sizes are produced, a toro, robusto grande, lancero, corona gorda, and a petite.
H. Upmann 175th Anniversary Limited Edition
Named after its founder, 19th-century German banker Hermann Upmann, this cigar began in 1844 as a Cuban brand. It has since joined the ranks of cigars with dual identities, for it is now also being made—by a totally different company—in the Dominican Republic. But to celebrate its anniversary, noted Nicaraguan cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez was tapped to use his excellent tobaccos to create a Nicaraguan puro. Using a three-year-old medio tiempo wrapper that has undergone slow fermentation, only one size is produced, a 7 x 50 Churchill. Full of saddle leather and spice, the cigars come in a partitioned box of ten, along with a certificate and a silver commemorative coin. A limited-edition, 50-count H. Upmann 175th Anniversary humidor is available separately.
Drew Estate Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat
This limited-edition luxury gift, available in one 5 ½ x 45 sizes only, pays homage to the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Rat, which lasts until February 11, 2021. However, these cigars may not last that long, as previously the much-coveted Liga Privada line has only been available during certain Drew Estate events. Now, for the first time, it is more readily accessible, although dealers are limited as to how many boxes they can buy. Featuring a distinctive fan-tail cap, the cigars boast a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Brazilian binder, and Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos, all of which add up to a very muscular rat indeed.
Plasencia Alma del Fuego
This is the third in the Alma series from the renowned tobacco grower-blender Nestor Plasencia and his family, coming after their Alma Fuerte and Alma del Campo. The unique underlying sweetness of this Nicaraguan puro lies in the fact that over half of its filler blend—which is composed primarily of seven-year-old tobaccos—comes from the volcanic island of Ometepe. In addition, one of its two binders—a seven-year-old leaf—is also from Ometepe, and is topped with a five-year-old sun-grown wrapper from Jalapa. Three shapes are offered: a 5 x 50 robusto, 6 x 54 toro, and a 6 ½ x 38 panetela (shown here). These medium-plus cigars fall between the previous Alma offerings in flavour and strength. As a bonus, like the prior offerings, the box turns over to become an ashtray.
J.C. Newman Yagua
This is a very unconventional cigar, to say the least, so if you have any unconventional cigar smokers on your luxury gift list, this recreation of a 1940’s Cuban cigar shape will give you both something to talk about. For one thing, unlike traditional cigar construction, which uses a wooden or plastic mould to shape the filler and binder tobaccos (called a “bunch”) into a cylindrical shape to be covered by a single wrapper leaf, the Yagua is shaped without moulds, producing what can best be called “free form” hand-rolled cigars, using slightly underfermented Connecticut broadleaf wrappers paired with a Nicaraguan binder and filler. The cigars, while still wet, are tightly packed together in small batches that are bound in palm tree fronds, which act as miniature tercios, thus trapping in much of the natural tobacco oils and flavours. The pressure of the still-moist cigars against each other gives them an irregular shape, resulting in a bold smoke that is equally bold in appearance, and which subsequently produces a grey, flaky ash. This stogie is definitely a conversation-starter that should be smoked over a glass of cask strength bourbon.
Whether from its original homeland of Cuba or in its later incarnation as a Dominican cigar—where it had been made for many years by Quesada Cigars—the Fonseca brand has always been a medium-mild smoke. But as with much of the world today, things are changing, and the brand has recently been purchased by My Father Cigars of Estelí, Nicaragua. Thus, the flavours have been revved up a bit, with a changeover to a shade-grown Corojo 99 Rosado wrapper and all-Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and in the filler blend. Although the cigar still retains some of its mildness with the first few puffs, that medium-full Nicaraguan earthiness quickly kicks in with a soothing smoothness. Six sizes are offered, with the 5 ½ x 54 Belicosos being our favourite.
CAO Session cigars
Sometimes the most utilitarian-looking boxes and bands yield the most pleasantly surprising luxury gifts. That was our experience with this joint collaboration between CAO’s master blender Rick Rodriguez and General Cigar Dominicana production manager Yuri Guillen. In fact, rather than being produced in Central America as are most CAO cigars, this is the first to be made in the DR in over a decade. With a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Dominican binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, it has a slightly rugged yet refined taste, with medium-strength flavours of cedar, nuts and a slight sweetness. Three sizes are produced, each named for a place where Rodriguez envisions Session being enjoyed: a 6 x 60 shop, 6 x 49 bar, and a 5¼ x 55 garage.
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