Someone asked me at Burns about two weeks ago if I had a "Top 10" list of cigars for 2010. The funny thing is a year ago, they would not have asked that because there were very few employees or regulars who paid attention to cigar blogs very much at all. If I can't take credit for much else, I will take credit for getting the Burns crew to pay more attention to "Cigar New Media." The store manager, Matt, said he could probably guess what my top cigars of the year would be...and wouldn't you know, he got the "Cigar of the Year" winner on the first guess...
TIKI BAR ONLINE CIGAR OF THE YEAR 2010:
Guillermo Leon Signature by La Aurora
I was gifted one the Belicoso vitola by Mike of Leaf and Ale in Knoxville; it was one of the samples he sent to me after attending the IPCPR show in August. I was immediately struck by the interesting and unique flavors of this stogie, but it only scored a 9.5/10 when I reviewed it as a dual review with Keith back in October.
Subsequently, I ordered a 5-pack of the Gran Corona from Buckhead Cigars in Atlanta (they were running a Twitter special) and fell in love with the cigar as I worked my way through it. When they finally showed up at Burns in November, I tried out the Corona a few times as well, but the bottom line is that the Gran Corona, to me, shows the best balance of flavor, body, and length of smoking time. I have smoked 8 or 9 of this vitola as well as 3 or 4 of various others and I cannot get over how tasty this cigar really is.
In another "Twitter Cigar" campaign earlier this year, I was one of a couple people encouraging Guillermo, Jose Blanco and whoever else makes these decisions to try this cigar out in a lancero size. I have not heard much lately, but will be very happy to see them come out sometime in 2011 if that decision is made. Word is that Guillermo and the La Aurora folks went through over 50 blends before coming down to this final released blend...it was definitely time well-spent.
CAO La Traviata, Animado: La Traviata was introduced in 2009, but they held back the best vitolas--Animado (a Gran Corona) and Favorito (a Belicoso)--for early 2010. I was so impressed with the LT Animado that I bought a box and a half (splitting that half box with Keith) and have smoked probably 15 to 20 of them...and I haven't opened that full box yet at all. I love this cigar's flavor. I love this cigar's price. I beg the new proprietors of the CAO brand to not change anything about this stogie.
Casa Fernandez Aganorsa Leaf: If this cigar had come out earlier in the year, I probably would have gone through a box of them already, too. I think I first saw this in October and I have smoked at least 3 of them since (I would have fired up more, but reviewing cigars sometimes necessitates that you don't get to smoke what you want to every day). I hope they can maintain the quality and availability of these sticks long-term, because there is simply nothing wrong with them...and everything right. I would have to definitely put these on the short list for box purchases during 2011.