Unique to the Vega Magna is its packaging, for each box of ten cigars encompasses a removable, framed and ready to hang laser-etched art scene by Dominican artist Pragmy Marichal that depicts various activities in the tobacco fields. When two London-based cigar aficionados get together to create a limited production brand that ends up being fine-tuned by both of them, you are bound to get a memorable smoke.
The blend is not something they discuss (primarily Nicaraguan is our guess) but it is rich, spicy and worthy of a Macallan 18. Five sizes are produced, 5 1/8 x 42 Corona, 7 x 47 Grandido, 6 ½ x 56 Gran Toro, 4 7/8 x 50 Robusto, and 6 x 50 Toro.
Fernandez Courtesy of A.J. Fernandez Just call it “Hoyo by Fernandez” for short. This is the third cigar A.J. Fernandez has done in General Cigar’s Amistad series, coming right after the Silver and the Gold, but this is the fullest-flavored of the three. In fact, the band design is as bold as the strength of this meaty, Nicaraguan smoke, and reflects a new, updated look for the old Hoyo de Monterrey brand.
Featuring an Ecuadoran Sumatra Oscuro wrapper, Mexican binder, and a Nicaraguan Habano filler, we found notes of cinnamon, leather and even a perceived hint of hot sauce in the first few puffs. This is definitely not a cigar to smoke on an empty stomach - here. Just as some premium grape growers eventually start producing their own wines, it was only a matter of time before Nestor Plasencia and his two sons, Nester Andres and José Luis, would start making their own cigars.
But their latest offering, the Cosecha 146, is arguably their best cigar to date. “Cosecha means crop,” says Nester Andres, “and this is our 146th crop, which consists of Honduras and Nicaragua tobaccos from 2011 and 2012. So, this is not a Nicaraguan puro, which makes it different from the other cigars we have produced.” Featuring a five-year-old Honduran wrapper with a Nicaraguan and Honduran filler, it burns smoothly with a gentle earthiness.
Joya de Nicaragua 50th Anniversary Courtesy of Joya de Nicaragua In 1968 Joya de Nicaragua became the first branded cigar in Nicaragua, so this year they created something special to honor their 50th anniversary. The appropriately-named Cinco Décadas is produced in the company’s two original sizes—7 x 50 El General and 6 x 54 Diadema.
“Not only is this a celebration of the brand of Joya de Nicaragua, but it is also a celebration of the cigar industry in Nicaragua,” said Joya de Nicaragua’s United States Brand Manager, Daniel Barrios. Produced in a limited edition of 5,000 boxes of ten cigars each, only 3,000 of those boxes have been allocated to the U.S.
For the 2018 limited edition, Davidoff enlisted the talents of celebrity chefs Thomas Keller from The French Laundry, Bouchon and Per Se in the United States; Alvin Leung from Bo Innovation in Hong Kong; Klaus Erfort from Gästehaus in Saarbrucken, Germany; Heiko Nieder from The Restaurant in Zurich; and Shaun Rankin from Ormer Mayfair in London.
Naturally, the chefs are all cigar smokers. The result was a medium-plus strength 6 x 54 Toro full of creamy chocolate, pepper, and ginger, with a gentle finish. “One of the main things all of us wanted to achieve was a cigar that could be smoked throughout the day and in the evening,” said Chef Keller, “because for a chef, there’s no set time when you can sit down and smoke a cigar.” Following an industry trend that began last year, this historic brand boasts bold new packaging.
A medium-bodied puro, it is composed of all Nicaraguan Habano leaf and is available in four sizes, 5 x 50 Bully, 6 x 50 Toro, 6 x 60 Magnum, and 7 x 52 Churchill. This latter size is of special historical interest, as it was the original Cuban Romeo y Julieta brand that originated the Churchill size.
Winston Churchill The Late Hour Courtesy of Davidoff It is well known that Winston Churchill often did his best thinking at night, long after the rest of Great Britain was asleep. And while the famed “British Bulldog” smoked Romeo y Julieta Cubans and drank gin martinis during the day, scotch whisky was rumored to be his beverage of choice in the wee small hours.
A dark, Habano Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper adds a bit of a mellow kick that we think Sir Winston would have liked. The cigars are available in three sizes, 5 x 52 Robusto, 6 x 54 Toro, and of course, 7 x 48 Churchill.