The best ci­gars of 2016


Virtuozity - - In Depth -

OVER THE COURSE OF 2016, we’ve sam­pled a wide range of fab­u­lous ci­gars. Some of them have been old favourites from the likes of Co­hiba and Part­gas, while oth­ers have been new re­leases that only found their way to re­tail stores this year. So when it comes to whit­tling down our favourite smokes of 2016, we’ve been rather spoilt for choice.

How­ever, given it is the end of the year, we thought it would be worth re­flect­ing back on the ci­gars we’ve tested in or­der to work out which were the finest smokes of 2016. And through lengthy de­lib­er­a­tions, the Vir­tuoz­ity team even­tu­ally ended up with this list of four stand-out ci­gars. is a list what we per­ceived to be the best of the best this year. And if you dis­agree, we’d love you to write in and give us your own sug­ges­tions for the best ci­gars of the year.

Any­way, with­out fur­ther ado, here are our picks for the best ci­gars of 2016. The Mag­num 56 may bear the year 2015 on its name, but it only re­ally made its way to store shelves through­out 2016. It was the first new Mag­num to be launched since 2008, and with a 56 ring gauge, it’s the

Upon light­ing up, the first thing that hits you is just how strong the ci­gar is. It may be rel­a­tively small by to­day’s stan­dards, but the Club Al­lones is a real rocket. What makes it so in­ter­est­ing, how­ever, is that against the stan­dard Cuban back­drop of leather and wood, you don’t get spice, but a vast ar­ray of fruit. There’s cit­rus, or­ange and an over­all tangi­ness that’s per­va­sive through­out the en­tirety of the smoke. And every now and then, a sweet note comes through to tan­ta­lise the taste­buds.

Mov­ing onto the sec­ond third, and the fruity notes be­gin to sub­side. There’s a tangi­ness, for sure, but it’s less tied to the cit­rus and more tied to a new pep­per flavour that comes through. What’s more, that pep­per be­gins to par­lay with a newly ar­rived note of bit­ter dark choco­late, which is most prom­i­nent on the fin­ish. There are a vast ar­ray of flavours go­ing on by the end of the sec­ond third, and it’s hugely ex­cit­ing.

By the fi­nal third, you have every sin­gle flavour de­scribed above whirling about in a tor­nado of taste. It’s in­cred­i­bly com­plex but it’s so sat­is­fy­ing. Things get a lit­tle strong by the time you reach the end of the ci­gar, but by the time you’ve reached that point, you’ll It wasn’t just Cuban ci­gars that caught our eye over the course of the year, though. In­deed, one of our favourite non-cuban brands of 2016 ended up be­ing Padron. And our pick of Padron ci­gars for the year? The Ex­clu­sivo from the 1964 An­niver­sary Se­ries.

The line was in­tro­duced in 1994 to com­mem­o­rate the com­pany’s 30th an­niver­sary. It con­sists of 11 sizes that are all avail­able in sun-grown nat­u­ral and maduro wrap­pers. All to­bacco used in the limited pro­duc­tion se­ries is aged for four years, cre­at­ing a smooth and com­plex flavour. In honor of the age-old Cuban tra­di­tion of box-press­ing ci­gars, the 1964 An­niver­sary line was in­tro­duced as a box­pressed se­ries.

In terms of the Ex­clu­sivo, it comes with a dry, dark brown wrap­per that has a lit­tle bit of give in it. It also of­fers a per­fect burn all the way down. In terms of flavour, the first third opens strong, with a big hit of leather and spice, with some bit­ter co­coa thrown in for good mea­sure. This is a full-bod­ied ci­gar.

The sec­ond third sees the strength of the co­coa in­crease, but with­out the bit­ter­ness, mak­ing the ci­gar turn into a rel­a­tively smooth ex­pe­ri­ence. Things con­tinue this way un­til the fi­nal third, where the spice makes a come­back, along with some dis­tinctly wooden flavours. What’s more the strength is kicked up a notch again, mean­ing that, by the end of the ci­gar, you’re left reel­ing at its po­tency.

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