Every Winter, all the major cigar publications release their lists for what they consider the best cigars of the year. While Cigar Aficionado is considered the biggest list, it is a combination of all these opinions that really solidify a cigar as a top choice for the year. There has been some controversy in recent years that many of the smaller, boutique manufacturers don’t receive the same recognition as the bigger companies. For example, companies such as Padron, Fuente and Oliva always have a cigar in the Top 25, usually in the Top 10. However, with the rise of the Boutique manufacturer, we now have companies making outstanding products in very small batches and these cigars deserve their place among the pantheon of cigar greats. This year, we actually saw a good amount of boutique companies be named to the various lists, which may show a changing of the guard. Lets take a look at some of the cigars that were named to numerous Best of 2018 lists.

1. The Illusione One-Off- The OneOff brand was originally created in the early 2000s by a man named Andrea Molinari, an Italian who ran a high end cigar lounge in Milan. He contracted the cigar out to the Plasencia family who created the blend. It was a very popular boutique brand for a few years before being bought and sold a few more times and eventually being forgotten, until now. Dion bought the OneOff brand in 2017 and intended to bring it back to life, which he now has done. The OneOff is now being brought back to Nicaragua, albeit to a new factory. Tabacos Valle de Jalapa, the master minds behind Warped and Casa Fernandez. Dion has refused to comment on the actually blend, but we can assume that Aganorsa tobacco will be involved.

2. Foundation Wise Man Maduro- I have been talking about this cigar for over a year. Nick Melillo is a true master of his craft and nothing proves it more than this follow up to his original release, El Gueguense. To have his original cigar in the Top 25 and the sequel in the Top 3 just a year later is beyond impressive. The Wise Man Maduro is one of the best cigars on the market hands down. Its beautiful construction combined with its amazing blend of tobaccos and that flawless Mexican wrapper make it a must have for any cigar smoker. We cannot wait for what he thinks of next.

3. JFR Lunatic Habano- While Aganorsa Leaf and Casa Fernandez are household names for most cigar smokers, their JFR line may be relatively unknown for many online shoppers. When the brand was first released in 2005, the JFR stood for “Just For Retailers” meaning it was a brick and mortar only cigar. The Lunatic may be well known for their massive sizes, but this Short Robusto is a perfect smoke for Nicaraguan enthusiasts. Its well balanced, complex, well-constructed and has one of the best price points on this list.

4. Tatuaje Fausto- The Tatuaje Fausto has been a mainstay in the Tatuaje line for a number years. It doesn’t have illustrious portrayal of the Tatuaje TAA, or the rare and limited characteristic of the Pork Tenderloin, but it is one of the best and most popular cigars Pete Johnson ever put out there. This medium to full bodied cigar combines aged Nicaraguan tobacco with a select, Ecuadorian Habano wrapper to create a rich and bold smoke with complex flavors, top notch construction, and an amazing price point.

POSTED ON Jan 28, 2019


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