Connoisseur s Corner, December 2001
After we awarded the first 100-point score in the magazine's history last issue, we expected this issue's Connoisseur's Corner to be something of a letdown. But we handed out 98 points to an 11-year-old Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona, a cigar that previously shared our record high score of 99 points.
As good as that cigar was, it was nearly matched by the Fuente Fuente OpusX PerfecXion "A". That cigar, from 1996, scored higer than any non-Cuban we have ever rated. It was a classic, burning beautifully with leathery, complex flavors and a draw that can only be described as perfect. If the Hoyo showed how wonderful a Cuban cigar can be, this Opus was the reason non-Cubans have rivaled Havana for the cigar-making throne.
Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona (1990)
Dark, oily wrapper. Perfect. An incredibly spicy and powerful smoke with enormous cedar and leather elements. One of the rare examples of Cuba's extraordinary potential. I was depressed when I finally had finished the cigar. A cigar smoking at its peak.
--Marvin R. Shanken
Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfecxion A (1996)
This nine-inch masterpiece represents one of the pinnacles of this brand. The wrapper retains some of its youthful, reddish, oily tinge. It smokes perfectly, with a firm ash and a smooth draw. There are hints of earth and leather and a note of coffee grounds. The flavors meld into a perfectly balanced smoke, with a long, earthy finish.
Bolivar Royal Coronas (1968)
If only the Royal Coronas today tasted like this. I haven't tasted a Boli robusto like this in years. A mellow, easy draw with wonderful spice and cappucino character. Full bodied and round, with a glorious soft, caressing finish.
Partagas Serie D No. 4 (1991)
This classic cigar sings with chestnut and chocolate flavors. The wrapper is dark and rich-looking. It is tightly rolled, yet still has a very smooth draw. The cigar brings back memories of what Cuba is capable of producing.
--Marvin R. Shanken
Davidoff 1000 (1989)
Not made since 1990, this long and elegant smoke always delivers lovely spicy character with tobacco and cedar undertones. It is medium bodied, with a fresh and delicious aftertaste. Expensive but worth it.
Flor de Cano Short Churchill (1990)
This is a cigar that sells for loads of money, up to $200 a stick. It was only available for three or four years in the early 1990s. The robusto came unbanded in a cabinet of 25. It's still an outstanding cigar. Finely flavored, with cedar, todacco and light spice character and hints of ash and mineral. Medium bodied. Slightly dried out.
Saturday, December 01, 2001