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Connoisseur s Corner, December 2002

Reprinted from the December 2002

For those of us who long for the good old days of the 1950s and '60s, this tasting will make that era seem even more enticing. A 1964 Don Candido scored 97 points -- tasting rich and fresh despite nearing its 40th birthday -- and a pre-Castro Monte No. 4 scored 93.

It doesn't necessarily take decades to turn a cigar into a classic, however. The second-best cigar in the tasting was rolled in 1992. The Romeo y Julieta Churchill, the benchmark of that size, was packed with complex flavors and performed perfectly.

Aged cigars can be lovely things, and this special tasting shows how a fine smoke can mature into an unforgettable cigar after a few decades, or even just a few short years.

Don Candido 506 (1964)

This is a legendary smoke and it lives up to its reputation. It's super powerful with loads of spice and a chocolate character. Full bodied, fresh and rich. A great cigar.

--James Suckling

Romeo Y Julieta Churchill (1992)

This is what everyone remembers about this benchmark Cuban Churchill. Deep, complex flavors of coffee beans and toast, with rich, spicy notes on the palate. A long, long finish with hints of leather and earthiness. Beautiful oily brown wrapper, with perfect performance.

--Gordon Mott

Montecristo No. 4 (1959)

Perfectly pressed, this tan, streaky cigar has a floral flavor with hints of light coffee. It's very cedary -- understandable given its more than four decades in a cigar box. It's lost some strength over the years, and is soft and elegant, with a toasted almond note on the finish. A lovely smoke.

--David Savona

Bolivar Coronas Gigantes (1995)

Although this cigar has a slightly tight draw, it was packed with rich flavors of chocolate and complex tobacco notes. A wonderful cigar with a beautiful dark wrapper filled with oils.

--Marvin R. Shanken

Partagas Lusitania (1991)

A smooth draw on this full-bodied cigar. It has a slight peppery quality, with a range of spicy and earthy flavors. It's beginning to show the smoothness of a well-aged cigar.

--Marvin R. Shanken

Dunhill Mojito (1982)

This is a beautiful smoke with a lovely, delicate character. Flavors of cedar, cinnamon, and flowers cover your palate. It's beautiful to smell, as well as smoke. A medium body with a soft and caressing texture.

--James Suckling

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Connoisseur s Corner, December 2002