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Connoisseur s Corner, February 2002

We found another stash of impressive cigars for this issue's Connoisseur's Corner. The Davidoff Dom Perignon has always been one of Havana's best, but it is a pleasure to unearth a cigar that holds such tremendous flavor after all these years. The Davidoff was equaled by a newer Havana, a Partagas Solomones II with an intriguing history. The cigar was a bit of full-bodied heaven, loading the mouth with rich, luscious smoke.

Looking beyond the two 99-point cigars, this Connoisseur's Corner unearthed several other top aged smokes that delivered all the flavor an aficionado covets. A decade-old Cohiba Robusto was brimming with powerful flavor befitting its legendary pedigree. A Montecristo No. 1 from the same year is finally coming into its prime.

Davidoff Dom Perignon (1985)

An incredibly rich and complex cigar. It has a strong core of silky but lively pepper tones on the palate. There is a strong base of earthy flavors. It is simply a heavenly cigar. Always one of my favorites.

--Marvin R. Shanken

Partagas Solomones II (1996)

This is the original Solomones created by Christopher Wolters, the dynamic German cigar merchant. It originally was a perfecto, but Habanos, the global distribution organization for Cuban cigars, insisted it be different. So one inch was cut off from the end. The cigar starts off slowly, then bam! It's a blockbuster. A huge smoke that's full bodied with a spicy and dried herb character. A long, long finish. Amazing.

--James Suckling

Cohiba Robustos (1990)

Wow. What a smoke. It has the richness of a perfectly prepared espresso and plenty of power. Full bodied with lots of tobacco character and a long aftertaste.

--James Suckling

Bolivar Especial (1978)

This Lanceros-size cigar is no longer made. It is a rich, fine cigar that delivers a punch regardless of its very elegant appearance. Big and spicy for a thin cigar, it shows a floral, cinnamon character throughout. It's full bodied and long with a fresh aftertaste.

--James Suckling

La Gloria Cubana Soberanos (1993)

This American-made cigar has a beautiful, dark, oily wrapper. In its youth, it was a powerhouse of flavors, and it has retained much of that strength, while delivering a range of dark chocolate and licorice flavors on the palate. A long spicy finish shows what a great cigar it is. It will be another five years before it reaches its peak.

--Gordon Mott

Montecristo No. 1 (1990)

This cigar is just reaching its peak, so if you've got some, now is a good time to try one. There are solid and deep notes of chocolate with black coffee character that turns slightly cedary on the finish. A very rich smoke.

--James Suckling

Friday, February 01, 2002

Connoisseur s Corner, February 2002