At the beginning of 2022, Espinosa Premium Cigars announced a collaboration with restaurateur, Emmy Award-winning TV host and cigar smoker, Guy Fieri. The result is Knuckle Sandwich, a new line in two different blends, one with a Habano wrapper and one with a dark Sumatra Maduro wrapper. Erik Espinosa, Hector Alfonso Sr., and Guy Fieri worked on the blend for over 18 months before announcing it. Both blends are regular production.
Both blends are available in the same vitolas, but at slightly different prices. The Corona Gorda R measures 5⅝ x 46 and sells for $11.50 (Habano) and $11.95 (Maduro). Robusto J measures 5 x 52 and sells for $12.50 (Habano) and $12.95 (Maduro). And Toro H measures 6 x 54 and sells for – $13.50 (Habano) $13.95 (Maduro). All are packaged in boxes of 20. All Knuckle Sandwich cigars are rolled at the San Lotano Factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua.
About a month before the PCA tradeshow this year, Luciano Cigars (formerly Ace Prime) announced a new PCA exclusive cigar “Maria Lucia.” The cigar takes its inspiration from the story of Luciano Cigars founder and co-owner Luciano Meirelles’ mother, Maria Lucia Meirelles.
The artwork for the boxes and bands were designed by Meirelles’ oldest daughter, Deborah, who happens to be an artist and fashion designer out of Paris. Having never seen a picture of her grandmother, when she was a teenager, she drew the portrait of a woman she saw in a dream. This woman happened to have a striking resemblance to Maria Lucia Meirelles.
The company describes the Maria Lucia as medium-full strength. It comes in just one size, a 5 1/4 x 54 box-pressed Robusto. The blend uses a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, and Ecuadorian Sumatra binder as well as an HBN 92 Ecuador binder, and fillers from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Peru. The Luciano Maria Lucia comes in 12-count boxes with each cigar carrying a price tag of $12.80. Production is limited to 4,000 boxes.
Fans of Tatuaje Cigars know that the company’s Capa Especial cigars have a Sumatra wrapper, the Reserva cigars have a Connecticut Broadleaf Wrapper, and now, Tuxtla cigars will have a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The Capa Especial, Reserva, and now Tuxtla lines are extensions of existing lines with a different spin on the wrapper. The name comes from San Andrés Tuxtla, the city and municipality where a large part of Mexico’s premium cigar industry lives, including the tobacco growing region. In this review, we will look at one of the first cigars released from the company as a Tutxla extension, the Tatuaje T110 Tuxtla.
The original Tatuaje T110 was based on an unreleased cigar called “Thermonuclear,” that Pete Johnson made in 2006 that used 100% ligero tobaccos. In 2009, the first T110 was sold as an exclusive for R. Field Wine Co. in Hawaii. The T stood for Thermonuclear and the 110 is for the length of the cigar, 110mm. While the unreleased Thermonuclear was all ligero, the T110 was not, although very strong, using ligero and high-priming visos. The original Tatuaje T110 only saw a production of 390 boxes of 25, 200 of which were packaged normally and 190 of which were wet-packed in foil. The T110 was not released again until 2021, when we saw not only the original blend come back, but two new variations: Tatuaje T110 Capa Especial, using an Ecuadorian wrapper, and the Tatuaje T110 Reserve, using a Connecticut Broadleaf, and now, in 2022, the Tatuaje T110 Tuxtla with a Mexican San Andres Wrapper.
The Tatuaje T110 Tuxtla is, like the rest of the T110 line, a 4 3/8 x 52 petit robusto. It has an MSRP of $10.00 per cigar and had a higher production than the other two extensions, 4,000 boxes of 25.
Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Muestra de Saka The Bewitched
Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (DTT) announced the latest in the Muestra de Saka line, The Bewitched back in March. This is the seventh in the line, following the Exclusivo, Nacatamale, Unicorn, #NLMTHA, Unstolen Valor, and U-Boat. Muestra is a humble, common word for “sample” in Spanish, but it takes on a different meaning in the context of a cigar factory. Here is means the realization of the vision of the ligador and torcedor coming together to make something greater than the sum of its parts.
The blend for Muestra de Saka The Bewitched uses a Grade 1 Ecuador Habano Seed wrapper, exclusive Cultivo Tonto San Andreas Negro binder, and fillers from Nicaragua and the U.S. It is available in just one vitola, a 6 5/8 x 50 prensado with a spiral colita (cap). Like the rest of the Muestra de Saka line, The Bewitched is rolled at the Joya de Nicaragua factory and comes in individual cedar coffins in a 7-ct box. Each box sells for $138.25, or $19.75 per cigar.
The Bewitched was originally created by Steve Saka to celebrate the Owl Shop of Worcester’s 75th Anniversary. But, according to Saka, Owl owner Zach Photakis said this cigar was too good to not share with all Dunbarton’s accounts and gave his blessing to make it a wider release. Also, according to Saka, the name comes from the fact that he was I was spellbound by the blend and captivated his own palate. The owl symbol on the coffins are to honor the Owl Shop and Zach’s family legacy.
Luciano Cigars (formerly Ace Prime) released a new regular production line at the PCA Trade show earlier this year designed to pair with wine. The cigar is named after Luciano Cigar’s partner and award winning winery located in the Priorat, Spain: Mas Igneus. The phrase is a Catalan expression that can be translated as “House of Ignition.” When creating the blend fors the Luciano Mas Igneus, the goal was to create a cigar with a balanced PH, medium-full taste profile and at the same time retain the traditional signature profile of its blender Luciano Meirelles: strength without aggression.
The company offers this description: This cigar features notes of dark chocolate and oak with a creamy smoke texture, a carefully crafted cigar for any situation. The intention was to develop a cigar that is both an extraordinary stand alone experience, as well as a perfect match for the “M” wine from the traditional Mas Igneus Winery. Its balanced PH makes it possible to also pair with dense wines such Malbecs, Cabernet Sauvignon, Granaches, Shiraz and Bordeaux.
Luciano Meirelles kept a friendship with the owners of Mas Igneus, Ornella Valcke, Jerome Valcke for many years before becoming partners. The Mas Igneus Winery is located in the heart of Priorat, in one of the most exclusive wine-growing regions in the world, just 80 miles North of Barcelona, Spain. This is not the first collaboration between Mas Igneus and ACE Prime. At the end of 2021, ACE Prime launched a wine produced by Mas Igneus to be paired with the Luciano – The Dreamer cigar.
The blend for Mas Igneus uses a Corojo 98 Ecuadorian High Prime wrapper, Brazilian Binder. and Nicaraguan fillers. It comes in four sizes: Short Robusto 4 ½ x 50 $11.95, Toro 6 x 52 $12.45, Ancho 5 x 54 $12.95, and Excellente 6 x 60 $13.45.
Last year, Espinosa Premium Cigars teased, then eventually officially announced a collaboration with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, Knuckle Sandwich. The brand name Guy’s personal brand that he only puts on his personal projects that he is most passionate about. The cigar is available in two blends, Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich Maduro and Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich Habano. Guy worked with Erik Espinosa and Hector Alfonso Sr. for over 18 months blending the cigar before it was officially revealed. announcing it. Both versions are regular production.
The Maduro and Habano blends come in the same sizes, but the maduro versions cost a little more. The Corona Gorda R measures 5⅝ x 46 and sells for $11.50 (Habano) and $11.95 (Maduro). Robusto J measures 5 x 52 and sells for $12.50 (Habano) and $12.95 (Maduro). And Toro H measures 6 x 54 and sells for – $13.50 (Habano) $13.95 (Maduro). All come in 20-count boxes and are manufactured at A.J. Fernandez’s San Lotano Factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua.
HVC brought a new cigar to the PCA 2022 trade show. HVC Selección No. 1 was the first cigar to come out of their new factory, Fábrica de Tabacos HVC S.A., that opened in Estelí, Nicaragua early last year . The new boutique factory has 5 pairs of rollers and work exclusively on HVC cigars.
The HV Selección No. 1 blend uses a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper, and binder and fillers from Jalapa and Estelí. The new line will launch in three sizes: Poderosos 6 x 54, Short Robustos 4½ x 52, and Esenciales 5 5/8 x 46. The packaging is an homage to the old classic Cuban style, going back to Reinier Lorenzo’s Havana roots.
The collaboration between Guy Fieri and Espinosa Premium Cigars known as the Knuckle Sandwich got a new limited edition line extension at this years PCA Trade Show: Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich Chef’s Special. This new cigar is the third blend in the line, and is distinctly different from the original Habano and Maduro lines. The Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich Chef’s Special comes in just one size, a 6 1/2 x 52 box-pressed figurado.
The blend uses an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper, with Nicaraguan binder and filler. Only 2,500 boxes of10 were produced for a total of 25,000 cigars. Each cigar has an MSRP of $15. Like the rest of the line, it is rolled at A.J. Fernandez’s San Lotano Factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua.
The original OneOff brand was started by Andrea Molinari 2001. In addition to the cigar brand, he also owned a La Casa del Habano retail shop, the Cigair lounge and restaurant, and Lauda Air S.p.A., an Italian airline. Molinari set out to have OneOff rolled in Cuba, but had to pivot after realizing that could not happen. He eventually connected with the Plasencia family and their Segovia Cigars S.A. factory, now called Plasencia Cigars S.A., in Nicaragua to make the cigars. Years later, the brand was purchased by Cuban Crafters, a Miami-based retailer who made their version of the cigar for almost a decate. Then, in 2017, Dion Giolito of Illusione bought the brand. The following year, 2018, Illusione released their new vision and blend of the OneOff line having it made at Aganorsa Leaf’s Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) (which is now called Agricola Ganadera Norteña S.A.) factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. That blend used all Nicaraguan tobacco.
At the 2021 PCA Trade Show, Giolito started teasing a “sister brand” to OneOff named Allegria, which translated from Italian to “Joy.” As with OneOff, the Allegria brand was created by Molinari, only a few years later and the trademark was included when Giolito purchased the OneOff trademark.
The blend for Allegria is also a Nicaraguan puro that uses specific farm lots of corojo 99 and criollo 98 tobaccos and is also rolled at the Agricola Ganadera Norteña S.A. (formerly TABSA) factory. Illusione Allegria comes in five sizes: Robusto (5 x 52), Corona (5 1/8 x 42), Gordo (6 x 56), Lonsdale (6 1/4 x 44), and Churchill (6 3/4 x 48). All come in boxes of 25 and started shipping this past July.
Last year, Joya de Nicaragua announced a new size in their Antaño CT line. The Joya de Nicaragua Antaño CT Lonsdale is available exclusively for Club de Amigos, Joya de Nicaragua’s top retailers. The original Antaño 1970 was was released in 2001, and was a Nicaraguan puro stronger than almost any other cigar at the time. It helped put Nicaragua on the map for the cigar world and showed that Nicaragua could make a bolder cigar.
Since then, Antaño has become a staple of Nicaraguan cigars. The brand has also seen many line extensions including the Antaño Dark Corojo, Antaño Gran Reserva and the Antaño CT. There are currently over 20 vitolas in the Antaño line.
The Antaño CT came out in 2019, a Connecticut Shade wrapper take on the blend that was more subtle, yet still bold. The blend uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, while still incorporating the classic Antaño Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The final product is described as a medium- to full-body cigar that is spicier than your traditional Connecticut cigar. The Joya de Nicaragua Antaño CT Lonsdale measures 6 5/8 x 44 and comes in 20 count boxes.
Back in July of 2022, just before the PCA trade show, Foundation Cigars announced a new addition to their core line of cigars, Olmec, named after one of the oldest civilizations know on Earth. Foundation Olmec comes in 12-count boxes and in two wrapper options: San Andrés Maduro and Claro.
The name comes from the Olmecs, one of early Americas’ oldest and most mysterious civilizations. The Olmecs pre-date the Mayans and Aztecs and are considered the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica. They were the first to make mathematically accurate pyramids, calendars, and, perhaps, the first to smoke cigars. The Heart Land of the Olmecs is the tropical lowlands of modern-day Mexican states of Veracruz, Tabasco, and San Andrés Tuxtla. Today, this is the same region that grows high quality San Andrès Negro wrapper tobacco. This seed variety is considered one of the oldest seed varieties in the world.
Both the San Andrés Maduro and Claro blends of Olmec use the same Nicaraguan filler tobaccos from the Esteli and Jalapa valleys. After fermentation, these filler tobaccos are bale aged for three years before going into production. The San Andrés Negro wrapper tobacco comes from the rich volcanic soil of the land of the Olmecs. It is fermented slowly at low temperatures to preserve the natural oils that give flavor. Both blends will come in the same sizes and prices and boxes of 12: Corona Gorda 5 1/2 x 48 $12.50 per cigar, Robusto 5 x 50 $13.50 per cigar, Toro 6 x 52 $14.50 per cigar, Grande 6 x 60 $15.50 per cigar, Double Corona 7 x 52 $16.00 per cigar.
Rick Rodriguez wasted no time after retiring from STG/General Cigar Company before announcing his next project, West Tampa Tobacco Company. There, he serves as Master Blender/Co-Founder along with his former colleague, now business partner, Gus Martinez. Martinez serves as President/Co-Founder of West Tampa Tobacco Company. Rodriguez spent almost 25 at General, including an extended time with the CAO brand following its acquisition in 2009.
West Tampa Tobacco Company officially launched with two blends: White & Black. Both regular production cigars will be rolled at Garmendia Cigar Company in Estelí, Nicaragua. The packaging for the cigars hares the story of Rick’s family and the journey that he has taken to bring you West Tampa Tobacco Company. White uses a Habano Light Pink wrapper, and Nicaraguan binder and filler. West Tampa White is described as having a rich and creamy profile. Black uses a dark aged Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Condega Viso, and Esteli Ligero filler.
Both West Tampa Tobacco Company White & Black come in three sizes and in boxes of 20: Robusto (5X50)- $8.99, Toro (6X52)- $9.99, Gigante (6X60)- $10.99.
At last year’s PCA Trade Show, JRE Tobacco Company added two new vitolas to their Aladino Cameroon line: Queens Perfecto 5 1/4 x 46 and Gordo 6 1/2 x 60. The JRE Aladino Cameroon was released in 2020 and scored a 92 in our blind testing. The blend uses a Cameroon wrapper grown in Honduras at the JRE Tobacco Farm with seeds acquired by the Eiroa family. The rest of the blend uses Honduran Corojo binder and filler. JRE Aladino Cameroon Queens Perfecto and JRE Aladino Cameroon Gordo come in boxes of 20.
The JRE Aladino Cameroon Queens Perfecto is the same vitola that the company uses in their Aladino Connecticut line. All the Aladino line’s cigars are rolled at Fabrica de Puros Aladino at Las Lomas Jamastran.
Alec Bradley added a third cigar to their Experimental Series, the Alec Bradley Announces Double Broadleaf. This released follows the original Project 40 in 2019 and the Project 40 Maduro in 2020. The Alec Bradley Double Broadleaf will be packaged in dual tone green and natural wood 24-count boxes and come in five sizes. The new line was shown off at the PCA tradeshow in Las Vegas in July.
Company Founder Alan Rubin is fascinated by agronomy and asked a premium cigar industry friend for some seeds of Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco to plant in the rich soils of Honduras. After years of testing, the tobacco is ready to use and has been blended into the Alec Bradley Double Broadleaf- Experimental Series by Alan, and his sons Alec and Bradley.
The company describes the Alec Bradley Double Broadleaf- Experimental Series as full bodied. In addition to the proprietary Broadleaf wrapper and Broadleaf binder, the blend is completed by an additional binder leaf from Nicaragua, all atop filler tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua. The 5 sizes in the blend are: Robusto: 5 X 50 $236.40 per box $9.85 per cigar, Chunk: 4 X 60 $252.00 per box $10.50 per cigar, Gran Corona: 7 X 46 $264.00 per box $11.00 per cigar, Toro: 6 X 52 $276.00 per box, $11.50 per cigar, and Gordo: 6 X 60 $306.00 per box $12.75 per cigar. The cigar is rolled in Danli, Honduras.
November 2020, Aganorsa Leaf announced a new blend in their Guardian of the Farm line. The Aganorsa Leaf Guardian of the Farm Cerberus is named after the three headed dog in Greek Mythology that stood watch at the gates of Hades. Previous blends in the Guardian of the Farm series we named after actual dogs at Nicaraguan Farms.
The blend for Cerberus is a Nicaraguan puro, it also uses tobacco 100% from Aganorsa Farms. The blend includes a new tobacco, Corojo 2012 used for the wrapper. The Cerberus was the first cigar from Aganorsa to use the new wrapper.
Aganorsa Leaf Guardian of the Farm Cerberus is packaged in boxes of 15. It is available in three vitolas: a 6 ¼ x 52 Toro, a 6×44 Lonsdale, and a 5×54 Robusto. The cigar didn’t fully launch until 2022, but there were 200 ten count boxes of a special 6×52 toro vitola that were sold as a sneak preview to members of the CIGAR.com Elite Advantage Loyalty Program in November of 2021. This version actually made our Top 25 Cigars of 2021.
Pete Johnson and Tatuaje Cigars announced a new line extension for the 2022 PCA Convention & Trade Show: Tatuaje Havana VI Verocú Blue. This entirely new blend is an offshoot of the original Tatuaje Havana VI line that has been around since the mid-2000’s. It has a new secondary blue and white band below the standard red Havana VI band.
The original Havana VI was one of Tatauje’s first lines; it used an Ecuadorian wrapper, Nicaraguan double binder and Nicaraguan filler. It was the first Tatuaje made in Nicaragua, not Miami. In 2007 Tatuaje released the Havana VI Verocú, two regional line extensions of the Havana VI line. Shortly after, it became a regular production cigar for the company with some new sizes being added.
Finally, in 2022, Pete Johnson created the “Blue” extension of the Tatuaje Havana VI Verocú. The new line was originally going to use an Ecuadorian Habano claro wrapper, but the final blend now uses a Nicaraguan corojo 99 rosado wrapper. The blend is said to have take 4 years to perfect. The wrapper used on the Tatuaje Havana VI Verocú Blue is the same as the wrapper used on the Tatuaje Escasos Collection.
Tatuaje Havana VI Verocú Blue comes in two sizes: No.1 (6 1/4 x 52) $12.00 and No.2 (5 1/2 x 54) $12.00. Johnson left the possibility open to adding new sizes in the future that would be similar to the rest of the Tatuaje Havana VI Verocú line. Both sizes come in boxes of 20 ($240) or 50 ($600).
Last year, Dapper Cigar Co. came out with a new version of its Desvalido blend that was blended by Raul Disla, the production manger of the Nicaragua American Cigars S.A. (NACSA) factory in Estelí. This isn’t a replacement of the existing Desvalido blend, but rather another take on it. Years ago, Ian Reith, founder of Dapper Cigar Co., asked Disla to blend a version of one of the company’s cigars that was more to his taste than Reith’s. The result was a complete reimagining of the original Desvalido blend, called the Desvalido Disla. Details of the changes weren’t given, but the only component unchanged is the Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper.
The rest of the blend uses Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The Desvalido Disla comes in the same four sizes as the original Desvalido line: Robusto 5 x 50 $11.36, Toro 6 1/8 x 52 $12.36, Lonsdale 6 1/2 x 46 $11.96, and Corona Doble 6 3/4 x 54 $13.34. The company will sell both the original and Disla versions at the same time.
Crowned Heads Mil Días Marranitos Edición Limitada 2022
Last year, in April, Crowned Heads announced the fourth limited edition of their Mil Días line – Mil Días Marranitos EL 2022. Previous limited editions of the Mil Días have used the same blend as the regular production line, but in a new size. This limited version changes out the regular Ecuadorian Habano wrapper for a Ecuadorian Sumatra Maduro.
Crowned Heads Mil Días Marranitos EL 2022 comes in just one size, 5 3/4″ x 52 parejo robusto. They come in boxes of 12 cigars of which only 2,500 were made for a total of 30,000 cigars.
The Mil Días line was first released in September of 2020 with four regular production sizes. It has scored very well in our blind tasting and made our Top 25 list in 2020 and again in 2021 with the limited Magicós Edición Limitada 2021. Mil Días Marranitos EL 2022 has an MSRP of $12.25 per cigar. The Mil Días line has been rolled at Tabacalera Pichardo in Esteli, Nicaragua, along with many other Crowned Heads cigar up until September of this year when Crowned Heads and Luciano Cigars ( formerly ACE Prime) (owner of Tabacalera Pichardo) dissolved their partnership. The future of Mil Días is unknown as they have not been moved to a new factory yet. Crowed Heads Le Pâtissier moved to the NACSA factory last month, but no such announcement has been made for Mil Días .
Last year, Aganorsa Leaf announced that their Aniversario Maduro will return to the PCA trade show, but now as a regular production line and in new sizes. The blend remains the same 100% Aganorsa Leaf tobaccos wrapped in their proprietary Shade Grown Corojo Maduro leaf.
The new sizes are a 5 x 54 box-pressed Gran Robusto, a 6 ¼ x 52 boxed pressed Toro, and a 6 x 58 box pressed Gran Toro. Artwork for the boxes and bands has also been updated to emphasize the Aganorsa Leaf logo as well as differentiate it from the Aniversario Corojo line. The Aganorsa Leaf Aniversario Maduro comes in boxes of 10.
MSRP is $13.50 for the Gran Robusto), $14.50 for the Toro, and $15.50 for the Gran Toro.
In 2022, Villiger Cigars North America release the third iteration of their exclusive cigar for the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA). TAA is an organization of over 80 of the country’s top tobacconists and over 40 manufacturers. The Villiger TAA Exclusive 2022 comes in just one size, a 6 x 52 toro. This is a slightly smaller ring gauge than previous years.
The blend uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, Nicaraguan Jalapa binder, and Nicaraguan fillers including corojo from Estelí and criollo from Jalapa. The cigar is made for Villiger at La Zona, the factory behind Espinosa Premium Cigars. The Villiger TAA Exclusive 2022 is limited to just 500 boxes of 20. Each cigar has an MSRP of $10 or $200 for the box.
Not only is this the third year for the Villiger TAA Exclusive, this is also the third different factory to make it. The 2020 was made by Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. and the 2021 was made by Tabacalera Palma, both of those factories were in Dominican Republic.
Drew Estate Herrera Estelí Miami Smoke Inn 25th Anniversary The Raji
Smoke Inn celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2021. To commemorate this occasion, Drew Estate and Smoke Inn’s owner, Abe Dababneh, collaborated on a commemorative Herrera Estelí cigar honoring Abe’s father and mentor, Raji Dababneh. The Drew Estate Herrera Estelí Miami The Raji comes in one viotla, a toro that measures 6 x 50. This limited-edition smoke is produced at the El Titan De Bronze factory in Little Havana owned by Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera’s family and where the regular line of Herrera Estelí Miami cigars are rolled.
The blend for Smoke Inn’s 25th Anniversary Drew Estate Herrera Estelí Miami The Raji uses a Mexican San Andres wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Each has an extra commemorative foot band and comes in 10-count boxes with the Smoke Inn logo. Raji’s signature can be found at the bottom of every box.
Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust released their second line in 2016, Mi Querida. This was their sophomore release following the Sobremesa the year before. Since it’s release, Mi Querida has seen many iterations and spinoffs and line extensions, more so than the Sobremesa line. “Mi Querida” translates roughly from Spanish to “my mistress.” The latest cigar in the company’s Mi Querida line is the Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Mi Querida Black SakaKhan.
All Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Mi Querida cigars are rolled at the Nicaragua American Cigars S.A. (NACSA) factory in Estelí. This factory has ties with the Oliva Tobacco Co., not to be confused with the Oliva Cigar Company, one of the largest supplies of tobacco in the world.
Since its release, the Mi Querida line has expanded to 12 different sizes, a stronger extension called the Mi Querida Triqui Traca in 2019, which was an extension of the Mi Querida firecracker for United Cigars, and now the Mi Querida Black. This latest line was announced earlier this year and uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Mexican San Andrés negro binder, and fillers from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. Owner Steve Saka has said that the Mi Querida Black will come in more vitolas next year, but the only one to see shelves this year was the one shown off at the 2022 PCA Trade Show, a 7 1/4 x 54 double corona called Sakakhan.
Here is an excerpt from a Facebook post where Steve Saka talks about the origins of the name Sakakhan:
It was the 80’s when Chaka Khan became known as an artist and I was getting certified to Con(n) as a JOOD Underway on my ship – the enlisted guys who worked the Bridge started calling me this… kinda funny as my middle name ‘Temujin’ is also the birth name of Ghengis Khan… so this is double dip when it comes to why this nickname stuck… my Dad obviously had some pretty lofty expectations.
The price for the Mi Querida Black SakaKhan is $15.95 per cigar production is limited to 3,500 boxes of 10. One thing to note about the Mi Querida black blend, this isn’t technically the first time it’s been sold. Last November, Saka released a cigar for JR Cigars 50th anniversary that used the Mi Querida Black blend, but in a different size. Pricing was also slightly less for the JR release.
The original Tatuaje La Riqueza came out all the way back in 2008. The line was no longer sold as of 2017, although never officially discontinued. Then, in 2022 the line has made a comeback in the form of a new limited edition cigar in an updated blend, Tatuaje La Riqueza SE 2022. La Riqueza translates to “The Wealth” in Spanish. The cigar was shown off all the way back at the 2021 PCA trade show but didn’t go on sale until March of 2022.
Like the original, the blend uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper with a double Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan fillers, but it ahs been tweaked to be stronger than the original. This limited edition version only comes in one size, a 5 5/8 x 54 with a covered foot. Only 4,500 boxes of 10 were produced and each cigar has an MSRP of $12.00. Tatuaje owner Pete Johnson said that this is only the first step in the revitalization of the La Requza line hinting that a new regular production version is in the way.
AJ Fernandez is a frequent collaborator of Altadis U.S.A. and their latest project together falls under the H. Upmann brand, a Cuban cigar brand historically, but with the American trademark belonging to Altadis U.S.A. The first cigar under the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez banner was released in 2017. It was later followed in 2019 by a limited edition called Finca La Lilia 2009, and also had a few other sizes added over the years. The original used a Sumatra wrapper while this new blend, H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage, uses a Brazilian Mata Fina triple fermented wrapper, Habano Nicaraguan binder, and 100% Nicaraguan tobaccos in the filler from AJ’s farms.
This new Heritage version debuted at TPE this year and is offered in 5 sizes: Corona 44 x 5 1/2 $9.75, Robusto 52 x 5 $9.99, Toro 54 x 6 $10.35, Torpedo 52 x 6 1/8 $10.50, and Churchill 54 x 7 $10.75.
Crowned Heads announced their Le Pâtissier would be regular production at the 2022 PCA Convention and Trade show in Las Vegas, July 9-12. Crowned Heads Le Pâtissier came out in 2021 as a PCA exclusive measuring 6 1/2 x 44 and was a limited production. Then one year later, the cigar became available to all in 4 new vitolas. The blend for Le Pâtissier is an offshoot of the Le Careme, but is quite different in flavor profile.
Le Patissier comes in four vitolas: Senadores (6 1/8″ x 48), No. 50 (4 3/8″ x 50), Canonazo (5 7 /8″ x 52), and No. 54 (5 3/8″ x 54). The blend uses a Grade A Dark Connecticut (Broadleaf) wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Costa Rica. MSRP ranges per stick from $10.50 to $12.00. The cigars were rolled at Tabacalera Pichardo in Estelí, Nicaragua but since the breakup between Luciano cigars and Crowned Heads production moved to NACSA.
Every year we compile a list of our Top 25 Cigars of the Year. Our list is somewhat different from other lists around the cigar world, it is not simply a rehashing of our top scores from the year, or one person’s opinion. We gave each of our 22 panelists 10 votes to cast how they please for what they enjoyed the most in 2022. They did not necessarily have to have been on the panel that reviewed that cigar, nor does the cigar have to have been reivewed on our site to be elligible. However, we do try to review as many cigars as we can that we think will be likely to place. And the ones that we miss we will try to review the next year. The order of their votes matter, so their #1 pick is worth twice as much as #10. To qualify for a vote, the cigar must have been released in 2022 with a few exceptions:
Re-releases of old brands are eligible
New sizes in blends that already existed are eligible
Lines that were not previously introduced to the US but became available in 2022 are eligible
Cigars that had a limited release to beat the FDA deadline and got a wide release this year are ok.
Limited production cigars that turned regular production are ok.
Annual limited releases are ok.
Here is a full sortable list of the top 25 cigars with links to the ones we have reviewed or have news articles about:
Votes were submitted individually without discussion.
This list was not based off blind reviews as is our normal procedure. The reviewers knew which cigars they were voting for.
Only one vote per cigar per reviewer.
To see the votes of each individual panelist, click here.
Two companies had 3 cigars make out Top 25 list this year, Espinosa, and Tatuaje. Espinosa gets the edge though because all 3 were in the top 10 and they had a bonus cigar, the Villiger TAA Exclusive that while it isn’t an Espinosa cigar, is rolled at their factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, La Zona.
7 Companies had multiple cigars on our list: Espinosa, Luciano, Tatuaje, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, Aganorsa Leaf, Crowned Heads, the most of any other year.
A Cuban cigar hasn’t made the list since 2015.
Crowned Heads has taken at least 1 spot every year we have made a list (since 2013).
4 Factories had 3 cigars each make the list: San Lotano AJ Fernandez, Agricola Ganadera Norteña S.A. (formerly TABSA), My Father Cigars S.A., Luciano Cigar Factory (formerly Tabacalera Pichardo) and Nicaragua American Cigars S.A. (NACSA). The edge goes to San Lotano AJ Fernandez because if you also count cigars made at AJ Fernandez’s other factory, Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A., the total goes up to 5 cigars.