Cigar Review

by Steve Rowbottom

Ave Maria Holy Grail Churchill

Nicaragua           7.0” x 48            Mellow-Medium


Graceful. Elegant. Sophisticated. I’ve had about a box-worth of Holy Grails from Ave Maria, and these three words always come to mind. Rarely will you find a Nicaraguan cigar that performs quite like this. Extensively aged Nicaraguan long-fillers create a silky richness with notes of toast, cashew and sweet cedar. The San Andres binder offers a chewiness and earthiness that makes Mexican tobacco so darn tasty. Then the Connecticut wrapper creates a wealth of cream in the smoke that completes each puff. This is the ultimate celebratory cigar for expects and the novice alike.

Eagle Rare Toro

Dominican Republic            6.5” x 52               Medium


Eagle Rare caught me by surprise. I tried Buffalo Trace and enjoyed it. Gave it a ’93,’ in fact. I like Buffalo Trace bourbon more than Eagle Rare…so I went in thinking I would be underwhelmed. This is why I shouldn’t be allowed to think. The cigar is fantastic. The smoke is creamy and toasty from start to finish, issuing a smooth, medium-bodied array of flavors. I notice peanut. I notice cedar. I notice a dash of white pepper, especially towards the finish. This cigar is legit and pairs perfectly with brown spirits.

La Aurora Preferidos Ruby No. 2

Dominican Republic                                5.0” x 54                             Medium-Full


It’s easy for me to find reasons to like this gorgeous Double Perfecto. The look. The size. The pre-light aroma. The factory. The history behind it. Every time I light up a Preferidos I am reminded why these cigars remain the pinnacle of Dominican handmades. Currently, the Arapiraca-wrapped Ruby is my favorite varietal. I get a wealth of rich and hearty flavors from this cigar. There’s a nice, charry element, almost like hickory, that develops towards the end, completing a fine cigar I’ll reach for again and again.

Liga Privada Unico Series Dirty Rat

Nicaragua                            5.0” x 44                             Full


Like most enthusiasts, I love the rich, chewy flavors of Liga Privada. And, despite not being a huge fan of corona sizes in general, I am especially fond of the Dirty Rat vitola. The Dirty Rat is small, but it’s loaded with big, complex flavors. There’s a sugary sweetness throughout that’s highly appealing and nicely contrasts a dank earthiness and undertones of oak and raisin. The smoke emits an oily, charcoal-like aroma that fills the room. For a little cigar and short burn, the Dirty Rat always satisfies.

Plasencia Alma del Fuego Candente

Nicaragua                          5.0” x 50             Medium-Full


Ometepe tobacco is one of the most unique in the world. So unique, I always, instantly recognize the presence of these leaves when they’re in a cigar. The earthy and rich flavors have an incredibly distinctive twang. The strength is felt in my head, just behind the eyes, and has a calming effect. Plasencia Alma del Fuego employs both binder and fillers from the volcanic soils of Ometepe, marrying them skillfully with vintage Jalapa tobaccos to complete a cigar built perfectly for me. Earth. Leather. Oak. Spice. Espresso. Stone fruit. Twang. Seriously, it’s all in there and it will calm your soul.

Related Articles