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Better Late Than Never: DaByrdman’s Best of 2011

Posted by dabyrdman33 on January 20, 2012

First let me say Happy New Year to everyone, and by that I mean all 8 of you faithful readers. Yes, it has been that long since I posted anything to the site. Don’t ask where I’ve been, just know that I’m back. As you may have noticed, I’m back on the old site due to some technical difficulties. Don’t ask me how to fix it because if I knew, you wouldn’t be here. Anyway, back to the reason why you’re reading…my top Cigars of 2011. Before I jump into the list, here are the ground rules:

1. Not every cigar represented is a cigar that I have reviewed personally in 2011.
2. This list only consists of cigars that I smoked during the year, but it is not limited to cigars that were new releases in 2011.
3. I decided not to rank the cigars because I’m just lazy. DEAL WITH IT!

On to the list…

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Leading off is the Drew Estate Liga Privada Dirty Rat. I managed to light one of these up at just about every B&B herf for 2011 until my supply dwindled to almost zero. Thankfully, Buckhead Cigar was able to replenish the supply. This corona is a flavor bomb that only leaves me wanting another one as soon as I finish.

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I got my first taste of the Tatuaje Black petite lancero while on vacation with my wife. I’m still kicking myself for only buying two instead of a box. Nice peppery spice, yet smooth and not overwhelming in terms of strength. Somewhere I have one tucked away that I should light up soon.

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Thanks to a chance meeting with Clay from A.J. Fernandez Cigars and the assistance of my homie Thomas I got a chance to try the San Lotano Oval corona. I had heard a significant buzz on Twitter about these cigars but had not been able to snag any until Big Smoke NY. Needless to say, this cigar was worth the wait and worthy of a more in-depth review at a later date.

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All I can say is this…when you hang with true ballas like Addiction every once in a while the crumbs fall from the table and you’re able to make a meal. I included this cigar in my “Best of” list partly because I may never see one again. Nothing like a typical Cohiba, this cigar smoked more like a non-Cuban with a tinge of pepper, yet it was still incredibly smooth and very satisfying.

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I call these “Baby Ligas”. The Undercrown is yet another Drew Estate creation to make my list for 2011. While not as full-bodied as the Liga Privada #9 or T-52, this cigar is still heavy on rich tobacco and coffee notes. The availability and price point make these a definite buy for me when LP No. 9s and T-52s are scarce in my hood.

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Jon Huber and the gang at The Crowned Heads have a winner on their hands with the Four Kicks line. They didn’t play it conservatively, but instead went for a home run teaming up with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo to create a flavorful medium-bodied smoke that’s full of twists and turns. The Sublime has become a new favorite thanks to my buddy LOD.

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I must say that I have enjoyed quite a few Studio Tobac cigars in the past year, but the Cain F lancero was by far my favorite in the regular production cycle. While the cigar can seem one-dimensional to some, I like the heavy pepper spice and the strength that comes with it. Here’s hoping that they do this one someday in a maduro.

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The Illusione Epernay Le Grande was easily my favorite “breakfast smoke” for 2011. Far from being a powerful cigar, what it lacks in power is compensated by the richness of flavors & complexity. Perfect with a good strong brew of coffee, these cigars accompanied me on many long commutes and leisurely drives to and from the barbershop. Sadly, I’m down to my last one of these and I refuse to smoke it until I can afford a cabinet of 50.

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The El Primer Mundo Connecticut Shade robusto was my favorite Connecticut of 2011. Not to be lumped in with other Connecticuts, this cigar has more depth to me than just being a morning smoke or first cigar of the day. I found myself smoking these morning, noon, and night with anything from coffee to sweet tea to beer.

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I have to thank Jeff Mouttet for hooking me up with the Trinidad Reyes. I enjoyed this one on my birthday and it has been on my list of cigars to acquire ever since. Extremely smooth and almost creamy, this cigar paired really well with my morning coffee and set the stage for what turned out to be a wonderful day.

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The Partagas Serie P No. 2 Tubo was yet another Cuban cigar that I enjoyed immensely during the past year. The one pictured ended up being the perfect post-dinner cigar on my birthday with the last of the Zacapa XO. I’m hoping I still have one buried somewhere in the humidor for another special occasion.

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The Tatuaje brown label Noella is the second Pete Johnson entry in my Best of 2011 list. I managed to plow through a box of these like a man possessed leaving only one as reminder of how good they are until I can acquire another box. By now if you can’t tell, I like cigars with a little kick. This petit corona sized cigar is rich in flavor and spice with just enough strength to satisfy me anytime of day. By the way, did I mention Pete makes trousers? (inside joke)

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There is a backstory to the three photos I used in adding the La Flor Dominicana Digger Maduro to my top cigars list. First, let me say that if you like power, and I do, the Digger is all that and the bag of chips. While it takes me anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours to smoke one, I love the response I get from the cigar every single time. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, plan a large meal and plenty of smoking time to knock this puppy down. On to the backstory…the first photo is that of my partner-in-crime Big Pimpin as we get ready to light up our Diggers for a review. The second photo is about how much of the cigar he managed to finish before he was comatose (see photo #3). Now you understand my previous warning.

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Lastly, I said I wouldn’t rank my cigars in my list and I’m not going to, but if there was a cigar that got my attention and held it more than any other it was the Cromagnon line by Skip Martin and Mike Rosales. As you can see in the photo, Cromagnon and Booker’s was a mainstay for me throughout the year. So much so that I dubbed myself Pookie and immediately became the neighborhood crack fiend looking for another hit. This cigar has everything that I want in a favorite cigar: oily wrapper, sweetness, rich tobacco, dynamite draw, tons of smoke, strength, balance, and complexity. I smoked through a whole cube of Knuckle Draggers and proceeded to kill off another Cromagnon sampler. I have yet to have a bad vitola from this line. If I have to pick I would say the Knuckle Dragger, Cranium, & EMH are my favorites hands down.

Hope you enjoyed the list, as always feel free to leave your input on what you think. Who did I miss? Who should have been left off? I’ll do my best to respond to all eight of you as quickly as possible.

Thanks again for reading.

-DaByrdman33-

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10 Responses to “Better Late Than Never: DaByrdman’s Best of 2011”

  1. Glad you like the Reyes, bro. What a great smoke.

    Nice list, keep up the great work.

  2. HabanoHam said

    Lol @ the LFD Digger pics! This was a very well put together list brother, a nice mixture of origins and varying strengths. I’m gonna hunt down a bottle of that Bookers to pair with the Cromags to see how it treats me.Thanks for the recommendations and turning me on to the Epernays, I feel like a cab purchase is in order too.

  3. Joel Scott...Beaver Dam, WI said

    Hey Ash, (DaByrdman)

    I greatly enjoyed your list. My favorite of your list is the Undercrown, as the others I’ve had a tough time finding them. Till I do find them, I’ll keep enjoying my cigars vicariously through your reviews. Keep up the great work, and I still wish there were some Bob Evans’ restaurants near me.

    Also, good luck to your Niners this Sunday. I hate the Giants! Man, my Packers could have been beaten by an 8th grade team! We’ll get ’em next year!

    • Thanks for the comment, Joel. We definitely gotta get you hooked up with a Bob Evans. Hopefully my Niners can take care of business on Sunday. I’d love to see them in the Super Bowl again. If you haven’t ordered some Cromagnons get some. It really is an excellent cigar.

      Take care bro,

      DaByrdman

  4. Excellent list, excellent pics. Keep it up! Appreciate the presence of Cubans here.

  5. NTA_Shawn said

    I like your line up! Alot of your favorites are also favorites of mine. A good flavored cigar with a good kick to it is a winner for me too.

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