Toasted Foot’s Top Ten Cigars of 2017

Toasted Foot’s Top Ten Cigars of 2017

Another year goes by, so it’s time to look back on the past year before we release another Top Ten List. There were a lot of good cigars year, but especially really good medium bodied Connecticut shade cigars. Some of the great cigars that didn’t quite make the list this year will appear on our Honorable Mentions List in the coming days.

Like last year, this Top Ten is wholly a solo endeavor on my part. These are simply my opinion of what are the best cigars that were reviewed on the site in 2016. Only cigars with published reviews on the site within the last year were eligible to make the list. As always, it’s important to rememberer that this list is entirely subjective, and is based on my own personal palate and preferences.

As in previous years, several factors went into deciding the ranking on the Top Ten List:
– Original Score
– Impressions beyond that of the original review
– How often I wanted to (or did) smoke the cigar outside of for the review
– The list is entirely subjective and based on my own opinions of the cigars on it.

10) Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro 
AJ Fernandez is perhaps the most sought after collaborator, and has been very busy the last few years. This year he collaborated on two major Altadis brands with the H. Upmann Nicaragua and the Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez. The latter being one of the strongest cigars Altadis has ever released. The new Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez is a box-pressed cigar with a lot of flavor. While it’s not a cigar for the novice cigar smoker, the seasoned cigar enthusiast will really enjoy.


9) Espinosa Red River Valley (Regional Exclusive)
One of the more impressive cigars Espinosa Red River Valley is a regional release for Texas and Oklahoma named for the river (and college football rivalry) between those two states. Coming only in 10-count boxes of toros, the Red River Valley is another great cigar from Erik Espinosa’s LA Zona Factory. There’s a lot of wonderful earth, cocoa and coffee flavors in this cigar. The only real downside to the cigar is that the Red River Valley is that is only available in Texas and Oklahoma tobacconists. This cigar is worth calling a retailer in one of those two states to get your hands on one.


8) Davidoff 702 Series Anniversario No. 3
Rarely does a specific tobacco attain a celebrity status of its own, but Davidoff’s proprietary Ecuadorian 702 wrapper is one such type of tobacco. The 702 wrapper has been a part of some amazing cigars, making its appearance with the Davidoff LE 2009 Seleccion 702, and then being included on legendary cigars like the Avo LE 2012 La Trompeta and Davidoff LE 2013 Year of the Snake. With the Davidoff 702 Series Aniversario No. 3, the company has created a great regular production cigar using this special hybrid wrapper. Th new 702 Series No. 3 has a tad more strength than the original Davidoff Aniversario No, so it may be a tiny bit too much for the beginning smoker, but otherwise it’s one of those cigars that can be enjoyed by a wide range of smokers. While the flavors present do not change too much, it is their relationship to each other that is what makes the 702 No. 3 such a great smoke. This is a great new addition to the Davidoff line.


7) Protocol Themis Toro by Cubariqueño Cigar Company
If 2017 is remembered for one thing it is likely to be for the many great Connecticut cigars that hit retailer shelves this year. Of the many new Connecticut shade cigars, one that stood out as a great everyday Connecticut was the Protocol Themis from Cubariqueño Cigar Company. Juan Cancel and Bill Ive’s Protocol Cigars once again teamed up Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory to create this medium bodied cigar a bit more “oomph” to it than the typical Connecticut cigar. The Protocol Themis is a Connecticut shade cigar for non-Connecticut smokers. Lots graham cracker, oak, honey, toast, as well as some pepper and spice make for a flavorful smoking experience. This is one of those cigars that almost everyone enjoys, and actually pretty much everyone I’ve introduced to this cigar has loved it. This is definitely a box worthy Connecticut cigar perfect for starting off the day.


6) Avo Syncro South America Ritmo Torpedo
The Avo Syncro South America Ritmo is unlike anything else than bears the Avo name. While many Avo cigars feature a woody profile, the Avo Syncro South America Ritmo has a balanced earthy mix of coffee and cocoa. Although the Avo Ritmo is great in other vitolas, it’s the large 7” x 54 box pressed torpedo that really sets itself apart. Despite the flavor profile may be unusual for Avo, the hallmark high quality and construction of the Avo brand are still present in the Avo Ritmo. This medium-full bodied Avo Ritmo is one of those cigars that should bring a whole new group of cigar enthusiasts to the Avo brand. The Avo Syncro South America Ritmo is a box worthy cigar.


5) Highclere Castle Corona by Foundation Cigar Co. 
Nick Mellillo’s Foundation Cigar Company has produced some pretty impressive cigars over the past two years including the El Güegüense Churchill (No. 2 cigar of 2015) and The Tabernacle (No. 1 cigar of 2016). This year, Foundation has released an impressive medium bodied Connecticut cigar named for Highclere Castle, which serves as the location for the TV show Downton Abbey. The Highclere Castle full of flavor which builds and changes as the cigar progresses from beginning to end. The Highclere Castle is another one of those Connecticut cigars that is bound to please the experienced cigar smoker, as well as the novice.


4) David P. Ehrlich Tremont Churchill 
Once in a while there is boutique cigar that comes out of left field, and is so impressive that it’s hard to ignore. The David P. Ehrlich Tremont Churchill from MLB Cigar Ventures is one of those special cigars. It has a very unique flavor profile, with what can only be described as a peat like flavor. Named for a historic Boston area tobacconist, the David P. Ehrlich Tremont is a classy medium bodied cigar. While each of the blend’s vitolas are good, it’s the churchill that really stands alone in allowing for the most enjoyment of the cigar’s unique flavor profile.


3) Señor Esugars Toro by Cornelius & Anthony
Last year, Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony took the No. 2 spot on our Top Ten Cigars of 2016. This year the more full bodied Señor Esugars, coming from Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory, is the most pepper cigar the company has release. With a mix of pepper and strength, the Señor Esugars is one of those cigars that will impress veteran cigar smokers, but may be a bit too much for beginners. This cigar has all the hallmarks of a cigar that should age quite well, so it’s definitely box worthy.


2) My Father La Opulencia Toro
With the release of the My Father La Opulencia, My Father Cigars has proven that it’s still in the game, after a couple years of just okay releases. The La Opulencia may be the best My Father release since the Le Bijou. Starting out smooth and creamy, and building to an earthy and peppery conclusion, the My Father La Opulencia is a fairly complex full bodied cigar. There’s so much development to this cigar’s flavor profile, that from start to finish it is a hard cigar to put down. The My Father La Opulencia is everything that anyone could possibly want in a My Father cigar. It is good looking, box pressed, full bodied, flavorful, complex and free of any draw problems. Fans of My Father Cigars will be very pleased with the newest release from the Garcia Family. After this, I’m looking forward to seeing what they release next.


1) Southern Draw Jacob’s Ladder
Veteran-owned Southern Draw cigars has a had an amazing run over the years with a cigar in the Top Ten in 2015 and 2016, and scoring a couple Honorable Mention list appearances. This year the Southern Draw Jacob’s Ladder Toro deservedly earns its place as our Cigar of the Year. This full bodied cigar, named for owners Robert & Sharon Holt’s so Jacob, the Jacob’s Ladder comes from AJ Fernandez’s Factory in Nicaragua. The features a dark Lancaster Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper, which has always been one of my personal favorite tobaccos, covering Nicaraguan binder and filler. Unlike some full bodied cigars, the Jacob’s Ladder is full of flavor with chocolate, coffee, cedar, earth and black pepper notes. It’s almost like this cigar was strategically blended to make this Top Ten List. Like all Southern Draw cigars, the cigar’s draw is perfect and the construction is top notch.


In my opinion, those were the 10 best cigars of 2017. I hope you get a chance to seek out and try some of the wonderful cigars on this list, and that you enjoy them as much as I have. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the list or just cigars in general. What’s the best thing you smoked this year? Also, check out the list from our friends at Cigar Dojo and Cigar Coop, unlike some lists you find in magazines they won’t name a 7 year old cigar in a 4 year old vitola their Cigar of the Year. Before I go, I’d like to thank all of you for being Toasted Foot readers. I hope you all have a happy holiday and a great new year.

All the best,
Jonathan David, editor
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