At the end of 2022, the digital magazine Cigar Aficionado published its annual ranking for the year that just ended. On this occasion, the first three places were divided among the three countries that the entire world recognizes as the most prestigious manufacturers of cigars: Cuba, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The first place went to the Caribbean Island, the second went to Nicaragua and the third position went to the Dominican Republic.
Cigar of the Year:
The highly coveted Cigar of the Year award was bestowed in 2022 to H. Upmann No. 2. This cigar, scoring a 98, with a dimension of 6 1/8" by 52 ring gauge, and a long history spanning nearly 180 years, represents an iconic brand in the complex world of tobacco.
Made in Havana with a blend of 100% Cuban tobacco, H. Upmann No. 2 is often considered an insider smoke because smokers almost always come to it after trying other cigars of more common standards. It is not the first time that this cigar has been selected by Cigar Aficionado to be part of its annual list of the Top 25, but this time they elevated it to the category of the most exceptional cigar of 2022.
The prestigious magazine affirms, in a part of the review that it offers to its readers: “…smoking this cigar is a fully engaging experience with a room-filling aroma and mouth-filling texture that allows one to luxuriate in its layers of nutmeg, cinnamon and salted peanut flavor, all of which intensify, while, at the same time, showing a delicate floral quality that adds superb balance in a way that no other cigar this year could.”
With 96 points, the second place in the Top 25-2022 was occupied by Rocky Patel Sixty Sixty, made by Patel at his Tavicusa factory (Tabacalera Villa Cuba, S.A.), in Estelí, Nicaragua.
This cigar is almost an inch in diameter and features an oily Mexican San Andres ripe wrapper, set over a binder and filler made from premium Nicaraguan leaves. It was conceived as a tribute to the 60 years of life of Rocky Patel and his refined passion for premium cigars, for which reason its elaboration has received special attention, with tobaccos that were aged six years before blending and once elaborated, they spend at least two years in the aging room.
It is a large, elegant cigar that resembles a chocolate bar, with basic flavors of leather and wood, augmented with aromatic layers of coffee, walnuts, and a spiciness of ground red pepper. Once lit, this specially curated blend provides a balanced yet full-bodied smoking experience, with rich notes of espresso, caramel, coffee and leather.
The Davidoff Nicaragua Diadema, winner of third place in the 2022 Ranking, obtained a score of 95 and was made by Cigars Davidoff, in the Dominican Republic.
With a medium-full strength, this cigar is part of the Nicaragua line, introduced since 2013 by the Davidoff brand, which until then generally produced milder cigars with Dominican tobacco and light wrappers of Connecticut seeds. They are cigars that follow Davidoff's demanding construction standards, made in the Dominican Republic with tobacco grown in the main producing regions of Nicaragua: Estelí, Condega, Jalapa and the volcanic island of Ometepe.
The Diadema line was introduced sometime later, with the intention of enhancing the smoking experience with the conical and curved shapes of the Diadema. As sophisticated in character as it looks, this cigar contains precise notes of red berry, walnut and maple syrup that provide a complex and balanced smoking experience right from the start, offering a bittersweet flavor and the typical spicy and peppery characteristics of a Nicaraguan cigar.