Having seen it before, I just took another look at Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 of 2015 list. I know, it’s easy to hate on CA, but there are just some major holes in this list that cannot be ignored.

Tabaclera by Hamlet – Produced by the former master roller at the Partagas factory in Havana, Hamlet Paredes left Cuba and went to work with Rocky Patel. The cigars are full body/full flavor and have an amazing mix of flavors that pretty much have to be experienced. This cigar also does not get overly hot as you smoke it. I shared one with a friend last weekend and he commented that he needed a “roach clip” because he wasn’t ready to put it down. Recently Hamelt made an in-store appearance here in San Antonio and he is outgoing and friendly. And watching him roll a 36″ culebra (he said it was enough tobacco for 15 robustos) was fascinating. His 20+ years of rolling experience was evident as he made it look so easy.

Sobramesa – This brand was developed and brought to market by Steve Saka after he left his position of CEO at Drew Estate. This is a medium-to-full body and flavor cigar that everyone should be smoking. Once again, the flavors are hard to describe in words but are outstanding and need to be experienced.

Edgar Hoil OSOK – Produced by Chistian Eiroa, I was expecting an outstanding cigar. I got more than I bargained for. I just can’t get over how good these cigars are. Lots of flavor, body and smoke from this full body cigar always leaves me wanting more.

Perdomo Craft Series Sungrown – The entire craft series, specifically blended to go with craft beers, is outstanding, but the sungrown, paired with a 110 IBU triple IPA, was just mind altering. As with all Perdomo cigars, it smoked very cleanly and, as I mentioned, it paired perfectly with one of my favorite beers.

As I said at the beginning, I’m not “trashing” CA, just pointing out some very good cigars that I believe are better than several of their choices. I also go by the motto, “smoke what you like, like what you smoke.”

I’m looking forward to the 2016 IPCPR in Las Vegas to see what new offerings there are; I also plan to spend some time with smaller brands to get their reaction to the new FDA rules. I fear that the 2017 IPCPR may be much smaller because of the cost of government over-reach.

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