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Connoisseur s Corner, June 2003

Reprinted from the June 2003

We've unearthed another stash of wonderful aged cigars for this issue's Connoisseur's Corner, led by a Partagas Serie Du Connoisseur No. 3 that's been aged in a humidor since the Nixon Administration. The cigar performed like a dream, with complex, balanced flavors that tantalized the palate. At 98 points, this was a cigar to savor, to love and to weep for when it was gone.

We also sampled a selection of aged Montecristo cigars, including No. 2s from the mid-1950s and early 1990s. They were great cigars, and the results of the test showed how consistent the blend for Montecristo remains through the decades. The extra point for the 1950s version is undoubtedly due to its nearly 50 years of age.

Partagas Serie du Connoisseur No. 3 (1971)

A light, oily wrapper. There are toasty spice flavors with distinct nutty notes. In the mid-palate, there is depth of earthiness, but it doesn't overpower the perfect balance of flavors. Performance, flavor, aroma -- all near perfect, all gone far too soon.

--George Brightman

Flor de Cano Diademas (1990)

When the Davidoff brand shifted production to the Dominican Republic, this cigar was created to be the replacement for the Davidoff Dom Perignon, and the cigar always tasted very much like the original item. Even today, it is a racy and very fine smoke. Full bodied with solid floral notes, and a rich aftertaste. Fantastic smoke that every connoisseur should have the chance to savor.

--James Suckling

Cohiba Esplendido (1996)

This may be the most overrated cigar from Cuba. I have seldom smoked a great one, except for those from the early 1990s. Yet this is superb. And it was made at the El Laguito Factory, according to the box code. (Most Esplendidos during that period were made at the Partagas Factory.) Amazing freshness with spices, tobacco and flowers. Full bodied and cedary with a rich, almost chocolate aftertaste.

--James Suckling

Montecristo No. 2 (1955)

Looking at this cigar makes it easy to understand why this particular version of a pyramid became the definitive one. Almost perfect performance with an excellent draw and a gray, solid ash. There are hints of cedar with a strong leathery note that builds as it burns. A powerful, full finish.

--George Brightman

Montecristo No. 2 (1991)

A beautiful glistening wrapper with a deep, rich color. It has a long, lingering finish of rich, full-bodied tobacco, with some spice. It has a smooth, perfect draw. This is a benchmark Cuban cigar, and this vintage shows how great the cigar can be.

--Marvin R. Shanken

Montecristo B (1985)

I have never understood the attraction to this cigar, which essentially is about the same size as the Montecristo No. 3 (slightly shorter). It sells for about $5,000 a cabinet of 50 cigars in Christie's auctions in London. Yet it's a beautiful smoke. Gives an aroma like a bouquet of flowers. Hints of cedar. It shows a super powdery, white ash. Medium bodied and very fine. Long and very fresh. Almost fruity or lemony.

--James Suckling

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Connoisseur s Corner, June 2003