A few quick reviews to whet your appetite:
1. Davidoff Double R. Double corona, 7.5×50. Dominican. Enjoyed at home with a rather expensive, albeit corked, tawny port. Impressions: Slightly woody taste, with a hint of peppery kick. Solid construction. No burn issues, although at the half-way point the wrapper began to crumble despite the cigar being consistently well-humidified. Tasted like a slightly more robust Davidoff — smooth but a bit bland, yet a smidgen more full-bodied than, say, the Davidoff 2000 series. $30.
2. Padron Serie 1926, No. 1 Natural. Double corona, 6.75×54. Nicaraguan. This medium-full cigar was enjoyed at the newest smoke shop in Grand Rapids, The Grand River Cigar Co., with a dram of The Balvenie Single Barrel 15-year single-malt Scotch whisky. The cigar burned evenly and hot, but not especially fast. Solid medium-full intensity, with a less complex flavor than I expected. Taste reminiscent of sweetened coffee, with woody tones. Consistent but slightly loose ash, plentiful and aromatic smoke. $9.
3. Gurkha Cellar Reserve. Churchill, 7×54. Nicaraguan. Delightfully full-flavored cigar with a slightly spicy presentation that hinted at bits of cedar and — oddly enough — those little orange candies coated in dark chocolate. The cigar burned hot and slowly with a very loose ash; it canoed for most of the length but not badly enough that it required maintenance, and flecks of ash covered my pants and sweater. The cigar required frequent puffing to avoid going out, which is rare in my experience with cigars of this size. $14.
4. Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo. Podoroso, 6×54. Nicaraguan. Paired with The Macallan 15-year single-malt Scotch whisky. Without a doubt, the most full-body cigar I’ve ever had the joy of sampling. The wrapper was dark and oily and the cigar itself burned well with a robust, plentiful smoke. Lit evenly and burned evenly. Not for the faint of heart. $12.
Impressions: Any of these cigars would make a fine addition to a normal rotation, although the Davidoffs continue to have a higher-than-needed price point. Weak-kneed smokers should avoid the Joya de Nicaragua stick; it’ll kick your ass. Best bang for the buck was the Padron. The Gurkha would be a phenomenal smoke but the construction of the one I enjoyed was weak — the roll was unbalanced and a bit too tight — although the problem isn’t typical of the line. All four are recommended, with caveats.