Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: 6 X 52 “Toro”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $19.00 MSRP




Photo courtesy of Jack Schwartz Cigars:
Today we take a look at the Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur.
After battling the flu for 2-1/2 weeks, I feel invigorated and hence the deluge of reviews this week.


Factory: Occidental Cigar Factory, Dominican Republic
Limited production: 1,250 Boxes of 20 Cigars
Release Date: Nov. 25, 2015
Halfwheel gave it a 90 rating. Leaf Enthusiast gave it a 100! Stogie Guys gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 cigars.

According to web site:
“As has become common in this business, when an anniversary is celebrated, there is a cigar to go along with it. That happened in 2005 with the Paul Garmirian 15th Anniversary—a 10-vitola line—and in 2010 with the 20th Anniversary, which included eight different cigars rolled over various years.
“For 2015 and its 25th anniversary, the company released another anniversary cigar, but in a bit different fashion. It was limited to just a single release in the company’s 6 x 52 toro size known as Connoisseur.
1. PG 25th took over 2 years to develop
2. Fully fermented wrapper
“For us, this is more than just another cigar. It was something in between our lines that was missing. We made hints and suggestions, graphs and charts, and the artists in the Dominican nodded silently. We waited until all the stars were aligned. This particular wrapper needed an extra 9 months of fermentation.

“Even that description describes much of what I’ve come to appreciate about Paul Garmirian’s cigars. Production is relatively limited, methodical and aged. The company has a unique habit of releasing handfuls of boxes with dates from the 1990s written on them. It’s a great way for those of us who struggle with aging full boxes for decades or those who simply weren’t able to buy PG Cigars in 1997.

“As for the 25th Anniversary, the limited edition cigar began shipping on Nov. 25, 2015.”

Online stores that carry this cigar: Atlantic, McLean Cigars, and you can Google for more sites. And all seem to sell it for $2 less than MSRP: $17.00.

I use an accurate method for measuring ring gauges and it came out as a 54 rather than a 52.
Nice looking cigar but not without its flaws. Discoloration of the wrapper, some big veins, and the caps are not consistent with one being flawless and one very sloppy.
Seams are tight. The wrapper is an oily russet brown.
One cigar’s flawless cap makes it impossible to count them but the sloppy one clearly shows a triple cap.
It wears the standard PG cigar band with a secondary band with “25th” written on it.

From the shaft, I smell sweet barnyard, spice, cedar, milk chocolate, and citrus.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell strong red pepper, chocolate, cedar, lime citrus, wood, and dried fruit.
The cold draw presents flavors of citrus, spice, strong cedar, a bit of chocolate and lemon rind.

Right out of the pocket, I get a power blast of red pepper. Plus a large dose of malts, creaminess, graham cracker, cedar, roasted nuts, and a touch of chocolate.
The draw is a bit airy but not an impediment.
Strength is medium body.
And a slow smoker.

I have to be honest. I don’t understand the ridiculous price points coming down the chute each year. $20 is about to become the norm in a year or two.

I spoke to Paul Stulac yesterday and laughed about when his cigars came out, they were expensive at $12 a stick for his premier line. Now he has lowered his prices and just try and find a decent cigar under $12.00. Of course, you can shop at the big online stores which seem to sell mostly drek. I got a catalog the other day and it’s the same shit every time one comes out. Catalogs are aimed at those who don’t seem to have a serious palate. I know. I’m an arrogant SOB.

Hence, the big draw to boutique brands and the high prices that comes with them.


And with only ¾” burned, like a light switch was turned on….complexity hits hard. The balance is on the right journey. The finish is long and sweet.
The char line should be behaving better.

The bakery flavors, plus malts, are the predominant flavors….pie crust, lots of butter, salt, nuts, and a sweet/savory thing going on. Reminds me of an English meat pie. Ever eat a kidney pie before? Don’t. They sell this crap on the streets of London and the pubs like they were giving away free drugs. Horrible food. But the Scottish Egg is the absolute worst. A hardboiled egg covered in that horrible stuff the Brits call sausage that is only half meat and I don’t have the slightest idea what the other crap in the mix is but it is godawful no matter how hungry you are.

I’m disappointed with the burn line. It is wavy and needs lots of small touch ups. A $19 cigar should have been rolled much better.
Don’t get me wrong. A very good cigar. But then I just reviewed the Bespoke Grand Café and it was flawless with flawless construction. Not a single touch up was needed and it was $14…not $19. I can’t believe I’m comparing $14 to $19.
I believe that Halfwheel’s rating of 90 is much closer to planet earth than the other reviewers who gave it a 100.


Had to get up and change to CD No. 2 of the live Led Zep concert from 1972. 3 disc set.
Hard to review without music.
Strength hits medium/full body.

Now I’ve had these two cigars for at least a month if not longer. And I believe that they had some serious humidor time before I got them.

I have trouble keeping track. When I get a care package, I go into this frenzy of ecstasy that makes me forget everything about documenting its existence and this is why I am derelict in keeping track of my dear readers that give me cigars.

The char line, finally, is on the road to riches and diamond rings.
There is a deep richness that contributes to the complexity. Flavors morph. No specific flavor really stands out amongst the rest.
The Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur is a very smoky cigar. Each puff swarms the dining room with billows of white clouds.

Smoke time is 40 minutes.
The flavor profile opens like a rose. Here they are: Creaminess, malts, pepper, dried fruit, orange blossom honey, roasted nuts, coffee, graham cracker, cinnamon, molasses, tamarind, onion, cedar, caramel, salt, and milk chocolate.

Now that’s a crazy bunch of mixed up flavors. For those detractors that don’t believe I taste all that…read a Cigar Aficionado lately? The flavors they come up with baffle even me. Fig paste? Cocoa nib? Peanut shavings? Chestnuts? Maple candy? And toasted marshmallow?

The Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur really takes off now. A new flavor: Peanuts; enters the arena. LOL. And it urges on the fruitiness and bread-like qualities to taste like a PB&J sandwich.


The human palate is a wonderful and mysterious thing. No two are alike. The only way to develop the palate is through constant analysis and focus each time you light a cigar.

The Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur is now a phenomenal flavor bomb. And now I waver between Halfwheel’s rating and the other reviewers who gave it a perfect 100.

Here is something no other reviewer will admit. Everyone wants to be the first to review a new cigar. Why? Ego. And bragging rights. I am no different. Long ago and far away, I did the same thing. Smoked good cigars too soon. I didn’t want to be the last reviewer to write about a new cigar.

And most of the big reviewers, while getting free cigars from the manufacturers prior to release, still don’t allow the proper time to age the blend. Everyone misses the blender’s intent. This, of course, is a disservice to the blender.

I haven’t reviewed a new cigar in quite a while. I don’t buy cigars. I am totally dependent on the good hearts of my readers. Now and again, I do get new cigars. But most of the time, I get cigars that have been in my reader’s humidor for some time and then sent on to me. So sure, I’m late to the party. But I get to review and report what the blender wanted you to taste.

I don’t know how long it’s been but I started the regimen of making the manufacturer wait a couple months before I reviewed the samples sent to me. Yeah, it made them impatient but all was forgiven when their cigars got great reviews.

This is the other reason I taste so many flavors. You know this. There is a small window of opportunity to catch a cigar at its pinnacle while you are humidor aging it. Too soon and you miss out on everything. Too much aging and you taste only the shell of what it once was.

Very few cigar brands/blends survive the test of time. I know this because I’ve been sent cigars by readers with years of humidor time and they lost most of the blender’s intent. And are no longer reviewable. Good for smoking, sure. But past their expiration date. It is an urban myth that every cigar aged for a couple of years gets better with time. My guess is that only 10% of cigars out there do well under those circumstances.

Where was I?
Oh yeah…the Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur.
I reach the halfway point.
Smoke time is one hour.
Nicotine rears its ugly head.
Strength hits full body.


The Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur is definitely designed for the connoisseur’s palate. But newbies will dig it too as long as they can handle strong cigars.

Flavors are bold. Impossible to miss.

The more I smoke, the higher the rating becomes. It is deserving of a rating higher than 90. What it will be? No idea as halfway is not positive evidence of the final outcome.

“Moby Dick” from Zep is playing with the long drum solo. I remember so well that in this concert, and just about every other concert I went to in the 60’s and 70’s, the obligatory drum solo was an excuse to go use the bathroom or buy a beer.
The only drum solo I ever witnessed, in which no one left the arena, was the drum solo in “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly.


Smoke time is one hour 25 minutes.
Strength is full body.
This is a languid experience. Slow roll.

The price point. Ouch. While the MSRP is $19, they can be had for $17 online. Still, a very expensive cigar. But a much better deal than the fancy Padrons whose price points are ridiculous. I’ve yet to smoke an Anniversary cigar worth the dough.

So, in those terms, is the Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur worth $17? It is way out of my price affordability. But then all Garmirian cigars are expensive. I have an Artisan’s Selection by Paul Garmirian Cigars that goes for under $7.00. It is their line of cigars that are cost effective. I have a couple and will review it soon.
The char line remains wavy but no touch ups required.


The Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur is now near perfect. I take a look at my Top 25 Cigars of 2015 and don’t really find a cigar this good in all those great cigars.

The Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur shares the stage with the Bespoke Grand Café in terms of perfection. As the Garmirian cigar was released in 2015, I am going to amend my list and it will settle in at No.1. The Bespoke may take that position in my 2016 list.

While the Dunbarton and Trust Sobremesa is a great cigar, it is not as good as this cigar.
Now I have the torturous duty to bump a cigar off the 2015 list.

How lucky am I? Two great cigar reviews in a row. This never happens.
For those wondering when I am going to review a cigar that you can afford….next review.
The Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur ends beautifully without heat or bitterness. Cook as a cuke.

If you can, find the dough in your wallet, I seriously suggest you buy one or two of these cigars. But give it time in your humidor. $17 is too much to go into the toilet if you smoke it too soon.
Brava Paul Garmirian.

Final smoke time is 2 hours 5 minutes.


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7 replies

  1. It’s a hat trick! 3 great cigars in one week…..too cool.
    Just a personal reflection and no judgment on how you do things but I think once a list is out should be final. Maybe an addendum put on later as a reference.
    Plus because when you review a cigar maybe humidor time comes into consideration and year/ review don’t match up because of this.
    If you review in say 2016 then that cigar gets included on that years review list. ..much less confusing for the reader.
    But then everyone does things their way.
    Peace. ..TR

  2. I hear what you say TR. And you are technically right. My view point is that if I missed the opportunity to smoke a cigar, because all of 2015 I was dependent on kind and generous readers for review cigars, I didn’t have a choice in what I reviewed. Which is cool. Beggars can’t be choosers.
    But when a cigar is as good as the PG 25th Anniversary was and it was released in 2015, then I use home team rules.
    It’s not like I moved existing cigars up and down the list. I added and deleted. I see it as a living, breathing list. If had the opportunities to smoke all the great cigars the Big Guys got to review, then maybe circumstances would be different.
    The top 25 list is an important list to me. It’s not the same as my best cigars for this price or that price.
    Plus, I feel I am doing my readers a service by introducing them to cigars they might not have tried. And at $19 a pop, odds are most didn’t.
    I doubt I will do this again as I doubt I will find many more 2015 cigars this good again.
    And besides, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to. If it happened to you, you’d cry too.”

  3. “Of course, you can shop at the big online stores which seem to sell mostly drek.”

    That’s not entirely fair, Phil. Unfortunately those of us living outside North America and Europe are stuck with just 3 or 4 big online stores for non-Cuban cigars, as the small niche B&Ms seem to be making so much money that shipping a $1500 order to Malaysia for me and my buddies is apparently more hassle than it’s worth.
    Having said that, Famous offer 5 of your top 10, and 12 of your top 25 (at 20% off every time if I use their coupons wisely). Of the rest I can get four more from Atlantic, BCP and Cigar Place. Ezra Zion, Nomad and Sublimes don’t seem to want their cigars sold outside the US and Cigar Federation won’t ship overseas. In other words, for people like me the big online retailers don’t only sell dreck; they also sell the only truly great cigars we can lay our hands on.

  4. My apologies, Mat.
    Saying dumb things as you pointed out gives me pause about my ability to continue to review cigars.
    My comment was based on thumbing through a CI catalog I had just received. And it was the same crap, for the most part, that they display in every catalog.
    I know that there is a lot more on the web sites that is not shown in the catalogs. But hanging on to being lucid ain’t no small deal. And I end up writing things that are ridiculous. And make no sense.
    My docs strongly urge me to keep writing but I am embarrassed by a lot of my writing.
    Sure, they think it is good brain muscle exercise to keep writing. But they don’t have to live with the outcome. They don’t give any thought to how it makes me look.
    It may also be the outcome of trying to write too often. I missed it during my sick days and I was over exuberant.
    I’ve got to give this some serious thought. I only have a few cigars left to review and cigars stopped showing up when I announced my semi-retirement. So it just might be a moot point.
    I’m sorry for upsetting you over my stupid comments.

  5. Hi Phil,
    Your remark wasn’t at all ridiculous from your perspective and that of 99% of your readers – in fact it was spot on. However, I was just making a point for those of us based outside the US, who either have to smoke overpriced and erratic Cubans of use online merchants.

    Your reviews are still the best on the www 🙂

  6. Thanks Mat but I feel your earlier comment was totally appropriate.
    Please contact me at I would like to discuss something with you, please.
    All the best,

  7. I like the PG stuff, although I haven’t tried this, only the 20th. I will say though, I would never compare PG to the Sobremesa. PG has been around doing what they do with style, and goes for their rich and subtle old-school Dominican thing. Sobremesa is new company launching a unique product with Nicaraguan, Mexican and broadleaf tobaccos: whole different animal.

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