The Katman’s Top 25 Cigars of 2016 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

I missed out on a few months of reviewing this spring due to illness but, thankfully, I found some fantastic cigars to make this list. My tastes are on display for all to see.

As last year, Bespoke Cigars makes the top of the list. The cigars following the Bespoke were all very close.

I’m often asked how I rate cigars and what my system is. It’s called life experience. Almost 50 years of smoking cigars.
I recently read how Cigar Aficionado rates their cigars:
1. Appearance/Construction: up to 15 points
2. Smoking Characteristics: up to 25 points
3. Flavor: up to 25 points
4. Overall impression: up to 35 points

In the end, ratings don’t matter as much as the impression the blend had on me. After all, the palate is very subjective. There is no such thing as a perfect rating system. CA’s system doesn’t use a computer or algorithms to rate their cigars. They don’t use a parabolic curve or quantum physics.
They all, no matter how complex, require human input…and therefore, fallible.

1. Bespoke Cigars Gran Mareva
2. Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Natural
3. GB-19 by Nomad Cigar Co.
4. Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend
5. Warped Cigars Lirio Rojo
6. Martial Law by Nomad Cigar Co.
7. Crowned Heads Luminosa
8. Daddy Mac by Cornelius & Anthony
9. Arandoza 5th Anniversary
10. BLK WKS Studio NBK by Black Label Trading Co.
11. Southern Draw Code Duello Kudzu
12. RoMa Craft Tobac Intemperance Whiskey Rebellion 1794
13. Rocky Patel Special Reserve Sun Grown Maduro
14. The Tabernacle by Foundation Cigar Co.
15. Mi Querida by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
16. Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony
17. My Father The Judge
18. Hiram & Solomon Master Mason
19. Casa Fernandez Guardian of the Farm Campeon
20. Warped Cigars Maestro del Tiempo
21. Matilde Quadrata Torpedo
22. Nomad SA-17
23. Hoyo La Amistad by AJ Fernandez
24. Ohana Pulse Habano
25. AVO Syncro Nicaragua Fogata

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Categories: THE KATMAN'S TOP 25 CIGARS OF 2016

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18 replies

  1. I am honoured Phil and I have to say after 20 years in the business there has never been a more exciting time for interesting blending opportunities. The threat tobacco choice out there has never been so varied . So to all the brand owners out there let’s have a great 2017 and challenge Phil palat to the utmost

    • I don’t happen to agree with you on the Black Ops, at least in part. I was gifted a fiver by a friend and, not knowing it was a Gurkha, I smoked all 5 and really liked them, so I was gifted another fiver, and liked them even more. That is when I decided to buy them and discovered, to my horror, that they were indeed Gurkhas. I bought 2 fivers of the Habano Toros. God are they good. I can’t get enough of them.
      While obviously, I do not have your sophisticated palate, I do enjoy a good cigar. And, this is still, one hell of a good cigar in my opinion. (I still can’t believe Gurkha makes these.)

  2. Katman your list is one of the most important “best of lists” for me. Chiefly because I read your reviews and trust your assessments. The fact that you don’t give every cigar a 90+ rating is a credit to you. Thank you for your continued contributions to the cigar smoking community.

    On Sun, Dec 25, 2016 at 8:32 AM, Cigar Reviews by the Katman wrote:

    > The Katman posted: ” I missed out on a few months of reviewing this spring > due to illness but, thankfully, I found some fantastic cigars to make this > list. My tastes are on display for all to see. As last year, Bespoke Cigars > makes the top of the list. The cigars follo” >

  3. Katman your list is one of the most important “best of” lists for me. Chiefly because I read your reviews and trust your assessments. Some of these cigars are unfamiliar but your list could make me search them out. You have such a superior palette than mine, sometimes I have to trust that those flavors are in there. : ^ ) I just know when you rate a cigar favorably I will enjoy it and the fact that you are not afraid to give an unfavorable rating is a credit to you. Also, your excursions into the music world are always entertaining. Thank you for your continued contributions to the cigar smoking community. As Ringo would say “Peace and Love” my friend…

    On Sun, Dec 25, 2016 at 8:32 AM, Cigar Reviews by the Katman wrote:

    > The Katman posted: ” I missed out on a few months of reviewing this spring > due to illness but, thankfully, I found some fantastic cigars to make this > list. My tastes are on display for all to see. As last year, Bespoke Cigars > makes the top of the list. The cigars follo” >

  4. I was interested, as a relatively new reader, to learn that you generally don’t like candelas, yet the Nomad GB-19 made the top grade. I agree! Are there other candelas, or candela-foot cigars, that you consider superior smoking? What is it about the candela that generally prompts you to take a pass? I’d love to read a review you write on wrappers in general.

  5. Great eclectic mix, Phil. Thanks for reviewing so many cigars I never would have known about otherwise!

  6. Great list the only 2 surprise for me was Bltc # 4 i tried it with a group of friends (12) and no one liked them and they started to fall apart or completely plugged . The cigar shop did warn me about this problem . The Ohana pulse i can’t stop smoking by far the breakout cigar for me should be a top 5

  7. These are some unfamiliar ones. However, you write well and for the most part, If I try a cigar for the first time, and I like it, your reviews tend to have positive feedback on it as well. So when I purchase some of the more available ones you have reviewed that can be had under $5 online, I seek out. Thanks and hope you continue your great work.

  8. You okay? Just a winter break from reviewing? Maybe chilling happily with Charlotte… Here’s hoping. You’re missed by decent souls who love your take on cigars as much as the smokes themselves.

    • Hi Tom,
      I need cigars to review. Charlotte and I live solely on our Social Security so there is no longer any cigar budget for either review cigars or personal stash.
      Bummer.
      But then possibilities arise when you least expect them.

      All the best,
      Phil

  9. Hey, Fellow Katman/Kohnhed Readers! Does this guy’s work not enrich your smoking life? I live in a very rural place and, like all of you (at one level or another), live on a budget. The reviews here help me spend well and smoke better. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know the dude’s had a crap year. And still he kept writing for us! He calls a diamond as he sees it, and a turd a turd. Ever seen that in Cigar Afficianado? I sent him a few sticks recently — sadly, none that he hadn’t yet reviewed. I’m no saint, but that was one of the best small sacrifices I have made in a while. Send Phil your favorites — for his pleasure, or for his discerning, thoroughly enjoyable review. Keep the guy going, cigar-wise, or we’ll all be the poorer for it! – Tom Dunham in Vermont, and this is a TOTALLY UNSOLICITED COMMENT. I just can’t stand to not read new reviews here every week. C’mon!

    • I’d be happy to send a few from my stash. I’ve enjoyed his reviews, for free. Which has saved me time and money.
      Post info on how to send them. I understand personal information will need to be with held, so maybe a PO box or something?

      Either way Tom, it was a well deserved service you did there. Thank you for posting and pointing.

  10. It’s in the right-hand column, above, near the top. But here you go: TheKatman@Yandex.com

  11. Katman! As a new cigar smoker and broke-ass teacher , your reviews are a must read. And I especially look forward to your unrelated stories at the end. Thanks for what you do.

  12. Love your commentary ! I’m an avid cigar smoker, a rock n roll drummer and an addicted golfer. Did you ever hear Gram Parsons (RIP Gram) or the Burrito Brothers?

    • Hi Mike,
      Are you kidding? I loved Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers. How about the Desert Rose Band or the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band?
      Or one of my all time favorite bands: Poco. Remember the band was originally called “Pogo” but had to change it as it was the name of a daily cartoon in the newspaper and the writer of the cartoon objected to using his name.
      I met The Byrds in 1966 or 67. Got to hang backstage at their small gig at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA. Lots of their musician friends showed up and I met all of the above.

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