Best Cigars For The New Year: Top 10 NYE Cigars For Auld Lang Syne
Best Cigars For The New Year: Top 10 NYE Cigars For Auld Lang SyneCharles-Philippe2022-01-09T14:53:08-05:00
Once Christmas is well and truly over, most are eagerly awaiting the 31st December. Many enthusiasts enjoy a cigar to accompany them while ushering in the new year. Whether it’s lit after the clock strikes midnight or enjoying while the bells chime, a New Year cigar is an event in itself.
You can use the links above to jump ahead. You can also head to the menu below to see what else we’ll be covering.
What Are The Best Cigars For The New Year?
Before we present you with the Top 10 Cigars For New Year’s Eve, we’d like to note that the following blends are featured in no particular order of preference. Every cigar has its own particular benefits as to why it makes the ideal companion as the year draws to an end.
Additionally, feel free to leave a comment we left out a personal favourite that you would recommend!
Actually launched in 2001, the Millennium was the first Davidoff release outside of the core line. Admittedly, the Millennium is a sentimental blend for us as it was the cigar we smoked when interviewing Hendrik “Henke” Kelner. Nevertheless, it carries its namesake well as a cigar for celebrating special occasions.
What makes this blend particularly special is its Ecuadorian wrapper. While many of Davidoff’s cigar are adorned with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, the Millennium used leaves sourced from the only plot of land in the valley that had traces of iron in the soil.
This provides a unique finish to the San Vicente Ligero, Piloto Seco and Ligero, and hyprid Olor-Piloto Seco filler, which is bound together by a leaf of San Vicente Seco. The result is a bold yet refined experience with caramelised notes of chocolate and roasted coffee with a sweet, spicy finish.
If you want to know the Millennium’s backstory, Henke actually tells us about it in the interview linked above. Since it’s an hour long, you can jump straight to that part here.
Delivering a rich bouquet of grapefruit, bay leaf, beech as well as lapsang souchong, the Montecristo Línea is a wonderfully aromatic blend. Despite Montecristo’s claims that its their fullest-bodied cigar yet, it’s relatively mild compared to other brands and is a great option for novice or non-cigar smokers.
Normally, we prefer the Maltés toro vitola. On this occasion, however, we would opt for the larger Leyenda, a proprietary vitola that follows their 2015 80 Aniversario release.
If you’re looking for a truly unique cigar for this special occasion, we would strongly consider the Romeo y Julieta Añejados. Having been aged for between 5 and 8 years in cedar boxes before retail, they offer a mellow and creamy experience that’s ideal for very occasional smokers.
Given that it’s quite a refined and delicate blend, our only comment would be to take care with what you choose to pair it. Aside from some lighter rums, we would avoid spirits but instead opt for Champagne. That said, isn’t New Year’s Eve the ultimate occasion for Champagne?
Despite having mentioned a few lighter blends above, the San Juan is probably the mildest one featured on this list. Although this goes against our usual advice for nighttime cigars, we’re conscious that many people who partake on New Year’s Eve are either beginner or occasional cigar smokers.
Despite its light profile, the San Juan does have a little bite particularly on the retrohale. Its aromas are pure and crisp with notes of sweet honey and sandalwood in the first third, which becomes somewhat earthy by the end of the second.
Finally, we do recommend ageing the Hoyo’s San Juan cigars for a few months before enjoying them. They’ll greatly benefit from sitting for a few months by developing mellower flavours.
Having touched on a few milder Cubans, we return with the first 100% US-made cigar. Aptly named The American, this puro features Connecticut Havana Seed and Pennsylvanian Mennonite in the filler held together by Connecticut broadleaf binder.
Meanwhile, the wrapper is the first ever commercial use of Florida Sun Grown. Given its mature and oily construction, The American is a great long smoke to take you through New Year’s Eve. We generally prefer the torpedo but the Churchill would be an opportunity to draw it out even longer.
Furthermore, the blend delivers a rich and gourmand smoking experience with notes of tarry molasses and chocolate. If you’re looking for a celebratory cigar with a patriot twist, this may be the perfect option.
Prized by many, Oliva’s Melanio V is a flagship blend that is cherished for its rich flavours and consistent quality. Its filler is made from Nicaraguan Ligero tobaccos such as Estelí, Condega, and Jalapa. Yet, it’s far from an overbearing experience.
Expect deeply gourmand notes such as cocoa nibs and creamy coffee with a toasted brioche finish. The Melanio V is indeed an affordable luxury cigar that can add a kick to your New Year.
We’re particularly fond of the Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 and its rich 12-year old Honduran Maduro broadleaf wrapper. Thanks to its sweet flavour profile consisting of caramelised notes of coffee, cocoa, and hints of spice, it’s a wonderful nighttime cigar for the winter.
The Toro is elegantly presented with a long, box-pressed format that looks perfect in a formal setting. It’s also surprisingly versatile for pairing with a variety of beverages so don’t be scared to experiment.
First released in 2006 to mark Zino Davidoff’s 100th Anniversary, the Diademas is a rare cigar that’s in great demand. Occasionally, there are a few that are released or make a brief appearance on the market, though.
Its composition is quite mysterious. We do know that the wrapper is Ecuadorian Habano seed. Otherwise, the filler is composed of five different varieties of Dominican tobacco. As for the binder, this is made from 1992 and 1993 vintages of Tabadom’s best harvests in the Dominican Republic.
When we tried the beastly Diademas, it took us 3 hours and 25 minutes from start to finish. However, not once did we get bored or tire of its harmoniously balanced flavours that offered notes of cream, citrus, milt chocolate, and salted caramel.
If you’re looking for an experience you can start at 9pm on the 31st December and finish at half midnight on the 1st of January, we would only seriously consider this one.
While not quite as eccentric as the Diademas from Davidoff, the Opus X double corona is another large cigar that you can enjoy for several hours. It is, unfortunately, just as challenging to find. Nevertheless, there are retailers that do sell it. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to acquire an entire box.
Furthermore, it’s a Dominican puro and more full-bodied than the Diademas listed above. Instead, you’ll experience salted caramel and elegant notes of cognac, which go wonderfully with the winter atmosphere of New Year’s Eve.
We believe that the Widow Maker from Gurkha is something of an unsung hero. Not only is it not particularly well-known but it offers phenomenal value for money given its modest price.
While we wouldn’t call it vulgar, we confess that the band is a little too bling for our tastes. Yet, beneath it hides 10-year old Connecticut broadfleaf wrapper, an 8 year-old Cameroon binder with 8-year old Dominican Habano filler.
Overall, the Widow Maker is a wonderfully full-bodied experience that will set the scene perfectly for your final night of the year.
What Types Of Cigars Go Well With New Year’s Eve?
A new year’s cigar is an annual tradition for both enthusiasts and even many very occasional smokers. Indeed, some people will only have a cigar once a year on New Year’s Eve. Whether you’re a regular cigar smoker or not, this guide will help you in deciding the sort of cigar that best fits the occasion.
Firstly, we considered the various scenarios where we would have a cigar for New Year’s Eve:
Post-dinner evening cigar on the 31st December.
Cigar through midnight.
Celebratory cigar just after midnight on the 1st January.
Of course, some particularly zealous cigar smokers may decide to have all three. Nevertheless, most people will likely just settle with one or two at most.
Being Aware Of The Setting
We’re particularly fond of starting a cigar around 11pm so that we finish just before 1am on the 1st January. However, some people may find that somewhat awkward at the strike of midnight.
Otherwise, it largely depends on your personal beliefs and whether you want to celebrate the year that is ending or the new one just as it starts.
Finally, it’s also important to consider the context of where the cigar is being smoked. If it’s a large social gathering, will cigars be permitted indoors or will there be an outdoor space to enjoy it without any complaints?
If outdoors is the only option, would this essentially ostracise you from the main event and would you be okay with that?
Alternatively, it may be a quiet family event or with some close friends. Would a cigar interrupt the festivities and prevent you from making the most of your time with your loved ones?
Although we’re staunch supporters of our rights to smoke cigars, it’s still important to take the above into consideration. Otherwise, we strongly believe that any time is appropriate for a cigar!
Choosing The Right Cigar Size
Once you’ve decided when and potentially where you will enjoy your cigar, the next thing to consider is its size. Also known as the vitola, the cigar’s size and shape will not just affect the total smoking time but sometimes the flavours too.
As you’ll notice in the list above, we’ve recommended a few larger cigars. This is because we would want to choose something that can be enjoyed throughout most of the festivities and well into the night.
However, if you want something that doesn’t need such a commitment but can still be enjoyed, there are a lot of smaller vitolas at your disposal. Naturally, not every cigar is available in every vitola but there are usually some small, medium, and large choice.
Choosing The Body & Flavour Profile That Suits You
When compiling this list, we’ve taken into account the time of day, the season, the celebratory context as well as the smoker’s level of experience with cigars. We actually crossed referenced several existing guides to determine the best ones for New Year’s Eve.
Firstly, the time of day plays a fundamental role in finding the most suitable cigar. We tend to opt for milder cigars earlier in the day and transition towards fuller-bodied ones as we progress.
This is actually because our palates and olfactive nerves are more sensitive in the morning. As they gradually become sensitised to stimulus, we generally tend to prefer stronger flavours. This is apparent when you compare typical lunch and dinner dishes.
If you’re enjoying a cigar in the mid to late evening, you may prefer a milder blend than later at night. We especially recommend this if you’re having more than one.
Furthermore, certain types of blends tend to be more favourable during the winter period. As you’ll see in our guide to the best cigars for Christmas, most tend to offer spicier, warmer gourmand notes that are associated with the season’s atmosphere.
Similarly, your level of experience with cigars is quite important to keep in mind. If you’re not accustomed to smoking cigars, you may want to consider milder flavours that are easier to enjoy than bold, full-bodied blends.
Finally, the celebratory context is pretty significant when choosing a cigar too. After all, it’s a special occasion! Therefore, we sought to compile more luxury cigars than pleasant and affordable ones. Of course, this is simply a matter of perspective as some very affordable cigars can be exceptional too.
What Affects A Cigar’s Body & Flavour
Usually, the most reliable way to ascertain a cigar’s body (or even find the right cigar for you) is to simply ask a professional. If you’re not familiar with cigars, the best practice is to go to a brick-and-mortar shop to seek advice.
There are usually three things that will determine a cigar’s character: the tobacco varieties and their primings as well as their age.
Most people presume that dark, aged tobacco is the strongest. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Actually, maduro cigars weren’t always overly true until the industry starting blending that we as we came to expect it. Usually, older tobacco is more refined and complex with a touch of mellowness.
Primings & Varieties
As for the varieties, there are hundreds if not thousands that can be used for making cigars. In fact, there are more being created every day through hybridisation! Not all varieties used in a blend are even publicly announced either and retailers may only list their countries of origin.
Finally, the priming plays a fundamental role. This is because tobacco leaves are harvested in layers, which are referred to as primings. Earlier primings at the bottom of the plant tend to be quite mild and aromatic. Meanwhile, the higher primings are stronger with a high nicotine content.
Most cigars will feature a variety of primings in order to create a harmonious blend. However, some cigars may be made from a single priming to create a distinctive flavour.
If you’re someone who prefers a milder cigar, look out for varieties like Dominican Olor and Ecuadorian Connecticut while being opting for Volado and lower Seco primings.
Conversely, those looking for bolder experiences may want to consider varieties similar to Ecuadorian Sumatra, Nicaraguan Jalapa and Condega as well as Honduran Criollo. Additionally, you may want to try something with a presence of Ligero primings from the top of the plant.
New Year Cigar Pairings
While you’re enjoying your cigar during the festivities, you’ll likely want to pair it with some sort of refreshment. Although not each of the above cigars will accord nicely with everything at your disposal, there will always some options available.
Given that it’s New Year’s Eve, the chances are that the Champagne will be flowing. While this isn’t a particularly common pairing with cigars, some do marry quite well! Nevertheless, we would be careful in what we choose as Champagne can be rather delicate and easily overpowered by a cigar.
If you’d like to pair your cigar with Champagne, opt for one of the milder options. Out of the options listed above, the Hoyo de Monterrey San Juan would be the best choice with the Romeo y Julieta Añejados just behind it. Otherwise, we would avoid a full-bodied cigar with Champagne.
Since the night may be long, you may prefer to stick to wine so you can pace yourself. In that case, some full-bodied cigars would marry well certain red wines.
A few examples would be an earthy Fitou from the Languedoc-Roussillon with the JC Newman The American or a tannic Bordeaux Graves with the Davidoff Millennium. Alternatively, a playful Nuits-Saint-Georges Bourgogne Pinot Noir would be quite pleasant with the Montecristo Línea 1935.
Otherwise, you might prefer alcoholic spirits, which are often the most recognised pairings for cigars. If this is the case, you will have ample room to manoeuvre with the opportunity to experiment with various whiskies, rums, or other liquors like brandy or cognac.
How Did We Rank These Cigars?
As mentioned above, many of the cigars featured here were assembled by cross-referencing related guides to ensure that we provided a level of consistency. However, we also noted that we took into account other factors like the celebratory context.
Nevertheless, all the cigars featured in these guides have been compiled using a database that we’ve been developing since 2017. After years of tweaks and adjustments after consulting industry experts, we debuted the Bespoke Unit Cigar Formula with our review of the Avo Nicaragua in August 2019.
For us, we use the Cigar Formula as a database to keep track of our reviews and our samples. However, it also serves as a review matrix for our readers so that they can understand how we evaluate them.
We often found the scoring system of many publications somewhat irksome. Oftentimes, the scores feel quite arbitrary and are only ever between 85 and 95 out of 100. With our system, we sought to create something that used the full 100-point spectrum in a quantifiable way.
We’re particularly proud of the result, which we use for every test and review but can also be downloaded by our readers to use at home. Even if we don’t formally review a cigar, we keep its Formula on record so that we can refer to it when compiling guides like this one.
Firstly, did we miss anything out? Feel free to let us know in the comments below! Otherwise, now that you’ve seen the best cigars for New Year’s Eve, why don’t you also check out our related guides below?