2023 Contenders

2023 Contenders for Cigar of the Year Announced!

The 2023 Contenders for Cigar of the Year have arrived! The anticipation is over, and the stage is set for The Cigar Authority’s most coveted honor—the Cigar of the Year. With stringent criteria in place, the contenders for 2023 have been meticulously chosen, representing the pinnacle of excellence in the world of cigars. Let’s delve into the top 10 contenders vying for the prestigious title. You can purchase the contenders pack here: https://www.2guyscigars.com/contenders-pack

1. Artista Midnight Robusto

Artista Midnight is Artista’s first premium full-bodied cigar. Featuring a dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. A Connecticut shade binder offers sweetness and the filler tobaccos from three countries impart an incredible flavor profile.The full bodied Artista Midnight features deep, rich, earthy notes of coffee, spice, and chest- nut with a citrus finish

2. Aganorsa Rare Leaf Maduro

Aganorsa Leaf  Rare Leaf  is covered in a dark San Andres wrapper. The cigar is rounded out with two Nicaraguan binders (Jalapa and Esteli) and fillers from Nicaragua as well.According to Terrence Reilly of Aganora Leaf, “Aganorsa Rare Leaf Reserve is a truly powerful expression of Aganorsa tobacco and one I haven’t experienced before. This blend will make you sit up and pay attention while smoking or, as we say at Aganorsa, validating.

3. HVC Seleccion No. 1 Podersosos Habano

Selección No. 1. is the first brand from their new factory and it is available in three sizes in two different wrappers. The original utilizes a Mexican San Andres wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Estelí and Jalapa, Nicaragua which results in a full bodied cigar that delivers notes of mocha, espresso, earth and a slightly spicy finish.

4. E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Confidant

For the release of the E.P. Carrillo Allegiance they decided to work with Oliva Cigars from Nicaragua. Allegiance was blended by Ernesto using Oliva’s world famous tobaccos and is produced outside of Tabacalera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic where is sees it’s production occur in Nicaragua. Allegiance is described as a medium to full bodied cigar that is both complex and flavorful offering the smoker notes of spice, nut, sweetness and a slight hint of black coffee.

5. Aging Room Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato

In 2019 Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua was released to high praise. Now 4 years later brand owner Rafael Nodal has composed it’s sequel in Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata. Rafael found his inspiration in some of the greatest composers such as Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven to create what he believes is the cigar equivalent of a sonata. This Nicaraguan puro is made at AJ Fernandez in Nicaragua and is milder then it’s predescessor.

6. Red Anchor Captain

Red Anchor was the first registered Trademark for a cigar shop (1770) and later the first cigar brand in history (1772). In 2022 Red Anchor’s celebrated its 250th Anniversary. Red Anchor officially launched once more as United Cigar partnered with the Kelner Family. The Kelner family has not only had a wonderful and impressive history of cigar making in the Dominican Republic, but their roots are from Holland where Red Anchor began.

In 2023 The Captain joined the fleet. This medium bodied cigar features an Ecuador Habano wrapper over Dominican Monte Plata binder with fillers consisting of San Vicente, Habano ’92 and Pennsylvania Broadleaf.

7. West Tampa Red Toro

“West Tampa Red gave me the opportunity to sit down with the factory and really focus on creating a blend that I enjoy,” said brand owner Rick Rodriguez. He would add, “Normally when I blend cigars, I don’t blend for what I like, I blend cigars for what my fans enjoy. Red will be a reflection of what I believe is the next piece to lay in the West Tampa puzzle, a full-bodied cigar that delivers the full flavor consumers have come to enjoy from West Tampa.”

8. Kristoff Guardrail Robusto

The Kristoff Guardrail has a story like no other in the cigar industry. Glen Case, owner of Kristoff Cigars,  an avid motorcyclist was Oklahoma for an event in 2019. While in Oklahoma he was riding when his back tire gave way causing him to crash into a guardrail. The accident landed him in the hospital with some pretty serious injuries that has hospitalized for over a week.

Glen Case has turned this near death experience into a line as a tribute to his second chance at life. This medium bodied cigar features a dark Brazillian wrapper over Dominican binder and fillers from Zimbabwe (Africa) and the Dominican Republic.

9. Micallef Black Toro

Blended by Micallef Cigars’ master blenders, Joel and Edel Gomez-Sanchez, the new cigar adds a full-bodied smoke to the Micallef portfolio. Three years of dedicated effort and strategic planning culminated in creating the Micallef Black. An all-in approach was adopted, making substantial investments in high-grade tobacco while concurrently escalating production at the Micallef Cigars factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. The commitment and diligence to achieve an annual production milestone of 1 million cigars underscore the brand’s unwavering growth and success.

10. United Toro

United was given an enhanced blend in 2023 that uses Dominican Broadleaf and tobaccos from the Quisqueya region of the Dominican Republic. Previously featured in a soft box press format, both the United Natural and Maduro blends will now be in the round format with the enriched blend moving forward. “This was a spiritual re-discovery of how beautiful Dominican tobacco can be,” said Oliver Nivaud, United Cigars Director of Operations. “Every bale we opened offered a new life to the blend.”

Experience the Contenders Yourself

Curious to taste the excellence embodied by these contenders? The 2023 Contenders Pack is your ticket to exploring the best cigars of the year. Visit https://www.2guyscigars.com/contenders-pack to get your hands on this exclusive collection.

Try the 2023 Contenders Pack, savor each blend, and let us know which cigar you believe deserves the title of Cigar of the Year!

2023 Contenders


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