Boisdale’s resident cigar man runs the rules over some of his best recent Cuban and New World smokes…

The 100 point scoring system explained:
10 points for appearance
15 points for construction
10 points for combustion
60 points for flavour and finish
5 points for value for money

Romeo y Julieta Belicosos

NB – 5 ½ ins x 52 Ring Gauge
RRP around £20


What a delightful surprise this stick was on a stinker of a London day. I’d forgotten my brolly, ruined a perfectly serviceable pair of shoes and generally had an awful day until I stole into Davidoff of London for some respite. Here I discovered this 10-year-old R&J which eased all my problems into indifference. Rich, smooth, leathery and deeply satisfying.

Tatuaje Café Noellas

NB – 5 1/8 ins x 42 Ring Gauge
RRP around £13


alongside a Dutch canal as I wandered through the maze of streets, markets and food stalls that is Amsterdam. It looks like a Cuban Montecristo, even down to the band, but tastes a lot more earthy to my palate. Those rich, chewy, spicy flavours so typical of the country were in every puff and a delicious counterpoint to the hot coffee I sipped while I watched ice skaters behind the Van Gogh museum.

Bolivar Tubos No.3

NB – 5 ins x 34 Ring Gauge
RRP around £10


This one took me back. I remember popping these like sweets many years ago at a wedding aboard a Thames cruise. The little humidor on board had a hefty stock, so a pal and I tried one then came back for a few more to see us through. The one I smoked in early 2017 was similar to my memory; not as full as many Bolivars but deep in flavour and surprisingly complex in development. Back then it was the perfect punctuation to Battersea Power Station slipping past by moonlight, and judging by this example, I suspect it still is.

Davidoff Year of The Rooster

NB – 6 ¾ ins x 50 Ring Gauge
RRP around £50


A hefty stick with a hefty price tag and while it didn’t live up to the ethereal splendours of the recent Davidoff Art Ltd Edition cigars I’ve enjoyed, it was still a wonderful example of the cigarmaker’s art. Initially sweet and woodsy, in turns turning peppery and spicy, it finished with quite a hefty punch as I enjoyed it after a hedonistic lunch at Mayfair’s Oriental Club.

Montecristo Edmundo

NB – 5 1/3 ins x 52 Ring Gauge
RRP around £20


Ah, how I’ve always treasured the Monto Edmundo. When it first came out it was spectacular; medium to full with a lip-smacking tang familiar of its Marque and unfailingly satisfying. But for some reason it fell off my radar. And after a gargantuan meal for the convention of Boisdale Life Editors recently at Belgravia, I staggered onto the cigar terrace and ordered one. It was as if I’d never left it and a wonderful way to end a wonderful lunch. As it was, I wandered off, got chatting to someone else, forgot my phone and bar bill and weaved my way home. Sorry Ranald and Harry, but if you will throw such sterling lunches…

Macanudo Inspirado petit piramide

4 ½ ins x 52 Ring Gauge
RRP around £10


Macanudo were renowned for being America’s best-selling cigar and for being universally mild. Not sure if the former is still the case, but the latter certainly isn’t, for this stubby little torpedo was a pleasant surprise enjoyed on a shooting break in the Northampton countryside. Several pheasants to the good and the dog working well for once, I took the parting of the clouds and the arrival of watery sunshine as an omen for a cigar and duly fished this one out of a tube I’d secreted earlier. It’s bold for sure, featuring Honduran, Nicaraguan and Dominican Republic leaves as it does, but is also remarkably ‘smokeable’. Fullish in flavour, it also weathered the breeze well and served me well into the next drive where I proceeded to botch the birds that came my way and thereby revert to form. And the dog ran off with someone else’s pheasant.