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Best Of The Best 2006: Object Of Obsession

Richard Carleton Hacker

Mike Butera’s perfectionism is ap­parent in the handful of collectible pipes he carves each year. It also is evident in the premium cigars, Butera Vintage Select, that Altadis rolls for him, using tobaccos that he selected from the vast inventory of the world’s largest cigar company. The wrapper is a decade-old Brazilian Mata Fina, which imparts cocoa and spice flavors. The filler—made from Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Jamaican tobacco—softens that flavor, and the Nicaraguan binder accents it. Most cigars are aged three to six weeks, but Butera matures his for eight to 12 weeks, allowing the flavors to blend further. While many cigars are stored with their tobaccos having 6 percent moisture contents, Butera’s Vintage Select has a 12 percent moisture content, which he believes enables the tobacco to retain more flavor. He even humidifies his raw cedar boxes so the cedar aroma permeates the tobacco. “If anyone doesn’t like that cedar aroma,” Butera says, “I’ll take back the cigars and replace them, because those cigars are the best ones.”

Butera International
713.468.8828

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