FrontRunners: Select Smoke
Cusano Cuvée Grand is the first of what Cusano (www.cusanocigars.com) expects to be a line of Cuvées, with a new size and perhaps a different blend appearing each year as the previous year’s version is discontinued. This year’s Cuvée is a graceful-looking 7 x 40 Lancero. The company will produce only 17,000 sticks. The Cuvée’s Ecuadoran wrapper sheathes a Mexican-grown Sumatran binder and filler tobaccos from Honduras and the Dominican Republic. The leathery, well-aged wrapper mellows the spicy notes of the robust filler tobaccos to create the most complex blend of flavors yet from this brand. The cigars come in numbered boxes of 20, which are priced at $240 each.
Cigar cutters from the Xikar Havana Collection (www.xikar.com) combine technical distinction with a delightful visual aesthetic, and no two are alike. Artisans paint the handles in one of five colors, overlay them with pieces of cigar bands, and then apply multiple coats of clear varnish. The stainless steel blades, in Xikar’s signature teardrop shape, deliver a precise, gentle cut. Each cutter costs $300 and comes with a stingray leather sheath.