Okay, let’s get this out of the way before we get started. I have been a 49ers fan since an undisclosed date in the late 1970s. I watched 49ers games with my dad before I was able to speak or even put together a coherent thought. But it was the ’70s, so there is a good chance that I had a sip or two of beer during those games. You can almost picture it, right? In fact, I’d be willing to bet there’s a polaroid somewhere with me sitting on my dad’s lap while he’s helping me take a sip of Hamm’s. The ’70s may have been ugly, but they were fun.
Anyway, I’m a life-long 49ers fan. Make your jokes. You’re just jealous. You’ve been jealous since 1982 and I’m cool with that. And yes, I know, while they may be in the Big Game and playing for the Lombardi Trophy, they “have not beaten anyone good this year” and their 15 wins are a total mirage. I’m cool with that too. Haters, as they say, are gonna hate.
As the Big Game approaches, I have been thinking about what I am going to smoke on Super Sunday. We’re hosting at my house (yes, you’re invited—hit me up on Facebook for the address), so I don’t anticipate having time for more than one cigar. How am I supposed to pick just one cigar? It’s not every day that your team is playing on Super Sunday, so it has to be a special cigar. Therefore, I opened the vault and found seven finalists. I need your help picking one.
Tatuaje Monster Series The Frank
150-percent of you saw this one coming. Well, maybe not this particular cigar, but you knew there would to be a Tatuaje cigar on the list. The Tatuaje Monster Series is the stuff of legend. Pete Johnson created one of the most sought-after, limited-edition cigar releases when Tatuaje The Frank was released back in October of 2008. This 7⅝” x 49 behemoth was released in 13-count dress boxes. There were 666 total boxes. I like your style, Pete.
The Frank was the first in the series and has been released in a few smaller sizes (Frank Jr., Pudgy Frank, Skinny Frank, etc.), but we’re talking about the OG here. This classic is cloaked in a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, with binder and fillers from Nicaragua.
I’ve smoked smaller versions of this blend and I love it, but is it finally time to spark up the original?
- Cigars in Hand: 1
- Big Game Tie-in: In 2008, linebacker Patrick Willis was elected to his second Pro Bowl team in a season that included an interception returned 86 yards for the first TD of his career. I loved watching Willis play. He was one of those “game-changing” linebackers. His eight-year career included seven Pro Bowl appearances and five first-team all-pro selections. He was a beast.
Fuente Fuente OpusX Phantom
I have never claimed to be an expert when it comes to OpusX cigars. In fact, I don’t have a ton of experience with them. I’ve smoked several and have thoroughly enjoyed them, but I am not a collector. So it’s kinda strange that a super rare Opus would end up on this list. I’ve had this cigar since 2012. I obtained it in a trade with another member of the cigar media and he told me that this particular cigar was released in 2011. Beyond that, I don’t know too much about it. I do know that the band is red and gold and that feels right.
The stats on this cigar are almost as good as the 2011 49ers. Dominican Chateau de la Fuente Sun Grown Rosado makes up the wrapper, binder, and filler, and it checks in at 7½” x 41. Fuente cigars are unquestionably awesome and so are my Niners. I’ll say it again, this one just feels right.
- Cigars in Hand: 1
- Big Game Tie-in: In 2011, the Niners went 13-3 (sound familiar?), but they lost to the NYG in the NCF Championship game. Fun Fact: I was at Candlestick Park for that game. It was a heartbreaker.
Oliva O Maduro Oasis
The Oliva O has been around for a long time. The line started back in 2001. I was in college and I mainly used the internet to download music from Napster. My premium cigar days were about nine years away, but the Oliva O was already building a fanbase. There was the O Classic, O Bold, and O Maduro. All of these blends featured cloth bands. In 2004, those bands were replaced with paper and took on a look similar to what you see today. So, this particular cigar is anywhere from 17 to 19 years old.
This old-timer sports a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over binder and fillers from Nicaragua. It looks to be a standard 5″ x 50 robusto, but I can’t find record of that particular size. As I said, the web was only for pirating music back then, so the info on this cigar is spotty.
I’ve had this cigar forever and I have no idea where it came from. Is it finally time to smoke it?
- Cigars in Hand: 1
- Big Game Tie-in: The 2001 Niners went 12-4 under Steve Mariucci and lost to Green Bay in the Wild Card game. That team had six pro-bowlers, including Terrell Owens, Jeff Garcia, Garrison Hearst, and Bryant Young.
I, for one, completely forgot that this cigar existed. “But Rob,” you interject, “you LOOOOOOVE Illusione stuff and Dion is on your Mt. Rushmore of Cigar Blenders twice!” You are absolutely correct, astute reader. Yet, somehow, I forgot that Dion and Jonathan Drew joined forces to create a “Premium Cigar Voltron” back in 2010. Two giants of the industry getting together to collab on a project like this generated some serious buzz. Unfortunately, the cigar was not well received and the project was discontinued. Now they are about as common as a Cowboys Super Bowl ring.
The Nosotros is cloaked in a Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 wrapper, with a Connecticut Habano binder and fillers from Nicaragua (am I the only one who thinks Connecticut Habano sounds weird?). It was, apparently, available in every vitola imaginable. According to my research, it was available in EIGHT DIFFERENT SIZES. Yowza! The one I have in hand is the 7″ x 48 Churchill.
This is the one outlier in the group of cigars on this list. It’s not high-end or limited or anything like that. It’s a cigar that wasn’t commercially popular and, 10 years later, it has become a bit of a myth. It’s one of those cigars that we know existed at one time, but is rarely (if ever) seen in the wild. That’s a cool story, but does it make the cut? You tell me.
- Cigars in Hand: 1
- Big Game Tie-in: The 2010 Kansas City Chiefs went 10-6 and got smoked by the Ravens on Wild Card Weekend. In the third round of the 2010 draft, the Niners selected a linebacker out of Penn State named NaVorro Bowman. He went on to play in SF for eight seasons (missed all of 2014 with an injury) and was a three-time Pro-Bowler and a four-time First-Team All-Pro. This begs the question, how does one become a First-Team All-Pro and NOT get selected to the Pro Bowl?
Don Carlos Edición de Aniversario 2007
Another Fuente on the list? Well, this is the Big Game. This is where I resist the temptation to say “go big or go home.” It took a lot of will power to avoid that cliché.
I have zero idea where this cigar came from, but I know I’ve had it for several years. I have a few mixed boxes of “special occasion” cigars in my humidor and this Don Carlos has lived in one for awhile. Perhaps now is the time to smoke it?
The Edición de Aniversario was initially released back in 2006 by Prometheus. They were then re-released in 2008 and again in 2012. This particular cigar is the 2007 Double Robusto (5¾” x 52) that was released in May 2012. It sports the lovely Dominican Chateau de la Fuente Sun Grown Rosado wrapper over Dominican binder and fillers. It’s a pricy cigar that, from all accounts, is well worth the cash. It’s red and gold and oozes class, just like the Niners. Might this be the perfect smoke for Super Sunday?
- Cigars in Hand: 1
- Big Game Tie-in: Well… 2012 was the last time my boys played in the Big Game. They lost to Baltimore. It was a hellova game, but they lost. Is it bad juju to smoke a stick from 2012 before the game? Will it play the role of the young priest and the old priest and exorcise the demons?
CRAFT 2013 La Campaña de Panamá Soberana
Skip and Mike have changed the game, and they’ve done it multiple times. RoMa Craft has become a juggernaut in the cigar industry, and it did not happen by accident. Much like Liam Neeson, these guys have a very particular set of skills… and they’ve been killin’ it.
Back in 2013, they kicked off their CRAFT series with CRAFT 2013 La Campaña de Panamá Soberana. The CRAFT series has since become a highly sought-after limited release. This first release was available in 1,000 boxes of 10 and in a unique figurado (for lack of a better term) vitola. It sports both Ecuadorian Connecticut and Brazilian Arapiraca wrappers. If you’re doing your RoMa homework, you recognize those two wrappers (Intemperance series, anyone?). The Connecticut Broadleaf binder and Cameroon and Nicaraguan fillers look familiar too. There is a lot of RoMa cross-over in this blend and I suggest a quick google search if you’re interested in the entire backstory.
This cigar checks a lot of Super Sunday boxes. It’s limited and aged and from a fantastic manufacturer. It is a fun size and once I smoke this one, I’ll probably never get my hands on another. Is this the one?
- Cigars in Hand: 1
- Big Game Tie-in: The 2013 Niners went 12-4 in the regular season and made it all the way to the NCF Championship game. They lost a heartbreaker to the wildly hated Seahawks: 23-17. Uncoincidentally, I very much dislike Pete Carroll. The 2013 Chiefs went 11-5 and lost to the Colts on Wild Card Weekend. The Chiefs had a nice 2013 draft, landing Tackle Eric Fisher and tight end Travis Kelce in the first and second rounds, respectively.
Crowned Heads Headley Grange Drumstick
I’m pretty sure this was my 2013 Cigar of the Year. I was writing for another site back then and I was overflowing with love for this cigar. The Drumstick was an LE version of the Headley Grange line, with 1,500 boxes of 10 hitting the market in October of 2013. Full disclosure, I was gifted one box and bought three more. Yes, I loved this cigar. But I haven’t smoked one in at least four years.
The Drumstick is a lancer weighing in at 7½” x 38. It has an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over Nicaraguan binders and fillers. This cigar hails from the home of EPC Cigars, the Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. factory in the DR. Just like my Niners, this cigar has star power!
I have to be honest. I love this cigar and I’m going to smoke one soon. Will it be Super Sunday? I really don’t know. The 2013 Big Game tie-ins do not look good for my boys. Am I really that superstitious? I’m afraid I just might be.
- Cigars in Hand: 5
- Big Game Tie-in: The 2013 Niners were stacked. They sent EIGHT players to the Pro Bowl. Frank Gore, one of my all-time favorites, was selected to his fifth (and probably final) Pro Bowl at the age of 30.
I spent and afternoon “organizing” my humidor and these are the seven sticks I felt were worthy of the big stage. Why seven? Hello, have you watched football before? You know what a touchdown is? The first person to say, “Yeah, it’s six points,” will be kicked off the island. I do love a mixed metaphor.
So how do I choose? That’s the fun part. I don’t have to. You do. Cast your vote in the comments or make a post on social media. Tell me which cigar I should pick and why. I’ll pick my favorite answer and hopefully we can smoke together on Super Sunday!