As has been mentioned on this website numerous times in the past, anniversaries tend to be a big deal in the world of cigars. A multitude of companies can point to 10-, 20-, or even 30-year anniversaries with pride—and rightfully so—as they release whatever line or brand they have created to commemorate the event. However, there are very few companies that have been able to celebrate 100 years or more in the cigar business.

In 2021, Topper Cigar Co. did just that by announcing it would be releasing the Topper 125th Anniversary Grande, a 6 x 52 toro that is made with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper covering a Dominican binder and Dominican, Nicaraguan and Pennsylvania broadleaf filler tobaccos. Although the cigar was announced in 2021—and was originally scheduled to be shipped that year— the release was pushed back until mid-2022 due to delays with the packaging.

Speaking of the packaging, the design of the boxes used for the Topper 125th is based on one of the oldest boxes in company owner Chris Topper’s collection, which he believes are from 1933-1935 given the NRA logo that is on the inside of the lid. Although there are clear similarities between the two versions—including replications of the seal and some of the warnings on the bottom—the newest incarnation was recreated for modern times, including a larger box, a slightly new color scheme and an added “125th Anniversary” logo.

The Topper 125th Anniversary Grande is made at De Los Reyes in the Dominican Republic and is packaged in 20-count boxes, with each individual cigar retailing for $12.50.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Topper 125th Anniversary Grande
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: De Los Reyes
  • Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua (Habano) & U.S.A. (Pennsylvania Broadleaf)
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $12.50 (Box of 20, $250)
  • Release Date: August 2022
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

While not as dark as some Connecticut broadleaf wrappers I have seen in the past, the reddish-brown wrappers covering each of the three Topper 125th Anniversary Grande cigars are exceedingly rough to the touch and feature a small amount of oil. There are also numerous thick, protruding veins, and two of the cigars have a large soft spot halfway between the main band and the foot. Aromas from the wrappers include strong cocoa nibs, sweet wood, earth, barnyard, leather and a touch of campfire, along with some light milk chocolate sweetness. Scents from the feet include generic nuttiness, hay, slightly sour earth, cedar, leather and vanilla beans. After a v-cut, the cold draws bring flavors of strong almonds and dark chocolate followed by leather tack, gritty earth, creamy cedar and raisin sweetness.

Starting out, the Topper 125th Anniversary Grande features distinct flavors of black pepper, espresso beans and light spice, all of which begin to fade into the background very quickly. Main flavors of cedar and gritty earth take over the profile early on, easily outpacing secondary notes that include not only the aforementioned espresso beans but also hay, sourdough bread, cocoa nibs, peanuts and light cinnamon. A combination of black pepper and raisin sweetness is present on the retrohale, although there is more of the former than the latter at this point in the cigar. Both the flavor and strength end the first third just under medium, while the body lags behind at mild plus. Other than a burn line that is a bit wonky at times, there are no issues with any aspect of the construction, as the draw, smoke production and burn are working together nicely so far.

A new combination of a floral note and dark chocolate becomes overtakes the earth and cedar flavors at the top of the profile, although the latter two notes are still very much a part of the experience. Additional flavors of toasted bread, peanuts, earth, cinnamon and leather show up at various points, while both the raisin sweetness and the black pepper on the retrohale have increased slightly. Flavor bumps up to just over medium, the body is just under medium and the strength hits a solid medium. In terms of construction, all three cigars run into burn issues that need correcting—see more below in the Final Notes—but the draws and smoke production continue on their excellent paths.

Unfortunately, the floral note that made the second third stand out has dissipated by the time the final third begins, and the combination of earth and cedar once again takes over the top spots in the profile. Secondary flavors include more cocoa nibs, roasted coffee beans, generic breadiness, peanuts and very light cinnamon, while the black pepper and raisin sweetness on the retrohale remain consistent. Flavor drops slightly to a solid medium, body remains just under medium and the strength ends the cigar just over the medium mark. Thankfully, the burns of all three cigars recover nicely and feature no more issues, while the draws and smoke production are great until I put the nubs down with about an inch remaining.

Final Notes

  • All three cigars featured excellent draws and plenty of thick smoke, and none of them needed any attention with my lighter during the first or final thirds. However, the second third was a different matter altogether: each of the cigars ran into enough of an issue to need at least one minor burn correction around the halfway point, and you can see the worst example above.
  • With that said, all three cigars quickly got back on track burn-wise after the second third was over and none had any problems that needed correcting after that.

  • Interestingly, the bands on each of the cigars had an extra piece attached to the inside back on the right side.
  • Final smoking time for all three cigars averaged one hour and 52 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
88 Overall Score

A history spanning 125 years is nothing to sneeze at, so I was looking forward to seeing what Topper came up with to commemorate its 125th anniversary. I found a cigar with a profile that is quite smooth for pretty much the entire time I was smoking, with a nice underlying creaminess interspersed with a touch of spice and pepper. A combination of a floral note and dark chocolate easily makes the second third the most enjoyable section of the cigar—even with the burn corrections that were needed—while the rest of the cigar features the same cedar and earth combination as the main flavors. Having said that, even a small increase in the amount of sweetness on the retrohale would do wonders for this blend. In the end, the Topper 125th is a worthy release to commemorate such a momentous occasion, especially for those that are looking for a well-balanced, medium-strength blend.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.