Happy New Year!!!
It is a new year, and it’s therefore time to try out some new cigars. Well, new for you, anyway. It’s part of the on-going treasure hunt that defines being a cigar enthusiast. You might find your new favorite. If not, you can go back to your old favorite with a greater appreciation. But the experience is always fun and valuable.
This is the time of year when “Best Cigars of the Year” lists come out. This is a good place to start. Cigar enjoyment is a personal thing, totally subjective, and no magazine or so-called “expert” or “experts” can tell you what you should smoke. But when multiple people with significant cigar experience believe a cigar is outstanding, that is data to process. They may be onto something you hadn’t considered.
This process begins with Cigar Aficionado, which employs a panel of cigar lovers to evaluate over 700 cigars, in multiple tastings, during the year. Their list is always insightful. We may not agree with all of the choices, but it’s usually a solid and sometimes astute list.
I believe they nailed it this year on the Top Two Cigars: 1, the Oliva V Melanio Figurado, a smooth, full-bodied cigar that we have been recommending since we first tried it;
Also included among the Top 25 were Padron 50th Maduro, Ashton ESG 22 Year Salute (which brand owner Robert Levin calls “the velvet hammer,” since it begins pretty mild and finishes with unexpected boldness), Montecristo Monte #2, Julius Caesar Robusto, My Father No. 2 Crema, San Cristobal Revelation Legend, and Liga Privado No. 9 Belicoso.
To review all of Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of the Year, please see http://top25.cigaraficionado.com/
A brief word about sizes. The Top Cigars of the Year lists typically indicate a particular size for each cigar chosen. This is because this size, whatever it is, happens to be the one their panel evaluated. And then, when the prominent lists come out, those specific sizes tend to fly off the shelves. Moreover, because of increased demand, they are typically back ordered when we try and replace them. Don’t worry about that. What is important is that you try the cigars, in any size you like or is available. It’s the same filler, binder and wrapper. Don’t be deterred in your mission because the exact size isn’t on the shelf!
Love a good bargain? (Who doesn’t?) Cigar Aficionado also provides a list of it’s Best Buys or Bargain Cigars of the Year. http://top25.cigaraficionado.com/best-buys-of-2014/ This list includes some that appear almost every year and also some new ones, such as Oliva G, O and Connecticut, Brick House and Tatuaje Tattoo.
There are any number of Best Cigars of the Year lists, and you probably don’t want to get bogged down in all that. But some highlights from some of the others, which we find instructive, are these:
- Cigar Journal No. 1 Cigar of the Year: New World from A.J. Fernandez, retailing at the remarkable price point of $5.75-6.50.
- Other Top Choices by Cigar Journal include Oliva V Melanio (this year’s Cigar Aficionado No. 1 Cigar of the Year), Padron 1964, Flor de las Antillas (a former Cigar Aficionado No. 1 Cigar of the Year) and Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro.
- Complete Cigar Journal list at https://www.facebook.com/CigarJournal
- Hogshead Cigar Lounge’s Top Cigars of the Year include some familiar names including Liga Privada #9, Padron 80 Year Maduro, Oliva V Melanio and A.J. Fernandez New World. Also Liga Privada Undercrown, kind of an under-the-radar cigar we have been recommending for a while.
Speaking of Flor de las Antillas, amidst all the excitement of new lists coming out each year, it should not be forgotten that this much lauded cigar from a couple of years ago is just as great this year.
Conclusion: For Heaven’s sake, try some of these cigars as soon as possible, in any size, in your continuing search for Cigar Excellence: Oliva V Melanio, E.P. Carrillo La Historia, Flor de las Antillas, Liga Privada #9 and Undercrown, New World from A.J. Fernandez, My Father and San Cristobal Revelation. Or any of the choices listed in this post. Feel like a splurge? Pick up a Julius Caesar, Ashton ESG or any high end Padron.
And let us know what you think. Or, if you have found a treasure that has eluded the “experts,” we’d like to hear about that, too.
Mike, Nancy, Brad & Tony