Shawn’s 2014 Cigars of the Year

2014 has been quite a year and has moved on by in leaps and bounds. This year has had its ups and downs with the family, friends and cigars. My focus over the last months have been on my family and trying to spend more time with them. My daughter will be four in February and is a handful, but one well behaved toddler and I enjoy every minute I can have with her. I’ve had friends and family pass away or injured seriously this year that really made it sink in that I was needing to spend more time with those close to me. With that being said, NTA has somewhat suffered in the lack of reviews and news that I wanted to get out. I apologize, but hope you all understand. Thanks for sticking with NTA and not giving up on our love for cigars.

Over the last few years, the making of my Cigars Of The Year list was quite a task and usually took a week or better of thinking and trying to remember the cigars that stood out that year. My camera on my phone was a handy tool for this scrolling through numerous cigar pictures but there was no way to remember how good or great they were. This year I started a spreadsheet on my computer with the names of the cigars I smoked with a 0-5 rating in .25 increments. I don’t use ratings in my reviews as I just describe the flavors and experiences of the cigar and whether I like it or not. There were quite a few cigars with 4s and a handfull with 2s and below. A few cigars that came out this year I didn’t care for, but they saw a lot of rage for them on social media. This just shows you that taste is very subjective and what I like, you or another cigar reviewer may totally hate.

I wish I could do a list composed with all 2014 new releases, but there are quite a few that I couldn’t or didn’t get ahold of that I wanted to. Many were not sold locally or sold only online. I like to support the local shops, but next year I will have to venture more into online ordering to be able to try more new cigars. My list is composed from all the cigars I smoked in 2014. I made a plan to try to smoke as many new or cigars that I would normally pass up this year. I was fairly successful at the plan, but there are still quite a few I wished I would have tried. My “variety plan” worked out so-so. There were a few cigars that I usually pass up that I tried that were fairly tasty and a few I know why I passed them up in the past.

All that rambling over with here are my favorite cigars I smoked from 2014. The list is in no particular order, except with my Cigar Of The Year.

 

Runner Ups

My Father La Antiguedad Robusto

My Father La Antiquedad – I found this cigar at a B&M some 30+ miles from my house. I really didn’t have too high of hopes for it, but wanted to give it a shot seeing it was new, so I only grabbed one. One the way home, I toasted it up and was amazed by how good this cigar was! A lot of My Father Cigars are bold and strong with good flavors. This cigar hit me superbly that morning as it had great flavors in a package that wasn’t too strong. I wished I would have grabbed more when I was there the first time, but didn’t think twice to grab a few more the next time I was there.  

 

SAMSUNG

Curivari El Gran Rey Emperadores – This is one of those boutique cigars I don’t hear & see enough of. Not a strong kick in the pants type of smoke, but a great upper medium smoke that reminded me somewhat of a few Cubans I’ve had in the past. This is one of those cigars I kick myself in the rear for not buying enough of in 2014. This cigar is very box worthy and I hope to be able to grab a box in 2015.

 

Eiroa CBT Maduro Prensado

Eiroa CBT Maduro Prensado – Recommended by two great buddies Tom S. and Ben Lee, I wasn’t expecting this cigar to be all that great. I had mixed fealings from other Eiroa cigars in the past, but this cigar is their best showing to date. The other sizes are ok, but the Prensado is the one to look for.

 

La Palina Black Label

La Palina Black Robusto – La Palina cigars are ones that a pretty pricey in my book, but have never let me down in the past. When I came across the new Black label, there was no pondering on wether to buy it or not. I had pretty good results with the few maduro La Palinas in the past, but this one is one of the best. A great smoke thats worth the money and pairs well with a cup of dark roasted coffee.

 

Viaje Friends and Family OR – Back to my friend Armando who got a box of these from Viaje and never sold a single one! He gave one to each of his close friends and family (how fitting) and I was lucky enough to get one. I loved it then and was lucky enough to come across a box this year stashed at a B&M and grabbed a few for a steal. One of Viaje’s better showings; but like most Viaje LEs, they need age. This one had the age, so it was in its prime.

 

Ezra Zion Tantrum PA

Ezra Zion Tantrum PA – Ezra Zion is on top of their game for only being in the business a few years. They have cigars to fit almost any flavor profile likings. Some I like a good bit, others not so much. The original Tantrum is one of those cigars that I really enjoyed but wanted more. The PA is just the cigar that I was looking for and was happy to see a few of these on my doorstep. Read a full review here.

 

Quesada Heisenberg – The blend that kept us in the dark was one of the blends I couldn’t get enough of. I smoked quite a few of the smaller sizes and never had much complaints with them. I even liked this blend over Quesada’s 40th Anniversary!

 

Davidoff-Nicaraguan-Short-Corona-225x300

Davidoff Nicaraguan Short Corona – Who knew Davidoff would ever make a Nicaraguan cigar. let alone a great Nicaraguan cigar! Word is, is that it was one person’s job to create this blend and was ten years in the making; and it shows. Not too many Nicaraguan puros are this smooth. The price is like most Davidoffs and a little steep, but do you see any other Davidoffs on my list?……

 

Nomad S-307 Toro 1

Nomad S-307 – This is one of those cigars that I had been looking for, well not so much this cigar, but a Nomad cigar. I don’t see them all too much in my area and I don’t know why. This cigar was pretty impressive via flavors, construction and value.

 

Leccia Luchador El Hombre

Leccia Luchador El Hombre – Leccia hit the shelves by storm with the White and Black cigars. Most people liked the Black over the White, but I was the opposite. I enjoyed the smoothness of the White as the Black was a bit harsh to me. I was a little timid to try the Luchador, being a maduro from Leccia, but so glad I did. Way better than the Black or White. This is one of those “meat and potatoes” type of cigars in my book that everyone should try.

 

2014 Cigar of the Year

Crux Nimfamaniac Dark

Crux Nimfamaniac Dark – Who knew that a rough looking, interestingly named, dark lancero would be so good? (sarcasm) I tried it off of a recommendation from of the greatest tobacconists I know, Armando Ortiz from Crescent City Cigars. This was an awesome smoke and I enjoyed quite a few of these. The only thing I didn’t like about it, was it was too short (more sarcasm) and hard to come by at times. I smoked a handful of these cigars in 2014 and not one ever had a bad flavor, draw or construction issue; that is hard to come by in a lancero. With me being a lancero and dark flavor profile cigar lover, it was not too hard to decide on this being my cigar of the year.

Honorable Mentions

Recluse Amadius Robusto – One of the best boutique Connecticut cigars on the shelves today. Not too many Boutique companies are doing a Connecticut, something I wish more would do.

The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras – A nice meaty and dark smoke from The Crowned Heads. This cigar led way to other darker fuller smokes from Crowned Heads and has seemed to be a hit.

Joya de Nicaragua Red – There are not too many cigar blends that I like in each and every size made. This is one of them, not as powerful as its siblings, but has smooth flavors that I enjoyed in each vitola with a nice price point.

Crux Classic Robusto – This is the second Crux cigar to make it on my list this year. It was not as bold and dark as the Nimgamaniac Dark, but I enjoyed it as well. The “Classic” name is spot on with this cigar.

L’Atelier Selection Special – I got to admit, I don’t recall too much about this cigar. I smoked it pretty early in the year; but gave it high regards in my ratings spreadsheet. Pretty much every L’Atelier that I have had has been unique and a great smoke. I put it over the Tramp Stamp and Crystal Baller which puts it at the top of the L’Atelier list for me this year.

Best Value of the Year

SAMSUNG

Room 101 Big Payback – Room 101 has a plethora of blends on the shelves these days. Recently they have started reducing them (which is good and bad in my eyes). The Big Payback is an economical showing from Matt Booth and for the money, its a great smoke from either the 550, 660, or 770 size. For about $5-6 you can get a robusto that’s way better than many $8+ robustos. I can’t count on two hands how many of the Robustos I had this year and it was hard not to make this my cigar of the year seeing its a great value. This cigar never let me down as a good, solid, no frills cigar.

 

All Time Classics

Viaje Satori Zen (2010) – What can I say, the original release Satori is still one of my all time favorites. The Ayra came out this year and was good, but the OR Zen still takes the cake. I still have a box plus of these….

AVO LE10 – My annual birthday smoke that still gives me a great smoking experience after 4 years. One of the best AVO LEs that has came out in a while. I wish I would have bought more than one box.

A. Fuente Anejo Shark – A cigar that’s very sought after that smokes great fresh or even better with a few years age on them. I buy these every year with some to smoke fresh and some to smoke aged. My aged selection is getting better and bigger each year.

Reinado GER – This cigar will be one that I will smoke regularly if available to me. A bit stronger than the original Reinado but still has never let me down. Just waiting for the Petite Corona size in this blend.

Drew Estate Unico Serie Dirty Rat – Don’t get me wrong, the No.9 and T52 are great smokes and somewhat readily available. But the Dirty Rat is the one I will seek out and pay a bit more for. The size and flavors are one of DE’s best showings that I will always enjoy.



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Comments

Always love your list Shawn and this year was no exception. You and I definitely are in sync when it comes to All Time Classics.

Thanks Will. I appreciate that! I wanted to put them in the top cigars, but they would always be in my top list. So I decided to make a separate list.

I recently had a rant on the show about the proliferation of meaningless lists this year. Yours (and Coop’s) are exceptions. I like that you were clear on how you formulated it, and transparent with the whole thing. I dig it!

Thanks Kip, it means a lot coming from you. Maybe one year I will have it down to a top 10, but it is pretty hard with so many cigars being produced each year!

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