With every cigar magazine finished releasing their version of the “Top Cigars” of 2014, I thought the subject would make good fodder for a short series of reviews.
Rather than go into my usual depth, I’ll keep these short and sweet. High points only, mostly because these cigars have no low points…
Now most lists feature cigars that were released in 2014, but I’m not one to follow the crowd. Only three of these cigars were actually introduced in 2014. Mea a culpa.
But, of all the cigars I smoked over the course of the year (156 different brands, just for the record…) these five are my favorites.
5. Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte Gigante (new in 2014)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano ligero
Binder: Connecticut-grown Habano
Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano, Nicaraguan
Size: 6” x 60
Thoughts: The combination of the Ecuadorian habano ligero wrapper with a habano binder from Connecticut really provides a nice spice to the aroma. Piloto Cubano is one of my favorite filler tobaccos providing a nice strength to the blend. The Extra Fuerte is a full-bodied smoke with great balance and a wonderfully complex aroma. My only wish with this cigar would be if they produced it in a corona format. This is a must try cigar for all full-bodied fans.
4. Padilla Reserva Corona (new in 2014)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian habano
Binder: Ecuadorian habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo
Size: 5” x 43
Thoughts: Back in the day, I cut my teeth on Padilla cigars. So much so, that I still go by the handle “PadillaGuy” on many cigar boards. And, of the Padilla blends I’ve smoked the new Reserva is one of my favorites. I’m a huge fan of corona-sized cigars as they offer one of the best vitola to really get to know a blend. The Ecuadorian habano wrapper on the Reserva natural delivers a pleasant spice with notes of pepper while the corojo and Criollo fillers add complexity and body. This medium bodied offering from Ernest Padilla and Oliva Cigar Company easily makes the Top 5…
3. Camacho Triple Maduro 11/18
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres maduro
Binder: Honduran Corojo maduro
Filler: Dominican, Honduran, and Brazilian maduro
Size: 6” x 54
Thoughts: I’m often asked what my “favorite” cigar is and my answer is always the same. And, while I don’t have a “favorite” or “go to” cigar, if I had only one cigar to smoke for the rest of my days, it would be the Camacho Triple Maduro, hands down. The Triple Maduro was the first cigar blended using all maduro tobaccos for not only wrapper and binder, but all filler tobaccos as well. Quite full bodied and very slow burning, the Triple Maduro was the cigar I choose to smoke while taking my Tobacconist Certification Exam and continues to be a cigar I cherish each time I smoke one. If you’re a full-bodied fan or a true lover of maduro cigars, you simply must try this cigar. Interesting side note… the 11/18 size was named for former Camacho Cigar head Christian Eiroa’s mother’s birthdate, November 18th…
2. Chillin’ Moose Corona by Foundry (new in 2014)
Wrapper: US Connecticut Habano Rosado
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican, Mexican San Andres, US Connecticut Broadleaf
Size: 5.2” x 45
Thoughts: It isn’t common for a sub-$4 dollar cigar to make any “top” list, but I’m not a common type of guy. Neither is the Chillin’ Moose from Foundry cigars a common cigar. For less than four bucks, you can pick up a Chillin’ Moose corona and find out what I mean. Produced by Michael Gianinni, creator of Foundry Cigars, the Chillin’ Moose may be the very best value in the cigar world. A gorgeous rosado wrapper covers a multi-nation blend of all long-filler tobaccos. This ain’t no mixed filler cigar! The body remains medium throughout the smoke while the blend delivers an amazing aroma and smooth smoke with a lingering finish. Comments usually associated with high priced sticks like OpusX? Yes. Price tag like an Opus? Not even close. Trust me, at this price point, you wont find a better deal, a more balanced smoke, or more unusual band art. Here’s to you Michael!
1. Vega Fina Toro
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Criollo
Binder: Indonesian TBN
Filler: Colombia, Honduras, and Dominican Republic
Size: 6” x 50
Thoughts: Many of you may never have heard of Vega Fina cigars, let alone tried one, so this #1 selection may come as a surprise to some, so let me explain.
Vega Fina in the number one selling, non-Cuban cigar in Europe. Surprised?
In fact, Vega Fina outpaces many Cuban cigars on the European market. Surprised yet?
No? Okay, how’s this…
Vega Fina is a true bargain brand coming in under $6 for the 6” x 50 toro? Yes, for less than six bucks US, you can smoke the cigar that outsells most Cuban cigars in Europe, where they can smoke any Cuban cigar they want!
Now, that all being said, it’s not the reason I would pick the Vega Fina toro over all the others, it’s the total package. The Vega Fina toro is a medium bodied smoke at best, which makes the cigar very approachable to all cigar enthusiasts, old and new. A beginner can easily enjoy this cigar equally as well as a discriminating aficionado.
The Vega Fina blend of spicy Mexican Criollo wrapper, subtly sweet Indonesian TBN binder, and rich tri-country filler blend combine harmoniously to deliver a smooth smoke that leaves the palate with a savory, long finish. The aroma produced by the golden brown Criollo wrapper grown in the volcanic soils of the San Andres region is delightfully spicy with a touch of pepper over a baking spice mix.
Vega Fina cigars are beautifully constructed, burn correctly every time, and have a consistency between cigars not often accomplished.
So, there you have them, my favorite cigars smoked in 2014. I’d encourage you to compare these cigars with what you normally smoke and to try one or two of these outstanding cigars. The year’s young!