Yesterday we looked at number five, four, and three on my list. Today we look at the top two cigars of the year on my list. These were a tough pick for me. There were some others out there that were simply fantastic, but the following two, to me, embodied uniqueness, bold flavor, and top value to the consumer.
#2 El Primer Mundo Liga Miami: El Primer Mundo is a small boutique manufacturer down in Georgia who utilizes the skills of El Titan de Bronze to do much of their production work. This boutique company has really hit home in some big ways this year with me in the release of their Liga Miami cigar and Epifania. Sean Williams, head of El Primer Mundo, has done an excellent job in creating a cigar that is full of flavor, complexity, and value. It is one cigar I have constantly recommended to friends and customers alike when they ask about what’s new and worth trying.
The Liga Miami employs a sun grown wrapper from Ecuador and a binder filler combination of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos including some ligero filler for potency. The combination of these tobaccos produces a cigar that is not only spicy, but wonderfully smooth and sweet as well. There is an ample creamy smoke production quality in the Liga Miami and a sweetness akin to nutmeg that pairs wonderfully with the spice to create a smoke traditionally associated with a Connecticut cigar, but with a lot more strength and character.
I’m not afraid to admit my affinity for a well constructed Connecticut, so it was my great pleasure to find a cigar that had the best pleasant characteristics of a Connecticut wrapped up in the fuller bodied package of the sun grown Liga Miami. If you’re a fan of sweetness and strength, then it doesn’t get much better than this cigar my friends, especially for the sub-ten value it offers in price.
#1 La Flor Dominicana Cameroon Chiesel or Lancero: This year was a great year for LFD! I can’t think of a brand that has consistently impressed me more this year in crafting wonderfully powerful cigars that are tempered by great flavor. It has been said by some that Nicaraguan tobacco is for men and Dominican tobacco is for boys, but LFD goes a long way in showing that Dominican tobacco can pack a real punch.
In all honesty it was hard to choose my favorite LFD from the year, but at the end of the day the Cameroon chisel or lancero format stood out. Everyone has their palate preferences and I am certainly no different, and for me nothing beats a strong cigar with mild spice, and full flavor especially in the sweetness and wood categories.
The La Flor Dominicana cameroon wrapped lancero and chisel do just that. Bold strength and flavor intermingle to create a powerful cigar that is at once strong, but also amazingly sweet. It has the hallmark sweetness of a cameroon cigar, but the traditional strength of an LFD cigar, especially in the lancero format. The lancero format for my money is the best cigar in that it heightens and displays not only what the wrapper is capable of, but it also showcases the strength and the balance of those two factors coexisting in harmony. Its really everything that I think a great cigar should be: flavorful, bold, and a great value, that is why the La Flor Dominicana cameroon chisel and lancero are number one on my list this year!
So that is it my friends, my top five for the year. Will it be everyone’s favorite? No, because palates and preferences are a personal thing, but those who have been on this journey with us for a while now and find an affinity to my palate preferences will hopefully find a great use for this list. As I stated there were many great cigars this year and it was very difficult to choose my top five, so the following are some quick honorable mentions.
Best Re-launch Cigar- The OSA by CAO: A lot of critics were planning to write of CAO’s new line as a failed attempt at carrying on a brand they couldn’t maintain with a giant like General behind the wheel. Thankfully that was not the case and the release of the CAO OSA was not only a great step in the right branding direction, but also a damned good cigar. It has a wonderful medium body that exudes a nice balance of spice and wood notes. Bottom line, General has done a great job in their recreation of the CAO line.
Best of the Bundles: It’s a toss up between Matt Urbano and C&C cigars. Both offered affordable, well constructed cigars that were tasty, balanced, and amazingly constructed given their bundle heritage. Matt Urbano is constantly one of our favorite up-and-comers around the Cigar Brief water cooler, and we are excited to see what he continues to do with his premium lines and bundle lines. C&C, i.e. the resurrection of the brother’s Chiusano, is a brand set to do great things in the marketplace and they do it by keeping their traditional value mantra of creating great sticks at low price points.
Best it Should be Number One, but Let’s Face It For that Much Money it Should be that Good: No Surprises here, just the usual suspects of Padron Anniversary and the Fuente Opus X Lost City. They could easily be on most people’s top ten list for the following reasons: excellent taste, scarcity, construction, complexity etc… But let’s face it, the reason they are consistently exceptional is because they are simply using the best of the best aged tobaccos and proprietary production techniques.
The Padron 85th Anniversary was immaculately constructed, tasty, and for my money better than the last year or two, especially in the maduro version. I guess the main difference to me versus prior years was the balance of the strength and its quiet power. The strength from foot to cap was always present and gently there to remind you of its potency, but never too much to overwhelm or sour the moment. This quiet strength to me complemented by its rich flavors garners it an honorable mention.
The Opus X Lost City Lancero is quite possibly one of my favorite, if not favorite cigars of all times. It finds a perfected balance between wood notes, sweet notes, and subtle spice notes while all the while exuding a quiet power that is a hallmark of an aged Opus cigar. I really can’t speak highly enough about this cigar and if you want to read my full review, then you can find it here.
Best Bang for your Buck Cigar: This category goes handedly to Torano for their Loyal line. It is a fantastic medium body cigar with lots of character and flavor. The best part of this cigar of course is its sub-five dollar price point in many states, making it one of the best bargain cigars around that could still be considered premium in taste.