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Habana Port’s Top 15 Cigars of 2011

Saludos,

Greetings, aficionados de la hoja! Just like in 2010, we have smoked some incredible cigars in 2011. Again, the cigar industry is at a point where the supply and demand are equal so that translates to a supply of high quality tobacco. It is a great time to be a cigar smoker as there are plentiful choices for great-tasting blends.

Once more, it was a challenge for our staff at Habana Port to organize this year’s Top 15 Cigar Rankings. We smoked and smoked and finally ranked the top 15 fine cigars that are available in our humidor (with the exception of La Flor Dominicana & a few others which are a limited or one-time run). We also based our decisions according to what our customers bought and enjoyed the most so this list is not entirely what our staff personally smoked. Take a look at the list and see what you think. We hope you agree with our choices.

NOTE: This list is more of a summary and we will update this post next week with pictures and more details.

Dimensions: 6 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaragua

Our top choice comes from a company we think has transcended into the top tier of the cigar world. 2011 was a fantastic year for Alec Bradley and it seemed every line they released this year has been a homerun. The Black Market especially was outstanding. When we smoked it for the first time at the cigar trade show in Las Vegas this past summer, we knew it was going to be an instant classic. Right off the bat, this cigar has a complex flavor profile exhibiting notes of earth, dark espresso, wood and cocoa. This cigar is rolled beautifully and smokes evenly. Come in and try the cigar we consider the best of 2011 (and many customers agree, too).

No. 2 – Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Exclusivo Maduro

Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua

No. 3 – Angelenos Gran Toro

Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador

No. 4 – La Flor Dominicana Colorado Oscuro No. 4

Dimensions: 5 1/4 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Ligero Sumatra

Our number 4 cigar comes from La Flor Dominicana, the cigar-maker who created the boutique movement. His Colorado Oscuro line only comes out twice a year and we were even lucky to get one 50-count box (even though we ordered more). Using a Ligero Sumatra-seed wrapper from Ecuador, the No. 4 was rich, tasty and just plain awesome! Another balanced smoke, there is earth, a bit of spice and a slight chocolate note. These ran out fast and unfortunately we won’t know when they will hit our shelves again.

No. 5 – Padilla La Terraza Maduro Toro Grande

Dimensions: 6 x 60rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro

Can’t spend too much money on a high-quality smoke but want a tasty cigar? Well you’re in luck. Ernesto Padilla has blended a stellar smoke that costs under $5. He told us that the La Terraza line was his hardest blend to create up to this point in his career. Why? It was difficult to create a rich and flavorful cigar without spending big money on the tobacco. Many customers have agreed with us by proving it with their wallets. The Padilla La Terraza Maduro Toro Grande has been a big hit and we agree. Toasty, sweet notes dominate the blend but it is very clean. As a result, the cigar rounds out our Top 5.

No. 6 – Viaje White Label Project (St. Patrick’s Day Edition)

Dimensions: 5 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Candela (but unknown country of origin)

No. 7 – E.P. Carillo New Wave Connecticut Brillantes

Dimensions: 5 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

No. 8 – Tatuaje Black Label Petite Lancero

Dimensions: 6 x 38rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Criollo ’98)

The Tatuaje Private Reserve (Black Label) used to be Pete Johnson’s private blend. That was until news came of them being available to the public in ceramic jars in early 2008. Even though the Black Label’s blend remains a secret, it is known to be a Nicaraguan tobacco blend. The Tatuaje Black Petite Lancero was released in Summer 2011 and comes packed 25 to a black wooden jar. Measuring 6 inches by 38 rg, the Petite Lancero is very flavorful and is recommended only for connoisseurs. It has an earthy and slightly cherry note (especially midway into the smoke). The Tat Black definitely deserved a coveted spot in our annual Top 15 Cigar List.

No. 9 – Cain F 654T

Dimensions: 6 x 54 (Torpedo)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua

No. 10 – Toraño Vault (Blend A-008) Torpedo

Dimensions: 6 1/8 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

The Toraño Family Cigar Company introduced their newest blend called the Vault at the cigar trade show in July. The Vault originated from the family’s cigar “blend book” which was started by Carlos Toraño, Sr. in 1982. The blend book, which is now almost 30 years old, has a record of every blend concept the Toraño family has ever worked on. Among the blends recorded are many which the family has released over the years, together with some blends which were deemed to have tremendous potential, but fell short of the family’s high expectations. This book has come to symbolize the Toraño’s blending expertise, creativity, and is now securely stored in a safety deposit box in a bank vault. The blend known as A-008 is medium to medium-strong and exhibits notes of earth, leather spice and cream. Very complex, this is definitely one to try.

No. 11 – A. Fuente 8-5-8 (Natural)

Dimensions: 6 x 47rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon

No. 12 – Nestor Miranda Art Deco Robusto Grande

Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Corojo ’06)

No. 13 – Perdomo Exhibicion Connecticut Torpedo

Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut

No. 14 – J. Fuego Sangre de Toro Toro

Dimensions: 6 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun grown Corojo

No. 15 – JFR Corojo Titan

Dimensions: 6 x 60rg (Torpedo)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Corojo 1999

JFR (Just For Retailers) is a naked premium cigar made by Casa Fernandez (Tabacalera Tropical) and is found only in brick-and-mortar shops. This has been a popular smoke with our customers and deserves a spot in our Top 15. The Corojo Titan is a medium-to-strong blend with hints of earth and leather. This pig-tail cap cigar is another popular 6 by 60 format. Packaged naked and 50 to a box, you should try the JFR Corojo Titan if you enjoy fuller-bodied smokes.

Honorable Mentions

Five cigars who do not make the Top 15 list but definitely deserve praise make our Honorable Mentions List. These cigars are also fantastic and deserve a light if you have not had one. Congratulations to these and all the cigars who made our Lists. And to you smokers, let us know what you think of these cigars!

Honorable Mention – Jaime Garcia Super Gordo

Dimensions: 5 3/4 x 66rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Honorable Mention – Tabacum Toro Gordo Maduro

Dimensions: 6 x 60rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Honorable Mention – Tabak Especial Negra Corona

Dimensions: 4 3/4 x 46rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Honorable Mention – Alec Bradley Fine & Rare

Dimensions: 6 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduras (Trojes)

Honorable Mention – La Flor Dominicana Cameroon Cabinet Chisel

Dimensions: 6 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ligero Cameroon

Until the next post, siempre fumando,
Habana Port

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