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Habana Port’s Top 3 of 2018

Saludos,

Greetings cigaristas. We used to publish our Top 15 list annually since our inception but we realized that the debates among our staff were too heated. This year we decided to let each of our staff members decide for themselves. Another advantage to this system is that if you like to deal with a particular staff member and agree with his tastes, then his specific list may be more relevant to you. So the Top 3 picks for 2018 of each of our tobacconists is as follows:

Roberto Molina’s Top 3
1. Davidoff Master Selection #9
2. Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto
3. Lucy Anna Robusto

Arturo Molina’s Top 3
1. Campana de Panama Soberana by RoMa Craft
2. A. Fuente 8-5-8 Rosado Sungrown by A. Fuente
3. Moon Garden by Warped Cigars

Luis Molina’s Top 3
1. Oscar Valladares Ciseron Edition by OV Cigars
2. Crowned Heads Reserve 2018 by Crowned Heads
3. Sin Compromiso Seleccion No. 7 by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

Tredell Celestin’s Top 3
1. B2B Connecticut Robusto by Camacho/Davidoff
2. Padron Series 2000 Natural by Padron
3. Lunatic Habano Short Robusto by Aganorsa

Sam Rittenberry’s Top 3
1. Aquitaine Sabretooth by RoMa Craft
2. A. Fuente 8-5-8 Rosado Sungrown by A. Fuente
3. Moon Garden by Warped Cigars

Donovan Walker’s Top 3
1. A. Fuente Destino al Siglo Familia
2. Aquitaine Sabretooth by RoMaCraft
3. Murcielago La Lune by Espinosa Cigar

Until the next post, siempre fumando,
Habana Port

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Habana Port’s Top 15 Cigars of 2016

Saludos,
Greetings, aficionados de la hoja! For the 7th annual time the staff at Habana Port has compiled a list of what we think were the best cigars for the past year. Our Top 15 Cigar Rankings for 2016 was a challenge to choose because of the high standards the industry has set for itself. We smoked over 1,000 fine cigars and finally ranked the top 15 fine cigars that are available in our humidor (with the exception of a few which are small-batch occurrences or were one-time runs).
For the fourth year in a row, instead of an Honorables Mention List (we used to award this to cigars that would have ranked 16 to 20), we list our Top 5 Sellers according to both gross dollar sales and units sold. Take a look at 2016’s Rankings and see what you think. We hope you agree with our choices. If you are interested in buying these cigars, visit any of our locations or shop online at CigarEarth.com.
No. 1 – Las Calaveras 2016 LC54 (Double Robusto)
Dimensions:  5 1/2 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Dark
From Crowned Heads, Las Calaveras is an annual release that pays homage to those who have passed away. The first vintage was released in 2014. The 2016 blend is very complex with its dark-grade Connecticut broadleaf wrapper.
No. 2 – Maestro del Tiempo 6102R
Dimensions:  5 1/4 x 48rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
It should come as no surprise to our regulars that Warped Cigars is one of our favorite cigar companies. The small batch brand owner blends according to the old school Cuban philosophies and Maestro Del Tempo is no exception. The 6102R vitola was a limited run and tasted creamier than its normal counterparts. Unfortunately they sold out fast and we do not know if or when they will return to market. But if they do,  you should do yourself a favor and grab a few quickly.
No. 3 – Davidoff Yamasa Piramides
Dimensions:  6 1/8  x 52rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Yamasa  (Dominican Republic)
The Yamasa is the latest from the world’s most luxurious cigar company, Davidoff. The cigar line is named after the relatively new growing region that is in the Dominican Republic. The blend itself is about medium-plus in strength and has a woody and mineral profile to it that is rather pleasant and smooth.
No. 4 – Padron Serie 1926 No. 90 Maduro
Dimensions:  5 1/2 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Maduro
In honor of the 90th birthday of the company’s founder and patriarch, the Padron Number 90 is the first tubed cigar from the 50-plus year old company. In between a traditional robusto and toro size, this format will satisfy most cigar smokers. The maduro wrapper has a more complex profile with notes of evoking coffee, cocoa and almonds.
No. 5 – Casa Cuba Divine Inspiration
Dimensions: 6 1/8 x 47rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: N/A
Supposedly this was the last blend created by Carlos Fuente who headed Arturo Fuente Premium Cigars before passing away. The Casa Cuba line is a small batch production created to satisfy Opus X retailers in between droughts of the much sought-after line. The regular Casa Cuba sizes use an Ecuador Havana wrapper. This vitola smokes with a slight sweet and woody profile that is clean.
No. 6 – Guardian of the Farm Apollo
Dimensions: 6 x 44rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo 99
For the second year in a row Warped Cigars has placed two different brands in our Top 15 list. Their second one is called Guardian of the Farm which is supposedly named after the dogs that guard The Aganorsa farms that produce their Nicaraguan leaf. The Apollo much like the 6102R’s have a different blend from the regular sizes and has a very balanced profile of cream, coffee and nuts. Get these before they are gone as this was a limited run.
No. 7 – Mi Querida Mas Sucia
Dimensions:  7 x 64rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Steve Saka’s sophomore cigar is a Spanish word that translates to “my dearest.” The term is sometimes used in the Latin world for a secret mistress. Most Liga Privada fans have been waiting for this kind of blend from the former president of Drew Estate. The large format has bold dark espresso and chocolate notes.
No. 8 – Tabaquero by Hamlet Paredes Toro (Rocky Patel)
Dimensions: 6 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
No. 9 – Perdomo Special Craft Series Stout Epicure
Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Jalapa, Nicaragua Maduro
No. 10 – Illusione Original Documents ~2~
Dimensions: 5 1/4 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
No. 11 – Alpha Dawg by Espinosa Short Churchill
Dimensions: 6 x 48rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua Habano Rosado Oscuro
No. 12 – Neanderthal HN
Dimensions: 5 x 52/58rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
No. 13 – Aganorsa Leaf Tabsa Habano Aficion No. 2 (Short Churchill)
Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 48rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Habano Nicaragua
No. 14 – Flor de D’Crossier Seleccion 512 Corona Gorda
Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 46
Country of Origin: Costa Rica
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
No. 15 – Alec Bradley Sanctum Toro
Dimensions: 6 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduras Corojo
Habana Port Cigar Merchants’ Top Sellers for 2016
Top Sellers by Gross Revenue, 2016
1. Alec Bradley Fresh Toro Sampler Pack (Alec Bradley)
2. AJ Fernandez Green Sampler Pack (AJ Fernandez)
3. Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Natural Exclusivos (Piloto)
4. A. Fuente Hemingway Natural Classic (Fuente Newman Premium)
5. A. Fuente Gran Reserva Maduro Rothschild (Fuente Newman Premium)
Top Sellers by Units Sold, 2016
1. A. Fuente Exquisitos Natural (Fuente Newman Premium)
2. Parodi King (Avanti)
3. Factory Throwouts #59 Natural (J.C. Newman Cigar Co.)
4. Griffin’s Griffiños (Davidoff of Geneva USA)
5. A. Fuente Gran Reserva Maduro Rothschild (Fuente Newman Premium)
Until the next post, siempre fumando,
Habana Port
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Habana Port’s Top 15 Cigars of 2015

Saludos,

Greetings, aficionados de la hoja! For the 6th annual time the staff at Habana Port has compiled a list of what we think were the best cigars for that year. Our Top 15 Cigar Rankings for 2015 was especially difficult to list as once again the quality of the cigars on the market was very high not to mention the past year saw a record-amount of new companies into our humidors as a result. We smoked over 1,000 fine cigars and finally ranked the top 15 fine cigars that are available in our humidor (with the exception of a few which are small-batch occurrences or were one-time runs). The Number One (and Nine) cigar comes from a new company to our humidors.

For the third year in a row, instead of an Honorables Mention List (we used to award this to cigars that would have ranked 16 to 20), we list our Top 5 Sellers according to both gross dollar sales and units sold. Take a look at 2015’s Rankings and see what you think. We hope you agree with our choices. If you are interested in buying these cigars, visit any of our locations or shop online at CigarEarth.com.
No. 1 – Lirio Rojo 2015

Dimensions:  5 1/2 x 44rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
The Lirio Rojo cigar translates to the Red Lily and is the limited holiday release from Warped Cigars, a new cigar company that is making a splash right now. We were the first shop in Louisiana to bring in Warped Cigars and many of our customers have been convinced. Made up of all Aganorsa leaf and constructed in TABSA, the Lirio Rojo was amazing. Many customers have agreed and have been stocking up knowing this line will not be available until next Christmas season. A complex yet smooth profile of cream, spice and coffee envelope the palate.
No. 2 – El Güegüense Corona Gorda

Dimensions:  5 5/8 x 46rg

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Nicholas Melillo was Drew Estate’s chief
tobacco buyer for over 12 years and was responsible for sourcing the company’s
large tobacco inventories for its famous lines like Liga Privada and Herrera
Esteli. He left the company and created Foundation
Cigar Company. His first line underscores his love of the country he has called
home for all these years. The inaugural brand is called El
Güegüense and is a nod to Nicaragua’s oldest folktale. Meaning “the wise
man”, El Güegüense is an all-Nicaraguan blend made at TABSA and uses
the famous Aganorsa tobacco. Production is capped at 200 boxes of each vitola
per month so it is a small-batch production. It features a Corojo ’99 wrapper
and binder from Jalapa, and a filler blend of Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98 from
Jalapa and Estelí. The flavor profile includes spice, cream, coffee and cedar.
No. 3 – Sobremesa Cervantes Fino
Dimensions:  6 1/4  x 46rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: La Meca Ecuador Habano Grade 1 Dark Rosado
Sobremesa marks Steve Saka’s first brand since
leaving Drew Estate and was 2015’s most-anticipated cigar. Habana Port was fortunate to have been selected as Louisiana’s only purveyor of Sobremesa. A full-bodied smoke crafted by Joya de Nicaragua, “over the
table” celebrates the time after a meal when friends and family stay at
the table to have pleasant conversation before everyone rises. It is the
experience of lingering casually with family and friends in conversation,
relaxing, drinking, smoking, and enjoying each other’s company. Sobremesa is
one of life’s simplest, yet greatest pleasures. The flavor profile has a creamy core
laced with abundant notes of cedar, cocoa and café, which is punctuated by a
tellicherry peppercorn retrohale. Pleasing to the nose, Sobremesa provides the
smoker a delightfully sweet, lingering finish.
No. 4 – L’Atelier Côte D’Oro 2015

Dimensions:  7 x 47rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua

The García family—of My
Father fame—offered L’Atelier Imports a small batch of pelo de oro tobacco, a strain
that is surrounded in a myriad of folklore. The tobacco was banned in Cuba due
to its propensity to mold, but is still grown by a select amount of people
around the world—including the Garcías. It is noted for its golden color—pelo de
oro translates into golden hair—and
the challenges of growing it. L’Atelier Côte D’Oro cigar pays tribute to the
similarities between growing Pinot Noir grapes and Pelo de Oro tobacco. Only
21k cigars were produced for 2015 which is the inaugural batch. We were highly impressed by this limited run with its chocolate and molasses overtones.

No. 5 – Illusione Fume d’Amour Viejos
Dimensions: 5 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
The Fume d’Amour was released in 2014 from Illusione and was an instant hit. More medium to mild-medium in strength, the cigar’s smooth and clean character is what set it apart.  This blend is a take off its Original Documents line. The difference is that there is no ligero in the Fume d’Amour. A bit of nutmeg, coffee and cream coat the senses. Very clean and superior to Cuban cigars of this strength.
No. 6 – La Flor Dominicana La Nox

Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Brazil
The new release from small-batch Dominican producer LFD, La Nox is distinctly packaged in 10-count circular black boxes that are held by magnets (although we understand that the company will now switch to 20-count boxes). The unique packaging showcases a blend that is also unique. Dark, bold notes of peppercorn, dark chocolate and espresso dominate the palate.
No. 7 – A. Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark


Dimensions: 5 3/4 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: n/a

Perhaps no other cigar in 2015 garnered as much demand than the now-famous Eye of the Shark. One of 2 cigars celebrating the Fuente patriarch’s 80th birthday, the Don Carlos Edicion de Aniversario Eye of the Shark is like its famous Anejo Shark counterpart but with a thinner ring gauge. The cigar like its older brother is box-pressed at the foot and rounds out to a torpedo at the head. The flavor notes include banana, wheat and bread. Very tasty but good luck finding these as most shops sold out.

No. 8 – E.P. Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro Especial Dinamico
Dimensions: 6 7/8 x 49rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Oscuro
The self-proclaimed “Godfather of Boutique” released the Seleccion Oscuro in Spring 2015. Coming off the success of La Historia’s number 2 ranking from Cigar Aficionado, EPC upped the ante with this blend. The cigar itself uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper over Ecuador binder and Nicaraguan fillers. Oak, leather, and a smoky pepper coat the palate. We felt the churchill format smoked the best hence our selection for the Dinamico.
No. 9 – Corto X50
Dimensions: 4 1/2 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Warped Cigars in general amazed us with all of its blends but the Corto was a huge hit among our customers (and the Habana Port staff) hence the 2nd Warped brand that hit our Top 15 list (the first time the same company scored multiple Top 15 spots in the same year). The box-pressed robusto is the company’s fullest-bodied blend and is constructed at TABSA. We feel that the demand for this cigar has exceeded Warped’s expectations because we have been out for weeks now and the company told us that the next shipment is not scheduled until some time in January. When we get re-stocked, so should you as these little beauties go fast.
No. 10 – My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo
Dimensions: 6 x 60rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
In 2014, My Father Cigars, headed by Pepin and Jaime Garcia, decided to offer a shade-grown wrapper and thus the My Father Connecticut was born. Unlike most Connies, the MFC has a buttery, cedary tone with fuller notes. The Toro Gordo has been smoking quite well the past year and is a great blend for those who want to expand past the mild range as this is an appropriate segue into the next part of the strength scale.
No. 11 – Ashton Symmetry Belicoso
Dimensions: 5 1/4 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

The first new Ashton in over 10 years, the Symmetry debuted in 2014 and has slowly garnered its fan base. A medium to medium-strong blend, the Symmetry has a leather and coffee mix and is made at Arturo Fuente’s factory. Well-constructed and smooth, the Symmetry offers a great experience to the smoker.

No. 12 – Padron Damaso No. 17

Dimensions: 7 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Undisclosed Connecticut-seed

Perhaps the most marketed wrapper this past year was the Connecticut shade. MFC, Drew Estate (with its UC Shade), AJ Fernandez’s New World Connecticut and now Padron have released Connie and shade-grown blends. Padron was perhaps the biggest story as the Cuban-style company has never used this wrapper. Due to competition, demand and a need to retain market share through shelf space, Padron released the Damaso. We loved the No. 17 which is a churchill format. However this blend is not for the typical Paddy fan. The blend is meant to target Ashton Classic, Davidoff White Label and Montecristo fans. A very mild yet creamy profile will please the refined smoker. Quite an historic release and worth a try.

No. 13 – La Imperiosa Dukes
Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Oscuro
The follow-up to the inaugural Las Calaveras batch, La Imperiosa is from small-batch brand owner Crowned Heads. Espresso, vegetal and mineral notes will tickle the palate. Another cigar that is made at My Father Cigars in Esteli, Nicaragua, La Imperiosa is the same blend as LC 2014 but now the blend is offered in different vitolas. We especially liked Dukes.
No. 14 – Room 101 Uncle Lee

Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 30/50/19
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Named in honor of the relative who introduced Matt Booth to cigars, the Uncle Lee from Room 101 is a medium-strong blend that has more leathery, spice and earth notes. The box is adorned with Lee’s image. Don’t let his creepy look deter you though. The cigar is rich and flavorful and definitely earned its Top 15 placement.

No. 15 – Alec Bradley Coyol Belicoso
Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 58rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduras (Trojes)
For the second year in a row (another 1st in our Top 15 List), the Alec Bradley Coyol makes the final cut in our rankings because this complex and smooth blend from Raices Cubanas (which has become AB’s go-to factory) continued to dazzle us and our customers. Meaning palm tree and named after a tobacco farm, Coyol has a bit of leather, coffee and earth. Medium to full, the Belicoso is a fatter-than-typical vitola.
Habana Port Cigar Merchants’ Top Sellers for 2015
Top Sellers by Gross Revenue, 2015
1. Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Maduro Piramide (Piloto)
2. Alec Bradley Fresh Toro Sampler Pack (Alec Bradley)
3. Tabacum Maduro Churchill (Habana Port)
4. Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Natural Exclusivos (Piloto)
5. A. Fuente Exquisitos Natural (Fuente Newman Premium)

Top Sellers by Units Sold, 2015
1. A. Fuente Exquisitos Natural (Fuente Newman Premium)
2. Tabacum Maduro Churchill (Habana Port)
3. Factory Throwouts #99 Natural (J.C. Newman Cigar Co.)
4. Casa de Garcia Maduro Churchill (Altadis)
5. Factory Throwouts #59 Sweet (J.C. Newman Cigar Co.)

Until the next post, siempre fumando,
Habana Port
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Habana Port’s Top 15 Cigars of 2014

Saludos,

Greetings, aficionados de la hoja! For 4 years the staff at Habana Port has compiled a list of what we think were the best cigars for that year. Our Top 15 Cigar Rankings for 2014 was especially difficult to list as once again the quality of the cigars was very high. We smoked many fine cigars and finally ranked the top 15 fine cigars that are available in our humidor (with the exception of a few which are small-batch occurrences or were one-time runs). However Numbers One and Two were neck-and-neck and in the end, the top cigar blew us away because we were not expecting it to be so tasty and complex.

For the second year in a row, instead of an Honorables Mention List (we used to award this to cigars that would have ranked 16 to 20), we list our Top 5 Sellers according to both gross dollar sales and units sold. Take a look at 2014’s Rankings and see what you think. We hope you agree with our choices. If you are interested in buying these cigars, visit any of our locations or shop online at CigarEarth.com by clicking on the links below.
No. 1 – La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse 2014

Dimensions:  6 1/2 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Simply put, the Noblesse from Ashton’s La Aroma de Cuba line surprised us. We had a feeling that the blend was going to be good when the company was showing us the cigar during the big trade convention during the summer but we did not know once we smoked it that the profile was going to be so complex, smooth and just friggin’ tasty. Ashton did not give samples so we only ordered 5 boxes of what is the first limited edition from LAdC. If we knew the cigar was going to be great, we would have ordered way more. The 2014 La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse cigar is limited to 3,000 boxes. It features a double binder (Habano and Criollo strain) and an Ecuador Habano Rosado wrapper. There are 3 filler components all from Nicaragua (Esteli, Jalapa and Namanji). We experienced a rich Cubanesque profile with 3 flavor changes (starting with an initial spicy character then to a creamy, almondy profile then to a final deep, dark woody and earthy tone).
No. 2 – HR Sublimes

Dimensions:  6 1/2 x 54rg

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Maduro 2000
From Cuban-born Hirochi Robaina and Omar Aleman comes the first cigar brand with the Robaina name outside the Mecca of cigar tobacco: HR. The expectations were high for this brand since news came out that this project was happening and the cigar delivered. Rich but smooth notes proliferate the palate and you would think that you were smoking a high-quality Cuban. A cappuccino-cocoa layer is well received. Look for big things from this brand in 2015.
Dimensions:  6  x 54rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres

Manufactured by the My Father Cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, the Jericho Hill line has been a major hit in our stores. This is the latest brand from the Crowned Heads and the first permanent line manufacturered by MF for CH. Dark chocolate and espresso coat the palate. A slight box press shape and naked presentation underscores the quality of this blend. In the $9 range, Jericho Hill will continue to impress those who give this cigar a shot.

No. 4 – La Palina Mr. Sam Corona

Dimensions:  5 1/2 x 42rg
Country of Origin: U.S. (Miami)
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
La Palina is an old American cigar brand that has been resurrected by the grandson of the founder, Sam Paley. Created in 1896, the company was a major hit until Mr. Sam (the moniker bestowed upon him by his workers) passed away. The La Palina Collection Mr. Sam is rolled at the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami, Florida. A dark Ecuadorian wrapper surrounds a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan filler, creating a beautifully crafted blend that is rich with flavor like caramel, hazelnut and toffee. Excellent blend.
No. 5 – A. Fuente Fuente Opus X Angel’s Share Robusto
Dimensions: 5 1/4 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican Republic (Chateau de la Fuente Sun Grown)

Opus X is the stuff of cigar legend. The first Dominican puro, Arturo Fuente’s Opus X is a small-batch line and strictly allocated. As part of the company’s centennial celebrations, the Fuente family released the Angel’s Share, a nod to the wine and distilling process in which part of the liquid evaporates during aging and whose contents are enjoyed by the angels above. Instead of the top priming, Angel’s Share was said to use leaves from the middle portion of the tobacco plant so the blend is a milder version of the typical Opus X. We found banana, yeast and walnut bread notes from the cigar.

No. 6 – Achilles Heroicos
Dimensions: 5 1/4 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Achilles by Curivari represents the company’s current top line in both quality and price. Ten years in the making the Achilles is a tribute to the Greek hero. The robusto vitola caught our attention as the blend reminded us of a Cuban Trinidad with a distinct almond, milk and creamy layer. In a 10-count box format, the Achilles Heroicos would make the perfect gift for the most discriminating of cigar smokers.
No. 7 – 7-20-4 Factory 57 Toro


Dimensions: 6 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Jalapa) Habano

From New Hampshire-based small-batch cigar company comes 7-20-4’s latest cigar creation: Factory 57. A multi-country blend makes up the anatomy for Factory 57 and the result is a blend that is rich and flavorful. We were impressed by the offering when we sampled it at the big cigar trade show and felt this is the best blend to come out by 7-20-4. Kudos to brand owner Kurt Kendall on this cigar. Leather, dark roast coffee and hickory notes.

No. 8 – La Flor Dominicana 1994 Mambo
Dimensions: 7 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres

LFD celebrates 20 years in the cigar industry with a line aptly labeled 1994. Medium to full, the cigar has a symphony of flavors. The cigar itself uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper over Dominican binder and fillers. The tobacco flower on the band is a nod to the company’s initial logo. Wood, hazelnut and leather coat the palate.

No. 9 – Tattoo Caballeros
Dimensions: 5 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano

One of the lowest-priced cigars on our list is one of the best valued cigars in our humidor. In order to protect his trademark in English, Tatuaje owner Pete Johnson created the Tattoo line. Ranging in the $5 to $6 range, Tattoo is tasty. Each box is adorned with actual tattoos worn by Pete. A dark Ecuador Habano wrapper offers a woody, nutty yet slightly sweet experience that is simply delicious.

No. 10 – Padron Family Reserve No. 50 Maduro
Dimensions: 5 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
In 2014 Padron celebrated their 50th anniversary in business in the U.S. Founded in 1964, when Jose Padron fled Cuba to escape the tyrannical Communists, the world-renowned cigar company has surpassed even the “top” Cuban cigars. In order to mark the occasion, the family has released two 50th anniversary celebratory cigars. The first cigar and the one that got our number 10 spot is a permanent offering and is under the Family Reserve line (the second is a limited line called the 50 Years, aka the Big Hammer). Dubbed the Family Reserve No. 50, the cigar is offered in a natural and maduro wrapper. We enjoyed the maduro as it exhibited an initial spice to the palate then smoothed out to a coffee, dark chocolate and oaky blend.
No. 11 – Illusione Ultra OP. No. 7
Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 58rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo

Dion Giolito has proven that his palate is quite sensitive and supreme. The Illusione Ultra is a full-bodied line which is a bench-pressed cigar typically. This past summer he released the OP No. 7 which is a large round parejo. Rich leather, oak and dark berry coat the senses and is one for the connoisseur.

Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 44rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano

Jose Seijas was General Manager of Altadis’ Dominican factory which produces over 40 million cigars a year. He retired from the company in 2010 but he was not ready to bow out of the cigar world. He opened La Matilde which is a much smaller operation but his decades of tobacco prowess has proved useful for his first blend named Matilde Renacer. The Corona is a nicely proportionate vitola and the flavor spectrum of the blend includes raisin, wood and coffee. Look for this cigar to enter more shops in the next 2 years.

No. 13 – Viaje Zombie Antidote
Dimensions: 6 1/4 x 44rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
The follow-up to the Zombie, brand owner Andre Farkas offered the Antidote. A thin lonsdale format, the Antidote is a clean blend with notes that remind you of light leather and coffee. Besides the quality of the tobacco, the cigar is packaged to look like a syringe in a prescription bottle underscoring the medical theme and design of the cigar. When the zombies infect you, be sure to smoke the Antidote.
No. 14 – Alec Bradley Coyol Belicoso
Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 58rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduras (Trojes)
Alec Bradley has consistently released great blends over the last decade. Coyol marks another complex and smooth blend from Raices Cubanas which has become AB’s go-to factory. Meaning palm tree and named after a tobacco farm, Coyol has a bit of leather, coffee and earth. Medium to full the Belicoso is a fatter-than-typical vitola.

Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 46rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
From industry veteran Jose Blanco comes his first brand from his own cigar concern. Having worked at La Aurora for close to 30 years and then at Joya de Nicaragua for 2 years, Jose founded his own cigar company dubbed Las Cumbres which is based out of the Dominican Republic. Senorial is the first product from LC and we were impressed with the corona format. A light coffee and touch of caramel and wood, the Corona Gorda Number 5 is smooth and medium-bodied.
Habana Port Cigar Merchants’ Top Sellers for 2014
Top Sellers by Gross Revenue, 2014
1. Buenaventura BV560 (Curivari)
2. Brick House Mighty Mighty Maduro (J.C. Newman Cigar Co.)
3. Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Maduro Piramide (Piloto)
4. A. Fuente Exquisitos Natural (Fuente Newman Premium)
5. Tabacum Natural Robusto (Habana Port)
Top Sellers by Units Sold, 2014
1. Buenaventura BV560 (Curivari)
2. A. Fuente Exquisitos Natural (Fuente Newman Premium)
3. Tabacum Natural Robusto (Habana Port)
4. Tabacum Maduro Robusto (Habana Port)
5. Brick House Mighty Mighty Maduro (J.C. Newman Cigar Co.)

Until the next post, siempre fumando,
Habana Port
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Habana Port’s Top 15 Cigars of 2013

Saludos,

Greetings, aficionados de la hoja! Our perception of time seems to be out of whack. The year 2013 feels like it has just flashed by us. It also seems like yesterday when we began our annual Top 15 List three years ago. The cliche that time flies by when you are having fun holds true for us since we are proud cigar nerds who love what we do. Even though it took many man-hours to smoke and judge the plethora of cigars, it was fun for our staff at Habana Port to organize this year’s Top 15 Cigar Rankings. We smoked many fine cigars and finally ranked the top 15 fine cigars that are available in our humidor (with the exception of a few which are small-batch occurrences or were one-time runs). 

Of note, we implemented a few changes with our List this year. We used to base part of our Top 15 decisions according to what our customers bought and enjoyed the most. We dropped that part this year and will rank our list according to what our staff personally smoked and loved. Yet we will not ignore our customers’ opinions. Instead of an Honorables Mention List (we used to award this to cigars that would have ranked 16 to 20), we will list our Top 5 Sellers according to both gross dollar sales and units sold. Take a look at 2013’s Rankings and see what you think. We hope you agree with our choices. If you are interested in buying these cigars, visit any of our locations or shop online at CigarEarth.com by clicking on the links below.
No. 1 – Casa Fernandez 35th Anniversary

Dimensions:  6 x 54rg
Country of Origin: U.S. (Miami)
Wrapper: Nicaragua Habano
From one of the most influential cigar companies in the world comes a cigar that celebrates a company milestone. Also known as the Boheme, the Casa Fernandez 35th Anniversary cigar is exceptional. From the initial light, the flavors are smooth yet rich and definitely epitomize the blending philosophy of this company. A distinct sweet, leathery and cocoa profile envelope the palate and leaves the smoker in bliss. The anatomy is composed of 5 to 6 year-old Nicaraguan tobaccos and only top-level cigar rollers in Miami were allowed to construct these special cigars. Casa Fernandez only produced 2,000 10-count boxes in one box-pressed vitola so hurry in to our shops to get the last few we have remaining.

Dimensions:  6 x 44rg

Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduras
Flor de Selva is a cigar brand that has been in existence for over 15 years with its distribution focus on Europe. Flor de Selva is the brainchild of Maya Selva who is originally from Honduras but moved to Paris. In 1992, she decided to return to her familial roots and began her education about the cigar business under the tutelage of Nestor Plasencia, Sr. She contracted the famous Plasencia to construct her cigars and the first batch was released in March 1995. Flor de Selva attempts to showcase the finest tobaccos Honduras has to offer and so the puro’s blend is very clean and elegant. The flavor profile is one of a cedary, buttery, creamy nature with an undertone of coffee.  Measuring 6 by 44 rg and sporting an elegant pig-tail cap (or rabo de cochino as it is referred to as in the industry), the Flor de Selva Fino cigar will last about 45 minutes.
No. 3 – La Flor Dominicana Chapter No. 1
Dimensions:  6 1/2 x 58rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Brazilian Ligero Oscuro

LFD is known for being bold, strong and rich. The new Chapter One is no different with the exception that it is smoother than lines like the Double Ligero or Oscuro. The La Flor Dominicana Chapter One really impressed us. Using their famous Chisel format, the company decided to beef up the dimensions to account for the box-press. This cigar is actually the first blend to be produced by company founder’s son, Antonio Gomez, who has assumed more responsibility within the company over the last few years. The cigar uses a dark Brazilian wrapper and has an espresso and dark choclate profile. Packaged in 10-count boxes the Ch. One is available in limited quantities.

No. 4 – L’Atelier Extension de la Racine 2013 ER13

Dimensions:  5 7/8 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
The relatively new L’Atelier Imports cigar company (a joint venture between Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson and other industry peers) released a cigar at the IPCPR Trade Show in 2013 that could only be purchased by merchants who attended the show and placed an order. Hence the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine 2013. It features a Nicaraguan sun grown criollo wrapper with Nicaraguan fillers including the sancti spiritus tobacco that has been used on a few other cigars from My Father Cigars. Supposedly the ER13 is based after the Cuban Cohiba Siglo VI. The cigar delivers and if you did not tell us, we would have thought the ER13 used Cuban tobacco. A creamy, cedary, nutmeg and milky profile tickles the palate. Again, this is a limited available cigar.
No. 5 – La Palina Goldie Laguito No. 5
Dimensions: 5 5/8 x 54rg
Country of Origin: U.S. (Miami)
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano

The Goldie is a unique specimen for a few reasons, but the main one is that each and every cigar in the release was rolled by master roller Maria Sierra, who was one of the first women trained to roll cigars in Cuba, and who started her career at El Laguito, where Cohibas are produced, in 1967. Maria was trained by both Avelino Lara, who created the Cohiba blend, and Eduardo Rivera Irizarri, who was Fidel Castro’s personal cigar roller, and is a 95 rated Category 9 roller in her own right. -halfwheel.com


We at Habana Port began carrying La Palina earlier this year and we were impressed by their top-end line dubbed the Goldie. So much so, the LP Goldie No. 5 rounded out our Top 5 cigars. The 2nd Top 5 cigar to be rolled in Miami, the Goldie comes packed in 10-count boxes and because it is a line that is only produced by one roller, this cigar does not last long on our shelves even with its $20 per stick price point.

Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano 2009
2013 was certainly the year of Garcia. Flor de las Antillas was awarded the coveted No. 1 Cigar of the Year spot by Cigar Aficionado and the company celebrated its 10th year in the U.S. in May. It is fitting that the company would focus its attention on a 10th anniversary cigar and the results were fantastic. We felt that this blend is the best cigar to be released by Pepin Garcia and My Father Cigars. Very complex layers yet an overall smooth sensation make up the experience of the DPG 10th. Each cigar is packed in its own coffin and 14 cigars account for a full numbered box (only 35k cigars were produced).

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

From Eddie Ortega comes the triumphant return of Cubao. Now distributed by Ortega Cigar Company, the Cubao Sumatra is like the old Cubao: it is still manufactured at the Garcia family’s My Father Cigars factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, and the blend remains the same. The real difference is that Cubao will only be offered in small lots to ensure the quality remains high. Cubao still features a Sumatra wrapper complemented with Jalapa binder and fillers from the Esteli region. These carefully selected, aged tobaccos create a spicy medium-to-full bodied cigar with notes of cedar, earth and nuts. We also detected a Cubanesque feel with this cigar.

Dimensions: 5 1/4 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua

Good fortune. This marks the second year in a row that Buenaventura has made our Top 15 List. Last year, the BV ranked Number 2. Even though it slipped a bit, the overall pricing and quality are still fair.  This cigar has caught the attention of many publications the past year including Cigar Aficionado who gave it the Number 7 Rank for the past year. The brand owner wanted the smoker to have the experience of being inside a bakery when lighting up this beauty. So they state the liga has bready, wheaty notes. To us it had an earthier note, but it was tasty nevertheless. We also thought it was brilliant of Curivari packing these cigars in 10-count boxes (like he has been doing with all of the cigars in his portfolio). It is easier and cheaper for the consumer to “purchase a box” when it is 10-count. And that is what we have been seeing with the Buenaventuras especially since they are in the lower $5 per stick range.

Dimensions: 7 x 49rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduras

Raices Cubanas. The factory that has produced more Cigar Aficionado Top 25 cigars over the past 5 years than any other factory in the world. Owned by Romay Endemaño and operated with his wife Maria Portao and son Hugo, Raices Cubanas is now legendary. Without question the hottest cigar producer right now, Raices Cubanas is responsible for the handiwork of brands like Illusione, Viaje, Curivari, 7-20-4, Casa Fernandez and Alec Bradley. Now with the help of AB’s distribution network, the factory has a brand of its own. The profile of the Raices Cubanas 1941 cigar is a true embodiment of its blending philosophy. A distinct, sweet leather spectrum coats the palate. The year 1941 (which marks the birth year of Romay) adorns the imagery of the cigar’s packaging.

Dimensions: 6 x 44rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Herrera Esteli is the inaugural cigar blend created by its namesake, Willy Herrera, at Drew Estate’s famed Esteliano factory. Famous for having managed the Miami boutique cigar factory, Titan de Bronze, Willy’s blend was influenced by his Cuban sensibilities of taste and aroma. The cigar is an exquisite blending of the finest South and Central American long leaf black tobaccos. Approachably smooth on the palate, it allows the smoker to experience a wide-ranging depth of woodsy, nutty flavors accented with a tantalizing white pepper-like spice and a naturally sweet finish.  Very Limited Availability and sold exclusively by Appointed Merchants like us. The Lonsdale Deluxe to us smokes the best out of all the vitolas in the H.E.line.
Dimensions: 7 x 38rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Habano Connecticut (4 Years)

AKA is a small-batch cigar company out of Texas owned by Jay Lundy and Tom Poehler. The cigars are manufactured to their specifications by Camacho in Honduras. The first two lines they released were made for the full-bodied market so the company was missing out on potential mild fans. The Solace is the answer to that and does it deliver. A marshmallow and vanilla bean with cedar profile impressed our staff even though the strength is mild to medium. The wrapper is what gives the cigar its smooth flavor. The Harmony is the least produced vitola whose dimensions underscore the elegant philosophy of this cigar.

Dimensions: 4 1/2 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexico

Dion Giolito could not have imagined the popularity his Illusione R (or Rothchilde) would garner when he released the cigar early in the year. So much so it inspired Casa Fernandez to create a JFR with similar dimensions. The flavor profile is one that has an initial spicy character then rounds out to a floral, earthy and nutty finish. Constructed in the TABSA factory in Nicaragua, this Illusione that sells for $5 cannot be passed up.

Dimensions: 6 x 46rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
After Jon Huber, owner of Crowned Heads, discovered that Jesse James lived in Nashville under the alias J.D. Howard, he thought it was fitting that his small-batch cigar company that calls the Tennessee city home name their 3rd brand after the outlaw. Manufactured by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo in the Dominican Republic, the J.D. Howard features a Brazilian Arapiraca maduro wrapper with an Ecuador Sumatra binder and Nicaraguan fillers. The result is a cigar that is medium-strong in strength and has very complex notes. The flavor profile can best be described as peppery at first with a rich and balanced character of wood and cocoa. The HR46 vitola is elegant and smokes a bit more flavorful.
No. 14 – A. Fuente Fuente Opus X Double Robusto
Dimensions: 5 3/4 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Opus has become the stuff of legend in our industry. Conceived and first sold in the late 90s, the main selling point behind the cigar is that it was the first all-Dominican blend of tobacco to be incorporated into a cigar. Before that it was very difficult to cultivate enough Dominican wrapper to be used commercially and the Fuente family discovered the secret. Since then the strictly-allocated cigar has been heralded as one of the greatest cigars of all time. Our opinion is that the cigar seems to be getting tastier these last few years and this year’s Double Robusto tickled our olfactory senses. A raisiny-cedar-vanilla combo proliferates and satisfies.
Dimensions: 5 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Maduro
What list wouldn’t be complete without a “Paddie”? The 2000 is a robusto-sized vitola that has been consistent all year round. Founded in 1964 and evolving throughout their history, the Padron Series consists of medium-to-full-bodied long-filler cigars. The tobacco in this line is sun-grown and aged for a minimum of 2.5 years. The Padron 2000 Maduro exhibits a toasty, sweet profile.
Habana Port Cigar Merchants’ Top Sellers for 2013
Top Sellers by Gross Revenue, 2013
1. Alec Bradley Easy 5 Sampler (Alec Bradley)
2. Macanudo Cafe Court (General Cigar Co.)
3. A. Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8 Natural (Fuente Newman Premium)
4. Buenaventura BV560 (Curivari Cigars)
5. Brick House Maduro Mighty Mighty (J.C. Newman Cigar Co.)

Top Sellers by Units Sold, 2013
1. Factory Throwouts #99 (J.C. Newman Cigar Co.)
2. Macanudo Cafe Court (General Cigar Co.)
3. A. Fuente Exquisitos Natural (Fuente Newman Premium)
4. Tabacum Natural Robusto (Habana Port)
5. Factory Throwouts #59 Sweet (J.C. Newman Cigar Co.)

Until the next post, siempre fumando,
Habana Port
Posted on

Habana Port’s Top 15 Cigars of 2012

Saludos,
Greetings, aficionados de la hoja! Just like in 2011, we have smoked some incredible cigars in 2012. The premium cigar industry continues to produce some very nice grade of tobacco and blends. Dare we say this past year marked another notch in this present-day renaissance? Perhaps. But we know for sure that this year saw legendary cigars. What was very common on this year’s Top 15 List was the plethora of titanic formats that captured spots. Again, the trend is strong for 60+ rgs and/or thick “A” vitolas.  The JFR 770 L.E. is a great example. This monster is 7 inches by a 70 rg. But sales of this cigar have been extremely robust. The inexpensive price point doesn’t hurt ($8.69 a piece) but regardless, these huge-a cigars have been leading the way in our humidor.
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 the Four Kicks Mule Kick and Viaje 5th Anniversary which were one-time runs). 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 and loved. Take a look at the list and see what you think. We hope you agree with our choices.

Dimensions:  5 1/2 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Habano 2000 (4+ years)
When we first brought this cigar in January 2012 into our humidor, we immediately saw this cigar take off.  In all of our years in the industry, we have never seen a new cigar line turn over as fast this one. Our smokers would buy a single and then quickly return to buy boxes. Perhaps it is the very smooth, light coffee and Cubanesque profile that does it. Or maybe it is the unique oval-press shape and feel of the cigar. Whatever the appeal, we love this vitola and so did our customers. We knew this cigar was going to take off when we first smoked a sample in September 2011. We thought we were smoking a Cuban cigar. So who cares about the embargo? Try an Oval and get a better value for the experience.
Dimensions:  5 1/4 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Good fortune. The English translation of this cigar brand justifies its nomenclature. The newest brand from the hot boutique cigar company, Curivari, has also been one of our fastest turnovers in 2012.  The owner wanted the smoker to have the experience of being inside a bakery when lighting up this beauty. So they state the liga has bready, wheaty notes. To us it had an earthier note, but it was tasty nevertheless. We also thought it was brilliant of Curivari packing these cigars in 10-count boxes (like he has been doing with all of the cigars in his portfolio). It is easier and cheaper for the consumer to “purchase a box” when it is 10-count. And that is what we have been seeing with the Buenaventuras especially since they are in the $5 per stick range.
No. 3 – J. Fuego Edicion de Familia 2012 Belicoso Fino
Dimensions:  5 1/2 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown Sumatra

What will be Jesus Fuego’s ultra-premium cigar line annually, the Edicion de Familia delivers.  2012 was his first offering of this line and Habana Port was one of 150 retailers to have received an allocation of this cigar. The tobacco in this blend was aged for many years (the wrapper is the youngest at 10 years). Furthermore, after the cigars were rolled, Fuego aged them for six months in the aging rooms and then he boxed the cigars and aged them another 6 months. This is unusual in the business, so the effect is that the cigar is extremely smooth and has a dark cocoa and earth component. If you like the Padron 1964 Annis, then Fuego’s Family Edition is up your alley, but hurry…only 5 10-count boxes of this facing (and 2 other vitolas) were allocated to every retailer.

No. 4 – Illusione Ultra OP. No. 4
Dimensions:  4 3/4 x 48rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Our number 4 cigar comes from Illusione. We loved this rich and bold cigar. The full-bodied lovers will too. Here are the details according to brand owner, Dion Giolito:

Illusione ULTRA is a true connoisseur’s blend. Decadent and rich, this cigar is rolled and then “pressed” overnight to achieve its tactile rectangular shape. Bold in looks, taste profile and approach, illusione ULTRA delivers a thick, rich smoke with notes of caramelized sugar, black licorice and Amaro. This is achieved with a good amount of spicy ligero leaves from the Jalapa and Esteli regions. Illusione ULTRA is the truest example of a modern day Nicaraguan Puro.

No. 5 – Four Kicks Limited Edition 2012 Mule Kick
Dimensions: 5 7/8 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano

The Crowned Heads is currently the diamond standard of boutique cigar fans. Habana Port was the first tobacconist to carry this company’s line of cigars in the Greater New Orleans area and their cigars have been doing well ever since. When Jon Huber announced he was going to deliver a one-time batch, we were on it. Just as the Four Kicks Limited Edition Mule Kick 2012 arrived, so did they quickly depart (sooner if we had not implemented a walk-in-only purchasing requirement). In fact, we were only one of 30-odd shops across the country to carry this cigar. What separates this blend from the normal-production FKs is that the wrapper is darker than normal and CH and their producer, La Alianza (EP Carrillo fame), added a touch more ligero to enhance the body. This was a winner and our market loved this cigar.

Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Eddie Ortega has a long history with the cigar industry (former owner of 601 and other brands) and when we learned he was forming Ortega Cigar Company, we at HP jumped on it. We were the first tobacconist in Louisiana to carry Ortega and their first line, the Serie D Maduro, was very well-received. Manufactured by the Garcia family’s My Father Cigar Factory, the rich, sweet and dark wrapper of this blend makes for a tasty experience. Not overbearing, this blend has a complex yet clean profile. The No. 8 was one of their best-sellers for us.
No. 7 – Viaje 5th Anniversary
Dimensions: 6 1/4 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaragua

Viaje made its introduction to the cigar world five years ago. Brand owner Andre Farkas released a blend worthy of this milestone. A large double perfecto and adorned only with a simple embossed white band, this cigar is perhaps his finest liga to date in our opinion. Layers of silky cream and cocoa coat the smoker’s palate as this cigar is burned. We are down to a few singles so hurry in to try this once-in-a-lifetime cigar while you can.

Dimensions: 5 3/4 x 46rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo

Christian Eiroa is back, baby. After his non-compete clause expired with Davidoff (remember, he sold Camacho’s portfolio of cigar brands to the Swiss), he got back into the cigar production side of this business but now he is employing a small-batch philosophy. His Corojo line has been a big hit and we at HP feel that the Corona is smoking the best (and nicely priced at the $6 range) although the 60x6s are selling slightly better. Very balanced, the cigar has a complex yet very clean taste.

No. 9 – Alec Bradley New York  Gotham Torpedo
Dimensions: 6 1/8 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Trojes, Honduras (Criollo ’98)

Made initially to help the New York market because of their high 75% tobacco excise tax rate, the Alec Bradley New York blend is made with Criollo ’98 wrapper and binder both of which are grown in Trojes, Honduras.  The filler tobaccos hail from both Honduras and Nicaragua. The NY is actually a cross-breed of their famous Prensado and Tempus lines. About a medium to full bodied smoke, this cigar was a big hit when we were the first in LA to bring it in back in June. Each box is adorned with the Empire State Building on the band done in an art deco-style and Gotham feel. Dark Knights beware.

Dimensions: 6 1/4 x 60rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
The 7000 Maduro is Padron’s 60 ring gauge vitola and surprise, surprise…this has been our best-selling facing from the Cuban family for 2012. This Maduro exhibits sweet, toasty notes and has a dark espresso component to it. We also agree with our customers that this was one tasty burger.
Dimensions: 6 1/8 x 64rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Remember La Gloria Cubana Serie R? Ernesto Perez-Carrillo created this line years ago but now that he sold that brand to General he was lacking a cigar with the same philosophy. We feel the Inch cigar that he released this past year is a throwback to that old standard but we feel this is a more beautiful blend. An old-school ruler sets the backdrop for the cigar band and underscores the fat ring gauges of this line. The No. 64 Maduro has been flying off the shelves and EPC even had backorders for a while on this vitola signaling that many other cigar shops across the land experienced strong sales on it too.

No. 12 – JFR 770 L.E.
Dimensions: 7 x 70rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Cuban Seed Corojo 1999

Casa Fernandez pushed the envelope of super fat ring gauges with the JFR 770 L.E. We were not only shocked with the dimensions but with the price point (a mere $8.69 in Louisiana). We were hesitant to bring many boxes at first because we did not think this format would sell. Were we wrong! The market’s insatiable demand for this vitola amazed us and we quickly had to re-order to keep our humidor supplied. The 770 (or as one customer lovingly referred to it as the Ron Jeremy) actually has a very clean taste and is not strong. We’re sure now that this hedgehog will stay with us for a while and it earned this year’s number 12 spot on our list.

Dimensions: 8 1/2 x 60rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
This is the beast from LFD that has been taking the cigar world by storm. A monster 8.5 by 60, this format and this blend make the experience one that should be reserved for strong and full-bodied pros. This vitola was actually our best-selling cigar from La Flor’s portfolio. It was tough to choose just one LFD on our list because we personally loved the Limitado Vs this year but had to put the Digger Maddie based on strong sales.
No. 14 – Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sun Grown Epicure 
Dimensions: 6 x 56rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown
In honor of 20 years of cigar production, the Perdomo family has released the Perdomo 20th Anniversary cigar line. We brought in both the Sun Grown and Maduros and we felt the SGs just wowed us. We especially enjoyed the Epicure. This toro-sized smoke exhibits light coffee and earth tones and is solidly-constructed. The wrapper on this line has been aged about 6 years and then fermented an additional 14 months in Bourbon barrels thus explaining its smooth character. It is a Nicaraguan puro.
Dimensions: 8 1/2 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon
The cannon cigar from Arturo Fuente has been around for years but it has sold a bit more than usual in 2012. We figure that because of the trend of smokers favoring large format vitolas, its resurgence is obvious. The Natural version of the Canones incorporates a Cameroon wrapper so there is a bit of a light leathery, smoky character to this cigar.
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!
Dimensions: 5 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo Sungrown
Honorable Mention – Surrogates Tramp Stamp
Dimensions: 5 1/4 x 48rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Honorable Mention – Oliva Serie V Churchill Extra
Dimensions: 7 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Habano Sun Grown
Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 44rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Dimensions: 5 x 56rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Until the next post, siempre fumando,
Habana Port
Posted on

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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Habana Port’s Top 15 Cigars of 2010

Saludos,

Greetings, aficionados de la hoja! We have smoked some incredible cigars this year and there is a good reason for that. The cigar industry is in a state 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.

For Habana Port, it was a challenge to organize our inaugural 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 Viaje & Illusione which are either on backorder across the country or was a limited 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.

No. 1 – Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Robusto

Dimensions: 5 1/4 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Broadleaf

Our top choice comes from one of the rockstars in the industry: Don Pepin Garcia. He has just opened the largest Nicaraguan-based cigar factory and he is blending some great new cigars. The Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial is named after his son, and boy what a cigar this is! Right off the bat, this cigar has a complex flavor profile exhibiting notes of caramel and cocoa. This cigar is rolled beautifully and smokes evenly. Come in and try the cigar we consider the best of 2010 (and many customers agree, too).

No. 2 – Alec Bradley Tempus Imperator
Dimensions: 6 1/8 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Hondura
Wrapper: Trojes, Honduras

The Tempus from Alec Bradley continues to deliver a consistent smoke. Medium-to-strong in strength, the Tempus landed AB a Top 25 Ranking in Cigar Aficionado and rightly so. This has become one of the best sellers in our shop and its complex flavors make it an enjoyable cigar. There is a balanced profile with earth, nuts and a hint of spice. We highly recommend this cigar!

No. 3 – Avo Heritage Robusto

Dimensions: 4 1/4 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Special Sungrown

The Avo Heritage is the newest line extension from this famous brand that hails from Tabadom (the factory that creates Davidoff). The Heritage was a popular cigar among smokers for these 2 reasons: a complex flavor profile at an affordable price (for an Avo). A medium-to-strong strength cigar, the Heritage exhibits mainly notes of wood and some earth & leather. A fabulous cigar, the purist will not be disappointed.

No. 4 – Padilla Cazadores Robusto

Dimensions: 5 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Our number 4 cigar comes from Padilla, the cigar-maker who creates some rich and flavorful cigars. His Cazadores line has become a go-to-cigar for many customers because (again) this is a great cigar at an affordable price point; this line is in the $5 range but it smokes like a $10 stick. Another balanced smoke, there is earth, a bit of spice and a slight chocolate frosting note. Give this a try and see if you agree.

No. 5 – La Flor Dominicana Ligero Maduro Salomones

Dimensions: 7 x 64rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro

It is hard to justify spending over $20 for one cigar but La Flor Dominicana has managed to disprove that argument. His Salomones is, in our opinion, the best blend to be coming out of this small-batch cigar factory. Ever the perfectionists, Litto & Inez Gomez maintain strict quality control and it is certainly the case in this cigar. The tobacco in this cigar comes from their 2004 and 2005 crop so there is some nice age that has allowed the tobacco to smooth out. This mammoth of a cigar and hard-to-construct shape contributes to the price point, but for those who enjoy a full-bodied smoke, you will not be disappointed. One of the richest (yet cleanest for being a strong smoke) cigars in 2010, LFD’s Maduro Salomones rounds out the Top 5.

No. 6 – Padron 7000 Maduro

Dimensions: 6 1/4 x 60rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua

Padron is another consistent cigar-maker and their cigars are always in demand. Their 7000 Maduro has had quite the accolades from our customers. A Nicaraguan puro, this fat stick exhibits dark notes like cocoa. The maduro wrapper also imparts a faint toasty sweetness. There is a reason the Padron family reigns as one of the most desired Nicaraguan-based cigar factories.

No. 7 – Guillermo Leon Corona Gorda (or Gran Corona)

Dimensions: 6 x 47
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Vuelta Abajo

The Guillermo Leon is a line that proves a cigar can gain traction through social and online networking. One of the newest blends to hail from the Dominican Republic’s oldest continually-running cigar factory, this is a clean cigar that is layered with richness. Displaying tones of cocoa and a bit of wood, the GL is named after the patriarch of La Aurora. In our opinion one of the best cigars to come out of La Aurora (besides the Preferido lines).

No. 8 – Viaje’s Skull & Bones Mystery (Oct. 2010)

Dimensions: 5 x 54rg
Country of Origin: ?
Wrapper: ?

Ever the secretive blender and brander, Andre Farkas, owner of Viaje Cigars, continues to dazzle small-batch cigar lovers. The first installment of the Skull & Bones came out in early 2010 to overwhelming positive feedback. His encore was released just in time for Halloween of 2010 to the surprise of many. Only about 150 boxes were made and we were fortunate to get an allocation. They did not stay on the shelves a week. This blend is unknown but we would guess there is some Nicaraguan tobacco. But who cares? This was a rich and dark cigar (with notes of espresso and spice). And the kicker? The band glows in the dark! Such ingenuity and blending skill landed this cigar a Number 8 spot.

No. 9 – A. Fuente Rosado Sungrown R-56

Dimensions: 5 5/8 x 56
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

The Rosado Sungrown line from the fabled Fuente family is one of the newest cigar blends to hail from this major cigar concern. Reserved for brick-and-mortar shops, this blend is mild-to-medium to medium strength. An elegant cigar, the RSG has larger ring gauges than its other lines (which is unusual for this traditional cigar family). Cedar and earth are the major notes that one experiences when smoking this cigarro. This cigar should not come as a surprise to passionate smokers of the golden leaf. Fantastic and a great buy!

No. 10 – Ashton VSG Spellbound

Dimensions: 7 1/2 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador Sungrown

A second A. Fuente-made cigar hits the Top 10 of our list in the Ashton VSG Spellbound. El Rushbo (Rush Limbaugh) talked up this cigar when it was initially released over 10 years ago and rightly (no pun intended) so. Still consistent and flavorful, the strength is about medium. This size has been a favorite for the VSG legion this year and we usually rank this cigar that is distributed by the Levin family high on our all-time favorite’s list. Wood and a bit of nuttiness dominate the palate. A gem in this industry, Ashton’s Virgin Sun Grown will not disappoint.

No. 11 – Oliva Connecticut Reserve Robusto

Dimensions: 5 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut

Oliva = Consistency. Any cigar-maker who wants to remain in this business for the long-term should adopt Oliva’s business philosophy and model. Because this company has vertically-integrated the cigar-making process, they are able to pass the savings to the consumer. Their Connecticut Reserve line is a mild-to-medium blend that is surprisingly flavorful. A bit of spice lights up the taste buds initially but the blend quickly smooths out to a slight buttery profile with a bit of earth. Fantastic for anytime of day, we would also recommend this as a morning smoke with your demitasse of Cuban coffee.

No. 12 – Illusione hl Maduro

Dimensions: 7 1/2 x 40rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua

We would dub this Number 12 cigar as the Carmen Sandiego smoke for 2010. Where in the world are you Illusione hl Maduro? Okay, we’ll stick to our day jobs and not enter the stand-up comedy business, but seriously, this cigar has been so tasty and rich (and because brand owner Dion Giolito strictly adheres to small runs in order to maintain consistency) it has flown off our shelves. It is on backorder currently and with good reason. A rich lancero, the Holy Lance Maduro is the only maduro in Illusione’s portfolio. Let us know when you get some more, Dion. We’re hungry.

No. 13 – Brickhouse Mighty Mighty

Dimensions: 6 1/4 x 60
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Havana Subido
Distributed by J.C. Newman, one of America’s oldest cigar companies, the Brickhouse is a great value for the smoker! Incorporating a Nicaraguan wrapper, the Brickhouse is a medium-bodied smoke with more woody notes. The Mighty Mighty is a size that has been popular within the cigar community lately. This is a cigar that should be priced higher, so smokers are getting a real deal with the Brickhouse.

No. 14 – J. Fuego’s Origen OriginalsDimensions: 5 x 44
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Brazilian Corojo

A novel concept, the Origen Originals from Jesus Fuego is a short smoke. Unpressed, this is the size J. Fuego makes when testing new blends. A medium-bodied smoke, the Origen Originals will satisfy the connoisseur who does not have time. Leather and earth dominate in this cigar. You can buy them by the single but why would you? Normally packaged in nice 5-count packs, the Originals will be offered in his other lines, too. Click here to see our YouTube video interview of the man himself.

No. 15 – Gran Habano Azteca Aguila

Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 52rg (Torpedo)
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro (Mexico)

A new release from Gran Habano, the Azteca is a medium-to-strong blend with hints of sourdough bread. This cigar is unique and has been a customer favorite. Packaged in an orange pyramid-shaped box, Gran Habano has created a fantastic cigar in the Azteca line. The Rico family has done it again and you can be rest assured that the cigar will make some more splashes in the coming year.

Honorable Mentions

Five cigars who do not make the Top 15 list but definitely deserve praise will 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 – Los Blancos Nine Double Corona

Dimensions: 7 x 52rg
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Oscuro Corojo

Honorable Mention – Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Champagne Epicure

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

Honorable Mention – Torano Single Region Toro Grande

Dimensions: 6 x 54rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Jalapa Valley (Nicaragua)

Honorable Mention – Quesada Tributo Julio

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

Honorable Mention – 7-20-04’s 7-20-4

Dimensions: 5 x 50rg
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Brazilian

Until the next post, siempre fumando,

Habana Port