I think we can all agree that this has been a great year for cigars. With so many new cigars to choose from, differing in flavor, wrapper, size, strength and country of origin it was a tough choice for me to narrow it down to 10. My selection of top 10 is just that...MY selection. It is what my palate likes which may differ from others. I chose these cigars because I smoked a lot of them over this year. You will also notice I didn't select any limited editions or price points over $20. So here goes....
#10 Joya Red
I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful factory of Joya de Nicaragua recently, and was blown away by the history, quality and care that goes into each cigar made there. The Joya Red agreed very well with my palate. I especially enjoyed the variety of flavor that came from the different regions of Nicaraguan tobacco inside the filler. After having a chance to taste the individual tobaccos from those regions on their own, it was nice to see how they marry each other in the blend after proper aging. While there wasn't one particular flavor that stood out the most, the rich flavors of cocoa, pepper, and sweet cedar provided a consistent reverie for my palate. A good balance of flavor and strength.
This particular cigar made a good impression on me while I was visiting Nicaragua this past November (as you can see in the full review). I enjoyed the notes of cocoa, pepper, and earthiness. I found it had a few transitions, as well as decent strength. What I liked most about this cigar was the easy draw and the fact that I can enjoy it anytime of day. It also pairs excellent with Flor de Cana rum!
#8 Eiroa CBT Maduro
This Honduran beauty is the second line produced under the EIROA name. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first one (similar band but gold rather than silver) being the maduro fan that I am, I loved that this cigar used all maduro leaves. This is a coffee lovers dream cigar, so you can imagine why I love it! A mixture of mocha and coffee with hints of floral and white pepper, this cigar had great flavor and strength. The construction was spot on as well. This particular cigar doesn't have a ton of complexity, however I was a fan of the flavors it had throughout, so again, personal preference.
#7 1994 La Flor Dominicana
La Flor Dominicana is a brand that continues to provide excellent cigars and for me has become a definite "go to" while in any humidor. The 1994 starts out extremely creamy and earthy with a bit of saltiness in the first third. It transitions into a sweet caramel and brown sugar nuance and towards the second half picks up strength as well as some cayenne pepper. An absolute treat for my palate, I really enjoyed this cigar to the fullest.
You have probably seen a lot of mention of this particular cigar from me these past couple months. I visited the factory where they are made in Esteli, smoked them in Nicaragua on RP's farm, as well as paired it with my special holiday food and spirit video. I absolutely love this cigar! The Mexican wrapper is almost a redundant choice on my part, however when there is something you love, you tend to choose it the most! The transitions are present, the full flavor and medium strength are pleasant anytime of day. I think Rocky did a bang up job not only on the packaging and presentation playing on the "prohibition" era in the cigar industry, but especially on the flavors of this dark beauty.
#5 Nestor Miranda Collection Maduro