Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cigar Facts

Saludos,

Greetings, history buffs. Today's cigar fact: the Prussian Government enacted a law in 1830 that decreed cigars smoked in public be in a wire-mesh contraption designed to prevent sparks setting fire to ladies' hoop skirts.

Until the next post, siempre fumando,
Habana Port

The RyJ cigar by Romeo y Julieta

Saludos,

Greetings, romantics. The RyJ cigar by Romeo y Julieta is a Nicaraguan puro with a double binder. Constructed by Altadis, the RyJ is about medium to medium-strong and has a rich profile. We are currently only featuring one vitola to gage the market's response. Stop in to try this cigar and let us know what you think.

Until the next post, siempre fumando,
Habana Port

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Arturo Fuente Gran AniverXario Destino al Siglo Cigar

Saludos,

Greetings, Fuente fans. The Arturo Fuente Gran AniverXario Destino al Siglo cigar has a Habano seed wrapper that is grown in the open sunlight at Chateau de la Fuente. The cigars are packed in 2 rows of 13 (a significant number for the Fuentes) in a box that looks like a book (a style they started with the Hemingway Masterpiece in the 80s). This cigar commemorates their century in the business.

Until the next post, siempre fumando,
Habana Port

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

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 EndemaƱo 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