Thursday, January 1, 2015

Habana Port's Top 15 Cigars of 2014


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 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.

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 AndrĂ©s 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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