Top 25 Cigars of 2014
It is that time of the year brothers, it's time for the Top 25 Cigars of 2014! This was a very interesting year for me and I believe it was a year where we saw some major transitioning in the cigar industry. I believe the days of Nicaragua dominating the Top 25 lists is coming to a close and we will see a rise in countries like the United States and more importantly the Dominican Republic. I believe some of the newer companies in the Dominican Republic are making a rise and creating some great blends, and with that some of the older companies are changing their old ways and creating some new and unique blends that are simply awesome. Looking at Nicaragua, there is one company right now that is really changing the tide and it is not necessarily with their cigars, but the tobacco they are growing. The tobacco is really showing its greatness in youth but more importantly in age. Along with these aspects, last year my list had an abundance of limited editions on it, something I am not the biggest fan of, but this year I found that regular production cigars truly dominated the list.
This was a year where limited editions did not dominate the market, but manufacturers created regular production cigars that were great. They put their focus into cigars that cigar smokers across the nation could enjoy, and not just create a blend that was limited and only available to a handful. I often find myself asking the question, do I prefer a great limited or a solid regular production line, and at the end of the day I will go with regular production all the time. If a company can keep up the consistency with the blend, and use the tobacco well over the years, that is a great cigar, much greater than a one time limited release. With manufacturers throwing new blends out every year, I am always afraid to see where they will be in a couple years. I feel that they tend to go down as they are focusing on newer production, and from that perspective I give a lot of credit to Padron Cigars. They are not on my list this year, but not because the cigars didn't deliver, but merely because I did not smoke a lot of them this year till the end. I will say that if I smoked some of their stuff earlier in the year and smoked it multiple times as I require, then they would be in my Top 10, no hesitation.
The final thing I will touch on is that of cigars from Cuba. Do they qualify for my Top 25 list? The answer is a simple YES. To not include cigars coming from Cuba would be to not create a true Top 25 list. I don't believe it is fair to leave them out and while they do not dominate the list, they do play a huge part in the formation of a Top 25 list. As I have always said, the US manufacturers and brand owners are showing the consistent trend of having new lines every year and this year was no exception. Those new lines were successful in grabbing my attention when it came to crafting my Top 25 list and so they should more often than not. With the creation of new blends, it makes it challenging sometimes for classics to make a return to the list and especially hard on the cigars coming out of Cuba. With not many new cigars coming out of Cuba. there is something to say about these classic Habanos that make it into the Top 25 list at the end of the year. I believe it shows how great they are that they can continuously compete year after year. As mentioned earlier, the number of Cubans in my list is similar to that of last year, and while it is not very high, it makes a difference when looking at all the cigars I smoked over the year.
With that wrapped up, let's get prepared for the Top 25 Cigars of 2014. Starting tomorrow, I will be releasing the list of cigars throughout the week. I am going to be changing things up from last year though and not be doing them in groups so much. I have changed it up every year, I am inconsistent in that manner, and find that keeping it fresh makes it fun for me and everyone involved. I would love to one day release them in a manner like Cigar Coop, but at the same time that is his show. Instead, I will be releasing the cigars one at a time throughout the day. I will be releasing five cigar a day for the first three days and then one cigar a day to the end. I find that making my Top 25 list is a big deal, but it is in making my Top 10 list that you deserve special credit. The release time will be 10AM, 12PM, 2PM, 4PM and 6 PM for the first three days, and then the release time will be 10AM for the remaining days. I want the cigar to receive the attention that it deserves and be respected for most of the smoking day, allowing the consumer the opportunity to go into his local retail store to pick one up to smoke.
I hope you all enjoy the list and as always, please provide feedback. I know there are always questions as to why some cigars made the list and some didn't, and the truth of the matter is consistency. I start making a list of the cigars that will qualify early on, and from there I go back to it from time to time and see how those cigars are smoking. There are some cigars that are clearly amazing and can skip rounds of testing, but there are some cigars that have to compete with others to move forward. There are some cigars that fight tooth and nail to make the list and at the end of the day they deserve it. This is one of those things that would be easier if I decided to make a Top 30 list, but then again it would be even more easy to say Top 50 Cigars. At the end of the day though, everyone loves the ring to Top 25 so that is what I go with. Hope everyone enjoys and this inspires you all to reach out to these cigars and enjoy them as much as I did!