Top 10 Lists

Top 10 Cigars of 2013 – Jeremy Hensley Edition

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Wow, what an unbelievable 2013! I made it almost an entire year with Casas Fumando and I am looking forward to what’s to come in 2014 (as long as Tony keeps me around). Today, I bring to you my top 10 list of 2013.  My list will focus on cigars I reviewed this year, not all the cigars I have smoked. So, maybe a more correct name for this list is “Top 10 Reviewed Cigars of 2013”. The list is based on my personal preference and my opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. At the end of the day, I hope you find the list helpful and find some cigars that you may enjoy. Lastly, a big “Thank You” to all of our readers who made 2013 successful.

#10 – Joya De Nicaragua – Rosalones

Joya De Nicaragua - Rosalones

I have smoked more Rosalones than any other cigar on this list, which is understandable since it has a price point just over $3 a stick making it is easy on the wallet. Tony raved about this stick upon his return from Drew Estate’s Cigar Safari back in April when he first sampled the cigar and I will continue rave about this cigar because, for the price, there is not much competition out there.

 Read the full review here.

#9 – La Gloria Cubana – Serie R Esteli

La Gloria Cubana - Serie R Esteli

If you would have asked me at the start of 2013 if any of the manufacturing giants would have found a spot on my top 10 list I would have said “no” without question. But, as with many other things in my life, I was wrong. The Serie R Esteli by General Cigar Company is a complex cigar that performs exceptionally well. For almost two hours, the Esteli will bring you on a journey of flavors consisting of deep notes of cedar, earth, cocoa, and dark fruit. All for a price around $7.00.

Read the full review here. 

#8 – Leccia Tobacco – Black

Leccia Tobacco - Black

After a two-year hiatus from the industry, Sam Leccia made quite the return in 2013 with his release of the Black and White. The Black features a unique “Dark Fire” tobacco alongside Nicaraguan, Brazilian, and Dominican fillers, a Nicaraguan binder, and a Habano wrapper. The Dark Fire tobacco brings out peaty and hickory notes that balance well with the other flavors in the cigars.The Black offers complexity, balance, and a whole lot of uniqueness for around $8.00.

 Read the full review here. 

#7 – Espinosa Cigars – Espinosa Habano

Espinosa Cigars - Espinosa Habano

While this is a 2012 release, I did not have opportunity to smoke the Habano by Espinosa Cigars until March of this year. So, while I may be breaking all of the rules, I believe this stick is worthy of a spot on my top 10 list. The Habano shows off a crazy creamy, spicy profile with a welcoming sweet cedar flavor that I absolutely love. For a price around $6-$7, this is a cigar I am always on the look out.

Read the full review here. 

#6 – Cuenca Cigars – Cuenca 5 Anniversary

Cuenca 5 Anniversary

There are not many cigars produced by A.J. Fernandez that I do not enjoy and the Cuenca 5 Anniversary is no exception. The Cuenca 5 is a full flavored, full strength cigar made exclusively for Cuenca Cigars in Hollywood, Florida. The box pressed format and tapered head, makes this 7 by 54 behemoth of a cigar easy to manage in both the hand and mouth and the bold, complex flavors make it even easier to enjoy.

 Read the full review here. 

#5 – Leccia Tobacco – White

Leccia Tobacco - White

Leccia Tobacco is the only company to find two slots in my top ten list and that is probably a bigger surprise to me than to anyone else. Back in August, Skip Martin’s tweet summed it up best when he said

Leccia Black Robusto is going to bring them to the brand, but White is going to keep them.

While this is a more traditional cigar than the Black, the White delivers in all aspects and does not disappoint.

Read the full review here. 

#4 – Ortega Cigar Company – Cubao

Ortega Cigar Company - Cubao

With Ortega Cigar Company’s release of the Ortega Wild Bunch this year, several other offerings from the company have gone overlooked and the Cubao is one of those. The Cubao has been on the market since 2008 under EO Brands but it was relaunched under Ortega Cigar Company earlier this year. The Cubao sports an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper overs its Nicaraguan filler and binder and delivers flavors of peppery spice, rich cedar, orange peel, and some sweetness.  On top up the profile that just suits my palate, the Cubao always seems to perform beyond expectation, even in the Lancero format, which is my favorite.

Read the full review here. 

#3 – Moya Ruiz Cigars – La Jugada Prieto

Moya Ruiz Cigars - La Jugada Prieto

The La Jugada Prieto is the freshman release from Moya Ruiz Cigars produced at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Back in June, when Tony Casas and I were guests on episode 55 of Stogie 411, I mentioned that the La Jugada Prieto was one cigar that stood out to me this year and, at the close of 2013, that has not changed. The Prieto showcased the San Andres Maduro wrapper better than any other cigar I have smoked this year.

Read the full review here. 

#2 – Ezra Zion Cigar Company – Tantrum Eicion Limitada

Ezra Zion - Tantrum

You may think it crazy to spend $9.50 on a 4.4 by 44 Petit Corona but that is probably because you have not smoked the Tantrum by Ezra Zion Cigar Company. This little sticks packs a punch and is fitting of its slogan – “a little baby powerhouse”. But beyond its punch, the Tantrum delivers full, spicy flavors with complex subtleties. While my experience with other offerings from Ezra Zion is limited, I would not hesitate to recommend the Tantrum even with its higher price. I look forward to getting to know the other lines from the company in 2014.

 Read the full review here.

#1 – Crowned Heads – J.D. Howard Reserve

J.D. Howard Reserve

Last year, Crowned Heads found the #9 spot on Tony’s top 10 list with their Headley Grange. This year, Crowned Heads found the #4 spot on Tony’s list and the #1 spot on my first top 10 list with their J.D. Howard Reserve. As I mentioned in the full review, I have a lot of respect for how Jon Huber and Mike Conder run the company but even more respect for the excellent product they have put on the market. From the presentation to the flavors, the J.D. Howard is one heck of a smoke making it worthy of the #1 spot for 2013.

Read the full review here. 

Jeremy Hensley is a bean counter for a non-profit in El Paso, Texas. He is married to the most understanding wife (he still can’t figure out how she puts up with his cigar smoking hobby), and blessed with two beautiful children. When he is not acting like a kid, he enjoys everything outdoors, especially fishing with his dad in the Great Lakes. Also, he meets the criteria of being a Casa Fumando reviewer: being a hockey fan. Feel free to contact Jeremy anytime via email (jmhensley13[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter http://twitter.com/pdn_jdog

7 Comments

  1. Jake

    December 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Finally, another Leccia fanboy, lol! Great choices. I think our palates are pretty close. Had fun reading you this year, looking forward to next. Happy New Year.

    • Jeremy Hensley

      December 30, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      Jake,

      Thanks for checking out the list! Sam Leccia seems like a good guy and he has some great sticks on the market so I guess being a fanboy isn’t too bad! hahaha. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and have a very Happy New Year!

      Warm Regards,
      Jeremy

  2. jjo

    December 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Nice list, even though I haven’t had the chance to try the top two.

    Thanks for the great work, Jeremy. You’ve been a great addition to the Casas Fumando staff.

    • Jeremy Hensley

      December 30, 2013 at 8:21 pm

      Jeff,

      Thank you for the kind words. I just quoted your comment in my annual evaluation that I have to submit to Tony next week. Hoping for a pay raise this year. lol. Happy New Year!

      Warm Regards,
      Jeremy

      • jjo

        December 30, 2013 at 8:26 pm

        LOL, is he still paying you in centavos? Have a great one, my friend!

  3. Thechris213

    September 10, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Totally agree with the Tantrum. It feels so wrong yet tastes so right.

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