Top 10 Lists
Top 10 Cigars of 2013 – Tony Casas Edition
#10 – La Barba
Anthony Bellato and Craig Rossi teamed up with the boutique cigar manufacturer Wynwood to produce #10 on my list. This is the first cigar released by the duo and it’s been a smash around the cigar community. This is a solid cigar carrying a ton of pepper, spice, earthiness and strength while it finished smooth and creamy. I love the artwork too. This is a perfect example on a cigar living up to the buzz.
#9 – La Flor Dominicana – Mystery Cigar
The Mystery cigar. What’s so mysterious about it? Pretty much everything except the fact that it rocks. I’ve seen good and bad reviews on this cigar, but I personally loved it and wish it was more readily available. It’s a departure from the standard power-first mind set that La Flor Dominicana blends usually carry as it’s much more tame, yet still very flavorful. The size is perfect and I would have to say this is probably one of the best LFD cigars that I have ever had the pleasure of smoking.
#8 – Reinado – Grand Empire Reserve Corona Gorda
I know the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve came out prior to 2013. And I know the photo above and the link below showcase the robusto format and not the corona. But, the corona was a line extension that Antonio Lam added to the Grand Empire Reserve line this year. While 2013 was the first time that I smoked the line, it was also the first time any of us had smoked the corona gorda which is the size in the line that I personally fell in love with. You can ask anyone who has smoked any cigars if the GER line and I guarantee there wouldn’t be a single person with a single bad thing to say about the cigar, or the manufacturer.
#7 – Moya Ruiz – La Jugada Prieto
Sweetness galore! Seriously, Moya Ruiz showcased just how tasty Mexican San Andreas tobacco can be. From the time you light up the Prieto you are taken to a far away place where you find yourself skipping through a field of chocolate. Yeah, that’s totally stretching it, but seriously this cigar tastes like a hershey’s bar wrapped in tobacco. Coffee, cedar, and just a ton of sweetness all wrapped up in a glorious package.
#6 – Leccia – White Label
We all have been anxiously awaiting the return of Sam Leccia. His hiatus from the cigar industry was interrupted this year when he released two blends under his new company “Leccia Tobacco”. I smoke both of them, and while I enjoyed both I think the white not only surpassed the black, but also many of the other new blends released by other manufacturers this year. The pepper captured me right off the bat while the strength, spice, cedar, and leather guided me through an incredible experience form start to finish. I just with these babies were easier to find in our neck of the woods.
#5 – Quesada/Smoke Inn – Oktoberfest Dunkel
It’s not secret that I loved Quesada’s Oktoberfest release. Hell, most of the cigar community did. When I heard that Quesada had teamed up with Smoke Inn to create a new Oktoberfest blend using my favorite wrapper leaf (Connecticut Broadleaf), I was all over it. While the cigar didn’t differ too much from the original Oktoberfest I found that the Dunkel carried much more sweetness as well as a more creamy take on the Oktoberfest blend. Too bad these bad boys are a limited run, but if I am not mistaken Smoke Inn still have a few of these left in stock.
#4 – Crowned Heads – JD Howard Reserve
The JD Howard Reserve was love at first smoke. First off, I love me some Brazillian tobacco, always have. And when that tobacco is used in a blend right, it shines. The JD Howard fires on all cylinders creating a wonderfully strong flavor profile with flavors such as floral notes, maple, spice, and a shit-ton of sweetness. One thing I really liked about the JD Howard was how powerful the cigar was in the flavor department while remaining relatively modest in the strength department. This is an ideal cigar to show off just how great medium-bodied cigars can turn out when they are blended properly.
#3 – Tatuaje – 10th Anniversary Belle Encre
Some may say this is not a new release, some may say it is. Whatever the case is, Pete Johnson kicked out another winner. I have read in some blogs that the 10th anniversary is simply the same brown label we all know and love with nothing more than a band change, while some insist that Pete has slightly altered something in the blend. Maybe it’s true, or maybe it’s just due to the vintage of tobacco used on this release, but the 10th anniversary seemed to have a bit more “umph” in the experience than normal for me this year. The strength was slightly more than I was used to (and I smoke a lot of brown labels) while the body of the cigar seemed to show a slight ramp up as well. The Bella Encre was also a new format made exclusively for the 10th anniversary release. The figurado was an instant hit.
#2 – Drew Estate – Liga Privada UF-13 Dark
Yes, I love my Liga Privada, we all know that. But the UF-13 dark was an incredible release. Drew Estate fills top 10 lists across all blogs year after year and 2013 is no exception. The UF-13 dark was sold out the second it hit the shelves, there has been a few restockings and even then they don’t stay on shelves. The strong, bold, rich flavors really showcase how badass a powerhouse cigar can be when done properly. Very strong, yet somehow smooth, and not over-powering in the least. The Drew boys did it again.
#1 – Illusione – *r* Rothchildes
Now why did this cigar rank #1 on my list? Let me start of by telling you all it’s not due to the price point. While I really appreciate Dion giving our wallets a break with the low price point of the Rothchildes, I simply found this cigar as the most enjoyable cigar I had all year without even taking price into consideration. The first time I smoked it I enjoyed it very much, but it took one or two more to really appreciate the departure from the other lines in the Illusione portfolio. The strong, bold flavors, sweetness, spice and overall balance are not to be messed with. I smoked about 15 of these cigars and every single one produced a perfect experience.