During any given year I try a lot of cigars. Some of them are awful, many are mediocre, and quite a few are downright forgettable. Many are outstanding, however, and at the end of the year a few emerge in my mind as the best of the best. So now that the year is at its end, I want to share with you my very favorite cigars of 2014. This list is completely subjective, and please keep in mind it is in no particular order.
1. The Crowned Heads – Jericho Hill
Jericho Hill is a release that The Crowned Heads made in conjunction with My Father. The binder and filler are both Nicaraguan, but the wrapper is Mexican San Andreas tobacco. Strength is medium to full. At first I remember worrying about this one because of how densely packed it was, but the draw was just fine. Flavors are awesome, especially if you like wood and natural tobacco. This cigar produces a ton of thick white smoke. It’s very flavorful, and not too expensive either.
2. Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro
This is a cigar often seen on best-of lists for this year. It’s a Nicaraguan puro with a Maduro wrapper and strength I’d rate as either medium or full. The blend was created to honor Jose Padron and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Padron family’s brand. It doesn’t come cheap; you literally will pay around $25 for one of these. That said, if you get the chance to try it, do it. The flavors are exceptional and the construction is perfect. Check out this review for an idea of what you can expect in this cigar. I love the perfect draw and the sweet, spicy flavors, which are mostly in the cedar-and-chocolate area. While the flavors are nothing unusual, they are incredibly well balanced. This is an excellent commemorative cigar. I only wish I could afford another one!
3. Illusione Fume d'Amour
Last year I became a huge fan of the Illusione Rothchildes. This year, an Illusione cigar was also one of the first I thought of for this list. The name translates to “smoke of love.” And I definitely love this cigar! It’s very complex, featuring Nicaraguan viso and seco filler leaves. It’s a puro: the binder and wrapper are also from Nicaragua. Notes include wood, chocolate, nuts, and a minty coolness balancing out the rest. Construction on this stogie is excellent. You can read my review of the Illusione Fume d'Amour Viejos for more details. If you are an Illusione fan, you definitely have to try this one!
4. Joya Red
This puro has made a lot of best-of lists this year, and is yet another great offering from Nicaragua. You can purchase it for around $6, so it is a great deal, and perfect for everyday. It’s a medium-bodied smoke with flawless construction and delicious flavors of earth, nuts, and leather. There’s a hint of citrus and plum rounding it all out and balancing the other notes. A superb cigar at a superb price!
5. Camacho Ecuador
This cigar includes an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Brazilian binder, and Dominican and Honduran filler leaves. The draw and burn are perfect, and it hits you with a ton of intense, bold flavor right off the bat. I got mostly leather and spice with dark fruit and something sweet in the backdrop. There are wood flavors later on and some espresso; I expect the sweetness is from either the wood or the fruit. Either way, it’s a great smoke. You can go right down to the nub with zero harshness. Around $6 / stick.
Thanks for reading my list of the top cigars of 2014! What were your favorite stogies this year? Let us know in the comments below!