In 2013, we are introducing a major change to Honorable Mentions.

For the past three years of our Cigar of the Year countdown, we have unveiled a list of “Honorable Mentions”. While we didn’t rank these cigars, we picked ten cigars that just missed making our Top 30 countdown. While we didn’t intend this to be a Top 40 list, this is exactly what this ended up becoming. For 2013, the concept of Honorable Mentions are changing on Cigar Coop The ten cigar we selected were picked from a pool of cigars that did not meet the criteria to qualify for the Top 30. While we didn’t order these cigars, it was worth mentioning some of these very good cigar experiences.

Cigars on this list include:

  1. Cigars released prior to the start of the 2013 Cigar Coop Cigar Year (11/23/12 – 11/28/13), but were not smoked in time to qualify for the Cigar of the Year list.  This is not limited to 2012 releases, but any cigar smoked for the first time released prior to the 2013 Cigar Coop Cigar Year.
  2. Event only Cigars
  3. Re-releases of previously released blends and/or vitolas.
  4. A cigar only smoked once
  5. In addition to criteria above, the cigar must have been smoked before the close of the 2013 Cigar Coop Cigar Year.
New line extensions introduced in 2013 did not qualify for this list (unless only smoked a single time) as they were on our Best Line Extensions for 2013 list.  Any cigar eligible for the 2013 Cigar of the Year countdown could not make its way to this list.
The following are the ten Honorable Mentions listed in alphabetical order.Atabey Brujos by Selected Tobacco

Why its a Honorable Mention?   It was a 2012 release we smoked for the first time in 2013.

The Atabey by Selected Tobacco is a cigar made in Costa Rica by Nelson Alfonso.  If the name sounds familiar, he is the man behind the famed Cohiba Behike.  Alfonso is keeping details of this blend closely guarded.

We smoked the Atabey Brujos (4 7/8 x 52) and were blown away.  It has some very Cubanesque qualities and also its own unique qualities.  The Atabey is a medium strength, medium-bodied smoke. The cigar delivers notes of wood, pepper, natural tobacco, nut, and toast.  It is perhaps the retro-hale that is most unique in that it both hickory and nutty spice qualities.

If this cigar was smoked in 2012, it could have easily landed on the podium as a top three cigar.  It’s still worth mentioning as it’s an absolute home run. The Atabey line runs $20.00 to $30.00, but it’s easily a cigar that delivers an ultra-premium experience.

2. Avo Limited Edition 2009 Companero (Avo LE 09)

Why its a Honorable Mention?   It was a 2011 release we smoked for the first time in 2013..

The he Avo Limited Edition 2009 Companero was 2009’s installment in the Avo Limited Edition series.  This line has a strong history on Cigar Coop.  The Avo Limited Edition 2010 was our 2010 Cigar of the Year, and three of the past four years have seen an Avo Limited Edition land on our countdown.  This is one cigar that was missed on Cigar Coop, and it was only in 2013 that we smoked for the Avo Limited Edition 2009 Companero for the first time.

This cigar features an Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper, Dominican binder, and a mix of Dominican and Peruvian filler.  It was released in one size a 6 x 54 toro.

The Companero does not disappoint.  It delivers notes of coffee, hay, wood, pepper, cream, and earth.  Mst of the Avo Limited Editions are not known be being fuller.  In the case of the Companero, it delivers a medium to full strength and medium to full-bodied experience.

This is definitely a smoke I’d recommend if you can get your hands on it.

3. El Primer Mundo Epifania

Why its a Honorable Mention?   It was a 2011 release we smoked for the first time in 2013.

The El Primer Mundo Epifania was the second cigar released in Primer Mundo Cigars’ Little Havana Series.  Primer Mundo Cigars is a boutique cigar company founded by Sean Williams.  For the Little Havana Series, Williams has been working with the team at El Titan de Bronze in Miami, Florida.  This year we tagged Primer Mundo Cigars as one of our Five Boutiques to Watch.  Williams has been doing some great work and the Epifania is an example of it.

The Epifania consists of an Ecuadorian wrapper,  Nicaraguan binder, and a combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican filler.  It was released in a single size – a 6 x 52 toro.

The Epifania delivers a complex flavor profile.  It delivers notes of wood, pepper, caramel, citrus, and bread.  The retro-hale provides a combination of floral spice and pepper.  The Epifania starts out medium to full strength and kicks up to full strength by the end.  The flavors start out medium-bodied and progress to full by end of the smoke.

This is a nice small batch cigar that consistently delivers.  This is definitely worth seeking out.

4. La Aurora Preferidos 1903 Edition Diamond

Why its a Honorable Mention?   It was a 2012 release we smoked for the first time in 2013.

In 2012, La Aurora released its sixth blend into its Preferidos line.  The Preferidos line is known for its perfecto shapes.  Each cigar blend has a different wrapper and is packaged by in a different colored tube.  The La Aurora Preferidos 1903 Edition Diamond introduced a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper into the series packaged in a black tube.

In addition to the Connecticut Broadleaf  maduro wrapper, there is a Dominican maduro, and Dominican filler.  The Diamond was launched in a 5 x 54 perfecto, but recently a regional exclusive in a 6 x 58 parejo version was released to six states.

The Diamond delivers an outstanding Connecticut Broadleaf experience consisting of espresso, coffee, pepper, cedar, and some classic maduro sweetness.  It’s full strength and full-bodied, but not to the point where it is going to overpower you.

While I’m not someone who likes to reach for a perfecto, this is one that I would not hesitate to smoke.  This is easily one of the best releases in the Preferidos line.

5. Padron Family Reserve No. 45 NaturalWhy its a Honorable Mention?  It was a 2009 release we smoked for the first time in 2013.

When it comes to the Padron Family Reserve No. 45 line, everyone knows the maduro.  It is considered one of the best cigars ever produced by Padron Cigars.  The Natural wrapper version of this cigar is one that is often overlooked.  This one is an absolute winner and one that really caught our attention this year.

Like all Padron cigars, this is a Nicaraguan puro.  The Family Reserve No. 45 was released in a 6 x 52 box-press toro for both the natural and maduro versions.

The Padron Family Reserve No. 45 Natural delivers a highly complex flavor profile with lots of flavor nuances and transitions.  It consists of notes of pepper, wood, coffee, floral, citrus and bread.  This cigar was a full strength, full-bodied smoke, but not too overpowering.  There is great balance between flavor, strength, and body with this cigar.

The Padron Family Reserve No. 45 Natural is easy another cigar adding to the Padron Cigars’ legacy.

6. Paul Gamirian Symphony 20 Salomones

Why its a Honorable Mention?  It was a 2011 release we smoked for the first time in 2013.

If you listen to our Stogie Geeks podcast, you know the team is very high on Paul Gamirian cigars, but on Cigar Coop we had smoked very little – until this year. It was the Paul Gamirian Symphony 20 that caught our attention.  This was a cigar to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Paul Gamirian cigars.  In particular, it was the Salomones vitola that really was a standout smoke here.

The Symphony 20 line debuted in 2010 with the Connoisseur.  The Salomones and Short Robusto sizes were released in 2011.  The Belicoso and Bombones came in 2012.  In 2013 came a Robusto and Corona Extra along with a re-release of the Connoisseur known as Connoisseur 2013.  The Salomones is a big 6 7/8 x 57 (at its widest point) vitola.  Most of the details of the blend were not disclosed.

The flavors consist of toasted nut, grass, pepper, bread, and cream.  The flavors start out medium-bodied but build in depth.  By the end of this smoke, it’s full-bodied.  The nicotine level won’t overpower here as its a medium strength cigar.

A Salomon is not a vitola I normally reach for, but the Symphony 20 Salomones really shined.

7. RoMa Craft Tobac Intemperance BA XXI AvariceWhy its a Honorable Mention?  It was a 2012 release we smoked for the first time in 2013.

The Intemperance line was introduced by RoMa Craft Tobac in 2012.  The Intemperance BA XXI  introduced a Brazilian Arapiraca cigar into the company’s portfolio.  While bands have recently been introduced for this line, we smoked this cigar with the bands off, and it really helped change my thoughts on Brazilian Arapirica cigars.

In addition to the Arapiraca wrapper, the blend consists of an Indonesian binder and a combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican filler. The vitola that really stood out here was the 4 1/2 x 50 Avarice.

This delivered a nice host of flavors consisting of oak, earth, unsweetened chocoate, chicory, and coffee notes.  The flavors are medium to full-bodied, but progressed to full-bodied at the end.  The strength is medium, but hits medium to full by the end.

Much like I think San Andres wrapper can overpower a blend, so can Brazilian Arapiraca, but for this blend RoMa Craft Tobac nails it.  It’s a cigar that also grew on this author more and more throughout 2013.

8. RoMa Craft Tobac Formorian

Why its a Honorable Mention?  It was an event only cigar, and it was only smoked a single time.

The Formorian was an event only cigar made by RoMa Craft Tobac for the DC Tweet Up held back in March of 2013.  The Formorian replaces the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of the CroMagnon blend.  The result  was nothing short of amazing.  In this author’s opinions, this could be one of the great Candela wrapper cigars ever made.

The Formorian was only made in the 5 x 56 EMH (Early Modern Human) vitola.  It still contains the CroMagnon’s Cameroon binder and Nicaraguan fillers.

The flavors really shine on the Formorian.  It consists of black pepper, cream, citrus, natrual tobacco, and a unique chestnut flavor.   The retro-hale also produced a wonderful sweet pepper spice.  Like most candelas, the Formorian will be on the milder side.  The flavors start out mild to medium-bodied, but do progress to medium-bodied by the end.  The strength remains mild to medium.

This was a cigar never put up for regular sale, and we don’t know if we ever will see it again.  However, it delivered a great candela experience and thus earns an Honorable Mention for 2013.  RoMa Craft Tobac is one of two companies to land multiple Honorable Mentions in 2013.

9. Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gorda 2013

Why its a Honorable Mention?  This is a re-released vitola in 2013 that was originally released in 2007.

As a part of Tatuaje Cigars’ tenth anniversary, company founder Pete Johnson announced the return of the Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gorda. The line made its debut back in 2007 in a corona gorda format.  It was sold in a ceramic jar and was made in limited quanities. While there have been other Black Label vitolas released since then, the Corona Gorda has remained one of the most sought after vitolas in the line.  While the plan is for a large production run of this cigar to be released in melamine jars early in 2014, some bundles did make their way to retailers this past year.  Without a doubt, this is a landmark cigar by Tatuaje – and one that ranks up there with Johnson’s best work.

The Black Label is a Nicaraguan puro consisting of a Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper.  The Corona Gorda comes in a classic 5 5/8 x 46 frontmark.  For the 2013 release, it released a jazzier version of the Black Label band.

The Black Label Corona Gorda is an absolute flavor bomb.  It consists of notes of orange sweetness, mixed fruit, chocolate, raw caramel and pepper.  There is also orange spice and wood on retro-hale.  The flavors are full-bodied, but the cigar will not overpower you as it is medium strength.

The Black Label line has had some great cigars.  This one ranks right at the top.

10. Tatuaje Noellas Reserva 2013

Why its a Honorable Mention?  This was a 2013 re-release of the 2009 version of this cigar.

The Tatuaje Noellas Reserva 2013 is a cigar that fits in with Tatuaje’s focus for its 10th anniversary.  Tatuaje Founder Pete Johnson has stated several times that his Seleccion de Cazador (a.k.a Brown Label blend) would be the focus around much of what he is doing for his tenth anniversary.  One of the vitolas in the original Seleccion de Cazador line is a 5 1/2 x 42 corona-sized vitola called Noellas which features a Habano Ecuador wrapper.  In 2006, a special limited edition “Noellas Reserva” came out consisting of a Habano Ecuador Maduro wrapper.  The “Noellas Reserva” returned in 2009 for another limited run – this time with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.  In 2013, the Noellas once again returned – and still sporting the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The Noellas is one of two Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper Reserva cigars to be released in 2013. The other is the 5 1/2 x 50 robusto-sized Regios.  The plan is for both of these vitolas to have a production run of 2,000 boxes (of 25) released twice per year.

The Noellas Reserva delivers an outstanding maduro experience consisting of notes of pepper, mocha, cream, cedar, and earth.  The strength and body of this cigar balance each other nicely as both are in the medium to full range.

Overall, this was one of the standout releases around Tatuaje’s 10th anniversary in 2013.