The vision behind the Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year Coutndown is to find the best new blends that were smoked in the past year. At the same time, there are many great blends that have already been released that add line extensions in the form of new vitolas. These vitolas share the same tobacco components. These cigars are not considered for the countdown. Therefore, for the fifth consecutive year we bring you our Best Line Extension selections.

The criteria for this list is as follows:

  1. The new vitola must have been released during The 2014 Cigar Coop Cigar Year (11/29/13 – 11/27/14).  
  2. The first release of the line must have been released prior to the 2014 Cigar Coop Cigar Year.
  3. While we recognize a vitola does make some blend adjustments for the size, the new vitola must share the same tobacco components (wrapper, binder, and filler) as the rest of the existing line. 
  4. Consistency and aging potential were factored into this list.  The scores listed are those recorded at the time of the published assessment.  These other variables affected the final ranking.
  5. The vitola must have been reviewed, assessed, and scored on Cigar Coop.
  6. Only one line extension per blend is eligible. 

Without our further ado, here are our selections for 2014:

10. Pudgy Monsters Jason

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Robusto: 5 1/2 x 52
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Score: 92

The Tatuaje Jason is a robusto-sized version of the most recently released Tatuaje Monster – the Tatuaje Monster No. 6 JV13 that was included in the 2014 Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters sampler. I’ve been on the record as saying that cigar hadn’t lived up to the other Monsters. However the Tatuaje Jason changed my opinion on this blend.. I found this to be a smoother and sweeter cigar than the original JV13.   Not only did I find it better, but it made the top ten in terms of line extensions

The mustiness and harshness I had gotten on many of the full-sized JV13s was not present with the Jason. It has notes of mocha and black pepper. The way the chocolate and raisin notes came together it reminded me of a rasinet candy. The flavors were full-bodied countered by some medium to full strength. The construction was excellent.

9. RoMa Craft Tabac Aquitaine Mode Blockhead

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Ligero
Binder: Cameroon
Filler: Nicaraguan (3 Fillers): Esteli, Condega, and a ligero leaf from Pueblo Nuevo (a small farm north of Esteli on the Honduran border)
Blockhead: 6 x 54 (Box-Press)
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Score: 92

While it was RoMa Craft Tobac’s Mode 5 perfecto that got a lot of well-deserved accolades as far as line extensions go for the Aquitaine line, it was the box-pressed vitola, the Aquitaine Blockhead which stole the show here.  This is a shop exclusive that went to Monte’s Pueblo Pipe Shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but has also made its way to several events.

The box-press vitola for this blend clicked on all cylinders resulting in a nice flavorful and complex smoke.  I picked up a lot of natural tobacco, but there were notes of cocoa, earth, pepper, and floral along the way. The flavors are full-bodied countered by medium strength.

8  Debonaire First Degree

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
First Degree: 4 x 44 (Petite Salomon)
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Score: 91

Last year, Debonaire co-founder Phil Zanghi broke news on Episode 79 of Stogie Geeks announcing the First Degree.  This would add a sixth size to his Debonaire line in the form of a petite salomon.  The idea here is that the First Degree would provide a way to introduce cigar enthusiasts to the Debonaire line – which is an ultra premium line of cigars.  First Degree would also serve a purpose providing cigar enthusiasts with a cigar at an affordable price point that can be smoked in a shorter period of time.

This was a great cigar when it was released and it’s already living up to the aging potential that the rest of the vitolas in the line have consistently shown.  I found the First Degree to accomplish exactly what Zanghi wanted and gives the cigar enthusiast an “appetizer” to the rest of the Debonaire line. The cigar starts off with pepper and what I term “hard candy” sweetness. The sweetness transitions to more of a natural tobacco sweetness. Along the way there is a subtle “au jus” flavor in the background – which is the signature Debonaire flavor. The flavors delivered are medium to full-bodied.  The strength is medium but does progress too medium to full toward the end.

7.  RoMa Craft Intemperance BA XXI Revenge

Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
Binder: Indonesia
Filler: Nicaragua/Dominican Republic
Revenge: 5 x 56 (Box-Press)
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 92

RoMa Craft Tobac is only one of two brands to land cigars on the 2014 Best Line Extensions list. This time it was the Intemperance BA XXI’s turn as a box-press known as Revenge was produced. This is a 5 x 56 box-pressed version of of the BA XXI Breach of the Peace. It was originally given to Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina as a shop exclusive, but last week, RoMa Craft Tobac co-owner Skip Martin announced it will be moved to two new homes – Mr J’s Havana Shop in Warwick, Rhode Island and Cigars on 6th in Denver, Colorado.

The Intemperance BA XXI Revenge isn’t going to be a cigar that undergoes radical flavor transitions as it burns, but it is a cigar that is going to deliver plenty of flavor – and plenty of flavor nuances. These nuances help contribute to the complexity of this cigar and keep things interesting. I picked up notes of coffee, cedar, and pepper as well as citrus and a slight cream note. The strength and body start out medium and progress to medium to full by the second half.

6.  J. Grotto Silk Lancero

Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Binder (Double): Criollo 98, Indonesian
Filler: Honduran Trojes, Nicaraguan Jalapa
Lancero: 7 1/2 x 40
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 92

It was back in April where we broke news on Stogie Geeks that a lancero frontmark was being added to Paul Joyal’s J. Grotto Silk line. The J. Grotto Silk line was introduced two years ago as an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade offering under the Ocean State Cigars portfolio.

I found the Silk Lancero to be an outstanding that delivered notes of cream, berry, and cedar with some pepper on the retro-hale. There was a nice amount of berry and cream early on and the cedar notes came on in the second third. I found the cigar to finish very flavorful with no harshness. The Silk Lanceo delivers a mild to medium strength and medium-bodied smoke. The construction was outstanding and was reflected with an excellent burn and draw. The draw was also exceptional for a lancero. While there are a lot of Ecuadorian Connecticut cigars and plenty of lanceros, you don’t see a whole lot of Ecuadorian Connecticut lanceros. This cigar blend definitely delivers in the lancero format and stands out nicely.

5.  Pudgy Monsters Face

Wrapper: Mexican
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Face: 4 3/8 x 56
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 93

Tatuaje scores a second cigar blend on this year’s line extension list – and it comes from the Pudgy Monsters series again. The Pudgy Face is the third vitola in the Tatuaje Face blend. It is a shorter version of the Tatuaje – The Face – sharing the same ring gauge as this blend, but the length of the other vitola, the Baby Face.  This cigar features a Mexican wrapper – something not often used on Tatuaje releases.

The Face blend might be the most underrated in all of the Monsters / Little Monsters / Pudgy Monsters release.  It is also a blend that historically has stood up to aging nicely.  This cigar produces notes of earth, coffee, grass, cream, and pepper. The strength and body are optimal – both coming in at medium to full. The burn and draw were both excellent.

4.  Undercrown Dogma by Drew Estate

Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
Binder: Connecticut Stalk Cut Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan and Brazilian Mata Fina
Dogma: 6 x 56 (Box-Press)
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 93

The Undercrown Dogma is a cigar to commemorate Cigar Dojo‘s one year anniversary and was a limited production exclusive to Smoke Inn. It is based on the Undercrown Corona ¡Viva! blend – which was the Cigar Coop #13 Cigar of the Year for 2012.  This cigar marked the first box-press to be introduced under the Undercrown line.

This cigar delivered an almost syrupy cherry sweetness and at times even had a honey flavor. There are also notes of coffee and pepper present. The cigar became more earthy in the last third, but still was a joy to smoke. The flavors are full-bodied and the strength is medium to full. Overall the Dogma followed very nicely in the footsteps of the original Undercrown Corona ¡Viva!.

3. Room 101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town

Wrapper: Habano
Binder: Authentic Corojo
Filler: Honduras, Dominican
H-Town: 7 1/2 x 38
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 93

A couple of days ago, the blend for Matt Booth’s Room 101 Namakubi Ecuador won the 2014 award for Best Aged Cigar.  Late last year a limited production lancero vitola was released as a shop exclusive to Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston, Texas called the Room 101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town  This also is the second lancero to appear on this year’s line extensions list.

It is the lancero format that perhaps became the best size for this particular blend. This vitola delivers notes of dark chocolate/cocoa, citrus, earth, and black pepper. The H-Town was one of the stronger smoking experiences in the Room 101 Namakubi Ecuador line delivering a full strength and full-bodied smoking experience. The burn and draw are both excellent.

2. Pudgy Monsters Frank

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Frank: 5 5/8 x 49 (Box Press)
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 94

Tatuaje lands its third cigar on this year’s line extensions list.  This time it once again comes from the Tatuaje Pudgy Monsters series with the Pudgy Monsters Frank.   The Pudgy Monster Frank uses the ring gauge from the original Tatuaje – The Frank and the length from the Little Monsters Frank Jr.  The original Tatuaje – The Frank is considered to be one of the most iconic releases ever by Tatuaje. Its follow-up, the Frank Jr. made an appearance on the 2012 Line Extensions list at #7, but it was also a cigar that really got better with age.  As for the Pudgy Monsters Frank, this was an even better release.

The Pudgy Monster Frank delivers notes of espresso, mocha, earth, pepper, and nut. I found the Pudgy Monster Frank to offer a little less complexity than the Frank Jr., but the flavors more than made up for it. I found this to be a full-bodied and full strength cigar. It easily wins as the “belle of the ball” for the Pudgy Monsters series – meaning hands down the best cigar in the sampler.

1.Padron 1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive Maduro

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
TAA Belicoso: 5 x 52
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 93

The calendar year of 2014 was a huge one for Padron Cigars with the releases of the Padron 50th Anniversary and Padron Family Reserve No. 50 cigars.  However these releases overshadowed one of the best line extensions to the Padron 1964 Anniversary to come out in recent years -the  Padron 1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive Maduro.  Padron is known for its ongoing Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) releases, the Padron 1964 Anniversary Toro TAA Exclusive Natural and Maduro.  In the case of the Belicoso, it is also being done in a Natural and Maduro, but both are a one time release.

The Padron1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive Maduro was the shining star in what we considered to be a disappointing 2014 TAA Exclusive Series.  This series consisted of eight cigars by different manufacturers.  The 1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive Maduro and Natural made Padron the only brand with two cigars in the set.

Padron hit one out of the park with the Belicoso TAA Exclusive Maduro. This cigar has a much more creamy and sweet profile than most of the 1964s. There was a point that it almost had the flavor of a chocolate covered cherry. There is a unique pepper spice that layered over the other flavors throughout the smoke. The flavors are medium to full-bodied and the strength is medium.

This cigar we rated box worthy.  While normally I recommend smoking Padron 1964 Anniversary, the Maduro has gotten even better in the past several weeks approaching Chuck Norris level.  It was an easy selection for Best Line Extension of 2014.