This year, we present ten Honorable Selections. These might have been known as “Honorable Mentions” in the past, but they are worthy of more than just a mention.
The criteria is similar to 2014 with some minor changes:
- Includes Box Worthy Cigars released prior to the 2015 Cigar of the Year Window (11/28/14 – 11/26/15) that were reviewed on Cigar Coop during the 2015 Cigar of the Year Window.
- Cigars from the 2015 Cigar of the Year Window that just missed the Countdown for one reason or another.
- Like the Cigar of the Year Countdown, Event Only, Shop Exclusives, and Regional Exclusives are not eligible for this list.
- The Cigar must not have appeared on a previous Countdown or Honorable Mention / Selection list.
- There is no ordering or ranking of cigars. They are listed in alphabetical order.
- All cigars were smoked a minimum of two times.
The philosophy follows the “size matters” theme we have followed the year – namely where we do everything by vitola. The vitola must have been reviewed on Cigar Coop during the Cigar Year.
For each selection, one vitola was selected. All cigars must have been assessed on Cigar Coop during the 2014 Cigar Coop Cigar Year.
Avo Limited Edition 2007 (Part of the Avo’s Greatest Hits Sampler)
The Avo Limied Edition 2007 is simply known as the Avo LE07. It commemorates Avo Uvezian’s 81st birthday. It was re-released as a part of the Avo Greatest Hits Sampler released in 2014.
This unbanded 6 x 54 vitola features a Sun Grown Ecuadorian wrapper over a Dominican binder and filler. This medium strength medium-bodied blend delivers quite a complex blend. Along the way this cigar produced notes of sweet natural tobacco, wood, berry, black pepper, toast and cream. It was one the high points of the Avo Limited Edition sampler.
In 2014, the Davidoff Nicaragua Diadema Fina became the fourth regular production size and the fifth vitola made in the Davidoff Nicaragua line. For this first regular production line extension, Davidoff opted to produce a 6 1/2 x 50 perfecto called the Diadema Fina. This new size would become the longest offering in the line. The story of the Davidoff Nicaragua is long documented. This is the Nicaraguan puro blended by Henke Kelner offered in the Davidoff line.
The large tapered format worked beautifully here. This cigar delivers notes of cedar, natural tobacco, nut, black pepper, and a unique caramelized sweetness. I found the flavors to be in the medium to full-bodied range, countered by medium strength.
Late last year, Davidoff announced it was doing a complete makeover of its Winston Churchill line – namely from a branding, packaging, and blend standpoint. It was back in late 2007 when Davidoff launched Winston Churchill Cigars. The line was launched as a tribute to Sir Winston Churchill, the famed British Prime Minister and cigar enthusiast.
The new blend features Davidoff’s signature Ecuadorian Rojiza wrapper, San Andres Negro binder and a mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. The Toro size measures 6 x 54.
The flavor profile of the Davidoff Winston Churchill Toro delivered notes of natural tobacco, black pepper, grass, cocoa, and nut. Overall this was a medium strength, medium to full-bodied smoke.
Early in 2014, Ezra Zion Cigar Company released its fourth regular production line called FHK. FHK stands for the Fathers of (Kyle) Hoover and (Chris) Kelly, two of the founders of Ezra Zion.
The cigar was a major departure for Ezra Zion in that it was the company’s most multi-national blend to date – incorporating tobaccos from four different countries. The blend features San Andres Mexican wrapper over an Indonesian binder and fillers from Brazil and Nicaragua. The “Truth” was a 7 x 44 lonsdale that shined for this blend.
The flavor profile is quite unique as it delivers notes of lager malt, chocolate stout, and white pepper. This delivers a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar in the first half that progresses to medium to full in the second half.
In 2014, PDR Cigars launched a line to commemorate ten years in the cigar business called the Flores y Rodriguez 10th Anniversary Reserva Limitada. It was back in 2004 when when Abe Flores joined forces with the Rodriguez brothers (Juan, Ysidro, and Luis) to form the Pinar del Rio brand, the brand that started it all for PDR Cigars.
The FyR 10th Anniversary features a Habano Ecuador wrapper, Dominican Olor binder, and filler combination of Jalapa and seven year old Piloto Cubano tobacco. The Robusto measures 5 x 52.
The cigar is going deliver a flavor profile of sweet herbal notes, earth, cedar, and a mix of black and white pepper. This is a very different cigar than anything PDR has released before, and dare to say it is the company’s most “Cubanesque”.
Matilde Renacer is the first brand by the legendary Jose Seijas’ with his very own company,Matilide Cigars. The name Matilde brings back an old Dominican brand name while Renacer means “rebirth”. This was a very well-received line in 2014, but the 5 1/4 x 50 Robusto might have been one of the most overlooked in the line.
The Renacer Robusto features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a Dominican binder and mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. This Matilde delivers notes of coffee, tangy sweetness, pepper, and earth. It’s is a full bodied smoke countered with medium to full strength.
The Rocky Patel Decade Cameroon is a cigar that made its debut at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. The cigar came about when the company was testing a new crop of Cameroon wrapper. The company wanted to test it with a known quantity, so they replaced the Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper of the Rocky Patel Decade with the Cameroon wrapper. The company was very satisfied with the results, so it decided to release the blend as the Rocky Patel Decade Cameroon.
In addition to a Cameroon wrapper, this features Nicaraguan binder and filler. The Robusto measures 5 x 52. The flavors deliver some great results including caramel, red pepper, mixed fruit, and a nice natural tobacco flavor. This is a full-bodied smoke countered with medium to full strength.
The Saga Blend No 7 is one of two lines offered by De Los Reyes Cigars. The cigar made its debut at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. The theme of the Saga Blend No 7 incorporates traditional tobaccos to deliver a a contemporary smoke for today’s cigar enthusiasts.
Blend No. 7 features a Brazilian Cubra wrapper over a Dominican Habano wrapper and a filler consisting of Dominican and Central American tobaccos. One of the three sizes in this line is a 6 1/4 x 54 perfecto.
This perfecto is one of the best perfectos you can get for under $8.00. The perfecto format results in a highly complex profile of cedar, natural tobacco, cream, coffee, and red pepper. There are even some hints of hickory along the way. It’s a full-bodied smoke countered by medium strength in the first half and medium to full strength in the second half.
In 2014 Sosa Cigars began a series of projects to commemorate 50 years in business. This series continued into 2015 where the company unveiled a limited production cigar called the Sosa Half Century. This is a unique cigar that features a Cameroon seed leaf grown in Mexico.
The Half Century is available in one size – a 6 x 50 Toro. In addition to the Mexican grown Cameroon wrapper, this blend features an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and a mix of Nicaraguan and Dominican filler. The Half Century is made under the watchful eye of Juan B. Sosa at Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
As unique is the blend, the flavor profile is equally unique. It delivers notes of chocolate malt, earth, cedar, pepper and citrus. It’s a dialed back smoke as it is mild to medium in strength and body to start – before progressing to medium in the second half. This dialed back profile works in favor of this smoke and delivers an excellent smoking experience.
The Vivalo Serie Exclusivo is the debut line by Vivalo Cigars. Vivalo Cigars was founded by Patrick Vivalo, who previous spent over 12 years working for Rocky Patel Premium Cigars. During his tenure, at Rocky Patel, he had the opportunity to create a personal blend while at the company’s Honduras factory. While working for Rocky Patel, he had the opportunity to bring this blend into several retailers. Earlier this year, Vivalo left Rocky Patel to take the line national with his own company.
The blend is all all Nicaraguan puro featuring tobaccos from Esteli and Jalapa. Vivalo blended each size in the line to the specific vitola. The 5 1/2 x 54 Robusto Grande caught our attention.
The flavor profile delivers notes of coffee, cocoa, cedar, white pepper, and a nice creamy undertone. This cigar starts out medium strength, medium to full-bodied before progressing to medium to full strength and full-bodied by the last third.