Last year (2013) was a horrendous year so I spent this year (2014) focusing on me. I’ll probably do the same in 2015. Meditation is awesome. “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” Thats an Eckart Tolle quote. The politics of cigar blogging has made it difficult for me to enjoy the process of blogging. There have been only a few times this year where I was blogging because it was actually fun. I got bogged down in the drama and lost touch with what was important. Drama and pettiness are not my things. I love cigars but cigars and blogging are just two small parts of me. 2014 was the start of my journey to become more than the sum of my parts. The start of making me a better person, husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend…making me a better man…to be mindful…to be present. Some may laugh and thats fine. I’m happier and happiness makes everything, even cigars, even the ones not listed below, taste better.
Disclaimer: Like in previous years to qualify for my Top 10, a cigar has to meet one simple piece of criteria. (1) I must have smoked it in 2014.
10. CAO Flathead Sparkplug 450 – Exciting boxed press beauty. Smokey, spicy, creamy and a slight sweetness are an awesome combination. Its like the cigar version of Mexican Hot Chocolate or a Chipotle Spiced Espresso. For a small format it has a lot of get up and go!
09. My Father Le Bijou 1922 – “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.” The My Father Le Bijou 1922 is the first cigar I smoked. I mean really smoked, was mindful and truly present. I didn’t think about it, I didn’t write about it, I didn’t judge it. I just smoked, noticed, appreciated and enjoyed that present moment. The flavors were deeper and richer. The aroma filled the air all around me. I could hear the oils from the wrapper sizzle. It was the loudest quiet moment. It was sublime.
08. My Father La Antiguedad – It is a popular belief that the La Antiguedad is just a beefed up version of last year’s successful Flor de las Antillas. I don’t subscribe to that train of thought. If you smoke the Flor de las Antillas and La Antigudad back-to-back you will see the similarities are cosmetic. The La Antiguedad forges its own path with its dark fruitiness and creamy coffee tones. Solid medium-full thats just sexy all the way around.
07. Room101 The Big Payback – The Payback is probably the most balanced and versatile cigar on this list. Whether it was my first cigar of the day or the last or somewhere in between it stood up to the challenge and never disappointed. Consistent, balanced, versatile and affordable…a great combination.
06. Aquitaine Mode 5 – A different kind of cigar. I think the Aquitaine Mode 5 exposes the lighter, gentler, teddybear side of Skip Martin’s creative palate. Creamy and earthy at the core, consistent soft woodiness on the finish and a lot of delicate floral notes that are easily missed. Great construction with beautiful smoke billowing out. A beautiful thing to experience. A great cigar to snuggle up with outside over a fire.
05. Illusione Rothchildes – My 2013 Cigar of the Year comes in at #5 this year. Still one of my go to cigars. What I said about it then still rings true today, “The flavor profile is like Dion himself. An enigma. Simple but complex. Smooth but rough. Sexy but ordinary. Exciting but low key. All the contrasting elements of the Rothchildes is what I really dig. For an affordable, simple looking cigar it offers a challenging experience.”
04. Eiroa CBT Maduro – This one surprised me. When the CBT Maduro was announced I was thinking “here we go again, another lame ass triple maduro”. The CBT Maduro takes the traditional maduro flavor profile and makes it exciting again. A sultry semi-sweet cold draw, an invigorating coffee and earthiness, a crisp burn, flavorful long finish that just sits and builds layers on your palate. Refined flavor from start to finish.
03. San Lotano ‘The Bull’ – The San Lotano ‘The Bull’ is my tits cigar this year and who doesn’t like tits? Impressive. Woodsy with a bit of syrupy cinnamon like spice at the core with a hefty dose of power behind it. Cool draw and a razor sharp burn. I’ve said it for years, AJ Fernandez continues to have the pulse of the industry by delivering another gem with The Bull. Unique, balanced, challenging and most of all…enjoyable. Happy! Happy!
02. Tatuaje Tattoo – If you were to browse my Instagram feed you will notice a ton of these. By far this was the cigar I smoked the most of in 2014. I could go on and on about its creamy woodiness and dark fruity notes. I could go on about the delightful cedar aroma that engulfs you. I could go on about its perfectly balanced medium body. I could do all that or I could simply say, the Tatuaje Tattoo completes me. It had me at Hello.
01. Cabal Esoteric – I had my own inner battle with this. I’m generally not in favor of cigars that are impossible to find making a Top List. In the end, the Cabal Esoteric was just too fine a specimen of perfection for it not to be my #1. The voice in my head can be an asshole and I made the mistake of ignoring it when it was telling me to buy the other two boxes. After I smoked the first one, I immediately knew I should’ve listened to the voice in my head. Its a Davidoff Special R with edginess, with flare, with swagger. Its familiar but completely different. Its legit. Its my #1.