Juan Cancel’s Top 10 Cigars of 2014

Epic Habano Top 10 of 2014By Juan Cancel

I am an avid cigar smoker who, at a minimum, smokes at least two cigars a day. That’s approximately 730 cigars throughout the year. I smoke a lot of top quality cigars. This year a whole lot of great cigars came out. I have posted my Top 10 of 2014; however, they are not numbered in chronological order. They are all amazing and are the best of the best for 2014.

Epic Habano

The next installation of my Top 10 Cigars of 2014 is the Epic Habano by my friend Dean Parsons (@deanepiccigars). This cigar is immaculate! The Epic Habano is Dean’s latest creation. This cigar is beautiful! Cubanesque at the finest level. This cigar has a gorgeous Habano Ecuador wrapper, a Cameroon binder and a Nicaraguan Viso Dominican Olor and Seco filler blend. It has beautiful cedar, nut, and earthy flavors with a buttery creamy finish. It is rich, creamy, smooth and decadent. This cigar has delectable aromas of earth and wet hay with a perfect kiss of spice on the retro hale. It also flaunts a nice bouquet of nuttiness throughout the cigar with slightly soothing sweet tobacco nuances. This cigar is majestic. This was a tough decision because the other two blends from Epic are just as delicious. The Epic Maduro Reserva and the Epic Corojo Reserva are both just as amazing as the Habano. If you smoke all three you will love these beauties.

Arandoza

Arandoza Top 10 of 2014The next cigar on my Top 10 List of 2014 is another cigar from team La Zona. This time it’s the Arandoza Red. This Amazing cigar uses one of my favorite wrappers on the market today, San Andreas Mexican Maduro. With the right binder and filler we have magic! Robert Arango has captured that magic with the help of the La Zona Cigar Factory – Red, by Arandoza Cigars (@arandozacigars). The pre-lit draw reveals beautiful aromas of sweet raisin and chocolate, but once lit, amazing chocolate and earthy notes dominate. The Red, with an oily Mexican San Andreas Maduro wrapper and triple Ligero fillers from Nicaragua make this cigar full-bodied and delicious with a steady earthy, coco sweetness throughout! This is a must try and will put Arandoza Cigars on the map to stay! This is another homerun from team Erik Espinosa! This Cigar is box worthy! Amazing!!! Find them on social media: @erikespinosa601 @espinosacigars @mikeyarango

 

Flor de Gonzalez

Flor de Gonzalez Top 10 of 2014This is a cigar that is very special to me. It is the Flor De Gonzalez 90 Miles RA Limited Edition. Without getting too involved, this cigar is a Lancero and it was the cigar of choice for the Late and Great Roberto Alonso. It is a full-bodied masterpiece full of flavor and aroma that rounds out this tribute cigar divinely. This Nicaraguan Puro, with a Habano wrapper and binder has great spice on the retro hale with hints of leather, wood, and earthy sweetness on the palate. It is elegant and sophisticated. The Design on the box and cigar band was copied from a drawing Roberto Alonso did while I was with him in Nicaragua in 2011. This cigar is spiritual for me but I guarantee the cigar will blow your mind! I want to give an honorable mention to another great cigar from FDG Cigars. The Flor de Gonzalez Spectral is a cigar that is created  using five-year aged tobacco, but once it is made, they are aged in cedar sleeves for an additional five years before release. There is plume all over this cigar. It is simply outstanding. Try both. You will not be disappointed!

Ortega Serie D black

Ortega Serie D Black Top 10 of 2014Next is a cigar I actually had the honor of helping to pick out the final blend. The Ortega Serie•D•Black by my good friend Eddie Ortega (@eddieor) is fabulous. It was released at the 2014 IPCPR. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan Habano Rosado. The filler and binder are Nicaraguan, from Esteli and Jalapa. This Cigar is covered in a slightly toothy, oily dark brown wrapper. It has rich, dense flavorful smoke and a perfect draw with impeccable construction. It is medium to full-bodied with hints of spice on the retro hale. The flavor profile features wet hay and earth notes with slight roasted coffee beans and a touch of nuttiness on the back end. This is a rich and decadent cigar that is very enjoyable. Another hit by Eddie Ortega.

 

Senorial by Jose Blanco

Senorial Top 10 of 2014The next cigar is José Blanco’s premiere cigar, The Señorial. It is an absolutely amazing cigar. It is rich, complex and strong with dense, aromatic smoke. It has a distinct black pepper finish on the retro hale. There are hints of nuts, wood, and light cinnamon in the flavor profile and it boasts sweet earthy aromas that balance this cigar very well. After six months in my humidor this cigar was even better. I can’t imagine how much better these cigars will get with every passing year.  Follow Jose and his wife, Emma, on social media. (@joseblanco809 @emmasenorial)

 

 

Crowned Heads  Las Calaveras

Crowned Heads Las CalaverasOk, so next on my Top 10 of 2014 is a cigar that created quite the buzz when it first hit the market. Crowned Heads mastermind, John Huber, brings us Las Calaveras. This cigar is incredible. It has everything that you would want in a delicious cigar: flavors, aromas, great construction, and deep, dense smoke. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro and the binder and fillers are both Nicaraguan. This cigar is simply delicious and satisfying. I also want to mention three more releases the Crowned Heads Team introduced this year that I really loved and are definitely worth a try: Jericho Hill, Tennessee Waltz, and the Mason Dixon Project Northern. Crowned heads is on fire and I am looking forward  to seeing what 2015 brings us from them.

 

La Jugada Nunchuck

La Jugada Nunchuck Top 10 of 2014The next cigar on my Top 10 of 2014 Series is also from La Zona Factory. This was a special creation for Cigar Dojo.  La Jugada Nunchuck by Danny Moya and Nelson Ruiz is an awesome cigar. The aromas are strong and delectable with sweet raisin notes similar to Raisin Bran cereal. The cigar is wrapped in an exquisite Habano Oscuro leaf with a Nicaraguan binder and filler. Nunchuck tastes earthy with a hint of hazelnut on the back end. Cocoa and leather notes round out this medium-bodied profile well. White pepper is dominant on the retro hale.

 

 

Alec Bradley Mundial

Alec Bradley Mundial Top 10 of 2014The next cigar on my Top 10 Cigars of 2014 is the Mundial by Alec Bradley. This full-bodied beauty consists of a Honduran Trojes wrapper with a Honduran and Nicaraguan double binder. The fillers are also Honduran and Nicaraguan. There are four different tobaccos with a heavy component of Estelí Ligero. To what does this all equate? An intoxicating, full-flavored cigar that is meaty and satisfying.

 

 

 

CAO Amazon

CAO Amazon I want to start my Top 10 Cigars of 2014 list with a cigar that wasn’t originally on my radar. This cigar is perhaps one of the most unique cigars of 2014 and it might be one of the most unique cigars I have ever had. The CAO Amazon Basin is a cigar that is full of unique flavors. Its palatable aromas and flavors throughout the cigar are to die for. This was a breakthrough for the company and is sure to have smokers revisit the brand. Rick Rodriguez, brand manager of CAO, has really hit this one out of the park.

 

 

Laranja Reserva by Erik Espinosa

LaRanja Reserva by Erick EspinosaLast but not Least on my Top 10 Cigars of 2014 list is perhaps the best new cigar that I smoked this year. It was definitely the best cigar I smoked at the 2014 IPCPR. I even heard quite a few industry people say the same. This cigar is everything you want in an Ultra Premium Cigar. It has the elegance, decadence, creaminess, flavors, construction, and taste of a $20 cigar. The best part is that it is priced under $12 per stick. The aromas are intoxicating and the flavors are divine! This is the working man’s Opus X. The cigar is Laranga Reserva by Erik Espinosa (@erikespinosa601).This is the third La Zona Cigar on my Top 10 list. The La Zona cigar factory is on fire! La Zona is a growing force in the cigar industry making some really great cigars. La Zona has all the wonderful cigars that Espinosa Cigars makes already, with such impressive hits like Espinosa Cigars, 601, Warhead I & II, La Zona, and the new Sarsaparilla. Now add Arandoza Cigars, La Jugada, and La Serena and you have a powerhouse in the cigar industry. I know more cigar companies will start to have their cigars made at La Zona! You can search my posts on social media for a full in-depth review of this divine cigar. Great job Mr. Espinosa! This cigar is available online at Berkeley Humidor.

 

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