Top Cigars List

Twelve Months of Tobacco – Best of 2013

Top Cigars of 2013
Joshua Child
Written by Joshua Child

The following list is composed of our 12 favorite cigars we smoked in the year of 2013. Though we despise the fact that everything has a disclaimer in this day and age, we’re going to do just that.

There are five things to recognize as you go through our Delectable Dozen. First, every cigar on this list was available at some point this year, even if they were very boutique or difficult to attain. Second, this list is not composed of cigars only released within the year of 2013, but is a list of the best we smoked this year. Third, we at CM didn’t get a […]

The Delectable Dozen

The following list is composed of our 12 favorite cigars we smoked in the year of 2013. Though we despise the fact that everything has a disclaimer in this day and age, we’re going to do just that.

There are five things to recognize as you go through our Delectable Dozen. First, every cigar on this list was available at some point this year, even if they were very boutique or difficult to attain. Second, this list is not composed of cigars only released within the year of 2013, but is a list of the best we smoked this year. Third, we at CM didn’t get a chance to smoke every cigar on the market, so if you feel our list is missing a notable release, it may well be. Fourth, you’ll notice the cigars are not ranked and everything is ordered alphabetically. Lastly, price was not considered a part of our criteria for inclusion. Enjoy.

  • AVO 25th Anniversary Edition
  • Cohiba Edición Diamante Capa Reserva 1980
  • Davidoff Colorado Claro Double R
  • Davidoff Nicaragua Robusto
  • Emilio La Musa Mousa Toro
  • Hermosa Toro
  • Illusione Epernay Le Ferme
  • La Flor Dominicana Chapter One
  • Padilla Vintage Reserve Torpedo
  • Padron 45th Anniversary Maduro
  • Rodrigo La Fortaleza
  • Tatuaje 10th Anniversary

AVO 25th Anniversary Edition

Rolled: O.K. Cigars
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 6×52 Toro
MSRP: $16
Wrapper: Dominican Criollo Sun Grown
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Class: Marquee

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After smoking four Avo Limited Editions this year (2000, 2008, 2010 releases), the Avo 25th Anniversary Edition impressed the most. It had the perfect amount of that signature Avo “grassiness”, along with creamy, toasty flavors and nuances that combined to create a sublime experience. What sets this Avo apart from any other is its status as a Dominican Puro, something that continues to be rare. – Matt

Cohiba Edición Diamante Capa Reserva 1980

Rolled: General Cigars
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Favorite Size: 6×50 Toro & 5×49 Robusto
MSRP: $20 to $25
Wrapper: Cameroon (from 1980)
Binder: Indonesian
Filler: Dominican
Class: Regal

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How do you add intrigue to tradition? You forge the ever elusive blend of new, old and unseen. The Cohiba Edición Diamante Capa Reserva 1980 is the product of such blending. It takes the cedar and toasted quality of a Red Dot to a more unified taste with its’ leathery base. A mid-level mineral adds a flavor of taste and distinction that stops just short of sea salt. The 30 year old cameroon wrapper is visually immaculate and has the earthy brown reminiscent of only the most tasteful leather jackets. Indonesian binder and Dominican filler form the core of what is one of the most perfectly constructed cigars you will ever hold. The actual flavor and texture of the wrapper on your tongue are right: clean and soft but firm. The ash burns perfectly to a dark concrete with little veins of black. At its end, mineral intensifies and the undercurrent of creaminess finally fully surfaces. It brushes up against exquisite leaving you hard pressed to put it down. – Louis

Davidoff Colorado Claro Double R

Rolled: Cigars Davidoff
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 7.5×50 Double Corona
MSRP: $25 to $35
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Colorado Claro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Class: Regal

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The Colorado Claro is one of the most expensive, and renowned cigars in the Davidoff portfolio but one of those rare treats you’ll gladly pull out the wallet for. The Double R starts out with tons of refined, delicious flavor but it only gets better from there. It continues to build, change, and keep you on your toes the entire time and by the very end its full in every aspect. With base flavors of wood, earth, caramel and an absolutely savory, syrupy finish the Colorado Claro Doubt R has more body than any Davidoff on the shelves. You can taste the time, care and expert blending in this double corona from beginning to end. We wouldn’t be surprised to see this on our list every year. – Josh

Davidoff Nicaragua Robusto

Rolled: Cigars Davidoff
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Favorite Size: 5×50 Robusto
MSRP: $13 to $16
Wrapper: Nicaragua (10-year-old Nicaraguan Havana-seed Rosado)
Binder: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí, Condega and Ometepe)
Class: Regal

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Here at CM, we all agreed that the Davidoff Nicaragua is one of the best smokes of the year. Entirely composed of aged Nicaraguan leaf from the Island of Ometepe and the Jalapa, Estelí and Condega regions, the Nicaragua is no stranger to complexity. The first half was creamy and nutty with a touch of pepper while the second half took on mineral, earth, leather, tea and citrus. Some may be disappointed that “Henke” Kelner of Davidoff blended a cigar so similar in character to the rest of the Davidoff portfolio but we felt there were enough Nicaraguan hallmarks to make this a truly unique and special release. While the Toro is a solid smoke, the Robusto truly shines with the perfect combination of richness, complexity, smooth Davidoff character and fantastic finish. – Josh

Emilio La Musa Mousa Toro

Rolled: Undisclosed
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 6×50 Toro
MSRP: $8 to $12
Wrapper: Habano Rosado
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Class: Coal Miner

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“The La Musa Mousa is a wonderful cigar. There wasn’t a single aspect that didn’t impress. It manages to be a dark, robust cigar (in terms of flavor and intensity), yet never becomes too strong all the while carrying an aura of class and refinement. Another winner from Gary Griffith’s Emilio Cigars and anyone who has this cigar in their possession.”Matt in his review of the La Musa Mousa Toro

I couldn’t agree more with what Matt said in his review just a few short weeks ago. The La Musa Mousa is exceedingly nutty, earthy and refined for such a dark flavored cigar. At times when smoking we wished it had more punch but this is what we at CM call a “crescendo” cigar as it slowly builds flavor intensity and flavor complexity to the very nub. Smooth as silk, I liken it to smoking a milder Cuban cigar with the Nicaraguan profile you’ve come to know and love. – Josh

Hermosa Toro

Rolled: Guayacan Cigars LLC
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 6×52 Toro
MSRP: $9
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan (Double Ligero, Esteli, Jalapa)
Class: Marquee

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The Hermosa Cigars Toro was probably the biggest surprise on this list. Rolled at a relatively unknown factory in Esteli, Nicaragua by Noel Rojas, this is the first release from Hermosa Cigars. After smoking many ho-hum debut cigars from new companies the Hermosa astonished us with its impeccable combination of flavor, construction and consistency. From beginning to end smoking this is a complex, excessively enjoyable experience that is easily accessible to anyone’s palate. While Cuban-esque with its floral and bready notes, the Hermosa will remind you of its origins (Nicaragua) with some upfront pepper and strength. The lethal combination of a complex flavor profile and balanced strength coupled with construction that time and time again proves to be immaculate, makes the Hermosa a cigar that can hold its own with the best in the business. – Matt

Illusione Epernay Le Ferme

Rolled: Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 5.5×48 Robusto
MSRP: $9-$12
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Café Rosado
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan (Criollo and Corojo)
Class: Marquee

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The illusione Epernay Serie 2009 Le Ferme is a cigar that will leave an impression on you whatever your preference happens to be. This cigar is strong enough to make you feel it, yet by no means will it leave you nauseous. The body is the central focus here with key flavors of white pepper, dried fruit, cherry and vanilla bean. The dominant flavors were considerably easy to notice, yet I could still decipher undertones of leather, citrus, and caramel/toffee beneath. Literally spilling over with wonderful flavor, Dion Giolito offers up a truly refined and unique experience. Any opportunity we have to grab one or two of these we will do so. This is a Memorable cigar that should never be smoked unless it’s the center of your attention. – Matt

La Flor Dominicana Chapter One

Rolled: Tabacalera La Flor S.A.
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 6.5×58 Chisel
MSRP: $10 to $12
Wrapper: Brazilian Ligero Oscuro
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican
Class: Dynamite

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The Chapter One isn’t just a cigar, it’s an experience. This is partly due to its potency, but if you have a high strength tolerance and enjoy a good nicotine buzz then the Chapter One is something special. Starting off, it provides an ample black pepper but proceeds to smooth out, becoming exceptionally bready. Flavors of dark peaty earth, espresso and dark chocolate round-out this ale-like experience. With age, the Chapter One could sky rocket into something near exquisite. Two words that best describe the Chapter One: Refined Power. – Matt

Padilla Vintage Reserve Torpedo

Rolled: Oliva Cigar Company
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 6.5×52 Torpedo
MSRP: $16
Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan (Cuban Seed Corojo)
Class: Regal

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The Vintage Reserve is proof that Padilla has found their next “super-premium”, and yes, it has the weight to carry that moniker. Depth in complexity in regards to both body and shifts in flavor from third to third do the Vintage Reserve a great service. It’s not only a smoke that will captivate you with its core flavors (toffee, molasses, dry earth, cayenne, toast), but the sheer breadth of its undertones will keep your palate engaged if you choose to focus on them (floral, mulling spice, dried fruit, leather, salt, mixed nuts, espresso). – Matt

Padron 45th Anniversary Maduro

Rolled: Tabacos Cubanica S.A.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 6×52 Toro
MSRP: $25 to $35
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Class: Coal Miner

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Imagine combining the savory, meaty qualities of a steak with the balanced sweetness of a good chocolate milkshake. Doing so will give you the Padrón Family Reserve No. 45 Maduro. This cigar demands your attention; it is so decadent and delicious that you’ll have no choice but to have it at the forefront of your mind while smoking. The Padrón Family Reserve No. 45 Maduro is so potent flavor-wise that I ate an In-n-out Double Double Cheeseburger while smoking and the predominant flavors in my mouth were still from the cigar. – Matt

Rodrigo La Fortaleza

Rolled: Tabacalera Ventura
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Favorite Size: 6×55 Cinco 5 & 5.5×50 Robusto
MSRP: $8 to $10
Wrapper: Dominican Oscuro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Class: Coal Miner

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Rodrigo Cigars is a company that many are unaware of, but that won’t last for long. In the La Fortaleza, founder George Rodriguez has created a Dominican puro at the apex of the Nicaraguan tobacco boom. To me, this cigar is a true hybrid of the dark, earthy aspects of many Central American cigars with the Dominican balance they often lack. The La Fortaleza delivers a medium-full bodied flavor profile with an incredibly creamy texture, loaded with unique flavors of petrol, mushroom/truffle, rotted-wood alongside somewhat more traditional tones of caramel, citrus, cream, cocoa, wet earth and black/red peppers. These flavors were tied together by a savory, salted-sweet finish that had my mouth watering. Not only does it taste great, but the silver and black stylings of the band look excellent upon the glistening surface of the dark and oily Dominican wrapper and a beautiful pig-tail, “caps” it off. I feel this cigar belongs right beside, and in some cases above, the preeminent puros of the region. It’s that good. – Josh

Tatuaje 10th Anniversary

Rolled: My Father Cigars S.A.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Favorite Size: 5.12×42 Corona & 7.62×49 Dbl Corona
MSRP: $8 to $12
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Class: Regal

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After a decade of impact and sparking countless imitators they are no longer the new premium label. Tatuaje is just as their name suggests, a permanent imprint on the smoker’s landscape. To celebrate they released their namesake Tatuaje 10th Anniversary or Tattoo as the label displays on an iconic new band. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is dark and exotic with reddish hues that vary cigar to cigar. It comes in a variety of sizes, and while the general flavors of the cigar are consistent each vitola provides a unique experience. Try a few and find the experience that suits you. You will be greeted by earth with aromatic leather that gives way to pepper, soil, and the bittersweet of fresh coffee bean. This is essentially an enhanced edition of the classic brown label and it does what Tatuaje itself did: breath new life into a classic pastime. – Louis


The Hat Trick

The defining criteria for inclusion in the Hat Trick was the perfect one – a two punch of quality and afford-ability. Other than that, everything in the disclaimer to our “Delectable Dozen” applies.

Illusione *R* Rothchildes
 Padron 3000 Maduro
 Quesada Heisenberg

Illusione *R* Rothchildes

Rolled: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 4.5×50 Petite Robusto
MSRP: $4 to $6
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Class: Regal

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The Rothschildes wouldn’t feel out of place in the list above but we felt it was such a great value we had to mention it. The full flavor and consistency you get from this little stogie is well worth the price of admission. Whenever I see these at a local B&M I gobble up as many as I can. There is a dark, creamy and nutty quality that makes it an absolute joy to smoke. Some may believe a cigar this small couldn’t command their attention, but they’d be wrong. The minute I put one of these down I’m ready to light up another, and when I do, it captivates me all over again. – Josh

Padron 3000 Maduro

Rolled: Tabacos Cubanica S.A.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 5.5×52 Robusto
MSRP: $6 to $8
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Class: Coal Miner

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The Padrón 3000 Maduro is a maduro smokers dream. The first thing I always notice is how ugly this cigar is with a sloppily applied single cap and a mangy looking, natural wrapper, but time and time again they smoke superbly. While probably not the most complex cigar, it has flavor intensity in spades. Gritty earth, chocolate and espresso make up the bulk of the 3000’s flavor profile. Not only does the Padron 3000 Maduro pack a punch in terms of flavor, it can be picked up for only $6 to $8 depending on your location. A box purchase would easily be justified. – Matt

Quesada Heisenberg Corneta Cuadrada

Rolled: The Quesada Factory (MATASA)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 5.2×55 Pyramid
MSRP: $5 to $8
Wrapper: Undisclosed
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Undisclosed
Class: Regal

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At Cigar Memoir we seek to capture a cigar’s story. In doing so we regularly delve into the minutiae. There are some instances however where this makes it difficult to see the forest for the trees. This is what Quesada had in mind when they conceived The Heisenberg Project. It is named for the scientific principle of the same name which essentially asserts there is a limit to the precision of observation. This is especially prescient in contemporary cigar culture which has been polluted with preconceived notions that reduce enjoyment. To prevent this Quesada has released no information about the ingredients and opted for a secret recipe. Quesada simply wants aficionados to enjoy the Heisenberg for what it is: a damn good smoke at an almost unreasonably reasonable price. CM recommends the Corneta as the vitola that represents the Heisenberg’s true character. It has a flared, triangular shape that prepares you for what is a one of a kind proposition. There is an initial rush of pepper that shortly thereafter gives way to shifts in flavor from charcoal to vegetal with hints of floral and a woody base. We’re not telling you anymore, other than that you should buy a box immediately. – Louis


About the author

Joshua Child

Joshua Child

Just an impostor in the cigar game who's only goal is to provide an unpretentious outlet for smokers. Other than cigars he enjoys people of substance, dogs, pugilism, and barrel aged spirits.