2013 Awards: The Consensus

Null

Since this site started, there has not been a more intriguing feature than this one. The concept is simple: record every known best cigars lists from publications—both traditional and new—and then calculate a compiled list, one referred to as “the consensus.”

In addition to the intrigue, this happens to be the most time-consuming task on the site, but it’s worth it. In the end, whether you agree or not, the most complete picture of cigar media is presented. This year, more than most, it’s also a great time to discuss the state of cigar media.

Null

Qualifications for the list are as follows:

  1. Any list created by a media member, published on a media website, is eligible so long as that author/publication has reviewed at least one cigar in 2013.
  2. No retailer or manufacturers lists are included.
  3. Only lists that are declared best of or a similar likeness are used. In the case of those who published multiple lists, the only list used is the one that determined the best cigars was used.

Scoring:

  • Up to 35 entries were accepted for each list. The best cigar (number one) was awarded 35 points, the second highest cigar was awarded 34, and so on.
  • In the case of ties, points were split between the respective places. For example, if two cigars tied for third place, both cigars would be awarded 32.5 points, the average between a third and fourth place ranking, the next ranking cigar would be awarded 31 points, the fifth place ranking.
  • In lists that ranked cigars and then listed a category of “honorable mentions,” the latter category was excluded. In lists that simply named a singular best cigar, and then listed other cigars unranked as “honorable mentions,” the remaining cigars were included.
  • The vitolas within each line were added together, the list is ranked by by linea (line), not vitola. In the case where vitolas within each line were explicitly designated as different, multiple entires were used.

Over 600 entries, from 52 lists, were recorded, the results tabulated and then ranked. They are as follows.

1. EZRA ZION TANTRUM

EzraZion_Tantrum

  • Ezra Zion / Distributed by House of Emilio
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

2. LECCIA BLACK

Leccia_Black

  • Leccia Tobacco Co. / Distributed by Toraño Family Cigars
  • Factory: Undisclosed (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Undisclosed Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Rosado
  • Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & USA Fire-cured
  • Release: 2013

3. J.D. HOWARD RESERVE

CrownedHeads_JDH

  • Crowned Heads
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: Brazil (Arapiraca)
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

4. DAVIDOFF NICARAGUA

Davidoff_Nica

  • Oettinger Davidoff AG
  • Factory: Cigars Davidoff (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Condega, Estelí & Ometepe)
  • Release: 2013

5. ILLUSIONE *R* ROTHCHILDES

Illusione_Rothchilde copy

  • Illusione
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Ecuador
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

6. HERRERA ESTELI

HerreraEsteli

  • Drew Estate
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Honduras
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2012

7. LECCIA WHITE

Leccia_White

  • Leccia Tobacco Co. / Distributed by Toraño Family Cigars
  • Factory: La Undisclosed (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: African Sun Grown
  • Binder: Ecuador
  • Filler: Nicaragua & Pennsylvania
  • Release: 2013

8. NICA RUSTICA

DrewEstate_NicaRustica copy

  • Drew Estate
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Mediums
  • Binder: Mexican San Andrés Negro
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

9. HEADLEY GRANGE

CrownedHeads_HeadleyGrange_Lancero

  • Crowned Heads
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2012

10. LIGA PRIVADA ÚNICO SERIE UF-13 DARK

LigaPrivada_UF13 copy 

  • Drew Estate
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Dark Mediums
  • Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
  • Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

11. ORTEGA SERIE D MADURO

Ortega_D_Madruo_Lancero copy

  • Ortega Premium Cigars
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2012

This is the second consecutive year the Ortega Serie D Maduro has made The Consensus.

12. NOMAD ESTELI LOT 1386

Nomad_Lot1386

  • Nomad Cigar Co. / Distributed by House of Emilio
  • Factory: Tabacalera Rojas (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Estelí & Jalapa)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
  • Release: 2013

13. L’ATELIER LAT MADURO

L'Atelier_Maduro

  • L’Atelier Imports
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

14. TATUAJE BROWN LABEL 10TH ANNIVERSARY

Tatuaje_10th

  • Havana Cellars Inc.
  • Factory:My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013*

*The cigar is a wet-packed and covered foot version of the regular Brown Label blend.

15. DRAIG CAYUQUERO

Draig_Cayuquero

  • Emilio / Distributed by House of Emilio
  • Factory: Tabacalera Rojas (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Brazil (Arapiraca)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

16. 1502 EMERALD

1502_Emerald

  • Global Premium Cigars / Distributed by House of Emilio
  • Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Condega)
  • Filler: Mexican San Andrés & Nicaragua
  • Release: 2012

17. 262 REVERE

262_Revere

  • 262 Cigars
  • Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Estelí & Jalapa)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Condega, Estelí & Jalapa)
  • Release: 2012

This is the second consecutive year the 262 Revere has made The Consensus.

18. LA BARBA

LaBarba

  • La Barba Cigars
  • Factory: Undisclosed (Honduras)
  • Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
  • Binder: Honduran Corojo
  • Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

19. EZRA ZION EMINENCE

EzraZion_Eminence

  • Ezra Zion / Distributed by House of Emilio
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

20. RODRIGO LA FORTALEZA

  • Rodrigo Cigars / Distributed by House of Emilio
  • Factory: Tabacalera Ventura (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: Dominican Oscuro
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Release: 2012

This is the second consecutive year the Rodrigo La Fortaleza has made The Consensus.

21. REINADO GRAND EMPIRE RESERVE

Reinado_GrandEmpireReserve

  • Cubanero Enterprises, LLC
  • Factory: Agros Tobacos Industriales (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Maduro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2012

22. LA GLORIA CUBANA SERIE R ESTELÍ

LGC_Esteli

  • General Cigar Co.
  • Factory: STG Estelí (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

23. LA JUGADA HABANO

LaJugada_Habano

  • Moya Ruiz Cigars
  • Factory: La Zona (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua & Proprietary
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

24. 1502 RUBY

1502_Ruby_Final

  • Nomad Cigar Co. / Distributed by House of Emilio
  • Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2012

Image via Global Premium Cigars.

25. NOMAD S-307

Nomad_S307

  • Nomad Cigar Co. / Distributed by House of Emilio
  • Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2013

COUNTRY OF THE YEAR — NICARAGUA

For the third consecutive year, Nicaragua takes this award with absolute dominance. Over half of the total points accumulated were by Nicaragua and more than two-thirds of the Consensus top 25 cigars were made in Nicaragua.

Top Five Countries:

  1. Nicaragua
  2. Dominican Republic
  3. Honduras
  4. USA
  5. Cuba

FACTORY OF THE YEAR — MY FATHER CIGARS S.A.

Another award that has been historically not close, was historically not close. My Father Cigars S.A. still had essentially double the points as the second place factory. In addition to the three cigars on the Consensus top 25, it also has four companies in the top brands of the year.

Top 10 Factories:

  1. My Father Cigars S.A.
  2. La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  3. Plasencia Cigars S.A.
  4. Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  5. Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
  6. Tabacalera Fernandez S.A.
  7. E. León Jimenes Tabacalera
  8. Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
  9. Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A.
  10. Cigars Davidoff

NEW BRAND OF THE YEAR — LECCIA TOBACCO CO.

Leccia absolutely dominated this category with two cigars in the top 10. As was mentioned earlier, 2013 has not been a banner years for new companies, but Leccia clearly did something right garnering enough points to not only earn his place at the top of this list, but towards the top of the brand of the year list as well.

BRAND OF THE YEAR — DREW ESTATE

Drew Estate had closed the gap on Pete Johnson’s Havana Cellars last year, but almost lost this spot to Oettinger Davidoff AG, who has about as monumental of an increase from 2012 to 2013 as you can have. Havana Cellars, despite celebrating its 10th anniversary, slipped to fifth, which was definitely not expected.

Top 10 Brands:

  1. Drew Estate
  2. Oettinger Davidoff AG
  3. Leccia Tobacco Co.
  4. Ezra Zion
  5. Havana Cellars
  6. Ortega Premium Cigars
  7. Habanos S.A.
  8. L’Atelier
  9. My Father Cigars Inc.
  10. Nomad.

NEWNESS STILL MATTERED

While less than half (47 percent) of the overall list was cigars debuting in 2013, all but two of the cigars in the Consensus top 10 were new. Of the two that were not, Herrera Esteli which soft-launched after Thanksgiving 2012 and Headley Grange, which debuted in a single limited size last year before adding five more sizes this year. Only seven out of the top 25 cigars were not new and the only one that did not receive some sort of extension was the Rodrigo La Fortaleza.

YOUTH ON TOP

The combined age of the companies represented in the top three spots is better described in months than years. Crowned Heads is the oldest launching in Nov. 2011, Ezra Zion the middle with this being its 18th month in business and Leccia Tobacco Co. debuted in May. That would be 54 months, combined.

Youth has always had extended success on the Consensus—neither Crowned Heads, nor Ezra Zion are new to the list—but this year seemed to show it in extremes. Only seven entires on the list come from companies that have been in business longer than five years with Davidoff and General Cigar Co. being the elder statesmen.

CIGAR FEDERATION, EZRA ZION, BODEGA & HOUSE OF EMILIO’S MEDIA INFLUENCE

Thirteen out of the 52 lists came from those who are in some way associated with Cigar Federation and Bodega Premium Blends’ media efforts. Some, have content exclusively hosted on one of the two websites, others, have some of their content hosted on the websites, while running their own sites. The problem? Bodega Premium Blends and Cigar Federation, whose owners also own Ezra Zion, are both cigar manufacturers distributed by House of Emilio.

It’s an easy start for claims of bias, but one that gets a bit convoluted when you evaluate the numbers.

If you consider that Bodega Premium Blends at best, soft launched in late 2013, only three out of eight of House of Emilio’s established brands missed the Consensus 25.

There is a noticeable increased representation for House of Emilio cigars amongst the bloggers associated with Cigar Federation and Bodega, specifically, 15.9 percent of the total points given by those bloggers went to House of Emilio cigars, this is compared to 9.6 percent from bloggers whose content is not hosted on one of the two websites.

However, certain products were immune to comparisons between the list. The Ezra Zion Tantrum, Leccia Black and Liga Privada UF-13 Dark performed similarly on both lists. There were products that placed noticeably lower on the House of Emilio associated bloggers list, notably Davidoff Nicaragua, J.D. Howard Reserve and the Rodrigo Fortaleza, the latter a House of Emilio-distributed product that received zero votes from the House of Emilio-associated media. Then there were products that went the other way—Bodega Premium received zero votes outside of bloggers who write for its website.

While the discussion of whether eight out of the top 25 best cigars of 2013 were from House of Emilio—as the Consensus indicates—is a subjective one, the discussion over its growing influence in social media can be much more objective. There is no question the brands, who have gone so far as to putting Twitter handles on bands, are amongst the most active on social media, but they also are getting into murkier grounds as far as media is concerned. Nowhere is it more obvious than at this moment.

The impact on the list would have been larger if not for a few other bloggers, not part of the 13, who crafted lists that were similar and some times under the premise of “boutique only”—these lists were significant to the House of Emilio cause.

But the most confusing statistic? While House of Emilio products made up three out of the top five spots amongst the 13 lists, House of Emilio products only appeared on the list a total of seven times, one less than they did on the Consensus as a whole. This goes in the face of any bias.

As a curator of this list, I’m unsure what to do next year. I do not think that any of the 13 lists placed House of Emilio products higher because of their relationships with these companies, but there’s no question the exposure to House of Emilio products was abnormal and there’s some obvious conflict of interest. Then again, this was the site to have the first reviews of all three of Ezra Zion’s new products in 2013. It’s confusing.

For a links to the 52 lists used, click here. To see Brian Hewitt’s 2010 version of this, click here. The Consensus 2011 and 2012 are linked respectively.

To download the Excel spreadsheet with the data, click here.

Images: Brooks Whittington, halfwheel.com Please don’t steal them.

Update (Jan. 11, 2014): An earlier version of this post referred to Bodega Premium Blends as Bodega Premium Cigars.

0 Overall Score

Null
Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

Related Posts

Null