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2015 Awards: The Consensus Top 25 Cigars

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And we’re back.

As we’ve done for the previous four years, here is The Consensus. It’s a tabulated list of various top five, 10 and 25 lists published from cigar magazines, blogs and radio shows. The idea has always been to determine whether there are trends in cigar media based off of the annual year-end lists that many publications publish. The ultimate goal is trying to find which is—across all media outlets—the top cigar of the top cigar lists.

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Some years, there’s been a consensus top cigar; other years—not so much.

As there always seems to be, there were a few slight tweaks to how the process was done. The largest was that I decided to limit the cigars counted to 25. First and foremost, The Consensus only features the top 25 cigars, so the 25 cigar limit seemed like a logical cut-off. Secondly, most of the lists used didn’t exceed 10 nominees per list, but only one went beyond 25. Given that lists that produce a top 5, 10 or 25 and an honorable mentions list see the latter excluded, it seemed an appropriate tweak.

Qualifications for a list to be considered:

  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 2015.
  2. Any list published by a publication that is owned by someone whose primary form of employment is in the cigar business sans cigar media, ownership or otherwise, were excluded. This rule was enforced much more than in the past.
  3. Only lists that are declared “best of” or a similar term are used. In the case of those who published multiple lists, the only list used is the one that determined the best cigars.
  4. List must be published in full and online by Jan. 10, 2015 11:59 PM.

Scoring

  • Up to 25 entries were accepted per list. The best cigar was awarded 25 points, the second best 24 points, etc.
  • In the case of ties, points were split between the affected spots.
  • In lists that included “honorable mentions” or other similar phrasing, they were excluded. Cigars labeled as “top cigars” or equivalent were included as entries.
  • Once all lists have been entered, the vitolas for each line nominated were combined into a singular entry.
  • Lines with multiple blends, including wrappers or publicized “tweaks,” were separated into multiple entires.
  • Publications that published multiple lists had their points of a singular entry split amongst them. For example, Casas Fumando, which published two different lists, saw each top ranked cigar receive 24.5 points—instead of 25—and each second place cigar receive 22.5 points, instead of 24.

A total of 319 cigars were nominated between 29 lists; the results are as follows.

consensus20151

1. EL GÜEGÜENSE

  • Foundation Cigar Co.
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

consensus20152

2. SOBREMESA

  • Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
  • Binder: Mexico
  • Filler: Nicaragua & Pennsylvania
  • Release: 2015

consensus20153

3. NEANDERTHAL

  • RoMa Craft Tobac
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Pennsylvania
  • Release: 2015

top252015222

4. LA FLOR DOMINICANA LA NOX

  • La Flor Dominicana
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Flor S.A. (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: Brazil
  • Binder: Mexican San Andrés
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Release: 2015

consensus20155

5. AVO SYNCRO NICARAGUA

  • Davidoff of Geneva USA
  • Factory: O.K. Cigars (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & Peru
  • Release: 2015

consensus20157

6. DON REYNALDO

  • Warped Cigars
  • Factory: El Titan de Bronze (U.S.A.)
  • Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Release: 2014

top25201518

7. MATILDE OSCURA

  • Matilde Cigar Co.
  • Factory: Tabacalera Matilde (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Sumatra
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & U.S.A.
  • Release: 2015

consensus201511

(Image via Atlantic Cigar)

8. FLOR DEL VALLE

  • Warped Cigars
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua Corojo 99 & Criollo 98
  • Release: 2014

consensus20158

9. UNDERCROWN SHADE

  • Drew Estate
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Sumatra
  • Filler: Dominican Criollo 98, Nicaraguan Corojo & Criollo
  • Release: 2015

top2520154

10. LA MISSION DE L’ATELIER

  • L’Atelier Imports
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

top2520153

11. ILLUSIONE ~ECCJ~ 20TH

  • Illusione
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo 98 & Nicaraguan Corojo 99
  • Release: 2015

consensus201512

12. A.J. FERNANDEZ ENCLAVE

  • A.J. Fernandez
  • Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

consensus201513

13. NOMAD ESTELÍ LOT 8613

  • Nomad Cigar Co.
  • Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

consensus201514

14. CAMACHO AMERICAN BARREL-AGED

  • Davidoff of Geneva USA
  • Factory: O.K. Cigars (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: U.S. Broadleaf
  • Binder: U.S. Broadleaf
  • Filler: Honduran Corojo, Pennsylvania Maduro & U.S. Broadleaf
  • Release: 2015

consensus201515

15. LA IMPERIOSA

  • Crowned Heads
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

top25201514

16. (TIE) LAS CALAVERAS EDICIÓN LIMITADA 2015

  • Crowned Heads
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

consensus20151616. (TIE) SEÑORIAL

  • Las Cumbres Tabaco
  • Factory: Tabacalera Palma (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Estelí)
  • Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano & Corojo
  • Release: 2014

This is the second consecutive year Señorial has appeared on The Consensus.

consensus201518

18. DAVIDOFF WINSTON CHURCHILL

  • Davidoff of Geneva USA
  • Factory: Cigars Davidoff (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rojiza
  • Binder: Mexican San Andrés
  • Filler: Dominican & Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

consensus201519

19. FREYJA

  • Las Cumbres Tabaco
  • Factory: Tabacalera Palma (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: Dominican Criollo 98
  • Binder: Mexican San Andrés
  • Filler: Dominican Criollo ’98, Dominican Piloto Cubano & Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

consensus201520

20. (TIE) ARANDOZA DEFCON

  • Arandoza Cigars
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

consensus201520b

20. (TIE) QUESADA RESERVA PRIVADA

  • Quesada Cigars
  • Factory: Quesada Cigars (Dominican Republic)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Dominican Criollo (1997)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (San Vicente) & Pennsylvania Ligero
  • Release: 2015

consensus201523a

22. FUTURO

  • Warped Cigars/Casa Fernández
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo 98
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo 98 & Corojo 99
  • Release: 2015

top25201515

23. JOYA DE NICARAGUA CUATRO CINCO RESERVA ESPECIAL

  • Joya de Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

consensus201523b

24. TATUAJE VEROCŪ

  • Tatuaje/Havana Cellars
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2009

top25201524

25. ROOM101 MASTER COLLECTION THREE MUTANTE

  • Room101/Davidoff of Geneva USA
  • Factory: Honduras (Agroindustria LAEPE S.A.)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Release: 2015

COUNTRY OF THE YEAR — NICARAGUA

While Nicaragua’s margin of victory in terms of overall points was up, only 15 out of the top 25 were Nicaraguan produced cigars, notably down from last year. Nicaragua saw improvements from Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA), Joya de Nicaragua, Padrón and NicaSueño, which helped keep the country’s firm grip on the lead. Its improved scores came at the expense of Honduras, which saw its percentage of the points cut in half compared to last year.

TOP COUNTRIES
  1. Nicaragua (56.14 percent of all points awarded)
  2. Dominican Republic (27.59 percent)
  3. Honduras (7.13 percent)
  4. USA (4.77 percent)
  5. Cuba (2.17 percent)
  6. Costa Rica (1.75 percent)
  7. Mexico (.21 percent)

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

There was a time in which I would write, “This. Is. Not. Close.” That’s no longer the case. The García family’s My Father Cigars S.A. has won this award for the fifth straight year, but it is suddenly very close. Thanks to strong showings from Foundation, Illusione and Warped, TABSA has found its way towards the top of the list and very close to My Father. Last year My Father had four companies it produces cigars for in the top 10 companies, this year it had just one.

TOP 10 FACTORIES
  1. My Father Cigars S.A. (10.73 percent)
  2. Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (10 percent)
  3. Tabacalera Fernandez S.A. (6.19 percent)
  4. Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A. (4.47 percent)
  5. (TIE) Plasencia Cigars S.A. (4.17 percent)
  6. (TIE) Tabacalera Palma (4.17 percent)
  7. O.K. Cigars (3.81 percent)
  8. Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A. (3.69 percent)
  9. La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (3.22 percent)
  10. Tabacos Cubanica (3.04 percent)

COMPANY OF THE YEAR — DAVIDOFF OF GENEVA USA

Davidoff increased its percentage on the list thanks to strong showings by AVO, Camacho and Davidoff in the form of its new products—Syncro Nicaragua, American Barrel-Aged and Winston Churchill. The most noticeable change on the list was Tatuaje/Havana Cellars—which won in both 2011 and 2013—now outside the top 10 for the first time, it finished 11th. Warped shot up from 35th last year to second and newcomers Foundation Cigar Co. and Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust found their way onto the list.

TOP 10 COMPANIES
  1. Davidoff of Geneva USA (7.27 percent)
  2. Warped Cigars (5.39 percent)
  3. Crowned Heads (4.01 percent)
  4. RoMa Craft Tobac (3.69 perecent)
  5. Foundation Cigar Co. (3.6 percent)
  6. Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (3.44 percent)
  7. Drew Estate (3.22 percent)
  8. Piloto Cigars Inc. (Padrón) (3.04 percent)
  9. Illusione (2.83 percent)
  10. Nomad (2.83 percent)

*Illusione finished ahead of Nomad, although their percentages both round to 2.83 percent.

THE DREW ESTATE LEGACY

This is the fifth year for The Consensus and this is the fourth year that a Drew Estate-related product has won. Only this year, it wasn’t a product actually made or distributed by the company.

Rather, two former Drew Estate executives who both debuted new companies ran away with the top two spots. In the last five years, no company has made the commitment to media in all shapes and sizes like Drew Estate and the success is still fairly evident, even if it isn’t specifically paying off for the company itself.

NEW, NEW, NEW

Only four cigars in the top 25—Don Reynaldo, Flor del Valle, Señorial and Tatuaje Verocú—did not debut in 2015, but that doesn’t really paint the picture accurately.

Don Reynaldo shipped late last year in very limited form and saw a second, regular production, size added in 2015. Flor del Valle also had a new size this year and Tatuaje increased the Verocú vitolas from one to six in 2015. Only Señorial made The Consensus without any help from new cigars. Newness has always mattered, but never quite like this.

What’s perhaps most remarkable about this list is that the top five cigars all came from brands that have never appeared in the top five before. Up until this year companies such as Davidoff of Geneva USA, Drew Estate, Illusione and Leccia had managed to repeat top five appearances, none made it there this year, although all but Leccia were in the top 11.

A NOTE ON MEDIA & THE CONSENSUS

The decline in cigar blogs is happening and this list makes that very clear. In 2013 there were 52 lists, now that number is just 29. While the rules were applied a bit stricter this year, it only removed four potential lists from consideration. While the number might go up next year, I find it challenging to believe that the 50 list number will ever be reached again, barring Cigar Boom 2.0. I think there are a lot of reasons as to why the number of cigar blogs are declining, consolidation of both blogs and the market itself being at the top of the list.

While any blog is competition to halfwheel, I, as someone who makes a living in cigar media, am not thrilled to see the rapid decline. In fact, it alarms me.

There was print, then radio, then television, then the internet and I’m not sure what comes next, but it’s challenging to accept that while cigar print and radio remain at least stable, the online side is in a decline, particularly when it comes to new entrants.

The Consensus is very much a labor of love, now with an imitator of sorts.

As I said last year, the process and its results captivate me each and every year. But, it’s important to understand that this is neither a perfect, nor complete list. This year, there was agreement, about as much as this process will ever have, as to what the top two cigars of the year were. Does that mean they were the two best cigars of the year? No. Neither this website nor my own personal opinion is in line with that, but, they were two cigars that consistently appeared on end of the year lists and they were most certainly two cigars, from the minute they were announced, generated a lot of buzz.

Which leads to my conclusion.

I’ve said before that I think The Consensus is a window between cigar companies and media, and I most certainly think that remains true. I think this year, more so than any other, The Consensus can be looked at as the 25 hottest cigars—and there’s really nothing wrong with that.


To download the Excel spreadsheet with all votes, click here.

For links to the 29 lists used, click here.

To view previous versions of The Consensus:

Brian Hewitt of Stogie Review performed a similar concept in 2010, which you can read here.

An earlier version of this list did not properly evaluate data from Cigar Federation and Stogie Review.

0 Overall Score

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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.

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