Everyone has their "top cigar" list. Some folks pick their favorite cigars they smoked in 2010, though they may have been released much earlier. Cigar Aficionado's top 25 list features new releases and old stand by's. I've never made such a list. I talk about and write about cigars so often, that I feel like I am an ongoing list.
However, in thinking about 2010, there really were some extraordinary releases... some that have been extremely well received, and others that have slipped under the radar.
When it comes to stocking the humidors at the Davidoff stores, I try to keep think about what our humidors should represent. Of course, we need the full compliment of our own brands and range. But we also need an assortment of 3rd party brands to incorporate other countries, flavors, prices and other factors that we simply don't offer in our lineup. Further, when it comes to bringing in new brands, the single biggest question I ask myself is, "Does this fill a void somewhere?" So many cigars taste so similar to each other... how many different names can we give the same "experience"? For me, it's often more important to bring in a new flavor and experience that compliments our range, than it is to bring in a hot brand just for the sake of jumping on the bandwagon.
So, with that in mind... here is a list of some of my favorite New Offerings of 2010 available in the Davidoff New York Stores. These are in Alphabetical order.
Avo Heritage (First order received October 2010)
This cigar has been a HUGE hit. This was a project that our whole company was really passionate about; from our team in Switzerland to the Dominican Republic and especially our team in the US. These cigars are full-bodied with rich flavors of earth and spice in formats that our customers want and at a price point that is competitive. I saw this cigar on a number of "top cigar" lists, and I wholeheartedly agree!
Davidoff Puro d'Oro (First order received May 2010)
A Dominican puro, this line of cigars takes inspiration from Davidoff’s Cuban era- simple boxes, simple packaging, with the focus all on the cigar itself. Adorned only with an embossed band on the cigar’s foot to indicate the format, these gorgeous puros are made entirely of Dominican tobacco including the precious wrapper leaf. This gorgeous wrapper is grown in a region called Yamasa, southeast of Santiago in the mountains of Dominican Republic en-route to Santo Domingo, the nation’s capitol. Its unique soil and climate deliver an equally unique flavor. To give credit where credit is due, Mr. Kelner began the early development and experimentation of this tobacco in 1996. Though original attempts were unsuccessful, he continued to experiment with different seeds, and more impressively cross-bred seeds in order to create unique hybrid seeds, more resistant to some of the region’s challenges. In 2003 Kelner began working in Yamasa, drawn to the incredibly rich, red clay-like soil. Finally in 2006 Kelner was satisfied with the crop, and began storing this tobacco- allowing it to age until it was ready to be used for this special project.
E.P. Carillo (First order received September 2010)
If you've enjoyed cigars long enough to remember the "Cigar Boom" of the 1990's then you know the name Ernest Perez-Carillo. He was the man who rose to fame WITHOUT the help of Twitter, Facebook, or Blogs... there was no "viral marketing" plan for "social media". His La Gloria Cubana brand was arguably the first "boutique cigar" to earn its way into the mainstream simply for being a great cigar. Times have changed since then. Carillo sold his brand and factory to General Cigar Company in 1999 and joined their team promoting La Gloria Cubana. However, he left the General Cigar Company in 2009 to do it all over again. And did he ever. Joining forces with his son and daughter, the Three Carillos successfully launched their core line of cigars as well as a very special Limited Edition for 2010- ranking 8th on Cigar Aficionado's Top Ten.
La Flor Dominicana "LG Diez" GALEGO (First order received February 2010)
We are so fortunate to have some of the greatest cigar manufacturers making unique cigars exclusively for our New York City Stores. This is one of those gems. Loaded with heavy spice and white pepper, this Dominican Puro is a solid smoke that commands attention to the last puff! And at 6" and a 60 ring gauge it is the largest of the LG Diez line.
La Palina (First order received July 2010)
Talk about history, this cigar has it. This line really was a wild card, and I'm so pleased to see its success. I did a blog about the La Palina Limited Edition... and explained some of this brand's history. In September the full line finally arrived in stores. Made by Graycliff in The Bahamas with tobaccos from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Ecuador, these beautiful smokes deliver a flavor and aroma that is completely unique. Though rather expensive, it is undoubtedly worth trying for yourself.
Padron Family Reserve No. 46 (First order received September 2010)
The Padron Family series is the newest "line" in Padron's incredible range of products. While their core line is still among the most consistent and most affordable in our humidors, their more limited series have always remained high on the request list. From the 1964 and 1926 to the 40th and 80th Anniversaries, the Family Series is in a league of its own. Beginning with the 44, each one is a unique size and blend available in both Natural and Maduro. The newest, the 46, is 5.5" with a 56 ring gauge and is box pressed. The Natural offers a bit more creaminess with a mellow spiciness on the finish. The Maduro offers notes of bittersweet chocolate and espresso bean.
Quesada Tributo (First order received June 2010)
After an emotional preview at the 2010 ProCigar Festival we finally received this four format line in Spring. It was well worth the wait. This is the second cigar in the "Quesada" brand, following their inaugural effort the Quesada 35th Anniversary. It features a wonderful blend of tobaccos from all over the world including a proprietary hybrid wrapper created from four different seeds.
Schrader Hispaniola Doco-Est MMIX-I (First order received November 2010)
Vinter Fred Schrader of Schrader Cellars has broken just about every record ever set when it comes to California Cabernet. He has scored perfect 100 points by both Wine Spectator and Robert Parker on multiple vintages even on release. Schrader is also a big fan of cigars. His favorites are a Cuban Partagas Serie D No. 4, as well as the Davidoff Exquisitos for something quick. But Schrader really wanted to create his own cigar, something that is in keeping with his wines- small production, limited distribution, great packaging, and unique flavor that doesn't clobber you over the head, but doesn't let you forget that you're smoking. In classic Schrader style, it's a very unique shape- a figurado closest to a Salomon with a shaggy foot and drastic taper. The cigars are made by the ParaTi factory outside of Santiago. The "house brand" of the factory, a Dominican Puro, also made its way into the US and into our humidors. ParaTi and Schrader are being distributed by Pete Johnson's Havana Cellars.
Super Selection No. 15 (First order received April 2010)
The Super Selection brand was created in 2003 by Davidoff of Geneva to be sold exclusively in their New York City Stores. Originally offered in three sizes, the Super Selection focuses more on flavor than on packaging. The Number 14 (a fat robusto) was introduced later in 2007 featuring a slightly modified blend. Now, the Number 15, a classic torpedo format, features a blend that is a modification to the 14. It is full-bodied and rich with intense smoke and an easy draw.
La Vérité (First order received July 2010)
Pete Johnson has arguably the most popular portfolio of cigars, beginning with his Tatuaje brand and including such favorites as El Triunfador, Ambos Mundos, Cabaiguan and many more. He is also a huge fan of wine. In tribute to his passion for wine, Johnson created a cigar brand that embraces the "Bordeaux" culture; making a product from a single-farm vintage in both a first and second-growth concept. These cigars are all about finesse and balance; quite a juxtaposition to some of his other lines. However the relationship makes quite a lot of sense... La Vérité is to Tatuaje what Bordeaux is to Napa Valley.
While we have of course welcomed in many new products over the course of 2010, these specific cigars really stood out to me for their uniqueness and their ability to truly offer a new experience.