Two Guys Smoke Shop has been announcing The Cigar of the Year on Superbowl Sunday for 20 years now, since they made their first announcement back in 1993, announcing the 1992 Cigar of the Year.
“Each year it gets more complicated” says David Garofalo, who began this ritual when he had a small shop in Boston Massachusetts back then. Today, Garofalo has 3 of the largest cigar shops in America and operates the highest volume cigar shop in the world now in New Hampshire.
“This year we crowned a cigar that really outshined all others. It stood out and impressed everyone who has tried them and a cigar I consider the best cigar I have ever smoked” Garofalo claims. The new cigar brand called he talks about is Atabey.
Atabey is handmade in Costa Rica although it uses no Costa Rican tobacco at all; actually the entire blends of all Nelson Alfonso brands are unknown. Nelson would rather leave it to the imagination or the smoker.
Nelson is the creator and man behind Atabey Cigars. Born in Havana , Cuba , Nelson is a Visual Artist (Artist, Designer, Photographer and Researcher) and cigar manufacturer. Since 1999 Nelson created designs for all major brands of cigars from Cuba. He published “Puros Habanos” in four languages, winning the best multimedia publication of Cuban cigars by Habanos SA. Nelson Directed the Spanish advertising and communication agency “Golden Age”, where he remains in charge of the image and creativity of all Premium Cuban tobacco brands.
Nelson is the graphic designer and in charge of industrial development in the art of smoking, and the designer of luxury products for brands such as Cohiba, Montecrsito, Partagas, Romeo & Julieta, H. Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, among others.
Nelson has won First Prize for Innovative Packaging Design and Products , 4 consecutive years (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010) at TFWA in Cannes, France, which was made for Habanos SA for the International Duty Free World Wide Show.
In 2010, Nelson Alfonso Designed Cuba’s most luxurious cigar brand Cohiba “Behike” while he began drafting cigar brands “Atabey”, “Byron” and “Bandolero” for Selected Tobacco Company and had a soft launch of the brands this year at the IPCPR trade Show in Orlando Florida.
Atabey, which was named “The Cigar of the Year”, is named after the Supreme God of the Taino Indians. Worshiped at full moon ceremonies, tribe members would sit together in the act of COHIBA (smoking ritual) and blow their smoke over to their tribe leader THE BEHIKE who would raise his hands to heaven through the smoke he received and praise the goddess ATABEY. “This cigar is the next step up for premium cigars, I couldn’t be more impressed.” says Garofalo.
The 2012 Cigar of the Year – ATABEY are prices between twenty to thirty dollars per cigar.
Today, cigars are better than ever, every cigar maker is making great cigars. Every cigar maker is using well aged tobaccos and they have improved so much from the days of the cigar boom of the 1990′s.
In 1992 when we first started choosing the best cigars of the year, we had to get through a lot of crap to get to the best. This year was much different. This year, it was very tough to pick just eight contenders for The Cigar of the year – but we did it.
The criteria for this task are that the cigar first had to hit retailers’ shelves between Oct 1, 2011 to Oct 1, 2012. If it came in a little late, that doesn’t mean it can’t become The Cigar of the year, it just means it will have to wait till next year. And oh…by the way, a cigar that came out years ago cannot be this year’s cigar of the year just as an old song or old movie cannot become the song of movie of the year regardless how good it is. Now that this is understood it also needs to be available.
Availability: That hard to get, limited edition that nobody has cannot be The Cigar of the Year or even a Contender. Ya, it was a great cigar – but it cannot and will not be the Cigar of the Year.
Consistency is very important and if it only just came out, one shipment and no others, it cannot be proven that it is consistent or it is not a Contender.
Quality is obviously a big one but it must be side by side with Value. A great $5 cigar gets more points than that of the same cigar with a $20 price tag. If they were exactly the same cigar, the value would have to go to the $5 one right?
Sales…this is another big one. Just getting over an election that may or may not have gone the way you wished but wouldn’t you think it would of gone very different if you had to pay to vote? Well, when people buy cigars, you are voting with your wallet and this is a big vote – a vote that really counts.
We take all this in consideration along with knowledge of product and the consideration of professional cigar salesman and votes from consumers. The votes come in through an e-mail address that is included in The Contenders Gift Pack that includes all 8 Contenders for The Cigar of the Year. You can find it at www.2GuysCigars.com and join in on the tasting.
The Contenders for The Cigar of the Year has been announced and they are here….The Winner will be announced on the day before Superbowl Sunday which will be Saturday Feb 2, 2013…and not a day before…and right here on The Cigar Authority Radio Program.
After 20 years it is our pleasure and honor to once again present to you The Contenders for The Cigar of the Year 2012 and here they are:
INCH BY E.P. CARILLO
Here is the latest and greatest from Aging Room
I’m just coming down off the high of the IPCPR Cigar Trade Show in Orlando Florida. This week long parade of new cigars and accessories literally had my head spinning. As a buyer for one of, if not the largest selling shops in the world, can you just imagine what I go through? Everyone is excited about their new brands and new items and so am I, but when you take thousands of new products and put them all together and are force fed them by some of the best salesman in the country one after one, day after day, something gets lost. Ten cigars in by noon on day one will make what seems to be paradise into brutally obnoxious. And some great new cigars are wasted on me after already tasting dozens that day. So I taste some home with me and try them at my leisure, share with some employees and friends and regroup and re evaluate. Now is the time to really pay attention as a buyer…what did I miss, what did I overlook, where there a real gem out there and I didn’t buy it? I’m sure there was and is but here are some of the diamonds I found and will pick up and if the samples are the same as the product we will soon receive; these are what I will be recommending in the very near future.
Avo 25th is a new limited release of 25 years of the Avo brand. The box is a piano with a piano finish and the cigar more full bodied than you would expect with an Avo name attached to it. The cigar will run about $16 but this is one you just have to buy by the box…it’s that cool looking.
Bandolero is from Costa Rica and something I guess will be turning heads real soon. Very special and exciting…you’ll see. And remember, you heard this one here first!
Recluse is the most deadly spider and this cigar by ICONIC Brands is a collaboration between two icons in the Dominican cigar business. Who they are is a secret, I don’t even know…yet. The cigar is unique and outstanding. A box pressed figurado with a curly head top.
Windwood is a new cigar that will be made in Miami Beach’s Windwood Art District under the watchful eye of Christian Eiora who was the mastermind behind the Camacho brand. This is a shade wrapped cigar but is bursting with flavor.
Oliva Melanio is the highest priced Oliva to date and a project in the works for years. I still have not tried this one but I’ll take a chance based on past experiences of the Oliva brand.
Alec Bradley Rare and Fine is the 2nd release of this particular cigar. Last year this one just flew off the shelves and was out of stock everywhere before I could even really appreciate it and save any. This won’t happen to me again, I’m buying in this time and I will grab a couple of boxes right away just for aging.
Loose Cannon is a new cigar by C& C and is a box pressed Dominican. A funny story to follow on this full bodied smoke.
Byron & Atabey is in my opinion the next big thing. No cheap date here but up there with the best cigars I have ever smoked in my life. Again, if the supply rivals the samples we might have a monster here!
Padron #4 is a new Anniversary 1964 and is a 60 ring. No sample was provided or expected, but I bought it anyway. These guys proved themselves year after year. I’m quite sure it will be wonderful.
Ortsac who was voted Cigar of the Year last year has not one but two new wrappers coming out. Habano and San Andreas. I had a sample of both and was wowed once again.
Swag SoBe is Swag South Beach. The boxes are cool with the art deco look and colors and the sample was great so we will add this for sure.
Esencia is a lesser known cigar but a great one has come out with their new one called “E”. Apparently E stands for Esencia but I think it stands for excellent. I real stand out micro brand smoke.
Padilla makes his way back into cigar shop humidors with his Reserva Habano and Maduro – both made by Oliva and very tasty. They also have a Miami blend made by Titan de Bronze that got my attention.
L’Atelier is a new company directed by Pete Johnson of the Tatuaje fame. His brother K.C. and friend Shawn take the reins with a few brands including the L’Atelier line. We’ll give these guys a try…why not.
Davidoff who put out the Davidoff White for 2011 last year has re done it with a new size also limited to a one time buy. This time we doubled up on our buy with the Robusto Gordo. Just ten cigars to a box and all breathtaking in appearance and flavor. Dark chocolate, spices, nuts and roasted coffee all perfectly balanced is how they describe it
INCH by E.P. Carillo – Big 1 inch ring gauges are all the rage and welcome the guy that brought us La Gloria Series R back in the game
Perdomo 20th Anniversary – One of the best new ones out there hands down but don’t hold your breath waiting because the release date is a month away, September 12th which is Nick’s father’s birth date. Nice gesture but I’m jonesing for another sample!
Origen Maduro – we test marked this one for almost a year and it gets our two thumbs up for sure, now released for the entire world. You must try this one.
A.Florez is Abe Florez’s new cigar that he has attached his name too. It has to be good says Abe, and it is, so we are awaiting the Serie Privada in Habano and Maduro. Which is best is the tougher decision.
La Flor Dominicana has a couple of new tubo’s, one called ORO meaning gold and the gold tube is classy and unique. It has a chisel end to it! The other is glass and looks very nice for gift giving.
Headley Grange is the new one from Crowned Heads who brought us Four Kicks. No sample was smoked but we’ll give it a try anyway and waiting them soon.
Lots more to try and decide upon in the coming weeks.
Cigar Journal Magazine presented its annual Cigar Trophies during the IPCPR trade show.
The event which featured Ruta 6, the latin music sensation was attended by over 200 of the premium cigar industry’s biggest names and most prolific cigar makers. The ceremony was presented by Chief Editors Colin Ganley and Reinhold Widmayer.
Guests enjoyed Champagne and a selection of the cigars that won Cigar Trophies in 2012.
The winners included:
- Dominican Republic: Puro d’Oro
- Honduras: CAO OSA Sol
- Nicaragua: San Lotano
- Dominican Republic: Diamond Crown Maximus Churchill
- Honduras: Alec Bradley Fine and Rare 2011
- Nicaragua: My Father Lounge Exclusive
- Dominican Republic: VegaFina Fortaleza 2
- Honduras: Flor de Selva
- Nicaragua: Perdomo
Outstanding Art: Drew Estate Tobacco Company
Charity & Community: Rocky Patel Foundation
Best Accessory: Bóveda Humidity Control
Ambassador: Intl. Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association
Lifetime Achievement: Nestor Plasencia Sr.
Peter, Paul & Mary said it best…”all my bags are packed and I’m ready to go” but they weren’t going where I’m headed. The 80th Annual I.P.C.P.R. Cigar Trade Show begins Thursday with Seminars and Parties till the wee hours of the night.
This will be the largest cigar trade ever! Close to 300 different exhibitors with literally thousands of new products…over 1,360 trade show booths! If you’re in the cigar business, you have to be there. It’s the place to be, the place to learn and get informed on everything cigar.
I will be head out shortly and the rumor mills are cranking already. The little birdies are telling me some very interesting things, but I must go and find out for sure before reporting just rumors – I will get the facts and report them here first on The Cigar Authority “IF” these rumors turn out to be true.
Check in during the week because I will, with information about new brands, sizes, and whatever I can find out about the cigar and the cigar-lebrities.
Thank you to all the folks who participated, I was shocked how close some of you got and how good you are, this was not an easy line-up, but it was Larry and Larry alone who got them all. So for Larry, with our complements is a priceless box of Tatuaje M-80 cigars.
Here are the correct answers and a visual as we have turned the cigars around to reveal the fronts. (Simply click on the picture to get a close-up of the bands).
- Cuvee Grand 2010
- Fleur de la Reine
- Ashton VSG
- Davidoff Puro Dominicano
- La Gianna Havana
- Pura Sangre
- Natural by Drew Estates
- Perdomo Lot 23
- Alec Bradley Prensado
- Kristoff Kristania
- My Father Le Bijou
- Tabak Especial
- E.P. Carrillo
- Camacho Triple Maduro
- Rocky Patel Vintage 2003 Cameroon
- Diamond Crown Julius Caeser
- Hammer + Sickle Moscow City
- Davidoff Puro de Oro
- C & C Connecticut
- Avo la Trompeta
Keep checking in at www.TheCigarAuthority.com for more contests, more blogs and more cigar stuff. Be sure to catch our syndicated radio program either “LIVE” each Saturday at noon (Eastern Time) or via podcast from our site or on I-Tunes. As always – Thanks for listening! WE ARE THE CIGAR AUTHORITY
Camacho, the world’s boldest cigar and a core brand in the Oettinger Davidoff Group portfolio, is pleased to announce a new partnership with legendary hall of fame football player and coach, Mike Ditka. Under this new partnership, the “Coach” and Camacho will develop a series of new cigar lines carrying the Ditka name, which will be made at Tabacos Rancho Jamastran in Honduras. Ditka will also serve as a brand ambassador at select nationwide events, beginning with the Davidoff Golden Band Awards, which are to be held during this year’s IPCPR trade show in Orlando, FL. The first installment of the Ditka cigar line is set for launch in late 2012, with more releases set to follow in the early part of 2013.
“Ditka is an absolute legend and I cannot express the excitement felt about this new partnership. Coach truly embodies the bold and outspoken spirit of our brand and it’s great to have him as an ambassador and partner moving forward,” said Dylan Austin, Head of Marketing for Camacho.
“If I am going to put my name on something, it’s gotta be the best. The product and the package are outstanding. I am really looking forward to this relationship,” said Mike Ditka.
You’ve heard the expression haven’t you? “It was the best of times…it was the worst of times” It’s that time of the year, every year, right before, during and after the IPCPR Annual Cigar Trade Show that companies make changes. The first casualty in the industry appears to be EO Brands. EO Brands was formed 8 years ago by Erick Espinosa (He’s the E) and Eddie Ortega (He’s the O). They came out with REO and VIBE brands made by Rocky Patel. That’s when the story starts.
Fast forward 5 years later, EO Brands introduces the 601 brand along with Cubao and Marcielago all made by made by Don Pepin Garcia in his My Father Cigar Factory in Nicaragua. EO Brand starts getting more attention and then enters Rocky Patel.
Just 2 years ago, Rocky Patel takes over distribution, a face lift and adds La Bomba (a Firecracker rip off, but don’t get me started). All seemed to be going well with more distribution and a big launch but everything wasn’t as it appeared.
Today EO Brands if officially out of business. The partnership is over and like a marriage gone bad the brands have been divided and no longer will Rocky Patel be handling any of the distribution or handling any of the brands.
Eddie Ortega takes with him the Cubao, REO and Vibe brands to his new Ortega Cigar Company. Eric Espinosa takes with him the 601 and Mercielago brand to his new Espinosa Premium Cigar Company…and as for Rocky Patel…he apparently gets 50% of nothing!
So what really happened? Who did what and who got screwed? We may never hear the real story but as for EO Brands – it’s all over.
It’s that time of the year…when we see companies break up, reps get booted out, prices go up and new brands and companies get launched. It’s the best of times and the worst of times…it’s that time of the year.