With the end of every year, we are pelted with a barrage of lists. Which celebrities kicked the bucket. The most popular baby names. Worst Christmas gifts. The top this, and the best that. Whatever your hobby or line of work, you're bound to see lists associated with those as well. Around here we talk about cigars...and bacon...and boobs...goats, booze, Pabst, sports, guns, spackle, coffee, cornhole, cars, and whatever Cosmo is telling the ladies about...like yo-yo balls. Whatever it is -- drive through hookers or rocky mountain oysters -- we smoke cigars while we talk about it.
So, why not? Why not a Cretin year end cigar list? I mean, we all know cigars are very subjective, so wouldn't a collaborative list have more value than just some shlub with a blog and a hand out? We thought so too. So, eleven shlubs...er Cretins were asked to submit their personal top five favorite cigars of 2012 in order. Cigars they have smoked and shelled out their money for. Ten responded. (Cretin Jeff will suffer severe sanctions.) Point values were assigned to positions. Submitted ties split points. Honorable mentions were assigned half points. Final count ties were placed according to their MSRP with the lowest placing highest, etc....and what hast thou Cretins wrought? Here they are from #9 to the top spot #1...
The Blowin' Smoke Cretins Prime Nine for 2012
#9 - Tatuaje Baby Face
Tatuaje has a little fun every Halloween buy releasing some unique and very limited cigars under as a Monster series featuring "monster movie" inspired names and neat-o packaging. For 2012, it was the highly anticipated Little Monsters...smaller sizes of previously released larger monsters. The 4 3/8 X 50 Baby Face stood out to score a slot on the Cretins Prime Nine 2012. Baby Face features a Mexican San Andres wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler. It is made at the My Father Cigars S.A. factory. The zip you'd expect from a Pete Johnson - Pepin cigar plus the full, robust character of the Mexican wrapper. Cretins said: "My favorite of the Little Monsters."
#8 - Ortega Serie D Natural
Marking the only brand to crack the Cretin Prime Nine 2012 TWICE, Eddie Ortega scores again with the Serie D Natural. Now, the Cretins have debated the "betterishness" of the two...the Natural or the Maduro, and the only thing we can say is their respective scores on the Prime Nine of 2012 were very close. Swapping the maduro wrapper for an Ecuador Habano Rosado brings a solid, nuanced smoke with good flavor complexity. Best if you do your own side-by-side. Eddie would appreciate that...and maybe buy himself one of those tuxedo t-shirts. Cretins said: "Best summed up as the flavors of old school Padron Anniversary naturals."
#7 - CLE Corojo
Did anybody think for a minute that Christian Eiroa would let us down? Following the sale of Camacho to the Oettinger Davidoff Group in 2008, Eiroa stayed on as President of Camacho, but many sensed that would be short lived. With the ok from Davidoff, he formed Tabacaleras Unidas and launched CLE Cigar Company as his personal return to the market, and the first brand under the Tabacaleras Unidas umbrella. Unless you've lived under a rock for the last 10-15 years, you know that the Eiroas know corojo and Honduras very intimately. So, no surprise that CLE would roll out a corojo Honduran puro to remind us. Rich on flavor, but not an ass-kicker. Excellent price point. Look for more great stuff to come from Christian Eiroa.
#6 - Ortega Serie D Maduro
It seems the cigar industry has experienced a lot of folks striking out on their own lately, and this guy certainly did it right. Eddie Ortega embraced social media and was showing up all over the country to promote his first release of his Ortega brand. Eddie projects a working class image with his faded t-shirt and jeans, and his inviting life-is-good grin. His Serie D Maduro line says hard-working, rugged, and I've got your back with a Mexican San Andreas wrapper and Nicaraguan guts. Bold, complex, flavorful, and great bang for your buck. Cretins said: "Love the box press...solid, great flavor." -- "First try (at) Leaf & Bean Strip District. Have been enjoying them ever since." -- "...stock is low. Time to buy more." Specific mention: No. 6, No. 7, and No. 12.
#5 - Crowned Heads Headley Grange Estupendos
The sophomore release from Crowned Heads shows what happens when you mix passion for the industry with a master blender like EP Carrillo. Named after the former poorhouse in East Hampshire, England, turned music recording scene in the 60's and 70's (and currently caught up in a trademark legal dispute over use of the name), the Crowned Heads wanted to create a cigar as unique as the sound of John Bonham's drums in Led Zeppelin's "When The Levee Breaks" which was recorded there. When we light this one, we think whole lotta love. Cretins said: "Like Cirillo said, post coital cuddling." Well, okay, then.
#4 - 1502 Ruby
The 1502 line made a big impact with the Cretins in a short time, and the Ruby edged out the Black Gold...the strongest in the current 1502 stable...for Prime Nine honors. Enrique, the man behind 1502, has kept his line up very simple and much aligned to his, and maybe your, daily cigar selection process. The 1502 Ruby falls in the middle, or as Enrique's after-a-sammich afternoon smoke, with medium body, great complexity, and packed with Nicaraguan flavor. If you don't know what that Nicaraguan flavor is exactly, the 1502 Ruby will learn ya. Ecuador wrapped and Nicaragua stuffed. Cretins said: "I can't get enough of this cigar." -- "...flavor holds up even after smoking a fuller bodied cigar." Specific mention of the Robusto.
#3 - Rodrigo La Fortaleza
George Rodriguez set out to create a Dominican cigar that would make other Dominican cigars its bitch. Along with William Ventura's Tabacalera Ventura in the Dominican Republic, George done good. While the Cretins agreed that the various sizes delivered some distinct character differences, the end result of all was a fuller bodied, flavorful smoke that might smack your ass and call you Sally, and definitely have you rethink your notion of Dominican tobacco. Cretins said: "Nine inches and dark Need I say more?" -- "George is so dreamy." -- "Rich and robust. A real treat." Specific mentions of the A and Absoluto.
#2 - Oliva Serie V Melanio
If you are like a lot of the Cretins, you've probably herfed your way through the Oliva line up over the years and you probably found your preference shifting along the way until you felt very much at home with the Serie V. Character, flavor, strength, and consistency. Then crazy Uncle Melanio showed up claiming he had V roots and maybe better hair. You scoffed at the special band toupee, figured he was a poseur from the G clan you used to see as a kid at family reunions until crazy Uncle Melanio took you for a ride on his motorcycle, showed you porn, gave you scotch, and slipped you a few bucks when the other Vs weren't looking. Yeah, Melanio is a V...just a little more fun. Cretins said: "Great aroma, flavors of oak, cedar, breadiness, and pepper...nice complexity and flavor development." -- "Great all around smoke." -- "A Serie V with some extra 'yeah, baby' and a box press!" Specific mentions of the Robusto and Petit Corona.
#1 - 262 Revere
Since their debut, Clint Aaron and his team at 262 Cigars has delivered one hit after another, and the 2012 release of Revere is the latest to ride into the end zone. Revere is a Nicaraguan puro with a Jalapa wrapper and double binder. Rich, robust, complex, solid. Clint loves dishing out hugs on the road, and the Revere is a big flavor hug with some grab-ass on the finish. Cretins said: "The entire line never disappoints...ever." -- "...delicious smokes." -- "Take the Paradigm and ramp it up a notch." -- "Great spice, perfect price." -- "Hold me." Specific mentions of the Robusto and Corona. Congratulations, 262 Cigars!
So, there it is. The first ever Blowin' Smoke Cretins Prime Nine Cigars 2012. Comments? Drop us an email through the contact link above. Remember, we didn't smoke every cigar born in 2012. That's next to impossible...although it's an attractive goal. But we did smoke every cigar that was submitted and we paid for each of them. You're welcome.
Before we go, here are a few fine cigars that landed near the bubble: RoMa Craft Intemperance BA XXI -- Tatuaje Mummy -- Tatuaje Fausto -- La Aurora Preferidos Diamond -- and La Duena