The winners have been selected and we are proud to announce the winner’s for this year’s Cigar Industry Awards presented by the Cigar Media Association. The 18 members of the CMA created three categories narrowed down the nominations and then submitted their selections. The votes have been tabulated and the winners are:
- Cigar of the Year: Matilde Oscura
- Brand of the Year: Warped
- CMA Member of the Year: Cigar Coop
Cigar of the Year:
There were a lot of great cigars nominated for cigar of the year this year, and it was a close vote at times, but in the end there was a clear winner and that winner was the Matilde Oscura. Showcased at the 2015 IPCPR, Matilde Oscura is the newest release from Matilde Cigars. Crafted with tobacco from throughout the New World, the cigar features a Mexican San Andres wrapper, an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and filler tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and United States. The cigar excelled in the Toro Bravo size, a 6 ½” by 54 ring gauge toro, and it delivered an array of complex flavors with impeccable construction. José Seijas has been in the industry for many years, creating and contributing in a lot of blends, but Matilde Oscura is possibly his finest piece of work. Congratulations to Matilde Cigars for a terrific cigar and a great sophomore year. It will be hard to follow the Matilde Oscura, but we look forward to future projects!
Brand of the Year:
The votes were very close this year, from beginning to end, but in the end there can be only one winner. For 2015, the brand of the year is Warped Cigars. A small company, based in Miami, Florida, Warped Cigars is a company that began in 2008. There was a brief hiatus when owner, Kyle Gellis completed school, but when he returned in 2014 it was a company that was nothing like it was before. Gellis and Warped Cigars don’t have farms or a factory, but instead team up with two different and at the same time great companies to create their successful blends. The company has blends coming out of El Titan de Bronze in Little Havana, delivering that old-school Miami/Cuban vibe, and is also working with Casa Fernandez and their famed AGANORSA tobacco in Nicaragua. For 2015, the company had four projects come out of Nicaragua and two out of El Titan in Miami. Most of their production was limited, whether it was an annual small batch or a release just for the 2015-2016 IPCPR calendar, but some of it was regular production as well. Two of these cigar releases were nominees for Cigar of the Year, Sky Flower and Don Reynaldo. Don Reynaldo became regular production this year and while Sky Flower was limited in its production, appointed retailers have stated that they should be expecting the second batch in March of this year. Along with those 2015 releases, the company also had regular production releases like La Hacienda, annual releases like Corto and Futuro Selección Suprema and the very limited, La Colmena Black Honey. 2014 was a year where Warped really made a statement, it was a great return for the company, but we believe 2015 was a far more successful year for them. They may not have had that new “buzz,” but they released some phenomenal cigars that made them be recognized as Brand of the Year.
CMA Member of the Year:
Last year, the Cigar Media Association presented an award for the Media Member of the Year. Individuals outside of the association questioned the award, and some slandered it, but we stand behind the award. Every company has internal awards – most sales, most improved, etc., and we wanted to have an internal award as well where we could recognize the great work that he or she did for the industry that year. We believe it is a great way of recognizing members of the media, and also recognizing the work that we all put into the cigar industry. We all have our own styles and methods, each great in their own way, and we want to recognize a media member for the excellent work they did in that year. There were a lot of great nominees for this award, we think that everyone involved in the association is contributing a great quality, but at the end we had a winner with Cigar Coop.
Cigar Coop is an individual who is in perfect tune with the industry. He is an individual who communicates with manufacturers, brand owners, marketing directors, sales representatives, retailers, consumers and anything else that was possibly left off. He is also an individual that reviews cigars daily, covers the news daily, writes editorials weekly and hosts a weekly cigar show. He truly covers all aspects of the media and does it at full speed. We have never seen Cigar Coop doing anything without giving it 100%, and that is why he is the Media Member of the Year. Besides giving everything he has for his own site and show, he is one that every media member can count on as a guest and panelist. He is a Cigar Rights of America Ambassador for North Carolina, and we consider him an ambassador of the cigar industry for the world as well. In our opinion, you could not find a more professional member of the cigar industry media, and more importantly, a friendlier one. Congratulations Coop!
The Cigar Media Association would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners and we look forward to next year’s awards.