Cigar Media Association Announces Cigar Industry Award Winners for 2016

In 2014, the Cigar Media Association established a set of Cigar Industry Awards. It marked the first time that cigar media had come together collaboratively and recognize excellence in the cigar industry.  This year, the awards return for a third consecutive year, and we are proud to announce this year’s winners.

As in the past there are three categories of nominations: Cigar of the Year, Brand of the Year, and CMA Member of the Year. Each member of the CMA had the opportunity to submit a list of nominations. Based on those nominations, a list of finalists was created from the top vote getters.  The final nominees were then sent out again to the members of the CMA for a weighted vote. The results were tallied and the top vote totals in each category receive the CMA award.

Cigar of the Year: Mi Querida by Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust

2016 Nominees

Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed
Davidoff Yamasá
Mi Querida by Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust (WINNER)
Padrón 1926 Serie Natural
RoMa Craft Intemperance Whiskey Rebellion
Warped Maestro Del Tiempo

Mi Querida is the sophomore release from Steve Saka’s Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust company. The cigar was Saka’s long-awaited Connecticut Broadleaf release under his own brand.

In addition to the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, the cigar uses Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and filler. Mi Querida is currently available in four regular production blends as well as several other limited vitola offerings. To produce this cigar, Saka partnered with the NACSA factory in Nicaragua to produce this blend.

Mi Querida made its debut at the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show and it didn’t take long for the cigar to receive critical acclaim. In fact, the cigar appeared on many media members end of year lists. In the final voting, it came out on top against some very tough competition among the finalists.

Previous Winners

2014 Illusione Fume D’Amour
2015 Matilde Oscura
2016 Mi Querida by Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust

Brand of the Year: A.J. Fernandez Cigars

2016 Nominees

AJ Fernandez Cigars (Winner)
RoMa Craft Tobac
Warped Cigars

In 2016 Master Blender A.J. Fernandez made a lot of waves for collaborating on projects for many high profile projects, but at the same time it was a great year for his own company, A.J. Fernandez Cigars.

In 2016, the company had a banner year. The year was highlighted but he release of two major new brands – Bellas Artes and Last Call. At the same time, the brand continued to maintain strong demand for its New World and Enclave lines – all while maintaining high standards of excellence and quality.

Previous Winners

2014 Crowned Heads
2015 Warped Cigars
2016 A.J. Fernandez Cigars

CMA Member of the Year: Kiss My Ash Radio

2016 Nominees

Cigar Dojo
Kiss My Ash Radio (WINNER)
Smooth Draws Radio Show

This was probably the closest vote in the history of the CMA Awards as there were three excellent nominees. What was most interesting is that each finalist has a podcast / radio component to it. It is perhaps a reflection of the changing landscape in cigar media. This year, Kiss My Ash Radio takes the 2016 honors.

Kiss My Ash Radio is a cigar-oriented radio show out of the Palm Beach Florida area hosted by “Honest Abe” Dababneh, Adam “The Brewmeister” K, and “Lady M”, Emily Hassell Crosby. The show has been a staple of Saturday mornings for the past five years. The show has featured many high profile guests and brings a wonderful mix of cigar-focused content and good-natured humor. On March 19, 2016 the show celebrated a milestone with its 200th episode. It also expanded to several affiliates, including the high-profile New York and Atlanta markets.

* Note: Members of the CMA Board abstained from the final vote in this category.

Previous Winners

2014 Cigar Dojo
2015 Cigar Coop
2016 Kiss My Ash Radio

Cigar Media Association Announces 2015 Cigar Industry Award Winners

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.

Cigar Media Association Cigar Industry Award Nominees for 2015

The Cigar Media Association is pleased to announce the 2nd Cigar Industry Awards. With the establishment of the Cigar Media Association in 2014, the members involved in the association created a process where they could honor and celebrate the companies and individuals in the cigar industry. This was first time a collaborative effort among various brands of the cigar media have come together for such a process. Once again the Awards return to recognize the 2015 accomplishments

Like last year, there are three categories. Like last year, there are three categories:

  1. Cigar of the Year: Our first category, Cigar of the Year, was an easy and practical category to come up with. Everyone always talks about Cigar of the Year, but we wanted media members come together to decide what cigar is truly Cigar of the Year. To quality was simple, the cigar needed to be released in the 2015 year and nominated by a Cigar Media Association member. Each member was asked to nominate five cigars for this category. Of course, multiple members votes on similar cigars, so it was easy to determine which cigars led the pack. From there, we took the five cigars with the highest votes and submitted them back to the members where there will be a final vote. The winner of Cigar of the Year will be announced January 22nd, 2016.
  2. Brand of the Year: Our second category, Brand of the Year, was a category that was created to recognize all brands on the market. This was a category that did not look at a specific cigar and that cigar’s accomplishments that year, but rather looked at a brand as a whole and how well received it was that year and the impact it had. In some ways, this is the big picture award, but at the same time, does not take into account a brand new release. You can look at a company that re-branded itself, a company that re-blended some past releases, or nothing at all. This company could go to that brand that did not have a huge victory, but a lot of subtle ones throughout the year. Like Cigar of the Year, we asked all the members to think of the five brands that the biggest impact on the cigar industry that year. From there, we took the five brands with the highest votes and submitted them back to members for a final vote. Like Cigar of the Year, the winner of Brand of the Year will be announced January 22nd, 2016.
  3. Online Media Member of the Year: Our third and final category, Online Media Member of the Year, was a category that was created to recognize the media site that delivered terrific content throughout the year. This award is given to the media member who best exemplifies what the Cigar Media Association is about, and provides the industry with a reliable and enjoyable source of content. This is an award given to the member that constantly delivered content to his or her readers throughout the year. All members of the association in good standings were able to qualify for the award, and each member was asked to vote for three members for the award. Once we had the three with the highest votes, we submitted them back for members for a final vote. The Online Media Member of the Year will be announced January 22nd, 2016.

Nomimees for 2015 Cigar of the Year

  • Don Reynaldo, Warped Cigars
  • El Güegüense, Foundation Cigar Company
  • Flor del Valle Sky Flower, Warped Cigars
  • Matilde Oscura, Matilde Cigars
  • RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal, RoMa Craft Tobac
  • Sobremesa, Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust

Nominations for 2015 Brand of the Year

  • A.J. Fernandez Cigars
  • Caldwell Cigar Company
  • Davidoff
  • Espinosa Cigars
  • Las Cumbres Tabaco
  • Rocky Patel Premium Cigars
  • Warped Cigars

Nominations for 2015 Online Media Member of the Year