Weekends are for two things: relaxation and celebration. Thankfully, God made cigars for both. Rough week at work? Phone a friend and light up. Clinch a client and get that pat on the back from the boss? Phone a few – and light up. Either way, the list below will be your guide to an hour’s escape from whatever it was that happened this week – and whatever it is that’s waiting for you on Monday.
First Time Smokes
Odds are you’re not a seasoned connoisseur, but that’s more than okay. The key is to start lighter and work your way up. Let your buddy Gary swing for the fences with a 9-inch stick of the devil’s dynamite, and then enjoy the show when he tosses his cookies an hour later.
Perdomo Lot 23 (Toro): If this stick doesn’t show up in your local cigar shop, shake the proverbial dust off your sandals and deuce out. This is a classic, and anybody who shows up with a Lot 23 is a welcome man in my house.
Rocky Patel Connecticut (Toro): I recently had the chance to meet Rocky Patel himself, and, despite being a loyal Packers fan, he makes a mean Connecticut. Light, smooth, and sweet, this is probably the best starter on the list.
Oliva Serie O (Robusto): A 94-rating from Cigar Aficionado should tell you most of what you need to know, and the fact that it’s a Nicaraguan puro should tell you the rest. Granted, this one’s more on the medium side, but it’s nothing you can’t handle.
Curivari Buenaventura (Toro): Think craft beer is cool for its individuality? Then you’ll love Curivari. Marketing? None. Branding? Snooze. This hidden gem is about flavor, and despite its mild-to-medium body, it brings a smoothness that keeps the box at my local shop empty.
I’ve smoked hundreds of cigars, and these four will take on any of your granddad’s favorites – and win.
E.P. Carillo La Historia (Torpedo): If Trump’s wall gets built I sure hope somebody smuggles over all the Mexican San Andres tobacco first. Smoke the La Historia and you’ll agree.
CAO Brazilia (Robusto): If Rio’s polluted Olympic water has you turned off to South American flavor, think again. The Brazilian Araparica leaf on this beefed-up robusto adds a load of maduro sweetness to a strangely delicious mineral flavor for a rich, hour-plus smoke.
San Lotano Oval Maduro (Torpedo): Box-pressed cigars are no longer the kings of swanky sticks. AJ Fernandez nailed it with this ingenious oval-shaped cigar, and you’ll like smoking it even more than looking at it. At $9+ it won’t come cheap but the Nicaraguan long filler and rich maduro wrapper won’t let you down.
Ave Maria Recoquista (Torpedo): I can’t say enough about this cigar. Its chestnut- brown single-stick box makes it the most impressive looking one on the list. Don’t bother looking for it at your local shop; just go online and fork over your paycheck – you won’t be missing it.
Best for the Budget
I hear people claiming all the time that $5 is cheap. Ever see one of those old 5-cent cigar signs? That’s cheap. But too often cheap comes at the expense of quality. Don’t worry, I spent four years of financial famine (college) yes-ing and no-ing cheap cigars in search of the best value.
Joya de Nicaragua Fuerte Serie B (Toro): Be wary: this stick means business.
La Perla Black Pearl (Robusto): It features the same wrapper as the CAO Brazilia and San Lotano Oval Maduro (see above) but will save you an extra $4-6.
Nica Libre (Robusto): AJ Fernandez flavor for an everyday price.
Carlos Torano Noventa (Robusto): I shared this spicy stick with a friend recently, and by the time he gave me his opinion he’d already won a bid for a box of 20… for $40.
By: Andrew Swicegood