Ten Outstanding Cigars To Smoke Right Now

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Jul 27, 2023 | By Thomas Pappalardo

Ten Outstanding Cigars To Smoke Right Now

We have recently added 72 new cigar reviews to our extensive cigar tasting database from the March/April issue of Cigar Aficionado, and the ratings in the issue were exceptionally high with 44 scoring 90 points or more—an impressive percentage of 61.1. But we pared it down to the ten best performers of the issue, which achieved scores of 93 points or higher. The list includes cigars from Nicaragua, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Two of the smokes are former Cigars of the Year and one of the cigars achieved an astounding score of 96 points—classic on our 100-point scale. These are cigars that you should be smoking right now, if you aren’t already. 

Every cigar rated by Cigar Aficionado is smoked blind by our panel of editors. The tasting coordinator removes the cigars’ identifying bands and replaces them with plain white, numbered labels before passing the cigars out to the tasters The tasting panel has no idea what they are smoking, so factors such as price, country of origin and cigar manufacturer do not come into play when final scores are determined.

Click here to view all ratings from the March/April issue.

Oliva Serie V Melanio Toro

Oliva Serie V Melanio Toro (96 points, $15.75)
With its Ecuador Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan tobacco, the box-pressed Serie V Melanio line has become a consistently high performer in our ratings. The Figurado was the Cigar of the Year in 2014, but the line oddly lacked a Toro, one of the most popular sizes in the premium cigar industry. That changed in 2021, and the newer cigar shows that the blend is exceptional no matter the shape with an astounding score of 96 points. Its rich, earthy base reveals an assortment of spices such as cardamom, cumin and clove with some warm cedar providing balance. See full tasting note.

La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso

La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso (95 points, $9.25)
When Ashton Distributors Inc. created the La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor line, it marked a first for the brand, as it was the first one made with a maduro wrapper that wasn’t from Connecticut River Valley. Rather, it came from Mexico’s San Andrés Valley. Made by the Garcias at My Father Cigars S.A. in Nicaragua, the Mi Amor Belicoso still shows remarkable consistency. It achieved the No. 2 slot in 2011, and earned the same exact score this year. See full tasting note.

Padrón Family Reserve No. 95 Maduro

Padrón Family Reserve No. 95 Maduro (95 points, $29.50)
Although Padrón’s Family Reserve series is mostly box-pressed, the company breaks its own rule with the Padrón Family Reserve No. 95 Maduro, which is an un-pressed Parejo. It was created to honor what would have been founder José Orlando Padrón’s 95th birthday. Measuring a short and squat 4 3/4 inches by 60 ring gauge, it burns and draws evenly despite its girth and delivers a complex smoke with central notes of nutmeg and cinnamon beneath tasty layers of cashew, hazelnut and vanilla. See full tasting note.

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Robusto

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Robusto (94 points, $10.80)
The relationship between fathers and sons can be special and the Don Carlos line celebrates this bond, as it was blended by Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr. in honor of his father Carlos Fuente Sr. Cloaked in a toothy African-grown Cameroon wrapper, the Dominican binder and fillers include some of the oldest leaves to be found in the company’s expansive tobacco inventory. The result is a lively, sweet-and-spicy smoke redolent of candied orange peel, nuts and gingersnap cookies. See full tasting note.

Ashton Virgin Sun Grown Enchantment

Ashton Virgin Sun Grown Enchantment (94 points, $14.75)
Introduced in 1999, the Virgin Sun Grown line was one of the most full-bodied cigars on the market with its dark, oily Ecuador Sumatra cover leaf. The market has since shifted toward stronger cigars, and the line has grown to 12 sizes, but they all still pack a punch, especially this short perfecto, which is full of leather, nutmeg and walnut notes with a black peppercorn spiciness and a raisin finish. See full tasting note.

Bolivar Royal Corona (Tubo)

Bolivar Royal Corona (Tubo) (94 points, £30.30)
It might seem in the shadow of bigger brands like Cohiba or Montecristo, but Bolivar has long been a favorite of smokers who prefer their Cubans on the stronger side. The Royal Corona size was Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year back in 2006 and is still an impressive smoke—earthy and toasty with notes of cedar, vanilla and flint. The cigars we tested came in glossy, pull-top style tubosSee full tasting note.

E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Confidant

E.P. Carrillo Allegiance Confidant (94 points, $13.10)
The Allegiance brand is a bit unusual as it’s intended to be made by others in the spirit of collaboration. Instead of being rolled at brand owner Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza factory, it is produced at Oliva Cigar Co.’s factory in Nicaragua. The company stated they plan to release more versions of Allegiance in the future which will be made by other factories. Until then, light up the Confidant, a sweet-and-spicy smoke that leaves impressions of nutmeg and cinnamon before a peppery finish. See full tasting note.

La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull

La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull (93 points, $17.90)
It impressed us in 2016 when it was named Cigar of the Year, and it still impresses us today. With a tapered head and bulging, beveled foot, this 6 1/2 by 64 figurado owes its unusual size to an old cigar mold brand owner Litto Gomez found in Belgium. The Andalusian Bull’s name and packaging are both a tribute to Spain, Gomez’s place of birth, and the country’s rich tradition of bullfighting. While the smoke is quite strong, there are balancing notes of honeyed wood, white chocolate and buttered toast to give its brawn plenty of finesse. See full tasting note.

Ozgener Family Cigars Bosphorus B52

Ozgener Family Cigars Bosphorus B52 (93 points, $12.75)
Last year Tim Ozgener, who once owned and operated the CAO brand, returned to the cigar world with Bosphorus, his first blend in 12 years. Originally rolled at Tabacalera Pichardo in Nicaragua, production was moved to Tabacalera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic shortly after with a slightly tweaked blend (the Ecuador Sumatra wrapper was changed to Ecuador Habana 2000). Part of the proceeds from the Bosphorus line go towards the Turkish Philanthropy Funds to provide aid to victims of the earthquake that devastated Turkey (the location of the Bosphorus Strait the line is named after) and Syria earlier this year. See full tasting note.

Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill

Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill (93 points, £30.20)
While the Cuban Romeo y Julieta brand is well-known for the large cigar favored by Winston Churchill, worldwide distributor Habanos S.A. decided in 2006 it was time to release the blend in a shorter, slightly fatter size. Measuring 4 7/8 by 50, this robusto is medium-bodied and floral at the start but it takes on warmer notes of toasted almond and a bit of cashew with a delicious milk chocolate finish. See full tasting note.

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