With all of the Fourth of July celebrations taking place this weekend, meat will be grilled, drinks will be poured and patriotic spirit will run high. What better way to cap off America’s 245th year of independence than with a fine cigar? Better yet, how about one that has performed well in one of our blind taste tests, and has a solid link to the United States, perhaps even a piece of it on the inside?
As we approach the most iconic American holiday, we at Cigar Aficionado have combed through our ratings to bring you 10 highly rated cigars, each of them ideally suited for smoking on Independence Day.
Herrera Esteli Miami Short Corona Gorda (U.S.A., 92 points, $9.80)
When this American-made offshoot of Drew Estate’s Herrera Esteli brand came out in 2016, it was a limited-edition available in just this one size. Back then, it was called the Corona, but today (after being made into a full-production brand, and being joined by more sizes) it’s known as the Short Corona Gorda. No matter what you call it, it’s a fine cigar, one of Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 cigars of 2020. Rolled with a reddish wrapper from Ecuador, blended by Willy Herrera and made at the El Titán de Bronze factory in Miami, this cigar burns evenly with a smoke that loads the palate with cedar, nuts and assorted spices. See full tasting note.
Tatuaje Reserva K222 (U.S.A., 92 points, $14)
The Tatuaje brand was born in the United States, and while most Tatuajes are now rolled in Nicaragua, a precious few have kept their American roots. One of them is the Tatuaje Reserva K222. Made at the El Rey de los Habanos factory in Miami, which is owned by the Garcia family, the K222 measures 5 7/8 by 52 and is rolled with a dark and oily wrapper from Ecuador with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. It’s a hearty smoke, medium to full in body, layered with molasses, red pepper, coffee bean and caramel before a cappuccino finish. See full tasting note.
Cohiba Serie M Toro (U.S.A., 91 points, $29.99)
The Cohiba brand just might be the most famous name in cigars. Born in Cuba, a version for the U.S. market has been made by General Cigar, first in the Dominican Republic, then in Central America. Earlier this year, General commissioned the first American-made Cohibas to be rolled at Miami’s El Titán de Bronze factory. There’s only one size, but it’s a tasty (and attractive) one, made with a flag cap, Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper, two Nicaraguan binders and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. The 6 by 52 toro is limited to a production of only 5,000 boxes.
E.P. Carrillo Pledge Sojourn (Dominican Republic, 91 points, $12)
The big sister size to Cigar Aficionado’s No. 1 Cigar of 2020, the E.P. Carrillo Pledge Sojourn is made with the same blend, but in a larger format. The wrapper is a dark and oily leaf from America known as Connecticut Habano, which cigarmaker Ernesto Perez-Carrillo says is difficult to obtain. It’s fairly strong, a box-pressed cigar with a luxurious draw that produces a rich and chewy smoke full of earth, spices, nuts and cedar before a finish hinting of black cherry. See full tasting note.
La Palina Goldie Laguito No. 6 (U.S.A., 91 points, $23)
The La Palina Goldie is rolled in the United States, an annual release from Miami’s El Titán de Bronze factory in Miami, with a different size created each year. The November 2020 version saw the Goldie rolled out in its heftiest dimensions yet: a 6 1/2 by 56 Laguito No. 6. Topped with a flag-style cap and Ecuador Habano wrapper, this beautifully constructed toro is fairly easygoing, with a medium body, an open draw and superb combustion. The palate is a mix of fruit, brown sugar and an underlying woody character leading to an herbal finish. See full tasting note.
Alec Bradley American Classic Blend Torpedo (Nicaragua, 90 points, $6.85)
Though this is the only cigar on the list to not feature any tobacco from the United States or to be rolled in America, it is still American in spirit. Alec Bradley owner Alan Rubin created the American Classic Blend line as a tribute to the cigars made in Tampa before the days of the Cuban embargo. His attempt to capture the flavors of that bygone era resulted in a mild to medium body, and with a price of less than $7 (making this the most affordable smoke on this list) this cigar should appeal to smokers everywhere. See full tasting note.
CAO Flathead V642 Piston (Nicaragua, 90 points, $8.49)
Inspired by the American culture of drag-racing hot rods and pin-up girls, the CAO Flathead brand features dark, box-pressed cigars with flat heads designed to resemble the engine blocks of a classic car. American inside and out, this lonsdale's wrapper and binder are both grown in Connecticut. It delivers a full-bodied smoke loaded with dark chocolate, coffee bean and some red pepper. See full tasting note.
Montecristo Classic Especial No. 3 (Dominican Republic, 90 points, $11.68)
Rolled with a golden-brown Connecticut Shade wrapper grown in the Connecticut River Valley, this smaller smoke from Altadis U.S.A. has an even draw and burn. The slender cigar is medium in body, full of toasty and woody impressions along with a strong taste of almonds. See full tasting note.
Brick House Double Connecticut Churchill (Nicaragua, 89 points, $7.40)
The two best-known premium tobaccos grown in the United States are Connecticut Shade and Connecticut broadleaf—this cigar combines both of them. It’s rolled with a shade wrapper and a broadleaf binder from the Nutmeg State, one of America’s original 13 colonies. At 7 1/4 by 50 ring gauge, this is the largest cigar on this list and one of the most affordable, so you get your money’s worth smoking this through the day. It’s a toasty, fairly mild smoke layered with notes of almond and peanut. See full tasting note.
The American Toro (U.S.A., 89 points, $18.50)
If your motto is “Always buy American,” then this is the cigar for you. Rolled at J.C. Newman’s El Reloj factory in Tampa, Florida, everything in this cigar is proud to call itself all-American, from its Florida-grown wrapper to the Connecticut broadleaf binder to the mix of filler tobaccos from Connecticut and Pennsylvania. See full tasting note.