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13 Highly-Rated Cigars To Smoke Now

Aug 23, 2021 | By Chris Esposito
13 Highly-Rated Cigars To Smoke Now
From left to right: Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series No. 4 Maduro, Ashton Heritage Puro Sol Churchill, Sancho Panza Belicoso, Undercrown Sun Grown Belicoso and Joya Silver Robusto.

All summer long, we’ve been smoking our fair share of premium, handmade cigars. Out of the whole lot, there was an abundance of cigars that impressed our expert panel of smokers. Here are 13 cigars that stood out the most in our June issue of Cigar Aficionado, all of which scored 92 points or higher—and range from less than $7 to more than 30 euros ($35). Get the most of what’s left of the season by making your way down (or up) this list and having a great smoke.

Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series No. 4 Maduro (Nicaragua, 94 Points): The big and blocky No. 4 is a box-pressed smoke packed with Padrón’s distinctively reliable Nicaraguan tobacco. Wrapped in a dark, maduro wrapper, the medium- to full-bodied smoke shows a strong core of coffee, crushed black peppercorns and earth, with a chocolatey richness that rounds out the flavors. See full tasting note.

Ashton Heritage Puro Sol Churchill (Dominican Republic, 94 Points): Crafted by the Fuente family for Ashton Distributors, the Heritage Puro Sol Churchill is made entirely of sun-grown tobaccos, fitting as the name “Puro Sol” translates to “pure sun.” Hickory, walnut and leather hit the palate with a smoky backdrop of Islay Scotch and a hint of spiciness. The cigar is no stranger to high ratings, as it’s been named to the Cigar Aficionado Top 10 twice, with the Robusto and Corona Gorda sizes, in 2008 and 2005 respectively. See full tasting note.

Sancho Panza Belicoso (Cuba, 94 Points): It’s not as well-known as other Cuban brands like Cohiba or Montecristo, but Sancho Panza struck gold with this well-made belicoso that exhibits intense flavors. An assertive leathery character leads the way with notes of dried fruit, nutmeg and coffee coming through as well. A floral note also shows itself along with a spicy hint of black pepper. See full tasting note.

Alec Bradley

Montecristo 1935 Anniversary Nicaragua No. 2 (Nicaragua, 93 Points): This all-Nicaraguan torpedo is box-pressed and covered in a gorgeous, dark-brown wrapper that hints at its full strength. A plethora of flavors come to the surface after it’s lit, including earth, leather and red pepper. The finish is full of coconut, malted milk and wood notes. It’s a complex cigar suitable for celebrating the birth of MontecristoSee full tasting note.

Undercrown Sun Grown Belicoso (Nicaragua, 93 Points): Drew Estate released the Sun Grown series in 2017 with an Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, which is grown without the aid of shade in the cloudy foothills of the Andes mountains in Ecuador. Master blender Willy Herrera also added a stalk-cut binder from the Connecticut River Valley and filler from Nicaragua to complete this blend. Altogether, the belicoso brings an intriguing nuttiness that ranges from raw almonds to dense, sweet marzipan. At just $9.50, it’s also a relatively sweet deal. See full tasting note.

Joya Silver Robusto (Nicaragua, 92 Points): A definitive layer of crème brûlée adds sweet elegance to this softly pressed robusto. Msde at the Joya de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, the 5-inch-by-50-ring gauge cigar features an Ecuadoran wrapper, Mexican binder and filler from Nicaragua. At only $7.25, it’s also an exceptional deal.See full tasting note.

Alec Bradley

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Robusto (Dominican Republic, 92 Points): Although Fuente is known for its roots in the Dominican Republic, the hallmark of this cigar is its toothy wrapper, grown in the west African nation of Cameroon by the Meerapfel family. Filled with Fuente’s signature Dominican tobaccos, the cigar has an undeniable citrus tang, and also shows notes of tea, honey and wood alongside bit of raisin and herbal botanicals. There’s a reason this smoke has been in demand for decades. See full tasting note.

My Father The Judge Grand Robusto (Nicaragua, 92 Points): Chocoholics and aficionados alike will love this chunky cigar, which looks like a chocolate bar and tastes like one too. The No. 7 Cigar of 2017, The Judge Grand Robusto delivers a sweet, rich smoke that calls to mind chocolate, caramel and peanuts. A delectable treat, it also features piquant hints of red pepper flake spice on the finish. See full tasting note.

Alec Bradley

OneOff Corona Gorda (Nicaragua, 92 Points): Illusione owner Dion Giolito has impressed with a number of unique cigars that have made the Cigar Aficionado Top 10. Banded with an eye-catching peace sign, the OneOff is toasty and nutty, leaving precise impressions of pecans and nutmeg, nicely detailed with hints of clove and black cherry. See full tasting note.

Trinidad Topes (Cuba, 92 Points): Solidly rolled with the Cuban brand’s trademark pigtail cap, the short and fat Topes burns slow and cool, steadily imparting an oaky smoke with prominent notes of almond and German chocolate cake. Although it’s expensive for its size at £33.40, the 92-point-score can justify the purchase of this medium- to full-bodied smoke. See full tasting note.

Alec Bradley

Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Churchill (Honduras, 92 Points): The Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 series has made the Cigar Aficionado Top 25 list twice (in both 2004 and 2006). Long and box-pressed, the Churchill showcases notes of mint and licorice which warm to show leather, toast and espresso. The sweet finish smacks of cocoa powder and almonds. See full tasting note.

Partagás Serie D No. 6 (Cuba, 92 Points): Sometimes great things come in small packages. Such is the case with the Serie D No. 6, which measures a mere 3 1/2 inches long. Though it’s short, the 50-ring-gauge smoke carries a medium to full body and plenty of flavors like peach, walnut and wood. See full tasting note.

Alec Bradley

Nat Cicco Aniversario 1965 Liga No. 4 Toro (Nicaragua, 92 Points): The Churchill size of this same blend was the No. 18 cigar of 2018, so this Nat Cicco is no stranger to top lists. Driven by a bold cocoa-powder core, the squarely-pressed, pigtailed toro offers notes of toast, leather and black pepper before a sweet-and-nutty caramel finish. Retailing for less than $7, this cigar is probably the best deal on this list. See full tasting note.

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