A Dozen High-Scoring Cigars To Smoke Right Now

These distinguished cigars impressed our tasting panel and are worth your attention
May 19, 2023 | By Thomas Pappalardo
A Dozen High-Scoring Cigars To Smoke Right Now

Whether you’re a fan of traditional mainstays or “new world”-style smokes blended by industry newcomers, you can find superlative quality in a variety of shapes, styles and countries of origin. We combed through our ratings to bring you a list of 12 cigars to put in your next rotation (if they aren’t there already). All of the selections on this list scored between 92 and 94 points and were taken from the January/February issue of Cigar Aficionado. Each cigar went through the magazine’s standard blind-tasting process where the identifying bands were removed so our panel of smokers knew nothing of the cigars’ brand, price point or any other information that could possibly have an effect on objectivity. 

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 2

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 2 (94 points, $14.20)
Defined by its Cameroon wrapper, the Dominican Don Carlos brand from Arturo Fuente has been notable since its release for both its consistency and performance with various sizes appearing multiple times in Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 list over the years. The No. 2 is a fat torpedo that burns slow and cool, delivering precise notes of caramel and cocoa powder which segues into a finish of fresh tobacco. See full tasting note.

Montecristo No. 2

Montecristo No. 2 (94 points, £34.20)
This pirámide is probably the most iconic, recognizable smoke in the entire premium cigar arena, and for good reason. It’s an exceptionally consistent cigar, once named Cigar of the Year, and it was especially complex in our most recent tasting of this outstanding Cuban. First puffs of almond, orange peel and dark honey turn profoundly nutty with some baked apple preceding a finish that calls to mind a glass of Sauternes. See full tasting note.

Padrón Serie 1926 No. 2

Padrón Serie 1926 No. 2 (94 points, $19.70)
The Serie 1926 is a line of box-pressed Nicaraguan puros named for the birth year of company founder, the late José Orlando Padrón, and is a bolder alternative to the company’s popular 1964 Anniversary line. Topped with a belicoso head, the No. 2 size delivers an earthy, toasty smoke redolent of chocolate-covered almonds and dried fruit that come together for a spicy finish. See full tasting note.

Partagás Serie D No. 4

Partagás Serie D No. 4 (94 points, £28.30)
It’s the most popular cigar to come out of Cuba, as Habanos produces and sells more Partagás Serie D No. 4s by volume than any other size. While there are many cigars in the Partagás letter series, the D No. 4 remains the favorite. At 4 7/8 inches by 50 ring gauge, this robusto starts with a spicy burst of horseradish that segues into a rich smoke of nuts, leather and wood culminating in a finish of warm baked apple. See full tasting note.

Olmec Claro Corona Gorda

Olmec Claro Corona Gorda (93 points, $12.50)
The Olmec brand (available in both Claro and Maduro wrappers) was created by Foundation Cigar Co.’s owner Nick Melillo as a tribute to the first major civilization in Mexico. The Olmecs once inhabited the region where the San Andrés cover leaf was grown. The Corona Gorda burns and draws quite evenly, producing ample amounts of dense, rich smoke. Its sweet and spicy character shows notes of ginger, citrus, toast and vanilla. See full tasting note.

Ashton Panetela

Ashton Panetela (92 points, $10)
Despite the trend for cigars to be fatter and stronger, there’s still a place for thinner, milder sizes. Cloaked in a Connecticut wrapper grown under shade, this panetela is on the lighter side in terms of strength but that doesn’t mean that it’s light on flavor. Every puff imparts a tangy smoke of lemon and minerals atop a rich, creamy base resulting in a pastry finish that calls to mind a lemon bar. See full tasting note.

Cohiba Siglo VI

Cohiba Siglo VI (92 points, £70.20)
Cohiba is the flagship brand of Cuba, and also one of the most expensive as Habanos positions its various Cohiba lines as luxury products. The Siglo VI is one of the thicker sizes in the Siglo Series at 52 ring gauge. It starts a little grassy but quickly warms up for a toasty, woody smoke full of cinnamon, nutmeg, licorice and baking spices. With a retail price that translates to about $87 each, the Siglo VI is also a splurge. See full tasting note.

H. Upmann Sir Winston

H. Upmann Sir Winston (92 points, £42.70)
Churchills are a less-common sight in the Habanos portfolio than they were 20 years ago, but the few that remain in production tend to score well. This 7-by-47 smoke is named after elder statesman Winston Churchill and gives us a smoke as distinguished as the man himself. The cigar begins floral and tea-like, but eventually warms up to become nutty and oaky with a finish that smacks of honey. See full tasting note.

La Gloria Cubana Classic Churchill

La Gloria Cubana Classic Churchill (92 points, $8.49)
The non-Cuban La Gloria Cubana brand got its start in Miami when it was made by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and his father at the El Credito factory. Today, it's owned by Scandinavian Tobacco Group and made in the Dominican Republic. La Gloria Cubana has many offshoots but this cigar is from the core line with an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper. Its price tag of less than $9 (before taxes), makes it the most budget-friendly option on this list. See full tasting note.

New World Dorado Figurado

New World Dorado Figurado (92 points, $12.80)
The newest off-shoot of the New World brand from A.J. Fernandez, Dorado is a tribute to his farm of the same name in Estelí, as most of the tobacco in the blend comes from this foothill plot of land, including the sun-grown, Cuban seed wrapper. According to Fernandez, the nutrient runoff from nearby mountains gives the tobacco its unique qualities. See full tasting note.

Rocky Patel Sixty Toro

Rocky Patel Sixty Toro (92 points, $18.75)
Released in 2021 to honor the 60th birthday of cigarmaker Rocky Patel, this box-pressed toro is as bold as the Mexican San Andrés wrapper suggests with a base of black coffee, dark chocolate and ground peppercorn accented by touches of earth and leather. According to the company, these cigars are aged for two years after rolling. See full tasting note.

Trinidad Coloniales

Trinidad Coloniales (92 points, £39.60)
Once a secret cigar brand only obtainable as a personal gift from Fidel Castro himself, Trinidad was eventually commercialized. In November 2003, the line was expanded with more sizes including the Coloniales, which are still made today. This pigtailed corona evokes candied pecan with hints of chocolate and spice—and you don’t have to be on a diplomatic mission to Cuba to get one. See full tasting note.

Read Next: Ten Milder Cigars That Scored 90 Points Or Higher


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