Our June 2017 Cigar Aficionado tasting, now available to view on our website, shows how well non-Cuban cigars can stand toe-to-toe with smokes from Havana. Each of the top-scoring cigars are made outside of Cuba, while 13 other non-Cuban cigars rated 91 points or higher by our panel of editors. In comparison, only two Cuban cigars reached the 91-point mark.
In total, 80 cigars were tasted by our panel of editors, who consider four different categories as they determine a cigar's rating: Appearance and structure counts for a maximum of 15 points; flavor and smoking characteristics (quality of draw, texture of smoke, etc.) count for 25 points each; and the remaining 35 points are allotted to the overall impression, or level of enjoyment, of the cigar.
Ashton Heritage Puro Sol Belicoso No. 2 (Dominican Republic, 93 points) The only Ashton made with a Cameroon wrapper, Puro Sol uses Dominican tobaccos for its binder and filler and is rolled by the Fuente family in the Dominican Republic. The Belicoso No. 2 is a tidy size that is less than five inches long with a ring gauge of 49, which feels slim in the hand in this world of ever-fatter cigars. See full tasting note.
Macanudo Inspirado Orange Churchill (Honduras, 93 points) A brick-and-mortar exclusive that debuted first in Europe before hitting the U.S. market last year, Inspirado Orange is draped in a Honduran wrapper grown in the San Agustín valley of Olancho and contains a Honduran binder with filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. See full tasting note.
My Father The Judge Grand Robusto (Nicaragua, 93 points) This short, fat cigar The Judge is said to be more full bodied than the original My Father. It is rolled with a light-brown, Sumatra-seed wrapper from Ecuador, Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo binders, and filler tobaccos that were cultivated from three of the Garcia family's farms located in Nicaragua: La Bonita Two, El Pedrero and San Rafael. See full tasting note.
Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V (Nicaragua, 93 points) The Plasencia family has been growing tobacco for five generations and making brands under contract for many major third-party cigar companies, but they have never made their own major cigar brand with their name on it—until now. Alma Fuerte is a Nicaraguan puro that uses tobaccos from Nicaragua's four major growing regions: Estelí, Condega, Jalapa and Ometepe. See full tasting note.
Casa Magna Colorado Diadema (Nicaragua, 92 points) This gorgeous cigar, expertly rolled using only Nicaraguan tobaccos, earned the No. 10 spot on our Top 25 Cigars of 2011 list. A fat, long stick with a pigtail tip twisted tight against its tapered head, this Diadema has a curved bottom that needs just a bit of a clipping to get going. See full tasting note.
Guardian of the Farm Apollo Selección de Warped (Nicaragua, 92 points) A collaboration Nicaraguan puro from Warped Cigars and Casa Fernandez, the smoke is draped in a shade-grown Jalapa Corojo '99 wrapper with a Corojo '99 binder, while the filler consists of Criollo '98 and Corojo '99. See full tasting note.
Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 Toro (Dominican Republic, 92 points) The tobaccos for this limited edition, one-size only smoke were especially picked and blended by three of the company's artisans: Pedro Ventura and Nestor Rodriguez, of Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic, and Joel Alvarenga, of Flor de Copan in Honduras. See full tasting note.
Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Churchill (Nicaragua, 92 points) The darker version of Oliva's award-winning Melanio line debuted in 2013. It's made from a blend of Nicaraguan Habano grown in the country's Jalapa region, this Churchill is also wrapped in a Mexican maduro grown in the lush San Andrés Valley. See full tasting note.
Romeo y Julieta Rare 11 Years Old Toro (Honduras, 92 points) According to maker Altadis USA, the cigars that make up this line have been aging for 11 years. The cigar sports a Havana 2000 wrapper from Honduras, Honduran binder and a filler combination of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco. See full tasting note.
The Edge Maduro Missile (Honduras, 92 points) When Rocky Patel's The Edge debuted in 2004, it came in two varieties: Corojo and Maduro. The brand was an instant success, both commercially and critically, and has spawned a slew of line extensions. The Maduro version uses dark, near oscuro wrapper from Costa Rica to cover an all-Nicaraguan binder and filler. See full tasting note.
Brick House Maduro Toro (Nicaragua, 91 points) The darker version of the value-priced and highly praised Brick House brand uses dark, Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper to cover a Nicaraguan binder and filler. See full tasting note.
CLE Prieto 60x6 (Nicaragua, 91 points) The first CLE brands to be rolled in Nicaragua, this cigar wears a dark, Connecticut broadleaf wrapper that's grown under the open sunlight in the United States, covering Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. See full tasting note.
Fuente Fuente OpusX Petit Lancero (Dominican Republic, 91 points) This long, thin version of the Fuente's OpusX brand is topped by an abruptly pointy head. The smoke shows off the strength, spice and complexity that has made the brand one of the most highly coveted cigars on today's market. See full tasting note.
H. Upmann No. 2 (Cuba, 91 points) Cuba's best-kept secret may be this cigar, which shares the same dimensions as the more popular Montecristo No. 2. The H. Upmann brand has a reputation for being milder, but this piramide shows a bit more strength in an elegant package. See full tasting note.
Illusione 888 (Nicaragua, 91 points) Slightly shorter than seven inches long, this cigar is a blend of Nicaraguan Criollo '98 and Corojo '99, finished with a Corojo rosado wrapper. See full tasting note.
Montecristo Petite No. 2 (Cuba, 91 points) When this short smoke was introduced in 2013, it was the first new size to be added to the core Montecristo Línea Clásica line in a long time. The cigar shares the same, fat ring gauge of the classic Monte No. 2, but it's about an inch-and-a-half shorter at 4 3/4 inches long. See full tasting note.
Nat Sherman Panamericana Julieta (Nicaragua, 91 points) Panamericana consists of an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and filler from Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The brand is manufactured by the Plasencia family at their factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. See full tasting note.
Padrón Dámaso No. 34 (Nicaragua, 91 points) Named after company patriarch José Orlando Padrón's grandfather, who started the family tradition of growing cigar tobacco, Dámaso is draped in a Connecticut-seed Ecuadoran wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and filler. The brand, released in 2015, is Padrón's first line of mild, Connecticut cigars. See full tasting note.
Romeo Añejo by Romeo y Julieta Robusto (Dominican Republic, 91 points) True to its name (añejo is Spanish for "old" or "aged"), the Romeo Añejo features a variety of vintage tobaccos all with specific age statements. According to Altadis, the vintage blend consists of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler from 2009 aged in cedar, a Dominican Olor binder from a 2008 harvest, and a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper from 2010. See full tasting note.