Summer is in full swing, the days are long, the weather’s warm and it’s the perfect time to break out the cigars. This season, we’ve combed through the March/April issue of Cigar Aficionado to steer you toward a dozen smokes you really should be smoking. These 12 cigars rated 92 to 94 points in our blind tastings—outstanding on our 100-point scale. The list consists of diverse blends presented in all shapes and sizes from all the world’s major cigar-producing countries. There are even a few former Cigars of the Year showing that they can still perform at a consistently excellent level.
Bolivar Royal Corona (Tubo) (94 points, £27)
Though perhaps not as popular as other Cuban brands such as Cohiba or Montecristo, Bolivar is well-known among those Cuban cigar fans looking for a more full-bodied cigar. This particular size was even the Cigar of the Year for 2006, so it’s no surprise that it scored so well. It’s a rich smoke full of nutmeg, oak, tropical fruit and hickory notes that coalesce before a cappuccino-like finish. See full tasting note.
Casa Magna Colorado Robusto (94 points, $8.90)
Another former Cigar of the Year, the Casa Magna Colorado is made in Nicaragua by the Plasencias for Quesada Cigars. This Nicaraguan puro layers the palate with notes of dark chocolate, crushed red pepper and wood that takes on the quality of a bitter aperitif before the long finish. Its relatively low price tag makes it as much a bargain today as when it was introduced in 2008. See full tasting note.
Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Principe (94 points, $11.60)
Since Cigar Aficionado first started publishing ratings, Padrón’s 1964 Anniversary Series line has been a consistent high performer, and this fairly small, box-pressed robusto is no exception, as it produces a rich mixture of coffee, chocolate and tangy wood. It smokes like a cigar that’s twice its size. See full tasting note.
Por Larrañaga Galanes (94 points, £22.50)
The Por Larrañaga Galanes is a recent newcomer to the Cuban cigar world, released last year, making it the first new size added to the Por Larrañaga brand since 2015. While Cuban cigars share many of the same dimensions across the size chart, the Galanes measures 4 3/4 inches by 52 ring gauge, a unique robusto not seen anywhere else in Cuba’s entire brand portfolio. It is excellently constructed with even combustion and draw, and full of refinement. See full tasting note.
Arturo Fuente Hemingway Work of Art (93 points, $10.75)
In the 1980s, figurados weren’t particularly popular, but in 1983 Carlos Fuente Jr. found some old figurado and perfecto cigar molds in Ybor City and took them back to the Dominican Republic. Shortly after, the Hemingway line was born. The brand consists entirely of tapered, shapely smokes that are made with Dominican binders and fillers wrapped in a toothy leaf of Cameroon tobacco. The Work of Art size burns and draws evenly with a creamy, sweet smoke before a woody finish. See full tasting note.
Camacho Corojo Figurado (93 points, $9.80)
Davidoff of Geneva acquired the Camacho cigar brand in 2008 from the Eiroa family and the various lines are now color-coded with bold fonts to distinguish each blend. The Corojo line, which has bright red packaging, gets its name from its reddish wrapper. Corojo is a Cuban-seed varietal now grown in other countries, in this case, Honduras. It’s the defining tobacco of this cigar, which delivers impressions of German chocolate cake, orange peel, licorice and wood. See full tasting note.
E.P. Carrillo Pledge Apogee (93 points, $15)
Measuring a hefty 6 1/4 by 58, the Apogee size is the big sister to 2020’s Cigar of the Year, the Pledge Prequel. Made by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo at his Tabacalera La Alianza factory in the Dominican Republic, the Apogee is rolled with a Connecticut Habano wrapper, Ecuadoran binder and Nicaraguan filler. It’s a bold, medium-to full-bodied smoke loaded with hickory and black pepper but sweeter elements of marshmallow and vanilla give it balance. See full tasting note.
My Father Le Bijou 1922 Churchill (93 points, $12.90)
At 7 by 50, this Churchill is the longest cigar on the list, making it a great choice for long summer evenings. The all-Nicaraguan Le Bijou 1922 line is an offshoot of the original My Father, and was created in tribute to brand owner Jose “Pepín” Garcia’s father (1922 is the year he was born). It’s medium-to-full in body with intonations of butterscotch, leather, chocolate and spice. See full tasting note.
Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch No. 7 (92 points, $23.20)
Made in the Dominican Republic, La Flor Dominicana cigars are known for power and this limited-edition toro certainly delivers with a rich, hearty tobacco character. The bold blend consists entirely of Dominican tobaccos grown by Litto Gomez on his La Canela farm. The dark, oily wrapper is Pelo d’Oro, a tobacco type that’s difficult to grow difficult to grow and susceptible to disease but prized for its flavor. See full tasting note.
JFR Lunatic Torch Imagine (92 points, $9.50)
Did you ever wonder how much the wrapper affects the taste of your cigar? This unusual, all-Nicaraguan toro from Aganorsa Leaf can show you. Approximately one inch of exposed binder and filler extends past the wrapper to create a shaggy foot. True to the cigar’s name, the exposed tobaccos take to flame well, giving off a spicy and herbal smoke but it turns nutty and sweet once the cover leaf comes into play. See full tasting note.
La Gloria Cubana Glorias (92 points, $7.29)
Retailing for a little over $7, this corona is the most affordable smoke on this list. It’s made in the Dominican Republic at El Credito, a rolling gallery located within the General Cigar Dominicana factory that’s dedicated entirely to the La Gloria Cubana brand. Notes of nuts and fresh tobacco frame the earthy core. See full tasting note.
Liberation by Hamlet Toro (92 points, $12.90)
Another shaggy-footed cigar scores well, showing just how much influence a wrapper can have on the taste of the blend. Made with a 109-style belicoso head, Liberation by Hamlet is the third collaboration between Hamlet Paredes, a former cigar roller from Cuba, and Rocky Patel. It’s a big cigar at 6 1/2 by 55, and produces a sweet-and-spicy, earthy smoke as a result of its Ecuador Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. See full tasting note.