Happy Inauguration Day. As we transition out of one presidency and into the next, it’s only fitting that we recognize a milestone that was set by the previous Commander in Chief. And while some of us may not agree with his administration’s policies as a whole over the years, there is one aspect that we feel all cigar smokers can agree on. That is lifting the embargo which previously banned unlimited personal consumption of Cuban cigars and rum.
It was behind this veil of secrecy that Americans fell in love with the allure of Cuban cigars. Smoking them in secret, lighting up in protest, or as a way to display status among close inner circles of friends. From Cohiba’s, Castro’s favorite blend, to renowned rolls such as Ramon Allones, smoking a Cuban cigar today on American soil no longer represents dissonance, but rather a softening of relations between the US and one of our closest neighbors. So whether you’re heading to the island nation here in the short term or happen to find a vendor of your own here in the states, here’s a list of the ten best Cuban cigars available today that we recommend to both the seasoned smoker and beginners who are still learning how to smoke a cigar. Cheers.
JR Cuban Alternative
Often hailed as the closest thing you’ll find to a true Havana, each JR Cuban features a length of 7 inches and a ring gauge of 48 in a standard Parejo shape. It’s a medium to full strength cigar you can purchase just about anywhere in the US thanks to its ‘alternative’ Cuban nature. So if you’re looking for something extremely close to a Cuban, without the worry of having to travel there first, the offerings from JR Cuban are ideal.
H. Upmann Half Corona
As a half Corona with a ring gauge of 44 and a length of only 3.5 inches, this short and stocky stogie can burn in under 40 minutes making it ideal for a full flavored yet short smoke if you happen to be pressed for time. Through the burn smokers will enjoy notes of cedar and spice, specifically a peppery spice that builds up during the smooth burn this cigar offers those fortunate enough to experience it for themselves.
Juan Lopez Selección No. 1
In the world of Cuban cigars, Juan Lopez delivers the goods in many ways. Shape-wise it’s a Corona Gorda with a ring gauge of 46 and length of 5.6 inches. The Selecction No. 1 is also a medium strength offering, featuring a dark and oily wrapper imparting aromas of chocolate, coffee, and earth upon first light. Pair it with a cup of Cuban coffee, or a relaxing dram of Cuban rum on a summer’s night.
Portages Serie D No. 4
Touted as one of the best cigars in the world, this Robusto shape boasts a woody taste through the burn, a ring gauge of 50, and a short length of 4 7/8 inches. However, it’s short stature is made up through the No 4s full strength tobacco and a smoke full of herbal aromas, followed by a nutty, leathery and earthy finale towards the end. It does get a bit stronger toward the end as well, lending itself as a cigar ideal for the more seasoned smoker.
Montecristo No. 2
Boasting a torpedo shape and ring gauge of 52, this medium to full strength cigar offering is known for its spicy flavor. As far as the burn is considered, the Montecristo No. 2 features a nice draw, an absence of any hot spots and burns quite well and evenly. Age them a month at a time in a humidor and witnesses subtle differences in the tobacco over time, or simply smoke them amongst friends. Either way, you’re in for an enjoyable smoke.
Bolivar Coronas Gigantes
A Churchill in every sense of the word, this spicy offering measures in with a ring gauge of 47 and a length of 7-inches; a full-bodied offering for the cigar fan indeed. It imparts a multitude of flavors to the discerning palate. Notes of leather and earth are wholeheartedly present here, though the cigar’s full-bodied nature should not serve as an indication of its nicotine content. It is, in fact, an easy-going cigar, ideal for after dinner enjoyment on a balmy evening.
Ramon Allones Sur
Well known across the world of cigars as one of the absolute best, this Corona Gorda boasts a ring gauge of 52, a length of 5 1/2 inches and a medium body for the experienced smoker. Those fortunate enough will enjoy salty and floral notes to start things off that slowly develop into those classic earthy and toasty notes that make Cuban cigars so sought after. Everything finishes up with a nice nutty flavor that works exceptionally well with a choice bourbon or scotch. Now all you need is the library to go along with it.
Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona
As an ideal offering for those looking to seriously unwind after a day’s work, this Double Corona, with a ring gauge of 49 and a length of just under 8 inches, is more on the light to medium side of things yet features a spicy taste fans of any Cuban cigar will find enjoyable. The Hoyo De Monterrey offers creamy smoke notes of crushed cocoa, leather, and coffee for a well-rounded Cuban that keeps on giving over the course of its slow burn.
One of Castro’s favorite brands, you’re certainly in for a treat with this Long Panetela shaped Cohiba. It’s a long and thin roll, boasting a ring gauge of 38 and a length of 7-inches. The strength of the tobacco ranges from medium to full, and the flavor imparts a notable spice on the palate. They’re smooth, slow burning and guaranteed to serve as a celebratory piece for just about any occasion.
Yet another offering from the former Cuban leader’s favorite cigar brand, this Churchill shape Cohiba features a ring gauge of 47, a length of seven inches and is medium to full strength. Perfect for the seasoned smoker. The flavor is mostly spicy, mixed with peppery notes and a finish that’s delicious to say the least.