Check out our brand new list of The 10 Best Cigars of 2017!
When it comes to choosing a great cigar, you have a lot of different options.
When it comes to finding the best cigar, you end up with a lot of different opinions.
For this reason, I chose to do our list of the “Best Cigars Of 2016” a little differently than most.
I chose 10 cigar manufacturers that are currently putting out what I believe to be the best quality cigars. From there, I selected my favorite cigar from each.
Did great manufacturers get snubbed from this list? Probably so. But every cigar on this list is certainly worth it’s top 10 position.
Also, keep in mind that this list is in no particular order.
So without further ado, here are the 10 best cigars of 2016:
1.) My Father
About My Father:
The founder of ‘My Father,’ Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia, got his start in Cuba’s cigar world at the mere age of 11. He spent 30 years in Cuba perfecting his cigar rolling skills before immigrating to Nicaragua in 2001.
Garcia was eventually named “America’s Hottest Cigar Maker” by Cigar Aficionado in 2008.
Just a year later, in 2009, My Father Cigars officially opened in Nicaragua with a seven-acre complex. This new factory enabled the tobacco to be harvested, packaged and shipped by the Garcia family.
My Favorite My Father Cigar:
Also known as the Don Pepin Garcia Blue. In my opinion, this is the most cubanisque cigar available on the US market.
It’s very full-bodied with rich earthy coffee and mixed nut notes. There are lots of enjoyable leathery tobacco spices that build up in the back of your mouth. Throughout the smoking experience, you’ll also find enjoyable notes of slightly sweet cocoa.
2.) Aging Room
About Aging Room:
These cigars have been created by the Aging Room owner Rafael Nodal since the end of 2010. They started off with just the Swag Puro Dominicano and the Aging Room Small Batch M356, but have now expanded to 14 different cigars. They only make cigars in very small quantities, from only the finest of tobaccos.
The best way to describe their cigar-making philosophy is to use a quote from Nodal himself:
“We are not producing cigars for everyone. We are introducing new blends for educated consumers that are looking for cigars with complexity and character.”
My Favorite Aging Room Cigar:
No, that’s not the name of a luxury sports car…it’s the name of a luxury cigar.
You’ll find this cigar on many top 25 lists, oftentimes beating out Cubans. The flavors are very, very bold, but in the best way. Tons of earth, tons of chocolate, and tons of coffee, all balanced out by the finest Dominican tobacco spices.
3.) Drew Estate
About Drew Estate:
Drew Estate Cigars is a true American success story. It started out with two frat brothers, Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel, living in New York, eager to start a unique premium cigar brand.
At one point, all they had was a 16 square foot cigar retail kiosk in the World Trade Center in NYC.
Fast forward to 2016, where they now have a state-of-the-art 175,000 sq/ft factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
There was a time when everyone thought the quality of their cigars would plummet, thanks to Swisher International purchasing Drew Estate in 2014. However, the brand has stayed true to its roots, and continues to produce the finest premium cigars.
My Favorite Drew Estate Cigar:
The first thing you notice about this cigar is its beauty. Everything about it looks simply amazing. The box it comes in, the band wrapped around it, and most importantly, the dark Oscuro wrapper.
Only the best cigar rollers in Esteli are used to roll the No. 9’s to ensure they’re all perfectly constructed. For this reason, these cigars are not mass produced.
This cigar is very rich and meaty, with prominent notes of toast, coffee and smooth milk chocolate. The finish has a very earthy sweet taste to it that will keep you coming back for more.
Viaje is a small boutique cigar company based out of Los Angeles, CA. How crazy is that? They specialize in making cigars in very small batches.
The President of Viaje, Andre Farkas says: “If you enjoy mass produced cigars, you are in the wrong place. We use tobacco sparingly to execute our vision of what a cigar should look and taste like.”
That’s probably a little pretentious, but after all, they are based out of L.A. (I’m kidding!) At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is the quality, and these cigars are definitely high quality.
My Favorite Viaje Cigar:
Yes, this cigar is literally made to look like a candy cane and it’s only released around the holidays every year.
These are very complex cigars. No two puffs taste exactly the same, and I mean that in a good way.
You’ll find notes of wood, leather, dry earth, espresso, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, various tobacco spices and even some sweet milk chocolate. As you can imagine, it’s an incredibly fun cigar to smoke!
Tatuaje Cigars started thanks to a man named Pete Johnson, who was born and raised in Maine, which isn’t exactly the cigar capital of the world.
Johnson fell in love with cigars and decided that he wanted to start his own brand. Through some industry contacts, he was able to meet Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia (from My Father), who created a cigar for him.
Johnson describes the meeting this way:
We started a conversation about what he knew about Cuba, where he was from and that turned into me going to get a Cuban cigar out of my stash that I knew was smoking good at the time. He looked at me and he said, “You want one like this?” I said, “Do what you do best.” He rolled him a cigar right there that turned out to be exactly what Johnson was looking for.
The rest is history.
My Favorite Tatuaje Cigar:
I’ll be first the admit that the Reserva line from Tatuaje is confusing. I’m honestly not quite sure how the Reserva line varies from cigar to cigar. Luckily, I don’t have to know…I just get to enjoy them!
Of all of the Tatuaje cigars, I certainly enjoy the 7th Reserva the most.
The 7th has lots of peppery spice that fades before it becomes overpowering. Very enjoyable notes of creamy coffee and wood. Leather and sweet chocolate make their way into the mix, as well, for what turns out to be a perfectly balanced treat.
Warped cigars was started by Kyle Gellis back in 2009. Gellis fell in love with cigars during his childhood, when his father would let him choose, cut and light his cigar everyday after he got home from work.
Their cigars are manufactured in Miami, Florida in the traditional Cuban-style fashion.
One thing you’ll notice is that Warped is more than just a cigar brand, they’re also a lifestyle. They sell bracelets, t-shirts, and premium cigar cases that start at $139.00.
My Favorite Warped Cigar:
This cigar has a very unique look to it. I mean, when was the last time you saw a cigar with a cartoon bear on the band? But for some reason, it’s immediately intriguing!
This cigar sources tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Ecuador to give you the amazing taste of leather, pepper and chocolate, with a sweet finish. The flavors in this cigar are very bold, yet it’s incredibly smooth and easy to smoke.
Everything about this cigar is very unique. It’s definitely a must try!
7.) Crowned Heads
About Crowned Heads:
You’re probably familiar with the cigar brand CAO that has been around for quite some time. CAO was acquired in 2010 by the Scandinavian Tobacco Group, which caused some of the CAO employees to jump ship. Two of those employees were Jon Huber and Mike Conder, who left to start Crowned Heads.
Crowned Heads considers themselves to be a premium cigar company, committed to producing cigars of artisanal quality that are defined by a combination of excellent flavor, balance and consistency.
From my experience with their cigars, I must say that I completely agree.
My Favorite Crowned Heads Cigar:
Crowned Heads seems to have built all of their cigar lines around musical references.
The Jericho Hill was inspired by a Johnny Cash rendition of “Cocaine Blues,” which tells the story of a man who gets captured in Mexico by a sheriff from Jericho Hill.
But here is the part that really matters. In the cigar you’ll discover well-defined wood notes that meet a blend of sweet and spicy tobaccos, reminiscent of molasses. Other enjoyable tastes of leather, coffee, and even citrus make their way into the mix throughout the experience.
8.) Arturo Fuente
About Arturo Fuente:
Arturo Fuente Cigars was actually first founded back in 1912 in Tampa, Florida by Arturo Fuente Sr. Unfortunately the Fuente facility suffered a catastrophic fire in 1924, which caused the brand to close for 22 years.
In 1946, the brand came back on a very limited, local basis. The biggest changes came in 1958, when Arturo’s son Carlos took over ownership. The brand has been steadily growing ever since.
My Favorite Arturo Fuente Cigar:
Arturo Fuente puts out A LOT of cigars! It’s hard to try them all, it’s hard to keep track of them all and it’s really hard to even locate them all. But if and when you have the chance, you need to try the No. 77 Shark.
If you’re someone that enjoys taking notes on cigar flavor profiles, make sure you have plenty of paper handy for this one. It’s very, very complex.
Unsweetened chocolate, toasted nuts, wood, and of all things, cognac and spiced rum. You get some slightly sweet tobacco spices on the finish, as well. It’s truly like no other cigar I’ve ever tried before. If you’re a true cigar hobbyist, you absolutely need to get your hands on a few of these.
9.) Sam Leccia
About Sam Leccia:
Sam Leccia Cigars is a cigar startup story like no other. Sam Leccia was working in the liquor industry before he came across the art of cigar making while on a trip to Honduras. When he returned home, he started to create his own tobacco blends in his garage.
He mixed, he matched, and most importantly, he learned how to make a great cigar.
Thanks to Sam’s passion and dedication, we now get to smoke his amazing finished products.
My Favorite Sam Leccia Cigar:
This is one of those brands where it’s very hard to choose a “favorite.” Leccia only puts out 4 cigars and they’re all awesome!
I do think that the Black is the best, however, it’s by a very small margin. You simply can’t go wrong with any of their cigars.
This cigar is made with the dark fire cured tobacco that gives it a very unique smokey flavor. There is a very nice blend of wood, hay, pepper, sweetness, and leather notes.
Unlike most cigars on this list, I would actually consider this to be closer to medium-bodied than full-bodied. These specific tastes, paired with the medium body, creates a very unique smoking experience that’s very enjoyable.
Illusione cigars was created by Dion Giolito back in 2005. Dion decided that he wanted to “do the opposite from everyone else in the industry.” Some people even credit Illusione with being the first to blend a cigar that was full in flavor, but medium in strength.
Illusione certainly dances to the beat of their own drum, if nothing else. Just take a look at their website. It’s hard on the eyes, looks flat- out crazy, is hard to navigate…and I simply love it!
My Favorite Illusione Cigar:
This cigar was named the #6 cigar of 2015 by Cigar Aficionado with a score of 94 points.
Sticking to their goal of being opposite of everyone else in the industry, this cigar comes with reddish Colorado habano wrapper. The insides are solely made up of of Corojo 99 and Criollo 98 tobaccos.
This results in tastes of roasted coffee notes blended with milk chocolate, leather, and black pepper in the background. At times you get these very earthy notes that can only be related to tea. There is a sweetness that is present through the cigar that is very reminiscent of mixed fruit.
Honestly, that description just doesn’t do it justice. You need to smoke this cigar to really understand what it’s all about.
You’ll be very glad you did!
If you have the chance to smoke ANY of the cigars on this list, I highly suggest you jump at the opportunity.
Remember, in the world of cigars, the term ‘best’ is often very subjective. After all, isn’t that what makes smoking cigars so much fun?
So, who did I leave off this list?
What are your best cigars of 2016?
Or better yet, what are your favorite cigars from these brands? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I reply to all of them!