24 Cigars That Prove The Best Come From Latin America
Cigars, scotch, and fine wine share one thing in common: it’s all subjective! In the case of cigars, some connoisseurs say that nothing out of Cuba could be good, although there is a good number of challengers from all across the Americas. And here is a list of some cigars worth trying right now whether or not they’re allowed to be here.
1. Opus X
A powerful and bold statement from the Fuente family, who started cigar making in the early 20th century. It was said that Dominican tobacco was good enough for filler and binder, but never for the delicate wrapper which is the only part the smoker tastes directly. The myth was dispelled with the Opus X line more than 20 years ago, with it still being one of the most sought-after smokes in the world.
Nicaragua has come into its own as a major player in the premium cigar market, and there’s no better representative than Padron. Commanding prices well in excess of $25, they had become the benchmark for anything Central American especially with their Anniversary line, the one preferred by smokers celebrating something special or simply kicking back and chilling.
Considered the personal blend for the deceased Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, the cigars really took off in the 90s when they began being mass produced for the international market. Of course, they were banned in the U.S. because of the embargo of the early 1960s. A very well-made blend, with delicate floral nuances, it is one of the most counterfeited cigars in the world.
For many years it has been the standard by which all Cuban cigars are measured. A powerful, well-balanced, torpedo, it has been enjoyed since the early part of the 20th century by smokers who favor its medium body and fuller flavor. By the way, torpedoes are cigars with a tapered tip.
This line was originally produced in Cuba until the early 90s when it shipped production over to the Dominican Republic. Some of the original Cuban Davidoffs are sold for a hefty premium at auction houses in Great Britain. The newer Dominican lines are extremely well made, mild in their body, and represent some of the best things in life.
6. Don Pepin
A Cuban émigré, Don Pepin fled the island for Spain then came to the US in the 90s where his blends became an instant hit. Cigars often reflect the personality of their Creator, and the blends made by Jose “Pepin” Garcia have become legends in a very short span of time. Worthy of trying are his Cuban Classic and My Father lines, made in Nicaragua.
7. La Flor Dominicana
Created by Litto Gomez Diez, an affable Uruguayan with a huge smile, he rocked the cigar world when he created the Ligero blends. The blend is made from the strongest leaves in the tobacco plant while still maintaining a delicate balance in the overall product. His LFD blends often times have been awarded with cigar of the year honors.
Seasoned cigar smokers snub at the mention of this venerable brand, but the truth is more than 90% of cigar smokers in the US started off with a Mac, as they’re called. It has always been one of the strongest sellers in the country with popular line extensions such as Maduro – darker wrapper leaf. This brand is known for its tasty smoothness, typical of the Dominican Republic.
9. Liga Privada
Jonathan Drew is known for creating wacky cigars with wacky, infused, flavors. But just when you thought it was all gimmicks, he creates Liga Privada No. 9, an intense powerhouse of a smoke. Using the most powerful leaves in the tobacco plant, with just the right fermentation, Jonathan surprised the cigar world with his Nicaraguan creation.
10. H. Upmann
This Cuban classic dates back to the 19th century and has been present in discerning aficionados’ humidors since way back then. One of its most popular lines is Magnum 46, a Corona Gorda size that offers a good 60 minutes of enjoyment, preferably alongside a strong drink, or maybe just even iced tea. It’s that good!
11. Oliva Serie V
A Nicaraguan work of art in the blending, the Serie V has several times been named cigar of the year by the most popular magazine in the industry. Bold, tasty and just plain wonderful, it has endured the test of time although being released only within the past 20 years. One can spend hours just gazing into the thick plumes of smoke out of this beauty.
The brainchild of Pete Johnson, a true lover of the leaf, who had a dream about creating his very own personal cigar. Almost by chance he met Don Pepin Garcia, it was a match made in heaven. Garcia blended a cigar to Johnson’s exacting standard and thus Tatuaje was born. Although it has many line extensions, each of them features the trademark power and balance.
13. Rocky Patel
Either you love them or hate them, but Rocky’s cigars are all over the place. He’s perhaps the most hard-working man in the cigar world, traveling almost nonstop throughout the country and his cigar factories in Central America to make sure you’re getting a top-notch product spanning the entire price range. Worthy of mention are his Decade lines.
Blended in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, the cigars are owned by the Levin family in the United States. Their blends used tobaccos from many different countries and are also made in different factories. One of the distinctive features of their line is the initial spice that segs into a balanced and very satisfying finish.
Stemming from the mid part of the XIX century, in Cuba, this has been one of the most revered brands of all times. Like all of the major players in the Cuban cigar world, it was also seized by the revolutionary government of Castro in the late 50s toppling its original owners. Today, it remains one of the best-selling brands in the Cuban cigar portfolio, with the Partagas Serie D#4, or PSD4 being king.
16. Alec Bradley
A true cigar lover from the U.S., Alan Rubin set out to leave his mark in the industry with his Alec Bradley product, named after his two sons. One of his blends was awarded cigar of the year honors a few years ago. He isn’t shy to declare his one and only goal as a cigar maker: to give the cigar smoker an unforgettable experience. To think, he didn’t know anything about cigars before 1996.
17. Romeo Y Julieta
Also, one of the oldest brands in the original Cuban portfolio, dating back to the mid-19th century. It is preferred all around the world and releases special editions every now and then dedicated to a specific region of the world such as Asia-Pacific, Spain and even Mexico. They’re offering spans many different sizes and levels of strength, all of them perfectly balanced.
Another Cuban gem created over 150 years ago, it has gained considerable traction in Europe, most notably in Great Britain and Germany. As is the case in many of the Cuban cigarss, they have a wide variety of sizes and taste profiles fit for almost any cigar smoker, from the typical noob that doesn’t know where to cut and light it, all the way to the most discerning aficionado.
Although it’s not one of the most commercialized products in the Cuban portfolio, well-educated smokers flock to the few remaining offerings in the Bolivar portfolio. It is considered one of the strongest exemplars of Cuban cigars, made mostly with different primings of tobacco leaves from the traditional Vuelta Abajo region in Cuba.
Despite being one of the most sold cigars in the U.S., people just can’t seem to get to grips with this brand; either it’s love or loathe, nothing in between. One of Gurkha’s most famous cigars – a cognac infused rarity – is sold for well over $1000, although most of its lines sell for around $5 to $10 a piece. No matter what, they’re worth giving a try.
Created by Jonathan Drew, mentioned previously, these cigars orbit around the biker crowd, so prominently featured in their packaging and advertising. Cigar purists would rather scoff these blends, with their aromatic botanical infusions, but they become a hit with the younger generations, always willing to try something new, something different.
22. Room 101
Innovation and pure marketing have become strongholds in the newer version of cigar brands, and none more brilliant than Room 101. Whether the name refers to the infamous L.A. road where owner Matt Booth makes his home, or the tortuous punish room in Orwell’s book, expect a good smoke, chock full of flavor and power. It has many line extensions, all good!
23. Hoyo De Monterrey
One of the oldest and most legendary brands in the Cuban portfolio, Hoyo was considered for years a milder blend, until half a century ago when the blenders began experimenting with different leaf combinations to create a bolder taste profile. One of its best sellers is the “Epicure” line extension, also featured in some special releases worldwide.
Save the best for last! One of the newer extensions of the Cohiba line, Behike was created to cater to the most discerning aficionados in 2010. It has definitely left a mark in the industry. Behike is the top of the line product of Cuban cigarmaking, with only the best rollers, or torcedores, entrusted with their production. And speaking of price, each cigar can easily be sold for 60 bucks and more, and that, if you can get your hands on one!
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