What are the best Cuban cigar brands?
2017 has been an explosive year for the Cuban cigar industry since Obama removed the limitation on importation of Cuban cigars for personal use. The U.S. is a huge market for cigars and most likely buys 100 times more than any other country. Cuban cigar companies are scrambling to produce their very best cigars to export to the U.S. You’re going to see a great selection of the finest Cuban cigars ever. It’s going to be very hard to pick one over the others.
Habanos SA continues to roll some really spectacular sticks every single year. You have to try one of them.
I’m going to list what I think are the best 5 Cuban cigar brands based on professional reviews and a good number of stogie lovers.
Bolivar Coronas Gigantes
This is not a well known Cuban cigar but wow is it incredible! It is almost a Churchill and measures 17.8 cm long with a ring gauge of 57. It’s a medium size cigar with a lovely flavor of cappuccino, cinnamon, leather, coffee and spice. A very nice blend indeed. The blend is well balanced and never overpowering. This stick blew away many aficionados after about a third of the slender stick.
Montecristo No 2
The Montecristo is the most popular Cuban cigar world wide. Nothing even comes close. The Monte No 2 is a lovely torpedo with a most flavorful and consistent note. There are no surprises from beginning to end. Nothing but pure elegance of flavor and aroma. The Monte is sure to please any cigar smoker. If you want to gift a cigar, this is the one. You’ll impress them for sure.
Bolivar Belicoso Fino
Bolivars are often thought of as very strong but this is not so. They are quite flavorful and never overpowering. You’ll note touches of cacao and coffee and some very nice spice. It’s a exquisite blend of richness. The draw is very smooth and well balanced. It’s as good as it gets.
Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2
This little cigar is dynamite in a small package. It packs quite a punch with a medium to full body flavor. It’s only 5″ long but is a stunning 50 ring gauge. It’s short but stout which makes this stick fantastic. This robust stogie has a nice draw and will tingle your senses with hints of pepper, coffee and leather. The Epicure No 2 is one lovely cigar.
H. Upmann Magnum 50
H. Upmann is another venerable Cuban brand. They have been offering some of the finest Cuban cigars for many years. However some have been somewhat inconsistent. The Magnum 50 however is a true dream come true. This is one fine cigar with hints of wood and toast. They sure picked a spectacular wrapper for this stick. Wow!
What are original Cuban Cigars?
Once upon a time Cuban cigars were the “Rolls Royce” of cigars. They were the finest, smoothest with the richest taste back in the Castro days. They were expensive and very hard to get. Demand was huge and drove prices very high. The Cuban cigar production rate was much lower than today and quality was very high. Workers stayed long term which helped maintain top quality. It takes 1 year to learn how to hand roll a Cuban cigar and 3-4 to become proficient. Generations of families worked in the cigar factories for many years. These were the good ole days. There was no real competition for the Cuban cigar either.
Now let’s talk about 2017 Cuban cigar production. Things have changed since Fidel was in charge. The U.S. Cuban cigar ban forced many workers to leave Cuba and work for other cigar factories in Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Honduras. They took with them a wealth of knowledge and skills. I have heard from and read that many cigar aficionados say the Cuban cigar has lost some of it’s stature and quality. Other cigars have begun to take over the Cuban cigar’s market share especially the Dominican cigars like the Dominican Cohiba. Quality from these other countries is very high, even better than Cuban cigars. Tobacco from other countries is also much better than it used to be and this is the heart of a cigar…the tobacco. It’s the tobacco which inherits its flavor from the soil that makes a great cigar or a mediocre cigar. No 2 cigars taste the same.
It is true that no other cigar tastes like a Cuban cigar but it seems that cigar smokers are starting to prefer a different taste and that happens to be for the Honduran, Nicaraguan and the Dominican tobacco. These countries produce some really spectacular cigars.
Nicaraguan Pedron 1926 Series premium hand rolled cigars. These are said to be much finer than any Cuban cigar today. The quality is unparalleled. The Nicaraguan tobacco is aged for 5 years before rolling.
Why are Cuban cigars considered the best?
Cuban cigars are considered to be the finest cigars because of 3 things and more likely just one of those (item #1).
- They are made with Cuban tobacco – Cuban tobacco is unlike any other tobacco in the world because of the Cuba specific soil and climate. Everything else about tobacco and cigars can be replicated anywhere in the world. You can train people to hand roll cigars and you can age tobacco the same way and time period. You can grow the exact same species of tobacco too. BUT you cannot exactly duplicate soil and climate. Climate can actually be duplicated in an indoor greenhouse.
- Cuban cigars are handmade in the very same fashion as 100 years ago. There are over 100 steps to make a genuine Cuban cigar. But is it the making of the cigar or the tobacco that make them so good?
- Quality Control – the Cuban government controls every thing that goes into the making of a Cuban cigar. They are very proud of the product and stop at nothing to continue it’s highly prized name and robust sales.
If you ask any cigar aficionados what they like about his/her favorite cigar they will tell you it’s the rich flavor, smoothness and aroma. So what gives a cigar these qualities? It’s the tobacco, which it inherits directly from the particular soil and the climate during the growing season.
Cuban Tobacco gets its wonderful flavor and smoothness directly from the Cuban soil and the climate of the particular location before it is harvested. There are several Caribbean and Central American countries that have soil very similar to Cuba’s and in fact produce tobacco reviling Cuba’s. Their richness in flavor, depth and strength are very similar but not exact. No cigar in the world will taste exactly like a Cuban cigar except for Cuba cigars. Simply because Cuba’s soil is found no where else in the world.
Other premium cigars from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Honduras are said to be better than Cuba’s. The flavor will never be the same but people’s tastes are different. The Dominican Cohiba is one cigar rising above the Cuban Cohiba cigar. The Dominican cigar’s quality has improved significantly in the past 10 years.
People’s preferences ultimately determine what’s the best cigar.