When a yard gar just won’t do of course. These are my mid-range trusted go-to’s. Total comfort smokes. These 10 cigars are all sub $10 and some even sub $5 smokes. These are for when the day is done and I’m ready to sit back, relax and enjoy the next hour or 2 with a cool drink and fine cigar. I’ve also been known to light one of these up with my morning coffee, after lunch, before lunch, before dinner, during dinner, after dinner or anytime I actually have the time to enjoy one. These cigars are a little pricier but worth it as they all have very unique and distinct flavor profiles for the most part. These aren’t quite top-shelf celebration quality smokes but they ain’t exactly chopped liver either.
Oliva – Connecticut Reserve - Great morning, afternoon or evening smoke. It’s very consistent in both flavor and quality. Some of the other Oliva line is pretty good too; such as the “O” and “G” Series but for the most part I simply stick with the Connecticut Reserve. Every vitola I have tried has been very reliable with good strength and a semi-creamy sweet finish marked with pepper. This is always a good performer and worth up to about $4 or so on the Internet. I would pay up to $7 at a B&M for a Robusto.
Man o’ War Regular or Ruination - Just straight up good cigars. These AJ Fernandez cigars can be bought as a singles on CigarBid or in 5 packs that typically go for under $20. Singles are usually $3 a piece which is a very good price for a great cigar. Construction is always on point and every single time I smoke one of these I am impressed. They smoke great, taste great and have a kickass label. You can’t miss these! You can find these in various samplers off Cigars International. There are some top-shelf blends that are very good. Highly recommended!
Rocky Patel – Vintage - Wow. Rocky has put out a terrific line with his vintage series. From the 1990 to the 1992 to the 1999 to the 2003 to the newest Royal Line. They are all fantastic. These are priced well considering the high quality vintage tobaccos used. As always construction issues are rare and performance is typically spot on. One of these is typically going to go for around $10 at the B&M for a robusto size. I find these all the time in samplers for much less. A good example of an excellent sampler from Mikes Cigars. I picked up a box of the Royal Vintage Churchills for less than $100 that I am making very short work of. I’ve given out a few and gotten great feedback. The finish on these is outstanding. Nice work Mr Patel!
Rocky Patel – Edge Corojo, Maduro, Nicaraguan, or Edge Lite and now I especially recommend the Sumatra!!!! - To say these are great is a little bit of an understatement. I absolutely can’t say enough good things about this line. I’m not a Rocky Patel fanboy of the year but when you have a great line it should be praised, recognized and recommended. The only thing I don’t like is the label but that’s purely aesthetic and has nothing to do with the superior performance, construction and individuality with the flavor profile. Each wrapper type offers a dramatic difference in flavor and all are great in their own right. These are tough to find deals on and rightfully so but keep an eye on The Monster and Devil. They frequent those sites and can often be found around $4 or $5. When you see them….get them.
Don Pepin Series JJ Maduro - Want to know what a good Maduro tastes like? Ever wonder what one is supposed to taste like. Well this cigar unanimously sets the bar for what a pure Maduro flavor should be. I have had none better. I’m a huge Pepin fan for all the right reasons. Full bodied, full flavored interesting blends with a proven track record of quality control and performance. This cigar embellishes all of those qualities to a tee and this line offers a high quality smoking experience. This cigar doesn’t go cheap and is usually well over $10 at a B&M but fortunately for me and you, these can be found on The Devil for much less so pick a few up there to see if I’m not telling the truth!
Cain – Daytona - An Oliva offshoot; the Cain series is all excellent with the exception of the over-priced Nubs. The Daytona in corona or robusto size has a special place in my humidor though. I love to have these around whenever I feel like a bright and cheery smoke. It has terrific flavor delivered with a ultra-smooth medium body. This cigar actually reminds me quite a bit of a Padron 1926 Natural! The finish is very similar.
Padron Maduro or Natural - Good old faithful. I have smoked more of these than any other cigar in both wrapper types. Sometimes I feel like a Natural and sometimes I feel like a Maduro. They are offered in a plethora of vitolas and the best price in town is over at Cigars International although their stock rotates very quickly and there are always a lot of “unavailables”. Fortunately this gives me the opportunity to sample lots of different vitolas of these blends. The Delicas are very close in size to the 2000′s and I usually go for these at around $14 a 5 pack when the 2000′s aren’t available at $15. Another excellent vitola is the Londres which at $11 a 5 pack is an amazing price and absolute deal sealer. I always have these on hand. This cigar can easily last an hour and makes a high quality sampler for a great price to smoke and to hand out to friends that are new to the hobby. I have tried all the Panatela style vitolas and can honestly say they are the least consistent product in the whole lineup. They suffer from the typical Panatela ailments being draw and burn issues. One word of caution is to not buy these on cbid. They frequently bid way past their list price on CI.
Don Pepin Blue Label - This cigar has really grown on me. When I first tried it I wasn’t impressed and thought it was way overpriced at $9 for the Toro at a B&M. Fortunately I ran across a little deal over at CI that offers a “Best of Pepin” sampler for $39.99. This has 15 cigars of his best blends including the Blue Label, Tatuaje Havana, San Cristobal, 601 and 5 Vegas Miami so I have basically smoked a ton of them at that price. Although CI has ceased to run this special any longer I still manage to pick up 5er’s for under $20 sometimes. These are full flavored with a medium/full body and wonderful peppery finish. I really enjoy this cigar now that my palate has evolved.
601 Green Label Oscuro - This is one of my favorite cigars ever, never minding the price point. These are also typically way out of range but I see them from time to time on CigarMonster for right around $5. The body is full, the flavor is rich and deep with complexity. It has wonderful balance for such a powerful cigar. The finish is perfect and the smoke is smooth and thick. The construction is as good as any cigar on the shelf with a beautiful dark Oscuro wrapper. The draw/volume ratio is perfect and gives off thick voluminous clouds of smoke. I really can’t rave enough about this cigar. It is everything a cigar should be to me and the #1 cigar in my humidor right now that is at or under $5.
Perdomo ESV – Man, am I a huge fan of the ESV series. The 1991′s were stellar and the new 2002′s are damn near just as fine. With a little more age I guarantee they will rival the 91′s. Although they wrap these with 3 different types of leaf, I have never ventured away from the Connecticut. The Connecticut rivals any other cigar within $3 of it’s price tag. Perdomo sure put an excellent cigar that goes fantastic with the morning coffee. I adore these cigars and highly recommend them.
Padilla 1932 - I think what Ernesto Padilla offers in the 1932 is so much more than a good cigar. What makes this cigar great is two fold. The first part is because it is consistently
La Aroma De Cuba
La Aurora 107
La Aurora – 1495
H. Upmann – Vintage Cameroon
Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva- Anything. Hemingway.
Ashton – Classic
Montecristo Yellow – Memories