Cigar Buying Guides

2021 CA Report: Top 10 True Classic Cigar Brands You Should Smoke Again

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Who are the true classic cigar brands?

Updated May 2021

Classic: 
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines classic as “serving as a standard of excellence, of recognized value” and “traditional, enduring.”  
 
These are the qualities we’re looking for when we talk about classic cigar brands. We’re talking about the true pioneers of the modern cigar industry.

So…what makes a cigar brand a true classic? 

The cigar landscape we know today was unrecognizable 30 years ago. The brands we think of when we talk about classic cigars like Perdomo, Rocky Patel, and Drew Estate were either new kids on the block or not even in existence yet. True classic cigar brands go back much further. Brands like Partagas, Arturo Fuente, and Punch…some of their blends have been on the market since the 60s. That’s half a century if you’re keeping count. 

With the arrival of those rowdy newcomers during the 90s cigar boom, premium cigars got stronger, bigger, and darker, along with the rise of the small-batch frontier – artisans who became the cigar equivalent of today’s popular craft beer scene. 

The fate of the legacy cigar brands is that they ended up like our parents’ generation of music. Respected. But too often overlooked when choosing a few sticks at the cigar shop. 

Why classic cigars should still be in your humidor: 

Boutique and boom-era cigar companies have only grown in popularity since. With their growth, an almost dismissive attitude toward classic cigars among their fans. But no matter what the newbies do, there’s a certain level of magic, authenticity, and tradition from vintage brands that just can’t be replicated. These classic cigars survived so long for a reason. Because smokers can set their watch to the consistency. 
 
Bottom line: These originals still have their place at the table, and to help you rediscover them, we’ve got 10 of the best classic cigar brand picks, right from the Cigar Advisor vault. 

 

Partagas Fabuloso 

Size: 7” x 52 
Origin: Dominican Republic 
Strength: Full 
Wrapper: African Cameroon 
Binder: Mexican San Andres 
Filler: Dominican Republic 

True Classic Cigar Brands Partagas Cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

There aren’t too many full-bodied Cameroons…and for good reason. It’s a difficult tobacco and blend combination to pull off. Yet, Partagas did it long before cigar ratings were a thing. And long before full-bodied cigars were even in demand. Their rich flavors are good to burn for two hours’ worth of coffee, wood, and earth. Plus, plenty of sweetness to entice your taste buds. As revisit worthy as cigars get, Partagas has remained a delicious cigar classic that never disappoints. 

 

Cohiba Red Dot Robusto

Size: 5” x 49 
Origin: Dominican Republic 
Strength: Medium 
Wrapper: African Cameroon 
Binder: Indonesia Jember 
Filler: Dominican Republic Cuban seed 

True Classic Cigar Brands Cohiba Cigars Red Dot at Famous Smoke Shop

Cohiba Red Dot, like many other classics, uses African Cameroon wrappers because they’re near-perfect analogs to Cuban Corojo leaves. The Red Dot recipe additionally calls for a worldly blend of prime tobaccos that help complete its Cuban vibe via notes of sweet wood, coffee, and gentle spices. These early-boom gems have helped to define the luxury cigar genre for nearly 30 years. Pair your Red Dot with a glass of G.T. Stagg bourbon for the ultimate throwback flavor tour. 

 

Punch Clasico Lonsdale 

Size: 6 ¼” x 44 
Origin: Honduras 
Strength: Full 
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra 
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf 
Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras, & Nicaragua 

True Classic Cigar Brands Punch cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

One of the first strong cigars, the ‘original’ Punch (which now goes by Clasico) fully embraces its heavy-hitting Cuban bloodline. The full body the blend exhibits is why we’re recommending this smaller-ringed Lonsdale. You’ll have more of that sweet wrapper to enjoy from each puff, along with dark, rich, and floral notes of earth and wood. That’s why these cigars have been around in one form or another since the early, post-Cuban Revolution days. If you ask me, more than enough reason for a revisit. 

Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 Natural 

Size: 6” x 47 
Origin: Dominican Republic 
Strength: Medium 
Wrapper: African Cameroon 
Binder: Dominican Republic 
Filler: Dominican Republic 

True Classic Cigar Brands Arturo Fuente cigars at Famous Smoke Shop
 
Twenty years before the first Opus X hit the market, Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 was their crowned jewel. And while Opus earns the street cred today, the 8-5-8 has a lot of that magic I talked about before. You can recommend it to anyone – from beginner to expert – and impress them all. Just endlessly accessible. And the price…it makes it seem like a top-shelf stick disguised as a bargain. If you want something sweet, smooth, easy-smoking, and affordable, this Fuente steals the show. Show me an Opus that can do that. 

 

Davidoff Signature Toro 

Size: 6” x 54 
Origin: Dominican Republic 
Strength: Medium 
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade 
Binder: Dominican Republic 
Filler: Dominican Republic 

True Classic Cigar Brands Davidoff Signature cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

Davidoff Signature cigars are distinguished by their perfectly balanced taste, which is mellower in flavor than the full-bodied Davidoff Grand Cru series, yet more pronounced than the subtleties of the Davidoff Classic Series. Every cigar contains the same refined blend of Dominican tobaccos and flawless, even-toned Connecticut wrappers. Together, they deliver consistent notes of cedar, leather, vanilla, and light spices. Davidoff Signature is a titan among classic cigars and its welcoming aromas and flavor have given the blend everlasting allure. 

 

Montecristo Yellow Churchill 

Size: 7” x 50 
Origin: Dominican Republic 
Strength: Mellow 
Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Shade 
Binder: Dominican Republic 
Filler: Dominican Republic 

True Classic Cigar Brands Montecristo Yellow cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

Everyone knows the Montecristo name. They helped set the standard for Cuban cigars in the same way their Dominican Republic counterpart helped set the standard in the American market. Monte Yellow is one of their all-time most popular classic blends for its mellow-to-medium-body, which provides a consistently satisfying smoking experience. You’ll enjoy wonderfully mellow hints of cedar, coffee, and a lingering nuttiness on the palate. You can smoke this stick any time of year and it’ll always feel like summer. 

 

La Gloria Cubana Wavell Maduro 

Size: 5” x 50 
Origin: Dominican Republic 
Strength: Medium 
Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf 
Binder: Nicaragua 
Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua 

True classic cigar brands La Gloria Cubana Maduro cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

La Gloria Cubana Wavell is a revolutionary cigar that had a major hand in igniting the boom. The Maduro option doubles down on an already delicious formula, offering more complexity and a consistently bold array of flavors thanks to its fermented wrapper. Spice, black pepper, coffee, and earth are all on the menu, complementing an enduring natural sweetness that’s as relevant now as it was three decades ago. In a word…timeless. Bold as it may be, Wavell Maduro stays in its lane, meaning that new and veteran smokers alike will find lots to love.  

 

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Toro 

Size: 6 5/8” x 54 
Origin: Dominican Republic 
Strength: Medium 
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut 
Binder: Nicaragua 
Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua 

True Classic cigar brands Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

Romeo y Julieta may have been around forever, but Reserva Real is a relative newcomer (released 2003) compared to other cigars on this list. We call it a ‘new classic’ – but it’s got so much vintage style that we made it an honorary true classic. The blend’s flavors go above and beyond the standard Connecticut dish via a core stuffed with some edgier Nicaraguan tobaccos. All that, without losing the telltale Connecticut cedar, cream, and leather in every smoky puff. Best of both worlds. You could even say…it keeps it Real. 

 

Hoyo de Monterrey Sabrosos Maduro 

Size: 5” x 40 
Origin: Honduras 
Strength: Full 
Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf 
Binder: U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf 
Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras, & Nicaragua 

True Classic Cigar Brands Hoyo de Monterrey cigars at Famous Smoke Shop
 
You’re not allowed to have a classic cigars list without Hoyo. And they’ve done it all. This Hoyo de Monterrey Sabrosos Maduro pegs the business end of full-bodied, even to today’s standards. Part of that is due to twin U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf leaves in the wrapper and binder positions, along with some brawny primings from the D.R., Honduras, and Nicaragua. But above their potency are a set of rich flavors ranging from coffee and cocoa to dark wood and toast. Skip the ice cream and go straight to a Sabrosos. It’s got all the sweetness you’ll need. 

 

Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 Alisado 

Size: 6” x 52 
Origin: Nicaragua 
Strength: Full 
Wrapper: Nicaragua Criollo 
Binder: Nicaragua 
Filler: Nicaragua 

True Classic cigar brands Joya de Nicaragua Antano cigars at Famous Smoke Shop
 
Joya de Nicaragua was making Nicaraguan puros before it was cool. In fact, they’re widely considered to be godfathers of bold cigars. The OGs. As for Antano 1970 – it’s the type of cigar you enjoy after you’ve loosened your belt from a big meal. But leave some room because the blend’s flavors reward you in spades with savory nuances of salted butter, baking spices, black pepper, and earth. One thing’s for sure. This is a time capsule – a pioneering cigar blend that was far ahead of its time, matching shot for shot with today’s stronger recipes. Box-worthy is an understatement. 

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Darryl Butler
7 years ago

It’s tough to revisit those oldies but goodies when there’s so many cigars to choose from. It is to many cigars to choose from period.

Steve Miller
7 years ago

Great to see two of my faves on the list. Ashton Magnum is my guilty pleasure and the Wavell is always in my humidor.

John Moore
6 years ago

A lot of GREAT cigars on here. That Ashton was my first! Oddly surprising how many I have had.

Marty Hoar
6 years ago

El Ricos are a must try. A great high powered offering from General.

Charles Duke Fuerte
6 years ago

The Excaliber #1 & the Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte Madrid are 2 of my all time favorites.

Jared Gulick

Jared Gulick

Features Editor, Jared Gulick, is a Certified Tobacconist, nerd of all things science, musician and serial abuser of the Oxford comma. He made his way to the Famous Smoke Shop retail store in 2018 and joined the Advisors when it was discovered that he could locate the shift key. Prior to his work in the cigar industry, he was a recording studio engineer, songwriter, and a journalism major at Northampton Community College.

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