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2019 CA Report: 10 Top Rated Dominican Cigars Under $10
10 Under $10: Top Rated Dominican Cigars
What’s the most important thing you look to read about in cigar ratings?
For me, flavor is the biggest factor – but a look at construction, burn quality and price also weigh heavily on whether someone will smoke it.
How about where the cigar is from?
Some people don’t see a Dominican cigar fitting in their rotation because they don’t think it will suit their taste. And that’s because cigars from the Dominican Republic have always held a certain reputation: mellow, sometimes sweet, and often smoke with a taste of grass or hay. A lot of this stereotype is a holdover from the Boom Era, when everybody was smoking the light stuff…there’s much more from the DR to smoke than just some classic Connecticuts.
The proof is in the numbers: in 2018, the island nation exported 118,200,000 premium cigars into the U.S., making the Dominican Republic the #2 source for America’s premium cigars – right behind Nicaragua (per the Cigar Association of America). And if you look at those import/export numbers historically, the DR accounts for the majority of the cigars sold in the United States since Kennedy signed the Cuban Embargo.
Clearly, then, there should be no shortage of highly-rated Dominican cigars – so we’re packing our travel humidors and heading to the Dominican Republic to find them, with a whole lot of help from Famous Smoke Shop customer ratings.
Good cigars can (and do) get bad ratings
A little clarification…yes, we review cigars. No, we do not rate them in Cigar Advisor. That’s an important distinction to make: when we smoke it, we’ll hit the highlights of a cigar, and document our experiences. If those highlights sound too good to miss out on, you can judge if it’s a smoke worth your consideration. Oh, I’ll tell you if I like it – but we don’t say if a cigar is good or bad: what if I got the one bad stick in the box? What if I’m reviewing a full-bodied cigar, but I don’t really like to smoke them? What if I’m just having a bad day, or my taste buds are off? You’re a better judge of what you like than I am – but if I tell you a cigar sucks, and you pass on picking it up, you may have missed out on your new go-to smoke.
How’s that fair? It’s not.
So I’ll review them. But I’ll leave it to you to rate them.
For real ratings, I always recommend you look to several different sources for their honest opinions. The professional reviewers in magazines and blogs are great, but unvarnished reviews from everyday cigar loving people are an even better barometer. They have no incentive to puff it up or tear it down, so I appreciate the straight talk about their cigar. I crave details: the good, the bad, the love and the hate – and the more, the merrier.
“10/10. Would smoke again.”
I enjoy reading customer cigar reviews. They’re short and to the point; and I always give extra points to the guys that make me laugh out loud, cramming some really creative writing in a short space (note: I’ve obscured the name, since we’re discussing quality of the review – not the cigar).
Some of the good:
Some of the not-so-good:
Well, not everyone is going to like everything…
But when I see evidence coming from one cigar lover after another, it’s clear that smoke has some things going for it that I’ll want to pay attention to. This is why your rating matters more than my rating.
So let’s talk about your cigar ratings…
Full disclosure: I took a slightly different approach to this top-rated Dominican list back in 2017, where I left off an important filter – the $10 cap. Back then, price was no object; we just wanted to see what everyone considered the “best.” And we quickly ended up in a deep discussion of some pretty top-shelf stuff, including Winston Churchill and La Aurora Preferidos. This time, we’re going to try to be a little more price-conscious – and find some Dominican cigars that are as pleasing to your wallet as they are to your palate.
Like last time, we have four simple criteria for a cigar to make our list:
- The cigar is made in the Dominican Republic
- Famous Smoke Shop full retail price is under $10 for a single cigar
- No fewer than 10 customer reviews
- The cigar has earned an average customer rating of least 4.5 out of 5 stars
Just so we’re all on the same page, here’s our rate & review policy – And yes, we post all the feedback…even the trash talk. And that leads me to an important question…
Have you ever reviewed the cigars you smoke?
If you’re wondering, “Why isn’t Cohiba or Davidoff on this list?” They’re too expensive. We’re only talking sub-$10 smokes today.
“How come no Crowned Heads? And where the [email protected]$% is Caldwell?” Yeah, they’re great cigars – but not enough people have posted their positive, independent reviews for us to get a true crowdsourced opinion, and that seems to be a common theme among the boutiques. So if you’ve smoked it, do the rest of the cigar-smoking world a favor and rate it, too.
So let’s dive in to the top 10 highest-rated Dominican cigars under $10 a piece – which means smoking satisfaction is yours for less than the price of a bucket of chicken wings. The current cream of the Dominican crop, as chosen by your fellow cigar lovers…
[Ed. Note: Customer ratings and prices are current as of Aug. 8 2019]
Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Magnum – 5 Stars from 14 Customers – $8.76/cigar
The Reserva Real adds a dash of Nicaraguan leaf to the Dominican tobaccos in the blend, making this a step up in body from your everyday RyJ Bully. It’s a straight up medium-bodied smoke – so what makes this 6” x 60 such a crowd favorite? “Easy draw, even burn, great taste,” they say.
Arturo Fuente Sun Grown Royal Salute – 5 Stars from 17 Customers – $8.30/cigar
A Fuente luxury smoke that belies its under-$10 price point: well-aged Dominican long fillers, clad in a rich n’ sweet sun-grown Ecuador wrapper. The flavor is full, but that velvety Dominican style popularized by Arturo Fuente is on full display. One review sums up this smoke: “I highly appreciate the art of putting this cigar together.”
Onyx Reserve Churchill – 4.5 Stars from 13 Customers – $7.74/cigar
A humidor staple for years, Onyx is a classic Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro whose flavor is “deep, rich, peppery” – but stands as evidence that a dark wrapper doesn’t overpower. Additional raves for the Onyx Reserve Churchill call it “very good for the money.” It also plays nice with others: “Accompanies well with scotch, dark beers and good coffee.”
Macanudo Café Court Tube – 4.5 Stars from 31 Customers – $3.59/cigar
When we end our cigar reviews, we often say, “This is who we think this cigar would be perfect for…” Macanudo is great for just about anybody – but the mellow taste of the Connecticut Shade-wrapped Court is an excellent candidate for a daily burner, for the smoker who’s short on time, and for the person who’s getting back into smoking cigars after some time away. It’s also great for any budget.
Griffin’s No. 300 – 4.5 Stars from 15 Customers – $10.00/cigar
Yes, The Griffin’s #300 is stretching our $10 price cap to the limit…but this 6 ¼” x 44 Lonsdale, is quality return on your hard-earned cigar dollar. The Griffin’s blend (long-aged Dominican tobaccos inside an Ecuador Connecticut leaf) was developed by master blenders Eladio Diaz and Henke Kelner – and given the nod of approval by none other than Zino Davidoff. What I keep seeing in the customer reviews: “consistent”…”well-made”…”exceptional quality”…and last but not least, “The smoothest smoke that I have found.” With a Davidoff pedigree, you can believe it.
Tatiana Classic Groovy Blue – 4.5 Stars from 76 Customers – $4.64/cigar
One of the top-rated Dominican cigars is a flavored cigar? It’s true: and not only is Tatiana Groovy Blue renowned for its sweet berry-vanilla-honey taste (“finger pinch delicious”), the aroma is even more inviting. What your fellow smokers are saying: “Great flavor…real smooth and smells great.” Another: “I love Tatiana Groovy Blues. I get a lot of positive feedback from people when they smell these.” I could go on – but you can read the love for yourself.
La Gloria Cubana Serie N Glorioso – 4.5 Stars from 31 Customers – $9.19/cigar
The first thing that comes to mind about Serie N? Power, usually. The only thing Dominican about this La Gloria is where it’s made: the N actually consists of a mix of vigorous Nicaraguan tobaccos inside a Sumatra wrapper…but it’s more refined than the blend lets on. Part of that is due to this 6 ½” x 58 Glorioso size, about which one reviewer recommends, “Save at least an hour to savor this thing.” Others have found some tantalizing tasting notes: “It’s loaded with smooth, spicy, dark chocolate–almost like a fantastic cup of coffee.” That’s hard to say no to…
Occidental Reserve Connecticut Torpedo – 4.5 Stars from 11 Customers – $5.61/cigar
“GREAT BARGAIN SMOKE!” The Occidental Reserve Connecticut Torpedo is, indeed, a bundle cigar – so you’re already in budget-friendly territory. But the fact that you can enjoy a daily smoker that’s “the closest you can get to a Montecristo #2 out there” for cheaper than a Happy Meal? Admittedly, I might take that with a grain of salt, too – but many customers have found it more enjoyable than they anticipated: “After reading the positive reviews on the cigar, I decide to give it a try. I couldn’t be more pleased with this great cigar. Nice mild smoke with an easy draw.” And a terrific value.
Ashton Classic Magnum – 4.5 Stars from 17 Customers – $9.50/cigar
Made with aged Dominican tobaccos, the Ashton Classic has long been held high as a creamy, woody and exceptionally smooth smoke – and the aroma is a winner. This “top quality, superb taste” reputation comes at a price, of course, and the Magnum butts up against our $10 price ceiling again. Few find any Connecticut bitterness in Ashton’s Shade wrapper, focusing instead on the cigar’s creamy character – or as one guy put it, “TOP NOTCH, ONE OF THE BEST, THIS CIGAR HAS IT ALL!”
La Flor Dominicana Reserva Especial El Jocko – 4.5 Stars from 12 Customers – $7.90/cigar
I’ll let Brotherford B Hayes in PA sum up this LFD Maduro: “fantastic little guy with a kick.” What caught my eye was how many customers are taking issue with El Jocko being labeled as a mellow cigar; but let’s remember, this is an LFD, after all. There’s Dominican Piloto Cubano in the blend (a richer tobacco), giving the smoke fat, full flavor. So while this cigar could get the rookie a little buzzy, it’s a short smoke that will certainly keep the full-bodied fans entertained.
For good measure (and because it’s easy to go overboard on these top rated Dominican cigars), here are 4 more worth an second look – and still under $10 a stick:
H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon Toro
4.5 Stars from 18 customers – $7.04/cigar
A classic; plus, a good Cameroon wrapper is hard to come by – especially with a sub-$10 ticket, as shown. A great pick for smokers of all stripes.
Partagas Black Label Maximo
4.5 Stars from 18 Customers – $9.89/cigar
One of my personal favorites, and a must-try for anyone who’s developed a sweet spot for Maduros.
Montecristo Platinum Robusto
4.5 Stars from 13 Customers – $9.98/cigar
It’s a blue-chip brand, but yes – you can have Montecristo for (barely) under $10. And your fellow smokers are pointing you to this one.
El Rico Habano Corona Suprema
4.5 Stars from 10 Customers – $7.49/cigar
Ain’t no school like the old school: a rich and spicy smoke, El Rico Habano is trusted by the veterans among us for good reason…consistency.
Put some faith in your fellow smokers, and follow their advice: based on the reviews, any of these 10 (actually, 14) top-rated Dominican cigars should get a shot at earning their way into your cigar smoking rotation – and at under $10, it’s certainly nice to save some money in the process.