You see the word “vintage” in a cigar’s name – but what does that actually mean? Go beyond the marketing-speak and get our close-up look at the tobaccos used for premium cigars, what constitutes a true “vintage cigar” and our 10 top “vintage” picks.
2017 CA Report: 10 Top Rated Maduro Cigars For Halloween
Embrace The Darkness: 10 Top Rated Maduro Cigars You’ll Want to Try This Halloween
By Tommy Zman Zarzecki
When I first began my journey with premium hand rolled cigars back in the mid 90’s, like most guys, I started out with mild and mellower Connecticut Shade wrapped sticks. My dad actually pushed me into trying his beloved Maduros, but like many tobacco neophytes, I was afraid to fire them up fearing they’d be harsh or too strong. Little did I know that dark and oily, well-aged Maduro wrapped cigars were naturally sweet on the palate with a rich, full flavor. When I was finally coerced at a cigar dinner to give one a try (I believe an AVO Maduro), I instantly became a disciple of the dark side.
The translation of the Spanish word Maduro means ripe or mature – not strong and harsh. Leaf used for Maduro is from the top of the tobacco plant, getting a ton of sunlight as it locks in all those nutrients from the lovely Mother Nature. These thicker leaves emit luscious oils as the natural sugars in the plant give it that wonderful natural sweetness.
Now, for those who have always thought that Maduro wrapped sticks were stronger, these leaves are fermented at higher temperatures and for longer periods of time – a process that actually mellows them out.
There are a number of different kinds of leaves used to create Maduro wrappers; my all-time favorite being the Connecticut Broadleaf. It’s a dark, thick and chewy leaf, generally oily and oh-so sweet. If I ever have the good fortune of creating a cigar with my name on it, the Broadleaf is my choice. (You’ll find a few cigars on the list of top rated Maduros below with my fave, as well as other tasty treats.)
So, here we have a list of ten different cigar brands and their respective flavor bombs that you, the stogie smoking public, have given some mighty-high review scores. Check out these top rated Maduro cigars to see what you love, and what you should be giving a try.
99 Rated: Padron Family Reserve 85 Years Robusto
This is about as high a quality cigar you might ever smoke. The tobacco is pristine and well-aged which gives it tremendous complexity. You’ll taste notes of dark chocolate, espresso, and black cherry. Note: there is a boat-load of Padrons that rate in the 90’s (1964, 1926, etc.). We have put the highest rated on the list, frankly, because it is well deserved. Pricey?… yeah, but like they say, if you have to ask how much, it’s probably not making it into your humidor. If there was a stronger word than sublime, I’d use it.
98 Rated: Carlos Toraño Signature Torpedo
The reviewers are insane for this complex stick because it just packs a ton of great flavor. While it’s earthy with a bit of leather and some nice spice, I get a lot of sweet cedar on the palate that comes from that gorgeous Brazilian grown wrapper leaf. These top rated Maduro cigars pair amazingly with a good cup of coffee – and I just picked up a 5-pack at a price so ridiculously low that I couldn’t say no.
98 Rated: Oliva Serie O Maduro Churchill
Another winner from the good people at Oliva with this wonderfully full-flavored offering. Habano tobaccos from several regions in Nicaragua comprise the inner blend, and that Broadleaf on the outer gives it the sweetness I love. You’ll get a smack of espresso on the palate with hits of some leather, spice and a touch of earthiness – and while those flavors are quite different, they balance out beautifully because of Oliva’s expert blending. Highly rated for a reason: so, so good.
97 Rated: Drew Estate Liga Privada #9 Belicoso
You read that right: 7 different tobaccos grown at 7 different farms go into this flavor-packed powerhouse. This is a very rich and complex cigar whose profile changes as you’re smoking it. Dark coffee bean, dark slightly bitter chocolate and even a hint of anise hits the palate while thick, viscous white smoke pours from the foot. A standout in the cigar world and a part of my regular rotation.
97 Rated: Kristoff Ligero Maduro Robusto
Kristoff’s are vastly underrated in my opinion, but cigar lovers gave this one high praise for some damned good reasons. First off, the Brazilian wrapper is oily and gorgeous to look at, just commanding you to cut, light and smoke it. While it’s laced with ligero, it’s not overly strong, just very full-flavored. You’ll get notes of coffee bean, dark cocoa, spice and a sweetness almost like a dried cherry. Trust me, you don’t want to avoid this one any longer.
96 Rated: La Aurora Preferidos Ruby Brazilian Maduro Tubes #2 Figurado
These old-school shaped figurados are dark, oily, and exploding with a crazy amount of complex flavor. The barrel-aged filler tobaccos go through a 3 step fermenting process that makes it as smooth as silk on the taste buds. Dark chocolate and dark fruits like plums and cherries are prominent with a scent likened to that first whiff you get of opening a fresh can of ground coffee. Packaged in attractive ruby-red tubes, this one is a must try if you’ve never had the pleasure.
96 Rated: La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chiselito
Okay, the double ligero in this one does indeed equate to powerful flavors with a kick in the pants profile. The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper is shimmering on this expertly crafted cigar. There’s a super tasty sweet woody component at the start as it then settles into notes of dark coffee bean and natural sweetness. And just so you know, that classic chiseled head is best cut with either a v-cutter, or a bullet-punch directly through the body of the cigar.
95 Rated: Rocky Patel The Edge Battalion
Rocky’s Edge line has been popular for a long time with smokers, and the Maduro gets a lot of love in the ratings and reviews. The Battalion size is a girthy, big-boy smoke that is filled with a whole lotta rich, 5-year aged Central American goodness with an oily, jet-black wrapper leaf grown in Costa Rica. Notes of dark roasted coffee, charred wood, and earth lace the palate as that sweet wrapper brings it all together so deliciously.
93 Rated: EP Carrillo Core Plus Club 52
While this one is a dark and oily beauty, the flavor profile falls to the medium side with a very rich smoothness. You’ll get a lot of sweet woody notes, cocoa, and a distinct creaminess that you don’t find in a lot of Maduro wrapped cigars. The construction of this EPC stick is as good as it gets as smoke fills your mouth with a mountain of sweet and tasty goodness. What a great after dinner cigar.
91 Rated: Perdomo Habano Barrel Aged Torpedo
Full-flavored, rich tobaccos from three different regions in Nicaragua comprise this smooth and complex, barrel-aged blend. Notes of dark chocolate, coffee bean and rich sweet cocoa pound the palate on this sublime and expertly crafted smoke. And here’s an FYI for ya… ALL Perdomo’s are indeed barrel aged – this one just happens to be off the charts, and I highly recommend it.
So, there it is, 10 top rated Maduro cigars where the people have spoken. How about you let me know your thoughts on the ones you’ve smoked on this list as well as the ones you personally love that aren’t listed!