Cigar Buying Guides

2017 CA Report: Top 10 Outstanding Small Cigars

10 Outstanding Small Cigars for ANY Occasion

By Tommy Zman Zarzecki

Over the past 5 years or so, the trend for cigar makers has leaned towards making big-ash cigars. Just about every brand sports a 6 x 60 in their line-up, and even 70 and 80 ring gauges have become popular. While the argument may go on forever that “size matters”, I’m here to tell you that there are a number of damned good reasons why small cigars are the perfect choice.

There are plenty of times you crave some premium tobacco goodness but you just don’t have 45 minutes to an hour or more to enjoy, and you’re certainly not going to waste a good cigar while only smoking half of it. So, for those times when you’re short on time, smaller cigars like these are just what the tobacconist ordered.

Manning the grill for 20 to 30 minutes is a great time to reach for a more diminutive smoke; shorter car rides are also perfect for lighting a little one. And of course, if you live up north like me, it is winter time and small cigars are all you can really bear. When your hands and feet are freezing (as well as a few more sensitive areas) it’s almost impossible to enjoy yourself, so the short cigar is your winter friend.

The following is a list of what I consider 10 outstanding small cigars. These are not cigarillos, but legit hand rolled sticks made with premium aged tobacco. Now it’s time to take a look…

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story

Size: 4 x 48  Shape: Perfecto  Strength: Medium  Country: Dominican Republic  Wrapper: Cameroon

arturo fuente hemingway short story small cigars

The name of this little figurado may tell the story about its size but not about the powerhouse of flavor it delivers. The Short Story is a member of the Hemingway line, filled with rich Dominican leaf and wrapped with a silky-smooth Cameroon outer. This is an incredibly well-balanced, medium bodied smoke that starts off a bit peppery then delivers a creamy, smooth shot of sweet cedar. Yum.


Monte by Monte by AJ Fernandez

Size: 5 x 44  Shape: Corona  Country: Nicaragua  Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

monte by montecristo by aj fernandez small cigars

AJ Fernandez just might be the hottest cigar maker around right now and he has performed his mastery on this one. Montecristo was once known as a mild and creamy line of cigars, but AJ has bucked the norm, creating a full-flavored smoke that is rich and delicious. In a smaller ring gauge, the flavors are intensified with notes of chocolate, roasted coffee, nuts and caramel. Bro, it’s time to give this a try.


CAO Flathead Steel Horse Handbrake

Size: 4 ½ x 50  Shape: Robusto  Strength: Full  Country: Nicaragua  Wrapper: Connecticut Habano Oscuro

cao flathead steel horse hand brake small cigars

The Flathead line created by Rick Rodriguez is nothing short of decadent, and speaking of short, the Handbrake will deliver a powerful punch of Nicaraguan flavor that’ll leave a wonderful mark on your palate. Coffee, chocolate, pepper and spice are prominent and are the byproducts of the Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican filler, along with the spicy Brazilian binder. And of course that dark Oscuro Connecticut Habano wrapper makes his little guy a huge hit.


Southern Draw QuickDraw Petite Corona Dark Habano

Size: 4 ½ x 44  Shape: Petite Corona  Country: Nicaragua  Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

southern draw quickdraw dark habano petite corona small cigars

The QuickDraw line from the good peeps at Southern Draw was created exclusively for those times when you want a great tasting smoke but the clock is telling you otherwise. Robert Holt and AJ Fernandez teamed up with the goal of making very flavorful, high quality cigars, and it is without question, mission accomplished. With Nicaraguan and Honduran inside and that dark, rich Ecuadorian Habano outer leaf, you’ll get hit with big notes of espresso, cedar and a nice natural sweetness.


Undercrown Shade Flying Pig

Size: 3 5/16 x 60  Shape: Figurado  Strength: Medium  Country: Nicaragua  Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

liga undercrown shade flying pig small cigars

The Undercrown Shade took cigar lovers by surprise when blender Willy Herrera placed a Connecticut Shade leaf around the Undercrown blend, with the outcome being a stellar success. In the Flying Pig size, this stubby little porker fills your mouth with a mountain of thick, creamy smoke and a whole lot of rich tobacco taste. There’s a lot going on inside this medium bodied piglet, with Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Sumatran tobacco, but it’s that Connecticut leaf that smooths it out with creamy, complex flavors.


RoMa Craft Intemperance Whiskey Rebellion WR 1794 Hamilton

Size: 4 x 46  Shape: Corona  Strength: Full  Country: Nicaragua  Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

roma craft whiskey rebellion hamilton small cigarsYa say ya love full-bodied sticks with a ton of premium-aged tobacco flavor? Ya want a hearty blast of sinfully rich tobacco to spice up your day? Well, that’s what the people at RoMa Craft do best, and the Whiskey Rebellion line is a must try. With Nicaraguan, Dominican and Indonesian inside, and that dark and oily Habano outside, your taste buds will be bombed with big flavors of espresso, pepper, spice, and even some subtle floral notes. This corona size is a real treat and highly recommended if ya love ‘em full.


Punch Champion

Size: 4 1/2 x 30/60  Shape: Figurado  Strength: Full  Country: Honduras  Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

punch champion small cigars

I have been a fan of this plumb-bob shaped stick for a very long time. The Punch line has forever been known for its bold Honduran taste, and this size has always delivered an extra-special kick in the ash. Pepper and spice are dominant with strong notes of sweet wood as it continues to burn. The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper has a nice sheen and gives off a subtle sweetness, while the inner blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican give it some serious pep. Love this chubby-lil bad boy.


Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu No. 9

Size: 4 1/2 x 49  Shape: Rothschild  Strength: Medium  Country: Nicaragua  Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

tatuaje havana vi verocu small cigars

I think this one leans medium to full in body but delivers one hell of a lot of sweet tobacco taste. This Rothschild size is packed with premium leaf and delivers immediately upon lighting up. Notes of coffee and cocoa are apparent, but an interesting hit of red pepper sneaks in and pops onto your palate. While the inner blend boasts some hearty Nicaraguan goodness, that Ecuadorian Habano Rosado Oscuro outer delivers a sweetness that makes this cigar just so damned pleasant. I want more.


Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Petite Robusto

Size: 4 ½ x 50  Shape: Rothschild  Strength: Full  Country: Nicaragua  Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro

jaime garcia reserva especial small cigars

There’s a reason why this stick rates so incredibly high on many sites (including on Famous) – because it’s a flavor-bomb masterpiece hailing from the great Don Pepin’s Nicaraguan Factory. At first glance, that oily, shimmering Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper almost blinds you when the light reflects from it. And it’s that flawless leaf that gives this Rothschild its definitive sweetness. The flavor profile is very deep, earthy and rich, making this smoke one to reward yourself with after another day well lived. Again – highly rated for a reason.


Davidoff Signature 2000 Tubos

Size: 5 x 43  Shape: Corona  Strength: Mild  Country: Dominican Republic  Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

davidoff signature small cigars

Davidoff has always been known for outstanding quality and craftsmanship, and this little corona delivers in the company’s classic style. These small cigars fall on the mild to medium side, making them great for earlier in the day, or for those who just enjoy the lighter side of life. The inner Dominican tobaccos are woody, creamy and sweet, while the silky outer Ecuadorian leaf is toasty, imparting a luscious woody aroma. Just another highly rated stick to round out this outstanding list of smoky goodness.


Short format and small cigars like these are an important part of a smoker’s repertoire, and I hope you found this list helpful in picking out the type of smokes you love to light. Tell us in the comments below which ones you like and what YOU would add the list.


Tommy Zman Zarzecki

Tommy Zman Zarzecki


Tommy Zman, is an obsessive enjoyer of life’s leafy pleasures. Growing up in the bowels of northern New Jersey, parented by an eccentric Polish father and a neurotic Italian mother, what else could this man possibly be other than a humorist? ZMan’s a real throwback to a time when men were kings of the castle and smoking a cigar in public didn’t label you an outcast and a pariah. He’s an old–school down to earth guy - but when it comes to p.c. tyranny and nanny-state legislature, he’ll draw his sword and swing for the fences. Tommy gathered a faithful following as a longtime feature writer at Cigar Magazine, and his testosterone laden FaceBook community, CROMAG NATION™ is truly the last great bastion for Men’s Men.

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