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: Top Selling Nicaraguan Cigars of 2017
The Top Selling Nicaraguan Cigars of 2017 You Should be Smoking
By Tommy Zman Zarzecki
For the past decade, Nicaraguan tobacco has been all the rage in the cigar world. Every year there is an increased demand towards darker, full-flavored, stronger sticks and tobacco from this Central American country has filled the void. The blackened soil of Nicaragua has a high mineral content and is just perfect for growing premium cigar tobacco.
The interesting thing about Nicaragua is the four various growing regions and the different types of tobacco they produce. Esteli and its very dark soil produces bold, thicker leaves that are spicy with that patented Nic kick. Ometepe is a volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua with nutrient rich soil whose tobaccos are on the medium side. From the Jalapa Valley comes sweet leaves that are great for both filler and wrapper. Finally, the Condega Valley gives us slightly thinner leaf that has a bit of oomph and is used for binder tobacco.
As I said, Nicaraguan cigars have become some of the most popular picks on humidor shelves – but how much, and which ones? We crunched the numbers, and have created a list of the best-selling Nicaraguan cigars so far in 2017 as chosen by you, the people.
Oliva Serie V
This right here folks is the top selling Nicaraguan made cigar on our list and for damned good reason. The V is truly a sublime smoking experience and a mark of cigar making excellence. It’s a very full-flavored, complex smoke with pronounced notes of dark chocolate and rich espresso. This is one I would categorize as the perfect after dinner cigar that matches up so well with a bourbon, scotch, or strong coffee. The Habano sun grown wrapper has a gorgeous reddish-brown hue and the Jalapa ligero filler lets you know that you are indeed smoking one hell of a puro. Other Nicaraguan Olivas that are among this year’s top picks: Serie V Melanio, Flor de Oliva, NUB Connecticut, Inferno, Oliva Connecticut, and the Serie G.
Famous Nicaraguan Selection 3000
If you’ve ever seen me write about this cigar or heard me talk about it on our weekly Cigar Advisor Facebook LIVE Show, then you know that I refer to the 3000 as not only the best bundled cigar from Famous, but the absolute over-all best value, bar none. It is a top premium at a ridiculously low price point that would cost more than double if it came in a fancy cedar box. The distinct oval pressed shape shows off the smooth Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and the mix of Nicaraguan tobaccos inside make it a medium to full-flavored smoking experience. Earthy with a bit of spice, this one burns so well because of its flawless construction and the aroma is sweet and inviting. When you decide to give it a try, you will thank me. Another Famous-made stick that tops the charts is the La Floridita.
CAO Amazon Basin
When Rick Rodriguez and the boys at CAO created this masterful blend, the bases were loaded and they knocked it way the hell over the center field fence. With sheer complexity and a ton of bold flavor, the Amazon Basin line is emblematic of the smoking experience associated with the Nicaraguan tobaccos that contribute to the intensity of this blend. These are small batch cigars, with rare, organically grown Braganca filler leaf from the Amazon Rain Forest. It actually features four more different leaves with the outer wrapper being a dark and oily Ecuadorian Sumatra. There’s a range of diverse flavors you’ll experience here, including sweet dark plums and rich cocoa. I love this cigar so much that I’m enjoying the hell out of one as I type. A couple of other top CAO picks are the Flathead and the Brazilia.
The Champagne is one of the classic Nicaraguan cigars – and this beauty from Nick Perdomo is what I would refer to as a staple in the cigar industry. When I’m often asked for the perfect wedding cigar I will recommend the Champagne because it’s profile appeals to a diverse audience, along with the fact that it is expertly crafted and flat-out delicious. It’s medium-bodied, while hearty and mellow at the same time – a cigar that you can literally smoke and enjoy any time of the day. While the inner blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos gives it its oomph, the flawless, golden Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper is actually a triple-fermented leaf that displays an unmistakable creaminess. Notes of coffee and honey lace its flavor profile making it a longtime fave of not just Perdomo fans, but cigars lovers of all kinds.
Drew Estate – Tabak Especial
The masters at Drew Estate are known for creating unique and memorable smoking experiences and the Tabak Especial is a big-time fan favorite. These sweet and tasty beauties are available in either extra-dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers or Natural Connecticut Shade grown wrappers. While I refer to it as an amazing dessert cigar, these Nicaraguan Estate Grown coffee infused smokes can certainly be enjoyed any time of the day. They are medium to full-bodied and give off a luscious scent of roasted coffee beans. The Nicaraguan Criollo filler and Sumatra binder give it one hell of a lot of flavor, and those who fancy this smoke cannot get enough of them. Other top selling Nicaraguan cigars out of La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate include the Isla Del Sol, and the earthy Nica Rustica.
Okay, so ACID is indeed made for a certain type of cigar smoker, but let me tell you that these cigars sell like mad. Imbued with botanicals, herbs and essential oils, the Blondie gives off a unique aroma and an even more unique taste. It’s a small petite corona sized stick measuring in at 4 x 38 and the flavor profile is incredibly creamy (thanks to that beautiful Connecticut wrapper) with notes of honey and a nice natural sweetness. It may not be for everybody, but those who smoke it sing high praises. The other ACID that tops the charts: the much sought after Kuba Kuba.
My Father Flor de Las Antillas
When you have the Number 1 Cigar of the Year from 2012, you are going to be in the upper echelon of many lists; and so it is with the top-selling Flor de Las Antillas. Don Pepin is a master who makes a number of well-known favorites, and this box-pressed, medium-bodied gem has a complex and diverse flavor profile. Notes of cedar, cocoa, a hint of white pepper and a nice smack of earthiness come from the all-Nicaraguan inner blend and a silky-smooth Nicaraguan Sun Grown wrapper leaf. The aroma is sweet and distinct and the construction is as good as any torcedor can roll a cigar. If for some reason you’ve never tried it, trust me, amigo… it’s time. Another excellent My Father stick that’s high on the list is the Le Bijou 1922.
The family name of Padron is synonymous with excellence in cigar making and while they are lauded for their 1964 and 1926 Anniversary offerings, it’s the reasonably priced “Thousand” line – and the 3000 in particular – that so many lovers of the leaf clamor for. All Padrons are Nicaraguan puros and it’s the bold and hearty leaves from Esteli that are used to blend this delicious top seller. These full-bodied treats come in both natural and Maduro and I’d have to say that the word “robust” is the best way to describe its flavor profile consisting of coffee beans, earth and a very pleasant toastiness. These Nicaraguan cigars are just terrific everyday smokes and a part of my usual rotation. Other Padrons that top the sales charts are the 1964 Anniversary, the F75 by Padron, and the 7000.
New World by AJ Fernandez
If you remember when Don Pepin was all the rage, well now it seems that master blender AJ Fernandez has grabbed the coveted cigar-making spotlight. For the New World cigar, AJ’s dad, Ismael came out of retirement to collaborate with his son, creating a cigar that is truly quite special. It’s a full-bodied, full-flavored beast, yet smooth and refined at the same time. Zesty ligero tobaccos from Condega, Jalapa and Esteli give it some pop, while leaf cultivated on the isle of Ometepe balance it out very nicely. Pronounced notes of hearty espresso, earth and some wonderful spice build within its complex profile, culminating into a nice long finish. It’s a real treat for the senses.
Christian Eiroa and my bud Tom Lazuka have struck gold with the popular Asylum 13. These Nicaraguan cigars are puros – and are absolute full-bodied flavor bombs, sporting a dark and oily Habano wrapper leaf. The filler tobaccos hail from black and mineral-rich volcanic soil, while producing flavorful notes of rich espresso, bitter-sweet dark chocolate, earth and spice. This is the kind of cigar you smoke after a big steak dinner or smoked meats like brisket, as the flavors stand up to one another. And a belt of bourbon or rye will surely pair to your liking. Some might think this is an underrated smoke, but judging by the number of people bringing them home in droves, it’s a top Nicaraguan seller. A must try.
So, tell us in the comments below which Nicaraguan cigars you like – and why. We’d love to hear from you.