The Perfect After-Dinner Smoke: Top 10 Brazilian Wrapper Cigars
By Tommy Zman Zarzecki
Anybody who knows that when I say I’m getting a Brazilian, they know I’m not talking about wax on/wax off. The South American country known for the Amazon Rain Forest and their love for the game of soccer, doesn’t quite get the respect it deserves for their amazingly delicious tobacco. Brazilian wrapper leaf has quietly made an impact in the cigar world over the past few years – and I’m here to tell you that this spicy-sweet, zesty and wickedly flavorful tobacco makes for the perfect after-dinner smoke.
There are basically two types of leaf grown in Brazil that are used for swaddling cigars. Mata Fina, which translates to “thin forest”, is cultivated on the Atlantic coast, north of Rio and Sao Paulo. It makes for excellent maduro and oscuro smokes with its wonderfully natural sweetness and powerful aroma. Then there’s Arapiraca, a thicker leaf with a dark brown maduro color, and a sweet and smooth profile.
The reason I think this leaf makes for a great after-dinner cigar is because of the bold and flavorful character it brings to the filler tobaccos that it is draped around. Since a good 60-70% of the flavor of a stogie can come from its outer wrapper, this leaf has a subtle sort of oomph that can cut through your post-meal palate.
The following are ten cigars that I chose for this piece because I love the flavor and aroma that their Brazilian skin delivers.
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca Inside: Nic Body: Full
Well, the name says it all for this wickedly bold offering from CAO, that has had a hardcore following since it first hit the shelves. That dark and oily outer leaf gives it an earthy quality with pleasant floral notes and a toasty, nuttiness that lingers throughout.
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca Inside: Nic Body: Full
This stout and stubby stick has been an industry favorite from its inception as well, as it packs a whole lot of tasty leaf in its diminutive length. You’ll find hints of sweet toffee with notes of dark chocolate and a distinctive spark of coffee bean that laces the taste buds with goodness.
Wrapper: Brazilian Laranja Inside: Nic Body: Full
Erik Espinosa has absolutely knocked it out of the park with this Brazilian wrapper cigars that uses a very rare leaf, called Laranja – which translates to orange (because of its beautiful color). This is a stick that boasts one hell of a lot of distinct flavors like pepper, citrus, nuts, cedar, spice, and a smooth and natural sweetness.
San Lotano Oval Habano
Wrapper: Brazilian Habano Inside: Nic, Dom & Hon Body: Full
Sure, it’s beautifully made, but it’s made by the great AJ Fernandez, so no big surprise. While this one is on the slightly stronger side, it’s extremely well balanced and complex. There’s notes of wood, leather, and spice, and although it’s bold, it is very smooth and so enjoyable.
Kristoff Ligero Maduro
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca Inside: Nic & Dom Body: Medium – Full
The Arapiraca – a thick Brazilian wrapper leaf – that drapes this beauty has an attractive dark and oily complexion. It’s definitely a bold smoking cigar, but not overpowering by any means. I love the taste of dried cherry that you’ll notice pretty much throughout, along with espresso bean, cocoa bean, and spice.
Java by Drew Estate
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina Inside: Nic Body: Medium
I really do think that this is the quintessential after-dinner smoke. While I am not the biggest fan of flavored cigars, the Java is different, laced with the essence of fragrant coffee beans that is prevalent in both the taste and the aroma. Hints of coffee bean and sweet mocha are what you get and I will get compliments on its scent every time out from passersby.
Intemperance BA XXI
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca Inside: Nic, Dom & Ind Body: Medium to Full
This is quite simply a dark and oily boutique beauty of a cigar that I’d say falls into the medium to full bodied category. It’s an earthy smoke that will hold up well to the big and brawny flavors of a meal like BBQ brisket and ribs, to blackened rib eye steaks. There’s a lot going on here with notes of cocoa, leather, pepper, espresso, and sweet cream. With this Brazilian wrapper smoke, the boys from RoMa Craft are clearly doing it right.
EP Carrillo Elencos Series
Wrapper: Brazilian Habano Inside: Nic, Dom Body: Medium – Full
Ernesto Carrillo consistently makes cigars with so much flavor going on, like this one that’s complex and delicious. The Elencos has two five-year-aged Nicaraguan and Dominican Piloto Cubano tobaccos, plus 2 binders with sweet notes of caramel, almonds, espresso and a touch of leather.
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina Inside: Nic, Hon, Mex, & Col Body: Medium to Full
I love these smokes from the mind of Kurt Kendall, and if you’ve never tried one, the time is now, my friends. After curing & aging, the cigars, they are then aged again in Spanish cedar boxes for 120 days to mellow. Notes of coffee bean, wood and creaminess bring sheer happiness to your palate.
Famous Nicaraguan Selection 5000
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca Inside: Nic & Ind Body: Full
While I’m always bragging about the Nic 3000 from Famous, the 5000 is definitely worthy of your love as well. Referred to as a “budget premium”, do NOT let this bundled stick fool you because it is dark, oily, well-made and tasty as all hell! Notes of full-bodied coffee are pronounced with a sweet ‘n peppery character. A great price for a cigar that will surprise you!
So, there you have it – a gaggle of delicious premium hand-rolled cigars that do the nation of Brazil proud. Comment below on the ones you’ve smoked and which ones you want to finally give a try!