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2019 CA Report: 10 Top Rated Nicaraguan Cigars Under $10
At Cigar Advisor, we don’t do ratings. It’s not our style. For one, everyone else is doing it. And besides, when the dust settles, it’s just one (or four) of our opinions. Sure, we know our stuff, but it just isn’t possible for our taste buds and personal preferences to speak for 17.4 million cigar smokers (and those are just the U.S. numbers). . .
We still think ratings have their place, though. When you log-in to Amazon to buy whatever it is you buy, you most likely browse the user reviews on the item. A manufacturer can tout a widget’s accolades all they want, but if most customers are giving it a one-star rating, then surely something devious is afoot.
Smoking is an exceedingly subjective affair, and as such, you’re going to need more data than just four middle-aged dudes who just happen to know a thing or two about tobacco. That’s why, for this article, I combed the Famous Smoke Shop website to find cigars that were highly-rated from customers – not staff, not bloggers. . . but consumers, like you.
The formula was simple: In order to qualify for this list, each cigar in question had to pass the following criteria:
- Manufactured in Nicaragua
- Priced under $10 a stick
- Minimum of 10 customer reviewers
- Attained an average rating of least 4.5 out of 5 stars
During my research for this article, I looked up some of the customer ratings for similar cigars offered by Famous Smoke Shop’s competitors. For some reason – maybe it was the glowing one-word reviews (That’s it? One word? That’s all you have to say?), or the fact that, somehow, everything everybody smoked was awesome (amazing!) – sampling those reviews gave me that “something devious is afoot” feeling I described earlier. Or maybe I’m just a cynic – so instead of dogging these guys, I’ll just take this opportunity to remind everyone of the Famous Smoke Shop rate & review policy for all of our products.
So, as we dive into these 10, highly-customer-rated cigars, just remember: You don’t have to take my word for it when I say that these are the best of the best!
It seems like every time I make my way into the Famous Smoke Shop retail store, there’s someone singing the praises of Don Pepin Garcia Blue. Its across-the-board, five-star rating from Famous customers is all the evidence you need. The Original Generosos, as they’re more accurately called, are rolled in pristine Nicaraguan Corojo wrappers and are the product of Cuban-born blending legend, Jose Pepin Garcia. Underneath its wrapper you’ll find Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo long-filler leaves that undergo a meticulous hand-selection process. The result is a full-bodied cigar with a spicy-sweet complexity that will satiate your senses from foot to nub. One thing is abundantly certain; these cult-classic cigars are crafted for connoisseurs – but priced for the everyman.
Moving on to the next generation of Jose Pepin Garcia’s lineage leads us to Jose’s son, Jaime Garcia. Jaime released the My Father line in 2008 to critical acclaim, and it’s clear that the apple has landed close to the tree. Enjoying the highest customer rating of the blend, My Father No. 1 employs a lush, Ecuador wrapper, a hybrid of both Rosado and Criollo, to crown its Nicaragua core of long fillers. Coffee, wood, cocoa, and a sprinkling of caramel sweetness will leave you clearing out time in your schedule to indulge in these full-bodied delights as often as possible!
Liga Privada Undercrown cigars were initially blended solely for the enjoyment of torcedors (cigar rollers) under Drew Estate’s employ. They were coveted treats within their ranks and rose so much in popularity, that they decided to bring them to market. It was a move that paid off in spades for both Drew Estate and tobacco enthusiasts like you and me. With a diverse blend of tobaccos, from its Mexican San Andres wrapper to the Nicaraguan and Brazilian tobaccos found under the hood, Liga Undercrown was a nearly overnight success. Expect to be captivated by its smooth sweetness that’s big on flavor without denting your bankroll.
CAO Brazilia Gol! – 4.5 Stars from 120 Reviews
For nearly 20 years, CAO Brazilia has been wowing the palates of cigar enthusiasts, and none of its sizes are more popular than Gol! With a staggering 4.5-star average across 120 reviews, it’s clear that not only is this the most popular CAO cigar, but one of the most popular cigars period. Gol! features an oily Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper that embraces a robust blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos below. Exotic spices, cedar, and a smooth finish are the perfect combination for a bold and full-flavored after-dinner splurge.
If you read our recent Essential Guide to Joya de Nicaragua, you may have noted that Merciless was my favorite of their portfolio. It’s not because I think Merciless is the best JdN out there. . . It’s because I believe it has the highest flavor-to-cost ratio among their blends. Wrapped in an Ecuador Habano leaf, its Nicaraguan and Dominican core exudes a medium-bodied, oaky sweetness with a trace of warm pepper. If you allow yourself to indulge, you may notice that they aren’t the most visually appealing cigars, but let’s ask ourselves if that really matters. What means more to you? A picture for Instagram, or the value of its flavor?
Collaborating with his father, Ismael, AJ Fernandez crafted New World by AJ Fernandez after the universal kudos he received from his freshman solo debut with San Lotano. AJ’s blends are typically stronger and feature plenty of kick, but New World is medium-full in body, yet subdued with smooth and creamy spice – the perfect cigar to pair with a post-meal cup of joe. Combining Estelí, Condega, and Ometepe leaves for its core, a hybrid Nicaragua Oscuro leaf tops this deftly executed blend for a memorable experience that is only outperformed by its surprisingly low price-point.
Even if you’ve been a premium cigar enthusiast for a short period of time, you are probably as unsurprised as I was to find that the Oliva Serie V Belicoso is well-loved and highly-rated by smokers everywhere. The apex of the their lineup, Serie V, is comprised of a Habano Sun Grown wrapper and well-aged tobaccos for the binder and filler that were culled from Nicaragua’s lush Jalapa Valley. Its signature flavor is a spicy smoothness that never overpowers, delivering satisfaction that’s both dependable, and affordable.
Rocky’s tribute to Nicaragua comes via Rocky Patel Nicaraguan. This painstakingly-crafted gem is beloved, and even more so in the ever-popular Toro size. Known for its impeccable balancing act and a full flavor that doesn’t bite your palate, Rocky’s Nicaragua Habano leaf crests an all-Nicaraguan tobacco core to offer dollops of spice, pepper, earth, and sweetness that works in unison with these warmer spring evenings. This one’s as worthy of your back porch as it is your humidor.
There’s no shortage of love for big-ring cigars, and Asylum 13’s Seventy is about as big as they come! With a whopping 70 ring gauge and a length of seven inches, you’d be forgiven to think that this was purely a novelty, but you’d be wrong. A perfect score from Famous Smoke Shop customers makes it clear that Asylum was swinging, not for the fences, but for the parking lot. Cocoa, espresso and some sugary spices are just a few of the takeaways from these voluminous beauties.
Famous Nicaraguan Selection 6000 Toro – 4.5 Stars from 19 Reviews
After 80 years in the biz, Famous has been around the block enough times that by this point, they’re able to comfortably cherry pick private labels before they associate their name with them. Crafted by Amilcar Castro, who also has blended for Rocky Patel, Famous Nicaraguan Selection 6000 Toro sells in droves, both online and in Famous’s retail store. Each Nic 6000 is topped with an Ecuador Habano wrapper and choice long fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras. There are cheap cigars, and there are value cigars, and you can rest assured from these reviews that these ain’t no Ron Mexicos.
What Nicaraguan cigars would you rate highly? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading!