This relationship actually runs pretty deep…so I’m sharing 5 Things I learned that bond whiskey and cigars together: how cigarmaking dovetails with distilling, why a smoke is a natural fit with a pour of whiskey by its side, and what else these indulgences have in common.
Battle: 12 Sticks Reviewed by the Price of Cigars
12 Recommendations Based on the Price of Cigars
Welcome to the Battle! If you’ve been flipping through Cigar Advisor looking for those “ratings” pages full of inflated numbers, slanted cigar reviews and stupid phrases like “pleasant subset” or “humble notes” – you’re out of luck. We don’t do that here. Instead, we give you the facts on each stick and leave picking the winners up to you. Now…how did we pick the smokes for the Battle? We just happen to like ’em for one reason or another. As for the descriptions, we’re going off of what flavor the fillers have, where the wrapper is from, and so on…and a little bit of personal experience, too. So we pick a few smokes, lay them out in a particular set of categories and let them fight it out.
For this first installment of the Battle, we’re going on price of cigars – we’ve got cigars under $4 per stick, under $7, under $10 and $10+. Because let’s face it – while sometimes you end up buying on price, nobody ever said you can’t have a good, handmade cigar for a couple singles.
Round 1 – Price of Cigars: under $4 a stick….Fight!
J. Fuego Origen Originals – the Samurai of the under $4 crowd – old world tradition with honed skills. Bold, 100% Corojo exudes the richness of the old country’s way of blending. Harnesses its full-bodied spiciness to slice through your lips like cold Japanese steel in the hands of a master.
[Ed. Note: J. Fuego Origen cigars are no longer in stock at Famous Smoke Shop; click the image to view other J. Fuego cigar options.]
Schizo Sixty – Like all serial killers, it’s always the quiet ones. All-Nicaraguan shortfiller tobaccos give it a mild to medium profile with a cool, clean taste. But give it an opportunity, and it becomes a killer – performing consistently well in burn, flavor, and aroma.
Trocadero Honore – calm, cool and collected, like a fighter pilot. Sure, the Nicaraguan blend will take you for a quick, high-G turn from mild to medium body every once in a while – but this Top Gun has your 6, if you’re looking for medium-mellow. Wrapped in an Ecuador Habano Rosado leaf, it’s got more flavor than just any everyday smoke.
Round 2 – Price of Cigars: under $7 a stick….Fight!
Torano Loyal Robusto – it’s got your back! Our first fighter in the under 7 battle, Torano Loyal covers you better than a backup piece in your sock. Handmade with long fillers hailing from both Nicaragua and the DR, and they throw on a coat of oily Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper for good measure. In a word, solid – like that 450lb bouncer at the door to the bar. Peppery to start, mellows once you get to know it.
Perdomo Champagne Noir Robusto – a Nicaraguan puro blended with Viso, Seco & Ligero in a Cuban-seed Maduro wrapper. But Perdomo puts the Champ in Champagne, triple-fermenting the leaves for over 14 months…then giving them another 6 month workout in oak bourbon barrels. The result: lean, clean and mean. A sweet, medium-bodied smoke with rich flavors.
MUWAT Bait Fish – Drew Estate + Joya de Nicaragua = firepower! It’s a banger: Brazilian Mata Fina Oscuro, Nicaraguan Esteli Ligero, Nicaraguan Seco Jalapa and Nicaraguan Viso Condega longfillers are locked and loaded into CT Broadleaf Maduro binders, and wrapped in San Andreas Negro capas. Damn.
Round 3 – Price of Cigars: under $10 a stick….Fight!
Aging Room Small Batch M356 Major – made by Boutique Blends, it’s the bareknuckle boxer of the under $10 group – rare these days. The tobaccos inside lay untouched in the factory until one fateful Monday in December, 2008 – which makes it an instant classic. Smoking one is a memorable experience: there’s plenty of strength, complemented by a refined flavor and aroma. Get in the ring!
Davidoff Grand Cru No. 5 – Davidoff is known as a lover, not a fighter – but the fact that you can stumble into their top tier of smooth, ultra-refined Dominican quality for under ten bucks in this petite corona size makes this stick a knockout choice. It’s some of Davidoff’s best tobacco working hard, here.
Trinidad Paradox Churchill – Paradox is a brawler with balance – brass knuckles on one hand, a blackjack in the other and smile on his face. Handcrafted with Nicaraguan longfillers, Dominican binder and a Mexican San Andres Criollo ’98 wrapper. The flavors offer great balance with that smile of sweetness in the mix.
Round 4 – Price of Cigars: over $10 a stick….Fight!
Camacho Diploma Figurado – This diploma? Earned on the street. Made with a rare blend of 1997 vintage Corojo leaf grown in the Jamastran Valley of Honduras, the tobacco is fermented for 2 full years to deliver a smooth, full-bodied smoke. It’s got rhythm, and it’s got flow – and it’s taking you to school, son. Respect!
Padilla Miami Maduro Torpedo – Miami Maduro operates like a page straight out of “The Art of War.” Using special tactics, Padilla lures you in with a medium start – then sneaks up on you in a rush, as the Nicaraguan longfillers wrapped in a San Andres Maduro bodysuit strike out in a full-bodied pepper shot to make you its concubine. And like an ancient Chinese warrior, it’s rare – only 1500 are made each month.
Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Toro – Rocky Patel calls this heavyweight prizefighter “a Decade on steroids.” It’s handmade using a blend of Nicaraguan longfillers from a “special” farm in Esteli…like a top secret, underground training compound, we guess. Completing the blend are a Nicaraguan Jalapa binder and Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. With a full body and plenty of strength, it’s the Ivan Drago of the bunch – elegance and balance, but with a punch that puts it over the top. It must break you.