Reading Time: 3 minutes Gary reviews the Camacho Factory Unleashed 3, an annually-released Toro that gives the Camacho Factory’s blending team a chance to strut their stuff. So, was their stuff up to snuff? See this Maduro’s detailed performance here.
Yardgars: A Cigar Advisor Guide to Value & Variety
What even is a yardgar?
For one, they’re those trusty cigars that don’t break the bank but provide a good smoke. The cigars that, while premium, won’t be found in glossy cigar magazines or written about in hushed tones on the internet by people like—well, me. They’re the unsung heroes of the cigar world, and finally, they’re getting their turn in the spotlight.
You might be thinking, why put a focus on yardgars? Let’s put it this way: if they were good enough for some of the history’s most prolific cigar smokers like Mark Twain, George Burns, and Ulysses S Grant—who was reported to smoke 20 cigars a day during the Civil War and his presidency—then they’re good enough for us. They obviously wouldn’t be familiar with calling them yardgars, but it’s undeniable that they all smoked and preferred budget cigars that were good enough to enjoy all day. And while all yardgars are inexpensive, not all inexpensive cigars are yardgars.
So, I ask again, what is a yardgar?
The Yardgar Defined
Yardgar is a combination of yard and cigar (well duh), but there doesn’t seem to be a universally accepted definition of the term. We all know roughly what it means though. Basically, an inexpensive cigar that’s to be enjoyed casually—as opposed to formal occasions or celebrations.
They’re the cigars that connoisseurs tend to look down upon, but if you dig into their humidors, you’re sure to find an example. Afterall, who the hell smokes a Cohiba Spectre or Padron 1964 on a riding mower? A yardgar won’t win any awards, but it’s a trusty companion when mindless smoking (where you don’t necessarily need to pay attention or take pictures to prove you smoked it) is called for—cutting grass, blowing leaves to the curb, building a deck, etc. Some are long filler, some have short filler, and some are Cuban Sandwich—a mix of the two—but they all bring some enjoyment to the humdrum and mundane.
Beyond that, they’re all about getting the most bang for your buck. It’s this—at least in my mind—that separates a yardgar from any old cheap cigar. While a yardgar is budget-friendly, they still pack a punch where it counts—flavor and experience.
The Best Yardgars
Whether you’re a seasoned cigar smoker or just starting out, there’s something here for everyone. Better yet, they’re all $5.00 a cigar and under. So, kick back, dive in, and discover your next everyday classic.
E By Espinosa
E by Espinosa is a Nicaraguan puro wrapped in a lush Habano leaf and gives a medium-bodied ride through easy-smoking tobacco bliss. There’s a dance with complexity and depth during a journey that hits all the right notes with a mix of baking spices, roasted nuts, earth, and caramel. E by Espinosa provide a really good smoke for an even better price.
Casa de Garcia Centenario Gold Label
Excerpt from CA Review Panel Aug. 18 2023
Kudos to Plasencia for the Casa de Garcia Centenario Gold Toro. They’ve blended a cool-smoking, medium-bodied cigar of better than average quality for its class and price. It performed very well in terms of burn, its ability to stand-up to the elements, and the woody, nutty, and sweet base notes held-up impressively for the most part. I clearly see this Toro as a good morning smoke with coffee, or a mid or late day smoke with a beer. Although I found this cigar mostly enjoyable, it was the more dominant earthiness in the latter inches that left me a little flat. However, as Paul pointed out in the video, you can’t expect a $2 bundle burner to smoke like an Avo primo. Suffice it to say… if you’re a bargain hunter or are simply seeking an everyday cheapo, this Casa de Garcia Gold Toro is hard to beat. – Gary
Famous Nicaraguan Selection 3000
The Nicaraguan Selection 3000 is a personal go-to. Its overall experience is reminiscent of a night at a favorite dive bar—affordable, entertaining, and a little rambunctious. It kicks off with a spicy punch, mellowing into a symphony of earth, wood, and nut. And as the smoke swirls, the blend transforms further, revealing a spicier, espresso-tinged finale. Not for the faint-hearted, this cigar is a full-flavored escapade that’ll have you begging for more.
Indomina by AJ Fernandez
Excerpt from The CA Essential Guide to AJ Fernandez Cigars
From the Spanish adjective indómito, meaning “untamable,” “rebellious,” and “unruly,” comes this exclusive AJ Fernandez cigar selection. Although the name makes it sound like it’s gonna be a full-bodied powerplay, Indomina weighs-in at a very agreeable medium body. The blend starts with the star of this cigar—a plush Ecuador 2000 wrapper bred from a Cuban/Connecticut seed hybrid. Next comes a naturally sweet Mexican binder followed by a core of prime Nicaraguan fillers. All told, the smoke issues touches of cedar, leather, coffee bean, earth and black pepper underscored by a wealth of well-balanced spice. In addition to its more than reasonable price, Indomina makes a good introductory smoke for the new AJ Fernandez smoker. – Gary
Excerpt from #NowSmoking Sept. 6 2023
…a great, anytime, anywhere blend, I would put it up there with other time-tested Connecticuts like Baccarat, CAO Gold, and similar brands. I didn’t find the cigar as complex or spicy as I did straightforward and relaxing, especially with coffee. The only con I found, if you can call it that, was I wish they had made the band shorter. Compared to the previous Chillin’ Moose releases, Shady Moose is one of the highlights of the franchise. Taking its body, flavor, performance, and price point into account, be it for golf, end of the day, every day, etc., you bet they’re worth a shot. – Gary
Slaughterhouse bundles from Ventura Company are a steal, delivering a top-notch smoke without burning a hole in your pocket. Wrapped in a dark Mexican San Andres, this medium-bodied beauty sings with earthy sweetness, coffee, cedar, and a kick of spice. Rolled to perfection for a slow, even burn, it’s a comfortable, satisfying smoke. Don’t let the price fool you; this cigar can hang with the big boys. Perfect for the daily grind, Slaughterhouse bundles are a no-brainer for the savvy smoker.
Tabacalera La Alianza Factory Selects Natural
Tabacalera La Alianza Natural cigars, crafted by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, offer exceptional value for those looking for an easy smoke. These medium-bodied cigars boast a premium blend of undisclosed wrappers and long filler tobaccos, ensuring a high-quality smoking experience. Notably, these cigars are overrun firsts, not seconds, making them a fantastic choice for daily enjoyment without compromising on quality. TLA Factory Selects Natural cigars are a must-try for those seeking a top-grade smoke at a budget-friendly cost.
Quorum is a wallet-friendly wonder crafted by J.C. Newman in Nicaragua and delivers loads of quality on a budget. This medium-bodied stick, wrapped in a supple Ecuador Sumatra, boasts a smooth draw and a steady burn. With layers of cocoa, pepper, earth, and a zesty twist, it’s a flavor journey from start to finish. For the budget-conscious among us, the Quorum is a no-brainer.
The Vudu Broadleaf by Jesus Fuego is a robust smoke, draped in a dark, oily Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper. This medium-full cigar delivers a balanced blend of earth, charred oak, black pepper, and espresso, with just a whisper of sweetness. It’s well-rolled, burns like a dream, and fills the air with smooth, rich smoke. Rugged and affordable, it’s perfect for smoking outdoors or kicking back with a drink.
Smoke like you’ll live forever. And you’ll feel that way with the Plasencia –made Immortal, a Nicaraguan Puro that packs a punch without punching your wallet. Wrapped in a dark, oily Nicaraguan Habano leaf, this robust stick is well-made and full of flavor. Expect a consistent dance of pepper, charred notes, and sweet, woodsy tones, all wrapped up in a chewy smoke. For a bold Nicaraguan experience that won’t blow your budget, the Immortal is a sure thing.