Cigar Buying Guides

2019 CA Report: 10 Cigars to Smoke on National Cigar Day

When winter for many in the northern hemisphere is at its peak, a seemingly misplaced holiday occurs just for us, Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf. Celebrated worldwide, National Cigar Day falls annually on February 27. This proverbial holy grail of holidays for herfers everywhere immortalizes Oscar Hammerstein, the famed inventor who bestowed upon us the cigar-manufacturing machine and in turn, gave birth to global mass production in the industry.

While some complain about it being observed so deeply in the bowels of winter, it occurs to me that we should rejoice. The few occasions that we get to celebrate with our cigars, especially during these frigid months, are fleeting, and as the old saying goes, “never look a gift horse in the mouth.”

When you partake in the revelry, you’re going to want a cigar that’s nothing short of outstanding – but what should you choose when there’s so many options? To make things easier, I’ve narrowed down 10 of the best cigars you can enjoy on this year’s National Cigar Day.

Montecristo Platinum No. 3

Size: 5.5″ x 44 Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Cubano Habano Binder: Dominican Republic Filler: Dominican Republic, Peru, Nicaragua Body: Medium

Montecristo Platinum No. 3 plays on the palate like a classically-trained pianist. With a blend that’s impeccably balanced, decadent notes of wood, roasted nuts, and espresso instill a medium-bodied euphoria that won’t soon be forgotten. The smaller ring gauge on this cigar seems to grant the best experience when compared to the other sizes I’ve tried. If you’re already a Monte follower and have been looking for a cigar that’s rich in flavor without being too heavy on the strength side of the equation, pull up your most comfy chair and put your feet up – this one has your name on it.

My Father La Opulencia Toro

Size: 6″ x 54 Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Rosado Oscuro Binder: Nicaragua Corojo and Criollo Filler: Nicaragua Body: Full

After earning the #2 Cigar of the Year honors from Cigar Aficionado in 2018, My Father La Opulencia Toro hardly needs an introduction. As celebratory cigars go, this may be one of the finest. A four-part harmony of tobaccos expertly executes a welcomed balance of flavor and strength, making this blend a clear standout. With a chocolaty earthiness, rich helpings of oak and a touch of sweet nougat underscore a flawless draw that serves full-bodied smoothness from toast to nub. My Father fans already know what you’re about to find out – La Opulencia is fully deserving of all the praise it’s received.

Charter Oak Rothschild

Size: 4.5″ x 50 Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Binder: Sumatra Filler: Nicaragua Body: Medium

Under the masterful guidance of Nick Melillo, Foundation Cigar Company has released blend after blend of incredible cigars. Charter Oak has been turning heads, including those at Cigar Aficionado, who named it their #1 Best Buy of 2018. Since release, the line has been pivotal in redefining what a Connecticut-wrapped cigar can be. Flavor is where most natural-wrapped cigars fall flat. In the past, the Connecticut tended to serve more as punctuation – often relegated to recipes designed to be mellow and undramatic, but here – in this blend – Charter Oak Rothschild lets it truly shine. Balanced notes of vanilla, cream and roasted peppers complement an oaky and nutty finish without being excessively complex. With loads of flavor, the popular Rothschild size is a perfect compromise of length and ring gauge, the Goldilocks zone, if you will, and my favorite when enjoying these smokes. If you were about to show Connecticut wrappers the door, this one will reignite the spark.

Arturo Fuente Sun Grown Chateau Fuente

Size: 4.5″ x 50 Wrapper: Ecuador Sun Grown Binder: Dominican Republic Filler: Dominican Republic Body: Medium

It’s undeniable that Arturo Fuente is one of the most requested brands at any tobacco shop. Four generations of tobacco cultivation have honed their expertise in cultivation, blending, and manufacturing into both an art and science. This penchant for the craft is exactly why Fuente is as recognizable as it is, even to those who have never smoked a cigar. Treat yourself to an Arturo Fuente Sun Grown Chateau Fuente, and you’ll discover that it delivers a rich, natural sweetness with permeating notes of cedar – thanks in part to the wrap that each cigar rests inside. With a flurry of fruity and floral hints on the finish, you’ll be left with only one question: why didn’t you pick up more of them?

Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Torpedo

Size: 6.5″ x 52 Wrapper: Nicaragua Binder: Nicaragua and Honduras Filler: Nicaragua Body: Full

Esteli, Nicaragua is known for its dark and fertile volcanic soils, which routinely yield strong tobaccos, so it comes as no bombshell that Alec Bradley named the follow-up to their renowned Black Market line, Black Market Esteli. It’s one thing to name your cigars after Esteli, and another to live up to it – and these do. With full-bodied flourishes of nuts, cream, pepper, and spices, you’ll be glad that you indulged. A relaxing and fittingly long smoke at six and a half inches, Alec Bradley fans everywhere will tell you, if you want to take your palate to the next level, Black Market Esteli has your ticket.

Partagas Legend Corona Extra

Size: 5.25 x 44 Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Binder: Honduras Olancho San Agustin Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano Body: Full

Partagas has defined luxury tobacco for nearly 175 years. From their roots in Cuba to their contemporary blends, few manufacturers have enjoyed comparable longevity or success. With Partagas Legend, the goal was to create a blend that stood as a monument to the forefathers of their brand. Only the finest aged-tobaccos were considered for use, and the result was a truly spectacular cigar. Full in body, yet creamy and smooth, your senses will be rewarded with notes of cocoa, leather, and vanilla. The Corona Extra size appeals to me for being shorter without being too short – a wonderful happy medium. If you’re planning to celebrate big on National Cigar Day, there are few better ways to do it.

Plasencia Alma Fuerte Nestor IV Toro

Size: 6.25″ x 54 Wrapper: Nicaragua Jalapa Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua Body: Full

The Plasencia family has been a long-standing source of tobaccos for some of the most recognizable manufacturers in the industry. The chances are high that if you’ve smoked a cigar within the last 30 years, their skilled hands were the stewards of at least some of the tobacco you’d have found under the hood. For many of those years, they catered solely to other companies and forwent any blends of their own. That changed in 2017 when Plasencia’s own Alma Fuerte, among other blends, were unveiled to the world. Considered by many to be their chef d’oeuvre, the decadent Alma Fuerte offer dashes of cocoa, nougat, and coffee with a zesty core. The larger ring gauge on this Toro allows you to get more smoke, and to my palate, conveys a more diverse perception of flavors. You’ve already been smoking – and loving – Plasencia’s work for years, blissfully unaware. Let Alma Fuerte ice the cake.

Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Corojo Toro

Size: 6.5″ x 52 Wrapper: Honduras Corojo Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua Body: Full

Olde World Reserve Corojo would almost certainly be one of the answers if you asked Rocky Patel which cigars made his career. After falling off the radar in 2012, the blend has returned to a welcomed homecoming from fans who were chomping at the bit after nearly a decade of withdrawal. Admittedly, I never found Rocky’s cigars on my go-to list; not because they’re sub-par, in any sense of the term, but his past blends have just never hit that sweet spot for my palate. Olde World Reserve Corojo talked me off the ledge – I was blown away. Full-bodied notes of salted caramel, pepper, and cocoa reignited the flame that will keep me – and you – coming back for more.

Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro Churchill

Size: 7″ x 56 Wrapper: Nicaragua Broadleaf Maduro Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua Body: Full

Nobody does anniversaries like Nick Perdomo. The proof is Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro Churchill. The painstaking care that went into the wrapper alone is more intensive than many complete blends you’ll find on the market today. Selected from the highest primings, a Nicaragua Broadleaf Maduro leaf first undergoes a lengthy fermentation process before moving on to cedar-aging, and eventually, bourbon barrel-aging that lasts more than a year – all before the tobaccos reach the skilled hands of Perdomo’s talented torcedores. This meticulous system is evidenced by hearty helpings of wood, toast, fresh bread, and cocoa that harmonize into a superbly-balanced experience that’s full in body, flavor, and luxury. My recommendation is the Churchill simply because you’ll want this cigar to last as long as possible! You only need to light one up to know that it’s truly special.

Oliva Master Blends 3 Torpedo

Size: 6.5″ x 52 Wrapper: Nicaragua Connecticut Broadleaf Sun Grown Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua Body: Full

Originally reserved as private blends and solely produced for the enjoyment of the Oliva family, Master Blends were brought to the public only after improvements in cultivation and quality control produced higher crop yields. Only a small number of cigars are rolled in each blend due to the fastidious attention to detail that is given during the tobacco selection process – only flawless leaves are used. While every single one of these blends has been fantastic, Oliva Master Blends 3 Torpedo might be their masterstroke. With a perfect balance of earthy creaminess melded with spices, and a splash of brown sugar, this smoke is as delicious as it is rare. With a tapered head that allows you to dial in with your cut to get the preferred amount of draw, you’ll be wishing you picked one up a lot sooner!

What cigars are you going to be enjoying on National Cigar Day? Is there something you feel that should have made my list? Let me know in the comments below!