Cigar Buying Guides

2018 CA Report: 10 Top Shelf Maduro Cigars

As the peak of the Holiday season edges closer and the year-end celebrations pile-up, cigar smokers have a number of opportunities to enjoy some extra-special primos. If you’ve waited up until now to add some top shelf cigars to your collection, these top shelf Maduro cigars are extremely humidor worthy.

Many of the cigars are rolled in Mexican San Andrés maduro wrappers, which have become increasingly in-demand, while others are finished with Connecticut Broadleaf and Habano wrappers. Half of the list also features box-pressed cigars, which allow for a slower burn and more flavor.

Moreover, for this compilation I wanted to bring some of the more remarkable boutique selections to your attention. These include cigars from Asylum, Aganorsa, C.L.E., and Foundation Cigar Co. If you haven’t yet discovered them, you’re in for some marvelous treats.

Beyond that, every cigar in the list is exquisitely handcrafted, swarming with flavor, and distinctive in character.

Aganorsa Miami Maduro El Supremo

Size: 6″ x 58 (box-pressed)
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder & Filler: Nicaraguan Aganorsa
Body: Medium-Full

The cigars coming from Aganorsa have been nothing short of amazing thanks to the authentic, “old world” Cuban method of curing, fermenting, and aging, and this sharply pressed Miami Maduro El Supremo is a mind-blowing example. Rolled to perfection in a toothy, yet silky Mexican San Andrés wrapper, the smoke is ultra-creamy and well-balanced from foot to nub. Ribbons of sweet spice, cedar, raisins, and dark chocolate unspool in richly textured waves offering one of most impressive smokes in the super-premium Maduro cigar class.

Asylum Medulla Oblongata Maduro Robusto (Oblongata)

Size: 5″ x 50 (box-pressed)
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder & Filler: Honduran Corojo
Body: Full

Better known for their extra-large ring cigars, this 50-ring Robusto is absolutely stunning in a trunk-pressed format capped with a dark, oily Mexican San Andrés wrapper. At the core is an all-Honduran leaf recipe that issues a creamy, non-stop, full-flavored smoke brimming with cedar, roasted nuts, coffee bean, and caramel, plus a hardy helping of sweet spice on a long finish. Without question, one of the best cigars in the Asylum stable. And for the more zealous Asylum disciples—yes, they’re also available in 60, 70, and 80 ring sizes.

Full boxes come with 25 round (Medulla) and 25 box-pressed (Oblongata) cigars, but if you prefer one format over the other, 5-packs are available in both formats.

CLE Azabache Toro

Size: 6″ x 54 (box-pressed)
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru
Body: Full

A humidor-worthy selection from Christian Eiroa’s C.L.E. marque that’s really caught on of late thanks to some well-deserved, high-scoring reviews. Trunk-pressed in a flawless, ebony-hued Mexican San Andrés wrapper with a three-nation core, this 54-ring Toro offers a uniquely complex smoke that starts off sweet and citrusy, then shifts to a more earthy, oaky character underscored by layers of dark-chocolate, and espresso, with some lingering orange peel on the long finish. (For what it’s worth, the Azabache is also one of Christian’s personal favorites.)

Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour Toro

Size: 6″ x 54
Wrapper: Habano Marron Oscuro (Ecuador)
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Dominican Piloto Seco, San Vicente Mejorado & Olor Visus, plus Nicaraguan Estelí & Condega Visus
Body: Full

When the band says “Davidoff,” high expectations follow. And when you add Sir Winnie’s name to the band, expectations are even higher. Suffice it to say, this savory sequel to Davidoff’s Winston Churchill selection is all that the Prime Minister would’ve loved while working into the wee hours of the night. Deftly rolled in a flawless Oscuro wrapper that evokes the color of the midnight sky, a virtual crew of sweet oak, cedar, spice, coffee, and caramel is all hands on deck throughout the entire voyage with a lush creaminess on the finish. When you talk about “the smell of victory,” this is it.

Montecristo Epic Craft Cured Toro

Size: 6″ x 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Rosado Oscuro (aged 11 years)
Binder: Nicaragua (Ometepe)
Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí, Condega, Jalapa)
Body: Full

No need to go into a lengthy diatribe about the prestige of Montecristo cigars and their place in cigar history. Let’s just say—with all due respect to their Cuban-made cousins—the Epic Craft Cured selection is one of the finest examples of a Nicaraguan-made puro. Meticulously handcrafted with an oily, 11-year-aged Rosado Oscuro wrapper over a Nicaraguan core blend, the cigar reeks with refinement, opening with notes of earth, cocoa, and pepper. The smoke builds to a full-bodied mélange of well-balanced flavors including oak, roasted nuts, sweet spices, and coffee accentuated by a peppery glaze that lingers on the finish.

My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo

Size: 6 1/8″ x 52 (box-pressed figurado)
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro (Pelo de Oro)
Binder & Filler: Nicaragua
Body: Full

No wonder the “#1 Cigar of the Year” for 2015 with its “Classic” 97-rating continues to be a go-to for avid cigar lovers. A genuine work of art, the Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo is the only box-pressed shape in the Le Bijou 1922 line, and for good reason—the complexity attained by the pressing is out of this world. Ultra-creamy and perfectly balanced, the smoke reveals well-defined flavors of earth, cedar, raisins, leather, dark chocolate, and sweet spices on a luxurious finish. Written descriptions aside, this is one cigar that must be smoked to fully appreciate its charms.

Padrón Family Reserve 45 Years Maduro

Size: 6″ x 52 (box-pressed)
Wrapper/Binder/Filler: Nicaragua
Body: Full

Referred to as “The Hammer” in some circles, the Padrón Family Reserve 45 Years Maduro represents the pinnacle of Padrón’s blending mastery. As squarely pressed as it gets, the wrapper exudes a lush oiliness to the eye and a hint of chocolate to the nose. The Padrón maduros tend to be sweeter, but the full-bodied smoke also reveals an ample serving of pepper that ebbs and flows within a well-balanced combination of earth, oak, nutmeg, savory leather, and dark chocolate. A quintessential special occasion cigar that’s best reserved for more experienced palates.

Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generación V Salomon

Size: 7″ x 58 Figurado
Wrapper/Binder/Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí, Condega, Jalapa, Ometepe)
Body: Medium – Full

The Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generación V Salomon represents another piece de resistance among top-shelf cigars. Capturing the “#9 Cigar of the Year” slot in 2017, this figurado’s glistening wrapper and voluptuous shape evoke a sense of gracefulness, while the core is a perfectly-balanced blend of mostly Criollo ’98 tobaccos assembled from Nicaragua’s four major growing regions. Moving from medium to full in body, this cigar constantly shifts gears as notes of chocolate, cedar, roasted nuts, sweet tobacco and spice roll through in perfectly-balanced procession right down to its nub-worthy finale.

Rocky Patel Platinum Limited Edition Habano Robusto

Size: 5½” x 50 (box-pressed)
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Maduro
Binder & Filler: Nicaragua
Body: Medium – Full

Although the Rocky Patel Platinum is a pretty hard cigar to top, this Limited Edition version racks up even more yardage in flavor and complexity. Protected by an elegant secondary band, the dark Habano Maduro leaf glistens with oiliness and gives-off a wonderful chocolatey aroma. Like most of Rocky’s top-shelf cigars, this Robusto is beautifully handcrafted and box-pressed. Once lit, the smoke is dense, creamy and medium bodied, as notes of leather, sweet spice, and cedar are revealed. The cigar eventually glides into full-body mode where notes of dark chocolate, anise, and a tangy pinch of citrus ensue. This is an extremely rewarding cigar best suited for relaxing with after dinner.

The Tabernacle Toro

Size: 6″ x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras
Body: Full

The Tabernacle selection from Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Co. is graced by one of the finest examples of Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper ever created. Curled around a perfectly-balanced blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos grown on A.J. Fernandez’s La Soledad farm, plus some prime Honduran filler bound in a spicy Mexican San Andrés wrapper, the dense smoke issues a bold brew of earthiness, sweet cedar, chocolate mocha, espresso, and a vivid tide of peppery spice. Newbies may want to hold-off on this full-bodied gem, but for the experienced cigar enthusiast who can’t get enough of that spicy stuff, this Toro’s the bomb.

Whether you choose some of these cigars for your own personal enjoyment, or are thinking about giving them as an appropriate cigar gift for a Brother, or Sister, of the Leaf, there’s plenty of pleasure to be found in these dark beauties. I hope you’ve made some new discoveries, and if you enjoyed this article, or smoked any of the cigars in the list, please share it and leave a comment, too.