Cigar Buying Guides

2019 CA Report: 10 Top First Time Maduro Cigars

CA Picks: Top 10 First Time Maduros

To many cigar novices, Maduro is the stuff of legend – and unfortunately, often misunderstood. “Too strong for me,” some believe (actually, that’s not true). Others might think, “I bet they’re bitter, like dark beer.” (Nope.) But before we take you by the hand and prove it by way of this introduction to the world of beginner Maduros, it might be helpful to define a little about this premium cigar wrapper pick.

What exactly is a Maduro wrapper?

If you’ve frequented any establishment that sells premium cigars, you have undoubtedly seen darkly-wrapped cigars sprinkled throughout the shelves. From chocolate brown to jet black, you’ll see them as an option on many blends. It seems that every year, their popularity grows significantly.

Typically, Maduros fall into one of three color variations. Colorado Maduro is milk chocolate in color where Maduro is darker and reminiscent of baking chocolates. Last on the list is Oscuro, which tends to straddle the line between extreme dark brown and black.

top first time maduro cigars cigar wrapper color chart free download
Cigar wrappers, from lighter to darker colors; the Maduro group is toward the right. (Click to download our free wrapper color and ring gauge guide!)

Truth be told, these deep-hued wrapper options are relatively new. If you took a gander at that same store a half century ago, there would only have been lighter, natural wrapper choices. As cigar smoking gained popularity in the American market, so did the consumer demand for complexity and bolder flavors, and thus, the Maduro wrapper was born.

Maduro in Spanish means ripe. It’s a common misconception that Maduro wrappers are a type of leaf when the reality is, it’s more accurately defined as a state certain leaves can attain with extensive fermentation through exposure to high temperatures and moisture. This means that not all leaves can be used. Higher primings (the uppermost leaves of a tobacco plant) are usually most successful as the additional sunlight they receive renders them stronger, more durable, and most importantly, more pliable so that they’re less prone to breakage under the stresses of fermentation. During their process of aging, the natural oils and sugars in the leaf come to the surface and darken its appearance. Aesthetically, our minds immediately associate this look with strength, but longer fermentation tends to yield a mellower leaf that’s often underscored by an inherent sweetness. It’s for this reason that many blenders use Maduro wrappers on stronger blends as a balance. Along with the mellowed sweetness, the extended aging process typically leads to a broader scope of flavors.

That doesn’t mean heartier blends get all the fun. In fact, we have 10 fantastic mellow- to medium-bodied lovelies lined up to provide you with a proper introduction…

Macanudo Maduro

Macanudo is often a greenhorn’s first cigar. Their mellow approach to blending has earned them the love and respect of smokers around the globe, and that’s why Macanudo Maduro makes the top of the list. With a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a Mexican San Andres binder, and a combination of Dominican Piloto Cubano and Mexican filler leaves, this blend extends a warm welcome to the dark side with notes of cocoa, cream, spices, and a silky finish.

Isla del Sol Maduro

Maybe you fancy something on the sweeter side – or, in the case of many beginners, your cigar experience has been limited to sweeter smokes that have been enhanced with flavors. If either sounds like you, Isla del Sol Maduro fits you to a t. With two decades of infused-blend prowess under its belt, Drew Estate has become a preferred choice of millions. Isla del Sol’s all-Nicaraguan blend of tobaccos will liven up any smoker’s bored palate with notes of sweet tobacco, cocoa, coffee, and cream. The intensive infusion of these cigars features Sumatra Mandheling bean coffee, making it a perfect morning smoke.

Charter Oak Maduro

With a natural-wrapped sister cigar that was Cigar Aficionado’s Best Buy of 2018, Foundation Cigar’s Charter Oak Maduro is one of the finest entry-level smokes on the market. Its creator, Nick Melillo, said, “I wanted to create an economy-minded, everyday smoke for connoisseurs – something tasty and delicious, but didn’t break the bank.” Delicious is assuredly the word and hefty helpings of cocoa, earth, and sweet spices made possible by a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Sumatra binder, and Nicaragua long-fillers, which all culminate into an introduction that you won’t soon forget.

CAO Gold Maduro

A Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper and a blend of all-Nicaraguan filler tobaccos sets the tone for CAO Gold Maduro, a spicy, yet refined blend that delivers dollops of earth, leather, cocoa, and a pinch of pepper, all with an uber-creamy finish. CAO has carved a path of excellence with nearly a quarter century of grade-A blends that you can depend on for indulgent satisfaction every time you light one up. For these reasons, CAO Gold Maduro is a solid gateway to next-level flavors.

Olor Nicaragua Maduro by Perdomo

Olor Nicaragua Maduro by Perdomo offers a glimpse of higher pedigree analogs like Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro and Champagne Noir without the stiff price tag. Dark cocoa, nuts, earth, and spices are prevalent due to a Maduro wrapper that has undergone triple-fermentation in bourbon oak barrels. I guarantee that if you took a blind taste test, you wouldn’t believe these sticks were under $7 apiece. Challenge accepted?

Flor de Oliva Maduro

Crafted by Oliva, one of the heaviest hitters in the industry, Flor de Oliva Maduro is punctuated by an earthy, woody profile that’s delivered through a diverse blend of tobaccos. Its easygoing and flavorful profile is thanks to a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Habano binder, and long-filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. These delicious sticks will open a whole new world of flavor for a fraction of the cost of its big-brand brethren.

La Aurora Maduro

Since 1903, La Aurora’s creations have been favorites in humidors everywhere, so putting your trust in their time-tested hands has never been a gamble. La Aurora Maduro makes use of a Brazilian Sun Grown wrapper atop its Dominican long-filler core of tobaccos to embrace you with a zesty complexity that’s highlighted by a lightly sweet finish. These economical handmade treats are a natural next step on anyone’s journey to bolder endeavors.

Alec Bradley 1600

An exclusive to Famous Smoke Shop, Alec Bradley 1600 nestles a three-nation blend of tobaccos inside its robust Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper to grant any smoker a scrumptious bouquet of nutmeg, sweet wood, oak, and spicy finish. It’s said that Alan Rubin’s start in the industry hinged upon a chance 10-second encounter, much as how your brush with Alec Bradley 1600 may unlock your Maduro appetite.

EP Carrillo Core Plus

Who better to greet you at Maduro’s door than 2018’s blender of the year, Ernesto-Perez Carrillo? EPC Core Plus marries a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Habano binder, and Nicaragua long fillers for an unparalleled smoking experience. With exquisite construction, a handsome price, and notes of spices, pepper, sweet cream, and nuts, your flavor boost will be delectable without the notorious bite of stronger blends.

Ashton Aged Maduro

If you plan for your graduation to Maduro to be extra special, look no further than the Ashton Aged Maduro super premium. With a hand-selected Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that protects a Dominican core, these cigars are refined, elegant, and full of flavor without ever overpowering. Savory notes of cocoa, cream, earth, and a sprinkle of spices bevy your taste buds for a smoke that will drown out all of the noise and stress any hellish week can throw your way.

What Maduro-wrapped treasure was your first? Are you still smoking it today? Let me know what you think of our list!