Cigar Buying Guides

Mid-Year Cigar Review: The Best New Cigars of 2023 (So Far)


Cigar awards season has always felt a little ‘right place, wrong time.’ For many of us in the contiguous U.S., the occasion falls during colder months—times when smokers aren’t doing much, if anything, outside apart from occasionally shoveling snow.

What about the other 11 months? Many are warmer and prone to outdoor smoking enjoyment. Makes sense, right? At Cigar Advisor, we do our Best Cigars list twice: once in the summer; another during the traditional award season. We want you to get out there and enjoy them in the moment without waiting for better weather to come around.

Our Mid-Year Best New Cigars of 2023 features the biggest big brand and boutiques our industry has to offer. Drew Estate, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, Rojas, AJ Fernandez, Gran Habano, & more! Scroll down to check out our list of top 2023 cigars—but first—a few disclaimers:

We don’t grade the cigars on any alphanumeric system. Our decisions are based solely on a blend’s flavor and smoking experience. We use a process of elimination to whittle a list of dozens of new cigar arrivals down to just 10. The cigars are then ordered alphabetically. Making the list is good enough for us. We’ll leave the crowning up to you.

Cigar Advisor does not offer advertising. In a world where reviews are purchased commodities, it’s important to note that we don’t have any incentive to pick one brand over the other. No ads mean no quid pro quo.

Sorry, no Cuban cigars. Cubans are harder to get than a PlayStation 5 these days. It’s not worth our time or yours talking about them, especially at their price tags.

Have you smoked a new cigar that impressed you? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Blackened M81 by Drew Estate

What do you get when you combine the blending talent of Drew Estate’s Jonathan Drew, Blackened® bourbon whiskey master distiller Rob Dietrich, and the palate of Metallica’s James Hetfield? You get Blackened M81. Teeming with notes of dark chocolate, espresso, leather, and spice, Advisor reviewer, Paul Lukens wrote: “Strength and intensity-wise, Blackened began at full throttle and never let off the gas.”

Cuba Aliados Cabinet by E.P. Carrillo

This classic premium brand from the 90’s boom days has undergone a yummy makeover by one of the best—Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. He turned this Cabinet selection into a top notch, full-bodied smoke by using an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper over a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Honduran fillers. The result is a rich and spicy smoke with notes of chocolate, nuts, leather, and earth.

E.P. Carrillo Allegiance

Speak of the devil, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo has topped himself again with the Allegiance cigars selection. Using tobaccos chosen from Oliva Cigar’s stocks, Ernesto applied his go-to Ecuador Sumatra capa over a Nicaraguan leaf core. Revealing notes of cream, oak, nuts and baking spices, the medium-plus smoke hits on all cylinders with a decadent and complex flavor profile.

Gran Habano 20th Aniversario

To celebrate two decades as a leading premium brand, Gran Habano released their luxurious 20th Aniversario line earlier this year. Graced by a naturally sweet Nicaraguan Jalapa Corojo wrapper aged four full years, the smoke is well-balanced throughout with a woody-nutty quality complemented by nutmeg, cinnamon, and occasional hits of citrus zest. If you like their #5 Corojo, this Aniversario line goes one step beyond.

H. Upmann 1844 Special Edition Barbier

Ecuador Connecticut and Sumatra wrappers provide the contrasting twist in this H. Upmann “Barbier” Barber Pole cigar line. Mostly mellow with a more robust performance in the final act, the balance of flavors, complexity, and construction sing in perfect harmony throughout. For those who desire a rich-tasting smoke that’s miles from bold, the barbier’s chair is waiting for you.

New World Dorado by AJ Fernandez

The New World Dorado line gets its name from the farm on which the bulk of the tobaccos used in the blend were grown, including the pristine sun grown Habano wrappers. Advisor reviewer, John Pullo called it “a standout right from go.” Brimming with notes of graham cracker, cinnamon, and baking spices, John added, “You’ll love this cigar unconditionally, right down to the ragged, finger-burning nub.”

Ozgener Family Bosphorus

Following a 12-year hiatus from the cigar industry, Tim Ozgener, of the founding CAO Cigars brand family is back with Bosphorus cigars. Hearty throughout and bubbling with notes of earth, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and cedar, Advisor reviewer, Gary Korb classified the B52 (shown) as “a utility player” adding, “you can smoke this cigar just about anywhere, any time of day, and pair it with just about everything.”

Rojas Unfinished Business

If there’s one boutique cigar line that’s turned a lot of heads so far this year, it’s the Rojas Unfinished Business. Made at Noel Rojas’s new Estelí tabacalera, Unfinished Business offers textbook construction in a medium-full smoke. Advisor reviewer, Jared Gulick called it “…a savory mix of a nutty and salty sweetness.” Complex, rich, and balanced from end-to-end, cedar, citrus, nuts, honey, baking spices, and more, combine for a ‘checked every box’ smoke that cigar smokers can wrap their head around with pleasure.

Romeo y Julieta House of Romeo Nicaragua

If you’re seeking some “bolder excitement” in a Romeo y Julieta cigar, pull-up to this latest Romeo exclusive. To create that kind of excitement it took a Nicaraguan Jalapa/Estelí core and a devastatingly gorgeous Mexican San Andrés Morron wrapper. The smoke offers a full-bodied and chewy smoke packed with dark, caramelized tobacco flavors. More than just a top mid-year choice, a solid smoke for the coin.

Weller by Cohiba 2022

Another luxurious cigar inspired by a great bourbon, Weller by Cohiba 2022 boasts a U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf binder aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. According to Cohiba brand manager, Sean Williams, this proprietary tobacco barrel aging process “adds another dimension to the smoking experience, offering rich notes of cedar, honey and a subtle spice that come to life on the palate and in the aroma.” We agree!