Cigar Buying Guides

CA 2021 Report: My Top 5 Desert Island Cigars Under $10

Desert Island Cigars: 5 Cigars to Choose If You’re Stranded Forever

Updated August 2021

We’ve all had versions of the conversation. It usually begins with a simple question along the lines of, “If you were stranded on a desert island, what 5 cigars would you want to have with you?”




I would love to be stranded with an unlimited supply of $20+ sticks—but because I like a challenge, I’m limiting myself to cigars $10 and under.

Send help! I mean…send cigars!

There are no Fuente Fuente Opus X, Padron Anniversary Series, Davidoffs, or cigars from the island that I won’t name. They’re all worthy of inclusion, but they’re not widely available or considered to be cigars for daily enjoyment. And if I’m stuck on an island, I’m going to be a chimney.

You may be wondering—who’s this Paul guy? So that you get to know a little more about me, here’s my list of the perfect cigars for an unintended island getaway (or planned vacation).

situation 1, finding food and shelter with a shelter and fruit, and bowl of leaves for desert island cigars

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story

When I first wade ashore—I’m overwhelmed. I must find shelter. And food. But before any of that, I need to gather my wits. So, I’d reach into my shirt pocket, grab this perfecto, and sit down on the beach.

For me, the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story is a perfect any time-of-day cigar. Its small stature makes it perfect for convenient storage. And its flavor profile is complex: including notes of cedar, spice, and leather—in other words—pleasant enough to enjoy on an empty stomach but rich enough for the full-bodied fan. And perhaps best of all, the price point won’t break any banks.

situation 2, mornings on the beach with a sand castle and star fish for desert island cigars

Don Tomas Special Edition Connecticut #200

Sometimes I want to walk on the mild side. And when those times call, the Don Tomas Special Edition Connecticut answers the bell.

And so, the Don Tomas Special Edition Connecticut is my companion when I find myself awake at—or before—dawn. The Dominican, Mexican, and Nicaraguan long fillers provide for a pleasant experience that won’t overwhelm a palate. The profile is creamy and toasty and remains mellow without becoming bland or boring. This is a great, affordably-priced cigar for both the newbie and seasoned brother/sister of the leaf.

situation 3, after a dinner of coconuts and crab for desert island cigars

Oliva Serie V Lancero

There’s not a lot of options in terms of food here. I’d kill for some bacon. Or a steak. And while I don’t have some crispy strips or a porterhouse for dinner on this ‘uncharted desert isle’, I do have Oliva V—a 4-course meal in cigar form.

With a gorgeous Habano Sun Grown wrapper hugging a blend of hearty Nicaraguan ligero long fillers, the Oliva V is a feast for the senses. Kicking off with rich notes of spice, coffee and cedar, there’s a creamy undercurrent throughout. This cigar is full bodied and elegant without being overwhelming. And better yet, it’s affordable for an everyday guy like me.

Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte Madrid

situation 4, killing time with cooler, beer, and beach chair for desert island cigars

When I want a good cigar without the frills or hefty price, there’s no better option than Sancho Panza.

A Yoda-like figure deposited this cigar on my desk one evening 8 years ago. “Try this…you should.” When I did, I found an instant classic. It was like a secret passed between those in the know. And I became an initiate.

This Honduran puro is box-pressed and comes dressed in a silky sun grown Havana wrapper. This stick is full bodied and full flavored, with notes of spice, light pepper, and rich tobacco with a touch of sweetness. Best of all, even at everyday retail—this cigar is an absolute steal.

situation 5, rescue celebration cigar with an SOS sign made of rocks for desert island cigars

Padron 4000 Maduro

Padron is my victory cigar. I go for a Padron to mark life’s big moments—you know the ones I’m talking about. And that’s why I light this cigar when I spot the rescue plane.

The Padron Thousand Series has never let me down. This hearty Nicaraguan puro features the robust flavors—coffee, toast, rich tobacco, and cocoa—found in Padron’s Cadillac lines, but at an affordable price. Padron cigars are almost universally praised and highly rated for good reason. In fact, the Padron Thousand Series is in serious competition for the best bang for your cigar-enjoying buck.

Getting rescued…?

“Sir, you’re gonna haf’ta put that out before we take off.”


A decision was made. And I’m waiting for a boat.

I’d be interested to hear what sticks you’d pick. Remember, you are stranded on an island. And yes, you’ll have a humidor, cutter, and reliable flame.

Please comment below and share your choice of Desert Island Cigars, and don’t worry about budget.