Cigar Buying Guides

2020 CA Report: 10 Top-Rated Lancero Cigars

CA Report: 10 Top Lanceros

Updated January 2020

When I originally wrote this article in 2015, Lancero cigars weren’t exactly on the tip of the average cigar smoker’s tongue. There weren’t very many to choose from, either. Yet, today, more manufacturers are making the Lancero part of their regular production lines. As the great Manuel Quesada told me many years ago: “The Lancero is a very personal cigar.” And in fact, many of the Lanceros handed to me by a number of cigar makers over the years were made for their own personal use. It’s nice to see that this “very personal” vitola has now gone mainstream. – GK

The question is: are you willing to put down one of your chubby Churchills and try something in a 38 regular to prove it? I’m talking about Lancero cigars, or what I call, the cigar world’s supermodels. They’re slim, sexy, and look drop-dead gorgeous in perfectly-aged wrapper leaf.

Admittedly, Lanceros aren’t the bestsellers for online cigar retailers, nor are they any more popular at B&M’s, but they’re more popular than you think. Moreover, some of the biggest names in the cigar business have had a love affair with the Lancero for years: Carlos “Carlito” Fuente of Arturo Fuente cigars, Pete (Tatuaje cigars) Johnson, and George A. Rico of Gran Habano STK cigars, to name but a few.

Lancero is Spanish for “lancer” and may have been named so because the cigar looked like the lances used by the knights of the Middle Ages; or, perhaps it was inspired by the lance Don Quixote carried in the famous Spanish novel.

The first Lancero cigar debuted during the 1960’s as part of the Cuban Cohiba cigars brand. Because they were rolled at the El Laguito factory, other Cuban cigar factories referred to a Lancero as an “El Laguito No. 1.” Davidoff was next to follow with their Cuban-made “Davidoff No.1.”

The standard dimensions for a Cuban Lancero cigar are 7½ inches long with a 38 ring width, and a twisted pigtail-style wrapper cap. Most Lanceros rolled outside of Cuba have kept the 38 ring, but shortened the length to an even seven inches. (This could be an economic factor). Almost all of the 10 best Lanceros noted in this blog measure 7″ x 38, and some even have the classic pigtail. Like all cigar sizes, the final dimensions are made at the sole discretion of the manufacturer.

Due to its size, the Lancero is also one of the hardest and most expensive cigars to roll. It can easily be under-filled or overfilled, so quality control is important. If the rollers do not have the proper experience, the rejection rate can be high. Too little tobacco and the cigar will burn hot; too much and the cigar may not draw well, or at all. Another reason Lanceros are more costly to make is because they have a higher wrapper-to-filler ratio, which can either make or break the blend.

Today, just about every major manufacturer offers at least one Lancero in their stable. Many of them always made the shape, but in 2008, the Lancero (like the now popular 60+ ring gauge giants), had somewhat of a cult following, and everybody got into the act. So, without further adieu, let’s get to some of the best Lancero cigars on the market today…

Casa Fernandez Miami Lancero

Size: 7½” x 40
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Corojo (Nicaragua)

You’ll find some of the most flavorful Nicaraguan-grown Corojo wrapper hugging the all-Nicaraguan filler core on this puro. Notes of earth, leather, and a smack of pepper open the show via an impressively easy draw. The natural sweetness from the wrapper clearly stands-out among the supporting cast of cedar, nutmeg, and other sweet spices. With its medium-body, the Casa Fernandez Miami Lancero is accessible to every cigar smoker who wants to discover one of the best Lanceros at a very reasonable price.

Don Tomas Special Edition Connecticut #400

Size: 7″ x 36
Strength: Mellow
Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Shade

If you’ve followed me over the years, you may already know that this was the cigar that got me deep into premium cigars. This 7″ x 36 vitola offers a nutty, toasty and cedary smoke with a fantastic aroma. The wrapper flavor is especially appealing because it’s genuine U.S. Connecticut shade-grown, and when done right, it’s the best.

Herrera Estelí Habano Lancero Limitado 2019

Size: 7″ x 38
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Habano (Ecuador)

If you think Willie Herrera is a master at making larger format cigars, wait until you settle-in with this slim Jim. Skillfully entubado-rolled in a plush Habano wrapper from Ecuador, the fillers are comprised of a Honduran binder and Estelí long-fillers. The smoke is rich, creamy, spicy, and markedly complex, but with more wrapper available to you, you’ll also notice a little extra zing! on the finish. These were also made in limited edition. So, if you’re in the market for building an excellent Lancero collection, keep that in mind.

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Lancero

Size: 7½” x 38
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Dark Criollo (Nicaragua)

Caressed by a dark Criollo wrapper, the sleek JDN Antaño 1970 Lancero is a dream for Nicaraguan puro hounds. Under the hood is a well-balanced, full-bodied mix of Nicaraguan ligeros that offer plenty of dense, creamy, and spicy smoke. Notes of leather, earth, pepper, espresso, and a trace of sweetness make up the ebb & flow throughout. Remember, the Lancero was designed for relaxing. So, take your time if you want to get the most enjoyment out of this beauty.

Laranja Reserva Lancero

Size: 7½” x 38
Strength: Medium-Full
Wrapper: Brazilian Laranja

The Laranja Reserva selection from Erik Espinosa is one of my favorite blends for its balance, complexity, and savory assemblage of flavors. I usually go with the Caixa, but the Lancero is equally remarkable. You’ll also get a better idea of how much flavor resides in its rare Brazilian wrapper. A peppery start transitions into a well-balanced mix of cedar, some earthy, mineral-like notes, hazelnut, light citrus, and tangy spices. A complex, fanciful treat for cigar smokers of every experience, and reasonably priced.

My Father La Promesa Lancero

Size: 7½” x 38
Strength: Medium-Full
Wrapper: Habano Rosado Oscuro (Ecuador)

Based on my #nowsmoking review of the My Father La Promesa Petite, it’s clear that I found it a very impressive cigar. The Lancero. . . now, that’s a whole ‘nother story. Capping an all-Nicaraguan filler blend, the Habano Rosado Oscuro wrapper grown in Ecuador casts a rosy visage. Once lit, this slender cylinder reveals plenty of bright spots along its well-balanced journey. Creamy smoke abounds as notes of white pepper, leather, cedar, nutmeg, and cinnamon shift gears from sweet to peppery, to tangy, and back. A superlative treat, especially when savored slowly.

Oliva Serie V Lancero

Size: 7″ x 38
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano

When I did my research on Lancero cigars for this piece, I discovered that the Oliva Serie V Lancero came up a lot. This is one hot cigar, folks. According to a 2008 article Aficionado ran on it, José Oliva said: “The wrapper-to-filler ratio is so much in favor of the wrapper that it really has to be able to stand on its own, which is why we made [a lancero] for the Serie V. The [Nicaraguan Habano] wrapper is so unique and rich, we created a lancero so that people had a chance to really taste it.” 12 years later, the Lancero continues to be a serious contender. It scored an “outstanding” 94 last year, securing the #6 position in the Top 25 Cigars of 2019. It just goes to show you that this cigar hasn’t lost its mojo.

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real “Porta Real”

Size: 7″ x 36
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade (Ecuador)

Also presented in a tubo, this is a great Lancero to contrast with the Don Tomás SEC #400. First of all, it has the same 7″ x 36 dimensions. The core blend is richer in flavor, more complex, and is rolled in an Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut wrapper. The smoke is well-balanced, and like the DTC SE #400, offers a redolent aroma. However, depending on your palate, the finish may or may not taste sweeter than the U.S. Connecticut used on the #400.

Southern Draw Rose of Sharon Lancero

Size: 6½” x 40
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Connecticut Claro (Ecuador)

During one of his visits to our office, Southern Draw Cigars founder, Robert Holt, offered us some Lanceros. These weren’t just any Lanceros. They were made especially for him—something I alluded to in my introduction. But the Rose of Sharon Lancero – the line is named for Robert’s wife, Sharon – offers a labor of love you can actually buy. Graced by a plush Connecticut Claro wrapper over a Nicaraguan and Dominican core, this medium-bodied cigar is seductively creamy and well-balanced. Imparting notes of cedar, leather, earth, spice, and ripe berries, like some women, the Lancero has its capricious side, like an occasional outburst of pepper. As Winston Churchill, comparing cigars to women, once said: “You’re attracted by its shape, you stay for the flavor, and never let the flame go out.” That’s the Rose of Sharon Lancero.

The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT #142 Lancero

Size: 7″ x 40
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Havana Seed No.142 Varietal (Connecticut)

Since I did a positive review of this cigar in November of 2019, I just had to include it here. You’re looking at one of Nick Melillo’s finest achievements – the use of an outstanding hybrid wrapper. Seamlessly rolled over a San Andrés binder, plus Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers, the result is a sweet n’ spicy masterpiece. Perfectly balanced, the #142 Lancero imparts a dense, creamy smoke smitten with complexity. Peppery spices, some earthy mineral notes, dark chocolate, mocha java, and white pepper on the finish make-up the overall profile. Blended for more experienced palates, if you’re already a Lancero smoker, you’ll want to add this arrow to your quiver.