Cigar Buying Guides

2021 CA REPORT: 10 of the Best Value Cigars

Cigar Advisor’s Top 10 Best Value Cigars

Updated September 2021

What makes a cigar a “best value cigar?”

If you can show me a cigar smoker who isn’t always looking for a great deal, then good luck trying to find one. They’re pretty rare. And inflation aside, with prices of just about everything going up year after year, finding cigars that deliver on quality, flavor, and satisfaction at a reasonable price looms even larger when it comes to your credit card.

The cigars in this report aren’t “value cigars” as in low-cost bundle cigars. They are cigars that bring value to the table based specifically on their quality and flavor profile. A number of them are also new cigars that arrived during the past year. And more by coincidence than by choice, all 10 cigars in this buying guide just happen to list at under $10.

If you’ve been smoking cigars long enough, it’s clear that the quality of many premium handmade cigars has continued to improve. Additionally, the information available to cigar smokers today is so abundant, avid cigar smokers know a lot more about tobacco and the cigar making process. Therefore, many of them understand why cigars with higher quality tobaccos cost more. So, if you can get a top-grade cigar for under $10 retail these days, that’s a pretty good value.

Charter Oak Rothschild Natural

Size: 4½”x50
Strength: Medium-plus
Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Shade
Binder: Sumatra binder
Filler: Nicaraguan Estelí and Jalapa
Price: $5.70*

Charter Oak cigars brand owner Nick Melillo says, “I wanted to create an economy-minded, everyday smoke for connoisseurs; something tasty and delicious that didn’t break the bank.” The Charter Oak Rothschild is a great choice for the Connecticut wrapper fan who prefers a full-flavored experience. And Nick’s genuine Connecticut shade leaf is among the best. It even scored 93 points for “its abundance of complex flavors as well as its medium to full body,” said Aficionado. The smoke is creamy with plenty of woody notes, sweet tobacco, nuts, and peppery spice to keep you engaged for the entire session.

Espinosa Crema No.4

Size: 5½”x52 (Robusto)
Strength: Medium-plus
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade
Binder & Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $8.65*

From Erik Espinosa, another Nicaraguan core “Connecticut” but with a shade wrapper grown in Ecuador. Like its name, the Robusto-sized No.4 is especially creamy in a buttery, sweet cream sort of way and dominates the entire smoke. Some have even described it as an infinitely long sweet spot. Once you get past its bold overture, the cigar settles into a rich, nuanced, and creamy-sweet pastiche underscored by notes of earth and spice. Here again you’ve got a Nicaraguan Connecticut that steps outside the box in ways that are better experienced than read about. Jared calls it a “Connecticut with attitude.”

H. Upmann 1844 Classic Toro

Size: 6”x54
Strength: Medium-plus
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade
Binder & Filler: Honduras
Price: $7.70*

What you have in the H. Upmann 1844 Classic selection is another artisanal cigar created by the illustrious Grupo de Maestros with an all-Honduran core. Rolled to a 54-ring, the Toro’s silky Ecuador shade wrapper practically glows with refinement. The smoke builds to medium-plus as a buttery smooth mix of almonds, leather, cocoa, earthiness, and a bevy of spices are revealed. In my review of the H. Upmann 1844 Classic Robusto I noted how well the wrapper complemented the fillers. And in this wider, longer vitola the complexity is even more evident. This is one H. Upmann that should not be missed regardless of your experience.

Montecristo Relentless Robusto

Size: 5”x54
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Rosado
Binder: Nicaraguan Ometepe
Filler: Nicaraguan Estelí, Condega, Jalapa
Price: $9.65*

At first glance, what makes the Montecristo Relentless Robusto so unique is its all-Nicaraguan blend. Made by Plasencia, this puro rolled in a blushing Rosado wrapper has a flavor set that’s worlds apart from both its Dominican and Cuban cousins. Medium-bodied throughout and lusciously creamy, well-balanced flavors of cedar, earth, coffee, and sweet spice open the show as the Ometepe binder dishes out delicate pinches of pepper. Add aromas of cedar and vanilla to more developed flavors of toffee, citrus, and honey later on make this impressively complex cigar an excellent buy. As a line extension, not to mention an exclusive, Relentless may be the most underrated Montecristo in the portfolio.

Oliva Serie O Churchill

Size: 7”x50
Strength: Medium-plus
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano (aged 5 years)
|Binder: Nicaraguan Habano (aged 5 years)
Filler: Estelí, Condega, and Jalapa Habano (aged 5 years)
Price: $8.10*

One of the reasons I included the Oliva Serie O Churchill to this list was for selfish reasons. After so many years without smoking one, I missed it, so I bought a 5-pack. Living up to its 92 to 94 tasting scores, it hasn’t missed a beat. It’s one of the best examples of Nicaraguan blending and craftsmanship for its use of diverse, five-year-aged Cuban seed tobaccos. Medium to full in body, the flavor set offers a “trail mix”-like profile of salt, cedar, earth, sweet spices, cocoa, and flourishes of dried fruit. There’s a lot to be said for this vitola’s endurance, and its reasonable price also makes it a phenomenal value.

Perla Del Mar Corojo Corona Gorda

Size: 5½”x46, box pressed
Strength: Medium-Full
Wrapper: Ecuador Corojo seed
Binder & Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $6.45*

The addition of the Perla del Mar Corojo cigars selection has virtually transformed this bestselling J. C. Newman cigar line extension. If nothing else, it’s gotten a lot of cigar smokers’ attention. But there’s a lot more “else,” especially for this perfectly pressed Corona Gorda. The Corojo wrapper alone is stunning. Out of the gate the smoke is smooth, creamy, and nutty with some underlying sweetness. Medium to full in body, the flavors are well-balanced and continue to bloom revealing additional notes of leather, baking spices and cinnamon. Listed at an impressively fair price, this cigar checks all the right boxes, offering something for cigar smokers at every level.

Romeo y Julieta House of Romeo Toro

Size: 6”x52
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Binders: Connecticut seed
Filler: Honduran, Dominican
Price: $7.30*

The Romeo y Julieta House of Romeo Toro is arguably one of the best Romeos out there if you love bold, chewy, and complex cigars. Blended by the legendary Grupo de Maestros, the dark Habano wrapper oozes with an oily, mouthwatering sheen, and once lit, does not disappoint. Medium-plus to start, the smoke is ultra-creamy and layered with caramelized flavors of oak, earth, leather, and dried fruit. Sweet and peppery spices also emerge as the smoke ramps up to full throttle. Best suited for more experienced palates, I’d put the House of Romeo Toro up there with much higher profile cigars that cost a lot more any day.

Saint Luis Rey Carenas Toro

Size: 6”x52
Strength: Medium-Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano 2000
Binders: Honduran Broadleaf
Filler: Honduras
Price: $8.50*

Impeccably handcrafted, the Saint Luis Rey Carenas Toro boasts an Jalapa-grown Habano 2000 wrapper that adds a marvelous layer of creaminess to this medium-full blend. In another fine creation from the Grupo de Maestros, the flavor profile offers a mostly nutty, sweet, leathery, and earthy smoke with a floral aroma. The cigar burns perfectly, too, as its nuttier qualities dominate with an underlying layer of sweet cream. As I said in the panel review of this cigar, it’s a lot of cigar, which puts it squarely in the Saint Luis Rey pocket. And if you’ve smoked enough Cuban cigars you may also find some surprising similarities.

Vegas Cubanas by Don Pepin Delicias

Size: 7”x50
Strength: Medium-Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Rosado Claro
Binder & Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo
Price: $7.28*

An affordably priced cigar from Don Pepin that’s been around for quite some time. Made in Miami, this Nicaraguan puro boasts an all-Corojo core rolled in a Habano Rosado wrapper. The first few puffs of the Delicias offers a seductive lick of sweet tobacco and cocoa before hitting the palate with an eye-opening salvo of cayenne pepper. But once this Churchill settles into its comfort zone it reveals well-balanced notes of cedar, citrus, earth, and spice with a subtle hint of cocoa. If you’ve ever enjoyed the spicy character of the early Don Pepin Garcia blends, the Vegas Cubanas Delicias is a savory way to reminisce.

Zino Nicaragua Toro

Size: 6” x 50
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan Semilla Seco
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican
Price: $6.95*

Zino cigars have a reputation for being pricey, but since we’re talking about real value here, they hit a home run with the Zino Nicaragua selection. The Toro is perfectly rolled and capped with a clean Connecticut wrapper that surrounds a diverse filler & binder core. There’s a splash of spice at first, but shortly thereafter enters a well-balanced, medium-bodied smoke. Caramelized flavors of nuts, sweet tobacco, and baking spices prevail with some subtle earthiness. And although the line is aimed at younger adult cigar smokers, Zino Nicaragua offers a rich, refined smoke that will satisfy even the most seasoned enthusiado.

* All retail prices quoted reflect those active at Famous Smoke Shop at the time of publication.