These Cigars are as Close to Havana as it Gets
By The Editors of CigarAdvisor.com
Cigars have been a part of the Cuban identity for generations. A tiny island nation just 90 miles from American shores, Cuba has long been celebrated – actually, prized – as being home to some of the finest smokes in the world. But there’s a certain group of cigars that’s very special to smokers…top-notch cigars that are made in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua, but share the same name as their storied Havana counterparts – and are made to taste like those legendary Cuban cigars of old. They’re called Cuban Heritage brands – and they’re all Cuban at heart. And one of the best reasons why these nine great cigars can be compared to their true Cuban cousins, is how they came to exist in the first place: several of the most popular cigar makers fled their factories in Cuba after Castro’s Communist revolution. These same exiled tobacco masters went on to grow tobacco and produce premium cigars under the same fabled names, but in other Caribbean countries.
So that means there are two versions of these renowned cigars: Cuban Cohibas, and non-Cuban Cohibas; Cuban Punch cigars, and Honduran Punch cigars. So while the cigars we’re about to sample may not be the ones that are made in Cuba, the only real differences are that these nine sticks are (a) available to buy legally right now, and (b) they’re certainly more affordable than authentic Cuban cigars – and we’re giving you the opportunity to smoke them today!
Check out these 9 top cigars that best represent the classic appeal and traditions of the pre-embargo Cubans – you’ll be Havana daydreamin’ in no time…
If we’re talking about Cuban cigar royalty, no doubt Montecristo is due to show up prominently on the list. Montecristo packs flavor into every square millimeter of each smoke. This Montecristo Relentless edition lives up to the name by offering up a robust helping of fine Nicaraguan tobaccos wrapped in a golden Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper – but is by no means a mild-mannered Monte. Its full flavor comes from additional Brazilian Mata Fina filler and a San Andres binder, making for just a touch of sweetness. This one is well worth your time.
H. Upmann Cigars
How do you describe H. Upmann cigars in just one word? Let’s go with “legendary.” Among the oldest Cuban cigar brands in the industry, Upmann cigars are great for beginners and are dependably consistent. The H. Upmann Sun Grown doesn’t stray from its heritage – the wrapper is sun grown in Ecuador, a country renowned for producing some of the sweetest wrapper leaf on the globe. The broadleaf binder is a flavor workhorse; and when combined with the Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers, these make a strong case to earn and maintain a spot in your humidor. Flavorful and complex, that’s H. Upmann Sun Grown.
It’s the cigar that even non-smokers know – because they’ll usually ask, “hey, is that a Cohiba?” The original Cuban Cohibas were produced in very limited quantities and reserved only for the most senior Cuban government officials – they also were Castro’s favorite before he quit smoking. The Dominican Cohiba Red Dot version offers incredibly smooth sweet flavor, and gives mild bodied smokers an easy transition to medium bodied offerings – it even allows full bodied smokers to enjoy a satisfying smoke with great aroma on more special occasions. Full of flavor, this a home run of a cigar.
La Gloria Cubana Cigars
If there was ever a cigar that embodied an authentic and classic Cubanesque flavor, it’s La Gloria. The La Gloria Cubana (“The Glory of Cuba”) cigar brand was first introduced in Havana in 1885, and has become the cigar of choice for smokers who appreciate a richer, fuller bodied smoke. LGC cigars have made this 9-Best list with the following entries:
La Gloria Cubana Serie RF
No matter who they are or what they usually smoke, La Gloria Cubana Serie RF has delighted cigar enthusiasts with its medium body and full, peppery Cuban-like flavors. That comes from a blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan ligeros and long fillers that burn smooth, yet rich. A Connecticut binder leaf holds the mix together, with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper finishing the outer layer. The pepper and spice notes almost demand to be paired with the finest whisky or bourbon in your cabinet.
La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age
Keeping its Cuban heritage at heart, La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age combines Nicaraguan viso and Ligero with Honduran binders for a classic looking and tasting cigar; the Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro wrapper adds a bold and rich payoff. You could call this “a real cigar smoker’s cigar.” The smoke is thick, smooth, and creamy right out of the gate; and much like the original Cuban La Gloria line, Gilded Age is thick with flavors appealing to a wide swath of cigar smokers.
Rafael Gonzalez Cigars
While most of the cigars of Cuba tend to be more medium to full in body, Rafael Gonzalez is the exception among these cigar brands. Now nearly 90 years after their debut, Rafael Gonzalez cigars are rolled in Honduras. The goal with Rafael Gonzalez was to create a blend similar in character to the Cuban version – and did they ever: this Connecticut-wrapped edition is faithfully modeled after the original 1920’s–era Cuban cigar recipe of milder Vuelta Abajo tobaccos. Not only is this version a hit, it has developed a loyal following of cigar smokers who know and enjoy mellow, mild and buttery-smooth flavors.
Romeo y Julieta Cigars
Founded in Havana in 1875, Romeo y Julieta Cuban cigars were named for the lead characters in one of Shakespeare’s most enduring plays. The Romeo y Julieta brand quickly became one of the most popular Cuban cigars – as well as Winston Churchill’s favorites. But after the Cuban embargo, production of some RyJ cigars moved to the Dominican Republic. Today one of the most popular cigars in America, Romeo has stepped up the game with the House of Capulet edition: a sharper, sleeker blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers, Nicaraguan binder, and Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, and a best-in-class contender for smoke night with your pals.
Cuban Punch cigars are one of the few premiums in the bunch whose name actually tells you what to expect when you smoke it. Punch delivers an “authentic“ full-bodied Cuban profile, blended in Honduras with the richest tasting tobaccos. Sucker Punch boasts a medium bodied blend that hits you with a wallop full of flavor when you least expect it – that’s the Nicaraguan ligero core and Cameroon binder at work, wrapped in Ecuadorian Connecticut. It looks easy going, but that potent Nicaraguan leaf will sneak up on you and wallop your palate with big, full flavors – and when you least expect it.
Don Tomas Cigars
Back in the heyday of Havanas, wrapper leaves grown in the Connecticut River Valley of the U.S. graced some of the best Cubans; and some of Cuba’s best tobaccos were originally cultivated hundreds of years ago in Mexico. Combine those two factors, and you have the silky-smooth and flavorful line of Don Tomas Special Edition Connecticut cigars. Specially crafted to replicate the taste of milder Cuban cigars, it’s comprised of tobaccos from 3 nations (Mexico included), and a Connecticut wrapper grown in the United States. The Don Tomas SE blooms into a mellow and creamy smoke almost immediately, making these a favorite of connoisseurs looking for a great premium cigar at a modest price.
So there you have it: nine of the most delicious Cuban Heritage cigars. Follow the links above to learn more about any of these cigars, or order these cigars online now to sample them together for one low price!