Gary reviews 10 “Top Shelf” Maduro cigars: If you love the natural sweetness and savory aroma of Maduro wrapper, these dark discoveries are sure to please cigar smokers at every level of experience.
How to Find Great Everyday Cigars – Part 2: Boxes
Alec Bradley Maxx Traditional Corona cigars (5½ “x 43) – A real humdinger of a bargain. This is a top-flight cigar made by one of the hottest of the new generation cigar companies. The smoke is medium to full-bodied with a diverse blend Colombian, Nicaraguan, Mexican and Honduran Ligero & Viso longfillers, a Costa Rican binder rolled in a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. The smoke is ultra smooth and creamy with earthy-woody overtones, sweet tobacco flavors and a note of espresso. The Corona shape also gives you a little more leaf, making this model especially flavorful.
Price: $52.99/box of 25
Arturo Fuente Curly Head Deluxe cigars (6½” x 43) – An old standby for millions of cigar smokers. This was one of the first cigars I ever smoked, mainly for the price, but they’re also mild and have a rich, nutty flavor. If you like something a little sweeter, go with the Curly Head Deluxe Maduro. But if you want an even better value, Arturo Fuente also offers the Curly Head in a box of 40 cigars without bands. Note that these cigars are made with a Cuban sandwich blend of long and short filler leaves.
Price: $60.99/box of 25 cigars
La Aurora Bristol Especiales cigars (6 3/8″ x 48) – These have been one of my favorite everyday box cigars for years. They run about $3 a cigar, but they have a wonderfully mellow, nutty character, and make a less expensive alternative to the hard-to-get Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 Flor Fina. Longfiller Dominican tobaccos are neatly rolled in African Cameroon wrappers offering naturally sweet smoke with a dash of sweet spice in the mix.
Price: $74.99/box of 25
La Vieja Habana Brazilian Maduro cigars – A solid little Cuban sandwich cigar and one of the hottest “everyday” cigars ever produced. In fact it was the original La Vieja Habana selection (made only in Corojo) that put Drew Estate cigars on the map, (and you thought it was ACID). Although they are also available in Cameroon, Connecticut, and Corojo, I chose the Maduro because I love the flavor of the Brazilian wrappers, but you can’t miss with any of them. The quality is first-rate, too. (Note: The Brazilian Maduor Gordito Rico comes in a box of 16, which translates to a higher per-cigar price.)
Price range: $45.99 – $56.99/box of 20 cigars
Maroma cigars – Another high-quality Cuban sandwich blend made by Nestor Plasencia in Honduras. The wrapper is a buttery, Cuban-looking Connecticut leaf. The cigar draws well and the smoke offers good balance with an earthy-nutty-woody character and a note of cocoa bean in the mix. Maroma is also offered in Maduro (sweeter), Fuerte (very spicy), and Dulce (sweet-capped) selections. All are offered in boxes of 25 cigars except the Fuerte.
Price Range: $39.99 – $51.99/box of 25 cigars
Villiger Export cigars (4″ x 37 box pressed) – Another very popular cigar at a very affordable price pressed into an aromatic Sumatra wrapper. The blend consists of all Cuban seed tobaccos and the smoke is mild and somewhat nutty in flavor. They also offer an Export Maduro if that appeals to you. The former CEO of a highly-respected cigar brand turned me on to these. They weren’t made by his company, but he said he just couldn’t resist them and smoked them daily. They’re a little on the small side, but they do the trick.
Price: $48.99./box of 50 cigars.
Ready to try some of these cigars? Some of them are also offered in 5-packs, so you can experiment before committing to a box. Once again, if you do try any of these, or already have, send me an email or leave a comment and share your opinion.
Editor’s Note: The prices quoted in this article were active on the date of posting, July 3, 2010, and may not reflect price changes made after the posting date.