The Most Aromatic Cigars
Because it’s not just about taste…
by Gary Korb
Aaah…aroma. There’s nothing like the scent of a fine cigar. It’s the secret ingredient found in many of the best cigars. As I wrote in my article, “Why Aroma Matters”, “Great aroma doesn’t just come from the wrapper, but ALL of the tobaccos in the blend…The best blenders will seek the ideal mix of all the tobaccos they use in their blends to produce a great flavor and a redolent aroma.” A lot of cigar reviews seldom say much about the aroma, but aroma plays an important part for a lot of smokers when choosing a cigar. What follows is a list of 12 brands that not only offer incredible flavor, but are among the most aromatic cigars out there.
601 Green Label Oscuro Cigars
The 601 Green Label Oscuro line is a series of full-bodied flavor bombs blended with prime Nicaraguan tobaccos rolled in an extra dark and toothy Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro wrapper. As the thick, curly locks of smoke begin to rise, a rife blast of sweet, spicy, and woody smoke grabs your nose by the lapels and shakes it like a homicide detective desperate for answers from his prime suspect, awakening all the senses.
Carlos Toraño 1916 Cameroon Cigars
I call the Carlos Toraño 1916 Cameroon selection the undisputed champ among the best mild cigars; yet, the Nicaraguan-Honduran core rolled in a spotless African Cameroon wrapper is capable of giving your palate quite a workout. Their mellow and creamy aroma laced with sweet notes of Spanish cedar and nutmeg relax the mind and body like the gifted hands of a seasoned masseuse who knows how to apply just the right amount of pressure, for a sweet-scented experience that always ends happily.
Montecristo Relentless Cigars
Besides their stunning quality and flavorful tobaccos, one of the things that has attracted me to Montecristo cigars for so many years is their aroma. For the Relentless selection their blenders have used a Nicaraguan & Brazilian Mata Fina core with a sweet-smelling Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper and a succulent Mexican San Andres binder. The result is a barrage of honeyed fragrance that’s as tenacious about captivating your senses as General Patton was about crushing the German Army during World War II.
Oliva Serie O Cigars
Like the 601 Oscuros above, Oliva Serie O cigars are full-flavored puros with Habano wrappers. Their respective blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos aside, the Oliva O series also offers an aroma that’s sweet ‘n spicy but not as intense. Oliva also uses all 5-year-aged tobaccos, giving the smoke an outstanding smoothness and a more mellow fragrance, illustrating that more than just wisdom comes with age.
Olor Fuerte Cigars
Olor Fuerte is one of those “under the radar” cigars that delivers a ton of complex flavor thanks to a medium-full, 5-nation blend that’s tailor-made for an intriguing journey. With a Mexican San Andres binder and a Honduran Talanga wrapper in the cockpit, the flight is creamy smooth; as aromatic cigars go, this one issues a fusion of sweet spices and espresso that rocket the olfactory senses to Mach1 velocity within the first few puffs. Now, if only you could get air miles for smoking it.
Padrón Anniversary 1964 Cigars
If cigars were chocolate bars, the Padrón 1964 Anniversary selection would be in every vending machine from coast-to-coast. Their limited production and rich, full-bodied flavor have taken them to the zenith of Nicaraguan cigar glory. Earthy aromas of spice, coffee and cocoa surround you like the paparazzi from your first savory draw to your last. That’s why they say: “When you smoke a Padrón you’re never alone.” (They don’t really say that, I just liked the way it rhymed.)
Perdomo 2 Limited 2008 Maduro Cigars
The Nicaraguan maduro wrapper on the Perdomo2 L.E. 2008 selection is the main reason these puros have become one of my personal favorites. Not only does their dark, oily wrapper add a dollop of sweetness to the smoke, these aromatic cigars lend an equally seductive quality to their room note. For that reason, I’d venture it’s a Jalapa leaf, which are sweeter by nature. Now, ferment it to a dark chocolate hue, and you can add them to those candy machines I mentioned above.
Rocky Patel Sun Grown Cigars
I was lucky to be among the first people to smoke this cigar. Rocky’s brother, Nish, handed me one during dinner while attending the IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas, and I return to them often. You’ve got 7-year-aged Dominican & Nicaraguan tobaccos rolled in 5-year-aged Ecuadorian sun-grown Sumatra wrappers. The result is an ultra-smooth, full-flavored cigar with an aroma that glows with so much sunshiny fragrance you may want to wear sunglasses.
Romeo y Julieta House of Capulet Cigars
One of the great things about Romeo y Julieta cigars is, there’s no shortage of blends to choose from. The House of Capulet selection features a Nicaraguan-Honduran blend with a Nicaraguan binder and an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. This medium-bodied smoke is well-balanced with an aroma that’s sweet with a subtly sharp note of spice. Like the fair Julieta Capulet from Shakespeare’s timeless play, it’s a bit of a tease at first, but eventually capitulates, giving its heart and soul to you.
Romeo y Julieta Reserve Cigars
Another one of my favorites for its smoothness, complexity and evocative aroma. Blend-wise, the Romeo y Julieta Reserve is similar to the Capulet, in that, they both use a Nicaraguan-Honduran core blend. The difference is the wrapper, a Nicaraguan Habano (here again, I think it’s Jalapa-grown), that rounds out the blend for a very creamy, nutty, and earthy smoke. Their sweet, spicy and toasty aroma completes the experience, which for some reason, reminds me of French toast with genuine maple syrup and sausage.
Room 101 San Andres Cigars
I recently added these cigars to my “all-time-favorite” list. I’ve found just about all of the Room 101 blends pretty stunning, but this San Andres line, made with choice Corojo and Criollo tobaccos and a magnificent Mexican San Andres natural wrapper, has a flavor and aroma that gets right to me. Medium-bodied and marvelously complex, the aroma is sweet, nutty, earthy, and so scrumptiously thick, rather than smelling it, you want to bite into it.
Villiger Talanga Cigars
Villiger has really begun to establish itself as a force in long-filler premium handmades. When I fired-up my first Talanga, a Robusto, I was blown-away by its nutty flavor and sweet, earthy aroma. The Connecticut-seed wrapper is grown in Honduras, adding a totally unique flavor profile. Mellow enough for the new cigar smoker, while rich and complex enough for veteran cigar devotees, the Villiger Talanga selection wants to wrap itself around you like a warm, fluffy blanket on a bitterly cold winter’s day.
Welcome The Waft
Because aroma is as subjective as flavor, one of the best ways to determine the “nose” or bouquet of a cigar’s aroma is by wafting. Simply hold the cigar out in front of you, and with your opposite hand, gently wave the smoke trails toward your face. Holding it horizontally, you can also pass the cigar under your nose and let the smoke naturally rise into your nose. Both of these methods will bring the aromas right to your olfactory receptors’ door, giving you a good indication of what’s in the smoke.
The next time you light-up your favorite cigar, try to pay more attention to the aroma. You may not know what you’re missing.