Cigar Buying Guides

CA 2021 Report: My Top 5 Desert Island Cigars Under $10

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Desert Island Cigars: 5 Cigars to Choose If You’re Stranded Forever

Updated August 2021

We’ve all had versions of the conversation. It usually begins with a simple question along the lines of, “If you were stranded on a desert island, what 5 cigars would you want to have with you?”




I would love to be stranded with an unlimited supply of $20+ sticks—but because I like a challenge, I’m limiting myself to cigars $10 and under.

Send help! I mean…send cigars!

There are no Fuente Fuente Opus X, Padron Anniversary Series, Davidoffs, or cigars from the island that I won’t name. They’re all worthy of inclusion, but they’re not widely available or considered to be cigars for daily enjoyment. And if I’m stuck on an island, I’m going to be a chimney.

You may be wondering—who’s this Paul guy? So that you get to know a little more about me, here’s my list of the perfect cigars for an unintended island getaway (or planned vacation).



situation 1, finding food and shelter with a shelter and fruit, and bowl of leaves for desert island cigars

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story from Cigar Advisor Desert Island Cigars Under $10

When I first wade ashore—I’m overwhelmed. I must find shelter. And food. But before any of that, I need to gather my wits. So, I’d reach into my shirt pocket, grab this perfecto, and sit down on the beach.

For me, the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story is a perfect any time-of-day cigar. Its small stature makes it perfect for convenient storage. And its flavor profile is complex: including notes of cedar, spice, and leather—in other words—pleasant enough to enjoy on an empty stomach but rich enough for the full-bodied fan. And perhaps best of all, the price point won’t break any banks.


situation 2, mornings on the beach with a sand castle and star fish for desert island cigars

Don Tomas Special Edition Connecticut #200

Don Tomas Special Edition Connecticut #200 from Cigar Advisor Desert Island Cigars Under $10

Sometimes I want to walk on the mild side. And when those times call, the Don Tomas Special Edition Connecticut answers the bell.

And so, the Don Tomas Special Edition Connecticut is my companion when I find myself awake at—or before—dawn. The Dominican, Mexican, and Nicaraguan long fillers provide for a pleasant experience that won’t overwhelm a palate. The profile is creamy and toasty and remains mellow without becoming bland or boring. This is a great, affordably-priced cigar for both the newbie and seasoned brother/sister of the leaf.


situation 3, after a dinner of coconuts and crab for desert island cigars

Oliva Serie V Lancero    


  Oliva Serie V Lancero from Cigar Advisor Desert Island Cigars Under $10                                                                          

There’s not a lot of options in terms of food here. I’d kill for some bacon. Or a steak. And while I don’t have some crispy strips or a porterhouse for dinner on this ‘uncharted desert isle’, I do have Oliva V—a 4-course meal in cigar form.

With a gorgeous Habano Sun Grown wrapper hugging a blend of hearty Nicaraguan ligero long fillers, the Oliva V is a feast for the senses. Kicking off with rich notes of spice, coffee and cedar, there’s a creamy undercurrent throughout. This cigar is full bodied and elegant without being overwhelming. And better yet, it’s affordable for an everyday guy like me.



situation 4, killing time with cooler, beer, and beach chair for desert island cigarsSancho Panza Extra Fuerte Madrid

Sanch Panza Extra Fuerte Madrid from Cigar Advisor Desert Island Cigars Under $10

When I want a good cigar without the frills or hefty price, there’s no better option than Sancho Panza.

A Yoda-like figure deposited this cigar on my desk one evening 8 years ago. “Try this…you should.” When I did, I found an instant classic. It was like a secret passed between those in the know. And I became an initiate.

This Honduran puro is box-pressed and comes dressed in a silky sun grown Havana wrapper. This stick is full bodied and full flavored, with notes of spice, light pepper, and rich tobacco with a touch of sweetness. Best of all, even at everyday retail—this cigar is an absolute steal.



situation 5, rescue celebration cigar with an SOS sign made of rocks for desert island cigars

Padron 4000 Maduro

Padron 4000 Maduro from Cigar Advisor Desert Island Cigars Under $10

Padron is my victory cigar. I go for a Padron to mark life’s big moments—you know the ones I’m talking about. And that’s why I light this cigar when I spot the rescue plane.

The Padron Thousand Series has never let me down. This hearty Nicaraguan puro features the robust flavors—coffee, toast, rich tobacco, and cocoa—found in Padron’s Cadillac lines, but at an affordable price. Padron cigars are almost universally praised and highly rated for good reason. In fact, the Padron Thousand Series is in serious competition for the best bang for your cigar-enjoying buck.


Getting rescued…?

“Sir, you’re gonna haf’ta put that out before we take off.”


A decision was made. And I’m waiting for a boat.

I’d be interested to hear what sticks you’d pick. Remember, you are stranded on an island. And yes, you’ll have a humidor, cutter, and reliable flame.

Please comment below and share your choice of Desert Island Cigars, and don’t worry about budget.






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John Allen Jr.
5 years ago

Padron Anniversary 26
Liga 9
Liga t52
Padron 64

Mark Sheffield
5 years ago

AB Black Market Torpedo
CAO Amazon Basin
CAO V770 Big Block
KFC Fat Molly
RP The Edge Howitzer

Bob Langmaid
5 years ago

Liga Privada No 9
Padron 1926 #90 Maduro
Arturo Fuente Opus X
RoMa Craft Neanderthal
Espinosa Laranja
Ashton Estate Sun Grown Toro

Charles Stivali
5 years ago

The good thing about this list is that it varies person to person. No pretentious and self-important magazine writers will impose themselves on an individual’s choices. With that said, here’s my list…

1. Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro Churchill
2. Undercrown Shade
3. Padron Serie 1926 (why not?)
4. Lucullan Classis Aurum (thanks Cigar Advisors and Rocky Patel for turning me around on the brand)
5. Famous Nic 3000 (Zman is on the money with this one)
Honorable Mention: Anything else from Perdomo.

Jeff Blackhurst
5 years ago

Oh yeah Sofia, but on to my picks. No. 1 would have to be Drew Estate Liga Privada no9, No. B would have to be Olivas most awesome cigar Serie V Melanio(smoking one right this minute) , Thirdly would good to a stick from up your way ZMan(no not up you Hershey hiway), Nat Shermans Timeless. Cuarto lugar con ir a General Cigars CAO Flathead Steel Horse Ape Hanger, and bringing up the rear (again not your Tookus,Tommy) but no less as good as the first 4 would have to be Don Pipins My Father Flor de Las Antilles. That rounds out my top 5, I would wish for a crate of butane also for my Bugatti torches because I don’t want anything to mess with the flavor of my sticks.

Jay M. Bickford
5 years ago

1. Undercrown Manifesto
2. Viaje Zombie Shotgun Shell
3. Padron Londres (Just the basic one, I’m not a picky man)
4. Oliva Master Blends III
5. L’Atelier Surrogates Cracker Crumb

John Beezer
5 years ago

1. CAO Amazon Basin
2. Shadow King by AJ Fernandez
3. Fuente Opus X
4. Joya Black Nocturno
5. LFD La Nox

Cliff Kammerdiener
5 years ago

1. Kristoff Maduro (original)
2. Montecristo Noche
3. Padron series 1964 Maduro
4. 5 Vegas Series A
5. E P Carillo La Historia

Matthew Soderlund
5 years ago

1. Illusione hl Candela
2. Drew Estate La Vieja Habana
3. Flor De Las Antillas Torpedo Maduro
4. Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado
5. Padron Family Reserve 50 Years

Jack Bliesath
5 years ago

Haha! Love these articles! Guess I’ve got to try a bundle of those Nic 3000.

Gary Korb
5 years ago

Good read. I hope you enjoyed your litle romp with “Sofia.” (Actually, I’m SURE you did.)

Craig Woody Woodhull
4 years ago

Nick Perdomo makes one fie cjgar .

Craig Woody Woodhull
4 years ago

Try the barrel aged mmmmm so good. Hell not a bad one in the bunch (and I live in the UPPER desert !)

AJ Reilly
4 years ago

Tatuaje Havana Cazadores, Padron 1926 #1 Maduro, AJ Fernandez New World Con (scenario #1), Oliva V Robusto, and lastly, of course, Liga #9 Double Corona.

Albert Montalvo
4 years ago

Any good stick but i would definitely have a Padron and even that JR Cohiba Lehieke that you told me about many years ago and some AJ Fernandez oval maduro and Habana

Al Penne
1 year ago

What provoked the idea of having a deserted island scenario? Just curious..

Kyle Rauscher
1 year ago

A Drew Estate under crown Or any Arturo Fuente

Paul Lukens

Paul Lukens


Paul first fell in love with the leaf back in college, where he majored in Philosophy (yes, seriously). Upon graduating, Paul stared into the abyss and unemployment stared back. He responded by founding the ‘Pounding Fathers,’ a traveling Beer Pong team with the other Philosophy grad at UMass. Aspiring to subsist on more than Ramen Noodles and Natural Ice, Paul put down his ping pong balls and picked up a pen - and a cigar - and began working in the premium cigar industry in 2013.

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