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My Top 5 Desert Island Cigars

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

By Tommy Zman Zarzecki

It’s the question I’ve been asked 1,001 times – if you could choose one cigar, and only one, to smoke for the rest of your life, what would it be? Hmmmm… So, being the deep thinking, cigar-sucking troglodyte I often am, I thought of an even deeper scenario. What if I were stuck on a deserted island and had one cigar brand to smoke for the rest of my days there? But then, the hamster on that wheel in my head cranked up the speed. I started thinking about the Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away. Hmmmm… But, damn, if I was stuck on an island like that, I’d want more than just one cigar brand to smoke. I mean, Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, dealt with a variety of situations that I think would call for a variety of smokes.

Okay, okay, so here’s the official situation I came up with. The Fed Ex plane you’re traveling on went down in the Pacific and you wash ashore like a drenched rat. Oh joy, you’re stranded on a tropical island and everybody at home thinks you’re toast. Bummer. But, you are indeed the only one alive, which is good because nobody else can mooch your newly found prized smokes. Wait, what… prized smokes? Tell me more. Well, it seems that a crate of premium hand-rolled cigars was being shipped to Malaysian tobacco shops. It’s a huge, water-tight sealed crate – loaded with maybe 500 boxes or more – enough to last you, well, a lifetime on a deserted island. I guess that would make the alone time a bit more palatable, just you, 10,000 plus fine stogies, and of course, Wilson, the bloody-faced volleyball.

First things first – you’d better learn to make fire, (a): so you don’t freeze your ass off at night, (b): so you can cook whatever critters you’ll hunt for survival, and (c): those gorgeous hand-rolled treasures ain’t worth shit if you can’t get ‘em lit. You’re also going to need to find some shelter, like a cave for you and your volleyball buddy to reside in, and of course it’s the perfect cool temperature to store that coveted stash of tobacco goodness. And at least you lucked out in one way, because the whole island is a friggin’ humidor.

So, there’s the scenario, and now all you’ve gotta do is pick the 5 cigar brands you’d love that crate to be filled with. Okay, now the rodent in my brain has kicked into overdrive… what 5 daily situations on the island would be perfect to pair those cigars with? Hmmm… So, now I will reveal MY 5 desert island cigars I’d pick and the situations where I would enjoy them – I mean, what else am I going to do, Wilson is one hell of a crappy conversationalist.


desert island cigars Situation1The Cigar: Dunhill Aged

After noshing on a breakfast of mangos and some sketchy looking plant life that might have me poisoned and dead by nightfall, I lay on the beach next to the surf as I fire up that silky, smooth US Connecticut wrapped stick. The Dunhill is mild to medium and just right for kicking off a day full of castaway boredom. It’s so damned toasty and creamy and the aroma is the perfect complement to the salty sea breeze. These Dominican treasures use high-grade tobaccos and are aged in cedar for one full year after being rolled. A whole lot better than being at home watching Judge Judy skewer some fat-ass rent dodger.


desert island cigars Situation2The Cigar: Famous Nicaraguan 3000

While I have no idea where I am on the map, I figure I better get to work on my only way out of this place. So, while gathering downed trees and over-sized palm leaves, I fire up what I have often said is the absolute BEST value at Famous Smoke Shop. The Nic 3000 is medium bodied and just right because you don’t want to overheat in the midday sun. It’s oval pressed with Nicaraguan leaf inside and a smooth, golden brown Ecuadorian Habano outer wrapper. It’s spicy and earthy, with delicious notes of cocoa and a touch of cinnamon. And PLEASE don’t let it deter you that it comes in a bundle – because this amazing smoke would cost double the price if it came in a fancy box.


desert island cigars Situation3The Cigar: Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro

So, I’ve taught myself to spearfish and catch crab, but I can’t seem to figure out how Mary Ann and Ginger made coconut cream pie without an oven or cream for that matter. But at least my belly is full and my beard is long as I fire up this full-bodied flavor-bomb from Rocky. The Nic filler is earthy and spicy, and the dark Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro stands up wonderfully to my seafood supper. Notes of dark chocolate and pepper-laced ligero actually give me quite a buzz, good enough to help me forget that I might never watch another episode of Naked and Afraid again, because I’m actually living it every damned day.


desert island cigars Situation4The Cigar: My Father El Centurion H-2K

It’s a damned monsoon out there and Wilson just gives me that blank “who died and made you the king of this hellhole” stare. Yeah, I’m sick of your shit too, buddy, but at least we’ve got a photo of Helen Hunt to gander at. Wait, Helen Hunt?… bullshit, this is my fantasy, so I’m choosing a scantily clad Sofia Vergara to ogle over. And, I thank Don Pepin for this box-pressed treasure I’m smoking, full-flavored with strong notes of cedar and a nice touch of honey on the palate. The hybrid sun grown Habano 2000 wrapper cultivated in the Connecticut River Valley is wickedly toasty, sweet and spicy. Hey Wilson, I’m tossing your ass outside for a few because I think Sofia wants a little alone time with her randy Polish cave-mate. Gary Korb, eat your heart out.


desert island cigars Situation5The Cigar: Padron Serie 1926

The rains have passed and the majestic dark purple sky is littered with a galaxy of twinkling stars. The sound of the waves crashing on the beach brings a well-needed peace of mind to a guy who’s a million miles from humanity. The only thing missing is the professor’s radio playing some non-descript rock n’ roll instrumentals from the late 60’s. (And just why did Ginger pack all of those gowns and the Howells bring all that cash for an f’ing THREE-HOUR-TOUR?) The Padron 1926 is the cigar I would pick if I could choose only one, and that’s because it just might be the finest puro on the planet. The Nicaraguan tobaccos are aged five full-years on this elegant, full-bodied beast. Deep, rich complex notes of dark chocolate, espresso and black cherry cover your taste buds and the scent is nothing short of heavenly. This is one sure way to make your alone time a great one. Ah, just 99 ½ boxes of Padron goodness to go…


So, there it is, I’m trapped on a desolate island and I may never hear the voice of another human being. But then again, in a world filled with Kanye & Kim, safe-spaced snowflakes, fake news and fidget-spinning nerds, I think I might just halt production on the rescue raft for a while and enjoy the hell out of my 5 amazing desert island cigars – only 9,900 to go.


ATTENTION: I’d love you to comment below the article on my cigar selections as well as your top picks if YOU were to be stranded on a deserted island. Wait… What’s that, Wilson? You say that Sofia needs a little warmth back at the cave? Coming dear! That gal is a sucker for a hairy, bearded beast who reeks of Maduro.

Tommy Zman Zarzecki

Tommy Zman Zarzecki


Tommy Zman, is an obsessive enjoyer of life’s leafy pleasures. Growing up in the bowels of northern New Jersey, parented by an eccentric Polish father and a neurotic Italian mother, what else could this man possibly be other than a humorist? ZMan’s a real throwback to a time when men were kings of the castle and smoking a cigar in public didn’t label you an outcast and a pariah. He’s an old–school down to earth guy - but when it comes to p.c. tyranny and nanny-state legislature, he’ll draw his sword and swing for the fences. Tommy gathered a faithful following as a longtime feature writer at Cigar Magazine, and his testosterone laden FaceBook community, CROMAG NATION™ is truly the last great bastion for Men’s Men.

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