As much as we “connoisseurs” hate to admit it, a big portion of a cigar’s ultimate impression relies heavily on the presentation—it can literally make or break a brand! Look, at this point in the game, nearly all cigars on the market are pretty dang good. We’re no longer in the “cigar boom” of the ’90s, where there was a higher demand than manufacturers could produce. What I’m getting at is that today’s brands are getting their tobaccos from reliable sources, many from the same sources—it’s a consumer’s market, with no shortage of amazing products entering the cigar world at a fascinating rate!

And with literally too many brands to choose from, it is recommendation and presentation that determines what’s smoked and what’s… aged. The funny thing is, often times a good presentation can literally affect how a cigar tastes. Sure, it’s a mind game, but that doesn’t negate the result. Ever try an ice-cold glass of milk from an old school quart glass bottle…? It’s like, a million times better than that garbage plastic! The effects are real, and I say, why fight ’em? If a cigar tastes better because you feel good about the presentation, more power to you. It’s the end result that matters—you enjoyed that cigar!

Okay, are we all good and convinced that presentation is HUGE? Yes? No? Doesn’t matter, here are our top picks for the sexiest stogies on the market. Whether it’s the box presentation, the band, or anywhere in between, these cigars will turn some heads.

Undercrown

Drew Estate Undercrown Pig cigar and cigar band full view

This might just be the most recognizable cigar in the modern cigar world. In fact, I’d get this thing tattooed on my left buttock, but I’ve no doubt been beat to the punch on that one. As many are aware, these Mexican-wrapped maduros came about from a shortag of the super-premium Liga Privada cigars in the DE factory. When the rollers were restricted on their Liga intake, they took things into their own hands and blended a more readily available maduro that fans have been going nuts over since its launch in 2011.

The cigars arrive in natural, wooden boxes of 25, with a thick, blue and gold seal wrapped around the exterior and the famous Undercrown logo looking as if it were burned/branded into the wood. The logo itself is what most will recognize, having a renaissance-era, heraldic lion (similar to Liga Privada) with an upside-down crown beneath it (pretty clever, Drew Estate). Another nice touch is the way the words “Undercrown” are flipped on the bands, positioned on either side of the UC logo for uniformity.

  • Cigar brand: Drew Estate
  • Country of origin: Nicaragua
  • Price: $6 – $8

La Colmena

Warped La Colmena cigar and cigar band full view

Warped Cigars may be the new kids on the block, but they’ve enjoyed a healthy start as one of the most sought after, popular cigars of the last 2 years—partly due to they’re classic, Cuban-esque flavors and party because their branding is second-to-none.

Warped seems to perfectly integrate the best elements of the cigar industry’s glory days of Cuba with a classy, modern touch. And while all their bands could be on this list, the one that really stands out is their La Colmena cigar. The name translates to “Beehive” and as soon as you know that, the brilliant design/concept really sinks in. On the front of the band you will find an ultra-simplistic set of lines, which represent the shape of a beehive. Even the cigar’s shape adds to the theme, with a twisted cap, resembling a bee’s stinger. A clean color scheme of burnt yellow, dark green, and white offer a look unlike anything you’ll see on the market. Everything from the colors, design, and even shape of the band is crisp, clean, and well-defined—an instantly recognizable band that just feels hip and classy.

  • Cigar brand: Warped Cigars
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Price: $12 – $13

Eastern Standard

Caldwell Eastern Standard cigar and cigar band full view

Robert Caldwell has always represented the artistic side of the cigar industry. With his first endeavor, Wynwood Cigars, a joint effort with industry veteran Christian Eiroa, he featured custom-designed and hand-painted cigar boxes by local Miami artists. A line of Wynwood Cigars even included bands that were splattered with paint, for a completely unique look on every smoke.

In 2014, Caldwell started his own venture, teaming up with the Ventura family in the Dominican Republic. And while the brand’s concept is intriguing, using rare and vintage tobaccos throughout their premium lines, it was the mysterious look of their first cigar that caught smoker’s attention. It was early 2014 and images began cropping up of a bearded man’s face—a simple pencil sketch that would eventually become known as the Eastern Standard. Here, Caldwell teams with Miami-based artist Evoca1, one of his collaborators from Wynwood Cigars. Caldwell doesn’t specify who the band depicts, only adding to the mystery and charm of this delightfully distinct band.

  • Cigar brand: Caldwell Cigar Co.
  • Country of origin: Dominican Republic
  • Price: $8 – $12

Behike BHK

Cohiba Behike BHK cigar and cigar band full view

The Cohiba Behike BHK is rolled at the famed El Laguito factory in Cuba. It was released in 2010 as a return of one of the rarest and most expensive cigars in the world—the original Cohiba Behike from 2006 (made to honor Cohiba’s 40th anniversary). This, the BHK, is among the most sought-after cigars in the world and is often regarded as one of the best (and most expensive) regularly produced cigars money can buy.

As I’m sure you’re all well aware, Cuban cigars are the most frequently counterfeited in the world, and fabricators stand the most to gain from recreating such a pricey smoke. This is why the Behike’s look is practically designed around the theme of security and authenticity. The band’s base showcases the iconic Cohiba checkerboard pattern, which is a safeguard itself, as it’s tricky to replicate the perfectly symmetric grid. The band’s emblem features a native Cuban Taíno “behike”, which were medicinal healers for the indigenous people. Inside this emblem are 3-D ridged holograms, with another, smaller Taíno head in the center, which shows a rainbow-like hologram effect. The boxes are thick and piano lacquer-finished, velvet-wrapped and sealed in a black outer covering. All-in-all, one of the most luxurious, classy, and counterfeit-proof displays of cigar craftsmanship you’ll ever find.

  • Cigar brand: Cohiba
  • Country of origin: Cuba
  • Price: $25 – $40

Aquitaine

RoMa Craft Aquitaine cigar and cigar band full view



RoMa Craft is a leading pioneer in the boutique cigar scene. Based out of Texas, with their own factory in Nicaragua, they’ve made a name for themselves with big, hearty smokes of full, in-your-face flavors.

The Aquitaine, a sibling to the brand’s most well-known CroMagnon cigar (different wrapper over a similar blend), features a look that bucks the traditional, ornate, gaudy appearances of so many cigars from the last century. Here, you will find the embodiment of subtlety, featuring a completely understated and minimalistic approach. With a dark and mottled Habano wrapper, the band almost blends right in—using a thin, flat strip of matte brown paper, wrapped over a thicker, white band beneath it. What’s striking is the lack of contrast for the cigar’s title—where you would normally find multiple colors, borders, shiny inks and foils, “Aquitaine” is a simple embossed text on the brown paper. There is a similar effect on the white paper beneath, having embossed images of cave paintings from the “early man”. Without a closer examination you may only see brown on white, but that’s what’s so brilliant, you want to hold and examine this cigar! RoMa Craft was one of (if not the) first brands to incorporate such a clean and modern feel to the world of cigars, further solidifying their place as a premium player in the boutique cigar scene.

  • Cigar brand: RoMa Craft Tobac
  • Country of origin: Nicaragua
  • Price: $6 – $8

Sobremesa

Sobremesa cigar and cigar band full view

Sobremesa is the first release from newcomer Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust—although, if you know your cigars, you’ll know the term “newcomer” may be a bit of a misnomer. The brand is owned and operated by industry authority Steve Saka, marking his first venture after operating as CEO of Drew Estate.

The cigars, Sobremesa, arrive in a classic, Cubanesque presentation—with a layout very similar to Montecristo or Ramón Allones. Gold, embossed seals run along the boxes every corner, as well as two heavily decorated seals to protect the boxes opening. The box’s interior displays an intricate vista of a Nicaraguan tobacco field, which has been custom-embossed to highlight every tobacco leaf—a very impressive, nostalgic look/feel. But the cigars themselves earn Sobremesa their spot on our list. A dark rosado-shade wrapper is highlighted by a bold band that has been cut and embossed in the shape of a crown. No words, no logos, just the bold, symmetrical face of a crown and a solid, brown backdrop to match the cigar’s hue. On the foot there is a sub-band with a similar look, only flipping the scheme for the dark brown as the primary color and displaying the “Sobremesa” text in a subtle fashion. It’s clean, bold, and classic—perfectly fitting its place in the boutique market.

  • Cigar brand: Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
  • Country of origin: Nicaragua
  • Price: $10 – $14

American Barrel-Aged

Camacho American Barrel-Aged cigar and cigar band full view

Camacho caught the cigar world off guard with its complete rebranding in 2013. The brand was acquired by Davidoff and wasted no time stripping down and streamlining both its cigars and its look—which is now known as the bold standard in the cigar world.

Camacho’s new bold branding is just as described—with clean and modern text and bright, clearly defined colors, differentiating a solid lineup. Their new American Barrel-Aged follows suit, with a very similar look, but it seems the whole concept really clicked with this band. Right away you’ll notice the band does not conform to industry standards, flipping the orientation on its side. With the bold “Camacho” text running along the length of the cigar, rather across the width, they are able to take up much more real estate for the big, bold Camacho logo. The colors are copper on black, with slate secondary colors—this references the cigar’s unique characteristic, having been partially aged in American Bourbon barrels (think copper stills). A slick footer band with imagery of said-barrels ties the concept together, making for a modern, bold, American feel—what’s not to love?

  • Cigar brand: Camacho
  • Country of origin: Dominican Republic
  • Price: $9.50 – $11.50

Hoyo de Monterrey Épicure No.2

Hoyo de Monterrey cigar and cigar band full view

Hoyo de Monterrey is one of the oldest and most recognizable cigar brands in the world, dating back to 1865. Named after the original farm in which the tobaccos were grown, the name translates to “the Hole of Monterrey” and references the concave terrain of the farm, a desirable condition for premium tobacco.

What good would a list of bands be without a quintessential example of a classic, Cuban cigar band. Hoyo has endured its fair share of alterations throughout the years, but has always managed to retain a sophisticated, royal appearance. Forgoing lavish decorations of gradients and frills, Hoyo deploys a clean layout of a solid white, red, and gold. The brand’s name is in a clean, sans-serif font, surrounded by a shield-shaped crest and topped with a gold, embossed crown. For this, the Épicure No.2, the band is blown up to a larger scale and features a clean sub-band with the “Épicure No.2” text. The cigar looks and feels exactly as you’d expect from the legendary, sophisticated stature of a premium, Cuban cigar.

  • Cigar brand: Hoyo de Monterrey
  • Country of origin: Cuba
  • Price: $8 – $14

Goldie

La Palina Goldie cigar and cigar band full view

La Palina Cigars is a resurrected brand dating back to the late 1800’s. The original brand (Congress Cigar Company) shut down in 1926, but has since been brought back to life by the original creator’s grandson, Bill Paley.

La Palina made itself known straight away as a brand of class, elegance, history, and luxury. The brand logo, featuring Goldie Paley (wife of original brand creator Samuel Paley), is proudly displayed on the Goldie cigar, which has been made to honor Bill’s grandmother and women in the cigar industry. Here you will find one of the most classy, elegant cigar bands you’ll ever lay eyes on. A hand-drawn, cross-hatched sketch of Mrs. Goldie is displayed in grayscale, surrounded by ornate, gold embossings. The band is die-cut to form a more intricate shape than your average straight band. The cigar itself adds to the aura, with one of the cleanest, unblemished wrappers you’ll ever see. The cigars are rolled by arguably the best roller in the world (Maria Sierra) and are finished with a perfect, Laguito-style fan cap—a stunning display of cigar craftsmanship.

  • Cigar brand: La Palina Cigars
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Price: $16 – $18

Fuente Fuente OpusX

Fuente Fuente OpusX cigar and cigar band full view

Arturo Fuente famously engineered the first ever Dominican puro with the now-classic OpusX cigar, debuting in the midst of The Great Cigar Boom during the ’90s. OpusX is known as one of, if not, the most luxurious smoking experience in the world.

But the feeling of luxury isn’t simply derived from the smoking experience—which, by the way, is every bit as good as advertised. Fuente hooks you from first sight—the boxes are big and heavy in appearance, with a dark, varnished wood that has the look of a treasure chest. But this is nothing compared to the bands—the bands sell OpusX cigars (an ultra-refined smoke complexity doesn’t hurt either…). The OpusX band is like the epitome of a cigar band—if you asked an average person to imagine a cigar, it would probably have a decked-out, intricate band such as this. The bands are precision-cut to shape, and filled with intricate, ornate elements throughout—you can stare at this band for some time and always discover something new. Of course there is the elegant “FF” sitting atop the famous “X” in the center, but it is surrounded by all sorts of gold trimmings, patterns, gradients, and embossings at every corner! With so much attention to detail, you’d think it’d all become a mess, but somehow everything is weaved together in just the right manner to make for a spectacular piece of band artwork.

  • Cigar brand: Arturo Fuente
  • Country of origin: Dominican Republic
  • Price: $10 – $35
  • Jeff Spicka

    The Camacho triple maduro had a really cool band if I remember right but I just googled it and it’s not the same as I remember. (Also I LOVED that cigar) /cheers
    I like the big fancy and even kind of gaudy bands. The OpusX band is my favorite from the article.

  • Hey man, love the article, but what about the classic painting-like artwork of Flor de Las Antilles, San Cristobal, AJ Enclave, Guayacan, etc? Those style bands are my favorite. Probably the San Cristobal Elegancia is my personal favorite.

    • Yeah, those are great pics JD. We also love the intricate style of the Ashton VSG which almost made this article. This list could/should be a lot longer because there are so many awesome cigar bands out there.

    • Hey JD, thanks for checking out the article! I know what you’re getting at, in my opinion, the best use of this style was with Goldie. I know it’s not exactly the same, with the ultra-detailed look of Flor de las Antillas. But there’s just so many bands with this style, they all sort of blend together. Because of that, and the Goldie’s amazing appearance of the cigar itself, earned the spot for this style.