Whether you’re a seasoned lover of the leaf, or just getting your feet wet, it’s always a good idea to broaden your palate. Sure, there are those of us that discover their “perfect smoke”, one that never seems to let you down – that is, until you find something better… Because cigar smoking is a journey, one that is continuously teaching, exposing new elements that had not seemed clear once before.

In my experience, one can never truly master the art of cigar smoking, and because of that, I am always on the hunt for something new. Of course, there are the legendary smokes, cigars like the Fuente Fuente OpusX, Padron 1926 Serie, Montecristo No. 2, and Cohiba Behike, these are the no-brainers of cigar smoking – but what if you’re feeling a little adventurous?

For you – the curious, the bold, the rebellious, I’ve compiled my list of 10 of the best “under the radar cigars”. These cigars may not get the attention they deserve, but their flavor and quality will speak for themselves. Remember, at one point, every great cigar was unheard of.

In no particular order, here are 10 great cigars you may not be acquainted with.

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Hermosa Cigars Double Ligero

Spanish for “beautiful”, Hermosa is a small, California-based brand with only one cigar in their repertoire – the Double Ligero. Contrary to the cigar’s title, the Double Ligero isn’t simply an onslaught of strength, rather a very well-balanced smoke. Creamy, even chewy smoke abounds from start to finish; with pleasant flavors of hazelnut, cinnamon, clove, and other cabinet spices. With solid construction and a great draw, the only thing negative I can say is that this is a difficult cigar to track down. Look for them in the California area at Lordsburg Cigar or have the Underground Cigar Shop in Texas ship you some.

Hermosa Cigars Review

Price: $6 – $10
Country of origin: Nicaragua
Find them here: @HermosaCigars

Curivari Buenaventura

Affordable doesn’t even begin to describe the Curivari Buenaventura. At around $5 per stick, these Nicaraguan puros pack a tremendous amount of flavor! Released in 2012, the Buenaventura has quickly gained a following among boutique cigar enthusiasts due to its incredibly high flavor to price ratio. Right away, you’ll notice the retro, Cuban-inspired band, which looks great against the cigar’s golden, oily, Nicaraguan wrapper. But the real treat is in the Buenaventura’s explosive flavor – heavily creamed coffee, warm caramel, and just a touch of peppermint make for an thrilling combination on the palate. You simply won’t find more flavor in this price range.

Buena Ventura cigar review and rating

Price: $4 – $6
Country of origin: Nicaragua
Find them here: Curivari Tobacco Culture – as well as most B&M cigar shops

Leaf by Oscar – Connecticut

Have you heard the news? Oh you haven’t? I’m supposed to be giving you the news, you say? Allow me to fill you in on “said news”: Leaf by Oscar, which is all the rage on the cigar interwebs… This cigar is the brainchild of Jim Robinson, aka “Island Jim”, and has a really unique concept. Blended and rolled by Oscar Valladares in Danlí, Honduras, these cigars undergo an extra step not typically found on any other cigar. You see, after the cigar is rolled, it is then wrapped in one more tobacco leaf and banded with Connecticut, Maduro, Corojo, or Sumatra – to distinguish the inner wrapper of the cigar. Basically, this is a more functional, more interesting alternative to cigar cellophane, transferring additional oils to the cigar, while keeping it safe! In our experiences, we found the Connecticut to really stand out; showing subtle, complex flavors of cedar, cream, pepper, coffee, and a nice saltiness on the tongue. This is an all around satisfying cigar, with a solid construction and flavors as smooth as butter.

Leaf by Oscar Connecticut cigar review

Price: $9.95
Country of origin: Honduras
Find them here: Club Leaf & Bean

El Cedro 14k

El Cedro Cigars is a newcomer to the cigar scene, launching their first cigar in 2013. Inspired by his experiences in the U.S. Navy, while stationed in Iraq, brand owner Anwar Elboustani wanted to create a brand to commemorate the men and women of America’s armed forces. The culmination of his efforts came in the form of the El Cedro 14k, a Dominican cigar featuring all Dominican tobaccos, save for a touch of Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler. Building around the theme of cedar and cigars, a pairing that goes back centuries, El Cedro managed to create an incredible smoking experience as their first offering. As one might expect, the profile is loaded with woody notes of cedar, along with hay, nuts, earth, and a thick and chalky, white smoke. This is a full-flavored, medium-bodied offering, which makes it a great choice at any time of the day.

El Cedro 14k cigar review

Price: $7 – $8
Country of origin: Dominican Republic
Find them here: El Cedro Cigars

Placeres Reserva

As with the previous brand, Kuuts is yet another cigar manufacturer that handles their own operations. Using their own factory in Danli, Honduras, Kuuts oversees their precious boutique cigars from start to finish; making for a very consistent product. It’s that quality and consistency that we’ve come to love with all their cigars – namely, the Placeres Reserva. Scouring tobaccos from across many regions, the Placeres Reserva features a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, with a Costa Rican Binder and combined Nicaraguan and Honduran filler! An absolutely perfect draw opens up balanced flavors of sweet tobacco, damp wood, warm caramel, and milk chocolate. This is a great medium bodied smoke that seems to fit in any occasion.

Placeres Reserva cigar review

Price: $6 – $8
Country of origin: Honduras
Find them here: Kuuts Cigars

Epic Maduro Reserva

One thing’s for sure, when these guys say “maduro”, they mean it! This is one dark, oily, and (dare I say) sexy cigar… With an absolutely gorgeous Brazilian ariparaca wrapper, paired with a bold, black and silver band, and one of the coolest box presentation you’ll ever find, this cigar simply begs to be smoked. As with many cigars on this list, the theme seems to be balance – which is exactly what you’ll find here. Sweet oils coat your mouth as notes of butter, chocolate-covered cherries, aged tobacco, and boozy qualities abound. Unlike other cigars with a similar delicate wrapper, the Epic Maduro burns like a champ. No need to worry about cracking or peeling, just sit back and soak it in!

Epic Cigars maduro review

Price: $7 – $8
Country of origin: Domican Republic
Find them here: Epic Cigars

Arandoza Red Label

Taking 1st place in our Cigar of the Year awards two years in a row, it seems the boys at the La Zona factory know how to make a fine cigar. And as you might have guessed, Arandoza Cigars are manufactured at the very same, up and coming La Zona factory, owned and operated by Erik Espinosa. Their lineup consists of three cigars: Arandoza Red, White, and Blue, a full lineup of boutique cigars created in honor of our great nation! While their first two offerings showed different takes on the Habano wrapper, the newest cigar, Arandoza Red Label, sports a rich and oily Mexican San Andrés. This is by far their best blend yet, with a full body, interesting flavors, and enough strength to keep you on your toes! The flavor profile starts with dark fruits and a milk cream finish, soon adding hickory beef jerky, leather, and white pepper to make this a really engaging smoke. This cigar is great because they managed to balance out its high nicotine strength with a lot of flavor, making for a well-rounded smoke that’s perfect for smoking with a big steak dinner, or possibly afterwards with a glass of bourbon (neat, of course)!

Arandoza Red Label cigar review

Price: $7 – $9
Country of origin: Nicaragua
Find them here: Arandoza Cigars

Sosa Underground

Connecticut or Habano? Take your pick. With Sosa Cigar’s bold new series, you get the best of both worlds because every cigar comes with a little of both! Each of these local, Miami-inspired cigars are capped at both ends with the alternate wrapper. I.e. the Connecticut wrapped cigar is capped with Habano, and vice versa. Our preferred vitola is the small, 5 1/2 x 41 Delphic, a perfecto that smokes in just under 45 minutes. This is a short, enjoyable smoke with flavors of nuts, chocolate, wood, cherries, and a sweetness on the lips. This is a great cigar to smoke on lunch, or even as an appetizer before dinner.

Sosa Underground Delphic cigar review

Price: $6.50
Country of origin: Nicaragua
Find them here: Sosa Cigars

El Galan

If you are seeking a cigar that tastes like a cuban and will not break the bank look no further than the El Galan. Felix Mesa has a deep heritage in the cigar business and went to great pains to create affordable cigars that taste incredible and pay homage to his Cuban roots. This beefy 5×52 stick has an intriguing blend of Ecuadorian, Nicaraguan, and Dominican tobaccos that will provide warm flavors of roasted nuts, cedar, with a musky spice finish. The flavors are very reminiscent of what you might find in a Cuban Cohiba or Partagas. Yet the best part is these sticks are only about 5 bucks!

El Galan Cigar Review

Price: $5
Country of origin: Nicaragua
Find them here: El Galan Cigars

D’Crossier Lancero Selection 512

When smoking a D’Crossier Golden Blend for the first time, you may find yourself pondering the question, “How is this not a Cuban cigar?” D’Crossier cigars are the real deal, top class through and through. Brand owner Isaias Santana Diaz takes the upmost care to ensure he is delivering a quality product. Everything is hand-selected, from the elegant Costa Rican tobaccos, to the tiniest detail in packaging, such as the imported hinges on the cigar boxes – D’Crossier is class. Once known as the best kept secret in the cigar world, these luxury smokes are finally making their way into the hands of cigar enthusiasts – teaming with Espinosa Premium Cigars’s distribution to reach many of the big online retailers and local B&Ms. Perhaps the brand’s finest and most authentically “Cubanesque” offering is the Lancero Selection 512 – featuring “the connoisseur’s vitola” and some of the finest tobaccos available to this burgeoning Costa Rican manufacturer. As with many Cuban cigars, these beauties benefit tremendously with age. Not necessarily years, per se – but six months acclimation in your humidor will do wonders! This one isn’t recommended for the novice, as the flavors are subtle, refined, and elegant. Trust us, the proper care and attention will pay dividends to your greedy taste buds…

SEE ALSO: D’Crossier Lancero Selection 512 Cigar Review

D'Crossier Lancero Selection No. 512 cigar packaging

Price: $11 – $13
Country of origin: Costa Rica
Find them here: D’Crossier Cigars

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