Sometimes you just need a friend. Someone who is there for you, no matter what. Cigars are no different. We all need those cigars that can be counted on to perform. A cigar that is consistently good, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and is fairly easy to get your hands on. Over the years, I have found myself going back to certain cigars over and over again. These are the cigars that I often smoke when no one is looking. In my experiences, these are the 10 best go-to daily smokes on the market right now.
Aladino – JRE Tobacco Co.
The debut effort from JRE Tobacco is a Honduran puro that features Eiroa Corojo through and through. Coming in at around the $10 mark (though, to be fair, there are enough sizes in this line to fit a wide range of prices), this cigar features a classic appearance and palate-catching flavors of salted peanuts, cedar, coffee, and buttermilk—toast, light, and enjoy! The consistently perfect construction on this brand will allow you to spend your time enjoying the flavors instead of babysitting the burn. I have yet to find a poor vitola in the Aladino line, but I find myself selecting the toro more often than not.
Double Aged 12-Year Vintage – Perdomo Cigars
Released in 2014, the Double Aged 12-Year Vintage comes wrapped in three leaf varieties: Connecticut, sun-grown, and maduro. Unlike many of the other Perdomo cigars that have a portion of their tobacco aged in bourbon barrels, the entire recipe of the 12-Year Vintage has been aged in spent bourbon barrels. This barrel-aging process does not impart any bourbon flavor into the cigar, but it does further ferment the tobacco, bringing out every possible note that the tobacco has to offer. Buttery smooth smoke with flavors of roasted nuts, caramel, umami, and spice grab your attention and never let go. One of the most amazing aspects of this stick is its relatively low price tag (when taking into account the premium tobacco processing), coming in at around $8–$10 for the robusto format.
El Güegüense – Foundation Cigar Co.
Five years ago, Nick Melillo created his own company: Foundation Cigar Co. Its initial offering was the uniquely-titled El Güegüense. Being known for his work with Connecticut Broadleaf, Nick notably veered away for his debut release, creating a near-perfect Habano instead. Using all-Nicaraguan tobaccos from AGANORSA and being rolled at their Estelí-based factory, Nick blended this cigar to offer notes of cabinet spices, butterscotch, and a hint of Cuban-esque musk. Coming in at just over $10, this is a cigar that you will find yourself coming back to again and again.
Epernay – Illusione Cigars
Made in Honduras at the Raíces Cubanas factory, the Illusione Eprenay is a Nicaraguan puro that checks in at around $9–$11, depending on the vitola you choose. While I prefer the Le Matin (6½” x 46 lonsdale), it’s tough not to like this cigar in any shape or size. With flawless construction, this Corojo ’99 Café Rosado-wrapped cigar features flavors of orange zest, nougat, malt, light-roast coffee, and buttery almonds. It seems like every year I find myself revisiting this cigar with a box purchase to enjoy when I want to be certain that my smoking session will be satisfying.
Herrera Estelí – Drew Estate
The very first cigar blended by Willy Herrera for Drew Estate remains, to this day, one of my favorites from this master blender. Appropriately named Herrera Estelí, this cigar absolutely shines in the lonsdale format, but is also incredible if you can get your hands on the more limited lancero format. With a nice zing on the retrohale, this Habano will treat you to a delicious caramel nuttiness, along with cinnamon and cabinet spices. At under $10, this is a killer value and something you can easily get your hands on at any reputable tobacconist.
Laranja Reserva – Espinosa Premium Cigars
I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think the Laranja Reserva by Espinosa Premium Cigars has finally passed up the Espinosa Habano as one of my favorite go-to cigars. There is just something special about the Brazilian wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and fillers that Erik and his team blended to perfection. With just enough strength and loads of flavor, the Laranja never lets me down. The cigars are rolled at the La Zona factory in Nicaragua, coming in at an affordable 10 bucks (give or take), which certainly doesn’t bust the wallet. The vitola that I tend to gravitate towards is the corona gorda, which seems to bring out the citrus, cinnamon, and spice that really shine in this blend.
Project 40 – Alec Bradley Cigar Co.
Who says you can’t make a fantastic cigar that retails for less than $6? In 2019, Alec Bradley shocked the cigar world when they released the Project 40 and received high scores from almost every expert that reviewed it. This cigar is no fluke. Produced at the J. Fuego factory in Nicaragua, this value-priced cigar performs every bit like a higher-priced premium. Project 40 delivers a delicious sweet sugar cookie and spice flavor that would be a bargain at twice the price. Not only is the price and flavor intriguing, but the Project 40 burns and draws perfectly, allowing you to use this smoke as either a yard ‘gar or as a special treat, depending on the situation at hand. Currently, the Project 40 might be the best bang-for-your-buck in the entire cigar industry.
Serie A – HVC Cigars
One of the most delicious go-to cigars in my humidor is the HVC Serie A. Imagine a salted nut roll in cigar form. Indeed, salted peanuts with sweet nougat cream are the overriding flavor characteristics with this smoke. Not one time have I smoked this cigar and had a bad experience, which has me buying boxes every time I run low. This Nicaraguan puro is produced at the Aganorsa Leaf factory, and comes dressed with a very understated box and band. Clearly, HVC’s Reinier Lorenzo decided to put all the bling in the cigar itself, and I appreciate that. My favorite vitola for this stick is the Perlas, which is a 5⅝″ × 46 corona gorda that retails for about $8.
Signature Selection – Aganorsa Leaf
In 2017, Terence Reilly took over the Casa Fernández brand with the title of Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Quickly, things began to change, most notably transitioning the brand name to Aganorsa Leaf, helping to differentiate it from competitor A.J. Fernández. A year later, the Signature Selection was released to the rave reviews of cigar smokers everywhere. The gorgeous presentation stands out with a golden sleeve around every cigar, making the $10 price point feel surprisingly low. While its production is listed as seasonal, the Signature Selection can be found at most retailers who carry Aganorsa Leaf products. With a beautiful Rosado Claro Corojo ’99 wrapper from Jalapa, Nicaragua, this puro also features a dose of medio tiempo filler, giving it that extra oomph and complexity that you might not find in many other cigars at similar price points. Signature Selection offers a subtle sweetness with accompanying notes of graham cracker, cream, and buttery spices.
Sobremesa Brûlée – Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
Don’t let all the controversy surrounding this cigar fool you—this is a fantastic smoking experience. Does it have a sweetened tip? The cigar’s creator, Steve Saka, insists it does not. But regardless of whether the tip is artificially sweetened or naturally sweet due to the aged Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, you will quickly fall in love with the buttery complexity of this cigar. While it is on the expensive side ($15 for the double corona), it’s worth every single penny for the fantastic flavors and perfect construction. Oddly enough, I wasn’t sure what to think of this cigar the first time I smoked it, due to the unusually sweet taste on my tongue. But then I found myself returning to it every single day for a week straight. By the end of summer 2019, the Brûlée had become one of my favorite cigars and I found myself looking for excuses to fire up again and again.
While I generally consider myself a cigar smoker that has a hard time smoking the same cigar twice—stemming from my lust for exploration—there are some cigars that keep me coming back over and over again. Likely due to a combination of flavor, quality construction, consistency, and price, the above cigars hit all the right notes for me. That being said, I am always on the lookout for more cigars that fit this description, so please leave your own suggestions and comments below.