5 Under $5: A List of Decent Inexpensive Cigars

by Billy Ferriolo
5 Under $5: A List of Decent Inexpensive Cigars


As anyone knows, cigars can be an expensive vice. One minute you’re browsing an online cigar store, and the next thing you know, you’ve got a cart over a $100. And there’s only 7 cigars in it! While those cigars are undoubtedly going to produce some premium smoke, it may send you running for the gas station to grab a box of Black and Milds or Swisher Sweets to round out your collection.

After all, not every smoke session needs a chart-topping smoke, right?

Well, before you leave the life of quality behind, we’ve got a list of highly affordable handmade cigars that are still good. These aren’t generally making best of lists, but they’re made with tobacco from some of the most carefully-cultivated fields in the world. And more importantly, they’re blended by masters and rolled up by skilled torcedores who have assembled some of the finest cigars we’ve ever smoked. These cigars come second to the best stogies, and there’s no shame in that.

Now, without further ado, here are five cigars under five dollars, made by high quality brands. If you’re a deal hunter, these are very promising opportunities to explore.

Henry Clay Rustic Cheroot

A cheroot is a casual thing. You get yourself some tobacco leaves, roll em up as best you can, and that’s pretty much it. There’s no fancy shaping or tapering, and both ends are open. This is about as basic a “cigar” as you can get, so they’re quite common outside of fancy cigar smoking communities. In fact, the word is thought to originate from Tamil, a state in India, where you can still buy bundles of green cheroot cigars at local marketplaces.

The Henry Clay version approaches things a bit differently.

For starters, a bit more effort has gone into construction of these cigars under $5. Instead of both ends staying open, there’s a closed foot and even a nice little pigtail cap to dress up the smoke. The appearance stays true to the cigar’s rustic roots, however. It’s got a natural look with some tiny waves in the shape, as opposed to the perfect cylinders you’ll get with other high end brands.

And what a nice smell you get when you pop the lid on a box of these! We’d group the Henry Clay Rustic Cheroot in with Drew Estate’s KFC cigars as stogies that offer up a lot of fireside or barbeque notes. This one is earthy, woody, and super smoky, with an aroma that will instantly make you feel like you’re sitting at a camp fire. Don’t let the casual look fool you, though, these are full strength cigars that should not be huffed and puffed or they’ll blow your house down.

The wrapper is a rich brown country-grown Connecticut broadleaf, which is concealing a Honduran broadleaf binder. Inside, there’s a mix of Dominican and Honduran long-fillers that include a special priming known as capa dura. This secondary tobacco leaf grows out of a bare stalk after the other leaves have been harvested. It comes in flavorful and strong, and is probably responsible for the unique character of this Henry Clay blend.

For less than $5, you can get a cigar that has a taste all its own, and that’s perfect for grilling, camping, and other smoky outdoor activities.

What a steal!

El Triunfador (Tatuaje) Favoritos

It’s a bit of a hidden gem, this one. Instead of flying the main Tatuaje brand flag high on the pole, this one has a line all to itself. So, if you haven’t had a chance to smoke El Triunfador, this is your opportunity to get in on a tasty blend at an “easy to stomach” price.

The name might sound familiar because the original Tatuaje El Triunfador cigars were a collaboration between Pate Johnson and the family behind My Father cigars, the Garcias. Favoritos are an extension to this initial blend that was the first of the name to hit the market.

It was a bit of a departure for Tatuaje, known for bold and rustic blends, due to the more restrained and balanced nature of the first Triunfador release. This time, we’re again moving in a new direction. Favoritos cigars are meaty, spicy, and sweet, with an intriguing incense note that the Cigar Aficionado judges pegged as something like myrrh. (Yes, that myrrh, from Christ’s birth story. Either these guys have super refined palates or super refined imaginations, but the only way to get an answer is to light one up for yourself). At least the 90 rating tells you that it’s a decent blend, no matter which way the smoke cloud blows!

Favoritos come in at medium-full strength, and deliver a beautiful array of quality tobaccos for less than five dollars. Inside, there’s exactly what you’d expect from Jaime Garcia: perfectly aged Nicaraguan long-filler. Then, the outside is classic Cuban-style Ecuadorian habano leaf. The cigars are rolled up alongside some of the best stogies in the world at the Garcia factory Tabacalera Cubana in Estelí, Nicaragua, and El Triunfador Favoritos clearly soaked up the ambiance and aroma to evolve into an enjoyable smoke without the hefty price tag.

Want in on Tatuaje and My Father at no-nonsense pricing? Grab some Favoritos at under $5 and you’re scoring a great bunch of cigars.

La Aroma de Cuba Rothschild

Let’s stick with the Garcias for another moment, shall we? They’ve got some Cigar of the Year winners and are one of the few families in the world who can produce a cigar that we’ll always smoke, sight unseen. It really doesn’t matter what they blend up – we’re going to be interested in trying at least one. Given that, we’re also willing to smoke their less-heralded blends that didn’t win over everyone’s hearts and humidors at first puff in the interests of getting good tobacco at a great prices.

La Aroma de Cuba is a classic Cuban brand that the Garcias essentially revived in the 2000s. Long ago, it was one of Sir Winston Churchill’s early favorite cigars to smoke. Now, it’s made using Nicaraguan tobacco in a traditional Cuban way. It’s a humble blend when compared to chart-toppers from the Garcias like Le Bijou or La Opulencia, but it’s still a satisfying smoke that scored an 87 rating from the folks at Cigar Aficionado. This shows that, for the price, it’s definitely a cigar that many of us would be quite happy to toast up.

The smoke is medium-full strength, and has a core woody note that finishes sweet and a touch stony. Straight from the soil, this blend is down to earth and quite relaxing to draw on. When you see a picture of it (you might be able to check it out on the product page, if images have been uploaded), you’ll notice the telltale color of fermented Connecticut broadleaf. It’s a rich dark brown that just calls to us and begs to be smoked.

For less than five dollars, there are very few smokes we’d rather have in hand than a nice La Aroma de Cuba. It’s got the best of Nicaragua and Connecticut tobaccos, and the blend is truly wonderful for the money. When we’re not in the mood for luxurious blends, this is definitely on our list of cigars to reach for, along with these next two of the best inexpensive cigars (a little bit of) money can buy.

E.P. Carrillo Interlude Maduro Carrillitos

Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, the man behind the Cigar of the Year-winning Encore Majestic blend, also has affordable smokes for less than five dollars per. Isn’t that good news? We’re into it for sure!

We always look at lesser-known blends like these from the masters as a great way to get serious bang for our buck. Often enough, the tobacco is coming from the same fields, is being handled and selected with the same care, and the final product is of a pretty decent quality at the end of the day. This remains true even if the taste makers and cigar bloggers aren’t leaping out of their leather chairs, knocking over their mahogany end tables, and spilling their $1,000 ashtrays in the rush to get a hold of them.

The Interlude Maduro Carrillitos cigars are nice compact 4 x 38 coronas. They aren’t too fancy, and each one comes with a nice rustic Mexican San Andrés wrapper on the outside. This leaf cradles an Ecuadorian binder and a nice bundle of Nicaraguan tobacco leaves that power the blend. The flavors of the Interlude maduro are rich with earthy oak, coffee, and a touch of sweet molasses. This mature flavor profile earned the Interlude Maduro an 88 rating, which puts it in the same class with the other cigars under $5 on this list. It’s a satisfying smoke artfully made with high quality tobacco, but won’t break the bank.

Mr. Perez-Carillo is simply crushing the cigar game these days, so we highly recommend grabbing a box of these easy to smoke cigars in the “Carillitos” size. Bust these out after any old dessert when you’re going to need some time to digest, and you should be in for a super relaxing half hour or more.

Okay, interlude over. Time for Last Call.

Last Call by AJ Fernandez

AJ Fernandez is well known now as a blender who knows how to spot great leaf and figure out just the right combination to produce a stellar cigar. From boutique blends like Diesel to traditionally great smokes like Ramon Allones, when AJ puts his stamp on something, it’s probably an interesting smoke.

Last Call is one of those fun blends.

With an 87 rating in the most recent tests, Last Call isn’t cracking the Top 25 list over at Cigar Aficionado at the moment, but that’s how we can all get the short robustos for a price that makes it totally worth buying. At under $5 a stick, you can fire up a Last Call pretty much any time. It’s not like one of those legendary highly rated smokes that you buy, and that then sits in your humidor because no time ever seems good enough to pull it out.

It’s Saturday, but is it really a special Saturday?
I got a promotion, but is $4,500 a year really enough to start habitually smoking Cigars of the Year?
Sure, my wife just gave birth, but is our third kid really anything to celebrate?

You get the picture. With a less than five dollar Last Call stogie, you can light it up any old time. This cigar has no expectations of you and demands no special occasion for smoking.

It’s just a nice quality cigar for a few bucks.

The tobacco is good stuff, as always with AJ. Hand selected Nicaraguan binder and filler tobacco make up the center of the cigar, and give it an enjoyable woody flavor. The Ecuadorian wrapper really adds something fun, imparting a lemony, even wine-y note to the smoke. And coming in at medium-full strength, this is a potent cigar.

The name comes from the fact that this blend was once favored by AJ as an end of night handout to those visiting Casa Blanca as part of a tour of his cigar making operations. Maybe you’ll find that it’s good for the end of your nights, too? Let us know how it strikes you.

Also, it’s the end of our list!

Please enjoy these fine (but affordable) high quality cigars at your leisure.