On this site, we make much ado about 90+ rated cigars. They’re generally the cream of the crop. But they’re not the be all and end all of cigars. Hell, our dads and granddads smoked stuff that would strip the paint off a parking pole, and there wasn’t much of a chance it would have satisfied today’s spoiled tastemakers.
But in a nod to a cigar that is more than good enough, we’re pulling out some blends that just missed the holy territory of the 90s and came in with ratings in the 80s at Cigar Aficionado. To make things fun, we’re also choosing blends that are available for about $8 or less. These are great value buys that just might be excellent in the hands of the right smoker, or in the right year of vintage. There have definitely been Top 25 smokes that scored in the high 80s before the blenders got it just right in another batch and created a masterpiece.
Without further ado, here are 8 Cigars in the 80s for $8 or less.
- Perdomo Inmenso Seventy Maduro Robusto
Let’s start things off right with a big bad stogie that tips the scales at 5 x 70. Cigar Aficionado said it was a “plump smoke that draws and burns evenly.” Plump is an understatement! But in this crazy modern world, even a 70 ring gauge isn’t the fattest cigar you’re going to see.
This is a Nicaraguan puro with a deeply fermented and mottled brown maduro wrapper. Get a sniff of it and you’re going to get excited. The smoke is even better! CA described how its “tangy, cedary notes pick up some hints of hazelnut, anise and cinnamon before the spicy finish.”
It’s a challenge to make a cigar like this be enjoyable throughout, but the flavors Perdomo put together are just right for an all-day smoke. Keep the lighter on hand, because this one may take a few sessions to fully enjoy.
- New World Cameroon Short Robusto
From the massive to the more miniature, we move on to check out an A.J. Fernandez Cameroon-wrapped blend. Under the hood of this 4 x 48 cigar, you’re getting quality Nicaraguan leaf from A.J.’s famous farms. It’s well made, affordable, and gives you tobacco from across the sea in that genuine Cameroon leaf. Construction is top notch, too, and Cigar Aficionado reported that the cigar “draws effortlessly and burns evenly.”
You love to hear that, don’t you?
The flavors are also quite interesting, which is par for the course on Cameroon blends. They always bring something to tickle the tastebuds. This one is described as having a “core of minerals and anise” that “also carry notes of black pepper, cocoa and charred wood.” The wood note is a Cameroon signature for sure, and at less than $8, this cigar is the perfect companion for a sunny afternoon. Be warned, though: the strength is at full!
- La Barba Ricochet Crü Shade Café
Let’s grab another shorty while we’re at it: the 4 x42 Ricochet Crü Shade Café from La Barba (a Caldwell x Tony Bellato production). This blend line is made from inspiration that comes from wines, and there’s just so much going on we can hardly understand it all. We’ve got no idea how this one came together at the blending table, but it did.
Pennsylvania broadleaf in the filler is joined by tobacco from Nicaraguan and the Dominican Republic. This is bundled into an Indonesian binder, and then wrapped in Ecuadorian leaf.
The flavors are quite piquant. That’s right, “piquant.” Vocab of the day, right there. Cigar Aficionado described how “Its woody impressions are accented by notes of tangy cedar, spicy ginger and black pepper.” They added that “There is a touch of lemon peel on the finish.”
You’re getting so much in this tiny package. We’re loving what came together here in this medium-strength cigar, even if we have no clue how they came up with this particular blend. Artistes like Mr. Bellato have their own ways of doing things.
- Vegas Cubanas Magnates
(Shhh. Don’t tell anyone this is Don Pepin’s stuff. Just keep it a secret between you, us, and however many thousand people come across this post. Other than that, “mum’s” the word!)
These are tasty Nicaraguan Churchills from a man who has won multiple Cigar of the Year awards and is widely regarded as one of the best blenders and cigar men on the planet: José Garcia. For these humbler sticks, he put together a blend of Nicaraguan tobacco that offers notes of “cedar, bittersweet chocolate, and hazelnut” that “usher in a coffee-like quality to the smoke.”
Pour some fresh java and toast up a beautiful cigar that’s available at a great price. It’s going to be a beautiful day!
- La Flor Dominicana Ligero L-250 Tubo
LFD is known for potent, flavorful blends. This one is so tough it had to be put in solitary confinement in a tube to keep it from beating up other blends in your humidor. Dominican long-filler and an Ecuadorian wrapper make the smoke rich and strong.
It gets off to a rocky start, which led in part to the 87 rating, but it “calms down to show a more agreeable palate of black pepper, walnut and a sweet hint of root beer.” That doesn’t sound too bad, now does it? In fact, it sounds downright good!
Construction is solid and so the draw and burn were reported to be “even and consistent.” For under $8 bucks, we’re definitely pulling this one out when we want a compact cigar that brings the ruckus.
- Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8 Claro
Candela exists, and while you may not have a bunch of it in your humidor, you can rely on Fuente to do it right for those occasions when you’re into the unique profile it brings.
This Dominican blend features a Connecticut shade candela wrapper, and offers an experience that is quite mild. This is a relaxing cigar with a classic grassy flavor profile that gives you much more on top of that, carrying notes of “pine, wood and a touch of nut-and-honey sweetness.” It’s really nice, and a great example of why candela still has fans in a market dominated by extensively fermented tobacco.
Try it out, and see what guys were smoking stateside in the good old days. $8? It was probably about 8 cents then!
- Nica Rustica Adobe Gordo
Drew Estate is bringing the flava with some tobacco that barely behaves in the Nica Rustica Adobe. This one is built on Nicaraguan, Brazilian, and Ecuadorian leaf, and brings a classic profile of cedar, leather, and nuts. The finish can be sweet or it can tend in the other direction, depending on which stick you get. On a good day, this blend is highly enjoyable, bringing strength and plenty of interesting notes to savor.
If you want a blend that could show you a lot of different sides of its personality, get this one. If you want something a touch more refined, grab the…
- Padrón 2000
Padrón is in no sense underrated. Everyone knows that this is one of the best (if not the best) cigar companies around. The 2000 is a humble stick in an incredibly illustrious family. While the brothers and sisters are winning Cigar of the Year awards with mind-boggling consistency, this cigar is content to simply be a good smoke.
Nicaraguan tobacco brings the always-welcome flavors of “cocoa powder, cedar and a spicy burst of black pepper.” You just know what you’re going to get with Padrón, and if you can get it at a price you like, it’s a solid buy no matter what year it is. The famous blends the company sells are excellent, but so is this natural gem you might overlook in the bright lights that shine on the family portfolio.
The 80s were a fun time and can be a fun rating in which you will find good smoke at a price that makes sense. Don’t sleep on these 8 blends!