The high value smoke.
These are cigars that aren’t sold for crazy prices, but that offer an outstanding smoking experience. Whatever you pay for them, you always think that it was well worth it. In fact, a great sign of a value cigar is that after you nub it out you wonder, “Why isn’t this more expensive? That was a beautiful cigar!” Value is a subjective idea, but the 8 smokes on this list sell for around $8 or less, and we find that they bring the goods nearly every time we light them up. And these aren’t just great in our heads – these are 90+ rated cigars, every one of them.
Here are some of the current value kings on our shelves:
Drew Estate MUWAT Nightcrawler
The My Uzi Weighs a Ton line from the Drew Estate guys tends to have a ton of personality and a ton of flavor in each cigar. In particular, the MUWAT Nightcrawler (Robusto) is a creature of the night, full of intense earthy flavors led by French roast coffee and finished with sweet foamy vanilla milk and a dash of cinnamon. It’s the kind of drink you order after a really long meal out, when you need to just sit for a while and sip and digest.
This cigar delivers maximum flavor, thanks to a wild blend of tobaccos from all over the map. As you might imagine, the filler blend has a nice hearty Nicaraguan leaf in true Drew Estate style. It’s joined by a Brazilian mata fina, which is then bound in Ecuadorian Connecticut tobacco. The pièce de resistance is the Mexican San Andrés Maduro wrapper on the outside – a true gift from the richest, darkest soil. As the name suggests, this cigar would look right at home in a loamy cup of mud and earthworms found on the bottom of a boat headed out for early morning fishing on a lake. It’s dank and dark and brings us everything we want from a well fermented wrapper leaf.
At 91 points, medium-full strength, and a price that’s often under $6, the MUWAT Nightcrawler one gives you major flavor for minor dollars.
La Gloria Cubana – Glorias
G-L-O-R-I-A! Man she makes us feel so good. She’s a classic tune and a fine smoke on top of that. And unlike some real world Glorias out there, she won’t leave you broke and brokenhearted. This one’s always faithful.
The brand has a superstar behind it – E.P. Carillo, who’s sitting on a fairly recent Cigar of the Year winner in the Encore Majestic and should have it made for several years still to come. The man knows how to choose and blend tobacco with the best of ‘em, and La Gloria Cubana will only surprise you if you’re not aware who’s behind it.
With the pedigree in mind, it’s easy to see why this one is so enjoyable. E.P. grabbed a selection of Nicaraguan and Dominican leaves for the filler and binder, and then finished it off with your choice of Connecticut broadleaf or Ecuadorian Sumatra wrappers. While we’re hopelessly devoted to broadleaf like most folks these days, we’ll recommend going for the Ecuador option on this blend. The flavor profile comes out interesting and quite flavorful, bringing a zing that you might at first find peppery, but that shifts into something like mulled wine by the end. This one has layers of complexity and shouldn’t be rushed.
90 points, medium full strength, and a rustic look that lets you know you’re not in for an ordinary experience. At less than $6 per stick, you’re getting all the value you need from a premium handmade cigar.
Unlike the last entry on this list, this cigar won’t surprise anyone. Padrón is one of the most recognizable, best-selling cigar brands on planet Earth. They’ve won Cigar of the Year awards as much as anyone, and have without a doubt unlocked the majority of the secrets to premium cigar making. From cultivation, to preparation, to leaf selection, blending, rolling, and beyond, just about everything is done perfectly with Padrón. But while everyone is rightfully focused on the 1926 and 1964 Anniversary blends (good lord are they ever fantastic… and consistent, too!), there are other cigars coming out of the same factory and delivering value that’s just off the charts.
Like the Londres blend, for example. It’s about five bucks a stick and gives you a fully satisfying smoking experience. The company doesn’t even have to leave the country to get it done! They do it all with their own Nicaraguan tobacco. Filler, binder, and wrapper – it’s all from their regional farms, and it all comes together just right in the Londres. It’s a 90-point cigar that kicks off intense, but then mellows out into earthy cocoa and coffee, offering classic flavors that are all in balance.
You don’t have to break the bank to get an excellent cigar, but you can still buy from a brand that’s as good as it gets. Check out the Padrón Londres and tell us that you’re not getting your money’s worth. Hell, any time a friend wants to try a Padrón from your humi, save the legendary blends. Toss him one of these and call it a day. It’s more than good enough for anyone to light up and love.
Oliva Serie G Maduro
The standard Serie G blend is strictly for the Cameroon wrapper lovers, but for those who enjoy the aromatic herbal flavors, it’s one of the best Cameroon cigars out there. Boasting a 91-point rating, the core Oliva Serie G belongs in the same class as the other high level premium handmade cigars, thanks to its outstandingly exotic aromas and the hint of sweetness on the finish. It can be a bit of a wild ride, but when you’re in the mood for something a bit different, a quality Cameroon cigar can be totally satisfying.
This is it’s sibling, the even better Serie G maduro. At 93 points, it’s a certified world-class cigar.
Instead of Cameroon tobacco for the cover leaf, this one uses down home Connecticut broadleaf grown right here in the USA. You may not be much into Cameroon cigars, so this is your chance to get in on that fantastic Serie G Nicaraguan filler blend in a whole different way. You might think that, unlike the core cigar, this one isn’t built around strange and exotic flavors, but the truth is that this one displays a bit of herbal character as well, but is more earthy and dark due to the aged broadleaf maduro wrapper.
The smoking experience is really enjoyable. There’s a light press on the cigar that really suits the draw, allowing for the lush medium-full strength of the smoke to come through as you go along. Like Padrón, My Father, Plasencia, Drew Estate, and a few famous other brands, Oliva are masters of Nicaraguan tobacco. As soon as you get this one going, you’ll be nodding your head and understanding why Oliva belongs in that class. And at around $7 a stick, there’s no reason to save them for special occasions.
This could be your go-to Sunday smoke, if you want.
Tatuaje El Triunfador
You’re probably not surprised to see a brand like Tatuaje on this list. When you’re not a monster brand or one of the best-selling cigar makers on the planet, it’s expected that you’ll deliver really good value if you want people to smoke your sticks. Otherwise, people could simply stick with what’s been working for decades on end and buy a chart topper from a company that’s been making highly rated cigars since your grandfather’s day.
Naturally, Tatuaje delivers the goods. At less than $5 a stick, this cigar is way too good to pass up.
The thing is, Tatuaje is compiling its own tidy little list of awards and ratings. Perhaps in a few decades they’ll become one of those classic brands that everyone recognizes around the world. That’s a long way off, but if the company stays the course, we could see it leveling up and entering the next class of cigar makers.
The El Triunfador line is a bit of a special offering. While Tatuaje founder Pete Johnson is certainly known for delivering big personality and big flavor, especially in broadleaf blends, this started out as a more mild cigar. It was simply sent out to cigar shops without a big launch and was meant to just be a smoke that “showed up,” tasted great, and vanished into the clouds. It’s clearly grown into more than that, especially in the Favoritos version. This one is a bit more grown up. It’s medium-full in strength and delivers meaty and earthy flavor. There’s sweetness, spice, and a distinct herbal note that, along with the other aromas, earned the cigar a respectable 90 rating.
The inside is Nicaraguan tobacco, and the wrapper is Ecuadorian habano seed. Overall, this smoke is a touch underrated, giving us a wonderful experience without the big price tag. Give the five-pack a shot and get your hands on a cigar that pretty much always overdelivers.
Alec Bradley American Classic Blend
This one’s for the old cigar smokers – maybe even a few of the guys who’ve been puffing since before the embargo, if you’re out there. When the industry had to shift and Florida became a bustling center of cigar production, you could hit up a factory or shop in Miami’s Little Havana and get yourself some fresh handmades. This is common knowledge. But people might forget that over on the Gulf Coast side of Florida to the west, Tampa also had Ybor City, another home away from home for wayward Cubans. There, a premium cigar could be rolled to order, and if you were into cigars, it was a happy place to be.
Alec Bradley remembers, and the American Classic Blend is an homage to the cigars of yesteryear that were created by torcedores working in the warm breeze by wavy palms, weaving salty air into every smoke.
The smoke is not overpowering from this blend. The strength is right around mild-medium. The flavor, of course, is all there. It’s sweet and floral, a bit like a fruity morning cereal, along with traditional tobacco notes that call to mind fresh, well-cultivated tobacco. These qualities earned the American Classic Blend a 90 rating from Cigar Aficionado, and help mark this Alec Bradley cigar as a decent value even as the price hovers right around $8 a stick.
Beautiful Nicaraguan long filler is married to a Honduran Connecticut wrapper, which puts a neat spin on things. Unlike most cigars using Ecuadorian Connecticut tobacco, this blend offers a bit more richness and complexity, instead of the smooth predictability you get from CT leaf grown in Ecuador.
The Alec Bradley American Classic Blend is not the cheapest on our list, but if you’re in the mood for a smoke that can take you back in time, this cigar is your ticket back to the days of old. Come for a stroll on 7th Avenue (and don’t forget to stop in for lunch at one of the amazing Cuban restaurants there).
This one was born to be a value stick, so Drew Estate definitely hit the mark with the Undercrown maduro. It’s a branch of the Liga Privada tree, created so that there would be a reasonably close alternative to toss to all the hungry factory smoke hounds who were burning up half the cigars they rolled. It’s a good sign when you can barely get your cigars out the door of your factory because they’re so popular, but it’s not that great for business if you can’t actually get any sold out on the open market.
Drew Estate needed a solution.
Using the same select tobaccos, but finding different vintages and primings, they were able to create an experience worthy of the Liga name that they could produce in greater numbers. It still scratched a similar itch, but was easier to make and more affordable – just the kind of cigar we’re featuring on this list. Much like its parent, the Liga Privada No. 9, this one landed on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 list. It didn’t chart as high, but reviewers noted that there was a similar depth and complexity to the cigar’s oaky, leathery character. And with a touch of vanilla sweetness on the end, this was another memorable blend to stock up on.
The contents are pretty impressive. There’s the unmistakable Liga Brazilian Mata Fina, used as a filler, along with Cuban-seed Nicaraguan tobacco. The binder is a T52 Connecticut habano leaf, cured right on the stalk like a traditional broadleaf. And then there’s the wrapper, which Drew Estate describes as Mexican Otapan negro último corte. Call it branding if you like, but we’re guessing that there aren’t other cigars out there sporting this leaf as a wrapper.
Medium-full strength, and all the evolved flavor you can ask for. You may not be able to score this under $8 at all times, but it’s still a good value due to the rarity of the tobaccos used in it and exquisite smoking experience it delivers.
Joya de Nicaragua’s first cigar with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, and they knocked it right out of the park. As the 91-point #22 cigar of 2017, according to Cigar Aficionado, this was one to savor. The company has been creating Nicaraguan cigars for ages, and doing it quite well. In fact, many decades ago, “Jewel of Nicaragua” was the Official Cigar of the Nixon White House. There are quite a few cigar makers who have mastered that classic Nicaraguan tobacco, so what is there left to do?
Blend it with other leaves!
The Mexican tobacco delivers a spice note that even Nicaraguan leaf has to bow to. But in this case, the overall flavor of the cigar is rich and earthy, with a sweet toffee coffee flavor that will have you smacking your lips. We’ve usually got it in stock somewhere in the six to eight dollar range, so you’re getting a fantastic cigar that’s not crazy expensive. This means that, like all the other smokes on this list, the Joya Black is one of the best value cigars available.
At the end of the day, you can spend a pile of money and get extraordinary cigars, and many cigar aficionados have money to burn. That’s a fine approach (and one we enthusiastically advocate for). But for the savvy smoker who wants cigars that are nearly guaranteed to deliver a lot of bang for the buck, you’ve now got 8 smokes that you know are world-class without even going over $10 a stick.
Balling on a budget? These are the best value cigars to fill your humi with.