Acid Kuba Kuba Review: Drew Estate’s Top-Selling Infused Cigar

Acid Kuba Kuba cigar by Drew Estate with Sumatran Sungrown wrapper


Drew Estate’s Acid cigars are among the top-selling brands in the United States, beloved by many “Drewbies” (Drew Estate enthusiasts). These Nicaraguan long-filler, handmade cigars feature a natural flavor infusion that imparts a strong floral taste as they burn. Unlike many competitors, Acid cigars utilize a technical infusion process, placing them head and shoulders above merely flavored or tipped cigars. Among the Acid family, the Kuba Kuba (a 5×54 Double Robusto, sometimes referred to as the “blue label”) stands as the most popular. LM Cigars offers great savings on all Drew Estate brands, including Acid Kuba Kuba in boxes of 24 and variety packs. Join us for an Acid Kuba Kuba Review.


Drew Estate is a household name for cigar aficionados, known for its eccentric branding and massive distribution through Swisher International, Inc., which has owned the company since 2014. The company, founded by Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel in Brooklyn, embodies a millennial, New York hipster vibe. Drew Estate collaborated with Brooklyn urban-industrial artist Scott Chester, resulting in a cigar appealing to both traditional cigar aficionados and new-age hipsters. Acid cigars are infused with natural botanical flavors, including lavender, lilac, chamomile, red wine, and vanilla, creating a unique smoking experience.

Appearance and Construction

The Acid Kuba Kuba is a 5×54 Double Robusto parejo cigar with a Sumatran Sungrown wrapper and the signature Acid flavor infusion. The wrapper is consistently colored with a lovely oily sheen and small veins. The cigar’s aroma is dominated by the Acid infusion, though the Sumatran tobacco offers a woody, vegetal scent reminiscent of hemp or moss. The binder and filler blend is made from select aged Nicaraguan Cuban-seed tobacco. The cigar’s band, featuring a metallic blue coloration, adds to its appeal, evoking the look of an old tin beer sign.

Smoking Experience

The cold draw of the Acid Kuba Kuba reveals woody, floral flavors with hints of cedar, citrus bergamot, black tea, lavender, and vanilla. These botanical and natural flavors create a unique taste that doesn’t feel artificial. As the cigar burns, it develops more grassy and earthy notes, remaining sweet on the lips. Despite its larger ring gauge, the cigar lights easily and produces a large amount of smoke, reminiscent of incense or potpourri. The cigar creates a solid, bone-white ash and burns for about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Flavor Development

While the initial smoke has strong botanical notes, these flavors dissipate over time, revealing typical tobacco flavors from the Nicaraguan filler and Sumatran wrapper. Earthy, spicy, grassy, and mossy notes emerge, blending with the botanical base to create a crescendo of intense flavors. Towards the end, tar buildup and heat slightly detract from the experience, but overall, the Acid Kuba Kuba remains a great choice for both purists and hipsters. Whether you are a “Drewbie” or not, this cigar is worth picking up from LM Cigars, and boxes of Acid cigars make a great gift.

Top 11 Mild Cigars for a Smooth Smoking Experience

Stack of cigars with text that reads Best Mild Cigars

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned smoker looking for something lighter, you’ve come to the right place.

Our list of the Best Mild Cigars offers the perfect blend of smoothness and flavor, ideal for those chill moments when you just want to kick back and relax. We’ve scoured the cigar universe to bring you the creamiest, most enjoyable smokes out there.

Let’s explore together which cigars made our top picks for an unrivaled smooth smoking experience.

  1. Arturo Fuente Double Chateau Natural
    The Arturo Fuente Double Chateau Natural is a testament to the legacy of Arturo Fuente in crafting premium cigars that cater to the palate of both occasional smokers and connoisseurs. This mild cigar is wrapped in a beautiful Connecticut shade wrapper, contributing to a creamy, smooth smoke that is consistently satisfying. With a flavor profile that hints at cedar and a subtle spice, it provides an even burn that makes it a go-to choice for a relaxing smoking experience. Ideal for those who appreciate a milder cigar that doesn’t sacrifice depth or aroma.

Diamond Crown Classic #4
Diamond Crown Classic #4 by J.C. Newman Cigar Co. is a stellar example of a medium-bodied cigar that leans towards the milder side, perfect for those who enjoy a luxurious smoking experience without overpowering strength. Wrapped in a silky Connecticut shade wrapper, it offers a creamy, smooth texture that delights the taste buds. The blend includes Dominican long fillers that add a hint of complexity and sweetness, making it a balanced choice for a leisurely afternoon on the golf course or a quiet evening at home.

La Unica No. 600
La Unica No. 600 stands out as a wonderfully balanced medium-bodied cigar. Encased in a Dominican wrapper, it provides a mellow yet flavorful smoking journey, marked by notes of coffee and cream. The smoothness and creamy texture make it particularly appealing to those who prefer their cigars light yet satisfying. It’s a fantastic entry point for newcomers wanting to explore milder cigars without stepping into the realm of full-bodied options.

Montesino Toro
The Montesino Toro by Arturo Fuente offers a distinctive blend of mellow flavors and a gentle, even burn, making it a prime choice for those new to cigars or preferring a lighter smoking session. Its Ecuador Connecticut wrapper envelopes Dominican tobacco, resulting in a mild to medium smoke that’s both smooth and inviting, with just the right touch of spice to keep the palate engaged. This cigar is perfect for a peaceful moment alone or sharing with friends who are also big fans of milder cigars.

Gurkha Real Toro
Gurkha Real Toro is a perfect example of a cigar that marries luxury with accessibility. This mild to medium cigar features an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper that smooths out the rich blend of Nicaraguan fillers, offering a creamy, light smoking experience with undertones of nuts and a hint of sweetness. Its balanced flavor profile and creamy smoke make it a favorite among those who enjoy a cigar that’s both flavorful and not too intense.

Perdomo Lot 23 Connecticut Toro
Perdomo Lot 23 Connecticut Toro is praised for its unique flavor derived from its growing conditions in a single plot of land, Lot 23. Wrapped in a Connecticut shade wrapper, this cigar provides a creamy, mellow smoke with a delightful blend of coffee and cedar notes. It’s a mild-medium cigar that appeals to both the novice and the seasoned smoker looking for a refined yet unpretentious experience.

Ashton Double Magnum
Ashton Double Magnum is a prime example of a mild cigar done right. Wrapped in a luxurious Connecticut shade wrapper, it delivers a smooth, creamy smoke with a sophisticated blend of Dominican long fillers. The flavor is consistently mild with just enough complexity to keep it interesting, featuring notes of cedar and a creamy finish that can please any smoker’s palate, making it ideal for both special occasions and regular enjoyment.

Cuesta-Rey Centenario #60
For those who favor a touch of tradition in their smoke, the Cuesta-Rey Centenario #60 offers a delightful medium-mild experience. It’s rolled with a Connecticut shade wrapper that enhances its mellow yet flavorful profile, featuring a subtle blend of spices and coffee bean that teases the taste buds without overwhelming. This cigar is particularly enjoyable for its even burn and creamy texture, making each puff a smooth and pleasant experience.

Macanudo Café Prince Philip
Macanudo Café Prince Philip is renowned for its consistently mild flavor and superb construction. The Connecticut shade wrapper ensures a light, creamy smoke, while the blend of Dominican fillers adds a slight hint of spice and sweetness. It’s the epitome of a mellow cigar that provides a smooth smoking experience, perfect for those leisurely days or as a gentle introduction to the world of cigars for new smokers.

Montecristo Classic #2
Montecristo Classic #2 is an icon in the realm of premium mild cigars. It features a Connecticut shade wrapper and a carefully selected blend of Dominican fillers, offering a smooth, mild to medium-bodied smoke that’s rich in flavor yet gentle on the palate. This cigar is celebrated for its impeccable balance and creamy notes, making it a favorite among both new and experienced smokers who seek a refined smoking session.

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Toro
Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc Toro is a standout in the mild-medium cigar category, featuring an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper that envelops Nicaraguan fillers. This combination produces a smooth, creamy smoke with a delightful complexity, including hints of pepper and sweetness. Its light yet flavorful profile is perfect for those who appreciate a cigar that offers a subtle yet engaging smoking experience without overpowering the palate.

Benefits of Starting with Mild Cigars

For those new to the world of cigars, starting with mild cigars can be an excellent introduction.

Mild cigars, often wrapped in Connecticut shade or Ecuador Connecticut wrappers, offer a lighter, smoother smoking experience that is less overwhelming to the palate.

These cigars typically feature a mellow flavor profile with hints of cedar, cream, and just a bit of spice, making them ideal for those still acclimating their taste buds to tobacco.

Additionally, the lower nicotine content in mild cigars provides a gentler introduction to smoking, making it a more enjoyable experience for occasional smokers or those who prefer a less intense flavor.

Understanding the Appeal of Mild Cigars

Mild cigars are celebrated for their smooth, delicate flavors and are a favorite among both novice smokers and those who enjoy an occasional light smoke.

The appeal of mild cigars lies in their gentle impact on the palate, making them a perfect choice for those who prefer subtlety over intensity. Unlike their medium-bodied or full-bodied counterparts, which may provide robust and complex flavor profiles, mild cigars typically feature wrappers like the Connecticut shade or Ecuador Connecticut, known for adding a creamy texture and a hint of subtle spice to the smoking experience.

Brands like Montecristo White and Arturo Fuente excel in crafting these types of cigars, offering premium options that are both accessible and satisfying.

The mild cigar’s ability to deliver a smooth and even burn without overwhelming the smoker’s taste buds makes it a go-to option for a relaxed smoking session.

How to Identify a Mild Cigar

Identifying a mild cigar is key to tailoring your smoking experience to your tastes and nicotine preferences.

Mild cigars are generally characterized by their lighter-colored wrappers, such as the Connecticut shade or the Ecuador Connecticut.

These cigars often provide a smooth and even burn, emitting flavors that are gentle and inviting to the taste buds—think notes of coffee, cedar, and a mild pepper that lingers subtly in the background. Premium brands like Montecristo White, Arturo Fuente, and Alec Bradley are renowned for their high-quality mild cigars that offer consistency and an enjoyable flavor profile.

When selecting a mild cigar, look for terms like “mellow,” “smooth,” and “creamy,” which are often used to describe their overall flavor experience. Understanding these characteristics can help you choose a cigar that will provide a pleasant, not overpowering, smoking experience.

Pairing Tips: What to Drink with Mild Cigars

The right beverage pairing can greatly enhance the smoking experience of mild cigars by complementing or contrasting their subtle flavor profiles.

For a harmonious pairing, consider light and smooth drinks that can echo the creamy and gentle flavors of the cigar. A well-brewed cup of creamy coffee or a glass of light chardonnay can enhance the notes of cedar and subtle spices typically found in cigars wrapped with a Connecticut shade.

For those who prefer a slight contrast, a light craft beer or a pale ale can introduce a refreshing crispness that balances the sweetness and mellow spices of the cigar.

Experimenting with different pairings can be a delightful way to discover how various flavors interact with each other, turning each smoking session into a uniquely enjoyable experience. The choice of drink, much like the choice of cigar, often boils down to personal preference and the specific nuances of the cigar’s flavor profile.

The Role of Wrapper Leaves in Mild Cigars

The wrapper leaf is crucial in defining both the flavor profile and the overall aesthetic of a cigar.

In mild cigars, Connecticut shade wrappers are particularly prized for their light color and smooth texture, contributing to a cigar’s mild and approachable flavor.

These wrappers are typically grown under shade cloths, which protect the leaves from direct sunlight, resulting in a thinner and more delicate leaf that imparts a subtle creaminess to the smoke.

The Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, on the other hand, offers a slightly richer and more diverse flavor profile while still maintaining the overall mellow character expected of mild cigars.

The choice of wrapper not only affects the taste but also influences the burn quality and aroma of the smoke, playing an essential role in crafting a high-quality cigar. For enthusiasts, understanding the impact of different wrappers can deepen appreciation for the craftsmanship behind each cigar.

Occasions Perfect for Smoking Mild Cigars

Mild cigars are wonderfully versatile, suitable for many social and solitary occasions.

On the golf course, a mild cigar can offer a relaxing respite between holes without overpowering the senses. They are also perfect for celebratory events like weddings or anniversaries, where they can be enjoyed by seasoned smokers and novices alike due to their accessible and pleasing flavor profile.

For a more introspective experience, enjoying a mild cigar on a quiet evening at home can be the perfect way to unwind.

The gentle and smooth flavors are not only a treat for the taste buds but also encourage a moment of calm and relaxation. Mild cigars cater to a wide range of smokers, making them an excellent choice for both regular consumption and special occasions.

How to Store and Preserve Mild Cigars

Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the quality and flavor of mild cigars. The ideal storage environment is a humidor that can keep the cigars at a steady humidity level of about 70% and a temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

This controlled environment helps to preserve the moisture in the cigars, preventing them from drying out or becoming overly moist, which can adversely affect both flavor and burn quality. It’s important to ensure that the humidor is not exposed to direct sunlight or drastic temperature changes, as these can cause the tobacco to expand and contract, potentially cracking the wrapper.

For aficionados investing in premium mild cigars, maintaining a proper storage system ensures that each cigar remains fresh, flavorful, and ready to provide a smooth and enjoyable smoking experience whenever you choose to light up.

Expert Tips for Selecting the Right Mild Cigar

Selecting the right mild cigar depends largely on personal preference and the specific smoking experience one is looking for.

Experts recommend starting with well-known brands like Arturo Fuente, Alec Bradley, or Montecristo White, which are known for their quality and consistency.

When choosing a mild cigar, look for terms like “creamy,” “smooth,” and “mellow” on the label, which indicate a gentler flavor profile.

Additionally, opting for a Connecticut shade or Ecuador Connecticut wrapper can enhance the smoothness and add a creamy texture to the smoke.

The Best Times to Enjoy a Mild Cigar

Mild cigars are versatile and can be enjoyed at almost any time of day or during various activities.

They are particularly pleasant as a morning smoke, paired with a cup of coffee to start the day with a soothing routine. Mild cigars are also excellent companions on the golf course, providing a relaxed smoking experience that complements the leisurely pace of the game.

Furthermore, their smooth and unobtrusive flavor makes them suitable for social gatherings, where a lighter cigar can be appreciated by both seasoned aficionados and novice smokers alike.

The Impact of Aging on Mild Cigars

Aging can significantly enhance the flavor and smoothness of mild cigars.

Over time, the tobacco in these cigars can develop richer, more complex flavors while maintaining their inherent mild characteristics.

The aging process allows the subtle spices and cedar notes to meld beautifully, creating a smoother and more rounded flavor profile.

Cigar enthusiasts often find that aged mild cigars, especially those with Dominican long fillers and premium wrappers like the Connecticut shade, offer a refined taste that is both sophisticated and enjoyable.

How to Cut and Light Mild Cigars Properly

Properly cutting and lighting a cigar is crucial to enjoying its full flavor potential.

For mild cigars, using a sharp cutter to make a clean cut is essential to avoid damaging the wrapper. A guillotine cutter is typically recommended for its precision.

When lighting a mild cigar, the goal is to evenly toast the foot of the cigar over a flame without letting it directly touch the fire. This method ensures an even burn and allows the true flavors of the creamy Connecticut shade wrapper and the mellow tobacco blend to shine through from the very first puff.

Common Myths About Smoking Mild Cigars

There are several myths surrounding mild cigars, such as the idea that they are only for novice smokers or lack complexity.

However, mild cigars can offer a rich array of flavors, from creamy coffee to subtle spice, and are enjoyed by both beginners and experienced smokers alike.

Another common misconception is that mild means lacking in flavor, but many premium mild cigars crafted with Ecuador Connecticut wrappers or Dominican fillers are both flavorful and aromatic, providing a satisfying smoke that belies their mild nature.

Comparing Mild Cigars with Medium and Full-Bodied Variants

Mild cigars differ from medium and full-bodied cigars primarily in their flavor intensity and nicotine content.

While mild cigars focus on delivering a smooth, mellow experience with flavors like nuts, cedar, and a light creaminess, medium-bodied cigars introduce a greater level of complexity and spice.

Full-bodied cigars, on the other hand, offer robust flavors and a higher nicotine kick, often featuring bold notes of pepper, dark chocolate, and deep earth.

For those wondering about the best choice for them, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the desire for either a gentle introduction or a more intense flavor journey in their smoking experience.

Oliva Serie V Melanio Edicion Ano 2023 Figurino Review

Oliva Serie V is arguably the most successful cigar brand in America. Since the mid-2010’s, Oliva Serie V consistently earns 90+ scores from Cigar Aficionado and other industry journals, such as Cigar Journal or Halfwheel. Cigar enjoyers around the world rave about this cigar brand, smoking it time and again. It stands to reason that Oliva’s parent company, J. Cortes AKA the Vandermarliere Family of Cigars, would create limited edition sizes for annual release. A recent release, Oliva produced 14,500 perfecto-sized cigars for the Melanio’s 2023 release. A beautiful cigar with a phenomenal draw and taste, these cigars are the newest worthwhile purchase from LM Cigars. Today, we are going to take you on a journey of the Oliva Serie V Melanio review.

               The Oliva Cigar Co. is a cigar manufacturer based out of South Florida. Tracing its roots to Gilded Age Cuba, Melanio Oliva and, later, his son first grew tobacco for the company’s cigars in 1886. The company prided itself on a fine selection of Pinar del Rio tobaccos until the 1959 Revolution forced the family to leave to the “new world.” Beginning in the 1960’s, the Oliva family became world famous for growing choice Nicaraguan tobaccos. The company has been manufacturing cigars in conjunction with J. Cortes since 2016. Because of the marketing and distribution expertise of the Vandermarliere family, the namesake Oliva Serie V Melanio is one of the world’s finest cigars.

               The Oliva Serie V Melanio is a Nicaraguan handmade, long-filler cigar available in boxes of 10. Because of the low box count, the cigars are handsomely priced and frequently purchased by the unit. The wide net of distribution, too, makes these cigars extremely requested and desired by cigar enjoyers from coast to coast. Despite being a limited production figurado shape, the Ano 2023 Figurino comes in at $170.00/box through LM Cigars. This represents tremendous value for the consumer who collects and enjoys super premium allocated cigars. These cigars also make a great gift for a loved one or boss due to the rarity of the box and its remarkably pleasant blend.

               The Oliva Serie V Melanio Edicion Ano 2023 Figurino is a 5.5”x54 perfecto cigar which comes in boxes of 10. The cigars are beautifully packaged with a stunning vista of the Oliva tobacco operations in Nicaragua against the box’s lid. The cigars also bear three lovely bands, including the Ano 2023 band. It includes a QR code message from Frederik Vandermarliere in which he discusses the nature of beauty. A thing of beauty indeed, the cigars have a luscious Sumatran sungrown wrapper which resembles chocolate. The seductive smell of the cigars immediately invites consumption. Though the wrappers have, at times, a mottled appearance, the overall look is an oily sheen. The enjoyer of these cigars is transported to the fields of Nicaragua by the mere aroma—richly reminiscent of leather, moss, and chocolate.

               The cold draw envelops the user in the decadent notes of Nicaraguan leather, chocolate, and coffee. The stunning thing, however, is found in the cigar’s pleasant draw. Perfecto shaped cigars—figurados in general, really—suffer from a tight draw at the tip of the cigar unless a very generous cut is provided. The Oliva Serie V Melanio Edicion Ano 2023 Figurino requires very little “off the top.” This provides the user with a great draw, a longer smoking experience, and less frustration with tobacco flakes in his or her mouth—it’s a thing of beauty. By the same virtue, the narrow head of a perfecto symmetrically guarantees an easy light. The small foot quickly ignites and burns through the first third of the cigar with little need for touching up or relighting.

               The most consistent tasting notes throughout the Figurino’s smoking experience are chocolate and earth. This general profile is married in the second third with hints of cedar, baker’s spices, and leather before adding coffee and moss in the final third. The complex and enjoyable mix of notes visit and dance across the tastebuds like revelers at a party. The cigar builds slightly in tar and bitterness towards the end due to the nature of perfecto shaped cigars but this can be offset by “purging.” (i.e., blowing smoke out of the cigar while lighting to rid it of tar and stale ash.) The only disruption to the party is the necessity of peeling off the cigar’s numerous bands.

This is truly one of the best cigars available from LM Cigars. The flavor is such that one savors it on the lips and thinks of it for weeks afterwards. We hope the Oliva Serie V Melanio review helps entice you to try this exquisite blend.

Cohiba Red Dot Toro Tube Review

Cohiba red dot toro cigar

Cohiba, the most famous cigar brand in the world, is currently made by two different companies in two different “worlds.” The Cuban Cohiba is manufactured by Habanos S.A., the Cuban government’s cigar company. The other Cohiba, registered and owned by General Cigar Co. since 1978, is manufactured by Tabacalera de Garcia, one of the largest factories in the Dominican Republic. Cigar aficionados easily distinguish the two brands thanks to one having the common motif of an Arawak Indian head and the other have a red dot in its “o.”  Despite the confusion, both cigars retain their own identity and prestige in the cigar smoking world for their quality and craftsmanship. Indeed, the Dominican Cohiba is one of the best Cameroon-wrapper handmade cigars available on the market.

               The Cohiba Red Dot Toro Tube cigar is a Dominican handmade, long-filler cigar manufactured by General Cigar Co. in their famous Tabacalera de Garcia. The cigar is a smooth to medium-bodied cigar with Dominican long filler tobaccos, Indonesian binder, and Cameroonian wrapper. The resultant blend is a phenomenal cigar with a reasonable price point. These cigars are immaculately molded into a 6×50 toro parejo shape and then safely protected by aluminum tubes before boxing. LM Cigars currently offers these cigars in a box of 10 for significantly less than their MSRP. This means LM Cigars’ consumers acquire one of General’s most desirable brands for a fraction of the cost.

               The aluminum tube, while a nice touch, is not smokable. Upon discarding the tube, the cigar enjoyer greets a lovely wrapper which can simply be described as Cameroon. Cameroon tobacco is grown in the tropical valleys of Sub-Saharan Africa. As such, the tobacco gains a mottled wrapper with hues of cocoa, mahogany, and hazelnut. Despite looking matte and dry, the wrapper puts off a tremendous aroma from the oils and sugars it contains—cedar, almonds, and coffee. As an aside, Cameroon is also selected for its delicate nature seen in the leaf’s thin veins. The cold draw matches the cigar’s smell in pleasantness, joining the Cameroon with the mossy-earthiness of Dominican long-filler and the floral-mustiness of Indonesian binder. This cigar leaves the enjoyer salivating which only serves to wet the tobacco and bring out more tasting notes.

               The review team at LM Cigars elected a straight cut for this classic 6×50 toro parejo, but the true aficionado knows cigar cutting is a subjective matter. The cap being cleanly separated, the smoking can begin soon thereafter. The initial light yields an incense-like, nutty smoke reminiscent of marzipan or kransekake (a Scandinavian almond cake). The smoke is very sweet and sweeter still when pulled through the cigar in the opening puffs. There is a distinct vegetal, mossy taste from the Dominican long filler which marries the nuttiness to root vegetable and earth. The first tasting notes linger for much of the smoking experience, making this a very consistent cigar. The cigar required slight relighting towards the final third, but this results in a complex dance of pepper, clay, and minerals which persist to the finish.

Cohiba red dot toro single landscape

               This cigar is a pleasant smoke and a great exposition of what a good blender makes out of exotic tobaccos from Africa and Asia. Being smooth to medium-bodied, this cigar is approachable for the neophyte or the adept. The price point is not unreasonable to boot. This is the kind of cigar someone would smoke on a summer evening with some Spanish brandy or cognac. Ideally smoked after dinner, the strength is not so potent that it would send the unprepared reeling. This cigar, being sold as a box of 10, similar to an Oliva Serie V Melanio or a Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino, is a fine addition to any hobbyist’s humidor. If the consumer does not adore the Red Dot, the burden comes in 10 instead of 20 or 25. With Father’s Day around the corner, too, the non-smoker might purchase this for the smoking man in his or her life.

Some cigar aficionados write off the “big name” cigar companies, such as General Cigar Co. or Altadis USA, due to the breadth of their portfolio and the massive scale of their production facilities. Snobbish cigar enjoyers incorrectly assume the cigars will lack the same dedication and quality as brands with a more luxury, family-owned persona, such as Arturo Fuente Cigar Co. or Padron. With the Cohiba Red Dot Toro Tube, however, General Cigar Co. demonstrates it can hold its own against any boutique, premium, or luxury cigar brand made by less corporate manufacturers.

Do You Inhale Cigars?

Man lighting a cigar, sitting in a cigar lounge

When it comes to enjoying a fine cigar, the experience is as rich in tradition as it is in flavor.

One common question among new aficionados and curious bystanders alike is, “Do you inhale a cigar?”

The simple answer is no, inhaling cigars is not recommended. Cigars are designed for a leisurely smoking experience where the focus is on the rich flavors and aromatic scent, rather than inhalation into the lungs. Hold the smoke in your mouth for a moment, then gently exhale it.

But there’s more to it than just that.

Unlike cigarettes, cigars are crafted to be savored. This introductory guide will explore why inhaling cigar smoke is not recommended, how to properly enjoy a cigar, and what makes this experience uniquely enjoyable.

So, whether you’re a seasoned smoker or new to the world of cigars, understanding the art of cigar smoking can enhance your appreciation of this age-old indulgence.

Introduction to Cigar Smoking

Cigar smoking is an esteemed tradition that dates back centuries, offering a sophisticated and contemplative experience that sets it apart from other forms of tobacco use.

A cigar is composed of tightly rolled tobacco leaves, which have been aged and fermented to bring out deep and varied flavors. Cigar wrappers carry much of the flavor.

Unlike cigarettes, cigars come in a range of shapes and sizes, each offering a unique smoking duration and intensity of flavor. This variety allows connoisseurs to select a cigar that perfectly matches their taste preferences and the occasion.

What truly distinguishes cigars is the method of enjoyment: smokers are meant to draw the smoke into their mouths to savor the complex flavors, but not to inhale it into their lungs. This practice highlights the rich, nuanced profiles of the tobacco and turns smoking into a more deliberate and pleasurable activity, rather than a quick nicotine fix.

Why You Should Not Inhale Cigar Smoke

When enjoying a premium cigar, it’s important to remember that the intended experience is markedly different from smoking a cigarette.

Cigars are crafted to deliver rich, complex flavors and aromas, which are best appreciated when the smoke is allowed to linger in the mouth, not inhaled into the lungs.

Inhaling bypasses much of the subtleties of a cigar’s flavor profile, which can only be fully perceived through the palette.

Moreover, due to the construction of cigars — which involves using whole tobacco leaves — the smoke is much denser and more intense than cigarette smoke. This intensity is designed for sensory enjoyment through taste and smell rather than through deep inhalation.

By not inhaling, you engage more directly with the craftsmanship of the cigar, experiencing the intended nuances and richness that the cigar maker has infused into the product.

This method not only respects the artistry behind cigar production but also enhances your personal enjoyment, allowing you to savor each moment of the smoking experience.

Slowing Down with a Great Cigar

In our fast-paced world, slowing down to enjoy a great cigar can offer a rare moment of solace and reflection.

Smoking a cigar is not merely about indulgence in tobacco; it’s a deliberate pause, a ritual that demands patience and mindfulness. Each puff encourages you to sit back and contemplate the intricate flavors released by the premium tobacco leaves.

As the smoke swirls and the layers of earthy, spicy, or sweet notes unfold, time seems to slow down, allowing for a deeper appreciation of the moment.

This unhurried experience can be a perfect counterbalance to the daily rush, providing a luxurious break to gather one’s thoughts, enjoy good company, or simply relax alone.

The ritual of choosing a cigar, cutting it, and lighting it up is as much a part of the enjoyment as the smoking itself, creating a mindful routine that highlights the artistry behind each cigar.

Embracing this practice not only enhances your appreciation of fine cigars but also enriches your ability to savor life’s quieter moments.

How to Properly Smoke a Cigar

Smoking a premium cigar is an art form, one that emphasizes relaxation and appreciation of flavor. For those new to cigars or looking to refine their technique, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to properly smoke a cigar, with a specific focus on enjoying the experience without inhaling the smoke:

  1. Choose Your Cigar: Select a cigar based on your personal taste preferences and the occasion. Consider the strength, from mild to full-bodied, which correlates with the intensity of flavor and nicotine content. Size and shape also affect the smoking time and intensity.
  2. Cutting the Cigar: Use a quality cutter to make a clean cut on the cap of the cigar. This allows for even airflow without damaging the structure of the cigar.
  3. Lighting the Cigar: Light your cigar with a butane lighter or a wooden match, avoiding petrol lighters which can alter the flavor. Toast the foot (the open end) of the cigar lightly before fully lighting it to ensure an even burn. Cigar Aficionado has a great step by step guide to lighting.
  4. Drawing Smoke: Gently draw smoke into your mouth without inhaling it into your lungs. Think of it as sipping the smoke, letting it swirl around your mouth to fully appreciate the richness and layers of flavor.
  5. Savor the Flavor: Allow the smoke to sit in your mouth for a few seconds. This exposes your palate and olfactory senses to the full experience of the cigar’s taste and aroma.
  6. Exhale Gently: Exhale the smoke slowly and enjoy the lingering flavors that each puff brings. The goal is to relax and take your time between puffs, allowing the cigar to burn slowly and evenly.
  7. Resting the Cigar: Between puffs, rest the cigar on an ashtray. This helps regulate the temperature and ensures the cigar does not burn too quickly, which can affect the flavor.

By following these steps, you can enjoy the full sensory experience of smoking a cigar without inhaling.

This method not only enhances the enjoyment of the cigar’s flavors but also respects the craft and tradition behind cigar making.

The Art of Savoring Cigar Smoke

The art of savoring cigar smoke is a refined practice that involves deeply engaging one’s senses to fully appreciate the intricate flavors and aromas that each cigar offers.

To truly experience the sensory pleasure of cigar smoking, start by selecting a cigar that aligns with your flavor preferences, whether it be earthy, mild, or robust.

Before lighting, smell the cigar to get a hint of its raw scent and potential flavor notes.

As you light the cigar and begin to smoke, draw the smoke into your mouth but do not inhale it. Let the smoke envelop your palate, noticing the layers of flavor—perhaps hints of cedar, chocolate, or spice.

Exhale slowly and pay attention to the aftertaste that lingers, which might change subtly as the cigar burns down.

Additionally, take a moment to appreciate the aroma of the smoke around you, which can complement the taste and enhance the overall experience.

Each puff should be taken leisurely, allowing the cigar to cool between draws to maintain the integrity of the flavors.

Engage in this ritual in a calm setting where you can be attentive to the nuances of the cigar’s profile. This mindful approach not only maximizes your enjoyment but turns cigar smoking into a meditative, almost therapeutic, activity.

By embracing these techniques, you elevate the act of smoking a cigar from a simple habit to a rich, sensory exploration.

Differences Between Cigar and Cigarette Smoking

The differences between premium cigar and cigarette smoking are profound, both in how they are smoked and their respective health implications.

When asking “Do you inhale cigars?” it’s important to note that unlike cigarettes, cigars are not typically inhaled.

Cigar smoke is meant to be drawn into the mouth, allowing the smoker to savor the complex flavors from the tobacco leaf before gently exhaling.

This contrasts sharply with cigarette smoking, where the smoke is usually inhaled into the lungs, delivering nicotine more directly into the bloodstream.

Cigars and cigarettes also differ significantly in their construction and tobacco content.

Cigars are often made from a whole tobacco leaf wrapped around a tobacco filler, making them larger and containing more tobacco than cigarettes.

This results in a smoking session that can last from 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on the cigar size, compared to the quick smoking time of cigarettes.

Premium cigars, often hand-rolled and aged, offer a breadth of flavors and smoking experiences that cigarette smoking does not.

Health implications also vary widely.

While all tobacco products present health risks, the risk profiles differ. Cigar smokers, who typically do not inhale, might face lower risks of lung diseases.

Cigarette smokers, on the other hand, are more susceptible to lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and coronary heart disease due to inhalation. Both types of smoking contribute to secondhand smoke exposure, though the volume and concentration of smoke differ.

Understanding these distinctions helps illustrate why premium cigar smoking is often viewed more as an art form, a practice of tasting notes and flavors through a careful draw of smoke into the mouth, compared to the more habitual nature of cigarette smoking.

This cultural and practical difference underscores why many cigar smokers are drawn to the tradition of smoking premium, traditional cigars as a leisurely pastime, not merely for nicotine consumption.

Common Mistakes in Cigar Smoking

For new enthusiasts venturing into the world of cigar smoking, common mistakes can impact both the experience and appreciation of this fine art form.

A typical error is smoking cigars too quickly.

Unlike cigarettes, cigars are crafted to be enjoyed slowly. Smoking a cigar too rapidly can cause it to burn too hot, which may alter the natural flavors of the tobacco leaf, making them harsh and less enjoyable.

Using the wrong type of cigar cutter or cutting too much off the cigar’s cap can also ruin a good smoke.

A bad cut may affect the cigar’s airflow and can lead to an uneven burn, known as “canoeing.”

Premium cigars, especially, require a precise cut with a sharp cigar cutter to maintain the integrity of their carefully constructed wrapper leaf and ensure the best smoking experience.

New cigar smokers should take their time to learn about proper cigar smoking techniques and the different types of cigars available.

This knowledge can greatly enhance one’s enjoyment and ensure that the risks associated with tobacco use are minimized.

Understanding these basics helps to respect the tradition and craftsmanship that goes into producing each premium cigar.


1. Do you inhale cigar smoke?

  • No, unlike cigarette smoke, cigar smoke should not be inhaled into the lungs. The enjoyment of cigars lies in savoring the smoke in your mouth to appreciate the complex flavors.

2. How do I choose the right cigar?

  • Select a cigar based on your personal taste preferences and the occasion. Consider the strength, from mild to full-bodied, which correlates with the intensity of flavor and nicotine content. Size and shape also affect the smoking time and intensity.

3. What is the proper way to light a cigar?

  • Use a butane lighter or a wooden match for a cleaner taste. Aim to evenly toast the foot of the cigar before taking your first puff. Avoid petrol lighters as they can affect the flavor of the tobacco.

4. How long does it take to smoke a cigar?

  • The time it takes to smoke a cigar can vary greatly depending on its size and type. A smaller cigar may take about 30 minutes, while a larger one can last for over an hour.

5. Can I relight a cigar if it goes out?

  • Yes, you can relight a cigar if it goes out. First, gently tap off any excess ash, then reheat the foot evenly before drawing again. However, try to relight it within an hour to avoid any bitterness.

6. How do I cut a cigar correctly?

  • Use a sharp cigar cutter to make a clean cut. You should cut just above the cap line, ensuring not to cut too deep into the body of the cigar as this can cause it to unravel.

7. What should I do with the ash?

  • Allow the ash to form and fall off naturally, usually around an inch in length. This helps regulate the temperature of the burn and contributes to the flavor and smoking experience.

8. Is cigar smoking as harmful as cigarette smoking?

  • All tobacco use carries health risks. Premium cigar smoking is generally not done as frequently as cigarette smoking but involves higher amounts of tobacco per use, which can be equally harmful, especially without inhalation. It’s important to be aware of the risks, such as oral and throat cancers.

9. How can I store cigars to maintain their quality?

  • Store cigars in a humidor, which controls humidity at an optimal level to keep the cigars fresh. A stable environment of about 70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

10. What are the signs of a well-made cigar?

  • A well-made cigar will have a firm body without soft spots, a smooth wrapper, and a uniform color. It should draw smoothly and burn evenly, producing a firm ash.

These FAQs cover the basics of cigar smoking, offering insights into how to maximize enjoyment while understanding the craft behind each cigar.

Top 5 6×60 Gordo Cigars for Spring

top 5 6x60 gordo cigars of spring 2024

Luis Martinez, a long-time resident of Tampa and Key West, is not accustomed to the biting cold of sub-70-Fahrenheit weather. As the frost recedes and Spring blooms forth once again, cigar enjoyers emerge like bears from hibernation and begin smoking cigars outside. For most cigar smokers, a Toro or Gordo is their go-to size of cigars. LM Cigars has curated a list of the top 5 6×60 Gordo cigars to try this spring. As always, LM Cigars offers the best cigar selection and value on the internet.

If you are not a seasoned cigar aficionado, Gordos are larger ring-gauge cigar sizes. Typically, cigars come in a thickness or caliber which cigar manufacturers measure using sixty-fourths of an inch. The thicker a cigar’s ring-gauge, the more a cigar enjoyer is to extend his smoking experience and enjoy the full body of a cigar’s filler leaves. Many cigar aficionados gravitate towards larger ring-gauge Nicaraguan handmade cigars because of the value and quality of the smoking experience.

For more information and context, keep reading…

#5 La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Valentino

Open box of 25 count La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Valentino cigars

La Aroma de Cuba is a no brainer on any cigar countdown because of the quality of its construction and its consistency as a brand, earning numerous awards since its unveiling in the early 2000’s. Most cigar aficionados already know this beloved brand but perhaps have not enjoyed the lovely blend in a larger vitola. Speaking from experience, this is a cigar which possesses the right amount of spice to give an enjoyable smoking experience but not overwhelm those with a smooth or medium-bodied palate orientation.

The La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Valentino is handmade by some of the finest cigarmakers for Ashton at Tabacalera Cubana in Esteli, Nicaragua. This 6×60 cigar is a textbook Gordo, possessing tremendous flavor and value in a package which will prevent those with larger hands from looking ridiculous. The flavor is a rich cocoa-forward earth paired with leather, peanuts, and floral notes thanks to the cigar’s blend of Mexican San Andreas wrapper on top of Nicaraguan binder and filler.

#4 Rocky Patel Disciple Sixty

rocky patel disciple open box
rocky patel disciple open box

Another Nicaraguan 6×60 sure to rock your world is the Rocky Patel Disciple Sixty. This cigar also possesses Mexican San Andreas tobacco, but before the editors are accused of bias towards one of the richest and most decadent tobaccos in the world: this Mexican tobacco is not as thoroughly fermented. As a result, this cigar possesses a strength when smoked reminiscent of pepper and wood more so than earth and cocoa. Disciple is one of Rocky Patel’s greatest blends, a testament to his longevity in the industry despite trials and tribulations.

Handmade at Tabacalera Tavicusa in Esteli, Nicaragua, the Mexican tobacco used as wrapper is skillfully married with Nicaraguan binder and filler to create a profile with additional tasting notes of leather and hay. Given the sheer volume of Nicaraguan handmade cigars, there are concerns over quality and consistency. This cigar puts those fears to rest by demonstrating the highest form of New World cigar blending.

#3 Brick House Maduro Mighty Mighty

brick house mighty mighty maduro box open
brick house mighty mighty maduro box open

Unsurprising to anyone who appreciates larger ring-gauge cigars, Brick House made this list. Brick House has been king of the hill as far as the Nicaraguan value long-filler market is concerned for about 15 years. Clocking in at 6.25×60, this brand is literally Mighty Mighty, a reference to the 1977 hit single by the Commodores. This gives a slightly longer smoking experience than the typical 6-inch 6×60 cigars on this list. The brand’s manufacturer, J.C. Newman Cigar Co., attributes the extension to their desire to create a social atmosphere amongst cigar enjoyers. Simply put: longer smoke, more friends.

The Maduro blend is especially flavorful with a sweet and spicy Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, giving the cigar tasting notes of campfire char and barnyard hay. Paired with the sensational aged Nicaraguan binder and long-filler utilized by J.C. Newman Cigar Co., the cigar aficionado is left amazed and asking for more. On paper, this cigar is a medium to full-bodied smoke. In actuality, the earthy notes tone down the spice and make it palatable for those not accustomed to full-bodied sticks.

#2 Padron 7000 Natural

Just to upset the feng shui, here is another 6.25×60 cigar to make the top 6×60 list. The notion, however, that it is Padron, one of the finest cigar manufacturers in the history of the world, should assuage your anxieties. As with the other cigars on this list, the Padron 7000 Natural is a Nicaraguan value long-filler cigar. The Padron “thousand-series” is the regular production line offered by the company at a retail cost of less than $20 a cigar. These are famously shipped and sold “unaged,” granting the cigars a unique and robust flavor.

This cigar is a true Nicaraguan puro, made of the finest sungrown tobaccos from the myriad Padron family farms. The tasting notes jump all over the place with this one from Baker’s Spices a la Nutmeg and Cinnamon to dark fruit (e.g., Prunes or Raisins) to hay and pepper. It is a rich cigar but not overwhelmingly, unpleasantly decadent or strong. Another Padron idiosyncrasy, the company does not use spacers and packs each box with 26 cigars instead of 25.

#1 West Tampa Tobacco Co. Boliche Blvd.

west tampa tobacco co. Boliche blvd. cigars 6x60

The ultimate spot on this list falls to Rick Rodriguez who has enchanted the cigar smoking world once again with his elegance and skill as a cigar blender for West Tampa Tobacco Co. Named in honor of one of the largest Cuban and Latino communities in Florida, Boliche Blvd. is a limited edition 6×60 Gordo cigar. Columbus Drive, otherwise known as Boliche Blvd., is famous the world over for the large number of Cuban restaurants at its intersections and the celebrities, typically baseball players, who grew up eating the Cuban food served there. That being said, Boliche Blvd. cigars are one of the most flavorful baseball bats you can smoke.

An undisclosed blend, the Boliche Blvd. possesses earth and dark fruit on the cold draw. The lighting and smoking experience marries these flavors with leather, hay, and wood. This is a medium to full-bodied cigar. Handmade at Garmendia Cigar Co. in Esteli, Nicaragua, this cigar trumps all other Nicaraguan 6×60 handmade cigars by a noticeable metric. Despite coming in sizeable boxes of 50, stylized after the Florida cigar boxes and tobacco crates of yesteryear, these cigars are a limited run and only 500 boxes total were made for the world.

Why Are Cuban Cigars Illegal in the United States?

A map of cuba

For decades, the mere mention of Cuban cigars has conjured images of luxury, sophistication, and forbidden indulgence. But why exactly are these prized smokes prohibited on American soil?

There are deep historical, political, and legal reasons behind the ban that keeps Cubans out of the hands of American aficionados but in short, Cuban cigars are illegal in the United States due to the longstanding embargo against Cuba, which was initiated in the early 1960s by President John F. Kennedy.

The embargo was a response to the Cuban government’s nationalization of American-owned assets and its alignment with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. As part of this embargo, the U.S. government prohibits the importation of Cuban products, including cigars, as a means of economically isolating the Cuban regime and pressuring it to adopt democratic reforms.

For more information and context, keep reading…

The Forbidden Fruit

hand rolled cigars after being freshly rolled

Understanding the allure of Cuban tobacco requires an appreciation for its unparalleled craftsmanship, rich history, and legendary reputation.

Renowned worldwide for their superior quality and distinctive flavors, these cigars are crafted by skilled rollers using traditional methods passed down through generations.

Beyond their exquisite taste, they embody a sense of prestige and exclusivity, symbolizing a taste of the forbidden and evoking images of glamorous evenings and sophisticated gatherings. It’s this mystique, combined with their unmatched quality, that elevates Cuban cigars to iconic status in the world of tobacco enthusiasts.

The Embargo

A historical perspective

The roots of the embargo against Cuba trace back to the early 1960s, during the height of the Cold War while Fidel Castro was leading Cuba and John F. Kennedy was President of the United States.

President Kennedy

Fidel Castro led a Communist Revolution and in response to the Cuban government’s nationalization of American-owned assets and its alignment with the Soviet Union, the United States imposed a comprehensive trade embargo on Cuba.

This marked the beginning of a tumultuous relationship between the two nations, with far-reaching consequences for both Cuban and American citizens.

Impact on Cuban cigars

The embargo had a profound impact on the Cuban cigar industry, once renowned for its excellence worldwide.

With the United States being a significant market for Cuban cigars, the trade restrictions dealt a severe blow to Cuba’s economy and its iconic tobacco industry.

Despite this setback, they retained their allure, becoming a symbol of defiance and resilience in the face of adversity.

Efforts to lift the embargo

Over the years, there have been numerous efforts to lift the embargo and normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.

Diplomatic initiatives, negotiations, and policy changes have all been explored in the pursuit of thawing the icy relations between the two nations. However, despite some progress, the embargo remains largely intact, casting a shadow over the possibility of Cuban cigars once again gracing the shelves of American cigar shops.

Laws prohibiting importation

The legal landscape surrounding Cuban cigars in the United States is defined by stringent laws prohibiting their importation.

Since the inception of the embargo, it has been unlawful for individuals and businesses to import Cubans into the country.

This prohibition extends to all Cuban-origin products, including cigars, rum, and other goods, regardless of where they were purchased or obtained. The embargo’s legal framework aims to deter Americans from engaging in transactions that support the Cuban government and its economy.

Enforcement and penalties

Enforcement of the ban on Cuban tobacco is taken seriously by U.S. authorities, with severe penalties imposed on violators.

Individuals caught attempting to import them into the United States may face confiscation of the contraband goods, fines, and even criminal prosecution.

Additionally, businesses found in violation of the embargo may be subject to significant penalties, including hefty fines and loss of import/export privileges. The strict enforcement of these laws underscores the government’s commitment to upholding the embargo and its restrictions on Cuban products.

A New Era for Cuban Cigars in the United States

In a landmark shift in U.S. policy, a new law has opened the door for Americans to legally bring a limited quantity of Cuban cigars into the United States.

This groundbreaking change marks a significant departure from decades of strict prohibition, offering cigar enthusiasts a glimmer of hope and a taste of freedom long denied.

While the specifics of the law may vary, the symbolic gesture represents a step towards normalization of relations between the two nations and a recognition of the cultural significance of Cuban cigars.

As travelers return from abroad with their prized purchases in hand, they not only savor the exquisite flavors of Cuba but also celebrate the newfound opportunity to enjoy these iconic smokes without fear of legal repercussions.

The Black Market for Cuban Cigars

Demand in the U.S.

Despite the legal barriers, demand for Cuban cigars in the United States remains significant. The allure of these forbidden treasures, with their reputation for unparalleled quality and prestige, fuels a thriving black market.

Cigar enthusiasts and collectors alike are drawn to the mystique surrounding Cuban tobacco, seeking to indulge in their forbidden pleasures despite the risks involved.

Risks and consequences

Engaging in the black market for Cuban cigars carries considerable risks and consequences. Purchasing and possessing Cuban cigars in the United States are illegal acts that can result in severe penalties.

Individuals caught buying or selling contraband cigars may face confiscation of the products, substantial fines, and even criminal prosecution.

Moreover, there are risks associated with the authenticity and quality of cigars obtained through illicit channels, with counterfeit products being prevalent in the black market.

Exploring Alternatives: Embracing the Diversity of Cigars Beyond Cuban Borders

For those unwilling to take the risks associated with the black market, there are alternatives to obtaining a Cuban cigar.

One option is to enjoy Cuban cigars legally while traveling abroad to countries where they are readily available.

Additionally, while Cuban cigars have long held a prestigious reputation in the world of cigar aficionados, many argue that they are not necessarily the best.

Factors such as consistency, quality control, and innovation play crucial roles in shaping perceptions of cigar superiority. Some critics argue that other countries, such as Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras, have surpassed Cuba in these areas, producing cigars that offer a wider range of flavors, better construction, and more reliable quality.

While the allure of Cuban cigars may be undeniable, enthusiasts need not limit themselves to this singular option.

In the vibrant world of cigars, there exists a diverse array of alternatives waiting to be discovered. Brick-and-mortar establishments and online cigar shops offer aficionados equally remarkable cigars from other cigar-producing countries.

From the lush tobacco fields of Nicaragua to the fertile valleys of the Dominican Republic, each of these regions imparts its unique spin and flavor profile to the cigars it produces. Many brands such as Brick House Cigars even use Cuban seed tobacco.

Tobacco growing in the field under a shade screen

Whether seeking a bold and full-bodied smoke or a smooth and mellow experience, cigar enthusiasts can always find an abundance of options to suit their preferences.

As we broaden our horizons and explore the vast landscape of cigar options, we open ourselves to new experiences, flavors, and the endless possibilities that await beyond Cuban borders. So, while Cuban cigars may be off-limits, the world of cigars remains rich and diverse, inviting us to embark on a journey of exploration and discovery.

Ultimately, the debate over which country produces the best cigars is a matter of personal preference, with enthusiasts finding enjoyment in the diverse offerings available from around the globe.

Speculation on future changes

As the landscape of international relations continues to evolve, speculation abounds regarding potential changes in the legal status of Cuban cigars in the United States.

With diplomatic efforts aimed at thawing relations between the two nations gaining traction in recent years, there is cautious optimism among cigar enthusiasts that the longstanding embargo against Cuba may eventually be lifted.

Should diplomatic efforts succeed and the embargo be lifted, it could herald a new era for Cuban cigars in the US market. Aficionados eagerly anticipate the prospect of legally obtaining and enjoying these coveted smokes without fear of legal repercussions.

However, the path to normalization remains uncertain, with political complexities and entrenched interests posing significant obstacles. While the future of Cuban cigars in the United States is uncertain, the possibility of change serves as a beacon of hope for enthusiasts.

Nica Reserva Toro Cigar Review

nica reserva blog banner

LM Cigars’ newest and most successful Nicaraguan handmade brand is the Nica Reserva. Manufactured at the highly-praised PENSA cigar factory, home of El Baton and Brick House cigars, Nica Reserva cigars are a great smoke for even greater value. For this review, LM Cigar Blog’s team smoked three Nica Reserva Connecticut Toro cigars in a single afternoon not unlike the quality control engineers at the PENSA cigar factory who smoke a sample of each day’s production to guarantee consistency of flavor and draw.  The consensus was that these Nica Reserva Connecticut Toro cigars are a silky, creamy smoke with a slight nutty taste well worth the price point. These cigars are a fine addition to any true cigar aficionado’s humidor, especially those who enjoy a smooth to medium-bodied Nicaraguan handmade smoke.

Nica Reserva Connecticut Toro

Nica Reserva Connecticut Toros are a traditional Nicaraguan toro (6×54). The thicker ring gauge than traditional Dominican or Honduran 52 ring-gauge toros allows for more Nicaraguan filler. This adds needed spice and nuttiness to the cigar. These premium cigars come in boxes of 20 and each one is as good as the last with superb combustion that will not burn through one’s wallet. Despite being entirely handmade with aged long-filler, LM Cigars prices these cigars at less than their MSRP of $160 to pass the savings on to the consumer.

Nica Reserva Toro Open Box

Visual Appeal

Each cigar in the box is carefully color-sorted to guarantee a uniform, attractive box. Indeed, each cigar is exemplary of visual and physical perfection. The cigars have a golden shade-grown wrapper of natural tobacco leaf, akin to the color of wheat or café au lait. The smell is even more attractive than the cigar’s look. It delicately embraces the senses with tasting notes of honey, peanut, toasted wheat, and cedar.

Upon closer inspection, the Nica Reserva Connecticut Toros are invariably a blonde hue with a flawless cap and good construction. The wrappers have few dimples and minimal spotting. The cigar band is a nice touch. With its striking white and gold filigree, this cigar is sure to attract some attention. A straight cut from a Craftsman’s Bench Double-Blade Cutter to the cigar’s head reveals a cleanly made cap and a bounty of flavorful Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos. Remember to always be gentle when straight cutting a cigar. If the cap audibly touches the ground, too much was cut off.

nica reserva toro single cigar horizontal


The taste of hay and peanuts is cemented by the cold draw through the cigar. Tasting notes of baker’s spices, specifically cinnamon or nutmeg, join the harmony of the cigar’s profile. A toasting from a Colibri Firebird Triple Flame Lighter accentuates this profile with a rich, silky smoke which smells of crème brûlée and charred cedar. Connecticut or Ecuadorian Shade wrappers are quite delicate and scorch easily. For maximum enjoyment, slowly toast the foot before lighting the cigar in small circles. Once accomplished, the cigar notably burns easily and consistently with a white, billowy ash. A lighter colored ash is a mark of higher quality tobacco grown in a more nutrified soil.

The initial taste of charred cedar transitions to charred bread and barnyard hay. While the cigar’s first act is enjoyable, the second act is what highlights this cigar. A grand ensemble of peanuts and wood arouses all the senses to an ecstatic fever-pitch while a sweetness like honey keeps the cigar aficionado grounded. Towards the final third, the cigar burns quite hot and returns to the taste of charred cedar and burning hay. The reviewers of LM Cigar Blog found these so enjoyable they smoked them to the bitter end. The average smoking time for each cigar was about an hour and a half. The cigar needed a slight touch-up between the second and third act but had almost no issues burning. There was no need for relight and no frustration from poor construction.

Final Thoughts

This cigar is well worth the price point, reifying the reputation of LM Cigar for curating the world’s finest selection of premium handmade cigars with great value. It can easily hold its own against other premium value Nicaraguan handmade brands, such as the Brick House Double Connecticut from J.C. Newman Cigar Co. (also made in PENSA) or Undercrown Shade from Drew Estate, and in some aspects surpasses. However, a true cigar aficionado would verify this by buying and smoking all three. Thankfully, LM Cigars offers all three brands. Owing to its massive popularity, the Nica Reserva brand will expand in the future. Thank you for reading our Nica Reserva Toro Cigar Review. Make sure to check our LM Cigars catalog to stay abreast of new arrivals.

Top 10 Cigars of 2023


As the year draws to a close, the cigar industry recovers from record highs of tobacco consumption. Cigar imports from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic and their resultant sales to the American market continue at 2020-2022 levels. Cigar Aficionado’s 2023 Year-in-Review article made a clear case for Nicaragua’s preeminence: 122 cigars released in 2023 rated as 90 points or higher; 65 of these cigars hailed from Nicaragua. Nicaragua is the industry’s workhorse, reaching almost 182 million imported cigars as of Q3 2023. The Dominican Republic and Honduras produced dozens of well-received brands, maintaining their reputation as cigar countries. This article lists the top 10 cigars of 2023 according to the team LM Cigars featuring Nicaraguan and Dominican handmade, long-filler cigars.

No. 10: El Baton Double Torpedo

El Baton Double Torpedo Open Box of Cigars

El Baton is the newest Nicaraguan handmade cigar from J.C. Newman Cigar Co. Relaunched in 2022, El Baton established itself as a powerhouse of flavor in the Nicaraguan selection of the quotidian humidor. Made from finely aged Nicaraguan Jalapa and Esteli filler tobaccos, El Baton has bold tasting nates of leather, pepper, and hazelnut. Originally a nickel cigar made from inexpensive tobacco in Midwestern cigar factories, the modern El Baton is anything but a fly-over. El Baton Double Torpedo (6.25×56) has a balanced, medium-bodied smoke from the Ecuadorian wrapper tobacco with a spicy kick from its Nicaraguan filler. This cigar received multiple 91 ratings from Cigar Aficionado in 2009 and in 2023. This is a phenomenal cigar for a great price point, earning it the tenth spot on this list.

No. 9: Plasencia Alma Del Fuego Concepcion

Plasencia Alma Del Fuego Concepcion Open Box

Alma del Fuego, meaning soul of fire in Spanish, is a bold Nicaraguan handmade cigar from Plasencia Cigars S.A. Released in 2019, this cigar is a medium-to-full bodied Nicaraguan puro with a spicy Jalapa sungrown wrapper. The Concepcion (6×54) pulls out all the stops: from sweet to peppery, from salty to tart, from acidic to meaty. The palate and nose experience a rainbow of flavors and aroma sensations. Cigar Aficionado rated this cigar a 93 in 2023 saying, “Once the cigar burns past the uncut foot, the smoke becomes much like a balanced shot of espresso, full of roasted arabica notes, dried fruit, a bit of spice and a sweet layer of caramel.” And all this carried by thick, creamy smoke. This cigar is a great pick for any Nicaraguan lover and the number nine entry on this list.

No. 8: Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado

Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado Open Box

Since its unveiling at a tradeshow in 2012, Serie V Melanio is the most popular brand from Tabacalera Oliva S.A. Named after the Oliva family patriarch, Serie V Melanio is part of a 137-year-old tradition of Cuban tobacco farming. Today, Gilberto Oliva and his family own the second largest Cuban-seed tobacco farm in Nicaragua.

The figurado vitola (6×52f) of this brand is the recipient of dozens of high ratings: a 93 rating from in 2012, a Cigar of the Year nomination from Cigar Journal in 2017, and a 95 rating from Cigar Aficionado in 2023. Proving itself time and again, and earning the eighth spot on this list, the Melanio Figurado is a Nicaraguan handmade with a medium-bodied flavor profile. “Impressive in its opulence and complexity, this box-pressed figurado leaves clearly-pronounced impressions of nutmeg, walnut and leather on the palate. A rich, earthy undertone brings all the elements to a decadent level.”

No. 7: West Tampa Tobacco Company Red Robusto

west tampa red

A new brand with an old player, West Tampa Tobacco Co. was an overnight sensation thanks in no small part to the genius of Master Blender Rick Rodriguez. “Normally when I blend cigars, I don’t blend for what I like, I blend cigars for what my fans enjoy. Red will be a reflection of what I believe is the next piece to lay in the West Tampa puzzle, a full-bodied cigar that delivers the full flavor consumers have come to enjoy from West Tampa.”

At number seven, West Tampa Red is a medium to full-bodied cigar made from aged Mexican San Andres wrapper, Nicaraguan Condega binder, and Nicaraguan Esteli filler. Cigar Aficionado rated the West Tampa Red Robusto (5×50) a 93. The lush draw of this evenly-burning robusto imparts a smoke that’s rich with chocolate intonations from first puff to last. Tasty layers of nutmeg, hickory, molasses and leather also unfold before a mocha finish.

No. 6: Blackened Cigars M81 Corona by Drew Estate

The most successful celebrity cigar collaboration to date, Blackened Cigars from Metallica’s James Hetfield and Drew Estate seized the cigar industry by storm with a series of positive reviews on, Cigar Journal, and Cigar Aficionado. All the Blackened vitolas received 90 or higher ratings from Cigar Aficionado. This earned the cigar its number six position on this list of top 10 cigars of 2023. About as maduro as possible, this cigar is a blend of Nicaraguan, American, and Mexican tobacco all rendered to a dark, oily consistency. The corona vitola (5×43) has an inky look with tasting notes of spice such as saffron, nutmeg and cinnamon atop a bready profile, possessing a touch of semi-sweet chocolate and an earthy finish. This cigar rightfully made numerous other top ten or twenty-five cigar lists for 2023.

No. 5: La Palina White Label Churchill

la palina white label churchill

Originally launched in 2021 as an exclusive cigar for member-retailers of the Tobacconists’ Association of America TAA, La Palina White Label is a sumptuous smooth-to-medium-bodied Nicaraguan puro handmade cigar from La Palina. Named for company founder Samuel Paley’s wife in 1896, La Palina cigars are a household name. The White Label brand surged to great success in 2022 and 2023, expanding to several vitolas and earning the number five spot on this list with its Churchill (7×50) size. This vitola earned a 91 score from Cigar Aficionado. Oils from the binder leaf seep through the light wrapper of this bumpy Churchill, which burns and draws easily. Smoking this cigar is like eating a bag of trail mix with notes of raisin, sweet granola clusters, nuts and honey which all recur on the pleasant finish.

No. 4: La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso

Open box of 25 count La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso cigars

At the number four position in this list, Ashton’s most popular Nicaraguan handmade La Aroma de Cuba line continues its reign with the high praise of the Mi Amor Belicoso (5.5×54f), recipient of a 95 score from Cigar Aficionado. An elegant, rich smoke that envelops the palate with uncanny notes of malted chocolate and mixed nuts. The sweet and savory elements harmonize beautifully with a salted peanut note, all of which recur on the long finish. The medium to full-bodied profile is terrifically versatile and sought-after by new cigar lovers and seasoned connoisseurs alike. Its decadent, complex finish is entirely original. Pepin’s signature Nicaraguan spices enchant in a savory and immeasurable presentation.

No. 3: Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Robusto

diamond crown julius caeser robusto box open

A sudden departure from Nicaragua’s domination of this list, the Dominican handmade Diamond Crown Julius Caeser cigar secures the number three position. Immensely popular since its release in 2012, the Julius Caeser is J.C. Newman Cigar Co.’s go-to medium-bodied Dominican handmade with tasting notes of cocoa, baker’s spices, and leather. Most recently, Cigar Aficionado rated the Julius Caesar Robusto (4.75×52) as a 91. This cigar is named after famed cigar maker and company founder Julius Caeser Newman. Dark and inky, this cigar produces ample amounts of smoke on the lush draw. It starts strong, but mellows to show notes of creamy chocolate, pecan, toasted coconut and a dried black cherry finish.

No. 2: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 2

Open box of 25 count Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 2 cigars

Another Dominican handmade, the Don Carlos No. 2 (5.75×55) earns the second spot on the top 10 cigars of 2023 for its overwhelming consistency and quality. Named in honor of its legendary creator and Fuente family patriarch Don Carlos Fuente, Sr., Arturo Fuente Don Carlos cigars are the world’s finest African Cameroon wrapper smokes. To create this masterpiece, Carlos Fuente, Sr. blended rare, vintage tobaccos that were hand selected and aged 10 years. Though there’s some resistance on the draw, this torpedo burns slow and cool, delivering a bold smoke with very well-pronounced notes of caramel and cocoa powder before the lasting fresh tobacco finish. Cigar Aficionado gave the Don Carlos No. 2 a 94 point rating.

No. 1: Padron Serie 1926 No. 2

padron 1926 serie no. 2 open box

As if there were ever any doubt, a Nicaraguan handmade cigar secures the ultimate spot on this list. The finest Nicaraguan cigar manufacturer in the world, Padron sells their cigars on reputation alone. Regardless of size or blend, a Padron cigar means phenomenal flavor and remarkable quality. The Padron Serie 1926 No. 2 (5.5×52) is a Nicaraguan handmade puro with finely aged tobaccos throughout, causing the cigar to brim with flavor. Earning a 94 rating from Cigar Aficionado, the  earthy, toasty core of this box-pressed belicoso is beautifully accented by layers of chocolate-covered almond, concentrated dried fruit and pure milk chocolate before the spicy finish. Rich and complex. As with anything manufactured by Padron, this one is a sure bet. This is why it has won our #1 spot on our top 10 cigars of 2023.

Top 5 Cigar Gifts This Holiday Season

diamond crown la salle humidor

The holidays are fast approaching! This is one of the busiest times of the year for the cigar industry, but LM will always rise to the occasion. All around the world, men and women are seeking the perfect gift for the cigar aficionado in their life. From American value bundle cigars to Dominican premium handmade cigars, LM has the gift which is sure to not only satisfy but to imprint itself as an indelibly fond memory. LM offers one of the largest selections of gifts and the best cigar prices available anywhere online. Need a sampler of Padron cigars? No problem! Need a humidor gift set? We’ve got it! LM has built itself over a century on value, excellence, and customer service. We will do everything in our power to insure Santa comes down your chimney and leaves smokes—not coal! Take a look through our Top 5 Cigar Gifts This Holiday Season

No. 5: La Palina Goldie Laguito No. 2

la palina goldie laguito no. 2

Until recently, the La Palina Goldie cigar was handmade by just one person. A recent expansion of the rolling team has allowed more La Palina Goldie cigars to enter the market for consumers—just in time for the Holidays! This cigar is a master crafted cigar with extraordinary flavor. Named after company founder Sam Paley’s wife, Goldie Drell, there are several elements that make this cigar truly exceptional: its factory of origin, its blend, and its unique size. This super premium and highly sought-after cigar is produced in Miami’s vibrant Little Havana neighborhood. Another reason behind the Goldie’s exclusivity, is that the blend consists of “Medio Tiempo” leaves, which are found in only a very small percentage of tobacco plants. The cigar’s wrapper is then finished in the traditional Cuban style, gracefully adorned with a fan-tailed cap.

The La Palina Goldie screams elegance, filling the palate with a perfect marriage of flavors such as nut, spice, cedar, and earth along with bursts of sweet & creamy nuances. The La Palina Goldie continues to be recognized as a super-premium, extremely limited, extraordinary cigar that is a must try for enthusiasts and collectors who only seek the best of the best! This 6×38 Laguito size is the perfect gift for the cigar aficionado in your life, giving an unbelievable smoke without keeping them in the cold for too long. This is a smooth to medium cigar that comes in boxes of ten.

No. 4: E.P. Carrillo Triumph Collection

e.p. carrillo triumph collection cigars

Need a stocking stuffer? Why not three? The E.P. Carrillo Triumph Cigar Collection is a carefully curated and crafted trio of award-winning cigars. The Triumph includes the three best cigars Ernesto Perez-Carrillo has ever made. They are La Historia E-III, Encore Majestic, and Pledge Prequel. The Pledge Prequel is Cigar Aficionado’s highest ever rated cigar of the year with a 98 rating! La Historia has a bold, flavorful blend, redolent of coffee, wood and earth, even a touch of briny olive. It’s made with Nicaraguan filler tobaccos with an Ecuadoran binder and a dark wrapper leaf grown in the open sunlight of Mexico’s lush San Andrés Valley.

The Encore Majestic bears filler from Nicaragua’s three primary growing regions—Estelí, Condega and Jalapa—and all of it comes together in a robusto of immaculately detailed flavor that ranges from oak and tea to caramel sweetness with tangy citrus pops of candied orange peel. It’s elegant, refined and nuanced from first puff to last. The E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel is a delicious smoke that delivers flavor in bold, zesty parcels of spicy oak, licorice, black cherry and black pepper. Baking spices sing like a holiday chorus, and when you think you’ve tasted all the cigar has to offer, a warm, familiar note of baked apple settles across the palate. These cigars are all medium to full.

No. 3: Nub 4 ct Cigar & Punch Cutter Combo

nub variety sampler

The Nub 4ct Cigar & Punch Cutter Combo is another sampler giftset that is sure to please. Nub cigars appeal to virtually all cigar makers, making it the universal gift for the cigar aficionado in your life. This sampler offers one of each wrapper type for the consumer to try: Connecticut, Cameroon, Habano, and Maduro. Perfect for holiday gatherings, this cigar that immediately starts upon lighting right into that “spot” and hold it through the entire length of the cigar. Nub Cigars were created to hit “the sweet spot” that can’t be found easily with a conventional 5.5” cigar. The cigars come in a 4” length and a little wider ring gauge to get the maximum number of aromas & profile to perfectly capture that “Sweet Spot.” Nub cigars are expertly handmade in Estelí, Nicaragua with long-filler and a variety of different wrapper varietals. While the Nub may have a small form factor, no sacrifices are made when it comes to flavor and experience.

No. 2: Quorum Toro Sampler

quorum 5pack sampler

Quorum cigars are excellent value and make a great gift for an office coworker or extended family member. There is a reason for Quorum’s status as the best-selling Nicaraguan bundle in the world. These cigars offer incredible flavor for incredible value. The Quorum Toro Sampler gives you two smooth to medium Shade Toros, two medium-bodied Classic Toros, and one medium to full Maduro Toro from the Quorum cigar line. Quorum Shade is handmade in Nicaragua using a smooth Connecticut shade seed wrapper filled with premium, Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos. A smoother draw make these cigars perfect for even the most discriminating palates. Quorum Classic features aged Nicaraguan filler and savory Nicaraguan binder, complemented by a special sungrown Ecuadorian wrapper. The silky medium brown wrapper with little veining offers a smooth and velvety touch. Quorum Maduro features an aged Nicaraguan filler and savory Nicaraguan binder with a rich maduro wrapper. This full-flavor cigar is rich and peppery with a slight sweet finish.

No. 1: Craftsman’s Bench La Salle Humidor

diamond crown la salle humidor

What do you get for the guy who’s got everything? Easy, more humidor space for his cigars! The Craftsman’s Bench La Salle Humidor is a fabulous humidor for a reasonable price. The humidor measures 9″ x 8 1/2″ x 3,″ enough room for twenty-five or so cigars. This humidor features a handsome red wood exterior with an exotic burled wood center. This humidor comes with a Spanish cedar interior as well as a humidifier, hygrometer, and divider. This is a great choice for a desktop humidor for the true cigar aficionado or those just getting into the hobby. Coincidentally, the humidor has just enough space to hold all the cigars previously mentioned in the gift guide and a few more.