The dog days of summer are upon us, but for Luis Martinez and cigar aficionados like you this is the best time of the year. Every year in July, hundreds of manufacturers and thousands of cigar retailers descend upon Las Vegas for the annual PCA trade show. The trade show is a cigar aficionado’s wet dream with every new cigar, accessory, and humidor gadget on display. Luis Martinez will offer many of these new cigar brands and, in the spirit of the season, offers a list of this summer’s hottest and fastest moving cigars. Heat index permitting, enjoy these top 5 cigars of the summer outdoors on the pool deck or in your favorite patio lounging chair.
No. 5: Undercrown Shade
Undercrown is a Drew Estate brand of cigars blended by industry grandmaster and blender Willy Herrera. These cigars let the tobacco speaks for itself using a complex and compelling blend of the finest aged Nicaraguan filler tobaccos from Esteli and Jalapa. The wrapper and binder varies for these cigars but none are finer for a summer stick than the Undercrown Shade Especiale. This cigar has an Ecuadorian Shade wrapper and Sumatran binder, providing a mellow and enjoyable smoking experience. These cigars are available as a (6×50) box of 10. An alternative buying option is the Undercrown Shade Gran Toro (6×52) fresh pack of five which is a very similar tobacco blend and flavor profile but half the price. These cigars are perfect anytime of a summer day. The cigar lights easy and smoothly, staying lit as the ideal poolside or beach cigar. A great companion to a wheat beer or coffee, this cigar takes about an hour and a half to smoke. This is the optimal time to spend outside in the summer sun under the veranda shade. For a quick, inexpensive summer smoke, consider this Undercrown Shade Toro Especiale. This cigar is mild and grassy with notes of peanuts and white pepper. This cigar is consistently ranked one of the best cigars on Luis Martinez due to its value and quality. Undercrown ranks as #5 on top 5 cigars of the summer.
No. 4: Oliva Connecticut Reserve
Oliva Connecticut Reserve is one of the most popular smooth to medium-bodied shade wrapper cigars available at humidors and cigar shops across the United States. Now available on Luis Martinez, this cigar is one of the website’s top cigars with additional savings over brick-and-mortar storefronts and even other online cigar retail websites. This cigar comes as a box of 20 Connecticut Reserve Robusto (5×50) or, as an alternate buying option, a box of 10 Connecticut Reserve Double Toro (6×60). These cigars are silky smooth and produce the kind of licorice-smelling, spicy-sweet smoke that lights up a room. Alternatively, these cigars generate a lot of smoke and are the best friend of someone flyfishing or cooking at an outdoor barbecue—they’ll keep the mosquitoes away! The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Shade on top of premium Nicaraguan binder and long filler tobacco. These cigars deserve their many accolades. Indeed, Cigar Aficionado rated this cigar a 95. The cigar is a quick, hour-long smoke with notes of cedar and hay throughout the cigar. The rest of the tobacco burning in unison with the Ecuador Shade wrapper creates a complex blend of peppery, nutty bouquet. Smokers shouldn’t hesitate to purchase a box of these cigars as they often get sold out and backordered for several months. Oliva Connecticut Reserve ranks as #4 on top 5 cigars of the summer.
No. 3: Rocky Patel Edge Maduro
Breaking the mold of Summer Shade for a moment, the Rocky Patel Edge Battalion Maduro is a full-bodied Honduran handmade cigar with an exceptional blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Connecticut tobaccos. At 6×60, this cigar is a larger ring gauge compared to the previous two brands discussed and is fully loaded with flavor. Rocky Patel has long been known for his experimentation with the bolder flavors of filler tobaccos grown in the volcanic, alluvial soils of Nicaragua and Honduras. The Edge is one of the most popular premium value cigars found in humidors across the United States. The Edge Battalion Maduro takes the value and flavor of its milder siblings and cranks it up to eleven. Rocky Patel The Edge, no doubt one of the stronger cigars in the Rocky Patel line. Extraordinarily well-balanced, the complexity and strength of the cigar is savory and aromatic. This cigar is constructed entirely of 5-year-aged tobacco and makes a statement with its peppery, dry finish. These cigars take about an hour and a half to smoke, the perfect cigar for summer evenings. The cigar bears tasting notes of peanuts, white pepper, moss, molasses, and earth. These cigars come in boxes of twenty and represent remarkable value, an excellent way to end the summer and usher in the fall. Rocky Patel Edge Maduro ranks as #3 on top 5 cigars of the summer.
No. 2: Alec Bradley Prensado
Despite their recent acquisition at the hands of General Cigar Co., Alec Bradley has not skipped a beat as far as its production quality and quantity. Of its diverse and varied portfolio, few brands are as popular and highly regarded as the Alec Bradley Prensado. Literally translating to “pressed” in Spanish, Prensado cigars are long-filler handmade cigars made in the classic Cuban “entubado” style with a triple cap. Finally, these cigars are box-pressed in production crates at the famous Raices Cubanas factory in Danli, Honduras. This is one of the top cigars to try this summer. These cigars are exquisite, and their praise is cemented by frequent accolades, such as the Cigar Aficionado #1 Cigar of the Year in 2011 (rated 96). Luis Martinez has the honor of selling Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill cigars in boxes of twenty-four. These cigars are 7×48 Churchills which take about an hour and a half to two hours to smoke. This cigar uses a gorgeous wrapper grown from proprietary Honduran Corojo Cuban-seed tobaccos. This wrapper is complimented nicely by a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos which create a medium-to-full bodied cigar with a spicy sweet aroma and a leather-like, chocolaty finish. This is a great medium-bodied cigar to round out your summer selection. Alec Bradley Prensado ranks as #2 on top 5 cigars of the summer.
No. 1: Cohiba Red Dot
Cohiba is Cuba’s national brand, synonymous with quality and rarity. The brand derives its name from the long grasses the indigenous Cubans would smoke. The brand derives its fame from the extremely limited production, reserved for Fidel Castro and his favored party members alone. The American Cohiba brand, owned and distributed by General Cigar Co., allows the everyman to participate in the legend and mystique of Cohiba cigars and Cuban(-seed) tobacco. The Cohiba Red Dot is especially lauded for its constituent blend of unique, sapid tobaccos. Uncommon even for the long-reaching tendrils of General Cigar Co.’s influence, the cigar bears an aged Cameroon wrapper over top a blend of Indonesian binder tobacco and Dominican filler tobaccos. The result is a singular smoking experience of creamy, nutty flavors which are sweet and pleasant from foot to head. This is a cigar you will find yourself smoking on lazy summer afternoons. The robusto size (5×50) makes a quick smoke for someone with limited time. The cigar box attests to the quality of its product, “Meticulously handcrafted in the Dominican Republic, Cohiba is the product of masterful blending. Featuring three varieties of Cuban seed tobaccos aged under the watchful eyes of our artisans, Cohiba is a dimensional, slightly-spicy smoke created for the initiated.” Cohiba Red Dot ranks as #1 on top 5 cigars of the summer.