With what seems like the beginning of the Cuban embargo being lifted and Americans now able to bring cigars home, it goes without saying that this is one of the most historic moments for the cigar industry as a whole. For the true aficionado a hand crafted Cuban cigar is the difference between a fine Cognac and swill made on the parking pad of a trailer in Arkansas. It goes without saying that other regions around the globe will probably notice a significant drop in sales, be it because the cigars in Cuba are of better quality, or perhaps simply because of the intrigue. After all, we often want what we can’t have and until recently, that was a fine Cuban cigar.
Today we’re going to discuss full bodied cigars, not just from Cuba but from around the world. For the sophisticated palate, a full bodied cigar offers the richest and most complex flavor profiles and an aroma that’s intoxicating. Of course, for the novice smoker, it can sometimes be overpowering or result in nausea and vomiting if the cigar is smoked too quickly.
There is such a wide variety of full bodied cigars available from around the world but it’s our goal to introduce you to some of the best.
Padron 1964 Aniversario Exclusivo Maduro Robusto
One of my favorite cigars, this is a truly remarkable smoke. Made from the best hand picked tobacco in Nicaragua, the tobacco is aged for four years to give it the robust flavor profile it’s so well known for. With strong notes of dark cocoa, it has one of the most complex and satisfying flavor profiles encased by a silky Maduro wrapper. Of the many times I’ve tried this particular cigar, only once was the cigar inconsistent but I tried it at the cigar lounge so it’s very possible it wasn’t properly aged before I selected it. Otherwise, from first draw to the finish it’s a superbly elegant smoke that’s full of bold flavors with a subtle sweetness. It’s one of the best cigars you’ll probably ever try. But don’t take my word for it.
One of the most counterfeited cigars on the market, they’re also one of my favorite cigars. In fact, I probably have about 40 of them in my humidor right now. This is about as Cuban as it gets from one of the best producers in Havana. This elegant and savory cigar is primed with strong notes of leather and Spanish cedar harmoniously paired with floral notes and bursts of cracked pepper and cocoa. This is one of the most complex cigars I’ve smoked and its finish is exemplary and long with a full mouth feel. This isn’t your everyday cigar but one that should be smoked for a celebratory occasion. It’s truly a remarkable journey and one that you won’t soon forget.
La Flor Coronado
We’ve talked about this richly complex cigar before but it deserves another mention here. Another handcrafted delight from Nicaragua, the Coronado is a prime example of what cigar making should be. It has strong notes of cedar and pepper with a sweet toffee flavor that makes this one of the most superlative cigars you’ll try all summer. Using filler from the Dominican mixed with its Nicaraguan ancestry, the Coronado is about as smooth as it gets for a full bodied cigar.
From the heart of Ecuador, the VSG is known for its sun grown wrapper. In fact, VSG stands for ‘Virgin Sun Grown’. This is one of those few cigars you will never forget. Consistently named one of the best non-Cuban cigars on the market it uses tobaccos from the most fertile plants from the Dominican that are aged for five years to give them an earthy and robust complexity of flavors from espresso and cocoa to its body of warmed cedar and long finish.
My Father Le Bijou 1922
A branch of the very hip My Father line of cigars, Le Bijou is a decadent and complex full bodied cigar with an expansive espresso flavor profile once it warms up. It’s a consistent smoke from start to finish and the delivery is nothing short of exceptional with its smooth taste and lingering finish full of spice.
Padron Serie 1926 80th Anniversary Maduro Perfecto
Another contender from Padron, the fact is that Padron makes some really exceptional cigars. Tobacco that’s aged for half a decade is what makes this cigar so remarkable. A cigar for the most discerning palate, it offers a complex and yet refined flavor profile that is rarely found in such a strong cigar. Bold and yet elegant, it’s one cigar that you’ll keep buying again and again. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Oliva Serie V Maduro
A full mouth feel with rich flavors of mocha, caramel and aged leather make this cigar one worthy of your consideration. Rated one of the best cigars by Cigar Aficionado in 2007, it continues to this day to be a personal favorite of mine. An intense smoke, this isn’t one for beginners but one that can be viewed as a milestone when the novice smoker becomes an enthusiast.
Tatuaje Black Tubo
Blended for the proprietor himself, this is one cigar that’s very tough to come by. However, if you do manage to succeed in finding one, smoke it before anyone has the chance to take it from you. This is the kind of cigar that the locals smoke but won’t sell – the difference between Americanized Chinese food buffets and the stuff your Asian friend’s grandmother made in her small kitchen for the family. It’s like nothing you’ve ever had.
Davidoff Millennium Blend Robusto
Rich, elegant and complex this stunningly decadent cigar is everything a great cigar should be and more. Of the entire line of Millennium blends, the robusto is my personal favorite and, as many of you know, is just another reason why Davidoff remains my manufacturer of choice. One thing I really like is its bitterness which pairs perfectly with the sweetness from the chocolate. It’s a tantalizing smoke that’s perfectly balanced and consistently perfect when properly aged.
Rocky Patel Decade
One of the most distinct cigars you’ll try is the Decade by Rocky Patel made to commemorate their ten year anniversary. Its unique flavor profile of black cherries and nuts house a wealth of complex undertones from leather and cedar to creamy caramel. It’s my favorite cigar by the brand and a true testament to what they’ve managed to achieve. Smooth and delicate with a strong punch is just the beginning of what makes this an unforgettable smoke that will make you weak in the knees.
A handful of some of my personal favorites, I’m more interested to find out what full bodied cigars you enjoy the most. Hopefully this short primer will help introduce you to at least a few new cigars and if you post a few of your favorites in the comment section below, I know we would all greatly appreciate it. If you’re going to smoke just one on this list, in the spirit of America’s newfound relationship with Cuba, I urge you to try the Cohiba Esplendido. Just make sure it’s not a counterfeit.