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EXCELLENT NON-CUBAN CIGARS

 

 

Some excellent cigars from countries other than Cuba.

As Cigar Aficionado writes:
Cuban cigars are great, but they are not alone in their greatness. The best Nicaraguan, Dominican and Honduran cigars can compete on the quality level with the finest Cubans. 
The top-tier smokes of the major cigar-producing nations are all outstanding in their own way. They are true agricultural and artisanal expressions of their respective countries.

Here is a list of cigars mostly chosen for their high ratings and reviews, “top-tier smokes”, together with some chosen for their attractive prices.
The descriptions omit the tasting notes such as “creamy wooden, sweet, and spicy notes are evident, along with notes of nuts and citric fruits which are very subjective.
We leave you to decide whether or not the cigar is to your taste.
The prices are discounted by up to 20% for current stock only


La Aurora

Founded in 1903, La Aurora was the first-ever handmade cigar brand in the Dominican Republic. Today, more than 118 years later, this premium brand produces some of the finest smokes on the planet. In fact, it is still family-owned and operated under the guidance of the Cigar Legend Guillermo Leon. Today, La Aurora is a large modern company with 1000 employees, with diversified offerings, great prestige, and presence in all world markets.

La Aurora Family Reserve Guillermo Leon Robusto             Box of 20 R224.00 per cigar
                                                                                            (Normal R280 per cigar)

This is a full-bodied cigar. Guillermo Leon smokes cigars from this blend every day. The cigar artisans at La Aurora hand roll each cigar meticulously with the finest Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Peruvian filler tobaccos, Dominican and Cameroon double binder, and the smooth Ecuador wrapper.
Classic Robusto format, this cigar has achieved a score of 90 in Cigar Aficionado tastings.
Size:      127mm X Ringsize 50
Filler:    Peru, Dominican Republic, Brazil
Binder:  Dominican  and Cameroon
Wrapper:Ecuador

La Aurora 100 Años                                                            
Box of 25 R265.00 per cigar (Normal R331 per cigar)

To celebrate a century of making great cigars, La Aurora created the Dominican Puro “La Aurora 100 Anos Robusto” which earned the #2 spot in Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of the Year in 2004.
Using aged tobacco dating back to 1996, with a rare, stunning Corojo seed Dominican wrapper and binder, and by limiting production, La Aurora has provided a cigar worthy of everyone’s humidor.
Size:    127mm X Ringsize 50
Filler:   Dominican Corojo & Dominican Piloto Cubano
Binder: Dominican
Wrapper: Dominican Corojo

La Aurora Ecuador Sumatra Preferidos 1903 Edition           Box of 18 R208.00 per cigar
                                                                                            (Normal R260 per cigar)

This is a medium-body cigar, which gets its name from the fine Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper covering a carefully conceived blend of cigar tobaccos from 4 different countries.. La Aurora limits production to 100 cigars a day.
These premium handmade cigars are especially popular for their consistency and value.
Size:      127mm X Ringsize 50
Filler:    Peru, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Nicaragua
Binder:  Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican Republic

 

ALTADIS USA

A large multinational owned since 2008 by Imperial Brands plc, formerly Imperial Tobacco Group plc.
They acquired Consolidated Cigar Holdings from whom we bought our CG Dominican cigars, until increases in South African duties made them less competitive with Cuban cigars. This factory was the first to apply ratio testing between length, ringsize and weight for each cigar.  Testing is done several times a day and the rejection rate is very low.  A compliment to the quality of the rollers.
Altadis own non-Cuban premium cigar brands Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, and H. Upmann, as well as their own brands VegaFina, DonDiego, Santa Damiana.
All the company's cigars are made at the immense Tabacalera de Garcia factory in La Romana in the Dominican Republic under Master Blenders “Grupo de Maestros”.

Santa Damiana Classic Short Robusto                                     Box of 25 R222.00 per cigar                                                                                             (Normal R278 per cigar)

The name originally belonged to a Cuban cigar; the Dominican version was launched in 1992. These mild to medium, well-balanced cigars are probably as smooth cigars as you will find, with a beautifully silky-smooth Connecticut shade wrapper and a creamy taste. The burn is even, the ash is firm and the draw comfortable, as one would expect.
Size:                102mm x Ringsize 50
Filler:              Dominican
Binder:           Dominican
Wrapper:        Connecticut Shade

VegaFina 1998 Robusto Extra                                                   Box of 10 R256.00 per cigar                                                                                             (Normal R320 per cigar)

Commemorating the year VegaFina brand was born, these cigars are a medium/full strength blend of premium leaves from 5 countries – rolled in the Dominican Republic. They are then aged another 4 years before being boxed and released for sale.
Originally available only in Europe, they became available in the US in 2020 and achieved 92 points in a Cigar Aficionado tasting in February 2021.
Size:                127mm x Ringsize 52
Filler:              Dominican / Columbia / Nicaragua
Binder:           Indonesia
Wrapper:        Connecticut Shade

VegaFina Nicaragua Vulcano                                                     Box of 10 R254.00 per cigar                                                                                             (Normal R317 per cigar)

This Nicaraguan Puro is a medium-full bodied, wide ringsize Petit Robusto with a smooth rich taste.
Rolled in the Dominican Republic, this cigar is an example of how good the Nicaraguan leaf can be:
Ligero,Seco and Viso leaf from Esteli  and Jalapa – regions known for the richest leaf, with  binder from Jalapa and a dark caramel-brown Habano 2000 wrapper from Jalapa.
VegaFina Nicaragua received from Cigar Aficionado an 88 point rating for "Excellent."
Size:                110mm x Ringsize 56
Filler:              Nicaragua (Esteli and Jalapa)
Binder:           Nicaragua (Jalapa)
Wrapper:        Nicaragua Habano 2000 (Jalapa)

 

Don Diego Robusto                                                                     Box of 25 R238.00 per cigar                                                                                            (Normal R298 per cigar)

This is a very popular cigar when a mild, mellow smoke is wanted.
Aged Dominican leaves are used for the filler, encased in a Dominican Binder and a Connecticut USA shade wrapper (Habano 2000 seed) which offers a soft smoke and smooth finish.
The brand was originally manufactured in the Canary Islands, but is now hand-rolled by the expert craftsmen in the La Romana factory in the Dominican Republic.
Size:                127mm x Ringsize 52
Filler:              Dominican
Binder:           Dominican
Wrapper:        Connecticut Shade

 

DREW ESTATE NICARAGUA

Liga Privada No.9                                                                     Box of 12 R425.00 per cigar                                                                                             (Normal R532 per cigar)

The No.9 is a four-country (7-farm) blend of fine tobaccos chosen to create a rich, complex full-bodied cigar offering a smooth smoke.
Manuafactured in Nicaragua, only 4 pairs of rollers are judged good enough to be used, and each pair may only produce 250 cigars a day.
The finishing touch to each cigar is the dark almost Maduro Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.
The completed cigars are aged for a full year before being released.
The Liga Privada No. 9 received a rating of 90 from Cigar Aficionado in 2013.
Size:                127mm x Ringsize 52
Filler:              Honduran and Nicaraguan Habano seed
Binder:           Mata Fina Brazil for additional flavour
Wrapper:        Connecticut Broadleaf, Dark

 

J C NEWMAN PENSA FACTORY, ESTELI NICARAGUA          Box of 25 R284.00 per cigar                                                                                             (Normal R355 per cigar)

Perla del Mar (Pearl of the Sea) is a discontinued Cuban brand, resurrected by JCN in 2012.
A blend of Nicaraguan filler leaf selected from Pueblo Nuevo, La Reina, Condega, and Jalapa plantations, with Nicaraguan binder, and a fine Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper.
The cigars are box-pressed – a style said to help the various leaves to “marry” and offer a more balanced smoke.
“This blend is a perfect cigar for those who are looking for a quality smoke that’s not in your face but delivers solid flavors without breaking the bank.
Size:                152mm x Ringsize 60
Filler:              Nicaraguan – 4 regions
Binder:           Nicaraguan
Wrapper:        Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade

OLIVA CIGAR CO., NICARAGUA

Malanio Oliva started growing tobacco in Cuba in the late 1800s. Wars and Communist takeover ensued, then after some searching his grandson, Gilberto Oliva Sr, decided first on Honduras, but finally on Nicaragua as having the best soil for growing the cigar leaf he wanted. The Oliva Cigar Co. is the second largest grower of Cuban Seed tobacco in Nicaragua.
Today the Oliva Cigar Co. is owned by J. Cortès Cigars N.V., the European company that used to make the machined cigars for Oliva. The Oliva family is still very involved in the cigar fields and hand rolling factory in Nicaragua.
In 2006 Oliva Serie V was the first cigar to make its mark amongst connoisseurs, followed in 2012 by Serie O in its current format, and Serie V Melanio – in honour of the founder.
Every year since 2005 an Oliva cigar has been in the Cigar Aficionado top 25.

Oliva Serie O Robusto                                                                Box of 20 R260.00 per cigar                                                                                             (Normal R324 per cigar)

Originally launched in 2001 as Oliva Serie O Bold or Classic, the Oliva Serie O cigar was re-formatted in 2006 to the cigar we know today. A Nicaraguan puro, the cigar is made in the Cuba tradition of selecting different regions for filler, binder and wrapper. In this case, Esteli, Condega and Jalapa Valley. All Nicaraguan Cuban-seed leaf is used for the filler, and a rich caramel-brown leaf is chosen for the wrapper.
In 2012 the Oliva Serie O achieved a rating of 94 and was included in the Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25.
Size:                127mm x Ringsize 50
Filler:              Nicaraguan Cuban-seed
Binder:           Nicaraguan Cuban-seed
Wrapper:        Nicaraguan Cuban-seed

Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado                                              Box of 10 R510.00 per cigar                                                                                             (Normal R638 per cigar)

2014 Cigar of the Year Cigar Aficionado
Cigar of the week February 11, 2022
This stunning Nicaraguan cigar is a large double-tapered figurado shape, first launched in 2012.
The beautifully constructed cigar is box-pressed, and the draw is perfect.
Nicaraguan Habano Ligero filler and the binder are encased in a fine Ecuadorian Sumatra-seed wrapper.
The reviews can’t say enough – they seem to have run out of superlatives – easy to understand why it reached No.1 on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 in 2014, with a rating of 96, and is still great today.
Size:                165mm x Ringsize 52
Filler:              Nicaraguan Cuban-seed Ligero
Binder:           Nicaraguan Cuban-seed
Wrapper:        Ecuadorian Sumatra

 

ARTURO FUENTE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Arturo Fuente premium handmade cigars were founded by Arturo Fuente, Sr. in 1912. Since its beginnings in Tampa Florida, and despite fires, conflict, and re-locations, the company has settled in the Dominican Republic and grown into of the most appreciated makers of hand-rolled premium cigars outside of Cuba. The factory has won the Prime Time Award for Large Factory of the Year in 2021, for the versatility and consistency of quality of its wide range, and because the end products delivered were outstanding.
The Fuente cigars are packed in boxes with a 2-way humidification device that helps to keep the cigars fresh.

In the 1920’s Arturo Fuente included Perfecto cigars in its range, but as the rollers grew older and retired or died the skills were lost.
In the 1980’s Carlos Fuente Sr found some of the old moulds and trained his master roller in the craft.
In 1983 the Hemingway series was born, named for the author Ernest Hemingway.
All Hemingway cigars are Perfectos. They taper at the head and are thick and bulbous at the foot which is closed except for a small nipple, the part of the cigar you light.
When smoking a Perfecto, only light the nipple on the foot of the cigar. Perfectos burn gradually with a slightly tighter draw in the beginning, which is intended to deliver greater flavour from the wrapper because it encloses the foot.

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story                              Box of 25 R207.00 per cigar                                                                                             (Normal R258 per cigar)

Considered by many to be the best of the shorter cigars, it was the first of the Hemingway range, and still the most popular. A Medium strength small cigar that offers a mellow smoke for around 40 minutes.
The filler is aged Dominican leaf, the binder is Dominican, and the wrapper is African Cameroon.
Cameroon is known as a “toothy” wrapper leaf. That means that it’s not quite as smooth as, say, Connecticut Shade. The “toothiness” comes from tiny bumps on the wrapper, which are actually little pockets of oil which are a source of great flavour.
One can see why Cigar Aficionado gave it a rating of 92 points in 2021.
Size:                102mm x Ringsize 49
Filler:              Dominican
Binder:           Dominican
Wrapper:        African Cameroon

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Between the Lines Robusto      Box of 25 R414.00 per cigar                                                                                             (Normal R517 per cigar)

Aged Dominican filler and binder are then wrapped “barber pole” fashion in alternating layers of USA Connecticut Shade and USA Connecticut Broadleaf.
The result is a Perfecto cigar with a rich, mellow taste, very comfortable draw and perfect combustionIn 2020 it achieved a Cigar Aficionado rating of 90
Size:                114mm x Ringsize 54
Filler:              Dominican
Binder:           Dominican
Wrapper:       African Cameroon and USA Connecticut Broadleaf
                        (Sometimes given as USA Connecticut Shade / USA Connecticut Broadleaf)

DAVIDOFF

Zino Davidoff was born Sussele-Meier Davidoff in Russia in 1906. He ran a specialist tobacconist shop in Geneva from 1926.In 1946 he decided to produce his own cigars – the “Chateau” series.He was approached by Cubatobacco in 1967 to create a line of Cuban cigars. This continued successfully until in 1989, after several disputes over quality, Zino publicly burned over 100000 cigars which he said were unfit to sell. After that there would be no more Cuban Davidoff cigars.

He moved to the Dominican Republic where, together with partner Hendrik Kelner, they made very high quality cigars of the light Dominican leaf - with the distinctive while and gold label. One comment was “almost anything Henke Kelner puts a white label on, the flavor, despite the quantity, is smooth and balanced”. With the popularity of the more full-bodied cigars, in 2013 Davidoff added Nicaraguan leaf to his range of cigars. The range was imaged innovatively with a new black cigar band.With the same black band, in 2015  the Escurio range was born using tobaccos from Brazil. Most recently, some hard and technical work over 20 years enabled Henke Kelner to develop cigar plantations in the Yamasá region of the Dominican Republic. The cigar tobacco was sweet and spicy and the Yamasá range resulted, with the expected refinement and sophistication. Climate controlled storage areas were built perfect for aging the tobacco as it was removed from the field, hung and dried.

Davidoff Nicaragua Robusto                                             Box of 12 R414.00 per cigar
                                                                                            (Normal R517 per cigar)

When the Davidoff team decided to extend the Davidoff range to include Nicaraguan leaf, they didn’t contract to have the cigars provided. Instead they imported the leaf from carefully chosen regions in the volcanic soil of Nicaragua, to make Nicaraguan cigars the Davidoff way. And so they have a Nicaraguan Puro, rolled in Dominican Republic under the watchful eye of Henke Kelner. Their introduction to the Davidoff Nicaragua: “Fire is not easily tamed, yet the Davidoff Master Blenders have done it. You can taste the heat and intensity of the rich, volcanic soil of Nicaragua but it has been softened to bitter sweet perfection. You will feel a fire to match the passion for fine cigars.” Cigar Aficionado: “The Davidoff Nicaragua Robusto earned 91points and a position on Top 25 list in 2015.
Size:                127mm x Ringsize 50
Filler:              Nicaragua Esteli Visus and Ligero; Ometepe Visus; Condega Ligero
Binder:           Nicaragua Habano Jalapa
Wrapper:        Nicaragua Habano Jalapa (Rosada)

 

Davidoff Escurio Robusto                                                  Pack of 4 R406.00 per cigar
                                                                                            (Normal R508 per cigar)

A comforting feeling to know that with Davidoff you can always expect the best in craftmanship, quality and flavour. First the light Dominican, then the full Nicaraguan, now the medium-full, rich “Escurio” using Brazil leaf combined with Dominican, and a stunning, oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The taste is spicy and slightly sweet as is often the case with matured Brazil leaf.
This is not a true robusto shape – slightly shorter and much thicker
According to their website, the blenders were aiming for:
A cigar kissed by the rains and born by the Bay of Todos Los Santos in Brazil. The climate gives Escurio its distinctive sweet original taste and rich aroma. Notes of salt and spice to give you flavours that exhilarate.
Did they succeed?
Size:                114mm x Ringsize 54
Filler:              Brazil Mata Fina and Cubra Visus; Dominican San Vincente, Piloto and Olor Seco
Binder:           Brazil Cubra Seed
Wrapper:        Ecuadorian Habano

Davidoff Yamasa Robusto                                                    Pack of 4 R468.00 per cigar
                                                                                            (Normal R585 per cigar)

More than 20 years ago Davidoff’s Henke Kelner, saw in the swampy Yamsa region an ideal growing climate and mineral rich soil, just right for great cigar leaf.
Together with agricultural scientists, he persevered.
The pH value was raised by hand, plant by plant, and in addition each tobacco plant is hand fed nitrate and calcium. Crop rotation and transplanting ensured the development of the plants.
The Yamasa range is named for the region whose unique characteristics have provided binder and quality wrapper leaves for the cigars. These together with carefully chosen leaves from Nicaragua and Dominican Republic have produced medium-full bodied cigars, with an eye-catching wrapper - colour, shine and oiliness, and with a distinctive deep, complex flavour.
Size:                127mm x Ringsize 50
Filler:              Nicaragua Esteli and Condega; Dominica Piloto and Mejorado
Binder:           Dominican San Vincente from Yamasa
Wrapper:        Dominican Yamasa

 

MACANUDO
Macanudo has been an icon for years to USA cigar smokers.
It is mild, easy to smoke, consistent and well-priced – perfect for new cigar smokers particularly.
It’s distinctive mellow taste comes from aging all tobaccos twice – as it used to be done in the golden age of Cuban cigars.
The US rights to the name were bought from Cuba in 1969, and the cigar was manufactured in Jamaica until moving to Dominican Republic in 2000
Besides the original Macanudo with the Connecticut shade wrapper, Macanudo has broadened its range in recent years to include richer, full-bodied cigars – from modern factories and plantations in Nicaragua and Honduras. The consistency that was typical of Macanudo is still there.

Macanudo Inspirado Black                                                     Box of 20 R240.00 per cigar
                                                                                            (Normal R300 per cigar)

As the name suggests, the cigar is encased in a lush, dark, oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper which was left to ripen on the stalk. It is completed with an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and rich Nicaraguan filler from Esteli. The consistency you have come to expect from Macanudo holds true – aged to perfection, smooth and beautifully blended. Strict controls ensure that the quality of burn and flavour of this slightly thinner robusto are above ordinary, and the flavour is rich enough for after dinner.
Size:                124mm x Ringsize 48
Filler:              Nicaragua Esteli
Binder:           Ecuadorian Sumatra
Wrapper:        Dark Connecticut Broadleaf.

 

CAO
The company’s proud mantra:
“We’ll go anywhere to find the exceptional tobacco we’re looking for.
And we have. We’ve been all over the world, procuring some of the finest and rarest leaf known to man.
The jungles of the Amazon. The mountains of Colombia. The valleys of the Dominican Republic and the volcanoes of Nicaragua. And nearly every point on the map in between.
And in all our travels, we’ve discovered something. When we remove boundaries, borders, and limits from the process, what we’re left with is a tobacco experience unlike any other”
For nearly 50 years this imaginative frame of mind has resulted in a range of unique creations each of which creates a cigar quite unlike any other.

CAO ILÓN ROBUSTO EXTRA90                                          Box of 20 R236.00 per cigar
                                                                                            (Normal R295 per cigar)

The Pilón range was named after the Pilón - the stack of leaves fermented in the circular style that dates back to the 19th Century. The fermentation stage takes longer than modern methods, yet develops the colour and flavour of the leaves unlike any other method. Applied to the silky Ecuadorian leaf the result is a rich wrapper to encase the Nicaraguan binder and long filler resulting in a medium-bodied cigar with a combination of sweet and savoury flavours.
In 2016 it achieved a Cigar Aficionado rating of 90 points
Size:                127mm x Ringsize 52
Filler:              Nicaragua Esteli
Binder:           Nicaragua
Wrapper:       Ecuadorian Habano