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Editor’s Choice Awards: Best Value Cigars of 2018

Editor’s Choice Awards: Best Value Cigars of 2018

We’ve already had a peek at our Top 10 Blind Review Cigars of 2018, now it’s time to celebrate eight cigars that captured our attention for $8ish or less. 

These cigars were mostly released (or released) in 2018, and several are well below the $8 threshold.  These are the brands that make outstanding cigars accessible to Americans everywhere for the average price of a value meal, demonstrating exceptional commitment to value for cigar enthusiasts nationwide. 

#8 Serino Taino

Size: Corona Gorda 6 x 46

Small Batch MSRP: $8

Tasting Notes: Cream, Cedar, Honey Grahams, Subtle Mocha, Subtle Pepper

Pairing Suggestion: Dalwhinnie ’15 

Best Value Cigars 2018: Serino Taino

If there’s one thing I know about Serino Cigar Co and La Corona Cigar Factory, it’s that their Ecuadorian Habano should always be on everyone’s list to try.  I don’t know what their secret is, but I think they use virgin unicorn tears to irrigate the fields by moonlight.  Taino is milder than previous Serino releases, rounding out their portfolio to include something for everyone (and at a killer price point to boot!)

#7 Jas Sum Kral Toothpick 2.0 Maduro

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Small Batch MSRP: $6

Tasting Notes: Pepper, Cedar, Swiss Miss Cocoa, Leather, Baking Spices

Pairing Suggestion: Diplomatico

Best Value Cigars 2018: Jas Sum Kral Toothpick 2.0 Maduro

For six bucks and mixed filler, you’d probably be forgiven for expecting a rough, rush to marketed cash grab from a brand other than Jas Sum Kral.  Turns out, Riste marches to the beat of a different drum – Toothpick 2.0 Maduro significantly outpaces the MSRP.  The Habano also came in just below Moon Garden and Sin Compromiso by Blind Man’s Puff yesterday for the #3 Cigar of the Year. If Mexican hot chocolate and unbridled nicotine sounds good to you, this may just become your next every day smoke.  

#6 Campesino White Series

Size: Buey Manso 6 x 54

Small Batch MSRP: $8

Tasting Notes: Cream, Cedar, Graham Cracker, Subtle Chocolate

Pairing Suggestion: Coffee, hold the cream and sugar 

Re-released in 2018, Campesino has had a warm spot in my heart for several years now.  This Toro is very much how I remember the 2016 version, and it’s just such an amazing cigar to pair with my morning coffee.  Whereas the other sizes are bolder, Buey Manso is delicate and subtle. This Dominican puro makes up for a lack of transitions with a consistently intriguing flavor profile from start to finish.   

Best Value Cigars 2018: Campesino White Series

#5 Herrera Esteli Inktome Exception

Size: 6 x 46 Flat-Press

Small Batch MSRP: $7.99

Tasting Notes: Earth, Cedar, Cream, Cinnamon, Bread, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit

Pairing Suggestion: Glenmorangie Lasanta

The Inktome Collection is an amazing series of Small Batch Cigar exclusives.  Exception was, despite the name, no exception!  This flat-pressed (seriously) cigar delivers an abundance of flavor in a palate-encompassing, full-bodied experience without overwhelming the senses. Flavors transition perfectly in tune with other, making for a very well-balanced cigar worthy of the Inktome namesake.  

Best Value Cigars 2018: Herrera Esteli Inktome Exception

#4 Back2Back Nicaragua

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Small Batch MSRP: $6.49

Tasting Notes: Cream, Mixed Fruit, Cedar, Floral, Subtle Milk Chocolate

Pairing Suggestion: Iced Tea

Even knowing that Davidoff’s Back2Back brand is a recreation of the Big Payback blend from the Room 101 days, I’d still sum up my experience with this cigar in one word: surprising.  It’s nuanced, easy-going, and shows remarkable class for such a low MSRP.  Considering just how affordable it is, I’d highly suggest that cigar enthusiasts who enjoy mild-medium cigars give Back2Back a chance to charm it’s way into your humidors. 

Best Value Cigars 2018: Back2Back Nicaragua

#3 My Father La Gran Oferta

Size: Torpedo 6 1/8 x 52

Small Batch MSRP: $8.8

Tasting Notes:  Cedar, Pepper, Sugarcane, Citrus, Floral, Bread

Pairing Suggestion: High West Double Rye

My Father’s La Gran Oferta is making the rounds! It was the Number One Blind Reviewed Cigar of 2018, an incredible value (most sizes available from $7.8 - $8.8) and will be included in tomorrow’s Top 10 Awards regardless of price.  In fact, one of our Blind Reviewers said it best, describing it as “deep and intriguingly complex.”  La Gran Oferta is an incredible blend that pushes and pulls on your palate, creating a battle of savory, sweet, and spicy tasting notes.  

Best Value Cigars 2018: My Father La Gran Oferta

#2 Dunbarton Mi Querida

Size: Pequeno Pequeno 4 x 44

Small Batch MSRP: $7.45

Tasting Notes: Earth, Leather, Pepper, Mocha, Nuts, Cream

Pairing Suggestion: Water or Rye Old Fashioned

Released prior to 2018, Pequeno Pequeno became Mi Querida in recent months!  I’ll admit that I was skeptical about this small of a cigar commanding such a price. I foolishly postponed my enjoyment of this beautiful experience because I didn’t know how ridiculously smooth a 4 x 44 could be. Like a three course meal, this cigar is one of the very few that I always try to enjoy with water alone so that I don’t miss anything it has to offer. In fact, this format is so worthwhile that I’m putting it above Umbagog this year in terms of sheer value.   

Best Value Cigars 2018: Dunbarton Mi Querida Pequeno Pequeno

#1 Illusione La Grande Classe Rex

Size: 4 5/8 x 40

Small Batch MSRP: $5.76 

Tasting Notes: Gritty Earth, Caramel, Leather, Christmas Spices, Brown Sugar

Pairing Suggestion: Bulleit 

Best Value Cigar 2018: Illusione La Grande Classe Rex

Although this cigar was also released prior to 2018, it’s very likely the cigar that I personally smoked the most of last year.  There’s something about La Grande Classe’s lack of pretention coupled with a mouth-watering flavor profile that compelled me to name this cigar before any others were added to the list.  This may just be the best dollar for dollar cigar in my humidor currently, and I don’t say that lightly.  Dion Giolito is a world class blender for every budget. 


Best Value Cigars of 2018 Sampler


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