Will’s Top 5 Yard-Gars
It came to my attention recently that I’ve been talking up a lot of pricy stogies lately without giving much consideration to the cheapies. I know as well as anybody that some occasions, dog walking and lawn-mowing, for example, don’t call for a $10 stick. I also know that legitimately tasty bargain sticks are hard to find, and with that, I give you this list of my five favorite budget smokes, in no particular order:
There’s always a bit of skepticism that comes with a sub-$2 cigar, but Casa de Garcia is deceptively tasty, especially for the price. I smoked the Robusto Sumatra in my friend’s garage last winter, and I won’t lie, I wasn’t expecting much. What I got, though, was a buttery, sweet, spicy smoke with none of that gross ammonia flavor that’s typical of bundled stogies. I haven’t smoked the maduro- or Connecticut-wrapped versions, but judging from how good the Robusto Sumatra was, I wouldn’t mind trying either one.
Alright, I had to put this one on here because it’s one of our exclusives, but I really think it’s one of the best deals around, as far as cheapies go. Oba Oba! is made with Nicaraguan mixed-filler by Tabacalera Perdomo. These guys managed to create one of the tastiest cheap stogies I’ve ever had—the natural is creamy, peppery, and nutty, while the maduro (my personal favorite) adds cocoa, coffee, and a bit more spice to the mix. Sure, it’s not the most complex cigar you’ll ever have, but it’s got a great burn, an easy draw, and bold, solid flavors from start to finish. For well under $2 a stick, it’s a steal.
I have trouble even calling Occidental Reserve a budget stick, but with a price point of $2 and change per cigar, it’s right smack in the middle of bargain territory. These are sweet, creamy, smooth, and well-made thanks to the blending expertise of Hendrik Kelner, who had previously created the blends for Avo and Zino Classic. They also have that recognizable Alec Bradley spice that kicks in around halfway through the cigar, which makes for a nice boost in complexity. This is definitely a hidden gem.
Speaking of hidden gems, I had never even heard of Cuban Blend Premium until we randomly received a few bundles from one of our vendors. Warren, our buyer, gave me a stick to try, and I had relegated it to the back of my humidor for a few weeks. One Saturday morning I had a few hours to kill before band practice, so I lit it up on a blind whim. Man, was I impressed—bread, coffee, red pepper, and cedar were just a few of the flavors I got from this unbelievably cheap, long-filler stogie.
Topper Danli cigars aren’t bundled, but they’re about as cheap as they come. You can pick up a box of 25 of these for under $50, and for such a low price, they’re some of the most complex cigars you can get. They’re made with toothy, oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers, Pennsylvania binders, and American, Dominican, and Honduran mixed fillers. I reviewed one of these last February and picked up notes of black cherry, cocoa, oak, and spice. What sub-$2 cigar has flavors like that, not to mention construction that would rival sticks that cost five times as much? I haven’t found many.
As I said before, I know how tough it can be to find an honest-to-goodness bargain stogie. When I say bargain, I don’t just mean cheap—I mean cheap and good. I recommend every cigar on this list, and considering how inexpensive they are, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to try them all.