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Will’s Top 6 Quick Smokes

I think it’s a shame that any cigar smoker would ever have to “sneak” a smoke in the first place. What kind of society do we live in where somebody doesn’t have a free hour to light up a stogie? Cigar smoking should be something you enjoy proudly, whenever the hell you feel like it—not a guilty pleasure or a quick escape.

That said, though, we live in an imperfect world, and everybody knows there’s not always time for a double corona. When you’re craving a tasty smoke, there’s no better way to squeeze a cigar into your schedule than with a smaller version of a great one. Here are a few of my personal favorites, in no particular order:

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story

I found one of these at a B&M near my parents’ house for way under what you’d expect to pay in New York, and on a whim, I decided to pick up a few. Not only did this cigar have the nicest burn of any perfecto I’ve ever had, but the ash lasted until there was less than an inch of the cigar left. As far as flavors, I picked up buttered toast, dried fruit, black pepper, brown sugar, and tons of others. This cigar would make a perfect first perfecto, and we’re expecting the maduro-wrapped version to arrive soon, so keep an eye out for that one.

Cohiba Black Pequeños

I reviewed one of these a couple months ago and was completely blown away. I’ve never had a cigarillo (this one measures 4 1/8” x 36) that smoked so much like a full-sized cigar. The flavors were huge, the burn was straight, and the ashes were about an inch long each time. The amount of flavors I got from this tiny stogie was amazing—cocoa, espresso, oak, vanilla, and caramel, just to name a few. To top it off, Cohiba Black Pequeños aren’t machine-made like a lot of smaller cigars—they’re 100 percent made by hand.

Natural Dirt by Drew Estate

I think the Natural Dirt by Drew Estate may have been the first unflavored cigar I’d ever smoked. I had told Justin, a coworker of mine that I’d only ever smoked Acids, so he recommended the Natural line. Since I’d never smoked a full-sized cigar, I picked up the petit corona-sized Dirt. This thing was legitimately the chocolatiest smoke I have ever had. Somehow Drew Estate took unflavored tobaccos from 12 different countries and blended them into a chocolaty, earthy, peppery, flavor bomb. Also, the sweet tip made it an easy transitional smoke between flavored and unflavored cigars. Even after smoking countless other unflavored cigars since then, I’d still go back to this one in a heartbeat.

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Machito

This is the strongest small cigar I’ve ever had, by far. I had my first Machito in the Jaye’s Choice Sampler, which consists of five smallish, generally very powerful cigars, and the Machito is by far the ballsiest one in there. I would call it aggressively leathery with tons and tons of red pepper, cedar, and lightly burnt toast, along with a nicotine buzz that could make it difficult to walk a straight line after smoking. At 4 ¾” by 42, it’s the longest one on this list, but it’s still a short smoke relative to the rest of the line. Anyway, if you’re looking for the huge flavor and nicotine blast of a full-sized Nicaraguan smoke in a smaller package, the Machito is the way to go.

Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 Petit Corona

I figure it’d be a good idea to throw a few lighter-wrapped stogies in the mix to keep this from becoming too one-sided, and what better way to start than with a stronger-than-usual example? The Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 Petit Corona is definitely up there with my favorite Connecticut-wrapped stogies. These things are sweet, creamy, and woody with a surprising amount of kick for a lighter stogie. Being that they’re among the smallest, they’re also the second cheapest smokes in any of Rocky Patel’s Vintage lines (next to the Perfecto), so they’re great for getting a feel for each blend.

El Rey del Mundo Café au Lait

Also up there with my favorite Connecticut-wrapped stogies is the El Rey del Mundo Café au Lait, a small smoke whose price tag may fool you into thinking it’s less-than-great. Let me assure you, though, that these things are awesome. They’re creamy and smooth with just the right amount of pepper on the draw, and feature an easy draw and straight burn from start to finish. I had a few of these sitting in my humidor last year, and I’d been giving them to my brother to smoke on the ride home whenever he visited, and though I’ve been out of them since December, he’s been asking for them ever since. For something you can get for around $1.60 a stick that’s handmade and long-filler, you can’t get much better.

Anyway, there are a ton of tasty small smokes that I left off of this list in the interest of keeping it from reading like a novel. If you think I missed any, feel free to post them in a comment.