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Staff Reviews

Ashton Small Cigars Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

I’m taking a detour from traditional long-filler cigars to review cigarillos – Ashton Small Cigars – today. Cigarillos are markedly different from premium handmade cigars. They’re made by machine from short-filler tobaccos in small formats that burn for five to ten minutes. Cigarillos serve a different purpose than larger ring gauge formats. They’re perfect when you’re craving a cigar, but you haven’t got an entire hour to kick back and smoke. You can step outside and enjoy a small-format cigar even if the weather’s cold or wet. Cigarillos are also less expensive. Most are packaged in boxes of ten or twenty cigars.

One detail worth mentioning is that you should not inhale cigarillos. Although some formats resemble cigarettes in size, you are still smoking pure tobacco meant to be consumed for its taste and aroma. Traditional cigarillos are not made with papers, filters, or homogenized wrapper leaves like those used in cheap flavored brands typically sold at gas stations.

Cigarillos have been especially popular in Europe since the late 1800s when many brands were still made by hand. By the 1950s, the industry had become largely mechanized. Brands like Danneman, Davidoff, Balmoral, Nobel, and Henri Wintermans have been making cigarillos for the European and U.S. markets for decades.

In recent years, major European manufacturers of small cigars have entered the premium handmade market in the U.S. as well. Most notably was the acquisition of Oliva Cigars in 2016 by J. Cortès N.V., a Belgium-based maker of machine-made cigars. The Villiger brand, well known for its small cigars like Export and Kiel, has been steadily building a portfolio of traditional handmade cigars since the late 2000s.

Ashton, first and foremost, is known for its premium cigar portfolio, which includes Ashton Classic, VSG, ESG, Aged Maduro, and many more – all handcrafted at the renowned Fuente factory in the Dominican Republic. The brand also makes cigarillos that are sold in cigar retailers around the world. Many premium cigar-makers manufacture cigarillos because they’re able to utilize the tobaccos leftover from their handmade brands in small-format cigars.

Ashton Small Cigars are available in four shapes: Mini Cigarillos (3.25 x 20), Senoritas (3.5 x 30), Cigarillos (3.75 x 26), and Half Corona (4.125 x 37). You can choose between two blends – both are made with premium Dominican filler tobaccos on the inside. The original blend, simply called Ashton Small Cigars, is finished in a Cameroon wrapper, while a lighter edition, Ashton Small Cigars Connecticut, is made with a silky Connecticut Shade wrapper. Today, I am smoking the original blend in the Senoritas size, which is in between the smallest and largest formats.

The Cameroon line is packaged in an elegant white box of ten Senoritas. The wrappers display a dark, reddish-brown hue that is a touch oily and uniform throughout the box. Ashton Small Cigars are open on both ends, so there is no need cut them. One end is tapered slightly and that is the end that goes in your mouth. The classic Cameroon blend rouses the palate with bracing, woody spices as soon as it’s lit. Because short-filler cigars burn faster and are thinner, they possess a distinct intensity. Notes of hickory, cocoa, black pepper, and nutmeg mingle in the first few minutes. A succulent profile of baking spices with hints of leather leaves an excellent impression in a series of smooth and effortless draws before the final puffs. The finish is rich and zesty.

Ashton Small Cigars make sense when you want to enjoy a quick smoke in the morning with your coffee. Many aficionados will share cigarillos with friends who are intimidated by larger sizes. Boxes of five, ten, or twenty cigars sell for around $12 to $20 apiece. Add one to your next order and indulge in the benefits of premium taste with a minimal time commitment.

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