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8 Best Non-Cuban Cigars

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Despite all the hype surrounding Cuban cigars, America is still the largest market for premium handmade cigars in the world – even though Cubans are still illegal here. It stands to reason the best cigars you can buy are sold in the U.S. Let’s take a look at the best non-Cuban cigars available today.

Most premium cigars sold in the U.S. are handmade in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras. The majority of today’s best cigar-makers harbor deep family lineages that can be traced back to Cuba over the past century. Generations of tobacco-growing and cigar-making expertise was transplanted from Cuba to the Dominican Republic and Central America after Fidel Castro took control of the island nation in the 1960s. That’s why authentic hallmarks of Cuban cigar-making can be found in so many non-Cuban cigars today. Here are the best.

Ashton Symmetry

Ashton Symmetry debuted in 2014. Legendary cigar-maker Carlito Fuente blends the entire Ashton portfolio to an unrivaled standard. Symmetry stands out for its complex taste, aroma, and finish. An oily Ecuador Habano wrapper leaf envelops an intricate interior of premium aged Dominican and Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos. Notes of cedar, coffee beans, and figs culminate in a sweet and zesty profile handcrafted in an excellent collection of shapes. Cigar Aficionado awarded Ashton Symmetry a ‘Top 10’ ranking with a 94-point rating following its release.

Strength: Full
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano

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Arturo Fuente Hemingway

Arturo Fuente Hemingway has been a cornerstone in the celebrated Fuente portfolio for several decades. Hemingway is among the most famous Dominican blends ever created, both for its rich taste and for the sophisticated Figurado-shaped formats the collection is crafted in. A toothy Cameroon wrapper leaf conceals a masterful amalgam of aged Dominican binder and filler tobaccos in a series of bulbous and tapering shapes like the bestselling Short Story. Notes of nuts, baking spices, and fresh-ground coffee layer the palate with perfect balance and creamy aroma.

Strength: Medium
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon

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La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor

La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor scored 95 points and ‘#2 Cigar of the Year’ honors from Cigar Aficionado following its debut. A dark and alluring San Andrés wrapper leaf harbors an elaborate blend of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos assembled by award-winning cigar-maker Pepin Garcia. A refined profile of cocoa, cracked black pepper, almonds, and wood mesmerizes the senses with rich transitions of taste from beginning to end.   

Strength: Medium-Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: San Andres

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My Father La Opulencia

Celebrated cigar-makers Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia and his son, Jaime Garcia, have blended a number of top-rated Nicaraguan cigars since their family departed Cuba in the early 2000s and blazed a new path in the premium U.S. market. My Father La Opulencia is a prime example of the Garcias’ extensive tobacco-growing and cigar-making expertise. A full-bodied profile of smoked espresso beans, wood, and chestnuts concludes with intense spices and a lingering aftertaste. A very dark San Andrés Oscuro wrapper leaf hugs an aged blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers in a 95-rated blend.

Strength: Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: San Andres Oscuro

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San Cristobal Revelation

A versatile profile of cocoa, leather, almonds, and black pepper converges with a milky zest in San Cristobal Revelation. An Ecuador Sumatra wrapper leaf embraces a vintage blend of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos grown on select Garcia family estates. Revelation is handcrafted in a collection of soft box-pressed shapes in addition to a pair of 60-plus ring gauge formats in the round. The blend became a quick favorite among fans of Nicaraguan cigars when it came out in 2013.  

Strength: Medium
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra

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Padron 1964 Anniversary

With a trio of ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ titles to its credit, Padron needs little introduction as a premium Nicaraguan brand. Padron 1964 Anniversary is the blend that kicked off the company’s fanfare over twenty-five years ago. An all-Nicaraguan blend of well-aged tobaccos delivers a magnificent profile of cocoa, cayenne, leather, and cedar in a wide collection of classic box-pressed shapes. Padron 1964 Anniversary is a testament to the company’s insistence on consistency, quality, and blending tobaccos with unmistakable distinction.    

Strength: Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

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Oliva Serie V

The original 95-rated Oiva Serie V is a pillar in the Oliva portfolio and one of the key blends responsible for catapulting the brand into the spotlight over the past decade. A lustrous Ecuador Habano wrapper blankets a meaty core of premium Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos in a series of classic formats. Full-bodied notes of red and black pepper boast leathery texture and aroma with a punchy, earthy zest. Oliva Serie V divulges a savory finish with a plethora of spices.

Strength: Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano

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 Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne

Nick Perdomo Jr. continues a deep cigar-making heritage that began with his grandfather, Silivio, in Cuba in the 1930s. The top-selling blend in the ever-growing Perdomo portfolio is 10th Anniversary Champagne, a creamy medley of spices, white pepper, and wood with a touch of sweetness around the edges. A silky Ecuador Connecticut wrapper leaf marries a well-aged blend of binder and filler tobaccos grown on Perdomo’s Nicaraguan estates. Perdomo 10th Anniversary proves you can indulge in premium flavor for an approachable price. 

Strength: Medium
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut

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