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Best Tasting Cigars of 2021

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Cigars share many parallels with fine wines. Every year, cigars get rated and re-rated by the critics. Some cigars age exceptionally, while others either peak or need more time. At Holt’s, we rate cigars in our staff reviews to give our unabridged opinions of the cigars we smoke, but the ratings we reference in our articles come from the editors at Cigar Aficionado because their publication is considered the official source for cigar ratings by the greatest number of connoisseurs. The writers at Cigar Aficionado follow a precise formula when they rate cigars.

Because things like climate and growing season affect tobacco crops, every year we revisit the best-tasting cigars you can buy. Some may be newer releases; some are iconic blends that have been around for decades. Here is our rundown of the best-tasting cigars for 2021.

#1 - Ashton Symmetry

Ashton Symmetry debuted over five years ago and remains the youngest blend in the brand’s world-renowned portfolio. Ashton cigars are prized for their consistency and taste. Symmetry is distinct, as it is the only cigar in the historically Dominican collection to feature Nicaraguan tobacco in its recipe. A reddish-brown Ecuador Habano wrapper leaf embraces a premium aged amalgam of Dominican and Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos blended by legendary cigar-maker Carlito Fuente. Notes of coffee bean, ripened fig, cedar, and dried fruit converge in a sweet and zesty finish. Ashton Symmetry scored 94 points and a ‘Top 10’ ranking from Cigar Aficionado following its debut. Check out our Ashton Symmetry staff review for our take on a magnificent blend that starts just over $12 per cigar.

Strength: Full
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano

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#2 - Arturo Fuente Don Carlos

An aged Cameroon wrapper leaf encapsulates a balanced interior of premium Dominican binder and filler tobaccos aged to perfection in Arturo Fuente Don Carlos. A lavish, medium-bodied profile of wood, fresh ground coffee, chestnuts, and cinnamon ushers in sweet and spicy nuances in a well-rounded conclusion. The 94-rated cigar was blended and named for the celebrated late Fuente family patriarch, Carlos Fuente, Sr. Arturo Fuente Don Carlos has ranked in Cigar Aficionado’s annual ‘Top 10 Cigars of the Year’ on numerous occasions. We offer a glowing appraisal in our Don Carlos staff review too. You can’t go wrong with a classic Arturo Fuente cigar for around $8 to $13 per cigar.

Strength: Medium
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon

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#3 - San Cristobal Quintessence

Tasting notes of cocoa, black pepper, molasses, and wood emerge in a medium to full-bodied blend created by award-winning cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia. San Cristobal Quintessence is handcrafted in Estelí, Nicaragua, from select binder and filler tobaccos grown on prized Garcia family estates and paired beneath a glistening Ecuador Habano wrapper leaf. Quintessence is rated 94 points in Cigar Aficionado and an excellent choice when you’re sipping on an after-dinner bourbon or scotch. Dig a little deeper in our San Cristobal Quintessence staff review, and explore a delicious Nicaraguan smoke priced in the $8 to $9 range.

Strength: Medium-Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano

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#4 - La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Reserva

La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Reserva was blended on the heels of the original La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor, which scored 95 points and Cigar Aficionado’s ‘#2 Cigar of the Year’ ranking in its debut year. What sets Mi Amor Reserva apart is its more full-bodied profile thanks to a decadent San Andrés Oscuro wrapper leaf. Beneath, an ample core of Nicaraguan long-fillers delivers notes of sweetened hickory, espresso bean, dark chocolate, and almond with signature Nicaraguan spices. Mi Amor Reserva has earned plenty of praise, in addition to a 94-point score, since its inception more than seven years ago. Read our La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Reserva staff review for a full evaluation of the flavor and aroma of a top-rated cigar you can buy for around $9 to $11. 

Strength: Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: San Andrés Oscuro

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#5 - My Father La Opulencia

As two-time winners of Cigar Aficionado’s prestigious ‘#1 Cigar of the Year,’ the Garcia family has mastered the art of creating top-rated cigars for their My Father brand. My Father La Opulencia is simply one of the latest blends to get a lauded reception as the ‘#2 Cigar of the Year’ for 2018 and a 95-point score. Notes of dark-roast coffee beans, earth, and leather furnish an abundant pepperiness throughout a full-bodied conclusion. A chalky and dark San Andrés Oscuro wrapper hugs a hearty blend of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos matured for optimal taste. In our My Father La Opulencia staff review, we outline the taste and construction of a great cigar that starts around $7. 

Strength: Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: San Andrés Oscuro

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#6 - Padrón 1926 Series #90

Blended to commemorate the 90th birthday of Padrón family patriarch, José Orlando Padrón, the Padron 1926 Series #90 departs from the brand’s iconic box-pressed shape in lieu of a 5.5 x 52 ring gauge format rolled in the round and tucked into an elegant tube – maroon for the Maduro wrapper leaf, and cream for the Natural. Both exhibit marvelous complexity with the brand’s extensively aged Nicaraguan tobaccos and signature notes of cocoa, cinnamon, cedar, cayenne, and baking spices. Although José Padrón passed in 2017, his legacy lives on in a 94-rated classic. This perfect special occasion cigar sells for around $20. Smoke it and compare your impression against our Padrón 1926 Series staff review.

Strength: Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

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#7 - Oliva Monticello

The ultra-popular Oliva brand delivers an exclusive profile of dark chocolate, cashew, cinnamon, spice, and black pepper with Oliva Monticello. Handcrafted at the company’s award-winning factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, Oliva Monticello is drawn from an all-Nicaraguan amalgam of vintage tobaccos, including its dark-brown Maduro wrapper leaf. Indulge in a top-shelf Oliva gem in a handful of classic shapes and find out why Oliva fans continue to be so impressed with this limited edition rarity. In our Oliva Monticello staff review, we break down why this excellent Nicaraguan handmade belongs on your radar now. Save big when you buy one of Oliva’s bestsellers (normally $17 to $19 per cigar) in one of our recurring Oliva deals.

Strength: Medium-Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

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