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Top Underrated Nicaraguan Cigars

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

“Underrated” is probably not the first word that comes to mind today when we think about Nicaraguan cigars. The Central American country has long been a destination for many of the most talented cigar-making families who fled Cuba over the past several decades. However, it’s really during the last fifteen to twenty years that tobacco production in Nicaragua has exploded. Recently, Nicaragua has surpassed the Dominican Republic for exporting the greatest number of premium handmade cigars.

Celebrated brands like Padron, La Aroma de Cuba, My Father, San Cristobal, and Oliva continually garner critical praise and top ratings. Numerous ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ titles and top scores have been showered on the aforementioned brands by Cigar Aficionado. It is the attention and success of these brands that contributes to Nicaragua’s robust cigar production and, as a result, a number of less-prominent blends emerge from the country as well. Many of the best cigar-makers will diversify their portfolios with both bigger national brands and smaller releases to serve different price points and levels of appeal. Following are the top underrated Nicaraguan cigars made today.

Nicaragua’s three key tobacco-growing regions include Jalapa, Estelí, and Condega. Tobacco with distinctive taste and texture arises from each region. The prized estates of My Father, Padron, and Oliva can be found throughout the country. In and around the town of Estelí, many of the industry’s most successful factories are situated. Fertile volcanic soils and an ideal climate allow cigar-makers to draw upon an abundance of desirable crops. The best Nicaraguan cigars account for plenty of ultra-rare, top-shelf releases as well as the following affordable but equally tasteful brands.

#1 - Old Henry

The reputation of legendary father-and-son cigar-makers Pepin and Jaime Garcia needs no introduction as the blenders behind My Father, La Aroma de Cuba, and San Cristobal cigars. But the Garcia family is also responsible for a small-batch gem called Old Henry.

Old Henry is actually named for a pooch who was an old pal of your friends here at Holt’s. He is eulogized with the tagline, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” The Old Henry franchise is blessed with tremendous flavor and aroma. And it’s made in the same award-winning factory that produces the top-rated My Father and La Aroma de Cuba brands. The medium to full-bodied brand teems with earthy spices and notes of wood, dark chocolate, and espresso bean.

Five distinctive Old Henry recipes are drafted from Connecticut Broadleaf, Ecuador Habano, Ecuador Connecticut, and Ecuador Sumatra wrapper varietals. There is also an economical Old Henry bundle blend called Fumadores. You can sample the bestselling Old Henry cigars in the ‘Best In Show’ Assortment.

#2 - Cain

Cain is no stranger to strength or savings. Handmade at the award-winning Oliva factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, Cain consists of potent and peppery Ligero-laden binder and filler tobaccos crafted by senior cigar rollers who also make top-rated blends like the 96-rated Oliva Serie V Melanio and the original 95-rated Oliva Serie V.

Cain is characterized by palate-searing tasting notes of cayenne and black pepper, hickory, nuts, dark chocolate, and dark-roast coffee beans. Cain comes in Cuban-seed, Ecuador Connecticut, Maduro, and Nicaraguan wrapper varieties that pump out a plethora of dense but well-balanced taste. Ten out ten lumberjacks swear by Cain’s intense aroma and excellent construction. Starting at only $1.99 per cigar, it’s tough not to fire up a Cain in the morning before you start the chainsaw.

#3 - Villiger

A loyal contingent of thrifty aficionados have come to favor the quality, consistency, and especially the price point of Villiger. Although Villiger is best-known as a European manufacturer of machine-made cigars like Villiger Export, in recent years the company created a premium handmade line for the U.S. cigar market.

Some of its handcrafted blends are made in the Dominican Republic, but most originate in Nicaragua. Both Villiger La Vencedora and Villiger San’Doro Colorado scored a bit of critical praise in Cigar Aficionado following their debuts. But, it’s the brand’s unbeatable discounts and bundle-based prices starting at $1.99 per cigar that continue to drive attention in Villiger’s direction.

Tasting notes of baking spices, cinnamon, almonds, fresh ground coffee, leather, and more emerge in a versatile collection of milder and medium to full-bodied Villiger blends. Give your pals an extra handout on poker night when you stock up on Villiger.

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