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Top Cult Favorite Cigars

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Cult cigars are coveted rarities, some of which inspire worship among aficionados. Like wine, whiskey, and baseball cards, you can geek out on cigars when you get a serious collection going. Along the way, you’ll encounter cigars considered to be “unicorns” by many – cigars that are very rare or no longer produced. Here’s a look at some of the more revered cult cigars.

#1 - Fuente Fuente Opus X

In reality, we could write an entire article on Fuente Fuente Opus X cigars that have achieved cult status. Opus X is one of the rarest cigars on the face of the earth to begin with, but legendary cigar-maker Carlito Fuente expresses limitless creativity in introducing new and unusual Opus X shapes and blends. Most of these cigars can only be acquired in hard-to-find samplers, or by meeting Carlito in person when he happens to have some off-the-wall experimental Opus shape he can hand you from his pocket.

Fuente Fuente Opus X BBMF, Chili Pepper, El Scorpion, King Power, Angel’s Share, and Taurus the Bull are just a few Opus editions that would incite panic at the cash register in any premium cigar shop lucky enough to sell them. You can even find Opus X cigars shaped like a football or those with a Candela or Maduro wrapper, but the chances of holding one in your hand is slim to none. An online search for images is the closest most of us will come.

The all-Dominican profile of Opus X set a benchmark for richness and complexity over twenty-five years ago when it debuted. The cigar’s coveted taste is due in large part to its Shade Grown Dominican wrapper leaf. Growing wrapper in the DR is a feat that took Carlito many years and much persistence to achieve. It’s no surprise rare Opus X cigars possess such mythic status.

#2 - Ashton VSG 23-Year Reserve

When Ashton VSG debuted in 1999, the cigar was made in very small quantities allocated to select retailers. Searching and waiting for months was common in the quest to try the first VSG cigars. Two decades later with dozens of ratings over 90 points and multiple appearances in Cigar Aficionado’s ‘Top 10 Cigars of the Year,’ Ashton VSG is easier to come by but has lost none of its character or richness thanks to the uncompromising standards for quality master cigar-maker Carlito Fuente honors in blending the Ashton portfolio.

What is extraordinary, however, is that a small handful of Ashton VSG cigars still exist from 1999 when the blend was launched. They are not readily available, but they are out there. Often referred to as Ashton VSG 23-Year Reserve, you can occasionally encounter a box at select Ashton events when Carlito Fuente is present. A limited number of boxes was also allocated for the Ashton Cigar Bar in downtown Philadelphia. Smoking any cigar with twenty years of age is uncommon, but Ashton VSG is exceptional for its super-refined taste.

#3 - Padron Millennium

Before Padron had three ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ titles under its belt, the brand began defining itself with a portfolio of exclusive cigars. Aging tobacco for many years to achieve optimal taste is a formula Jorge Padron follows closely to this day to honor the legacy his father, José Orlando Padron, created over many decades.

Padron Millennium is a testament to the family’s emphasis on blending with rare and well-aged tobaccos. In 2000, Padron Millennium debuted in a limited run of 1,000 numbered humidors, each containing 100 cigars in a 6 x 52 Toro format. The blend was based on the brand’s popular Padron 1964 Anniversary.

Most of the humidors contained cigars wrapped in a Maduro leaf, but a handful of Natural were also produced. Today, a tiny batch of the original cigars from 2000 have been released as Padron Reserva Millennium in four-packs, each containing two Natural and two Maduro cigars. All proceeds from the cigars fund the Instituto José O. Padron in Esteli, Nicaragua, an educational facility for children in Nicaragua. The blend scored a record 98-point rating in Cigar Aficionado in 1999, the highest of any Padron and one of the highest ratings ever awarded.

#4 - Arturo Fuente Anejo

Most premium cigar retailers that sell Arturo Fuente Anejo receive a small allocation of boxes just before Father’s Day and another shipment before the holidays. The line is available in a superb collection of classic shapes, but the chunky box-pressed Torpedo called Anejo No. 77 Shark is one of the most coveted Fuente cigars ever produced.

Carlito Fuente created the Anejo line out of disastrous circumstances after Hurricane Georges tore through the Dominican Republic in 1998 killing nearly 400. The storm destroyed several tobacco barns at the Fuente family’s prized Chateau de la Fuente Estate in the Dominican Republic. The barns housed precious wrapper leaves for its rare Opus X cigars. Production of Opus X ground to a halt for a time. Carlito re-blended Opus X with an oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that had been fermented in cognac barrels and re-christened the cigar Arturo Fuente Anejo.

Originally intended as a temporary solution until more Opus X wrappers were grown and aged, Anejo quickly achieved a devoted audience in its own right. In the years following, Opus X production recovered, but Carlito was compelled to continue making Anejo due to the overwhelming demand cigar lovers expressed for it. Buttery Dominican spices characterize a rich profile of dark chocolate, hickory, and cognac tasting notes.

#5 - My Father Limited Editions

Award-winning father-and-son cigar-makers Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia and Jaime Garcia have been blending many of Nicaragua’s finest premium cigars for the past fifteen years. In addition to top-rated blends like My Father Le Bijou 1922, Flor de las Antillas, and My Father La Opulencia, the family creates a handful of small-batch releases annually.

The cigars are produced in highly limited editions of 2,000 to 4,000 boxes. Often, the cigars inside are packaged in beautiful individual wooden coffins. The Garcias feature their most precious tobaccos like Pelo d’Oro in select limited editions. They have released these rare cigars for both the My Father and the Don Pepin Garcia lines. My Father Limited Editions were produced for calendar years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, and 2018. Don Pepin Garcia Limited Editions were made for 2013 and 2018. The family also blended a very special release called My Father Limited Edition PepinMania for the annual Pepin Mania event we host at Holt’s.

For 2019, the Jaime Garcia Limited Edition was created from a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and an aged recipe of select Nicaraguan long-fillers. The blend commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Jaime Garcia line. Fans of My Father and especially Nicaraguan cigars buy up these collectable editions quickly and will often age them. Don’t hesitate to try one yourself if you’re visiting a retailer that gets an allotment.

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