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Best Kentucky Derby Cigars

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Watching the ‘Sport of Kings’ with a cigar in hand is essential when we’re talking about the Kentucky Derby. It’s unlike any sporting event you’ll ever witness. The legendary Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville draws over 165,000 to its stands to witness what is called by Forbes one of the “Greatest Bucket-list Sporting Events” in America. Its grandeur is uncontested, but you would expect that in a competition that dates back to 1875 and outdoes every other major sporting event in the country with its attendance, except for the Indy 500, which hosts over 400,000.

The Derby is far more than two minutes of thoroughbreds dashing for the finish. The prestigious race embodies elegance, fun, and serious attention to breeding perfect racing specimens. Fans and celebrities flock to what is equal parts fashion show and horse race. It’s an outlandish tradition. Ladies across the country dress up to mimic the Southern Belles who saunter around under ornate Derby hats with wild contours and shocks of color. Gentlemen get outfitted in seersucker suits with bowties. Folks everywhere are inspired to host Derby parties of their own when the event takes place. To do it right, you need bourbon and cigars.

The Kentucky Derby is a reason to celebrate and drink Mint Juleps all day while you decide how much to wager on horses named Essential QualityHot Rod Charlie, and Bourbonic. Pick your winners while you puff on one of the top five cigars to smoke during the Kentucky Derby.

#1 - Ashton ESG

Because no other event can claim the kind of recreation the Kentucky Derby boasts, smoke something great. Ashton ESG rises to the occasion with its ultra-rare blend of well-aged Dominican tobaccos and an exquisite Sun Grown wrapper leaf. Tasting notes of cedar, graham cracker, and molasses mesmerize the senses with luscious spices in five classic shapes. The 94-rated masterpiece is our first choice when you’re sipping your first Mint Julep of the day.

Strength: Full
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican

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#2 - Arturo Fuente Anejo

Arturo Fuente Anejo was born for bourbon. An oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is patiently aged in a cognac barrel before it’s placed over a magnificent blend of premium tobaccos grown on the world-renowned Chateau de la Fuente estates in the Dominican Republic. A luxurious profile of dark cocoa, brown sugar, and wood layers the palate with creamy Dominican spices before a bold and buttery finish sets in. Because Anejo can be hard to come by on its own, consider picking up a ‘Royal Flush’ Super Sampler, which includes two Anejo Churchills (No. 48) in an outstanding lineup of ten top-rated cigars.

Strength: Full
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

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#3 - La Aroma de Cuba Pasión

The bestselling La Aroma de Cuba portfolio includes the 94-rated Pasión. Award-winning cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia blends an ultra-refined profile of premium Nicaraguan long-fillers under a glistening Shade Grown wrapper harvested in the unique microclimate of a small family estate east of Estelí. Tasting notes of cashew, cedar, leather, and molasses layer the palate throughout a versatile smoke you can easily enjoy with a summer cocktail or a top-shelf bourbon served neat.

Strength: Medium-Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

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#4 - Padron 80 Years

Padron 80 Years reflects a prestigious lineage not unlike that of the Kentucky Derby. Blended to commemorate the 80th birthday of late brand founder Jos Orlando Padron, 80 Years is drawn from vintage reserves of premium Nicaraguan long-fillers and a cinnamon-hued Nicaraguan wrapper leaf. Notes of cedar, cocoa, coffee beans, and baking spices emerge in a box-pressed Perfecto that beams with distinction from head to foot. Pair it with a few fingers of Angel’s Envy for a sublime marriage of smoky flavor and aroma when your horse leaves the gates.

Strength: Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan

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#5 - San Cristobal Ovation

When you bet big, let the decadent taste of San Cristobal Ovation rescue your nerves with overwhelming pleasure. Pepin Garcia created Ovation from a shimmering San Andrés Oscuro wrapper leaf and a potent but positively smooth interior of premium Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. A full-flavored profile of hickory, leather, and dark cocoa delivers a steady spice with just the right amount sweetness around the edges. Make your Mint Julep strong and sip it slow while you saddle up for the Derby with an Ovation, son.

Strength: Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: San Andres Oscuro

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