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Top Unique & Unusual Cigars

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Rarity is a trait commonly touted by a number of premium cigar-makers. What really makes a cigar rare, though? Is it the tobacco? The shape? The age? Oftentimes, it’s a combination of all these elements. Besides flavor and aroma, what really drives the connoisseur frenzy around rare and unusual cigars? Some cigar lovers can’t wait to smoke them, others add them to their collections and will hang onto them for years. Cigar lovers often love to flaunt the rarities they possess.

When you’re looking for less conventional smokes, there’s no shortage of gimmicky, novelty cigars that were never really intended for purchase or consumption by the masses. Cigars the size of a tractor trailer and cigars wrapped in actual smokable gold foil exist. We can’t say they’ve passed through the Holt’s checkout, but they’re out there. In our list of the ‘Top 10 Unique & Unusual Cigars’ below, we’ve decided to focus on more than strictly notoriety. Some of the following cigars may require a bit of patience and persistence to find if you’re looking to add them to your humidor. But we promise, they’ve all been sold at Holt’s at one time or another, if they’re not available on our site right now. Keep your eyes peeled. We’re exploring the appeal behind each of these impressive cigars and what sets them apart from the pack.

1.  Fuente Fuente Opus X BBMF

When Carlito Fuente launched Fuente Fuente Opus X in the mid-1990s, it was far more than simply another new cigar in the legendary Arturo Fuente portfolio. It was a message to his many detractors who declared a quality wrapper leaf could never be grown in the Dominican Republic. For Carlito, releasing the first premium Dominican Puro was a labor of love and a badge of honor. After years of trial and error, planting crops that didn’t pan out, experimenting with numerous seed varietals, and even a lawsuit brought by the Opus One winery (a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Bordeaux, France) over trademark infringement, Carlito succeeded.

Despite the challenging, years-long endeavor, Fuente Fuente Opus X debuted to immediate prominence. Its instant classic, cult status stood out in the U.S. market and truly provoked a shift in consumers’ taste for more complex, fuller-bodied cigars. Today, Opus X embodies exclusivity more than almost any other cigar in the world. The tightly rationed brand continues to create an unrivaled demand among aficionados and retailers alike, who often must go to great lengths, or pay insane markups, to get their hands on Opus X.

Fuente Fuente Opus X is available in a number of classic formats as well as other less traditional, exotic shapes, many of which are proprietary to the brand and many of which are made in extremely small quantities. Among the least-encountered and most sought-after shape is Fuente Fuente Opus X BBMF. If you’re unfamiliar, BBMF stands for “Big Bad Mother F*cker” – perhaps the only truly fitting name for such a monumental cigar, both in taste and appearance. BBMF is available in either a Natural or a Maduro wrapper leaf, although the Maduro variety is rarer than the Natural, if that’s even possible. What little supply is made usually goes to the Fuente family’s Casa Fuente lounge in Las Vegas, or the Ashton Cigar Bar in Philadelphia, unless you want to buy one of a handful of Opus X charity collections that include a single BBMF.

The cigar’s bulbous shape is essentially a Figurado on steroids at 6 1/2 inches by a 64 ring gauge. It’s an unmistakable work of art in the hands. The Natural version features a Maduro cap with a Maduro leaf at the very foot. The Maduro is the reverse with a Natural leaf at the cap and the foot. Both are rolled with an exaggerated shaggy head. The cigar is drawn from tobaccos grown on prized Chateau de la Fuente estates in the Dominican Republic. Tangy spices, notes of figs, dried fruit, wood, and chewy aromas emerge in an extended hour-and-a-half smoke. The Maduro delivers an enhanced sweetness. Both are buttery, spicy, and purely indulgent.

For many folks it’s tough to smoke a Fuente Fuente Opus X BBMF once they finally get their hands on one. The cigar is easy to covet. It’s not unusual to see BBMFs go for up to $125 apiece or more. If you have one in your possession and you’re waiting for the right moment to indulge, keep in mind, an Opus X BBMF is, in and of itself, a special occasion. Don’t be too bashful about smoking it. Pour a top-shelf bourbon or scotch while you’re at it and show your taste buds the best time they’ve had in decades.

2.  Fuente Fuente Opus X Chili Pepper

Not surprisingly, we’ve got more than one Opus X on our list. Fuente Fuente Opus X Chili Pepper could almost be considered a baby brother to the substantial stature of an Opus X BBMF. Rolled in the shape of – you guessed it – a chili pepper, Opus X Chili Pepper is an equally envied cigar. The shape is actually closest to an Arturo Fuente Hemingway Best Seller, a classic Figurado, but with a curved point at the cap.

Don’t be fooled by its pint-sized 5-inch-by-55-ring-gauge dimensions. The Chili Pepper packs an unsuspecting punch with a predominantly all-Ligero recipe of premium aged Dominican binder and filler tobaccos beneath the legendary Dominican Rosado wrapper found on Opus X cigars. Its dense, smoky profile concentrates magnificent Dominican spices with firm flavors of cedar, cinnamon, leather, and red and black peppers. If you can find them for sale individually, Fuente Fuente Opus X Chili Peppers can sell for over $70 per cigar. Otherwise, you can find them included in a handful of collectible limited edition Opus X assortments.

3.  La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel

Boutique cigar-maker and founder of La Flor Dominicana, Litto Gomez, pioneered a unique cigar shape back in 2003 he christened the “Chisel” for its chisel-like shape. After chewing on a traditional Torpedo-shaped cigar during a long drive in the Dominican Republic, Gomez noticed the cigar developed a flattened profile at the head by the time he reached his destination. It was an effect he rather liked and, thusly, he put his rollers to work copying it.

They delivered. Today, Litto’s trademarked Chisel shape is available in a number of highly rated blends, most notably La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel which is handcrafted with either a Sun Grown Ecuador wrapper leaf or an earthier Maduro. Both are full-bodied, peppery, and potent. The classic Chisel size is 6 inches with a 54 ring gauge. Gomez has adopted his Chisel shape in a handful of variations, including a few box-pressed limited editions in bigger ring gauges and a number of petite shapes called Chiselitos.

The cigar was originally designed to take a bullet cut on either the top or the bottom of the cigar’s head. The resulting effect is that the smoke is directed to either the top or the bottom of your palate, depending on how the cigar is positioned in your mouth. However, most people simply cut the head with a traditional straight cut for a more open draw. The Chisel furnishes plenty of concentration. I’ve broken a sweat smoking the smaller Chisel sizes on more than one occasion. Standard La Flor Dominicana Chisel cigars sell for around $10 apiece and are fairly accessible in premium cigar shops that carry the brand.

4.  Ashton VSG Enchantment

Ashton VSG (Virgin Sun Grown) debuted in 1999 with an authentic, full-bodied profile blended by renowned Dominican cigar-maker Carlito Fuente. A dark and shimmering Ecuador Sumatra wrapper conceals a marvelous interior of extensively aged Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. Ashton VSG Enchantment is patiently assembled by the Fuente family’s most skilled cigar rollers due to its complicated shape. An advanced rolling ability is required to ensure the cigar burns perfectly and delivers a flawless draw. This Figurado’s bulbous but short dimensions measure in at 4.375 inches with a 60 ring gauge at the cigar’s thickest point.

What is it about this shape that inspires such curiosity? The Fuente family excels at producing a number of these chunky but diminutive and curvaceous formats. Ashton VSG Enchantment is easily among the most striking. The cigar’s raw sheen and high-end band are marvelously depicted over a shape that appears to arrive from a bygone era. The swollen format reveals an incomparable transition of flavor and will burn for a deceptively long time. The cigar burns slow and leisurely throughout the first half. The intensity notches up considerably towards the end due to the shape’s natural concentration of flavor. It’s not uncommon to smoke an Ashton VSG Enchantment for up to an hour. Notes of cedar, raisins, leather, and black pepper feature prominently.

Ashton VSG was originally allocated to key retailers in very small quantities when if first debuted. Today, the Fuente family is able to produce more and the cigar enjoys distribution at most premium U.S. retailers. For just over $13, add an Enchantment to your list of must-have smokes.

5.  Argyle A-Bomb

For the guys who only want to light up once, but want a cigar that lasts all day, there’s Argyle A-Bomb. Weighing in at an exaggerated 9 inches by a 95 ring gauge, Argyle A-Bomb is a major investment of your time if you plan to finish the entire thing in one sitting, which we recommend. While it’s tough to take in one dose, it’s too much to save for later. Each cigar is packaged in an individual coffin box and sells for $19.95 apiece – a steal when you consider just how much cigar you’re getting. No other cigar on our list will net you more attention from onlookers than an Argyle A-Bomb.

A tan Corojo wrapper leaf is draped over an extensive combination of Dominican and Nicaragua binder and filler tobaccos. A profile of almonds, wood, and leather with creamy spices unfolds over a roughly 5-hour smoking extravaganza.

Despite the caricature-like dimensions of A-Bomb, the Argyle brand is hardly a trivial label. Argyle is handcrafted by a select group of artisanal, seasoned cigar rollers in the Dominican Republic. They’re known for producing a number of top-selling cigars that finicky aficionados appreciate just as much as value fanatics. Take a day off and spend it in its entirety with an Argyle A-Bomb. Go big or go home, son!

6.  Arturo Fuente Between the Lines

As a slightly bigger version of the ever-popular Shorty Story, Arturo Fuente Hemingway Best Seller has been an iconic cigar for decades. Following its debut, the 4 1/2-inch by 55 ring gauge Figurado quickly set the benchmark for artful, petit smokes with a delicious Cameroon wrapper leaf and an approachable recipe of premium Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. Arturo Fuente Between the Lines offers an original interpretation of the Hemingway Best Seller format with a distinctive barber-pole-style cigar drafted from a golden-blond Connecticut Shade wrapper and an alternating Connecticut Broadleaf. Inside, a consistent pairing of aged long-filler Dominican tobaccos completes the blend.

The cigar was conceived for Cynthia Fuente, sister of legendary cigar-maker Carlito Fuente. She wanted a cigar with an approachable flavor and a touch of punchy sweetness. Between the Lines rotates between creamy, nutty flavors and earthy notes of dark chocolate and smoky maple. Barber-pole cigars are a rare sight to begin with, but rolling one in a small Figurado demands a particularly acute attention to detail. Arturo Fuente Between the Lines generally sells for just under $15 per cigar. Although it’s also a rare production, we try to stock it regularly at Holt’s. Add one to your humidor when we’ve got them in stock.

7.  La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull

In 2016, La Flor Dominican brand founder Litto Gomez scored his first ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ title from Cigar Aficionado with the 96-rated Andalusian Bull. Litto is no stranger to experimenting with unusual cigar shapes. In addition to inventing his popular Chisel format, he’s released a plethora of unique small-batch Salomon-shaped smokes, thick box-pressed editions like Factory Press, and sharp, striking Perfectos like his Mysterio in the past.

La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull is derived from an old cigar mold Litto had discovered in Belgium. The cigar resonates as a poignant homage to Spain. It’s named for the Spanish town in which Litto was born, Andalusia. On the band, a bullfighter’s silhouette is pictured and the brand’s name is rendered in a font that mirrors the handwriting of Pablo Picasso.

The shape itself is unconventional. It’s a Figurado in a 6 1/2-inch length with a 64 ring gauge with a slightly tapered foot and a steadily concentrated, slow-burning frame that tapers gradually toward the head. Its glistening, reddish-hued wrapper leaf embraces a medium to full-bodied core of select Dominican binder and filler tobaccos grown on Litto’s Dominican estates. The decadent, dense smoke shows off notes of baking spices, cedar, and leather with an ample finish. The cigar sells for $15.80.

Shortly after winning the ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ accolade, the company temporarily exhausted its inventory of La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull when demand shot up. Since then, Litto has invested tremendous resources in training more rollers to craft the cigar, but a higher degree of skill is necessary to produce the unusual shape. As a result, Andalusian Bull, is available in a number of premium retailers. Although it’s not guaranteed to be in stock, it’s becoming more available than it was a year ago.

8.  Arturo Fuente Anejo No. 77 Shark

In 1998, Hurricane George obliterated many areas in the Dominican Republic and destroyed a number of key tobacco curing barns on the Fuente family’s prized Chateau de la Fuente estates. The event threw a wrench into the production of Carlito Fuente’s coveted Fuente Fuente Opus X cigars. The ravaged barns housed a substantial inventory of Opus X wrappers.

Instead of completely suspending his Opus X production, Carlito elected to re-blend the iconic cigar with a dark and decadent Connecticut Broadleaf gathered from his vast tobacco stores. Additionally, the Broadleaf wrappers were fermented in cognac barrels for an enhanced and distinctive sweetness. Carlito christened the new cigar Arturo Fuente Anejo. From adversity rose another legendary Fuente cigar and one that quickly established its own momentum.

Among the most elusive of all Anejo cigars is the Arturo Fuente Anejo No. 77 Shark. Shortly after the debut of Arturo Fuente Anejo in 2000, a sixth size was added to the lineup with the Shark – a Torpedo measuring 5.875 inches with a 64 ring gauge. The Shark’s most striking feature is that it is box-pressed, but only the lower half of the cigar. Most premium Fuente retailers receive a small shipment of Anejo cigars twice anuually – once before Father’s Day, and again just before Christmas. Those lucky enough to get a box or two of Sharks often must ration them out to customers. They tend to sell out at a lightning pace.

Arturo Fuente Anejo Shark amplifies the blend’s buttery and sweet Dominican spices in a slow-burning, concentrated finish. Notes of dark chocolate, cognac, raisins, and wood resonate with amazing balance. The standard retail price for a Shark is $15, but it’s not unheard of to see them marked up substantially more if you have the good fortune to find them for sale.

9.  Padron 80 Years

As a prestigious Nicaraguan brand, Padron enjoys a vast audience of loyal cigar connoisseurs. In 2007, the brand commemorated brand founder Jose Orlando Padron’s 80th birthday with the Padron 80 Years cigar. The brilliant all-Nicaraguan smoke is rolled in a sharp Perfecto-shaped profile measuring 6.75 inches with a 54 ring gauge.

The elegant, full-bodied format is available in both a Natural and a Maduro wrapper leaf. Each cigar is handcrafted by the company’s most senior cigar rollers from the oldest tobacco inventories they possess. All tobaccos are a minimum of 10 years old. Notes of nuts, cocoa, coffee beans, cedar, cinnamon and spices captivate the palate with alarming indulgence. Padron 80 Years sells for $32.10 for a single cigar, making it more of a special occasion smoke. It’s a rare cigar, but not unattainable. We regularly keep them in stock at Holt’s. Following its debut, Padron 80 Years Maduro scored a 96-point rating from Cigar Aficionado and the publication’s ‘#2 Cigar of the Year’ ranking.

10.  Liga Privada Flying Pig

When Drew Estate unveiled its meaty, non-flavored boutique Liga Privada cigars back in 2008, they probably couldn’t have predicted the tremendous demand that would follow. Spicy, full-bodied smokes like Liga Privada #9 and Liga Privada T52 are handmade in Estelí, Nicaragua from complex tobacco recipes drafted from a number of different farms and tobacco-growing regions.

Liga Privada cigars are handcrafted in a number of traditional formats, however, the cigar-makers eventually began to churn out small batches of limited edition shapes with funky names like Dirty Rat and Flying Pig. Today, Flying Pigs account for some of the most sought-after Liga Privada smokes. The short, fat format caught on immediately every time it was drafted in a new blend. Liga Privada No. 9 Flying Pig and Liga Privada T52 Flying Pig represent the rarest releases.  

The brand has since rolled out the chunky 4 x 60 Flying Pig size in a number of alternative blends, including Liga UndercrownLiga Undercrown Sun Grown, and Liga Undercrown Shade. Each Flying Pig expresses its respective blend with a cool-burning, creamy blast of flavor. Flying Pigs are rolled with a pigtail cap at the head and is said to be a difficult shape for the rollers to produce due to its unusual dimensions. Keep an eye on our inventory for Liga Privada and Liga Undercrown. When we have Flying Pigs in stock, we’re delighted to feature them online, even if they don’t last long. Most sell for around $12-13 per cigar.

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