Inside a Nicaraguan Cigar Factory

Some of the finest handmade cigars in the world are made in Central America. Many cigar makers fled Cuba during the revolution and re-started their businesses here. The little town of Esteli Nicaragua is now home to many of them.

We’ve decided to visit the Tabacalera Santiago cigar factory, owned by Francisco Santiago F. Perez (a Cuban), to watch the whole process from start to finish.

Tobacco Fermentation Stinks

We arrived at the factory gates. Turns out you get a free tour guide to show you around, provided you buy a few cigars at the end. Sounds good to me!

First we visit the room where they make the cedar boxes that store the final products. It’s just 3 or 4 guys standing around a single band-saw. Not too impressive.

Next, it’s time to check out the fermentation shed. This is where the Nicaraguan tobacco leaves (grown with Cuban seeds) are stored in a heat & humidity controlled room for about a year, undergoing chemical changes. This is how the aroma and taste of the leaf develops.

The fermentation room is not for pussies. The intense smell in there will make your eyes bleed. It’s not an enticing, fine-cigar type aroma, but more like a “I just dumped a bottle of ammonia on your face” kinda thing. Spending 15 minutes in the shed was tough enough, I have no idea how local workers spend every day in there!

Women Do the Stripping

Once the tobacco has fermented for 1 year, it is washed & left to dry on racks. After the drying process, the leaves are ready to be sorted again. Some leaves will be used as wrappers, some as binders, others as filler.

Filler is stuff in the middle of the cigar, binders hold the filler together, and the wrapper is the fancy outer layer.

When we entered the next building, I was surprised to find it full of strippers!

You could tell they were pros…

A team of women was hard at work, stripping out the main-vein from the tobacco leaves. This is done so the filler tobacco will burn continuously inside the cigar.

Shaping the Cigar

The stripped & sorted tobacco leaves then make their way to the professional rollers. These men and women are real artists, it takes at least a year of training to become proficient.

Each roller has their own work table with a metal rolling surface, crescent-shaped knife called a chaveta, and a container of vegetable-based glue.

They start by gathering filler leaves and rolling them up in a loose cigar shape, with a binder leaf holding the bundle together. This is then placed in a wooden mold, which will get pressed to help form the proper cigar shape & density.

Wrapping Up a Bundle of Joy

The cigars are now ready to be wrapped with, you guessed it, the wrapper! After cutting away any loose tobacco with the chaveta, the roller carefully lays out the fancy, darker colored tobacco leaves, and cuts them to size.

A little vegetable paste is applied, then as fast as you can blink, the skilled worker rolls the wrapper around the cigar. Finally, a small piece of wrapper-leaf is cut into a little circle, then glued to the tip to finish the package.

Time to Smoke!

With the cigar completed, it’s off to get labeled and packaged. Another group of women are responsible for quality control, making sure the cigars are matched up according to color and size.

This factory makes cigars for many different brands, from all over the world. So they label & package them according to who the client is that day, box em’ up, and ship em’ off. The factory can produce over 30,000 cigars a day!

The Tabacalera Santiago Factory’s most promenant customer is Rocky Patel.

But I ended up buying a different brand for myself, called Nica Libre, which is also produced at the factory. This was on the recommendation of my tour guide. Quite a bargain at $1 a cigar! (Nica Libre cigars cost $7 each in the States).

Later that night I had a nice peaceful smoke on a bench in the central park of Esteli, watching local kids breakdancing and families out walking about.

I enjoy the Nica Libre blend around the office as an everyday go-to cigar since its rich, smooth, flavorful, well constructed and maintains an enjoyable aroma. You’ll experience toasty nuances of earth and cedar with sweet notes in the finish and some natural flavors of espresso and coffee. The finish is hearty and memorable while the draw is effortless.

Trinidad Temptations

The first Habano brand bearing the name of one of the seven founding towns of Cuba appeared in 1969. From then on, it has had a privileged spot among those who bet on products of the highest standards.

Created under the umbrella of Cohiba, Trinidad served in its early days as diplomatic gift by the Cuban revolutionary government. In 1997, the brand was released to the international market with the vitola Fundadores, with factory name Laguito especial No.1 (ring gauge 40 / length: 192mm).

The market launching in 2004 of factory vitolas Coloniales, Reyes, and Robusto extra — the latter discontinued afterwards— allowed to expand Habanos’ vitola portfolio. Its temptations bloomed due to its unique vitolas, which showed exoticism and great aroma richness; as well as a demanding quality control that guaranteed a remarkable commercial success.

Trinidad was originally made at El Laguito. But the whole production was later moved to the cigar factory Ventura Donatien, in Pinar del Rio. Even with a small vitola portfolio, each of its vitolas are remarkable and different. This is a mild-tasting Habano with the Lancero distinctive tapered tip.

From a total of 60 vitolas in Limited Editions, only three from the Trinidad vitola portfolio hold this category. The first was Ingenios in 2007 (Factory name Cervantes, ring gauge 42, length: 165mm). Robusto Short T appeared three years later (Factory name Short del Valle, ring gauge 50, length: 102mm); and afterwards, in 2016, the successful Topes, with the same factory name, ring gauge 56, length: 125mm.

The tasting notes of Trinidad’s standard vitola portfolio and their matching relations make up a gamut of alternatives capable of reigning among those faithful fans of Habanos, which only the most authentic and never-failing matching can achieve:

Trinidad Fundadores

Ring Gauge: 40

Length: 192mm

It is one of the classic Habanos vitola. It starts with a mild flavor having an impressive aromatic richness. Woody aroma, soft floral notes; roasted notes resembling nuts, and honeyed notes —all of them well-balanced— are among the aromas we can enjoy. Bitter aromas are moderate, elegant, and the aftertaste looks long and harmonious with a strong capacity to eventually improve.

It is a Habano for experienced connoisseurs. It needs technique to smoke a cigar; due to its diameter, the puff cannot be quick as it may be overheated, affecting the flavor. Take your time to puff on this exceptional Habano.

This Habano should be paired with aging rums:

Highly recommended: Havana Club San Cristobal 480 Aniversario and Havana Club 15 years old rum.

These are aged rums structured with a lingering aftertaste consistent with the end of this classic Habano.

Recommended: Glenlivet 18 years old Single Malt. Highland. This is one of the Single Malts I appreciate the most. Paired with this silky, structured Habano, it provides a longstanding aftertaste.

I enjoy Fundadores with a Taittinger Comtes champagne, an imposing blanc de blancs with a lot of richness of taste, which perfectly matches with that vitola.


Ring Gauge: 40

Length: 110mm

Impeccable made, with slight earthy and balsamic notes. This modest cigar is top with its intense roasted aroma and cocoa notes. Its aromatic richness is remarkable. Very pleasant smoke with a profound and long finish. I rather match it with modern, aged rum made in central Cuba.

Highly recommended: Cubay 10 years old           

Soft, balanced, velvety rum with a long, but elegant aftertaste. A matching to remember.

Recommended: Cardhu Single Malt. Speyside

This single malt is quite demanding for the proposal made by Reyes. Both achieve a very good relationship.


Ring Gauge: 44

Length: 110mm

The first puffs are structured with an interesting aromatic richness, earthy profile with woody notes and permanent roasted notes. It is complex in the tasting phase, highlighting the musk and mushroom. It has one of the most intense long aftertaste aromas. A Habano that conveys power and virility with a finish to remember.

Highly recommended: Havana Club 15 years old

From the Havana Club iconic collection, it gathers power and longevity. It seems particularly suitable for this intense Trinidad.

Glefiddich 15 years old Single Malt. Speyside, a single malt of remarkable complexity and great taste richness, long and silky mouthfeel.


Ring Gauge: 54

Length: 110mm

Singular vitola with notes of orange peel, wood, rich with earthy tips, soft, well-structured, with strong aromatic power highlighting balsamic, eucalyptus, and permeated with woody flavor triggering a delicious bitter finish common in Cuba’s dark tobacco. It is complemented with the Whisky Vintage reserve and the aged rum in a suggestible finish. Both suggestible beverages are pairing collections.

Highly recommended: Cuba Remedio rum 500 Aniversario

The combination of both is certainly irresistible. This aged rum, complex in its aromas and flavors: round, velvety with a seducing aftertaste, compensates for the elegant puff of such small but respectable Habano. At the same level of the Single malt.

Glenrothes Vintage Reserve. De Speyside.

The ultimate expression of Glenrothes style. This multi-award-winning single malt collects 10 vintages; 1992, 1991, and 2001 among others. It is delicious, rich mouthfeel with malty notes very well embedded, seductive and multifaceted in aromas, pretty close to the Kings’ powers.

Tasting and Matching of Trinidad Limited Edition

Trinidad Topes Limited Edition 2016 has had marked success in the international specialized media. Its filler or blend is known due to its mild character, well balance and long, elegant puff. It is also known by its brilliant, oily dark wrapper.

At first, Topes is dense and rich in aromas with floral and spicy notes. Complex in the aftertaste with a lingering and balanced mouthfeel, it stands out for its creaminess as well as the joy of its tasting richness.

It is a Trinidad, different in its structure, velvety with an interesting potential to eventually improve.

Highly recommended: Ron Santiago 20 years old

Rich in the aromatic profile with oak and roasted notes; nuances of cocoa and nuts such as walnuts; vanilled. I love it paired with the Topes as both have similar profiles.

Recommended: Single malt Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or Sauternes cask.

A single malt with a rare finesse, delicate, pioneer in the use of barrel finish. The Sauternes’ cask provides caramel and a lovely toasted brioche note. Elegant mouthfeel with this Trinidad. 

Eiroa Jamastran Coming Out

Eiroa Jamastran Coming Out This Month At TAA

Eiroa Jamastran is being rolled only with select, high-priming wrappers from Honduras and will come in two sizes: 11/18 and a robusto.

The Eiroa family has a special connection to the Jamastran Valley of Honduras, and now Christian Eiroa, owner of C.L.E. Cigars, wants to honor that relationship with a new cigar that will be exclusively sold through retail members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America.

Called Eiroa Jamastran, the new smoke is rolled entirely with Honduran tobaccos from the Eiroa family’s farms. Christian’s father, Julio, has lived in the Jamastran Valley since 1963, and is best known for growing Corojo tobacco from original Cuban Corojo seeds that he obtained in the ’80s.

“I wanted to celebrate the Jamastran Valley that’s been so good to my father,” said Christian Eiroa.

According to Christian, Eiroa Jamastran is being rolled only with select, high-priming wrappers from Honduras, with Honduran binder and filler. The cigar will come in two sizes: 11/18 and a robusto.

The Eiroa Jamastran robusto measures 5 inches by 50 ring gauge and will retail for $15.50.
The Eiroa Jamastran robusto measures 5 inches by 50 ring gauge and will retail for $15.50.

The 11/18 measures 6 1/4 inches long, with a foot that is 52 ring gauge. The cigar then expands in the middle to about 60 ring before tapering back in at the head to about 54 ring. “A pregnant toro,” as Christian calls it. The cigar will retail for $16.50 and come packed in wooden boxes of 18 that resemble a trapezoid. Christian believes that the trapezoid shapes keeps a cigar better than traditional square boxes and are good for collectors who enjoy aging cigars.

The 11/18 will only be sold through retailers that are members of the TAA, which consists of 77 retailers who operate nearly 240 stores nationwide.

The Eiroa Jamastran robusto measures 5 inches by 50 ring gauge and will retail for $15.50. It will also come in the 18-count trapezoid box, but unlike the 11/18, the robusto will be sold through both TAA retailers and in other stores.

According to Christian, he has produced “about 25,000 to 30,000” cigars of each size.

This year’s TAA expo takes place from March 17 to 21, and the Eiroa Jamastran will go on sale shortly after.

Davidoff Robusto Real Especiales 7 Limited Edition 2019

In 2004, Davidoff released two limited edition releases, one of which was entitled Especiales <<7>> Robusto Real. The 7 in the name referred to the number of tobaccos: one wrapper, one binder and five fillers. Now the concept is back for a 2019 iteration.

The original Especiales <<7>> was based around a blend of tobaccos largely used for the Millenium Blend, though some of those tobaccos were eight-years-old at the time. Now the Especiales <<7>>returns with a blend of tobaccos found in the brand’s Aniversario, Gran Cru, Signature and Millenium.

On the most basic level, the origins of the tobaccos are the same as the original. The wrapper will be from Ecuador, the binder is a Dominican olor leaf and the five fillers are all from the Dominican Republic:

  • Olor Seco
  • Piloto Seco
  • Piloto Viso
  • San Vicente Ligero
  • San Vicente Viso

Like the original, it will be offered in a 5 1/2 x 48 size, albeit with updated packaging. Pricing is set at $28.50 per cigar and only 4,000 boxes of 10 cigars will be offered in the U.S. In addition, Global Travel Retail locations will receive four-packs.

“In the year 2004, relentless challenging of the status quo, exceptional and pioneering blending by our Davidoff Master Blenders made possible a cigar experience so unique and complex it is now made available again in very limited quantities as a vintage blend,” said Edward Simon, chief marketing officer at Oettinger Davidoff AG, in a press release. “They have masterfully achieved to blend tobaccos from Ecuador and six different regions of the Dominican Republic to combine to a complex, yet silky smooth aroma experience. An achievement deemed impossible by experts at the time.”

The Davidoff Robusto Real Especiales <<7>> Limited Edition 2019 will begin shipping next month.


Cuba Unveils 2019 Ediciones Limitadas

This year’s Edicíon Limitadas are: Quai D’Orsay Senadores, Allones No. 2 by Ramon Allones and the Montecristo Supremos.

The Quai D’Orsay Senadores, Montecristo Supremos and Allones No. 2 head this year’s lineup.

Sometimes they’re incredible, sometimes they’re forgettable, but they’re never to be ignored. They’re Cuba’s Edición Limitadas, an annual release of cigars that garner exceptional attention in the cigar world. On Monday in Havana, the Cuban cigar industry gave a preview of the three 2019 ELs that will are expected to be shipped to cigar stores later in the year.

The thinnest of the trio, the Quai D’Orsay Senadores, marks the first time this once-obscure Cuban brand has been made into a Limitada. The Senadores is about 6 3/16 inches with a ring gauge of 48. Known as an Hermoso No. 2 in Cuban cigar factories, the smoke comes packed in boxes of 25. Quai D’Orsay, once only a factor in France, has become more and more prominent in recent times.

There has been no shortage of Montecristo ELs over the years, and Cuba is turning to this famous brand once again with the Montecristo Supremos EL 2019, which marks the 10th release of a Montecristo as an EL. The size, called a Montesco, is plump and somewhat short, measuring 5 1/8 inches long by 55 ring gauge. It also comes in boxes of 25.

The lone figurado of the group is the curiously named Allones No. 2 by Ramon Allones, a belicoso measuring 5 1/2 inches long with a 52 ring gauge. The size, called Campanas in Cuban cigar factories, will come in 10-count boxes.

Cuba really stepped up its packaging game with these ELs—don’t expect the typical wood box that you see on most cigars. The Ramon Allones comes in a green box with a raised center; the Quai D’Orsay has a striking circular pattern on the lid, with a resplendent gold center; and the Montecristo box is bright yellow. Each truly stands out, looking quite unlike traditional Cuban cigar packaging.

Don’t expect to see these soon; we often wait until the end of the year (and sometimes later) to have these cigars reach the market. If Cuba follows last year’s model, expect these cigars to be released in staggered fashion in different markets around the world.

In our blind taste tests over the years, Edición Limitada cigars have ranged from the superb to the lousy, with scores as low as 85 points and as high as 95.

Three New Trinidads, Hoyo Gran Reserva and More for 2019

The Hoyo de Monterrey Gran Reserva Cosecha 2013 measures 7 inches by 49 ring gauge.

Special Trinidad and San Cristobal de la Habana vitolas are also being added, along with an exclusive Cohiba for Habanos retailers.

Three sizes of Trinidad, a Hoyo de Monterrey Gran Reserva, an exclusive Cohiba for Habanos retailers and a unique size for Punch led the parade of new cigars announced by Habanos S.A. at the opening press conference for the 21st annual Festival de Habanos. Yesterday’s press conference in Havana also included details about three new Edición Limitadas, new Casa del Habano exclusives and special releases for the Trinidad and San Cristobal de la Habana brands, the two cigars highlighted at this year’s festival.

Trinidad is getting a special focus this year, the brand’s 50th anniversary. The three new sizes are Esmeralda, 5 3/4 inches by 53 ring gauge; Media Luna, 4 1/2 by 50; and the Topes, 5 by 56. The Trinidad Topes was a successful 2016 Edición Limitada that’s now being added to the brand’s regular-production lineup. All three sizes will be sold in 12-count boxes.

Trinidad Esmeralda
Trinidad Esmeralda

Hoyo de Monterrey is getting the first Gran Reserva in the brand’s history. The Gran Reserva Cosecha 2013, measuring 7 inches by 49 ring, builds off the brand’s most famous cigar, the Double Corona. The Gran Reserva program uses tobaccos that have been aged for five years. The cigar will be produced in 5,000 numbered boxes of 15 cigars each.

The Punch Short de Punch, 5 by 50, is the first 50 ring gauge cigar in the Punch brand. The cigar will be added to the regular brand sizes, and will be sold in wooden boxes of 10 cigars.

The 148 Casa del Habanos around the world will receive two cigars for exclusive sale in the Habanos S.A. network of shops. The Cohiba Novedosos, 6 by 50, will be shipped in uniquely styled boxes of 25, and the San Cristobal de la Habana 20 Aniversario, 6 1/3 by 52, will be sold in 20-count boxes shaped like an antique trunk.

Cohiba Novedosos
The Cohiba Novedosos, which measures 6 inches by 50 ring, will be shipped in uniquely styled boxes of 25

Another 2019 special release will be for the Habanos Collection series and is dubbed Trinidad Colección de Habanos Casilda. The 7 1/4 inch by 53 ring cigar comes in a wooden book with the Trindad brand logo on the cover and 24 cigars.

The Edición Limitadas for 2019 are the Montecristo Supremos, Ramon Allones Allones No. 2 and the Quai d’Orsay Senadores.

Two other special products were also announced. The Trinidad 50th Anniversary humidor comes with 50 cigars, dubbed the 50 Aniversario. It is a pyramid-shaped cigar measuring 6 inches by 59 ring with a band on the cigar’s foot. One hundred humidors are being produced by Italian design company DeART, with two stacks of semi-circle shaped trays that slide open sideways.

The other special release is the San Cristobal de la Habana 1519, a cigar manufactured to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Havana as well as the 20th anniversary of the brand’s launch. The cigar is a 6 1/4 inches by 57 ring. The 500 humidors will be shipped with 100 cigars.

In addition to the new cigar launches, Ernesto González Rodríguez, the director of marketing for Habanos S.A., revealed that the company’s revenues increased by 7 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. Total revenues were $537 million.

He said that around the world Habanos now has 148 Casas del Habanos, which are shops that exclusively sell Habanos S.A. products, and more than 1,000 Habanos Specialists and 385 Habanos Lounges, as well as 16 Cohiba Atmospheres, an ultra-luxurious concept focusing on the Cohiba brand and Habanos’ cigars.




Launching of Saint Luis Rey in Cyprus

Last 30th of January 2019, Phoenicia TAA Cyprus Ltd, the Exclusive Distributor of Habanos, S.A. for Middle East hosted in the Launching of Saint Luis Rey Herfing.

The event took place in Limassol – Cyprus, with more than 170 guests at the elegant atmosphere of Columbia Steak House, in the presence of His Excellency the Ambassador of Cuba in Cyprus, the Co-President of Habanos, S.A., Mr. Luis Sánchez Harguindey Pardo de Vera, the Members of the Board of Phoenicia Cyprus, other high-government officials and a crowd of Cypriot Habanos  aficionados.

The venue was dressed in the spirit and colors of the brand and guests enjoyed a welcoming cocktail at 7Seas, accompanied by Cuban live-band music. A five-course gourmet dinner then followed, with the aroma of Saint Luis Rey Herfing and sounds of a live Jazz-band, in the songs and soul of the late Frank Sinatra who adored Saint Luis Rey cigars.

For the launching, videos were made as well as a hologram display was used to launch a cigar, surprising the attendees.

Two cigar boxes were auctioned during the event, a 1999 Saint Luis Rey Lonsdales and the first Saint Luis Rey Herfing (Box No. 001), of which proceedings were donated to the Makario Children’s Hospital.

Guests also received a complimentary arranged gift bag on their way home at the end of the night, along with two 20-year-old vintage Saint Luis Rey cigars.

The event slogan, “Keep Herfing”, was ingrained in the minds of guests who gathered together to enjoy an exceptional cigar.

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Work of Art

Cameroon tobacco may not be the trendiest wrapper in the cigar world. And little perfectos aren’t the trendiest sizes in the market either. But none of this seems to bother Carlos Fuente Jr., owner of Arturo Fuente Cigars. Year after year, he unapologetically creates perfecto after perfecto in his Hemingway series and unabashedly wraps them in Cameroon—sweet, spicy, tasty Cameroon. While the perfectos in the Hemingway series range in size, we had particular affection for the Work of Art, a charming little smoke with considerable curves and tapers. It’s one of the smaller models in the line (though not the smallest) but it’s very big on flavor.

Perfectos like this one are difficult to make, and in the 1980s they were few and far between. After coming across some old perfecto-shaped cigar molds, Fuente was intrigued and decided to start producing these shapely cigars. The first Hemingways came to market in 1983.

The Work of Art was a later addition to the line, and like all perfectos its combustion can be a bit slow in the beginning, as it takes a little while to fully light the skinny foot. But once the burn gets going past the bulbous taper, it really loads the palate with nutty, toasty smoke before blossoming with baking spices, citrus notes and the sweet-and-spicy properties that Cameroon wrapper is known for.

Dimensions: 4 7/8″ by 60 ring gauge

Filler: Dominican Republic

Binder: Dom. Rep.

Wrapper: Cameroon

50 Factories in the U.S.A. that still make Cigars

A roller inside the J.C. Newman cigar factory, located in Tampa’s historic Ybor City.

In 1895—when steel magnates, financiers and railroad tycoons ruled America’s Gilded Age—there were around 42,000 cigar factories in the United States, with 300 in Cleveland alone. Even far-flung cities like Davenport, Iowa had a thriving cigar industry. At the time, there were so many people rolling cigars in this country that cigarmakers had their own union.

Today, it’s quite rare to see a cigar factory in the U.S. And if you live in a flyover state, you probably won’t find any at all. Regardless of this sad fact, we managed to find 50.

After some research, we put together a list of 50 places in the U.S. that are still sourcing tobacco and rolling their own smokes by hand, day in and day out. Some are very small, modest operations with only one or two rollers making a house brand for locals. Others are famous, places like J.C. Newman, El Rey de Los Habanos, Aganorsa Leaf and El Titan de Bronze, responsible for producing nationally distributed brands. A number of the locations on this list even produce handmade cigars that are highly rated by this magazine.

As you might expect, the largest concentration of cigar factories today is in Florida, namely Tampa and Miami—areas where Cuban cigar rollers have been expatriating since Castro’s Revolution.

While 50 U.S. cigar factories is a far cry from 42,000, small operations like these still play a valuable part in keeping cigar culture alive. Should you find yourself in the vicinity of one of these factories, we encourage you to stop in, try a smoke and enjoy a piece of modern-day Americana.


Willy Cigars


Cuban Cigar Factory (one roller), San Diego

Gran Havana Cigar Factory (two rollers), San Diego


Casa De Palma Cigar Co.


Cigar Factory Outlet (one roller, two days a week), South Norwalk

Connecticut Cigar Co. (one roller), Stanford

Making cigars often means you get to smoke while you work. Inside the Aganorsa Leaf Miami cigar factory (formerly Tabacalera Tropical), a roller takes a puff of one of her handmade smokes.


Moore & BodeCoral Gables

Cigar Factory Social Club (one roller), Destin

Don Pablo CigarsFort Myers

Cuban Leaf Cigar FactoryKey West

The Original Key West Cigar Factory, Key West

Rodriguez Cigar Factory, Key West

Aganorsa Leaf Miami (formerly Tabacalera Tropical), Miami

Cuban Crafters, Miami

Cuba Tobacco Cigar Co., Miami

El Rey de Los Habanos, Miami

El Titan de Bronze is a boutique cigar factory and shop located in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.


El Titan de Bronze, Miami

Guantanamera Cigars, Miami

Havana Classic Cigar, Miami

Little Havana Cigar Factory, Miami

Cigar Factory Social Club (one roller), Pensacola

J.C. Newman, Tampa

JDV Hand Rolled Cigars, Tampa

La Faraona, Tampa

Long Ash Cigars, Tampa

Nicahabana Cigars, Tampa

Tabanero Cigars, Tampa

Ybor Cigar Plus, Tampa

Most of the cigars made in Tampa’s J.C. Newman cigar factory are made on antique cigar machines, but some are rolled by hand.


Kentucky Gentleman Cigar Co.


Indio Cigar Factory (one roller)


Cigar Factory New Orleans


Boston Cigar Factory (no retail space, but sell their own brands online and do events)


En Fuego Cigars (one roller), Las Vegas

Ruiz Cigars, Sparks

New Jersey

Alvarez Cigars, Perth Amboy

Hoboken Cigars (one roller), Hoboken

Jimenez Tobacco, Newark

Rodriguez Puros Cigars, Jersey City

New York

D.P. Cigars, New York City (Manhattan)

La Casa Grande, New York City (Bronx)

Martinez Cigars, New York City (Manhattan)

Rosario Cigars LLC, New York City (Bronx)

Santiago Cigar FactoryRochester

North Carolina

Flor de America Cigar Factory

A cigar mold inside El Rey de Los Habanos, My Father Cigars’ Florida cigar factory.


Ultimo Cigar Factory


Bobalu Cigar Co., Austin

El Cubano Cigar Factory, Houston

House of Cigars, Dallas


San Juan Cigar Co.

West Virginia

Stoney Creek Cigars


8 Big Cigars For Super Bowl

The biggest football game of the year calls for a big smoke.

Super Bowl Sunday is only days away. To enjoy the big game in style, you’ll need some hearty food, cold drinks and perhaps good company. But we urge you to remember something else—it’s the ideal opportunity to break out an extra-long cigar.

The Super Bowl is a long affair, so we consider it the perfect day to light up a very big cigar that you can puff for a long, long time. Here are eight standout smokes that are built to smoke for hours. We can’t guarantee they will go all four quarters (like the Patriots and the Rams), but they’re likely to make it from coin flip all the way to halftime.

Montecristo “A”

The “A” is the longest standard-production size in Cuba’s cigar portfolio. (It’s even too long to fully capture in the photograph above.) An impressive 9 1/4 inches with a relatively slim 47 ring gauge, “As” were once popular in Spain for bullfights, long, open-air events that take hours. We also like them for the Super Bowl.

The Montecristo “A” is the last of Cuba’s “As,” and they are harder and harder to find, even in Havana. These are works of art, made with extra-large wrapper leaves that don’t grow on every plant. Only the most skilled of torcedores can make these huge smokes, and when you get a good one they will give you more than two hours of smoking pleasure. Some showcase notes of coffee bean and nougat, often complemented by leather and some sweet spices.

Tatuaje RC 233

If you are looking for a lesson in complex cigar shapes, look no further than the Tatuaje RC 233. These Miami-made smokes are the product of one roller, who has to make complex cuts with a straight razor to ensure the wrapper leaf adheres properly to the many curves of the diadema, which measures 9 1/2-inches long.

“On her perfect day she can roll about 80. It’s a lot of work,” says Tatuaje owner Pete Johnson of the cigar roller. “It’s an art form.”

Thankfully these pieces of art are dynamite to smoke. Full bodied and robust in their youth, they mellow slightly with age, and their flavor only improves. An 11-year-old version rated in a 2016 Connoisseur’s Corner scored 93 points, showing spiced cappuccino, citrus and leather notes.

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece

Fuente’s Hemingways come in a variety of lengths and girths, but the longest is the Hemingway Masterpiece. This cigar is 9 inches by 52 ring gauge at its fattest point, and it’s not made in large quantities for one very good reason: It’s hard to find Cameroon wrapper leaves that grow big enough for a cigar of this length.

The smokes are made in the Dominican Republic, and they tend to have notes of black tea, with a mineral quality. They are beautiful, ultra-large perfectos, and they come in boxes that look like books, an homage to the famous author for which they are named.

Hoyo de Monterrey Doble Corona

It’s hard to find a cigar more heralded than the legendary Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona. It’s far from the longest cigar on this list—it measures 7 5/8 inches—but it has long been the gold standard of Cuban double coronas. In an early issue of Cigar Aficionado, it rated 99 points, something no other current-production cigar has ever matched.

The cigars aren’t powerhouses, but they are far from mild. Modern day ones have notes of baking spices and nuts, along with a distinctive floral note. And even before you light, take note of the glorious construction: pristine colorado wrapper, subtle box-pressing, flat, mounted head and a triple-seam cap. These are beautiful smokes that are sure to impress.

La Flor Dominicana Ligero A

This new smoke was added to the considerable La Flor Dominicana portfolio in the summer of 2018. The 9 1/2-inch-long smoke has a 47 ring gauge, and while it has all-Dominican filler on the inside, the thing that sets it apart is a new wrapper leaf grown by ASP Enterprises Inc. in Ecuador.

Cigarmaker Litto Gomez is known for his strong cigars, and while this one has yet to be rated by the Cigar Aficionado panel, expect it to have that signature La Flor Ligero power.

Padron Magnum

Padron Magnum

It’s the biggest cigar in the core Padrón portfolio, at an impressive 9 inches by 50 ring. And because it’s a “regular” Padrón, it’s a relative bargain.

Padrón Magnums are sweet and rich, fortified by an all-Nicaraguan blend. And they are consistently good—in four out of its last five blind tastings by Cigar Aficionado or Cigar Insider, they have scored 90 points or higher.

Cuaba Salomon

Don’t dismiss Cuba’s Cuaba brand based on its original retinue of sizes. The original Cuabas were launched in 1996, and they were small perfectos made without cigar molds—and they had the rough look to prove it. They have long been forgettable smokes. But not the Salomon.

First rated by Cigar Aficionado in 2012, this is a much bigger cigar than a traditional Cuaba, 7 1/4 inches and a plump 57 ring at its fattest point. Light one up and you will taste flavors you will never find in the smaller varieties. It’s as if they share nothing in common but the band. We have rated it blind several times, with scores ranging from 88 to 93 points. They are rich and sweet, with a long finish, and their length and girth make them ideal for long smokes.