Editors Note: check out our Top New Cigars of 2019 post here.
2017 saw some truly special releases from boutique brands like Foundation Cigar Co, Cornelius & Anthony, and Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, as well as established brands like H Upmann, Padron, Drew Estate and Davidoff. Even with an unrelenting pile of new federal and state regulations hitting the cigar industry recently, 2018 is shaping up to be a great year for the cigar industry. Here are some of the new cigars of 2018 that are worth dropping what you’re doing to buy.
The Best New Cigars of 2018
Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Decadas Diadema
The Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas presents a flavor profile that no JdN fan could miss: dark oak and charcoal, creamy cocoa, leather, and light spiciness. What Cinco Décadas achieves is to take the JdN flavor profile that we know and love and elevate it into the realm of art. I know that is high praise, but it is true, particularly given the cigar’s sheer complexity and balance. Highly recommended. You can read our full review here.
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 93
Buy the Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Decadas from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Quesada Vega Magna
A worthy follow up to the Casa Magna which secured Cigar Aficionado’s #1 Cigar of the Year in 2018. The Vega Magna, rated 93 on this site, competes well with the Cinco Decadas above in terms of flavor, complexity, and balance. The cigar hits salty, savory, sweet, and bitter all at once, with notes of milk chocolate, leather, spices, and dry sliced apricot. Absolutely marvelous, and worth the higher price point.
Strength: Medium to Full
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 94
The newest from CAO cigars, and it’s awesome. The CAO Nicaragua has lots of flavor and complexity without crossing into overaggressive territory. From a flavor standpoint, it starts with a base of rich espresso, with a great combination of chocolate, leather, and roasted peanuts on top. Impeccable construction. Easily one of our favorite releases from CAO in a long time. You can read our full review here.
Fine Tobacco NYC Rating: 90
Buy the CAO Nicaragua from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Aging Room Pura Cepa
Once again, Rafael Nodal of Aging Room/Altadis has hit the ball out of the park. The Aging Room Pura Cepa features notes of smoked wood, augmented by light chocolate, cream, floral, and leather notes. Impeccable construction. Highly recommended.
Fine Tobacco NYC Rating: 90
Buy the Aging Room Pura Cepa from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Joya de Nicaragua Clasico
Joya de Nicaragua is known for its full bodied Nicaraguan blends. The Clasico is a revival of the company’s first blend, and it is extremely mild. If you are looking for a new-release cigar on the mild side, this is your cigar. Strength and body would both qualify as mild. Extremely smooth, the Clasico starts with cedar and salted peanuts, with a creamy texture and subtle spice developing halfway through the cigar. You can read our full review here.
Fine Tobacco NYC Rating: 86
Buy the Joya de Nicaragua Clasico from JR Cigars here.
AVO 22 30 Years
The AVO 22 30 Years is a re-release of one of the most legendary limited edition cigars from AVO. Best-fitted for fans of mild to medium bodied cigars, what the AVO 22 lacks in strength it more than makes up for in complexity. Expect notes of notes of sweet cream, floral, and touches of pepper and spice. You can read our full review here.
Strength rating: mild to medium.
Fine Tobacco NYC Rating: 88
Purchase the Avo 22 30 Years from Famous Smoke here before they’re all gone.
Romeo San Andrés by Romeo y Julieta
One of the newest cigars from Romeo y Julieta, the San Andres features the legendary San Andres maduro wrapper, known for rich, robust flavors. With the Romeo San Andres, expect dark notes of earth, barnyard, dark cherry, chocolate, and pepper. You can read our full review here.
Fine Tobacco NYC Rating: 85
Buy the Romeo San Andres from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Macanudo Inspirado Red
Macanudo is not a brand that I typically recommend, but parent company General Cigar Co has been on a tear with this brand over the last couple of years, most recently with the Macanudo Red. On the strength scale the Red falls right on the medium side of things, with bright flavors of cinnamon, oak, coffee, and toasted bread. Read our full review here.
Strength: medium to full
Fine Tobacco NYC Rating: 89
Buy the Macanudo Inspirado Red from Famous Smoke Shop here.
Las Calavaras LE 2018
A limited edition from Las Calavaras, a brand that took the cigar world by storm in 2014. This year’s limited edition blend is lighter in strength than previous years. From this cigar, expect a flavor profile dominated by cinnamon, spice, nuttiness, and black pepper.
Strength: mild to medium
Purchase the Las Calaveras LE 2018 from Famous Smoke Shop here.
AVO Maduro 30 Years
That’s right, AVO makes the list twice, and not just because they’re one of my favorite cigar brands. The AVO Maduro was brought out of production by parent company Davidoff in 2015 (much to the chagrin of AVO fans). For the 30 year anniversary of AVO as a brand, they’ve brought back the AVO Maduro in limited supply. Though dark, this cigar is not a huge powerhouse smoke. But it does deliver great flavors including earthy spice, seared steak, cedar, all with a slightly creamy finish. You can read our full review of the AVO Maduro 30 Years here.
Fine Tobacco NYC rating: 90
Purchase the AVO Maduro 30 Years from Famous Smoke Shop here.
2018 is far from over, with many cigars yet to be released onto the market. We’ll be adding to the above list periodically, but in the meantime, here is a list of the most exciting cigar companies from 2017 and some of the cigars we recommend from those brands.
Founded in 2015 and led by Nick Melillo (formerly of Drew Estate), Foundation Cigar Co. won massive awards in 2016 and 2017, including listings in Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 and a number of top five and even number 1 rankings across the cigar blogosphere.
If you haven’t smoked cigars by Foundation Cigar Co., yet, I recommend starting with The Tabernacle (tasting notes: extremely smooth with dark chocolate, sea salt, white pepper, and cedar) and then moving on to El Gueguense The Wise Man Maduro, which earned Cigar Dojo’s number one cigar of 2017.
Top three cigars to try from Foundation Cigar Co.:
- The Tabernacle
- El Geuguense The Wise Man Maduro
- El Geuguense The Wise Man (original blend)
Another company founded in 2015 by Steve Saka (another former Drew Estate executive!), Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust has released a number of phenomenal brands in its relatively short period of time. Saka’s cigars are famous for their ingenious use of the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper to create extremely smooth, flavorful cigars that contain depth, richness, and complexity. Mi Querida, one of Saka’s earlier blends, ranked number nine on our Top 10 of 2017 list.
Top three cigars to try from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
- Mi Querida
- Todos Las Dias
In 2018, the only question I have for Drew Estate is, “What are you going to come up with next?” Drew Estate is the most disruptive cigar company in the industry because they never give up on trying new ways of altering the cigar production process to create new smoking experiences.
The brand, which was recently acquired by Swisher International on account of it’s booming popularity, continued to be just as disruptive in 2017, releasing two cigars that made our Top 10: Pappy Van Winkle Tradition (tasting notes: very peppery, with leather and touches of vanilla) and the Undercrown Sun Grown (tasting notes: extremely smooth, with cinnamon, cedar, and coffee).
Top three cigars to try from Drew Estate in 2018:
- Undercrown Sun Grown
- Pappy Van Winkle Tradition
- Liga Privada No. 9
Do the disruptive cigar co’s on this list have you craving an older, more traditional but still phenomenal cigar? Davidoff—though pricey—is a fool-proof place to start. In 2016 and 2017, the company released a number of new cigars that made waves among cigar enthusiasts. At the top of the list is the Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour, which is aged in ex-single malt scotch casks (tasting notes: leather, cocoa, rich earthiness, malt).
Top three cigars from Davidoff in 2018:
- Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour
- Davidoff Yamasa
- Davidoff Millennium Blend