Hello my friends, Nick Libretti here for JR Cigars. I am use to saying that in my videos so lets just keep it going in the written word as well. From my many YouTube videos which at least one person has watched (thanks mom), it is easy to see that I have a wide array of favorite cigars. A good cigar for me has many factors including my location, what I’m drinking, my mood etc. However, there are some smokes that I will like regardless. I have done quite a few videos on beginner smokes, which are always my favorite. I love being able to pass my knowledge (which is limited ill admit) to a new smoker and seeing how they enjoy your choices. So for this article instead of doing my generic Beginner Cigar bit, I decided to do something more specific. Being a fan of the emerging boutique cigar community, I would love to share my picks for the best boutique cigars for the beginner.
Espinosa Laranja Reserva
Due to the size of the company, some might say that Erik Espinosa is not the epitome of a boutique manufacturer. I couldn’t disagree more. Erik focuses on small batches and expert craftsmanship to create some of the finest blends coming out of Nicaragua. MY favorite among these, which I have discussed time and time again is the Laranja Reserva. This medium to full bodied smoke is flawless in terms of burn, flavor and draw. It is wrapped in a Brazilian wrapper with an orange hue to it. It takes its name from the Portuguese word for Orange, which makes sense. It has notes of citrus, a little spice and a little sweetness. Even the band is brilliant, reminding me of a 1950s orange pop bottle, because I use to hang out at the corner store with Tony from down the way.
Warped Maestro del Tiempo
This cigar means the master of time… end of story. Kyle Gellis has proven yet again that although he is one of the youngest major manufacturers, he is a force to be reckoned with. His signature style can be seen brilliantly in this delicious little smoke. It is produced, like many of his cigars, by Casa Fernandez and is crafted with their legendary Aganorsa tobacco. It has hints of coffee, wood and nuts with a dash of spice towards the end for a great finale. The 6012R size has become very popular among cigar enthusiasts for both its outstanding characteristics and its limited release.
Tatuaje Skinny Monsters
Its safe to say that Pete Johnson was one of the founders of the boutique cigar community. He loves to due his event only cigars, special releases and limited brands that make his cigars all the more desirable. With the MY Father factory being his producer, he is able to combined innovative marketing strategies with some of the best cigars on the market. No boutique collection is complete with out some of the Tatuaje Monster series. Pete releases a new blend every year, with each one taking its name from old time movie monsters. My personal favorite is the Jason, because it is very hard to beat a Tatuaje with a broadleaf wrapper. For a variety you should check out the skinny monster collection, with each different release being rolled into a perfect Lonsdale size for optimum flavor.
RoMa Craft CroMagnon
In the past half decade, no manufacturer has captured the hearts and minds of the boutique aficionado like RoMa Craft. Their blends are outstanding, their presentation is brilliant and their creative names make almost no sense to the general public, but that’s the point. If you haven’t tried a CroMagnon yet, then stop reading right now and go smoke one. It is a broadleaf beauty that is full in flavor but smooth on the retro hale. RoMa Craft is a must have for the boutique humidor.
I know you guys saw this one coming. Nick Melillo has become a dear friend of mine but not because I particularly like him. I mean he is ok I guess, but I am much more a fan of his products. Foundation cigars has created hit after hit over the past 2 years with no end in sight. While I am a huge fan of El Gueguense and its maduro sequel, Nick and I both find ourselves drawn to the Tabernacle. Its brilliant broadleaf wrapper is grown in the heart of the Connecticut River Valley, which of course is located by the “mighty” Connecticut river. It is a Connecticut broadleaf at is finest with rich chocolate notes and a nice subtle sweet spice from its Nicaraguan tobacco. Nick is literally becoming the “Foundation” of boutique cigars. Love ya Nick!