Cuban Cigar Alternatives: Flavor Only Rivaled by the Real Thing

July 12, 2018

Top 5 Cubanesque Cigars 0f 2021

For the longest time, Cuban Alternatives were regarded widely popular for quite some time because it was almost impossible to get your hands on a real Cuban cigar. If you weren’t from Cuba, chances are you weren’t able to purchase a real Cuban cigar. However, if you’re wondering what’s the legal equivalent of Cuban cigars, Cuban alternative cigars or “Cubanesque” cigars have become such a regular commodity for consumers in the cigar world that the yearning for an actual Cuban cigar has subsided exponentially.

We’re not saying we’d pass on the opportunity to enjoy a real Cuban cigar if we’ve ever come across one, but Cubanesque cigars are nothing to ignore. The proper meaning behind the term “Cubanesque” more so focuses on the theme, construction, and flavor characteristics behind a cigar that’s just made in its own way. These non-Cuban cigars do a great job at capturing the pure essence of an actual Cuban cigar.

Companies such as Tatuaje and AJ Fernandez has perfected the art of top-notch Cubanesque cigars. So, today, we have five great examples of delicious Cubanesque cigars and what makes them so great. Here are the Top 5 Cubanesque cigars of 2021.

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Illusione Singulare

First off, we have the Illusione Singulare Miserere. This annual, limited edition smoke since 2015 is a prime example of Dion Giolito’s blending skills and the quality he puts into all of his products under the Illusione brand. Handcrafted in Nicaragua, the Illusione Singulare Miserere takes you on a wild ride throughout the entire smoke.

This Medium to Full-Bodied Nicaraguan puro in the Churchill size is cloaked in a gorgeous-looking Corojo wrapper.  The Singulare Miserere provides compelling flavor notes that include leather, black pepper, dried fruit, and hints of honey and vanilla. With an abundance of flavor and a phenomenal draw, the Illusione Singulare is a must-have in every Cubanesque cigar lovers humidor.

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Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez

This specific cigar is really on the nose for this Top 5 list. The Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez showcases AJ’s amazing blending skills. AJ Fernandez decided to put a modern spin on this classic Cuban heritage brand to pay homage to his father, who loved the original Ramon Allones all those years ago.

The Ramon Allones Toro is a 6 x 52 vintage masterpiece that is medium to full in strength. Using a rare Medio-Tiempo Habano Oscuro wrapper, the Ramon Allones features a vintage Corojo ’99 binder, while having a mixture of Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99 tobaccos that make up the filler. This blend features highly complex flavor notes of cedar, earth, cashews, espresso, and spice that would pair perfectly with a cappucino.

Landing in the Top 25 “Cigar of the Year” list back in 2018, it’s only right that you have the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez in your humidor is a staple to humidor!


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Foundation El Gueguense

Nick Melillo is always one to pay homage and create gems from years past. So it only makes sense that one of his classic cigars is on our Cubanesque top five list! Seasoned cigar enthusiasts owe it to themselves to experience the mouthwatering characteristics of this superb Habano-style smoke.

The El Gueguense Robusto cigars from the Foundation Cigar Company are true Nicaraguan puro’s that are crafted with the finest vintage tobaccos. Special 2011 and 2012 vintage crops are covered with a stunning reddish-brown Corojo wrapper.

Full in both flavor and strength, the Foundation El Gueguense has intense flavor notes of wood, toffee, subtle spice, cedar, and hints of sweetness on the palate. This superb premium handmade cigar, destined to become a modern classic, and is available in boxes of 25 right here at JR.

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Trinidad Espiritu

Trinidad Espiritu cigars that came out in 2019 are an exciting collaboration between two famous master blenders, Rafael Nodal and AJ Fernandez, who is responsible for some of the hottest selling Cuban- style brands on the market. The Trinidad Espiritu pay tribute to the late ‘60s and early ‘70s considered the ‘golden years’ of the Caribbean, by dressing the cigar boxes with the colorful vintage Caribbean artwork of that era.

The Espiritu Toro is a full-flavored, Nicaraguan puro that every cigar novice and aficionado can enjoy any time, anywhere. Flavor notes you’ll experience while smoking the Espiritu Toro are pepper, wood, vanilla, toast, and some citrus zest on the backend. Once you decide to buy a box of 20 of the Trinidad Espiritu, you’ll be stepping back in time when the first non-Cuban cigars began making their stunning debut on American shores!

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Tatuaje Nuevitas

Back in the day, the Tatuaje Nuevitas was one of the only cigars from Tatuaje that weren’t made by the Garcia. But in 2018, the Tatuaje Nuevitas blends are back to where they belong in the My Father family. Rolled at Pepin Garcia’s My Father Cigars SA factory in Nicaragua, the Tatuaje Nuevitas is now handmade under the careful supervision of Don Pepin Garcia.

Cloaked in a beautiful Nicaraguan Corojo 99 wrapper, these top-quality Nicaraguan puros are made with flawless construction throughout the entirety of the smoke. Spectacular flavor notes you’ll detect while smoking Tatuaje Nuevitas Jibaro No. 1 are cedar, white pepper, nuts, and hints of flower on the backend. With all of the great qualities of the Tatuaje Nuevitas Jibaro No. 1, how could you pass on one of these top-notch Cubanesque cigars?

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Cuban Cigar Alternatives: Flavor Only Rivaled by the Real Thing

There is a certain mystique when it comes to the Cuban cigar and years ago, it was considered the best in the world due to Cuba being the quintessential pioneer in the industry.

Since 1962 with the Cuba sanctions and trade embargo, citizens of the United States are not allowed to buy or sell, and up until recently, they were illegal to consume inside of the country. And until 2014, forget aout trying to bring them into the U.S. if you were able to visit another country and buy Cuban cigars.

In other countries where they are easily attainable, they aren’t even at the top of the list as they are in the United States. The problem is that people want what they cannot have but fortunately there are excellent alternatives.

What Makes Cuban Cigars Great?

Cuba certainly crafts superior cigars for a number of reasons such as their rich tobacco-growing soil. According to LiveScience:

Cuba has what some see as the perfect environment for growing cigar tobacco. The island’s soil allows the plants to produce very high-quality leaves, said Alan Dye, a professor of economics at Columbia University who specializes in Cuban studies.

However, Cuban cigars are not perfect and often have issues with quality control. This is due to the demand of the market which sometimes means that they are not aged properly, there are issues with the rolling, and overall craftsmanship problems.

In fact, The Washington Post notes that only 3 of the top 25 cigars in the world, as ranked by Cigar Aficionado, were Cubans.

What About Cuban Cigar Alternatives

There are cigars that have tobacco from other countries that rival Cuba and one of those places is Nicaragua. As told by Cigar Aficionado:

They’re only two countries in the world where you can make cigars entirely from their tobacco, and it’s not Mexico. It’s Cuba and Nicaragua. Both of those countries have the most fertile dirt in the world for tobacco.

Another reason that cigars from Nicaragua are superior tasting is that the soil is not just fertile but it is volcanic soil that is full of nutrients. The weather conditions there are ideal as well, so you get an alternative that is full of flavor and is considered some of the best tobacco in the world. In fact, the climate is similar to Cuba but it’s the natural resources that are unique to each region and that is in the soil and minerals.

There are four areas of Nicaragua that are distinct for their aromatic and flavorful tobacco: Jalapa, Ometepe, Esteli, and Condega.

For example, the Esteli region renders a spicier flavor while the Condega valley area lends a more sweet and potent flavor. Each region will have a variation in earthiness, taste, and aromatics but they are some of the most consistent, flavorful cigars that the market has ever seen

The Dominican Republic and Honduras are other areas where the cigars are considered similar to the body of Cuban cigars.

The Choice is Simple

Along with flavors and aromatics that challenge the Cuban cigar empire, the alternatives out of these areas are sometimes a third or half of the price of what you would pay.

While each cigar will have its own distinct flavor, whether it’s from Cuba or another area like Nicaragua, the flavor of a Cuban alternative is often considered superior.


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