Ashton Buying Guide

January 18, 2021

Ashton Buying Guide

Since 1985, Ashton Cigars have been one of the industry’s leading producers of upscale, luxury cigars.  They hold a unique place in the industry and were one of the innovators so many techniques and policies that we see today as par for the course.  What started out as a small cigar shop in Philadelphia has developed into one of the most sought after and highest rated brands on the market.

Founder Robert Levin first had the idea to create his own brand in the mid-1980s.  With years of experience in the industry through his family’s cigar store and mail-order business, Robert began to work with the famed Fuente family to create a luxury line of cigars.  The creation of Ashton not only helped elevate the cigar industry as a whole but also brought much wider recognition to the Fuente’s who are now considered cigar royalty.

For this month’s buying guide, we are going to look at the Ashton portfolio and go through the cigars we feel will help you fully understand and appreciate the brand.  While there are other brands under the Ashton flag, such as San Cristobal and La Aroma de Cuba, for this buying guide we are sticking with the Ashton name brand.

For a limited sampler of all of these cigars, you can click right here.

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Ashton

Let us start at the beginning, as one should.  The original cigar to bare the Ashton name is still considered one of the best in the business.  After almost 30 years, this classic smoke is highly sought after and beloved by seasoned aficionados and even new smokers.  It takes the classic smooth profile that was popular at the time but gives it a unique and modern vibe.

The Ashton is hand-rolled at the legendary Fuente factory and was one of the first cigars that pushed both the Fuentes and Ashton to superstardom.  It uses aged Dominican filler and binder tobaccos for a smooth and nutty center.  The wrapper is an elegant Connecticut shade leaf with a golden-brown color.  Notes of cedar, cream, and a dash of wood and vanilla make this one of the most flavorful mellow cigars on the market.  Along with Montecristo and Davidoff, this Ashton helped develop the idea that a smooth mellow cigar can have an intense flavor and an air of luxury.

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Ashton Aged Maduro

As many companies did during the boom, and many still do, Ashton released a Maduro follow up to their original line.  All these years later, this cigar still ranks among my favorite Maduro cigars of all time.  In fact, it was named to our Top 25 cigars of the Year for 2020.  It is a classic Maduro in every sense of the world and in my opinion set the bar for a high-end Maduro cigar.

Once again, Ashton left the blending up to the Fuente family, and they did not disappoint.  Dominican filler and binder tobaccos make up a majority of the cigar, but what makes it stand out is the wrapper.  This Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper was slowly fermented to make it smooth but bring out all that rich sweet flavor.  Notes of coffee, dark fruits, and chocolate make this my go to morning cigar.  If you are looking for one of the best representations of a Maduro cigar, and the cigar that started my love affair with broadleaf, this is it.

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Ashton Virgin Sun Grown

While the original Ashton made the company famous, it was the VSG that made them legendary.  In my opinion, this was one of the first full-bodied luxury cigars, at least outside of Cuba.  For two decades, this cigar continues to be named to top 25 lists across the industry and is considered a standard member of any aficionado’s portfolio.  The ability to blend intense flavor and strength with a subtle yet luxurious cigar may seem more commonplace now, but this was the cigar that paved the way.

The Fuente family started with aged Dominican filler and binder tobaccos.  For this blend, they went with tobaccos with a bit more kick and intensity.  The wrapper that gave this cigar its name is a stunning Ecuadorian sun-grown leaf.  It is oily and bursting with flavor.  Notes of spice, pepper, sweetness, and oak combine for a roller coaster of flavor.  This cigar has top-notch construction and consistency.  After all these years, each one still smokes perfectly.  This cigar is a must-have for any full-bodied smokers out there and holds its place in the cigar hall of fame.

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Ashton Estate Sun Grown

In 2006, Ashton was celebrating their 20th anniversary.  Being the iconic brand they are, they knew that had to celebrate in style with an incredible cigar that reaches new heights. That’s a tall order for a company with a slew of highly-rated cigars, but somehow, they were able to pull it off.  The Ashton ESG might not have the popularity of the VSG due to its much higher price, but in terms of its blend, construction, and overall characteristics, I believe this is one of the finest cigars on the market.

The Fuente family crafted this cigar for Ashton using a purely Dominican blend.  The aged filler and binders create a flavorful core, with notes of wood, a bit of spice, and nuts.  The wrapper is an exquisite Dominican leaf, similar in look and flavor to the wrapper used on the pus X.  In fact, many people have compared this cigar to the Opus X in a positive way.  Its flavor profile, construction, complexity, and overall feel are on par with the best out there.  This is still one of my go-to celebratory cigars, and it should be yours.

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Ashton Symmetry

When the Ashton Symmetry was first announced, there was a lot of hype built around it.  It was the first new Ashton name brand in almost a decade and continuing that path of success seemed almost impossible.  However, once again Ashton and Fuente brought their A-game, and the Ashton Symmetry was met with critical acclaim.  It had the elegance and nuisance of the ESG, the flavor, and the complexity of the VSG, but the price point was much closer to the original releases.  In my mind, Symmetry is the most well-rounded of the entire Ashton portfolio.

It was rolled by the Fuente family using Dominican and for the first time, Nicaraguan filler tobaccos.  This is followed by a stout Dominican binder and a flawless Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.  It has touches of zesty, pepper, sweetness, oak, and a hint of citrus.  The smoke output is on point and the construction is near perfect.  This cigar is the culmination of years of different blends and success and the result is a simply outstanding cigar.

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