Good Cigars for the Budget and Palate 

There’s no getting around it. Cigars are considered a luxury item, something enjoyed by the upper class. From Mr. Monopoly to Michael Douglas’ portrayal of Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, a cigar is often a stereotype of the rich. They reflect a certain amount of refinement, as Yosef Karsh captured in his famous photo Winston Churchill – who appears minus his cigar only because seconds before the photographer yanked it away from the unsuspecting British PM.

You should not cheap out on a good cigar since you’ll usually end up with a distasteful experience that doesn’t deliver the flavours you want. Cheaper cigars are machine-rolled or include short-filler tobacco. Don’t fret, though; some excellent cigars from different regions come in at under $20, and there are even some that can be purchased for as low as $10.

Here are a few budget options that the new cigar enthusiast, even a seasoned aficionado, may enjoy. All of them sell for under $20 Canadian.

Don Tomas Clasico in Robusto

Prices on Don Tomas Maduro Robusto cigars vary greatly, but they are generally under $13, with $10 being the average price in Ottawa. The general consensus among seasoned cigar smokers is that the Maduro Robusto packs a lot of value for the price. The Classico is also widely available, like its brother line, the Maduro. It has a cedar and pepper taste and a nice white smoke. Made from Honduran tobacco, it’s a great cigar to get for a friend who wants to try one or for stocking your humidor with something good and affordable at the same time.

Macanudo Inspirado Nicuarguan

Macanudo has been one of the top-selling cigar brands in the United States since the Cuban Embargo was put in place by the Kennedy administration. The brand has become a favoured old reliable to the American cigar enjoyer looking for a cheaper stick than luxury brands like Fuente. Macanudos are the definition of a mixed bag in terms of their lines. The Macanudo Club cigar, however, is a good cigar for people who like a lighter body and flavour, but the best for under $15 is their Inspirado Nicaraguan line. With a bold and spicy flavour but a medium strength, it’s definitely worth trying.

Punch London Club

Depending on where you buy these Honduran cigars, they can be quite inexpensive. Chains like Holy Smokes, owned by Loblaws, carry them for as little as $9. Although the London Club is a small Corona-size cigar, it makes up for it with an immense depth of flavour. The London Club delivers a spiciness up front comparable to cinnamon hearts, transforming into a dark chocolate and coffee aroma. Don’t write off this small cigar; it’s perfect for those who want to move to a more full-bodied and full-flavoured cigar without the hesitation of buying a larger, more expensive one you may not like.

Havana Castle Double Maduro

Despite being a double maduro cigar, which implies a heavy taste, a Havana Castles Double Maduro has a piney flavour with a creamy leathery smoke that is both light but full of notes. You’ll have to get one of these at a Havana Castle Retailer. Thankfully, Ottawa now has one in Barrhaven. The Cigar is made of Nicaraguan tobacco.

Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Natural

A budget option from Alec Bradley, these cigars are substantially cheaper than all other Alec Bradley offerings — except for their Mira Flor line, which is, unfortunately, a short-filler cigar. The Spirit of Cuba Natural offers light creaminess to the smoke and some faint pepper. It is the weakest cigar on this list in terms of its strength, but it is enjoyable. It is great for events like BBQs where a friend wants a cigar but has never really smoked enough to appreciate a good one or when a seasoned cigar smoker wants something simple.

Photo: Jordan Palmer, iStock