It’s the time of year that every cigar enthusiast looks forward to: the announcements of the best cigars of the year.  While we work on photographs and what-not for our Top 10 of 2016, here’s our Top 7 Cigars of 2016 for $7 or less.

The Rules:

  • Cigars must have been released in 2016 and in the U.S.
  • Cigars must be $7.99 or less
  • Cigars are listed alphabetically with no specific order
  • “Where to Buy” only includes the Retailers that provide our members with discounts

Campesino

Campesino is in our Top 10 list, which should give you an indication of the versatility and acclaim of this cigar.  Campesino is owned by Edgar Sued and produced at Tabaqueria 1844 (otherwise known as Manufactura Rivas or Top Secret Nest), a boutique factory in the Dominican Republic.  This factory also won our Factory of the Year award for consistently producing home run debuts throughout 2016.

Budget Cigars 2016: Top 7 Cigars for $7 or less - Campesino

I believe I said it best in the review summary:  “Campesino Series Robusto Definitivo is another home run from the Dominican Republic. These guys have serious potential and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for them. If you enjoy smooth, creamy cigars with just the right amount of spice, I’d highly recommend this cigar.

Brand:  Campesino
Factory
:  Tabaqueria 1844
Availability:  Sold out for 2016 in the U.S.
MSRP
:  $7.20 Robusto
Cigar Review by CigarNoise 
Rating:  9.2 Reviewer / 9.5 Community

CAO Consigliere

When we announced that we were working on this list, it became clear that the CAO Consigliere needed to be included.  Smokey from the CigarNoise Community said that if he had smoked it before voting for the Top 10 Cigars of 2016 it would’ve easily made his list.

Photo Credit: LeafEnthusiast.com

Photo Credit: LeafEnthusiast.com

Since we haven’t reviewed this cigar yet, we’ll let Leaf Enthusiast do the talkin: “The CAO Consigliere is a very good addition to the catalog…or should that be a re-addition? As someone who experienced the changes and lack of consistency with the original brand, this version is a welcome surprise and I think it will sell very well, especially since the price tag is greatly reduced from the original. If you liked the old one, you should definitely give Consigliere a try–it might just make you want to sing like a…well, like a soprano!

Brand:  CAO
Factory:  STG Esteli
Availability:  Regular Production
MSRP
:  $6.99
Cigar Review by Leaf Enthusiast
 
Rating:  9/10
Where to Buy:  Mike’s Cigars

Charter Oak Broadleaf

Foundation’s Charter Oak could have made many lists, especially considering the affordable entry fee of $4 for the 4 1/2 x 50 Rothchild and maximum price of roughly $6.  It speaks volumes to be on the same list as cigars with nearly twice the MSRP, but that’s just how Nick Melillo works.  “I wanted to create an economy-minded, everyday smoke for connoisseurs; something tasty and delicious but didn’t break the bank”, says Melillo in a press release.

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The first half of the Charter Oak Broadleaf weaves a complex tapestry of sensations ranging from Earth, Milky Way, Espresso, and Caramel notes that everyone should experience at least once.  Here’s my summary: “Being my first encounter with Nicholas Melillo’s infamous Broadleaf, I can definitely say that he didn’t come by the nickname Chief of the Broadleafs lightly. Considering that this cigar is firmly within the budget stick MSRP category, he once again over delivered in the flavor department. Whether you’re looking for a humidor staple, a quick smoke, or an undervalued gem, Charter Oak delivers.

Brand:  Foundation
Factory
:  Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
Availability:  Regular Production
MSRP
:  $4 Rothchild
Cigar Review by CigarNoise 
Rating:  9.3
Where to Buy:  Cigar Federation

Foundry Time Flies

Foundry, a boutique spin-off of General Cigars, teamed up with A.J. Fernandez to create something memorable and surprisingly this cigar tastes unlike anything I’ve experienced from either brands.  Leading with notes of tangy earth and powerful spice, Time Flies softens you up for delectable hints of honey and caramel without decimating the palate.

foundry-time-flies-review-7-1080x675

From the summary, “This cigar was a sleeper for me that over delivered on my expectations and is unique in the fact that it packs so much body and flavor into each draw without overtaxing the palate. I’d be interested in seeing what these are like in a few months, as I’m willing to bet that the last third will perform better over time.

Related:  How to Cut a Chisel Tip Cigar

Brand:  Foundry
Factory
:  Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
Availability:  Regular Production
MSRP
:  $7.50 550 (Robusto)
Cigar Review by CigarNoise

Rating:  9.1
Where to Buy:  Famous Smoke Shop

HVC Pan Caliente

For this recommendation we’re doubling down on a pick from the gentleman known as LCCJ in the CigarNoise Community.  He says, “There’s nothing cheap about this cigar other than the price.  The burn, construction, and ash are in the Fuente league while the cigar tastes better than the Padron XXXX series.”  High praise? You bet.

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Photo Credit: @HVCCigars

For a review, we’re turning to Halfwheel.  Here’s what they had to say in their summary, “HVC produced one of my favorite cigars last year, the 520, which incidentally came in at number 10 in our Top 25 list for 2015. The Pan Caliente is not quite that good, but the interplay between the roasted peanut creaminess and the maple syrup sweetness was excellent, and really elevated the blend in my mind. Throw in a surprisingly excellent price of $6.20 and very good construction overall, and you have a winner any way you slice it.

Brand:  HVC
Factory
:  Raices Cubanas
Availability:  Regular Production
MSRP
: $6.20 Robusto 
Cigar Review by HalfWheel 
Rating:  89
Where to Buy:  Summit Cigars

Last Call

This past February I was lucky enough to travel to A.J. Fernandez’s factory in Esteli, Nicaragua with the Governor’s Cigar & Pipe crew.  Amidst many other memorable experiences, the Last Call stood out as being something special from the very first moment.  I’ve since thought of it as a Buttery Bolivar, and post-release versions are starting to taste like I remembered right about now.

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Producing 3 of the 7 cigars in this list, A.J. Fernandez is a force to be reckoned with!  From the summary, “At the price point this cigar is projected, I foresee a LOT of these in my humidor.  The creaminess and presence of the Last Call in the second third is nothing less than phenomenal and is totally different than anything else I’ve experienced from AJ.  Being aware that my scoring may be compromised by being in Casa Fernandez (A.J., not TABSA) while reviewing this cigar, I still can’t deduct points without reason.  The Last Call is a winner through and through.”

Brand:  A.J. Fernandez
Factory
:  Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
MSRP
: $5
Availability:  Regular Production
Cigar Review by CigarNoise
 (Pre-release)
Rating: 9.2 Reviewer / 9.5 Community
Where to Buy:  Small Batch Cigar, Summit Cigars

Quesada 40th Petite Belicoso

I remember when this cigar first came out as an exclusive size for SmallBatchCigar.com.  I smoked my first and second samples just marveling at the consistency, construction, and complexity.  The 3 C’s propelled this cigar to be the first that I personally rated as 9.4 or above.

quesada-40th-petite-belicoso

From the summary, “I thoroughly enjoyed both samples of the Quesada 40th Petite Belicoso Small Batch exclusive. I’ve only smoked one of the Quesada 40th Corona Clasica’s in the past, but don’t remember much about it. This size is unforgettable and something that I’ll be adding to the humidor as soon as they release. If you enjoyed the 40th anniversary series, I’d highly recommend this vitola. There’s something here for everyone. In fact, it was so good that I forgot to take a lot of pictures.”

Brand:  Quesada
Factory:  Quesada Cigars
MSRP
: $6.99
Availability:  Store Exclusive
Cigar Review by CigarNoise
 (Pre-release)
Rating:  9.4 Reviewer / 9.5 Community
Where to Buy:  Small Batch Cigar

Top 7 Cigars for $7 or Less – Suggestions

Do you know a cigar that you think should’ve made the list? Drop a comment below to help the community!  Link a review, add your thoughts, or just drop the mic afterward.  

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Dave West

Editor and Contributor at CigarNoise
Identifying as a Cigar Enthusiast more than an Aficionado, I enjoy trying new cigars and attempting to annotate my experience. Disclosure: As of June 2017, I began writing for SmallBatchCigar.com and will no longer be reviewing SBC exclusives
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