Picture this: A businessman in a well-tailored suit is headed to his favorite leather armchair, with a glass of 20-year-old Scotch whisky in hand. To complement this smoky spirit, he reaches for a fine cigar.
It’s obvious that this man has refined tastes — and expensive ones, at that.
While the tailored suit, leather chair, and aged whisky would likely put a serious dent in your wallet, take heart: even fine cigars can be surprisingly affordable. In fact, a majority of popular cigars are easily available for under $10 a stick.
In this article, I’ll be putting my 10+ years of cigar selection, service, and smoking to use by introducing you to my 10 favorite cigars under $10 a piece.
Whether you’re an absolute beginner or experienced tobacco enthusiast, I hope to help you explore your tastes in pursuit of discovering your new go-to smoke.
“What’s the most popular cigar size?”
Since the Corona is the “standard” size benchmark that most cigar manufacturers start with, it’s a perfect place for beginners to focus on.
Alternatively, a Robusto will offer a fuller-bodied flavor with a similar smoking time, and is an excellent pick when Coronas aren’t as readily available.
So let’s get into the sticks!
Macanudo Cafe: Best for Beginners
Coming from the Dominican Republic, Macanudo’s Cafe line might well be the perfect cigar to introduce beginners into the joys of fine tobacco.
Their Corona, the standard size and shape, smokes for around 45 minutes with a pleasantly bright and mildly nutty flavor. It’s the top-selling cigar in the world for good reason.
|PAIRS WELL WITH||Medium-bodied lagers and ales, young bourbons, or gold rum|
Romeo y Julieta 1875 Petit Bully: Best 30-Minute Smoke
Originally a Cuban brand, Romeo y Julieta now resides in the Dominican Republic. Their 1875 is easily the most esteemed offering in their collection, offering a medium-bodied and earthy smoke with a heady aroma of toasted cedar wood.
Go for the Petit Bully if you want a short but interesting smoke with an easy draw.
|PAIRS WELL WITH||Rye whiskey, medium-bodied red wine, or Añejo tequila|
5 Vegas Classic: Best Value
Made in Nicaragua with a dark and oily Sumatran wrapper, the 5 Vegas “Red Label” (pronounced “Cinco Vegas”) is a gentle and medium-bodied hand-rolled cigar that’s available at crazy reasonable prices.
At less than $5 a stick, it’s a pleasantly complex treat that can easily become your go-to weeknight smoke.
|PAIRS WELL WITH||Single origin coffee, amber ales, or an old-fashioned|
CAO Brazilia Samba: Best Full-Bodied
One of only a handful of cigars under $10 to use a Brazilian wrapper, the long-aged CAO Brazilia cigars offer stunning complexity with a long and full smoke.
Go for the “Samba”, their torpedo shape, because of its long burn time, intense flavor, and mellow draw.
|SHAPE||Torpedo (corona pictured)|
|PAIRS WELL WITH||Islay scotch, stout beer, or a full-bodied Shiraz|
CAO Black Churchill: Best Long Smoke
Before sourcing and producing the Brazilia listed above, CAO was already famous for their Black cigars. Hailing from Honduras, each smoke with a CAO black is a treat — from the creamy vanilla top notes to a long, mellow burn and curiosity-provoking complexity.
I prefer the Churchill, their 7-inch offering that will easily smoke for 90 minutes or more.
|PAIRS WELL WITH||Aged bourbons and ryes|
La Aroma de Cuba: Most Consistent Draw
Handmade in Nicaragua from Cuban-seed filler tobacco, La Aroma de Cuba cigars have an almost unbelievably smooth and consistent burn that speaks highly of their craftsmanship.
Drawing evenly throughout the entire smoke, their Corona is a medium-heavy cigar that makes a great daily smoke for anyone that wants a cigar with a little bit more character and flavor.
|PROFILE||Medium to Full|
|PAIRS WELL WITH||Belgian ales and dark rums|
Rocky Patel Decade Corona: Best Splurge
Just like fine wine and spirits, cigars are often rated on a 100-point scale by juries in yearly competitions. Honduran producer Rocky Patel already has plenty of 90+ point cigars in their repertoire, but the Decade easily outclasses them all with its rich, complex, and unforgettable flavor.
At just under $50 for a pack of 5 coronas, it’s the priciest cigar on this list.
|PROFILE||Medium to Full|
|PAIRS WELL WITH||Single malt scotch or XO cognac|
Ave Maria Immaculata Gordo: Best Large Cigar
Golden-brown and loaded with rich caramel notes on the smoke, Ave Maria’s Immaculata seems tailor-made for smoking as a big, fat cigar.
It displays a surprising range of flavors from start to finish, with everything from fresh cedar to toast and burnt sugar. With every cigar in this line being hand-rolled, each tasting experience will be subtly different, always keeping you coming back for more.
|PROFILE||Light to Medium|
|PAIRS WELL WITH||Full-bodied white wines, VSOP cognac, or Pedro Ximenez sherry|
Cohiba Black Pequenos: Best Cigarillos
Though cigarillos are more commonly associated with low-quality, flavored tobacco products, smoking a small cigar like Cohiba’s Black Pequeno may change your mind about cigarillos altogether.
They’re made with the Black line’s signature espresso-dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers, which impart a rich, sticky, and oily taste and aroma. Excellent for a short smoke any time of day.
|PROFILE||Medium to Full|
|PAIRS WELL WITH||Dark rum, stout beer, or barrel proof whisky|
Diesel Unlimited Maduro Robusto: Best Maduro
Maduro, meaning “mature” or “ripe” in Spanish, refers to the lengthy aging process necessary to achieve an even, rich texture and color for a cigar’s outer wrapper.
Diesel is an amazing brand all-around, but their Unlimited may be my favorite thanks to its incredibly rich flavor. It’s filled with notes of coffee, chocolate, pepper, and oiled leather, and is a slam dunk for anyone who’s taken a liking to richly flavored cigars.
|WRAPPER||Maduro, Pennsylvania Broadleaf|
|PAIRS WELL WITH||Medium-bodied red wines (as a palate cleanser)|
Final Thoughts on our Ten Favorite Cigars (Under $10)
Which of these cigars caught your attention the most?
I’ve personally enjoyed each and every one of them in different settings, and would be happy to smoke any of the 10 cigars in this list at a moment’s notice.
All cigar photos via Cigars International