What is a Puro Cigar and Which Ones Should I try?

A box of Honduran puro cigars from JRE.

What is a Puro, Anyway?

For some of you, this will be a set of reviews and suggestions of puros to sample and explore. For others it will be your first real introduction to the cigar phenomenon known as the puro. Even if you’re relatively new to cigars, you may have seen the word “puro” in the name of a cigar. But what is a puro cigar?

Why should you care and which ones are you going to want to try? We’re about to answer all those questions and more for you.

Straight to the point, a puro is a cigar made with only tobaccos from a single country. It may surprise some of you to know that isn’t the norm. Outside of Cuban cigars (since Cuba doesn’t import cigar tobacco from anywhere else), most cigars are made with tobaccos from several countries. It’s not unusual for a single stick to have tobaccos from as many as 4 or 5 different countries in it.

 

Why Aren’t All Cigars Puros?

Good question! The answer is complicated, but in a nutshell, most people don’t mind if different countries tobaccos are used. Tobaccos from different regions and countries have different qualities. Some tobaccos are more available than others at certain times. A master blender, like A.J. Fernandez for example, usually has a particular style, flavors and qualities in mind when they set out to create a new cigar. The easiest way to achieve that is by accessing all the tobaccos available on the market, regardless of country of origin.

 

Why Puro Cigars and Which Should I Try?

Puro cigars exist for a number of reasons. One is that they are a traditional style. Cigars have evolved over time. Today we have some pretty wild stuff like acid cigars and flavor infused styles. Although it’s a very traditional industry that’s still entirely artisanal and hands on in nature, fine cigarmaking still has a surprising amount of innovation in the 21st century.

But the old ways are still revered (and some would say, the best). Back in the day, just about every cigar was a puro. Creating a masterpiece using only tobaccos from a single country takes real talent and a master knowledge of the regions and qualities of the different tobaccos there. So for the master blender, it can represent more of a challenge. Puros are also a matter of national pride for obvious reasons. It’s a way of saying “Here is the best of my country”.

Finally, there is the novelty factor. Because most cigars are blended from different countries of origin today, the puro cigar is special and unique. If you’re newer to cigars, you are going to want to experience some puros. If you’ve been around a while, you may or may not have partaken, but we’re going to give you some suggestions here that you’ll want to investigate either way.

 

Nicaraguan Puro Cigars

Nicaragua is one of the world’s great cigarmaking nations and it’s no stranger to the puro style. Here are a few Nicaraguan puros we recommend.

 

Padron 1926 Serie

The Padron 1926 Serie first came out in 2002 on 75th birthday of José Orlando Padron, the family patriarch of the family. Box pressed and made from all Nicaraguan tobaccos aged a minimum of seven years, they are a treat for the aficionado. There are a range of options from naturals to maduros. They all reward the smoker with especially rich and balanced, but complex and highly aromatic flavors.

 

Plasencia 1865 Alma Fuerte

The Plasencia Alma Fuerte was the first cigar in the Plasencia family’s ultra-premium Alma Series. Alma is the Spanish word for soul, and these rarified sticks definitely have plenty of that. The Alma Fuerte, or “Strong Soul” is descriptive of both the Plasencia family themselves as well as the cigar’s heavy-hitting smoking profile. The Alma Fuerte weighs in at medium-plus strength with full flavor and body. Expect deep and complex transitions throughout, led by long-lasting flavors of creamy coffee, zesty spices, fresh mountain pine, loads of mineral, chocolate, and dense Nutella.

 

Dominican Puro Cigars

The Dominican Republic produces more cigars every year than any other nation. It’s estimated that 44% of the world’s cigars come out of the D.R. But don’t imagine they sacrifice quality for quantity because they also make among the world’s very best.

 

Davidoff Dominicana

The Davidoff Dominicana employs five different Dominican tobaccos in the filler alone. As a white label Davidoff, it’s not cheap, but the experience is more than worth the investment. It’s truly a special cigar and a beautiful example of what a puro can be. It opens with rich aged oak flavors supplemented by fresh earth. Citrus and fresh cut hay with a touch of white pepper on the finish. The retrohale reminds one of red pepper flake with a hint of toasted nuts.

 

Caldwell The King Is Dead

The King is Dead showcases artistic imagery of a split throne – the cigars, like all in the Caldwell Collection, highlight rare and vintage tobaccos. A Negrito Dominicano wrapper from the 2008 crop is skillfully rolled over an ’06 Corojo Dominicano binder and Dominican fillers of ’06, ’08, and ’10 vintages.

 

Honduran Puro Cigars

Honduran cigars are known for their spicy and earthy flavor profiles and among the historians, for coming from the world’s oldest cigar producing region. Here are some Honduran puro cigars we hold in high regard.

 

C.L.E Corojo

A full-bodied complex puro, exquisitely wrapped in Eiroa’s signature Authentic Corojo leaf with select aged Cuban seed Honduran long filler tobaccos. The medium-full strength Corojo showcases rich natural tobacco sweetness and a hint of caramel. Zesty notes of oak, black pepper, baker’s spice, and espresso fill it out as it closes with smooth, sweet finish.

 

J.R.E. Aladino

JRE is a newer brand, but the company is the creation of famed Honduran tobacco grower Julio R. Eiroa. The Aladino line features an old school “Authentic Corojo” puro blend, using Honduran Corojo tobaccos grown on Julio Eiroa’s Jamastran Valley Farm. The Aladino Honduran puros are handcrafted in a vintage, classic style. The Aladino Robusto is emblematic of the line. Expect a medium-plus body and a tantalizing hit of black pepper and cayenne in the retrohale, joined by notes of medium-roast coffee, pretzel dough, cedar, cashews, and a rewarding buttery finish.

 

Smoke Inn is Your Cigar Place

Your local cigar place is more than just a spot to grab some cigars and go. If they’re doing it right, and we believe we are, then there is a sense of atmosphere there. Your cigar place should have a vibe that makes you happy to be there and want to spend some time. We trust our survey of puro cigars we interesting and useful to most of you. There’s a lot more than can, and will, be said on the subject of puros in the future for sure. But for now, we hope this will whet your appetite for this classic style.  More is in store for the blog in the near future, including a piece on the Smoke Inn Advent Calendar and an upcoming feature on The Great Smoke that you are not going to want to miss. Tickets for 2023’s The Great Smoke go on sale November 1st so set yourself a reminder in your phone now if you haven’t already. Smoke Inn has some very cool stuff in store for you all in the second half of 2022, so stick around and we’ll see you at the bar.

As always, if you’re local or happen to be visiting South Florida, be sure to reward yourself with a visit to one of the country’s best cigar shops in person. We’d love to see you.

 

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