In this time of great stress, nothing is more relaxing than laying back with a cigar on a lazy Saturday morning. But which cigar has the best quality, and which one offers the best value for your money? We checked out four different brands of cigars: Caldwell, Toscano, the Fuente Fuente OpusX, and White Owl. We came out strongly in favor of one of them as the best of the bunch: Caldwell Cigars.
The company builds Caldwell Cigars using very well aged and rare tobaccos. Their website promises “very small batch, rare, and all A grade tobaccos” in the blend used to make the cigar we will be focusing on. The aged tobacco provides year-over-year consistency in flavor and experience. Since tobacco is a crop just like fruits and vegetables, it therefore has its high and low seasons.
This can result in better or weaker crops depending on the quality of the soil and weather, just like with any other plant. The best way to control the consistency of the final product is to age the tobacco for a very long time, and smoking the cigars immediately upon arrival is not necessarily recommended. Caldwell Cigars has always leaned towards tobaccos that were hardest to procure, or more limited in nature, so that they can deliver a flavor that is not quite what you are used to.
Caldwell Cigars has labored to bring you the finest quality product, with great attention paid to every single detail. They offer four primary brands of cigars: Eastern Standard, Midnight Express, The King is Dead, and Long Live the King.
We will be focusing on the Long Live the King cigar for this review, which promises a 91 rating from Cigar Aficionado and claims to the fullest of the four varieties offered. Caldwell’s website also claims that this cigar is “Richer Than Warren Buffet” and claims to be “rich, spicy and compex with a hint of sweetness to round it off.” It comes in a variety of sizes, but always features Dominican Corojo for the wrapper and binder, with a filler combining Peruvian Pelo de Oro and Nicaraguan Habana Ligero.
Caldwell Cigars can be purchased for less than $15 on Small Batch Cigar and other cigar retail venues, but if you use the coupon code “leafenthusiast” on Small Batch Cigar it will be reduced to less than $9. They also offer free shipping. You might have to buy the cigars in a box rather than individually.
We picked up a number of similar products available on the market to see how they compare. We picked up:
The oldest and arguably most well-known cigar company, having originated in Italy during the early 19th century and retaining its reputation as the original great cigar company for centuries.
Widely considered the greatest cigar of them all by aficionados, the Fuente Fuente OpusX is very difficult to acquire due to its rarity, but many say it is worth paying whatever price one can get for it for the strength of the experience.
One of the oldest cigar companies in America and well known for its use of machines, the White Owl offers a wide variety of both brands and flavors. White Owl offers you cigars ranging from blunts to cigarillos, and flavors ranging from Grape to Blue Raspberry, all packaged in brightly colored reflective foil to retain moisture and freshness.
The Long Live the King cigar is filled with aromas of exotic spices, such as cumin, cardamom, lemon citrus, coffee, and fruit. During the first few puffs of the cigar, it is not rare to taste as if you were sucking on a lemon dusted with sugar. As you continue to smoke the cigar, flavors of nuts and hazelnut arise, followed by a notoriously strong and spicy kick to add some depth. Caldwell Cigars start off as a medium strength cigar but tend to gain in strength and body as they continue to be smoked, making for an increasingly rewarding experience.
The packing of Caldwell Cigars comes with a wrapper the color of butterscotch, featuring an amusing design of a too-young king featuring a crown that is too big for his head. The cigar has a flattering and oily sheen to its wrapping. The seams of the Caldwell Cigars are a light color, and there are many small veins on the cigars. They are finished with a triple cap and a pigtail at the end to tie the cigar together. The cigar is very full and lacks any soft spots, with a plethora of tobacco underneath the wrapping to ensure a consistently strong flavor as you smoke it all the way down.
Caldwell Cigars are about as good an experience as you could hope for from a cigar, with a consistently strong and tasty flavor that only grows as it goes on. The company is devoted to keeping its product at the top of the line, and they are well worth the price even if you can only acquire a full box rather than an individual cigar from retailers.
- Strong flavor with no soft spots
- Flattering packing that enhances the experience
- Fairly priced for such a quality cigar
- Difficult to acquire an individual cigar, meaning you could potentially be forced to spend $55 on five cigars rather than spending approximately $11 on a single cigar
To learn more about Caldwell Cigars, visit their website at
The Toscano cigar is the oldest in Italy, having operated out of Tuscany since the early 19th century and retaining a high degree of popularity within both the country and abroad. They have changed very little since their early days and view it as a sign of pride, still using cheroots and operating without molds in their production. They are best known in the United States for being smoked by Clint Eastwood during his movies with Sergio Leone.
Toscano cigars tend to be described as earthy with a few sweeter notes underneath, containing a strong taste of wood smoke and barbecue mixed with a few hints of chocolate. They are noted for being somewhat tough, with a strong looking wrapper that is just as tricky to cut as you would expect, and which you may have to slice a few more times while actually smoking it.
Toscano cigars take pride in the fact that they do not use molds (as is typical with cheroots), and so the cigars tend to appear crooked and veiny with an uneven distribution of tobacco. They are an old cigar, and fittingly enough, they look old and gnarled in many respects. The band is mostly on the cigar for the sake of beginners who would need to know which end to light, and it is not attached very firmly otherwise.
Toscano cigars have lasted a long time for a reason, but if you expect a cigar to be rich and filled with flavor, you should look elsewhere. Most people who have great experience with cigars consider them something of a beginner’s cigar, and their difficulty to acquire if you do not live in Europe means that you might be better off sticking to a more accessible cigar rather than paying the international shipping costs.
- Strong, simple flavors
- An experience of sorts due to their reputation
- Tough appearance
- Might be more expensive for people in certain locations
- Straightforward flavors and tastes
To learn more about Toscano cigars, visit their website at
Arturo Fuente’s cigar company has been around since 1912, and when the Fuente Fuente OpusX premiered, it revolutionized the cigar industry as the original Dominican Republic Puro, with the country’s rich soils leading to strong flavors. It is widely considered the greatest cigar of all time. However, it has become notoriously difficult to gain: it is a rare cigar that frequently tends to sell for double or triple its supposed retail price.
Most would advise that the consumer of the cigar eats something before smoking the OpusX, as it tends to invoke powerful, strong, and nuanced flavors through a heavy cloud of smoke. This can upset your stomach if it is empty. It has a reputation for a very spicy kick, and it generally tends to be described as almost creamy in how smoothly the flavors tend to blend together. It has been compared to a full meal covered in spices, but others have noted flavors ranging from coffee to maple syrup packed within.
The OpusX has a bold appearance, with an earthy wrapping that is almost perfectly smooth and without veins. The one exception is the triple cap, which is surprisingly easy and smooth to slice through, and the seams underneath that show off the different layers. The band is attention getting and flashy, with a different “FF” than the typical Fuente cigar and a bold red X to draw the eye. This is a cigar that wants to be seen as special, and it deserves it.
While I would not recommend smoking it every day even if you could, and it is perhaps not the best cigar for the average person to start off with, the Fuente Fuente OpusX is as good as cigars get. It contains no filler and a strong taste that will be as overpowering as any cigar on the market.
- Delicious, strong, varied flavors
- Beautiful appearance
- Worth smoking for the experience due to its reputation
- Very expensive and difficult to acquire
- Not a good starter cigar
To learn more about the Fuente Fuente OpusX, visit
White Owl cigars have been around since 1887 and have expanded their offerings drastically since that time. For this review, we are focusing on a White Owl Grape Cigarillo, smaller than your standard cigar and promising an unusual flavor.
The grape flavoring of the cigarillo is not so much like the fruit, but more possessing the taste and smell of a wine. The quality and taste of the tobacco is not of a particularly high quality, leaving a rather unpleasant taste not helped by the fact that the wrapper has a rather chemical taste to it. However, the aftertaste is very nice, and the cigarillo being on the smaller side means that the experience can be a quick little break.
The packaging is the main attraction for the White Owl, with a reflective foil that seals in the moisture and ensures freshness. The cigarillo itself has veins and a fairly tight packaging, but it is still surprisingly easy to cut through in order to light it.
The White Owl cigar offers a variety of options that may be better than the grape cigarillo, but the quality of the tobacco used in this product is worrisome, with only the aftertaste and the low price really making it worthwhile. Other flavors and models may provide a better experience, but the lack of care put into the tobacco quality is perhaps telling.
- Wide variety of flavors and sizes
- Good aftertaste
- Bad quality tobacco
- Chemical taste on the wrapper
- Flavoring is not ideal.
To learn more about White Owl Cigars, visit their website at , or buy them online at
Caldwell Cigars are the clear winner of the four brands, a five star experience in terms of pricing, flavor, appearance, and quality. White Owl and Toscano simply do not provide enough flavor and nuance to justify their purchase. While the Fuento Fuento OpusX is as good a cigar as you could ask for, it is simply too expensive and rich to smoke regularly. For a day-to-day way of spending your time, Caldwell Cigars are the perfect amount of a full, rich experience. They are priced fairly, and the company does not allow any filler into the final product, resulting in a great bargain for the cigar aficionado looking to get a good deal.