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Small Smokes and Small Budgets, Part 1

A lot of cigar blogs have a similar approach: they pick a hot new cigar and do a blow-by-blow review of it. As I’ve said before, I don’t have the same access to new releases as established reviewers and I also have a different approach to smoking. So this post is an attempt to encompass a little bit of what makes my cigar journey specific to me.

Smaller cigars are one of my interests. I like them. I like the balance of flavors and the feel of them. I like being able to smoke a full cigar without committing to a full 2 hour experience. They aren’t, however, the most developed sector of the market. To be clear, I’m not talking about cigarillos. Cigarillos are generally pretty unsatisfying for me.

In my journey through the small cigar market, I have tried various products, but not all. Some that I have yet to try are the Padrón Cortico Maduro and the MUWAT Night Crawler. I have tried the natural Cortico, and it just fell out of rotation, meaning that they’re not my thing. I’ve had the MUWAT Bait Fish and it was okay. I also tend to shy away from all the non-Cuban Dominican tins, like Romeo Y Julieta, since I never find them satisfying. For that type of cigar, I would go for the Quesada Petites, which are a long-filler Dominican cigarillo that come in a cool little box.

Below is a picture of me trying some things out.


Out of that batch (ignore the Cubans), the little Crowned Heads Jericho Hill  Shots 4.5 x 42 stood out. The OBS is a regular production size, if those aren’t available. I used to smoke the CAO Brazilia Cariocas as a small work cigar and preferred it to the MX2, I think, although they seemed pretty similar.

Three of my top small cigars are these:


The Tatuaje Petite Cazadores Reserva is a Broadleaf wrapped piece of deliciousness. It has a covered foot for savoring that wrapper and a lot of rich earth and cocoa type flavors. The only caveat is that they are little inconsistent in the draw and burn from stick to stick


The LFD Carajos Oscuro are a great little Dominican. If you’ve tried some of the bigger LFD offerings, you know a little of what to expect. They are a solid, beautifully constructed, rich flavored mini, not like some milder Dominicans which can only be smoked in the morning.

I have had mixed feelings about the Papas Fritas. It is a short-filler cigar made from Drew Estate’s Liga Privada cuttings. They’re not cheap and as a short-filler cigar, you have to be careful to smoke them slowly, or they will burn hot and bitter. Sometimes I get mad that I’m smoking DE’s scraps for real money and then sometimes I think, wow, these are pretty good. However, they do have real full-bodied Liga flavor. You can drop these in a pocket and pinch off the little tail, no cutter needed. In the long run, I like ’em.

I have also tried a couple of the little soft packs of Tatuaje and L’Atelier, although not all. They seem to be hard to find. They are precut. Thus far, the Surrogates Cracker Crumbs are the most interesting and reminded me a lot of pipe tobacco, with some of that pipe spice and room note.


Worth a try if you can find them.

L’Atelier Travailleurs is the other offering I tried. It has an Ecuadorian Sancti Spiritus wrapper, rather than the darker Oscuro of the Cracker Crumbs. It’s got an odd vegetal spice to it. I’m going to reserve judgment; you can judge for yourself. DSC01149

Next on the list is the RomaCraft Intemperance BA XXI Intrigue Petito, which has very long name for a small cigar. It has an interesting, um, uncovered foot. You can see it in the  picture. It is, however, a killer smoke and ends up being added as the number 4 staple in my small smoke rotation. Really impressive and a must try from an un-hypey producer I respect. It seems that they recently added a band, so I made sure to get you a photo of that.


I am now trying something new which has popped up on the radar: Southern Draw’s Quick Draw combo, in Habano and Pennsylvania Broadleaf versions. They are manufactured by AJ Fernandez . I have had bad luck with the AJ Fernandez stuff (a whole other story), but these seem very promising and have a closed foot, which I happen to like.


Anyway, this is about the current state of my small smoke journey. I think all of them are worth trying.

I know it’s taken me forever to get back to blogging. I’ve tried to rearrange my schedule and hopefully this will result in more content.

The second part of this piece will focus on small budgets.

…to be continued



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