The pandemic might have ground many industries to a devastating halt, but cigar-making literally keeps rolling along. Most of the factories in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras shut down briefly at various times during March, April and May, but they are now up and running again, albeit with the same changes we’re seeing everywhere—social distancing, masks, temperature checks and plenty of hand-sanitizer.
“All our rollers live in dorms on property and have been on quarantine since the middle of March,” notes Paolo Garzaroli, of Graycliff Cigar Company in the Bahamas. “They don’t roam outside the property, so they are not exposed to the virus.”
As a result of social distancing and the necessity of partial shifts, many companies are producing cigars at approximately half their pre-pandemic rate.
“We have lost some capacity with the new shift patterns,” says Diana Rojas, Altadis brand manager for H. Upmann cigars.
Some companies, such as Arturo Fuente, which began expanding their Santiago factory last year, have been able to maintain their same volume of cigars by spreading workers out into the newly remodeled spaces.
As a result, there’s no shortage of cigars or accessories for dad this Father’s Day. Here are 10 of our favorites.
You won’t have to gift wrap this box – with its holographic banded cigars artfully arranged inside a modern 5- or 10-count dome-topped chest, the packaging alone will make Dad aware that this is his special day. This is the fullest-bodied Cohiba yet, composed of a multi-country blend from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. It also marks the first time this brand has been made in Honduras. Three sizes are available: 4 ½ x 52 gran royale, 5 ½ x 54 robusto royale, and 6 x 50 toro royale.
($23.99 – $28.99)
Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1
Yes, there’s a slightly bigger ring-sized No.2 and a larger yet toro especiale, but we are partial to the 5 5/8 x 46 No. 1 size as an easy, stroll-around-the-block smoke that doesn’t require a lot of time to enjoy. And yet, this Cuban seed, all-Honduran puro is packed with the meaty, earthy flavors that have become the hallmarks of this brand.
Romeo y Julieta Real Nicaragua
If you’re in the backyard with Dad, sipping a Maker’s Mark on the rocks while waiting for the coals to heat up before slapping some porterhouses on the grill, this is the cigar he should be smoking. This Nicaraguan puro, packed with a fistful of spicy smoke, is the result of a collaboration between A.J. Fernandez, on whose farms the tobaccos were grown, and Rafael Nodal, head of product capability for Tabacalera USA. “It is more complex and fuller in body than the original Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real made in the Dominican Republic,” Nodal says, “but it is not too strong.” Four sizes, a toro, robusto, Churchill, and a 6 x 60 magnum, are produced.
($8.77 – $9.96)
Fuente Fuente OpusX
This all-Dominican puro has become one of the most sought-after cigars in the world and rivals many Cuban brands in taste and strength. The smokes are rolled by a select number of torcedors in a special room dedicated to this one brand, which also has its own aging room, apart from the other Fuente cigars. Aged for a minimum of six months, the cigar has a rich and meaty flavor. A variety of classic and figurado shapes are made, with the 5 ½ x 46 Fuente Fuente, shown here, being one of our favorites.
($9.25 – $47)
Padrón 1926 Serie
If you want to give Dad a can’t-miss classic, this is the one to present. Available in either a richly-tanned natural or a dark, chocolaty maduro wrapper, this box-pressed cigar is composed of tobaccos aged from five to 10 years. A Nicaraguan puro, it has an earthy yet velvety flavor that is a perfect match for a snifter of Kirk & Sweeney 23 Year Old Rum or a Germain-Robin XO Cognac.
($12.40 – $22.40)
H. Upmann Añejo
Sweet earthy saddle leather with a tinge of mustard and ginger best describes this medium-plus cigar, which incorporates a rich, well-balanced filler blend composed of tobaccos from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic, anchored by a sweet Broadleaf binder and wrapped in a dark, double-fermented Ecuador Habano wrapper. All of the tobaccos have been aged for a minimum of five years. Three sizes are produced: 54 x 6 toro, 50 x 5 robusto and 60 x 6 magnum, with the toro being our favorite.
($7.10 – $8.10)
Elie Bleu Cuban Flag Leather Cigar Case
No matter where your Dad’s stogies are rolled, they will feel right at home in this thick, two-finger cigar case handmade by the French firm of Elie Bleu. Colorfully depicting the Cuban flag, this sturdy all-leather case will protect cigars with ring gauges as large as 64; it’s a great way to give Dad’s cigars some Cuban flair.
Casa Cubana Ashtray
Okay, so you can’t take Dad to Cuba for Father’s Day. But you can bring Cuba to him with this Limoges porcelain Elie Blue ashtray, which depicts a colorful street scene in Old Havana. It easily accommodates two cigars, so you can accompany your father on a smoke-filled trip.
Diamond Jet Flame Alba Cigar Lighter
Finished in yellow lacquer with Alba marquetry to match the similarly-styled Elie Bleu humidors, this handsome butane lighter features a slide ignition, fuel tank view window and an adjustable flame. Even if he doesn’t have an Elie Bleu humidor, this may set the stage for his upcoming holiday gift.
Graycliff Cigar Smoker’s Treasure Chest
If you still can’t decide what to give Dad for Father’s Day, why not give him everything? From the cigar smoking gourmet haven of the five-star Graycliff resort in Nassau, Bahamas comes this elegant package, consisting of a 200-count black lacquer finish humidor with diamond pattern bonded leather accents and filled with 40 each of Graycliff’s Chateau Gran Cru Pirate, Silver Toro, Espresso President, and Heritage Royale Duke cigars, for a total of 160 cigars. In addition, a matching travel humidor, able to hold three 60-ring cigars, is included, along with a Torino Lamborghini Aldebaran red fiber carbon cigar cutter. To order, contact: Paolo Garzaroli at firstname.lastname@example.org.