Toasted Foot’s Top Ten Connecticut Cigars List

Toasted Foot’s Top Ten Connecticut Cigars List

For most of us, our first cigar experience was with a milder Connecticut shade cigars. (Mine was the Dunhill Aged Cabreras, enjoyed with my best friend Chris and purchased at Stogies World Class Cigars on my 18th birthday.) Cigars like the Ashton Connecticut and Rocky Patel 1999 Vintage are essentially the cigars that launched a thousand Tatuaje smokers. Still, after years of seeking out the latest My Father, Espinosa or AJ Fernandez release, we can sometimes forget that there are great mild and medium bodied Connecticut shade releases that are impressive cigars in their own right.

The last few years, many new cigars have been released that have brought new life to the Connecticut shade category of cigars. Instead of simply being mild cigars lacking in flavor that are primarily for novice cigar enthusiasts, these new cigars are complex mild to medium bodied cigars that can be enjoyed by both the novice and the seasoned cigar enthusiast. Many of these new breed of Connecticut cigars are coming from boutique companies that have, until now, been know for fuller bodied cigars.

Because of these new Connecticut releases, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about Connecticut shade cigars. I thought it might be time for a list dedicated exclusively to my favorite shade cigars. While there are plenty of other good Connecticut cigars on the market, this list is of my Top Ten personal favorite Connecticut cigars.

10) Undercrown Shade Toro by Drew Estate – Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper
Drew Estate’s Undercrown Shade features a mild creamy flavor profile. Not quite medium bodied, but not overly mild, the Undercrown Shade is a great beginner cigar with a good amount of complexity to it. As one of the early Connecticut cigars that doesn’t trade lack of strength for lack of complexity, the Undercrown Shade has gained a big following among smokers of mild cigars.


9) Fratello Oro “The Boxer” – Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper
Omar de Frias’ Fratello Oro “The Boxer” is a definitely a medium boded Connecticut cigar. While many of the more medium bodied Connecticut cigars feature a pepperiness to the flavor profile, the Fraatello Oro has a pleasant mix of spice and some white pepper together. A Cameroon binder adds a lot to the flavor of the Oro. Though all the vitolas in the Oro line are good, the box-pressed “The Boxer” torpedo really sets itself apart for both flavor and construction.


8) La Aurora Preferidos Sapphire Corona Especiales – USA Connecticut shade wrapper
This thin mild corona from the oldest continually operating cigar company is about as classic a Connecticut cigar as you will find on this list. Traditional flavors of hay, oats, cedar and cinnamon are joined by a small amount of spice. La Aurora uses a United States Connecticut shade wrapper over a Dominican binder and a blend of Dominican, Brazilian and Cameroon filler tobacco. This very mild Connecticut cigar is great for the novice cigar smoker.


7) Leaf by Oscar Connecticut – Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper
The Leaf by Oscar Connecticut is Oscar Valladares take on the Connecticut for Jim Robinson. Wrapped in a tobacco leaf instead of the more commonplace cellophane, the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut is a classic take on the Connecticut Shade cigar. Though milder than many of the Connecticut cigars on this list, there is still a good deal of flavor to the Leaf Connecticut. The Leaf Connecticut is one of those great everyday cigars for the beginning cigar smoker.


6)  Matilde Serena Corona – Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper
Matilde Cigars new Connecticut shade cigar begins mild and then increases to medium bodied, making it another great crossover cigar for both the mild and medium bodied cigar enthusiast. Flavors of wood, nuts, oak, toast and mild pepper blend together to please the palate during the smoking experience. The Matilde Serena Corona is an amazingly well constructed cigar, which only adds to the appeal of the cigar.


5) My Father Connecticut – Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper
The My Father Connecticut is one of the earliest of the new breed of Connecticut cigars that do not sacrifice flavor in favor of less strength. Mild through the majority of the cigar, there is a mild black pepper note that continues to grow as the cigar is smoked. Lots of graham cracker, wood, leather and hay flavors come through on the palate while smoking the My Father Connecticut. The Garcia family’s My Father Cigars has done a great job making such a wonderful cigar.


4) Highclere Castle Corona – USA Connecticut shade wrapper
The Highclere Castle from Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigars was created George Herbert the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, the current resident of Highclere Castle (known to many as the setting of the show Downton Abby). The Highclere Castle is a complex and flavorful cigar that begins on the milder side and builds to a pleasant medium. Though, pricier than many of the cigars on this list, the Highclere Castle (especially in corona vitola) is a cigar that is definitely worth giving a try. The Highclere Castle makes for a great Connecticut cigar to celebrate life’s special occasions.

3) Southern Draw Rose of Sharon Toro – Ecuadorian Sun Grown Connecticut wrapper
Southern Draw’s Connecticut expansion to its core line, the Rose of Sharon, pay tribute to Sharon Holt who’s been an essential part of making Southern Draw cigars such a great boutique company. When it comes to Connecticut shade cigars, the Rose of Sharon is one of those that has a bit of “oomph” to it, making it the perfect choice for those who no longer find the ultra mild cigars most novices begin smoking to be to their liking, but find medium-full or full bodied cigars to be a bit too strong for them.


2) Protocol Themis Toro – Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper
Coming from the successful partnership between Cubariqueño Cigar Co and Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory, the Protocol Themis stands out for its complexity, as well as an added bit of strength that many milder cigars seem to lack. The Themis is yet another one of the new breed of cigars that has a fair amount of strength to it, putting it in the medium bodied territory. Due to the medium bodied profile, this may be one of those Connecticut cigar that isn’t right as a first cigar for the novice, but nearly everyone else will find something worth appreciating in the Protocol Themis.

1) Cornelius & Anthony Ariel Robusto – Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper
While there are a lot of great Connecticut cigars on this list, the Cornelius & Anthony Ariel really sets itself apart. Starting out milder with creamier note of cedar, oak, nut and citrus, the Ariel finishes as a solid medium with a more earthy profile. There’s a lot more pepper to the Ariel than the typical Connecticut shade cigar. Although it is more peppery than the average Connecticut cigar, the cigar’s black pepper is still milder than the typical Nicaraguan cigar, so this a great cigar for the milder smoker wishing to move to more medium bodied cigars or the full bodied smoker looking for something milder to start their day.


Note: There are a few cigars on this list that, for one reason or another, do not have reviews currently posted here on Toasted Foot. We will do our best to rectify this shortly.