The Best Anniversario Cigars To Smoke Right Now

These exclusive stogie blends keep getting better with age.

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The local tobacco shop’s humidor can be a nebulous shopping experience. “Family blend” and “reserva” are as ubiquitous in those cedar-lined rooms these days as the gold and silver foil embossing every label and box. If you can’t find your go-to brands or blends or just want to try something new, it’s usually best to look at the numbers. This isn’t a sermon on price-comparison shopping, and trying to get you more smoke for your stacks.

This is about anniversario cigars—cigars blended and released to celebrate a company’s milestone. Cigarmakers often see business through the lens of survival. Between government crackdowns on their products and a generations ago exodus from Cuba that saw many of today’s great names starting over—with a handful of seeds in unfamiliar lands—every year of making great tobacco can feel like it comes against all odds. So when they put out a new robusto or torpedo to celebrate it, the tobacco under the band is almost always some of the best they’ve got.

Cigarmakers handle anniversary smokes in essentially three ways. First, a cigarmaker may simply add a special commemorative band to their existing products, and move on with business. No, it’s not terribly exciting, but creates a fun bit of celebratory ambiance, and some of these releases can quickly gain cult-like status among collectors.

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The second approach many cigarmakers take is to create a new vitola (size) for an existing blend. Padrón has done this on numerous occasions, though the Fuentes and their Opus X series would have to be the most notorious issues of new vitolas. You’ve probably enjoyed something from this collection, never to see or hear of it again.

The final and boldest approach is to create something entirely new—a new line permanently added to humidors, or a single batch of a special blend, while supplies last. These anniversary releases often feature tweaked tobacco blends or expert rollers, and they’re often made with the best tobacco available at the time.

It’s a similar concept to the way wineries may make occasional “special” blends, or how port’s special vintages delineate which years are among the best. Surprisingly, they’re also often the things that can hang around longer in a cigar shop—if they’re not bought up on day one. Major anniversaries won’t even necessarily end in a five or a zero.

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Not typically known for playing fast and loose with the rules, when Padrón released the Padrón Family Reserve 46 Years more than a decade ago, the diminutive little boxes were emptying like candy dishes. It made you wonder: had they been planning a 46th-anniversary celebration for years, or had the runner-up for the cigar of the 45th simply been too good not to put into circulation right away?

Take the L.A.-based boutique cigar brand Viaje, which technically celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2022. In 2023, however, founder Andre Farkas told Cigar Aficionado that his 15th anniversary “needed more of a celebration.” His do-over 15th-anniversary release ended up as not one but three separate tobacco blends, each packaged in a different collectible ceramic jar. Farkas made less than 1,000 jars combined—and just 315 of each.

When you consider the jars likely held back by the family for posterity, the ones sent directly to cigar influencers and the ones that unscrupulous cigar shops never let hit the shelves in the first place, you’re looking at some really special tobacco that someone jumped through a lot of hoops to release (Viaje, incidentally, makes incredible tobacco).

Most of the time, it doesn’t matter why it’s happening—you don’t have to be intimately aware of the milestones of the brands to appreciate a great smoke. Tatuaje celebrated its 20th anniversary with a release in the final quarter of the year, but as someone who was already following the brand carefully when the 10th rolled around, I can tell you that 10th-anniversary smokes were both delicious and available for an entire year afterwards, if you were keeping an eye out. The 20th is rolled in two classic sizes—the Grande Merveille approximating a lonsdale, and a corona-gorda-sized Grand Chasseur, each for around $13 per cigar.

La Aurora claims the title of the Dominican Republic’s oldest cigarmaker and celebrated 120 years in 2023 with a $40 limited edition: a full-bodied Dominican puro, or cigar made entirely with tobacco from a single country. Dominican tobacco is notoriously harder to blend well without leaf from other countries—unless you’ve got really great tobacco.

Davidoff, for the record, also was dealing in puro anniversaries last year. The incredible Davidoff Nicaragua line of cigars marked a turning point for the brand back in 2013. They celebrated by releasing a gorgeous Gran Toro—a $36 luxe-sized version of the $22 Toro. Gurkha and Perdomo both celebrated with new cigars, and Gurkha added a luxe humidor for good measure.

Ferio Tego—which was founded by Michael Herklots, the man behind some of Nat Sherman’s best smokes like Timeless—celebrated 10 years of Timeless in 2022, having taken over the brand at the unfortunate demise of Nat Sherman a few years ago. You can still order a box of these online right now—and I’d continue to do so, because they consistently deliver high scores from reviewers, just like the old days.

(Ferio Tego)

“The Timeless Collection means a great deal to me,” Herklots tells us. “Timeless Prestige was the first blend and brand I created and brought to market in 2012, and the subsequent blends within the Timeless collection each have their own unique experience and story to tell. We are hyper-focused on maintaining these sensational blends year after year and production after production. Consistency is the bedrock of Ferio Tego’s philosophy.”

So what should you look out for in 2024? Padrón will almost certainly announce a 60th-anniversary cigar before autumn, as they’ve never missed a five-year mark. Quesada’s 50th anniversary is this year as well, and La Flor Dominicana will have 30 years to celebrate. Meanwhile, in the world of Cubans nothing is predictable. Quai d’Orsay—a French-market brand that later found international fans—will celebrate 50 years in 2024, but even if Cuban cigarmaker Habanos allows samples to light up at their festival this year, boxes probably won’t be in Paris until 2025. Always fashionably late to its own party, that Cuba.

In the meantime, keep space open in your social calendar for upcoming releases. Or just hop in on some of the ongoing celebrations. It’s never wise to arrive at a party too late, but if you’re in for the fun, you’ll have plenty of time before last call.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Maxim magazine.