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The fact that there is a list of the best gas station cigars might be surprising to some, especially cigar enthusiasts who probably never considered a decent cigar coming from the local convenience store. The fact is, there are more than just a handful that is worth your time.
No, you’re not going to find the next Alec Brandley Prensado Lost Art at your local Tom Thumb but you can find some reasonable substitutes, especially while you’re waiting on your latest cigar order or just want something quick and simple. Most of these cigars will last you through a long commute at the very least.
Plus, it’s a good idea for a cigar smoker on a budget. You’d be surprised at what you might find at a gas station. Sure, some things probably aren’t worth lighting up, however, you may just discover the next big start-up company. Also, some of the oldest and most well-respected cigar makers distribute to gas stations.
Best Gas Station Cigars
Oliva is not a bad cigar brand and they also happen to make the Nub Maduro. It’s a short cigar (hence the name), and though it’s not a premium cigar by any means, it’s one of the more high-quality cigars you’ll find at a gas station convenience store.
Nub cigars are only 4” in length and feature a 60-ring size. They come from Esteli, where Oliva runs a Nicaraguan facility. The smoke you get from a Nub Maduro is surprisingly smooth, with nutty flavors, medium roast coffee, caramel, and a peppery aftertaste that isn’t bad at all.
2. Nub Connecticut 354
Another one of Oliva’s offerings is the Nub Connecticut 354, which also happens to be one of the more popular of the Nub cigars. It’s slightly shorter and more narrow than its Maduro cousin, with a length of 3 and ¾” and a 54-ring size. You’ll find the Nub Connecticut 354 is often easier to find in gas stations than the Maduro version.
The almond and generally nutty flavor of the Connecticut 354 is far more prevalent than the sweeter flavor of the Nub Maduro. Wrapped in Ecuadoran paper, the smoke from a 354 is incredibly smooth, with a lightly peppered aftertaste that speaks volumes for a $6 cigar.
3. Dutch Masters Corona Honey Sports
Other than maybe Black & Milds, Dutch Masters is one of the most common cigar brand names you’ll find in a convenience store. At least, it’s one of the most widely spread affordable cigars. You will only get two or three of them per pack, but they are surprisingly enjoyable.
There are a variety of different types, but the Dutch Masters Sports line is probably the most popular. The Honey Sports is a sweeter variation and the smoke flavor is exactly what the name implies—honey. These are designed to get you through a day or two when you’re away from your humidor, and they do the trick nicely.
4. Macanudo Cafe Court Tubo Cigar
Macanudo Cafes should be universally known by now. You will find them behind every glass case and over the shoulder of every convenience store employee. They are instantly recognizable by their blonde wrappers and gold stickers.
The fact is, Maduros are more high quality than you think, yet an affordable option nonetheless. Handmade in the Dominican Republic, Macanudo Cafes have a decidedly creamy, high-end flavor to them. These things are handmade and never see the beginning or end of an assembly line machine.
5. Avanti Anisette 10/5
If you prefer smoky but sweet, an Avanti Anisette 10/5 will fill the void nicely. Started as an American business by an Italian family, Avanti Anisettes use Kentucky tobacco. If you’re interested in one of those rare cigars that use state-side tobacco, this is the one.
Avantis feature a semi-dark wrapper without any additional stickers or emblems plastered anywhere on the cigar. They’re also already cut when they come out of the box, which may irritate some of the more ritualistic cigar smokers. Nonetheless, it’s a smooth and slow burn.
6. Black & Mild
These things are so prevalent they’re usually placed alongside all of the cigarettes in the convenience store. They come in a variety of flavors as well and feature a wood tip on one end, rather than a cut or smooth foot. One thing cigar smokers like about them is how easy they are to smoke.
They have a 50/50 ratio of sweet and smoky to them and as the name implies, it’s a fairly mild smoke. It also burns fairly slowly, so you probably won’t finish one on the commute from work to the house. Black & Milds are the perfect smoke for introducing people to the larger world of cigar smoking.
7. Backwoods Honey Berry
Many claim that this is the most popular gas station cigar in the world. Maybe so, but Black & Milds would probably have something to say on the matter. One thing is for sure, they aren’t pretty cigars, often looking as if they went through several US post offices before arriving at the convenience store.
However, they are surprisingly good. You’ll never convince a cigar purist about that but hey, there’s only so much you can do. The tobacco is Cuban seed tobacco, and these cigarillos come in a variety of flavors, including honey, sweet aromatic, honey bourbon, and original.
8. Garcia y Vega Elegantes
It’s definitely a gas station cigar, however, and the company has been churning them out since 1882. That’s quite a bit of experience.
The Garcia Y Vega Elegantes are actually considered to be the true beginner cigars for up-and-coming, future cigar purists. The flavor is surprisingly smooth, slightly sweet, slightly smoky, and not overpowering or overly harsh in the least.
9. Parodi Kings
Parodi Kings is an Italian-style cigar manufacturer and, like Honey Berry Backwoods, are rough looking. Avanti, which manufactures more than one gas station cigar on this list, also makes Parodi Kings cigars.
Their cherry vanilla and Ammezzati flavors are the best and easily the most popular. The flavors are robust but not overpowering by any means. Their unique flavor variations make Parodi Kings one of the more popular gas station cigars around. Hailing from Pennsylvania, Parodi Kings is American-made, drawing their tobacco from farms in Kentucky and Tennessee.
10. Braniff No. 2
Braniff No. 2s definitely fall in the cigarillos category and are considered classic cigarillos at that. Mostly popularized in European gas stations, they are also growing in popularity throughout the United States. There are several variations in terms of flavor available as well.
Another brand that utilizes Cuban seed tobacco, a Braniff cigarillo makes for a very smooth and slow-burning smoke. You can expect to get a solid 20 minutes out of one of them. If you’re looking for something exceptionally smooth and affordable, a Braniff No. 2 fits the bill.
11. Dutch Masters President
Dutch Masters makes the list again with the Dutch Masters President. Since they are one of the oldest and longest-selling cigar brands, you can expect a level of quality from Dutch Masters that are hard to find at a convenience store.
It features a natural wrapper and, though machine-made, rather than hand wrapped, still manages to pull off a nice, smooth flavor profile that’s perfect after a good meal. Expect a splash of vanilla, almond, and cashews without any one of them being the dominant flavor.
Gas stations aren’t the first place a cigar aficionado will go looking for a fine cigar. While you certainly won’t find premium flavors in an Exxon, you might be surprised at what they have to offer, especially if you’re a long way from home and would really appreciate a cigar at the moment.
It’s also helpful if you love cigars and you happen to be on a budget at the moment. Tobacco prices are rising, so sometimes we have to bite the bullet and take a step down the ladder for at least a little while. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a garbage cigar and smoke that tastes like crushed Tylenol and battery acid.
You’d be surprised at what you will find in a gas station cigar and some are a little more expensive than others. However, all of the cigars and cigarillos on this list are well within the range of affordability for most. Some of them are far better than their price would imply.
Check out our ratings of the best gas station cigars.