I have often commented that cigars are properly classified as another branch of culinary arts. They are crafted from products of the earth, are consumed for their flavors and textures, and often they compliment a great meal better than anything. It makes perfect sense then to have cigars themed and crafted around culinary experiences. While it is true that most cigars do not tend to have this specific aim in mind, there are still plenty of cigar makers who zero in on the parallels that premium cigars and food have in common. Today I am exploring some of my favorites of this category with this, my top 5 food cigars!
#5. Punch Egg Roll
Back in 2019 Punch launched this first entry in what would be a whole line up of cigars that were themed after Chinese take out food. This tasty little cigar was known as the Egg Roll. With a 4 ½”x 50 vitola complete with an exposed shaggy foot made to resemble the filling of an actual egg roll, the presentation makes for a very clever visual effect. The blend of USA, Columbian, Dominican, and Mexican fillers along with a Ecuadorian Sumatra binder and Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper delivers a uniquely savory and tangy flavor experience that do in fact hearken to stir fry like flavors. This is also a very affordable smoke too (cheaper than some real egg rolls that I have seen) which further adds to its appeal for me.
#4 HVC Hot Cake
When Renier Lorenzo first released the Hot Cake in 2020 it was a regular production follow up to the 2016 limited edition, Pan Caliente. The bend was different from the original as was the factory. The Pan Caliente featured all Nicaraguan AGANORSA tobacco, and was rolled at Raices Cubana in Honduras. The Hot Cake does have AGANORSA binder and fillers, but features a San Andrés wrapper, and is rolled at the AGANORSA factory in Esteli. The Hot Cake brings out a oily, medium-full bodied smoke with sweet bready notes, earthy and beefy mushroom, milk chocolate and black pepper for a truly delicious flavor experience. More recently HVC debuted a new iteration of the Hot Cake with the Hot Cake Golden Line, trading out the Mexican San Andrés wrapper for a Ecuadorian Shade-grown wrapper, offering a creamier, lighter, but still thoroughly flavorful experience.
#3 Crowned Heads Le Carême
There have been many additions in the way of vitolas for this particular blend since its introduction by Crowned Heads in 2016, but the 5”x50 robusto of the Le Carême was my first and my favorite of the line. Named after the legendary French chef, Marie Antoine Carême who was arguably the founder of French Haute Cuisine, the Le Carême was crafted to be reminiscent of a chocolate souffle (a dish popularized by the cigar’s namesake. A great example of a classic dessert cigar, the Le Carême delivers a sweet, fluffy smoke with notes of cocoa, cream, nuttiness, dried fruit and cedar, with one of the smoothest retrohales known to man.
#2 Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Sobremesa Brulee Blue
The Sobremesa brand has always been one that I appreciated in a special way. Just the name, “Sobremesa” is key as it refers to an idea in Hispanic culture that really has no English parallel. Literally, the word translates loosely to “over the table”, but the idea of “sobremesa” as a cultural reality goes mush deeper. Sobremesa refers to that period after dinner is over, where those present share in activity to socialize, relax, converse and connect. This could be after dinner drinks, dominoes, cigars, some combination of all of these, etc. That idea has always resonated with me and I wish more people in our culture would practice it! Anyway, back to the cigar. The Sobremesa has a number of blend variations, but my favorite of the lot is the Brulee Blue. As the name suggests, the Brulee Blue does have sweet notes of cream and charred sugar, while also bringing sophisticated notes of fragrant cedar, delicate nut nuances, vanilla, florals and custard. Gotta appreciate a cigar that offers this much cultural significance while also giving so much culinary delight.
#1 Privada Cheesesteak
Brian Desind of Privada Cigar club has often stated that the city of Philadelphia has been a source of artistic inspiration for his work. He thus set out to craft a cigar that was emblematic of this city’s culture and energy. The result was the Privada Cheesesteak. Privada Cigar Club has a long history of food themed cigars, and while this has on occasion been a source of controversy with some individuals in the industry, there is no denying that these projects are typically some of favorites among the Privada community. The Cheesesteak in particular brings out everything I love in a food themed cigar. The vitola is a Churchill, to resemble the length of the Philly cheesesteak sandwich, and is even wrapped in deli paper and sealed with a strip of masking tape to really hit home that whole sandwich shop vibe. Flavor wise this thing is just outstanding, bringing out sweet and savory notes of caramelized onion, silky chocolate notes, black pepper, espresso, leather and jerky. Controversy be damned, this is exactly this sort of stuff I want more of in the market and it is all I could ever want in a food themed smoke!
Do you like seeing food themed cigars? If so let me know some of your favorites, or better yet, tell me some dish or food theme that should be made into a cigar in the comments below!
I am a Certified Consumer Tobacconist, have enjoyed cigars for over 10 years, and I run the Jonose Cigars cigar review channel on YouTube. My primary goal is to spread cigar lifetsyle to as many as possible while discovering as much as possible about the craft of cigars along the way.