BY ROBERT KLINT

Exhilaration can come from driving a fast car, or piloting a high-speed boat. It’s exciting to feel the wind whipping through your hair while taking a tight curve, or watching waves crash over the bow. But there’s also something to be said about taking it slow. Exhilaration can be found in experiences that linger. Euphoria can come in many speeds, and sometimes taking a pause and savouring something like a fine cigar, can be a rush all on its own.

Related: Cigars: The guilty pleasure of a hand-rolled Cuban

Where to start? There are hundreds of cigar brands out there. Trying to navigate through the choices can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting to become a cigar aficionado. Popular cigars are produced in countries like Honduras, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. The cigars with the most cachet though, are still the ones hand-made in Cuba. Two of the most popular brands are Cohiba and Montecristo, and for good reason. They produce excellent cigars that are world class.

But there are other Cuban cigars that are just as good, and would be a welcome addition to any personal humidor. Here are five premium Cuban cigars that you should try right now:

Hoyo De Monterrey – Epicure No. 2

This is a wonderful brand, and one of their signature cigars is the Epicure No. 2. It comes in a robusto size, which is a short thick cigar, usually five inches long. The Epicure No. 2 is a good introductory cigar, but is also for a man of great taste. It is classified as “suave” or soft, and that is evident in its rich mix of flavours. Hints of vanilla, woodsy cedar and a smooth coffee finish are some of the tastes that will melt on your palate. It’s a creamy smoke, very flavourful and light. Mellow, refined, and a perfect way to end the day after a game of golf, or with a glass of whiskey in your hand.

Box of 25 — $925.00

Partagas – Serie D No. 4

Another great robusto is the Serie D No. 4 by Partagas. It’s known as a cigar smoker’s cigar. It’s a fuller bodied choice, with a heady aroma and perfect blend of flavours. But be warned, it’s classified as “Fuerte” or strong, so it packs a punch. You have to work your way up to a cigar like this one. The No. 4 is spicy and peppery, with hints of nutmeg and clove. This is an excellent cigar that rewards the smoker with its depth and complexity. People often fall into two camps – they either love the Hoyo or they love the Partagas.

Box of 25 — $924.75

Romeo y Julieta — Short Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill was famously a lover of the brand. So much so, that Romeo y Julieta named its flagship cigar in honour of him – the Churchill. This cigar is classified as “Medio” or medium, and has an excellent draw accompanied with big plumes of smoke. It’s creamy, mellow and vanilla smooth. As you get deeper into the cigar, the flavours become richer and more complex, with a nice espresso finish at the end. This is an exquisite cigar that invites you to take your time and really enjoy the moment.

Box of 25 — $937.25

Upmann – Magnum 54

Upmann’s were favoured by President John F. Kennedy. In fact he loved them so much he ordered his press secretary to grab him 1,000 Upmann cigars before signing the Cuban embargo. The Magnum 54 is a newer entry to the brand, first introduced back in 2016. This is a smooth and palatable medium-bodied cigar. It has a dry roasted nutty flavour with a nuanced sweetness and slight hint of citrus. The Magnum 54 is a refined cigar that you can picture yourself smoking on a yacht … enjoying the sun on your face, the sea sparkling in the distance.

Box of 25 — $999.75

Ramon Allones – Specially Selected

This is the sleeper hit of the bunch. The last cigar on the list may not be as well known, but it’s such a good cigar it won’t stay a secret for long. This is a real find. It’s a man’s cigar – sophisticated, elegant and pretty damn perfect. Its draw is tight, but it’s so smooth, and earthy, and chocolatey, and full-bodied, that you don’t mind at all. The Allones has a nice kick to it, and long after you smoke it, you’ll be thinking about this cigar. It lingers in your mind and palate, as only the best Cuban cigars can.

Box of 25 — $849.75

Top image: Shutterstock

Cigars courtesy of The Smokin’ Cigar Inc., 1540 Bayview Ave., Toronto