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Cigar Tip: Five Green Cigars for St. Patrick’s Day

11 Mar 2014

I’ll be honest. I’m not a huge fan of green-colored candela cigars. For the most part, I smoke them for the same reason that I drink green beer: Because it’s fun once a year. (That’s why I’m updating last year’s list of St. Patrick’s Day smokes.)

It’s not that candela cigars are bad, it’s just that I’ve yet to find a candela that’s better than the same blend with a traditional wrapper (and the cigars below are no exception). That’s probably why candela cigars make up a fraction of one percent of the premium cigar market, and a proportional percentage of my cigar purchases.

And yet it wasn’t always that way. Green candela wrappers were once very popular with American cigar smokers. So much so that candela wrapper leafs—which go through a special quick and hot fermentation process that locks in the green color—were once known as “American Market Selection,” as opposed to more traditional brown “English Market Selection” wrappers.

If you’re thinking about trying a candela, St. Patrick’s Day is as good a time to take the plunge. Unlike last year, we’re giving you a full week to track one down before you break out the Guinness and Jameson, which is a good thing since they can be tough to find. To that end, here’s a quick rundown of some of the green cigars available:

Black Market Filthy Hooligan by Alec Bradley — First released last year, it’s back with a wrapper that’s a year older. It features the same blend as the regular Black Market (Panamanian and Honduran filler with a Sumatra binder) coupled with a candela wrapper. If you like the regular Black Market cigar, this is your best bet.

Illusione Candela — Illusione makes it’s original blend (Nicaraguan binder and filler) with candela in a few sizes. Back in 2011 when it first came out, we found the 88 size to be a pleasant smoke with tea and plenty of sweet flavors, and lacking the bitterness that sometimes characterizes candela cigars.

Viaje WLP St. Patrick’s Day — Last year was it’s third annual release, but there doesn’t seem to be a 2014 version. I smoked a few of the 2012 edition, which features the brightest candela wrapper I’ve ever seen, and found that it equaled the Illusione as my favorite candela. It also has the brightest green wrapper of the bunch.

Don Tomás Candela — My colleague reviewed this candela with some skepticism when the company claimed it was the result of three bales of candela wrappers that had been “lost” for 18 years. Ultimately, though, he found it to be a “respectable” smoke with enjoyable flavors, even if it wasn’t destined to be a regular in his rotation.

Fuente 8-5-8 Candela — Fuente’s regular line is known for smooth, mild flavors produced by Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. I smoked one of these with a candela wrapper a few years back and recall just that: a mild, balanced smoke with a hint of classic grassy candela flavors.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

3 Responses to “Cigar Tip: Five Green Cigars for St. Patrick’s Day”

  1. Rodrigo Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    Haven't had a candela in a LONG time. Can't remember really enjoying the mild, grassy flavor. However, if I'm going to try again, St. Patty's would be the time. Should I follow up here with a comment of how the candela I select pairs with a Shamrock Shake? 🙂

    • Patrick Semmens Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 10:05 am #

      Please let us know how the pairing goes.

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