We’ve come a long way from the cigars that are simply smoked. You know the drill; following a hard day of work, sit back, light up, and allow the stress of the day to melt away. While great tobacco brands have always been a proprietor of great taste, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of the bland and mundane.
But every once in a blue moon, cigar rollers release an eccentric new flavor that finds its way into the hearts of the masses. Suddenly sweet scents of vanilla and grapes fill the air, while flavors of delectable chocolate and coffee are at our beck and call. Navigating this new world isn’t easy, but I’m here to give you my take on two of the most popular cigar flavors on the market: Russian Cream and Mango.
Russian Cream isn’t a relatively new flavor, but it certainly has carved its niche and earned its status as a rising star in the market. Fans of the sweet cigar have dubbed the famous blend of chocolate and cream a “perfect storm.” Others have noted it’s bed of smooth vanilla and vodka zest. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to find out for myself what the hype was all about and what brands truly lived up to the alluring name. Here’s what I discovered.
Backwoods Russian Cream 10/10
Backwoods Smokes is one of the most popular cigar manufacturers in the US. The nearly 40-year-old company is well-known for its flavorful cigarillos and the delicate balance between expert hand-rolled and perfectly machine-rolled cigars. It comes as no surprise that Backwoods is one of the top sellers of Russian Cream cigars, and I knew I had to try it first.
The first thing I noticed when I took it out of its package, was the authentic Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and a blast of the sweet, creamy scent. The cigar itself felt moist, soft, and spongy with a looser filling. My first draw almost took me aback, as I was hit instantly with smooth flavors of chocolate and vanilla cream with a hint of nutmeg.
While the Backwoods Russian Cream may not be a premium cigar, it was more than I expected out of a cigar I purchased at a gas station. The exhale with neither harsh nor bitter, and I enjoyed basking in the creamy sweetness for several minutes. It wasn’t difficult to give this cigar a 10/10.
White Owl is owned by Swedish Match, which happens to be one of the oldest and largest cigar companies in the world. Manufactured in Alabama, the Russian Cream cigar boasts premium short fillers from across the globe and a 3-sheet artificial wrapper and binder.
Unlike Backwoods, the tip of this cigar was already clipped and packed tight. It felt spongy but not as airy. The White Owl cigar was also more than an inch longer than the Backwoods, which attributes its popularity in blunts. The smell out of the package was strong and reminded me of maple syrup.
On my first draw, it was noticeably different than the backwoods. While the after taste was a bit creamy, it burned fast with a strong sense of molasses, spice, and sweet tobacco. The smoke was thinner yet sweet and aromatic. Compared to Backwoods, I gave this cigar a 7/10.
Currently owned and sold by Imperial Brands, Dutch Masters cigars have been available in the United States since 1912. It is most recognized by its distinctive logo, which features “The Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild” Rembrandt’s 1662. The new packaging emphasizes the use of a traditional natural leaf wrapper and messaging that states “Crafted to Burn Slow”.
Out of the package, the Dutch Masters Russian Cream did not have quite as rich of a scent compared to the Backwoods Russian Cream. It did however, hold rich milk chocolate notes. The wrapper was a little on the dryer side but overall felt spongy and semi-soft. Its taste before the draw was sugary but to my disappointment, quickly turned unpleasant upon lighting.
The cigar produced a lot of smoke, but the harsh hit overpowered the initial taste of sweetness with the strength of tobacco and nicotine. Overall, I decided to wrap this one up quickly and rate it a 4/10.
Sweet Woods Russian Cream is owned and retailed by the company Good Times. Although Good Times is relatively new, it still ranks in the top 5 cigar businesses in the market. The natural leaf rustic cigar, also known as a cheroot, is believed to be one of the first styles of cigars ever rolled.
Similarly to Backwoods, the Sweet Woods Russian Cream cigar had strong dark chocolate notes right out of the package. It was packed tight and overflowing on end, fully embracing a more rustic and sloppy feel.
While the cigarillo was a little difficult to hit at first, it burned slow and filled the air with a thick sweet and somewhat creamy aroma. On the cold draw, there was an unmistakable sweetness, which on first lighting transitioned seamlessly into a chocolate cream with hints of caramel. The wrapper was moist, burning mild and fresh. Overall, this sweet cigarillo reminded me the most of Backwoods, which is why it earned a 9/10.
HD Russian Cream 2/10
The HD Russian Cream is another cigarillo manufactured by Good Times. The cigar differs from Sweet Woods in practically every way. The company boasts high quality with fine cuts of natural leaf wrappers paired in a homogenized binder.
While the company is advertising creamy vanilla and decadent custard profiles, it actually held one of the faintest scents and tastes out of all the Russian Cream flavored cigars that I tried. It was spongy and soft with a mild flavor of tobacco and molasses that nearly disappeared the second that you exhaled. As far as Russian Cream goes, I could barely tell this flavored cigarillo apart from a traditional non-flavored cigar.
Created by the popular crew at Garcia y Vega, Game Leaf features a variety of flavors to tantalize the senses. With a rugged appearance that burns smoothly to the nub, the cigar is cloaked in a natural Sumatra wrapper and stuffed with the finest filler tobaccos for a smooth burn.
It is clear that Game Leaf set out to make a statement with their White Russian cigarillos, and their premier did not disappoint. The cigar has a strong essence of Mocha and Irish Creme, which blend effortlessly to create a coffee-like smoke. The smoke was rich and smooth throughout, burning slow with aromatic undertones of nutmeg without being too overpowering.
Compared to Backwoods Russian Cream, the Game Leaf White Russian brought something different to the table, with an emphasis on coffee and mocha tones that were enjoyable and long-lasting.
Ahh, the mango cigarillo. My initial reaction to seeing the flavored mango cigar released to the market was one that intrigued me. In a world of cigars full of smooth chocolate flavors, hints of coffee, and soft molasses, where did this citrusy tobacco find its fit? If you’ve been interested in rejuvenating your senses with something spunky and fresh, follow me on my journey to discover just who offers the best Mango gas station cigar on the market.
White Owl Mango 6/10
White Owl Cigarillos are an American Made cigar owned by Swedish Match. The cigars are a long-time favorite for tobacco smokers and blunt rollers alike and one of the most popular machine-rolled cigars in the United States. The body of the White Owl Mango cigar was soft and fresh. With a sweet, refreshing, and bold scent, it was immediately apparent that the quality cigarillo was blended perfectly with the yummy taste of Island Fruit.
The cigar was easy to hit with a lot of smoke, which made for a relaxed smoking experience. I was disappointed however; that the initial strong scent of mango didn’t translate into the experience. The cigar burned quickly and instead had a loud tone of sweet molasses and spice. The lack of flavored mango earned this cigar a 6/10.
My interest was immediately piqued when I pulled the Game Mango Cigar out of the bag. Compared to White Owl’s Mango cigar, the scent was unusually smooth citrus with a buttery undertone. The cigar appeared fresh, with a moist and semi-soft finish. Upon lighting and taking my first inhale, I was immediately disappointed. There was no sweetness and not even a hint of mango flavor. The smoke was harsh and tasted primarily of ash. I didn’t last long on this cigar and gave it a 2/10.
City Life MangoMelon 8/10
The relatively new company Good Times, manufactures City Life cigars. Crafted with natural leaf, the high-quality cigar is rolled with premium tobacco and homogenized for a consistent and smokable blend.
When I took this cigar out of the package, I quickly knew it was going to be one of my favorites. The cigar was packed tight and felt firmer than the White Owl Mango cigar with a scent that immediately reminded me of a sugary margarita. Compared to the other cigars I had tried, it was completely smooth and creamy, delectable and sweet. Much to my surprise, it tasted just as good as it smelled, reminding me of a citrus creamsicle.
The sweet tropical flavor quickly brought back summer memories and had me dreaming of a sweet margarita in my hand. Compared to White Owl, the taste of mango was much more present in the City Life cigar, offering a smoother, more full-bodied experience and earning it an 8/10.
Swisher Sweet Mango 10/10
You may not be able to picture a time without Swisher Sweet cigars. However, the parent company and maker of Swisher Sweets, Swisher International, just launched into the international market in 2019. Having been in operation for more than a century, this innovative brand is quickly soaring to compete as one of the most prominent cigar manufacturers in the world with a range of delectable flavors.
Similarly to the White Owl Mango, the Swisher Sweet Mango was smooth, moist, and spongy. It immediately smelled of sharp citrus, which almost turned me off due to its overpowering smell. Upon lighting and taking my first draw, I was pleasantly surprised. The fruity taste was much smoother than the strong scent and kept me coming back for more.
Compared to the White Owl Mango, I found the Swisher Sweet Mango incredibly tasty and enjoyable with a perfect balance between hints of tobacco and smooth mango. If you want a true mango-flavored cigar, the Swisher Sweet Mango is your very best bet earning an astounding 10/10.
Good Times 4Ks Mango 7/10
Another mango-flavored cigar released by Good Times, the 4K cigar is much milder than its City Life Mango counterpart. From the package to the first draw, the 4K Mango cigar felt dry and smelled like a mellow blend of tropical fruit. The smoke was thick and enjoyable with a rich oak-bodied flavor. Where the cigar lacked in sweetness and citrus, it made up in its irresistible smoothness and great oaky taste, earning it a 7/10.
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