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5 Vegas Classic

Description

A top-seller for nearly two decades!

Ain't nothing like a classic, that much is true. Behold, the original, 90-rated 'red label' 5 Vegas Classic....the popular blend that started it all for this beloved brand. It’s hard to argue with two decades of proven quality and even harder to argue with the millions of customers who’ve given 5 Vegas Classic their stamp of approval over the years. In short, this one’s a blue chip that’s somehow remained utterly affordable nearly a quarter century later.

Expertly crafted by Nestor Plasencia, 5 Vegas Classic is a savory blend of Cuban-seed long-fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic paired with a dark, oily Sumatra wrapper. This virtuous combination delivers one of the most consistently delicious, medium-bodied handmades you can get. Rich and creamy notes of deep tobacco flavors mingle with hints of toast, coffee, nuts, and gentle spices on the finish. A ton of complex and satisfying nuances to satisfy even the most fancy-pants critics, eight awesome sizes, one hellaciously affordable cost to you....in short, front row quality at Uecker seat prices. This 90-rated beauty’s got all the right stuff.

5 Vegas Classic received a healthy '90' rating noting: “A solid medium bodied cigar. It is filled with complex earth flavors, and a pleasant coffee ground taste. It is also very smooth." 


Click the icons below for product information.
Size
Pack
In Stock
MSRP
Price
Qty
Cart
Profile
Shape
Corona
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Corona (5.5"x44)
Box of 25
In Stock
$120.00
| save $36.01 30% off
$83.99
Profile
Shape
Corona
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Corona
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Corona (5.5"x44)
Pack of 5
In Stock
$24.00
| save $2.01 8% off
$21.99
Profile
Shape
Corona
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Lancero/Panatela
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Panatela (Lancero/Panatela) (6.0"x38)
Box of 25
In Stock
$120.00
| save $36.01 30% off
$83.99
Profile
Shape
Lancero/Panatela
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Lancero/Panatela
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Panatela (Lancero/Panatela) (6.0"x38)
Pack of 5
In Stock
$24.00
| save $2.01 8% off
$21.99
Profile
Shape
Lancero/Panatela
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Torpedo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Torpedo (6.0"x54)
Box of 20
In Stock
$125.60
| save $37.61 30% off
$87.99
Profile
Shape
Torpedo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Torpedo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Torpedo (6.0"x54)
Pack of 5
In Stock
$30.75
| save $3.76 12% off
$26.99
Profile
Shape
Torpedo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Gordo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
True
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Fifty Five (box-press) (Gordo) (5.5"x55)
Box of 20
Delayed 30+ Days
$127.00
| save $38.01 30% off
$88.99
Profile
Shape
Gordo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
True
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Gordo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
True
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Fifty Five (box-press) (Gordo) (5.5"x55)
Pack of 5
In Stock
$31.15
| save $4.16 13% off
$26.99
Profile
Shape
Gordo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
True
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Robusto
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Robusto (5.0"x50)
Box of 25
Backordered
$137.00
| save $41.01 30% off
$95.99
Profile
Shape
Robusto
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Robusto
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Robusto (5.0"x50)
Pack of 5
Delayed 30+ Days
$27.40
| save $3.41 12% off
$23.99
Profile
Shape
Robusto
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Double Corona
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Double Corona (6.0"x48)
Box of 25
In Stock
$143.00
| save $43.01 30% off
$99.99
Profile
Shape
Double Corona
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Double Corona
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Double Corona (6.0"x48)
Pack of 5
Delayed 30+ Days
$28.60
| save $3.61 13% off
$24.99
Profile
Shape
Double Corona
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Gordo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
True
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
The Judge (box-press) (Gordo) (6.0"x60)
Box of 20
In Stock
$143.00
| save $43.01 30% off
$99.99
Profile
Shape
Gordo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
True
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Gordo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
True
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
The Judge (box-press) (Gordo) (6.0"x60)
Pack of 5
Delayed 30+ Days
$35.75
| save $3.76 11% off
$31.99
Profile
Shape
Gordo
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
True
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Churchill
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Churchill (7.0"x52)
Box of 25
In Stock
$170.00
| save $51.01 30% off
$118.99
Profile
Shape
Churchill
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Profile
Shape
Churchill
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
Churchill (7.0"x52)
Pack of 5
Delayed 30+ Days
$34.00
| save $5.01 15% off
$28.99
Profile
Shape
Churchill
Wrapper
Sumatra
Origin
Nicaragua
Flavored
False
Pressed
False
Has Tip
False
Binder
Nicaraguan
Filler
Dominican,  Nicaraguan
Sweet
False
overall rating 4.47 out of 5 True { } True { } True { } Based on 1513 Ratings
Customer Reviews of "5 Vegas Classic"
5 out of 5
5 Star
902
4 out of 5
4 Star
453
3 out of 5
3 Star
133
2 out of 5
2 Star
13
1 out of 5
1 Star
12
Showing 1-50 of1688 Reviews
3 out of 5
The cigar was nice but I bought a smaller ring size than what I enjoy.
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5 out of 5
Great balanced tastes.
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4 out of 5
this is a nice cigar, Finished a five pack the last one today. Bought it about a year ago , I took my time waiting fgor the right time for this milder panatella. I smoke between 5 and 10 cigars a day and probably pick it up and put it back 2 dozen times not wanting to waste it opting for a shorter and or cheaper smoke. Each of the 5 was a execellent erxperience.
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4 out of 5
Well made smoke!
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5 out of 5
Great Cigar burns well and doesn't burn a hole in your pocket.
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5 out of 5
Great draw.
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5 out of 5
Fantastic smoke at a fantastic price
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5 out of 5
Always have a couple boxes in my humidor at all times.
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5 out of 5
Another home run for 5 Vegas. As good or better than more expensive brands.
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5 out of 5
Sweet before you light it & it gets better when you do. Smokes slower than its ring size.
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5 out of 5
I almost hate to add to the number of people who love this cigar. There have been a couple of times their out of stock.
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3 out of 5
Average cigar for the money.
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5 out of 5
Good cigar, been smoking for decades.
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5 out of 5
Great product. Great prize. Easy to use website. Fast Shipping. Thank you.
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5 out of 5
The 5 Vegas Churchill. This 7x52 is outstanding. Excellent construction,even burn,and most important Flavor! Notes of coffee,baked bread,spice ,and subtle floral notes and nuts. I’ve been cigar nut for 40+ years. These are delicious cigars! Definitely Will be restocking!
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5 out of 5
Just a great every day cigar. I smoke all the classics. A really good value.
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5 out of 5
Very smooth and silk cigar
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5 out of 5
Great cigar at a great price.
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3 out of 5
Little light on flavor.
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5 out of 5
Another great smoke from cigar international
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4 out of 5
good name brand smoke
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4 out of 5
One of my favorite cigars, a little pricey but worth . Mild to moderate, burns slowly.
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4 out of 5
Great product
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5 out of 5
5 VCR is my all-time go to!
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3 out of 5
Draws nice with plenty of smoke and a convenient size for a quality middle of the road smoke.
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4 out of 5
Consistent as I remembered
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4 out of 5
Very good smoke
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5 out of 5
Classic cigar. One of my all time favorite daily smoker. Very consistent constriction. Best value for the money.
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4 out of 5
Smooth flavor and burns well.
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4 out of 5
I bought these on sale just to try . Nice surprise. These were not too bad . Not quite as much flavor as the 5 Vegas Nicaragua but decent. Good draw and burn . 30-45 min smoke . Maybe not a lounge cigar but definitely room in the humidor for these ..
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5 out of 5
These are my go to daily cigars. Good complexity for a cigar of this cost. I highly recommend the 5 Vegas Classic Torpedo. As usual, Cigars International has the best prices and service.
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5 out of 5
Great every day smoke. Wonderful taste and consistent smooth draw. Plus it won’t break the bank.
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5 out of 5
tasted so good, I hated to light it. I was glad I did, because it was sweeter the longer I smoked it.
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4 out of 5
Good cigar. Closer to a corona than a robusto. Not a bargain
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5 out of 5
??
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3 out of 5
Well made firm to touch. Wrapper not overly veiny and not too oiler - on the dry side. Mild pre light aroma. Lights easy, easy draw. Even burn. Light to medium body. Sufficiently pleasing but rather simple flavor wise. Lacks complexity. But good value for price.
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5 out of 5
A Excellent Cigar To Have for the price ????
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3 out of 5
Nice burn and draw, the flavor was a little lite for me but overall okay and great for gifts. Or for those who aren’t everyday smokers.
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4 out of 5
Good burn and smoke, not too much flavor.
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3 out of 5
leathery & smooth smoke, but issues with the wrapper coming/flaking off
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5 out of 5
I am writing this review while enjoying a Vegas… good draw and taste.. highly recommend
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4 out of 5
Don't know how you find a better bang for the buck.
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5 out of 5
5 Vegas Classic is my go-to cigar. The low burn creates a longer burn so there’s more time to enjoy them.
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3 out of 5
I don't usually smoke a new cigar I buy for at least 90 days (humidor time unwrapped). But to satisfy CI I tried one at 30. Draw was good...no flavor to speak of. Not a satisfying smoke. I will try again at 90 days and update if necessary. I've always wanted to try this cigar. Now my curiosity is satisfied...or not satisfied as regards the cigar. I'm 85 and been smoking cigars for many, many years. By comparison I like AVE MARIE, La Gloria Cubano Serie 5, Latitude Zero recently, and etc.
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5 out of 5
Great taste smooth burn
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3 out of 5
Good everyday smoke. Draws good. Burns so so.
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5 out of 5
Burns cool, holds ash well, pleasant to smoke
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5 out of 5
I have always enjoyed these cigars, sometimes the are average but mostly excellent. They are very good for the price. I have a small humidor 40-50, dedicated to them. They are "my go to" daily stogie.
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4 out of 5
Very good size and taste , will get more for sure
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5 out of 5
I good priced ncigar with a great taste.
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Hide Reviews
Steve R

5 Vegas Classic

Steve R

Unless you’ve been asleep at the wheel the past few months, you know that SCHIP has hit home. This bill places a heavy tax on all cigars, and has resulted in higher prices starting 4/1. Some manufacturers are using this tax as a vehicle to introduce price increases that, in some cases, go above and beyond the level of the tax. In several cases, manufacturers have instituted multiple price increases on the same cigar, capitalizing even further. On top of this, some cigars are already quite expensive, and any new increases (whether it be additional costs or taxes) could possibly put them out of reach for the working man. In an effort to provide you with optimum value, I will be matching up two cigars each week. One expensive cigar and one lesser-expensive option, comparing them based on flavor, satisfaction, construction, and price.

– Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva and 5 Vegas Classic

Like previous SCHIP Buster reviews, this write-up will be difficult for many to stomach. Arturo Fuente has a diehard customer base, one that’s loyal to the core and swears by every cigar under the Fuente label. On the other hand, 5 Vegas Classic has quite the following as well, and it seems to be getting stronger by the second. The blends are very different, but both offer a solid, medium-bodied smoke that’s hella-consistent and of the highest quality.

Yes, I just said hella-consistent. Gonz, add that to your Gonzism list, I think it’s a winner. Anyway, let’s get into the cigars.

Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva – Everybody knows this name. And, like I said, many swear by it. In fact, folks walk into our shop asking for a particular vitola in a specific Fuente line. If we don’t have it, they simply walk away, despite having immediate access to every blend under the sun at comparable - if not better - prices. This Dominican brand as a whole is rated very highly....very often. The standard Gran Reserva line combines a toothy Cameroon wrapper with Dominican long-fillers to produce a consistent, well-made stick. I will be burning the 8-5-8, a popular, 6”x47 vitola.

5 Vegas Classic – This brand has become a monster. Hand-made in Nicaragua, the red label 5 Vegas is a 91-rated blend of dark Sumatra wrappers and Cuban-seed long-fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican. In fact, premium tobaccos from five different farms are utilized throughout this cigar, producing what is considered to be a complex and balanced, medium-bodied bang for the buck. To keep things as comparable as possible, I’ve chosen the Double Corona, an impressive 6”x48 parejo.

I’ve reviewed both of these blends several times in the past and am quite familiar with each, so a side-by-side comparison should be interesting. Without further ado, let’s dig deeper into the flavor and quality of these two popular cigars....

Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva – This cigar is already clipped and ready for my torch lighter. The pre-light aroma is that of cedar, with no hints of spice or pepper. The 8-9-8 is lit and away we go. The cigar begins with a heavy dose of cream which seems to magically disappear after each puff. A short finish. I am picking up notes of toast and cedar, with a crisp tobacco influence. Midway through, a new flavor enters the mix - a somewhat grassy note lingers on the aftertaste. This is pretty much how the story unfolds. Despite being delivered in a nice, toasty fashion, the tobacco and cedar flavors are crisp and sharp, only to be finished by a misplaced touch of grass. Definitely medium in body....but only by a hair. The all Dominican core resulted in a relatively straight-forwarded experience.

5 Vegas Classic – After cleansing my palate, it’s time for the 5 Vegas. The cigar is clipped and the pre-light aroma is that of baked bread. A slight tingling sensation hits my nostrils, hinting at a faint spice to come. Upon lighting, my palate is coated with a core of rich, creamy flavors. Early on, it’s difficult to pick out any one flavor, but the sensation is enjoyable. Shortly after, a strong backbone of coffee is clearly noticed, with softer notes of earth. The aroma is toasty with a little bit of zest. Midway through, I begin to pick up a little bit of peanut – it almost tastes like the toasty skin of a peanut. I also note a touch of pepper....a very faint touch. The cigar has been burning slow and smooth, and comes to a complex finish during the final inch without losing any balance along the way. The medium-bodied strength was apparent from the start and lasted through the burn. I think the Nicaraguan tobaccos helped add a pleasant level of complexity to this cigar.

Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva and 5 Vegas Classic. Different cigars from different countries. A true underdog, David and Goliath matchup....one would think. Both burned perfectly, with an effortless draw and razor sharp burn. Both seemed to be well filled from head to toe, and made with top-notch wrappers. However, one appealed to my finicky palate more than the other. Arturo Fuente, 86.

5 Vegas, 89.

Now let’s add price to the mix. Both of these cigars can be considered a good value. The Fuente 8-5-8 carries an MSRP of under $5 apiece, while the 5 Vegas Double Corona chimes in at under $3.50 apiece. What’s a buck and a half between friends, eh? However, the price for Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva has gone up due to SCHIP. 5 Vegas Classic is not. I think you know where this is going.

Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva: 86

5 Vegas Classic: 90

Steve R

5 Vegas Classic Vertical Tasting

Steve R

Ever since I did the Nub vertical tasting, I have been receiving a relatively steady stream of emails requesting similar reviews on other brands. Of these emails, one of the most requested brands was 5 Vegas Classic, a brand that we showcase often and sell a ton of. Some made this request because they have yet to try it. Others have tried it, but have yet to try all the sizes. And, since I am always open to burning as many cigars as possible while I work, I’ll be more than happy to meet these requests. Let’s get right to it, I’ve got a lot of tasting to do....here’s some info on 5 Vegas.

5 Vegas is an old brand that has been around for decades. The Classic represents the original, otherwise known as the ‘red label,’ and is the recipient of a 90-point rating from Cigar Aficionado. 5 Vegas Classic is handmade in Nicaragua using a dark Sumatra wrapper and a long-leaf mixture of Cuban-seed tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican. The brand is known for both consistency and value, and has become an everyday favorite among our customers.

 


5 Vegas Classic Vertical

 

5 Vegas Classic Robusto: Dark, oily cigar with a solid feel. The initial few puffs are loaded with spice and cedar. Smoke soon mellows a tad to release a rich core of coffee complemented by a long, creamy aftertaste. The aroma is toasty and pleasant. Midway through, the strength begins to build a bit, flirting with the lower-end of full-bodied, but never quite making the hurdle. No worries, the Robusto is complex and satisfying nonetheless.

Rating: 90

5 Vegas Classic Corona: A classic Corona shape. This cigar looks tasty with a great pre-light aroma. The burn is cool and surprisingly slow, while the flavors seem to be a great display of properly proportioned fillers to wrapper. No one flavor dominates. Notes of wood, nuts, earth, white pepper, and coffee bean are present. Surprisingly strong compared to the other sizes.

Rating: 89

5 Vegas Classic Fifty Five: A dense, 5.5”x55 box-pressed vitola that feels heavy in the hand and solid from head to toe. Lots of pepper up front, which is quickly mellowed by a rich and creamy series of black coffee and cashew. The pepper becomes an afterthought, only hitting the palate on the tailend of each puff in a very gentle way. Size seems significantly stronger than the rest. I’d call it medium to full, but sometimes full from start to finish. My second favorite in the line.

Rating: 91

5 Vegas Classic Panatela: A skinny Corona with a nice, oily sheen. The Sumatra wrapper really shines through with this one. Subtle spices and nutty undertones. Not nearly as rich or creamy as the rest, but a smooth, straightforward smoke nonetheless. Not a preferred size, but good for the car or a short walk.

Rating: 88

5 Vegas Classic Double Corona: Nice looking Toro. Lots of rich coffee flavors throughout this medium-bodied smoke. Flavors are delivered in a very smooth fashion. They’re mellow, but pleasant. The smoke promoted by this vitola seems to be the creamiest and richest, however the flavors come into play gradually, making it a slow-burning, relaxing cigar with little twists and turns. Some coffee, some earth, and a light, toasty element on the finish and aroma.

Rating: 90

5 Vegas Classic Torpedo: Love the look of this sharply tapering Torpedo. Be careful not to lose an eye. The smoke starts out mellow and rich, then gradually builds into a medium-bodied experience that gains complexity during the burn. I pick up coffee bean, cream, nuts, and toasted cedar. Every now and then subtle spices break through, completing a flavorful bouquet with a warm, toasty aroma. Preferred size.

Rating: 92

5 Vegas Classic Churchill: A bit long for my tastes, but a good substitute for the Double Corona. Flavors are quite comparable: medium in body with a tame, balanced bouquet noting coffee, earth, and toast. Best of all, the price doesn’t make you cringe (too hard) if you have to end the experience 10-15 minutes early - bonus points - even though you probably won’t want to.

Rating: 89

Overall, 5 Vegas Classic offers a wide variety of sizes that vary ever-so-slightly in flavor and strength, but maintain a common theme: flavorful, balanced, and consistent. Quality is a non-issue. Each one burned perfect, creating a nice, white ash and offering a cool, easy draw. For the money, it’s hard to beat a cigar like this.

Gonz

5 Vegas

Gonz

Yup, it's been a full month since my last pick and I can't possibly describe the details of the past 30 days. Here's the short of it: on Nov. 25 I became a Dad for the first time and on Nov. 25 my amount of sleep went from little to none. I have more respect than ever for the other Dads out there. I've heard you guys complaining for years now and I just figured you guys were soft, but now I know. I'm not sure why, but it causes me to reminisce a bit more about times of old - the good times, the memories. And those memories always seem to take me back to my favorite brand of all time - 5 Vegas. Yup, you read that right, my favorite brand!

5 Vegas, or "cinco vegas" as you spanish-speaking folks will quickly correct me, has been around for what seems like a cigar lifetime. Yup, circa 1992. That's about when my cigar life began, so it seems like forever to me. I ponied up 8 bucks at my little corner cigar shop in Summit, New Jersey in 1996 for my first. I had been smoking for about 2 years, and it was about this time that I began moving from mellower Dominicans to venture into the vast wide world of Nicaraguans. Oooh! We all heard about those scary Nicaraguans that knocked the laces out of your shoes, and I just started scratching the surface.

Rolled in Nicaragua, I soon learned that 5 Vegas was different. But, it was one of those brands that was hyped so much that you had to try it. There were advertisements, bulletin boards, writeups in Cigar Aficionado and a 90 rating for the Torpedo, banners and reviews on every internet bulletin board, and even cigar dinners featuring this cigar. Unfortunately, those 8 bucks were the best spent 8 bucks I ever spent on cigars. I say "unfortunately" b/c my wallet emptied every time I had an opportunity to buy a few. It was the best friggin' cigar I'd ever smoked. Since I didn't know a whole helluva lot about cigars, I really didn't know what just happened. In hindsight, I now know - this was the epiphany that happens to the best of us in our elite little group. I found my favorite, my go-to cigar, that one cigar that I can turn to time and time again and get that "oh, it's good to be home" feeling. Like riding that banana-seat Schwinn with your friends, or driving Mom's paneled Buick station wagon by yourself for the first time after passing your driver's test, or cozying up in that recliner with a cold brew and your crusty toes twinkling happily in the air while watching the Dallas Cowboys rout the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's a great feeling and many of you have had it. I found mine on that memorable day in 1996.

And to this day, every major event I've ever had is not complete until I smoke that 5 Vegas. My wedding, landing this job, the birth of my child - man, I'm getting a little teary now, what is wrong with me?

Just the other day, our inventory manager Carmen came by my office with some Costa Rican unbanded samples to try. I politely declined as I held up the 5 Vegas I reserved for my ride home that night. Why is it so special? Well, let's talk about that. My favorite size is the Torpedo, it seems a little more robust and complex, but that's me and I'm pretty intimate with my 5 Vegas. It's fairly simple looking, but the blend is nothing short of genius. Tobaccos from 5 different plantations (or vegas, get it?) are used for the blend. It's a mix of Nicaraguan and Dominican long leaves with a Sumatra wrapper. This cigar is blended one at a time with incredible precision and care that you'll find very little variation from cigar to cigar, even with the complexity of the blend.

Light one up and you'll immediately recognize an easy but firm draw. The wrapper is slightly veiny, but the cigar is stiff and evenly filled with no loose spots anywhere. It will light up with ease and you'll quickly be encassed with a volumous smoke that has an outdoorsy smell of cedar. The flavor is medium-bodied, smooth, and non-intrusive with a soft hint of peanuts. Yet, there is a nice bold body that holds your attention and seems to rattle my middle tongue just enough. It's not an overly complex flavor, but always seems to hit my sweet spot. It relaxes me much like I imagine a tree-hugger meditating in an empty room with nothing but 15 vanilla-flavored candles burning around the room. This cigar is constructed so solidly that you'll get 2 inches and longer before the chalky white ash falls off. And please don't knock it off prematurely, at least not when you're around me. Start to finish, the flavor holds solid and barely changes, right down to the last inch.

Pound for pound, in my opinion, this is the best cigar out there right now! At just under $3 per stick, it's a far cry from the $8 I paid years ago. And, if anything, the quality has improved. Go get one, and let me know if it becomes your day-in day-out favorite.