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The 3 Most Welcome Cigar Trends of 2011

Since this year’s IPCPR trade show, it’s become apparent that there are a few growing trends in the cigar world. Some are obviously more favorable than others (I’m not the biggest fan of the big ring trend, for example, though that’s a pretty huge one), but there are a few big trends in particular that I don’t mind at all.

First off, it seems that in response to the big ring trend, a lot of manufacturers have put out slimmer cigars like lanceros and panatelas. Oliva, for example, put out the Oliva Serie V No. 4, a petite corona-sized version of the powerhouse line. Other instances of this trend are the Padilla Signature 1932 Lancero, the Tatuaje Black Petit Lancero, and the highly-limited Cain F Lancero. Anyway, I am a big fan of smaller ring gauges. If done right, a thinner cigar can provide a more concentrated smoke, and the greater wrapper-to-filler ratio really shows how much a wrapper leaf affects a blend.

The next big one I’ve noticed is that the $2-5-per-stick market has been expanding pretty rapidly, and I think it’s safe to say it’s one of the only positive consequences of the current state of the economy. Companies that were typically known for producing expensive super-premiums are now branching out into more affordable territory. Toraño put out the inexpensive yet super-tasty Loyal line, Tatuaje put out the mixed-fill Series P line, Padilla released the deceptively delicious La Terraza, and Davidoff put out the Corazon line. Sure, this influx of affordable cigars might be symptomatic of a crappy economy, but I’m not one to complain about a $3 stogie that tastes and burns like a $9 stogie.

The last of my favorite recent cigar trends is a pretty obvious one: stronger cigars. Blenders are going ligero-crazy, and this year saw the release of more powerhouse stogies than I can even remember. Among the more powerful 2011 releases are 601 La Bomba, Fausto by Tatuaje, and the A. Turrent Puro Corojo, all of which are crazy strong but still manage to be palatable. My tolerance for pepper and nicotine stops just before the 601 La Bomba, but I’m willing to try anything, so I’m looking forward to seeing if this trend progresses any further in the next few years.

Anyway, it’s hard to say if these are merely trends or legitimate patterns in the industry. I’m personally hoping that cigars keep getting skinnier, cheaper, and more palate-scorching, but who knows. In the meantime, I guess we’ll have to enjoy it while it lasts.