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When you browse our site one of the first things you’ll likely notice is that we offer a range of cigars at many different price points, ranging from $20+ per cigar down to as low as under $1 per stick. But what exactly determines what a cigar’s price will be? Is there a noticeable difference between a cigar that costs, let’s say $3, and one that costs $6?
In short, yes. But what exactly creates that difference?
There are many different factors for a manufacturer to consider when determining the price of a cigar, and chief among them is the quality of tobaccos used in the cigar. Cheap tobacco that often comes in scraps rather than full leaves typically costs a lot less than premium long-leaf tobacco. This tobacco, commonly known as “short-filler” sometimes comes from the scraps of long-leaves used to produce more prestigious smokes and can regularly be found in inexpensive machine-made cigars as well as handmade cigars that are sold in bundles. This category of leaf is great for “value” cigars and generally considered “good enough” for a decent smoke.
Premium cigars are made by hand by experienced cigar rollers using tobacco leaves that are specially grown and harvested for this purpose. Many types of premium tobacco require a lot of TLC in the growing, harvesting, and curing processes. This increased level of labor-intensive care results in a higher cost of production, which will drive up the price of any cigar. The reward is that tobaccos that are carefully processed this way can deliver deeper and more refined flavor – one of the hallmarks of a true fine cigar.
In some cases, a specific type of tobacco is grown in limited amounts to be used in a specific cigar blend. Usually, the more limited the tobacco, the smaller the production run and the more “rare” the cigar is, so exclusivity and demand can also be a factor in determining price. This type of appeal often comes with a price tag in the double digits – the rarer, the pricier.
Relating this to the aforementioned example of a $3 cigar vs. a $6 cigar, it’s likely that the $3 cigar was made using good, but not especially great tobaccos and produced using somewhat standard processes. The $6 cigar, on the other hand, might feature a wrapper leaf that was scarce in supply, or have been fermented in a more time-consuming way, resulting in a smoother smoke or greater-than-usual flavor. These types of special production techniques are often what sets cigars apart.
Other characteristics that influence price include brand recognition (you’ll pay more for a well-known brand like “Cohiba” than you will for “Detroit Tony’s Cheroots”), import taxes (many of the best cigars are produced outside of the U.S.), the difficulty of the rolling process (some especially hard-to-roll cigar shapes can only be trusted to the most skilled rollers, increasing cost and time-consumption), and even the size of the cigar you choose within a line (larger cigars use more tobacco and usually fetch a higher price as a result.) The bottom line is that with cigars, like most things, you get what you pay for. If you’re a $5 cigar guy, you might be surprised at what you get when you step up to a $7 stick. The ingredients, effort, and time that go into the making of the cigar can make a world of difference.