It is no longer possible to deny the growing popularity of limited edition cigars. Since the 1990’s cigar experts have been treated to one limited edition release after another, and more esteemed manufacturers get in on the practice with each passing year. While discerning consumers have quickly realized that not all limited edition labels are created alike, they are sure to gather hours of refined enjoyment from a well-considered purchase.
What Makes a Limited Edition?
Limited edition cigars and sets are generally produced in a single run of limited duration. Although there is no strict ceiling on a run’s length or volume, it is rare for limited edition cigars to contain tobacco from multiple harvest years. This is why these types of cigars are so often denoted by their specific years of production. Moreover, most limited edition cigars contain rare or unusual tobaccos that cannot be found in regular-run products. As a result, they are often much more expensive than their readily available counterparts.
Many “limited’s” are also created to celebrate specific historic events or milestones that might be important to their manufacturers. Such events might include the Cuban Revolution, the year of a manufacturer’s founding or the date of a legendary craftsman’s birth. Manufacturers often combine these disparate naming components to create a grandiose appellation. For instance, the “Medina 1959 Miami Limited Edition” simultaneously commemorates the year in which the manufacturer began his rolling career, the date of Fidel Castro’s seizure of power and Miami’s importance to the Cuban cigar-making tradition.
A Brief History of Limited Edition Cigars
Limited edition cigars have been manufactured in small numbers for at least 100 years, but the practice did not gain widespread acceptance until the second half of the 1990’s. Experts agree that 1996’s 1,000-jar Cohiba 30 Aniversario run was the first publicly available limited edition product. By 2000, many Cuban manufacturers and some Dominican marques were making limited runs of 5,000 to 50,000 individual cigars available to the general public. Although many of these releases were timed to celebrate the turn of the millennium, the practice has not gone away. Most major manufacturers now release limited edition sets on an annual basis.
Buy From a Reputable Source
Limited edition cigars undoubtedly come in all styles, price points and quality levels. This timeworn saying applies to retailers, clearinghouses and smoke shops as well. Fans of fine cigars must purchase their limited edition sets from reputable businesses that have a proven track record of integrity and success.
Some unscrupulous online retailers have been known to sell repackaged or misleadingly labeled “regular” products as limited edition makes. Since experienced smokers can easily tell the difference between limited and regular runs, this all-too-common practice undermines the trust of discerning consumers and hurts the reputation of the industry as a whole. With so many legitimate limited edition brands out there, there is no need to make a questionable purchase that fails to live up to expectations.
The future looks bright for fans of limited edition cigars. Now that many limited sets come in ornate jars, cases or books, they are increasingly viewed as legitimate collectors’ items. Although it is clearly better to smoke a cigar before it goes to waste, it is always nice to have something to show for it afterwards.