Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Week for the week of June 5. Read the full tasting note:
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Why Cigars Cost More Than Cigarettes
While a cigar may seem like a luxurious indulgence that is best reserved for a celebratory occasion or as a finishing touch to a great meal, there are many benefits to enjoying a fine handmade cigar. The pastime has also cultivated close bonds amongst smokers and even spawned business associateships.
Cigars are made with a single ingredient: tobacco. That is one reason why they have a reputation for being natural and artisanal. They don’t use chemicals or artificial additives to achieve flavor and quality. It is a time-consuming process to grow, ferment and age the tobacco for cigars. This translates into higher costs for premium cigars.
There is a great deal of skill required to make a high-quality cigar. A finely crafted cigar should be smooth, silky and elastic in texture; it should burn evenly with a pleasant aroma and taste. The wrapper, which also bears the brand’s band, must be pristine and robust. It must also have an even color and be able to resist combustion.
Some experts claim that 200 pairs of hands have touched a cigar before it makes its way into your humidor. It is a labor-intensive, skill-driven production that requires a variety of talents and abilities to create the ultimate handmade cigar. As such, it is not surprising that a quality cigar will cost more than a cigarette. But, unlike popular misconceptions, price is not a clear indicator of quality. In fact, less expensive cigars have often scored better than their pricey counterparts in blind tastings.