Cigar Culture

Cigar Prices: How Much Do Cigars Cost?

Holt's Staff Cigar's picture

Holt's Staff

“How much do cigars cost?” is a question we routinely field for folks who are exploring the vast number of smokes we sell, be it to enhance their own burgeoning collections, or especially when buying a gift for their favorite cigar lover. When you’re deciding on what cigar to buy, fancy bands and boxes only go so far. So do cigar ratings and all the accolades the cigar blogosphere can propagate. So what influences the cost of a premium cigar? Well, a number of factors contribute to the total that pops up on the register of your local smokeshop, or in the cart on your smartphone, when you buy a cigar. The best cigar-makers aren’t simply out to take you to the bank with an egregious mark up on the cost of their cigars. Nor is the retailer. Cigar prices, like any production commodity, are affected by the cost of the raw materials, labor and shipping expenses, marketing, and of course, taxes.

Premium cigars are truly unique in the makeup of their cost. Guiding a tobacco plant from seed to smoke requires much care, expertise, and the cooperation of Mother Nature. Some cigar manufacturers own their own tobacco fields, factories, and warehouses, and they maintain a salesforce exclusively dedicated to positioning their products out in the marketplace. Other brands purchase their tobacco from a handful of tobacco farmers and will then contract a cigar factory to roll the finished product. Many smaller brands will elect to use a tobacco broker, as opposed to a salesforce, to get their product on the shelves of your local shop. In any given cigar, the tobaccos are often procured from a variety of regions, and, as a result, a combination of factors contribute to the final cost of a cigar. Binder and filler tobaccos may come from a range of different fields, or even countries, while there are specific regional climates around the world that are ideally suited to grow the best wrapper varietals.

One thing is for certain: the best premium cigars are consistent. Many prominent cigar-makers place a lot of pride in their cigars and feel that their reputation is at stake in every puff. Their family names often adorn the cigar bands of their brands. Their goal is to make the best cigars at prices consumers find palatable, but they will never compromise quality. Makers of great cigars want you to choose their brands because of the taste and the quality they deliver, and also because their cigars represent a sound value. And, just like with automobiles, there are consumers who insist on driving a brand new Mercedes, while there are those who take equal pleasure in the efficiency of a 10-year-old Toyota. Fine, handcrafted cigars, generally speaking, begin around the $5 to $8 price range and can go north of $40 or $50 apiece. There will always be exceptions, such as a brand that is discontinued and sold well below its debut price. In other cases, the impact of inclement weather, such as a hurricane or a drought, can cause a cigar’s price to rise if the tobaccos used in its construction suddenly become unavailable. High demand for a particular blend that is made in smaller quantities can drive up the price.

The size and shape of your cigar can also affect its cost. Cigar shapes that are less conventional, such as a Figurado, or a Torpedo, or any kind of “figured” shape, will usually cost a little more, as the rollers at the factory who roll cigars into these specialized formats are more experienced and are more senior in their craft.

The age and rarity of the tobaccos and the wrapper leaves used in a cigar can also impact the cost. Tobaccos that have been aged for many years, or even decades in some cases, will merit a higher price tag. Humidifying, rotating and babying fine tobaccos for a lengthy duration requires patience and know-how to ensure the cigar is perfect when it meets your lips. Time is money.

Another, perhaps less romantic, consideration that affects the choices cigar lovers make is taxes. While sales taxes can vary greatly among different states, counties, and municipalities, tobacco taxes can add a tremendous expense to a cigar’s price tag. Certain states and cities are far more tolerant of premium cigar consumption, while other regions are content to continually increase already excessive taxes on all forms of tobacco, including premium cigars. The perceivable swing in tobacco and sales taxes has prompted many cigar enthusiasts to purchase their cigars online in recent years, where taxation is less burdensome and more aggressive bargains can be discovered.

Brands like Arturo Fuente, La Aroma de Cuba and Padron handcraft extensive cigar portfolios that embrace a number of inexpensive options for $5-8, as well as iconic top-shelf rarities that can range anywhere between $15-45, or more, depending on availability. It’s great to try a popular bestselling blend, such as an Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 for under $6 and move up to the renowned Arturo Fuente Don Carlos series (roughly $7-12) before graduating to a coveted Fuente Fuente Opus X when you can find one. Special Opus X sizes easily command over $30 per cigar.

The Oliva brand makes a remarkable number of tasteful smokes, including value bundles like Flor de Oliva for around $2-3 per cigar, as well as Cigar Aficionado’s ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ for 2014, Oliva Serie V Melanio, which sells for around $9-14 depending on the size. Cuban-legacy cigars from Romeo y Julieta make great selections for cigar lovers who prefer the $5-10 price range, but want a notable name brand they can rely on.

As bona fide Value Hounds in our own right, your pals at Holt’s love to cater to our price-conscious audience, known in some circles as “curmudgeonly connoisseurs.” We boast a tremendous selection of inexpensive boxes and bundle cigars from boutique brands like Argyle and Quorum, as well as our bestselling Cuban-legacy bundle, Bella Cuba. Additionally, we’ve cornered the market for Rocky Patel fans from coast to coast who’ve bestowed the man with the moniker, ‘King of the $3 Golf ‘Gar!’ National bestsellers like Rocky Patel Renaissance, The Edge 2nds, and our esteemed Rocky Patel Mulligans franchise guarantee access to maximum Rocky Patel flavors for a minimal investment, beginning under $2 per cigar all day, every day.

We also pride ourselves on the prices of a number of top-shelf, hard-to-find cigars. When you need to impress someone, or you’re in the mood for a rare cigar to complement a special occasion or a pricey scotch, cigars like Ashton ESG, La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse, San Cristobal Ovation, and Padron Family Reserve serve the niche perfectly. Davidoff Aniversario is also a great option for the cigar fiend who’s unconcerned with discounts and has a laser eye for the brand’s aristocratic white label despite its steeper buy-in. Rarified gems and limited edition cigars that tend to occupy the top shelf, like the aforementioned brands, can fall anywhere in the $15 to $40-and-up price range. Although the threshold is a little higher when it comes to parting with your hard-earned cash, rest assured, your pals at Holt’s are hardly out to gouge your cigar savings on prized, ‘A-list’ cigars. We offer the best deals on all of our top-shelf cigar brands, too. We don’t believe you need to be a member of high society to appreciate amazing taste, no matter how much a cigar costs.  

Regardless of your personal budget for premium cigars, make it a point to indulge in one of our recommendations when you get your next cigar allowance!

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