How much?! What the crazy Cuban Cigar price rise means to me
DISCLAIMER: All prices and links are correct as of 1st August 2022.
When I first started smoking cigars seriously – in other words, once I had smoked my way through all the machine made ones behind the counter in my local supermarket – I really wanted to expand my horizons. It was at this point I had a choice to make: either buy and smoke Cuban cigars, or… well, that seemed to be it really.
Back in 2012, even though cigars were a luxury item, I was able to buy a Montecristo No. 5, Romeo y Julieta No. 1 and Trindad Reyes for under £30 in a single transaction. Yes, over the years prices have inevitably gone up what with various governments increasing both import duty and tobacco taxes, but for the most part, Cuban cigars remained an affordable luxury and I always had a fair number in my humidor.
Fast forward to May 2022 and the Cuban government decided to standardise the price of their cigar prices around the world using Hong Kong prices as the benchmark. It came as a bit of a surprise to many here in the UK that there was a place in the world where a Cuban cigar was more expensive, and we were left wondering just how much of a different this price increase would have for us.
Our question was soon answered when updated price lists for Germany and Spain were published and percentages were calculated. Overnight, a Cuban cigar went from being a special treat cigar for me to being completely beyond my price bracket. Cohiba cigars more than doubled in price as did Romeo y Julieta Línea de Oro. The Quay d’Orsay lines went up 60%, but most shockingly Trinidad more than tripled in price, going from £13 for the aforementioned Trinidad Reyes at the start of 2021 to £32 at some retailers by the end of May 2022! Even my beloved Partagas D4s and JLP Cazadores weren’t immune.
Recently looking at a renowned cigar retailers website, I was aghast to find that three tubed Cohiba Robustos would now set me back a whopping £230! This got me thinking: what great New World cigars could I get for that same amount of money. Off I went to do a little research…
Some alternatives to a Cuban cigar
Starting with one of my top cigars from last year, a box of 10 Oliva Serie V Melanio Gran Reserva Maduro Robustos would cost exactly the same as those 3 Cohibas. Similarly priced would be a box of 10 Casa Turrent Double Robustos. If you prefer singles, then you would still have change after buying 12 Perdomo 10th Anniversary Box pressed Maduro Epicure.
Looking at Boutique Smokes, 20 Kafie 1901 Liga de la Casa Maduros, one of my go-to herfing cigars, would only set you back £190 giving you plenty of smokes to fill out your humidor. The best part is that you will still have enough change left for 3 El Viejo Continente Maduro Lanceros or a Kafie 1901 Culebras.
If you prefer having a selection of different cigars, then there are plenty of sampler packs available out there, and these usually work out cheaper than buying the cigars individually. Head over to Rebellion Cigars and you could get yourself 6 Rolando Soto sampler packs and still be left with some change. There are also various samplers for Hiram and Solomon cigars available at The Smoking Jacket and Smoke-King for a little over £70 each for four cigars.
With the cigars mentioned in this article I have really only scratched the surface. Suffice to say that there are wide gamut of great New World cigars out there that will more than satisfy the most ardent Cuban cigar smoker. So the real question then becomes, what is going to fill the void left between the majority of the New World cigar market and the mid-range Cuban cigars?
If I were a betting person, my money would be on more boutique brands entering the UK market – J. London immediately springs to mind. Also, maybe New World cigar brands might take a leaf out of the Cuban playbook and start releasing regional and limited editions. What I do know is that here in the UK, more likely than not the market will swing in the direction of the New World sticks, and places that relied either wholly or mostly on selling Cuban cigars will have to decide how long it is viable to maintain their previous business model.
Ultimately, as a cost-conscious cigar smoker who enjoys mostly New World cigars, it will mean that I will save what remaining Cuban cigars I have and savour them. Unless of course prices get even more mad, at which point, I might consider selling any remaining Cuban stock I have!
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