In an age where smoking is increasingly taboo, how are hand rolled cigars continuing to grow in demand? From famous actors to political figures, this hobby is a privilege associated with class and luxury, and collectors can’t seem to get enough!
In a market that has gained some momentum in recent years, and growing steadily year on year, the US is no longer the largest consumer, with Europe and the Far East now taking centre stage. Considered to be an alternative investment, collectors will sometimes purchase two boxes of their chosen product, keeping one properly stored away and the other for consumption. Most of the time, the value of the stored cigars appreciates sufficiently to more than cover the cost of the consumed cigars. A win-win situation for connoisseurs. Many enthusiasts refer to their collections, as being like fine wines. As more “go up in smoke”, the rarer they become, and if left to be stored under optimal conditions, the flavour improves.
From planting of seedlings to rolling the cigar, it is a slow, specialised, and painstaking manual process involving very high standards and patience, most certainly a labour of love! Premium cigars are made in Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Peru, but the Cuban variety is still the one that gets collectors most excited. Limited editions of Dunhill, Davidoff, Cohiba, Partagas, Montecristo, feature amongst the highest performing cigars – these are all Cuban brands. Special Series, Limited Edition, Vintage, Aged and Pre-Embargo cigars are all good examples to look out for.
Gurkhas are hand rolled in Honduras and Nicaragua and are a favourite of Hollywood actors Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey, as well as former president Bill Clinton. Limited-edition cigars aged under optimum conditions are very desirable. Gurkha sold some limited-edition boxes of His Majesty’s Reserve cigars in 2007 for $125,000 a box. In 2012, one of those boxes sold for $658,000.
One collector points out that we will never see some of these cigars ever again, so yes, the high price is worth it. Take for example, The Mayan Sicar. This cigar was created during the Mayan civilization, dating back 600 years! When a small collection came up for auction a few years ago, they achieved an impressive $507,000, and this half-million-dollar price tag is only likely to increase over time.
For those of a smoking persuasion, cigars offer a tobacco smoking experience of the highest quality, which is no longer limited to only the wealthy. Once you consider the craftsmanship that goes into these works of art, the price starts to make more sense. Whether you will be setting alight or setting aside, there is much pleasure to gain from this hobby for both smokers and collectors alike.
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