Habanos Vintage Chart (James Suckling, updated)


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A simple thought or two:

Maybe the man never tasted 2002 La Gloria Cubana Medaille d'Or series, for example? or he made a mistake, being the spokesman or self appointed spokesman for HSA? Like naming Trinidad Robusto T a cigar of the year?

Maybe the man is just a man, who has just another opinion?

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Forget you even saw the effing list okay... Who died and made JS king of ratings??? Forget the friggin' age argument as well. Smoke Habanos long enough and you too will be able to brag about smoking

Well, looking at that article, this caught my eye: "A word of caution. Don’t touch any cigars from the end of 1998 to 2001. Many of these cigars had construction problems as well as bad tobacco blend

Not necessarily. A Lagavulin 16 or cask 12 are much better for me than a Mac 18, or Aberlour A'bunadh and Highland Park 18 are preferable to Mac 30. For me, age is so completely arbitrary. It's like a

I must be unlucky... so many peeps saying no problems from 99' boxes. I had 2 boxes of SP Sanchos from 99 and they were a 70% fail rate. Have a few boxes of 2001's that I have not had any issues with. It has made me reluctant to try any 2000 or 1999 boxes again... I will say that the 30% that did smoke were really good.

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Well, looking at that article, this caught my eye:

"A word of caution. Don’t touch any cigars from the end of 1998 to 2001. Many of these cigars had construction problems as well as bad tobacco blending. A new generation of factory workers came on board at that time, and many didn’t know how to make cigars. Moreover, policies were initiated to make large quantities of cigars and the blends were not correct."

While he's correct on the details there, I'd highly decry him for stating "don't touch ANY cigars from the end of 1998 to 2001". While there's loads of crap in those years (and frankly, I'd include 2002 in there as well, as things didn't come out of their funk until 2003), there's also some gems in there. Some of the best QdO and LGC I've had have been from 2000 and 2001 boxes, and even some Diplomaticos stuff as well.

If you know how to wade out the chaff, there are some goodies to find. To tell people "don't touch any" from that timeline does people a disservice, frankly.

Totally agree with you. i was stunned when i saw the article, this, while i was smoking a LGC Medaille D'Or No. 1 from '00. which was excellent by the way!

if i would of seen that not more than 2 months earlier i would not have bought the box! and that would of been a HUGE mistake! the box is in excellent condition with dark wrappers and great construction.

i don't have anything against Suckling, i think he's good for CC info and advise in general but perhaps he should have wrote it in a different manner.

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I must be unlucky... so many peeps saying no problems from 99' boxes. I had 2 boxes of SP Sanchos from 99 and they were a 70% fail rate. Have a few boxes of 2001's that I have not had any issues with. It has made me reluctant to try any 2000 or 1999 boxes again... I will say that the 30% that did smoke were really good.

I don't think anyone's claiming 99 was free of problems--most of the 99 stock I've had was fairly poor. But there were still some really good cigars produced in that time if you can find them such as some Montes as has been noted.

00-02 I'd say were producing a far less number of "excellent" cigars. Not everything was terrible during that time either, but IMO one is less likely to find a "gem" in the 00-02 window than in 98-99.

Personally, I'd rather take a chance on a 98-99 box than a 00-02 box. The chances of hitting a big winner are much greater. Sure, I'd buy something from 00-02 but I've got to know exactly what I'm buying and the price has to be right.

I think Suckling is appealing more to the general public/layman in his advice to avoid 98-01 completely. It would be my very general advice as well. Those who have experience smoking cigars from that era or are knowledgeable enough can navigate it effectively.

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I think Suckling is appealing more to the general public/layman in his advice to avoid 98-01 completely. It would be my very general advice as well. Those who have experience smoking cigars from that era or are knowledgeable enough can navigate it effectively.

I agree. The whole stance of his site seems to be geared towards the novice. To seasoned smokers such a blanket statement is hogwash. I'm enjoying a lot of cigars from that troubled era. I had a few tent pegs now and then but never enough to put me off from taking a risk. To someone starting out with CC's, that is something to be wary of.

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The whole stance of his site seems to be geared towards the novice. To seasoned smokers such a blanket statement is hogwash. I'm enjoying a lot of cigars from that troubled era. I had a few tent pegs now and then but never enough to put me off from taking a risk. To someone starting out with CC's, that is something to be wary of.

So overall, in the context of the box date list, where would members place 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001? Again in context of overall placing on the list, when compared to "more consistent" box dates, would it be worth the risk (especially for those who would have to buy blind) ?

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So overall, in the context of the box date list, where would members place 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001? Again in context of overall placing on the list, when compared to "more consistent" box dates, would it be worth the risk (especially for those who would have to buy blind) ?

I think 00-02 was more consistent, but consistently lackluster. In other words, most everything is a 5/10. In 98-99 you could find some 8/10 and 9/10 if you're lucky but you could also find quite a few 1/10. Much more polarized.

To they layman, that's a complicated concept. The payoff is greater for 98-99 production but the chances of getting a dud are greater. The flipside is you're less likely to find a real gem in the 00-02 window but less likely to get a total dud than in the 98-99 window. So it's a little difficult to say any one year is "better" than any other during that time, except maybe 98 which was much better than 99 and the best til 03.

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For me '98 was much more hit than miss. Some great stuff that year. 1999 started showing issues with wrappers and construction.

Majority of 2000 stock was plugged more than not - mostly the larger and/or thinner vitolas. Avoided most 2001 though I've had some good ones. Many 2002 stocks have turned out nicely for me.

I think issues were more construction than tobacco-related though there was a big change in the tobaccos used post 1997....they're all around 15 years aged now so place your bets, take your chances!

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Okay, really need some advice here, as it effects my buying. Would I rather purchase a 14, or an older one several spots down on the list, and thus not quite as good, but which now has the benefit of some age on it, and which, of course, I'm paying a premium for? I'd really like some thoughts from you guys on this point?

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I agree with you 100%. I have plenty of stock from 1998 and 2001 that are at their prime right now- no construction or off balance flavor issues. Near perfect cigars... what every collector wants. Notably Bolivar CEs

Exactly right! I've got some sublime BCE from both '98 and '99.

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As someone (relatively) new to cigars, sounds like these past five years were good years to get on board?

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For me '98 was much more hit than miss. Some great stuff that year. 1999 started showing issues with wrappers and construction.

Majority of 2000 stock was plugged more than not - mostly the larger and/or thinner vitolas. Avoided most 2001 though I've had some good ones. Many 2002 stocks have turned out nicely for me.

I think issues were more construction than tobacco-related though there was a big change in the tobaccos used post 1997....they're all around 15 years aged now so place your bets, take your chances!

Absolutely agree - 1998 was as fine as 2003/2004 was - constructionwise. Problems arising in 1999 running into late 2001 from my personal experience (but seems also depending on marca and output). That said, tobacco quality was still fine during most of that period, although there also was an increase in area under cultivation (inclusion of less suitable soil is always a concern). MdO No 2 of 2002 has become a classic.

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Okay, really need some advice here, as it effects my buying. Would I rather purchase a 14, or an older one several spots down on the list, and thus not quite as good, but which now has the benefit of some age on it, and which, of course, I'm paying a premium for? I'd really like some thoughts from you guys on this point?

My own personal opinion,forget the list and get stuck in to some '14's with confidence,even more so if you're buying from here thumbsup.gif I've not smoked every cigar from every marque,obviously.But what I have had is very smokable now and I don't believe there's much that needs more than two,maybe three years down.

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Forget you even saw the effing list okay...

Hurray clap.gif

There is no date that can be put on a good cigar. There are only good cigars and bad cigars and they make both every year!

And this is one for the text books!clap.gif

While I to some extend disagree on your general statements reg. aging. I wholeheartedly agree on these ones!

Like your stile Mr PigFish!

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Well, looking at that article, this caught my eye:

"A word of caution. Don’t touch any cigars from the end of 1998 to 2001. Many of these cigars had construction problems as well as bad tobacco blending. A new generation of factory workers came on board at that time, and many didn’t know how to make cigars. Moreover, policies were initiated to make large quantities of cigars and the blends were not correct."

While he's correct on the details there, I'd highly decry him for stating "don't touch ANY cigars from the end of 1998 to 2001". While there's loads of crap in those years (and frankly, I'd include 2002 in there as well, as things didn't come out of their funk until 2003), there's also some gems in there. Some of the best QdO and LGC I've had have been from 2000 and 2001 boxes, and even some Diplomaticos stuff as well.

If you know how to wade out the chaff, there are some goodies to find. To tell people "don't touch any" from that timeline does people a disservice, frankly.

You are right, there were gems, but that was the exception and not the rule, especially now so many years later when so much has been rejected and picked over only to find its way back into the supply chain. I think JS is doing a service in saying this, as 99% of the cigar smoking world would not be able to navigate the nuance.

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Forget you even saw the effing list okay... Who died and made JS king of ratings???

Forget the friggin' age argument as well. Smoke Habanos long enough and you too will be able to brag about smoking aged cigars.

What the hell is going to happen to a cigar in a year other than acclimatizing it to your taste? And that assumes that 'you' were the curator of the cigar for the year! Certainly nothing worth paying a premium for...! Furthermore, you may find that with the variation of stock quality, normal to the product in general, you get something inferior just by the misfortune of the draw... That is cigars folks, like it or not...

There is no date that can be put on a good cigar. There are only good cigars and bad cigars and they make both every year!

Look, I don't want to bring up another pissing match about aged cigars, it is a stupid argument. There are no such facts available to make such broad sweeping claims about years for taste and age as some of these guys do.... It is all anecdotal.

Create your own opinions and anecdotes for some other dope to read on the net... but for God's sake don't get dupped into changing your buying to suit some dude behind a keyboard!

If you are happy with the cigars that are currently made just friggin' buy them! If not, go looking for those that are no longer made if that makes you happy. But buying cigars off a 'buyers guide' is just plain stupid!

The experience argument holds as well for aged cigars as it does limited cigars. I mean if you want to say that you tried them, then hunt some down and buy some. I certainly have a taste for cigars that are no longer made... but when mine are gone, they are gone! You know, I don't go looking for more boxes of Partagas Lonsdales... They are gone baby... and not now nor will they ever be worth 1K a box. They are friggin' cigars, not rare coins! Instead I buy QdO coronas, or RGPC's and other stock that I think is good today and "believe" will be good into the future. So I give you the same advice; don't go scratching around trying to find a cigar still made that has a few years on it and paying a premium for it, I think you are tossing your money in the trash! You have no greater odds in getting a good box from a given year verses the current year. Furthermore if you are doing if for no other reason that some dude posted a list in a magazine, or on the internet, I have some view property in Afghanistan that I would love to sell you!!!

Piggy's 2 cts!

Really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

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You're welcome!

If you are hell bent on an aged cigar, I will send you one! What you will likely learn from the experience is how good a dryer, properly acclimated cigar tastes like... and NOT the difference between one with 1 year vs. 5 -10 -15 years of age.

... but that is just my spin and there is no shortage of guys on the net that think they know more about cigars than other guys on the net!

Go figure! -LOL

-Piggy

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As someone (relatively) new to cigars, sounds like these past five years were good years to get on board?

Yes, and I believe that would be a general consensus (mostly ). If I were new to the game, and knowing what I know now, I would spend my coin on cigars I like or want to try from the last few years. You'll get more, cheaper, and with pretty good quality/flavor. This allows you to amass your collection and possibly have your own vintage cigars someday. Every now and again someone will bring up a particular cigar of a certain year that's performing well. It's then that I might venture into the aged smokes. But for the most part, I've gotten a lot of joy out of cigars that are 5 years and younger.

Just my opinion of course, but as someone who doesn't have bottomless pockets, this has been my little collection strategy. Hope that helps!

JD

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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You're welcome!

If you are hell bent on an aged cigar, I will send you one! What you will likely learn from the experience is how good a dryer, properly acclimated cigar tastes like... and NOT the difference between one with 1 year vs. 5 -10 -15 years of age.

... but that is just my spin and there is no shortage of guys on the net that think they know more about cigars than other guys on the net!

Go figure! -LOL

-Piggy

Again, thanks Piggy. I'm building my collection and had been pondering how many older cigars I wanted to spend the extra coin on. Your thoughts have been great. I have a new humidor that needs at least 100 more boxes.... so you've helped me focus on what I want to stock it with.

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Not much to disagree with Piggy on.

Going out of your way or buying cigars from 98-04 to smoke them is probably going to be a losing proposition. The only reason I'd be spending serious coin for something like Party Lonsdales or Coronas is to fill out my massive collection, which I don't have. They are absolutely not worth $1,000+ in and of themselves.

Production in the last 6-8 years has been so superior in general to the 6-8 years preceding it my firm belief is if you want to start smoking aged cigars begin building a supply from recent production cigars you like now. You'll know what you're getting, you can control the storage conditions and you will save money.

I personally try to buy at least 3 boxes of a cigar giving me short, medium and long-term boxes. The medium-term box may take me 5 years to finish and I won't touch the long-term box until the medium-term box is finished.

If you have deep pockets and you really want to play in the sandbox of aged and vintage go ahead but in my experience be prepared for big costs and big letdowns. Even stuff from the late 80s-early 90s with good provenance can be strikeouts.

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  • 7 months later...

As a general guide for someone who is buying cigars for the first time Suckling's list might be helpful. For most of us who have been in the game for years we all can find exceptions. 2006? RASS? Monte #2? Any one ever had a CLE '01 Cohiba Lanceros? 

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