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I think the relationship is quite pronounced across the price spectrum.  A cheap CC is likely going to dramatically outperform on a taste basis vs. most NCs (though I have had some, albeit few, surprises with cheaper NCs). 

I would also say the same thing at the high end, if you think about what you could buy in the $30-$50 USD range in NC land it’s an easy call in my opinion that you’d rather use that budget on CCs.  

At the very extreme end, I was lucky enough to smoke a Davidoff Oro Blanco a while back. This is the $500 Davidoff that is presumably/hopefully the best cigar Davidoff can possibly create. It was good, but I couldn’t help but think if I was running around London or Hong Kong with $500 in my pocket in search of a good smoke. I could likely get something that would be a beyond remarkable experience if I knew what to buy. 

I do agree that construction/draw varies more with CC, but I don’t find it too dramatic. In fact, I find NC are invariably too loose of a draw for my preference. 

All my opinion. 

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What I have seen as a major factor driving nc prices is the ever increasing ring gauge.  One has to look to find much in the 40s and I get it,  big cigars=a lot of smoke and the basic flavor profile.  I shudder with the news of a 58 gauge Cohiba in the works.

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4 hours ago, SigmundChurchill said:

Possibly this is at play for me.  I find that I have to buy a $25-$30 NC just to compete with an $8 PSD4 or a $10 BBF.  And even then, I enjoy the PSD4 or BBF a little more.

It has been so long since I have smoked NCs on a regular basis, that I probably don’t really know the market.  But it just seems when someone gifts me a lower priced NC, and I actually smoke it, I end up regretting smoking it.

There are plenty of good $5-$10 NCs out there currently. However you really need to shop online to get them at that price as they may be marked up $15+ Or more at a B&M. 

The NC market really takes some research because a lot of the mega-producers price shoddy cigars at or above higher quality boutique brands. 

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In a  B&M  in my state, your basic $5.00 wholesale cigar is keystoned, so it sells for $10.00

 

Add in State tobacco tax and sales tax, and that cigar retails for $12.00 at the honest shops.

Some places it will be more.

 

Adjust wholesale price for the brand, and you can see why cigars can cost so much in a B&M...

 

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At least for now, NC are my staple, and CC are what I'm exploring. For me the #1 differentiator, the biggest reason why NC's are my go to when I know I want to have a nice cigar...is consistency. I buy a box of 1964 Padrons for $230. Every damn cigar is going to be great. It's going to have a perfect draw, I'm not going to have to babysit it. I'm not going to have to set a special humidity just so it burns better. I don't need to wait a drybox out. I don't need to get the box of my dreams...then know that to best appreciate it I should put it away for 3 years. I know that if I buy 10 boxes, they're going to look the same, taste the same. They're a fantastic filet.

CC? - well, babysit them like crazy. Know that it's entirely possible some are going to be plugged and you need a PerfecDraw to make it burn. Some wrappers are flat-out flame retardant. In the SAME BOX you're going to get variation in color and flavor. But when you get a great one, it's truly great and unique and it's the only place you'll get those flavors. It's like an amazing ethnic dish. Sometimes you get the stewed goat brain and you realize it's not for you, but other times you get the freshest sushi roll and you can't stand up for 15 minutes in fear of everyone seeing the raging boner it gave you.

I think both NC and CC have their time and place, and at least for me, a humidor is not complete unless it has some of both. Truly great cigars can be had in both for under $10 a stick. 

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2 minutes ago, SmokyFontaine said:

At least for now, NC are my staple, and CC are what I'm exploring. For me the #1 differentiator, the biggest reason why NC's are my go to when I know I want to have a nice cigar...is consistency. I buy a box of 1964 Padrons for $230. Every damn cigar is going to be great. It's going to have a perfect draw, I'm not going to have to babysit it. I'm not going to have to set a special humidity just so it burns better. I don't need to wait a drybox out. I don't need to get the box of my dreams...then know that to best appreciate it I should put it away for 3 years. I know that if I buy 10 boxes, they're going to look the same, taste the same. They're a fantastic filet.

CC? - well, babysit them like crazy. Know that it's entirely possible some are going to be plugged and you need a PerfecDraw to make it burn. Some wrappers are flat-out flame retardant. In the SAME BOX you're going to get variation in color and flavor. But when you get a great one, it's truly great and unique and it's the only place you'll get those flavors. It's like an amazing ethnic dish. Sometimes you get the stewed goat brain and you realize it's not for you, but other times you get the freshest sushi roll and you can't stand up for 15 minutes in fear of everyone seeing the raging boner it gave you.

I think both NC and CC have their time and place, and at least for me, a humidor is not complete unless it has some of both. Truly great cigars can be had in both for under $10 a stick. 

Pretty much sums up what I was going to say.  Even with taxes, there are plenty of excellent deals to be found on quality NC in the US.  And if you're going to compare NC and CC prices, you simply have to factor in the quality difference (construction, draw, burn, consistency).  It's easy to dismiss the dud sticks as a small percentage, but if you are pinching pennies, every one counts.

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Padron 1926 Naturals to me are the only NCs I consider when not smoking CCs...I havent had nearly the amount of issues that some others complain about with CCs...maybe its storage maybe its luck...who knows.  

I will say this...if your collection is large enough to where you know you are going to have cigars sit in storage for 10+ years then you are wasting your money on NC at any price point and for whatever quality control you desire...NC tobacco is not built to last in my opinion...I smoked a Tatuaje Cojonu 2003 (from a 2008 box) that was 11 years old and it was lifeless and bland and nothing close to what it was when fresh...the same can be said for VSG, Padron, and even Opus to a certain extent but maybe not as bad

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7 minutes ago, mbflash80 said:

Padron 1926 Naturals to me are the only NCs I consider when not smoking CCs...I havent had nearly the amount of issues that some others complain about with CCs...maybe its storage maybe its luck...who knows.  

I will say this...if your collection is large enough to where you know you are going to have cigars sit in storage for 10+ years then you are wasting your money on NC at any price point and for whatever quality control you desire...NC tobacco is not built to last in my opinion...I smoked a Tatuaje Cojonu 2003 (from a 2008 box) that was 11 years old and it was lifeless and bland and nothing close to what it was when fresh...the same can be said for VSG, Padron, and even Opus to a certain extent but maybe not as bad

I don't doubt that to be true, but chemically speaking, why would Cuban tobacco not breakdown and not become lifeless and bland if you aged 3 years longer than the NC (assuming a NC is aged anywhere around that timeframe after rolling). A big gripe about NC's is the pepper and flavor bombs that are overwhelming, while Cubans are lighter and more nuanced. So why would one soften its edges and be mild and lovely, but the stronger one go bland? Heck, the oldest NC's I've got are coming up on 3 years after purchase so my personal sample size is non-existent, and my most "aged" Cubans have a box date of 2017, so I'm not disputing your point, I'm just saying logically...why would Cuban tobacco age in a way completely different of non-Cuban grown? It doesn't seem scientifically plausible. It's obviously all subjective, but this notion that Cubans somehow have chemical characteristics that defy all other tobacco seems about one step away from just saying they come from the magical droppings of unicorns.

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24 minutes ago, SmokyFontaine said:

I don't doubt that to be true, but chemically speaking, why would Cuban tobacco not breakdown and not become lifeless and bland if you aged 3 years longer than the NC (assuming a NC is aged anywhere around that timeframe after rolling). A big gripe about NC's is the pepper and flavor bombs that are overwhelming, while Cubans are lighter and more nuanced. So why would one soften its edges and be mild and lovely, but the stronger one go bland? Heck, the oldest NC's I've got are coming up on 3 years after purchase so my personal sample size is non-existent, and my most "aged" Cubans have a box date of 2017, so I'm not disputing your point, I'm just saying logically...why would Cuban tobacco age in a way completely different of non-Cuban grown? It doesn't seem scientifically plausible. It's obviously all subjective, but this notion that Cubans somehow have chemical characteristics that defy all other tobacco seems about one step away from just saying they come from the magical droppings of unicorns.

Well that is the $64,000 question now isn't it? I really have no idea why...I just know it to be true in my experience.  maybe non cuban tobacco starts off so strong and pungent that there are too many flavor variables for it to age well...they really do punch you in the face fresh...whereas a strong young cuban to me has a richness that can be overwhelming and take away from the smoking experience...maybe its that variable that allows cuban tobacco to age in a more refined way without losing as much flavor..."it rounds out" so to speak...where NCs just "flatten out"...thats about as unscientific as an answer can get...lol... 

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34 minutes ago, SmokyFontaine said:

I don't doubt that to be true, but chemically speaking, why would Cuban tobacco not breakdown and not become lifeless and bland if you aged 3 years longer than the NC (assuming a NC is aged anywhere around that timeframe after rolling). A big gripe about NC's is the pepper and flavor bombs that are overwhelming, while Cubans are lighter and more nuanced. So why would one soften its edges and be mild and lovely, but the stronger one go bland? Heck, the oldest NC's I've got are coming up on 3 years after purchase so my personal sample size is non-existent, and my most "aged" Cubans have a box date of 2017, so I'm not disputing your point, I'm just saying logically...why would Cuban tobacco age in a way completely different of non-Cuban grown? It doesn't seem scientifically plausible. It's obviously all subjective, but this notion that Cubans somehow have chemical characteristics that defy all other tobacco seems about one step away from just saying they come from the magical droppings of unicorns.

My conjecture:

Cuba pretty much uses its tobacco as fast as it possibly can aside from a few special releases. NC tobacco could be stock piled for years before its rolled, and blended from different countries, regions and most relevantly here, vintages. NC cigars are often rolled with much older tobacco to begin with, some blends having different ages on different leaves. So after 5 years you could have a cigar with 10 year old binder, 20 year old wrapper and 7 year old secco. etc making the blend go all out of balance as parts of the blend age out but other stay strong, making the cigars seem bland because one leaf is overpowering the others. With more age, these tobaccos could come back into balance, but there is no telling.

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Just had this Alec Bradley black market estelli. Good price and Good smoke! But like the rest of NCs. One flavour thru out the whole stick. 

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90% of my spending are CC, recently I spent 1/3 budget on NC, not really my palate is changing, just to make

my CC boxes "rest more time" (more time to aging) . There are many nice NC to smoke, $5~10 per stick, and you don't need to age yourself.

I stored PSP cabs like members here, if you have enough you won't need NC, but I love tobacco too much, I want to try more.

also, in HK/Taiwan CC are dominant for sure, but NC having their field of sky now, it's 'cheaper' in cigar lounges.

 

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On 7/14/2019 at 7:16 PM, El Presidente said:

I don't hold grudges :D

$12 a cigar or $300 a box brings a lot of very good Cuban cigars into play. 

I am very close to 100% Cuban in my collection. Most from FOH and very happy about all of it. 

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Hard to say personally whether the prices have been climbing on NCs. Only have about 20 NCs left in my humidors. Maybe some padrons, some opus x. Not what I'd call value sticks. They were always not worth the cost compared to what you can find in cubans. Most of the time these days, I just don't feel like getting a pepper smack to my face.

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On 7/15/2019 at 10:13 AM, Wookie said:

I buy loads of ccs and NCs. The quality of NCs has improved exponentially from the early 2000s. As others have said, there are online retailers in the states that have VIP memberships that save us 30-40% off retail.  The other thing about high quality NCs is that the draw is nearly always perfect.....not like a lot of the plugged CCs.  I love them all but there is no question that NCs are gaining on or equal to the best CCs out there now. Bespoke, AVO LE 05, many Davidoff, joya cinco decada, to name a few. 

I am glad to hear it and I would love nothing more than for NC's to push CC's to the very limit. 

It did not cross my mind that NC manufacturers build into marketing/pricing 40% + discounts and it makes sense.  I haven't yet met a Plasencia, RP or Casa M that I would plonk down $25 on. 

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I still have difficulties paying $25+ for a single stick but I no longer dwell on the money.. And I agree there is no Rocky Patel worth that sort of money but there are some temptations primarily from the DR that have come into their own over the past decade.  Comments here tend to favor Padron who have struck out on their own and formed a dynasty however, the crown jewel among the nc's imho remains with Arturo Fuente and their work.  Development of their premium lines is the deal today and the improvement over the last 2 decades is obvious.  Fuente fans are especially keen on the Opus X and other high end developments but I still favor Don Carlos or any of the Hemmingway line.  Fuente pretty much sets the standard all others strive to fulfill in the nc world.   The flavor profile is distinct, workmanship excellent.  One final comment on rising cigar costs; over 45 years ago I used to justify $500 for an ounce of dank so a cigar is merely a different sort of smoke with different end results.  Both items fall under the 'money to burn' category?  I also remember when Gurkha was a low cost, overly strong house cigar for Thompson.  Evidently the acquisition of some decent leaf resulted in a higher quality cigar?  I have tried several and still nothing memorable.  Currently the nc catalog offers 12 different Montecristos,  11 Punch, 10 R&J, 9 Cohiba among others but all claimng different profiles?  A Cuban marca may claim its regular wrapper and perhaps a maduro but not much left after this?  There is a newer brand called 'Camacho' that is as strong as the name portends.  It comes with 14 different names and flavors but out of the whole group, only one cigar has a ring gauge smaller than 50 and that is their Churchill at 7"x48.  All 14 offer at least one stick larger than a 60 and there are several 70s and even two 80 ring gauge units.  Hell, I get 4 or 5 of these cigar catalogs every week and these books are getting heavier as well.  Pretty soon, I won't manage to even get them in my house?  My point is a feeble defense of nc although I have not bought one since January and I am real selective about future purchases here, with the exception of Fuente.

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I have 5 or 6 NC's out of the 100's of cigars I have for a change of pace every blue moon. Does that count? That's all NC cigars are good for in my book.

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Plenty of good NC cigars in my opinion.  I generally buy CCs in boxes...while the NC purchases are singles here and there.  I haven’t bought a box of NCs in a while.  But I think it’s important to support the BMs when I go in their shops. So I will always try to pick up something.  Maybe that’s a new release or just something that looks good or haven’t tried before.

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On 7/15/2019 at 5:35 PM, HumidorJuan said:

Just had this Alec Bradley black market estelli. Good price and Good smoke! But like the rest of NCs. One flavour thru out the whole stick. 

 

Cmon man. If you're going to judge the entire NC market from a single cigar at least pick something that landed on the Halfwheel consensus list for 2017. 

The Esteli wouldn't have made it into the top 100 for the year. That was a monster year for great cigars too. 

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18 minutes ago, Cigar Surgeon said:

Cmon man. If you're going to judge the entire NC market from a single cigar at least pick something that landed on the Halfwheel consensus list for 2017. 

The Esteli wouldn't have made it into the top 100 for the year. That was a monster year for great cigars too. 

Ok then let me rephrase this. my top NCs of the past few years: wise man Maduro, my father opulenica, rocky Patel edge maduro 60, Alec Bradley estelli, Fuente opus x lost city, fuente hemingway work of art, annnnnnnnnd I found them all great BUT all one note flavours throughout the maduros, and the others, they don’t evolve like Cubans do over the course of smoking them. IMHO. I summed it up with the estelli because that’s what was in my hand at the time I posted. Would love to hear some NC recommendations from you. 

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It's also curious they tend to quote NC by singles, whereas for CC it's usually by box. Gives an indication about the market.

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you can also get NC from auction sites for 50% ... use to be with no tax but they started adding it in the last year:(

i could get a $450 box of padron family reserve for under $200 if i was lucky...you still can but that tax adds up

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One factor that hasn't been brought up when it comes to price differences is what they're paying their workers.. 😶

Personally, I prefer CCs over NCs in terms of flavor every day of the week. That is all that counts. Prices are secondary (or even tertiary at best). The few NCs I've bought over the past years have been more or less as a sign of good faith if I've been at a B&M.

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