Cigar Journal: Top 25 Cigars for 2020


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1 hour ago, NSXCIGAR said:

You mean to tell me #25 is better than every regular production CC made? 

I enjoy Jacobs Ladder smokes when I crave a maduro NC, but most folks here would probably agree that almost all regular production CCs are better cigars.  ?

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42 minutes ago, Cairo said:

I enjoy Jacobs Ladder smokes when I crave a maduro NC, but most folks here would probably agree that almost all regular production CCs are better cigars.  ?

I wasn't singling out that particular cigar, just whatever came in at #25. As if there are 23 NCs better than all regular production CCs. 

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i like to see this stuff. 

cuban cigars are already way overpriced, due to foreign demand. Next to the orient, I would assume USA is the 2nd largest purchaser of Cubans. (especially considering the ease of ordering/receiving cubans through the mail without taxes applied).

Demand already far outweighs supply. Last thing we need is a greater demand. 

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I guess most of us aren't expanding beyond Habanos. Trust me I have and I keep coming back....

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1 hour ago, Hammer Smokin' said:

 Next to the orient, I would assume USA is the 2nd largest purchaser of Cubans.

Not even close. USA is down the list, but is a significant market share. Maybe 15%. Asia is huge and the Middle East is higher than it seems. Throw in Europe and that's 60+% market right there. 

I don't believe demand would grow that much more if USA legalized, at least not right away. All CC smokers already get them. It would have to be new smokers or recreational smokers who don't smoke a lot. That takes some time. 

1 hour ago, Hammer Smokin' said:

cuban cigars are already way overpriced, due to foreign demand.

Well, then they're not overpriced. The demand is dictating the higher prices. The case could be made that CCs are actually underpriced considering they sell everything they make and there are shortages of many cigars at various times. 

There are many NCs that are priced much higher than CCs. There are $15-25 CCs all over the place. The average CC is about $7--not too far off from premium NC prices.

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1 minute ago, NSXCIGAR said:

The case could be made that CCs are actually underpriced considering they sell everything they make and there are shortages of many cigars at various times. 

This is how I feel. It's as though we're buying Champagne vs sparkling wine and the non-Champagne sparkling wine is the same price or even more expensive...

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2 hours ago, NSXCIGAR said:

don't believe demand would grow that much more if USA legalized, at least not right away

On the contrary, I'm of the opinion that if US legalised, demand for cubans will shoot through the roof. I believe there are many pure NC smokers who didn't bother trying to diversify but would if it were easily available at their local b&m

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The irony is that if the embargo is ended, cigars are the one product that won’t start making an appearance in the US. General Cigar owns the trademarks for most HSA brands in America. Unless Habanos is prepared to market their lines under alternate US names, they’ll have to pay to license them from GC (which is like saying “Welcome to America, now please bend over...”) 

Your guess is as good as mine for how this game of chicken ends. 

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7 minutes ago, MrBirdman said:

The irony is that if the embargo is ended, cigars are the one product that won’t start making an appearance in the US. General Cigar owns the trademarks for most HSA brands in America.

Not only that but the FDA approval process will be extraordinarily expensive for any new cigars to enter the market. Like hundreds of thousands of dollars per model. It could cost close to $100 million and many years to get the entire HSA portfolio approved, and that's just regular production. Forget about new special releases. 

1 hour ago, Meklown said:

I believe there are many pure NC smokers who didn't bother trying to diversify but would if it were easily available at their local b&m

I'm just not sure about that. Most exclusively NC smokers will stick to NC, particularly frequent smokers. I can't imagine there are frequent and avid NC smokers who haven't tried CCs. If they liked them, even if they didn't want to risk ordering, someone they know would. I really think most NC smokers are recreational, low-volume consumers. I think most people who would consume enough CCs to make a difference are already obtaining them. I think their consumption might go up among those smokers, but box-buying is still the primary method of purchase. And many states' tax schemes might make it too expensive to change their purchasing habits at all continuing to order through the existing channels. 

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I'm not talking about legalizing Cuban Cigars in the USA. I'm talking about making them more popular than they already are. We have many border jumpers who get cigars sent to border city po boxes. It is easier than pie to get illegal Cubans in the USA without the addition of taxes, duty fees, or other increases in cost. 

It would be ABSOLUTELY CRAZY for a US cigar smoker to want to legalize the great thing they have going!!! I know, I see many Canadians using US postal boxes just to order their cigars. That would stop if things changed. 

I solely was talking about increasing the already popular product in the US under the current sweetheart deal US Cuban cigar smokers share. 

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4 hours ago, NSXCIGAR said:

Not only that but the FDA approval process will be extraordinarily expensive for any new cigars to enter the market. Like hundreds of thousands of dollars per model. It could cost close to $100 million and many years to get the entire HSA portfolio approved, and that's just regular production. Forget about new special releases. 

Pipe tobacco blends fall under the same regulation which on another forum was whittled down to @$3-5000/blend.  The wording in the regulations is not crystal clear and looking at the worst case highest cost scenario one could come to a high 5 figure number but realistically they can satisfy the regulators for much less.  I'm sure Altidas already has a few people working on this for their NC brands so if and when the embargo is lifted they'll know how the system works.

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1 hour ago, JZBdano said:

Pipe tobacco blends fall under the same regulation which on another forum was whittled down to @$3-5000/blend.  The wording in the regulations is not crystal clear and looking at the worst case highest cost scenario one could come to a high 5 figure number but realistically they can satisfy the regulators for much less.  I'm sure Altidas already has a few people working on this for their NC brands so if and when the embargo is lifted they'll know how the system works.

Possibly, but those cheaper approvals are likely being obtained under the “substantive equivalence” exception for products similar to those already approved for the company. It might be difficult for HSA to use that route if they don’t market a single product in the US, let alone one that’s FDA approved. 

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1 hour ago, MrBirdman said:

Possibly, but those cheaper approvals are likely being obtained under the “substantive equivalence” exception for products similar to those already approved for the company. It might be difficult for HSA to use that route if they don’t market a single product in the US, let alone one that’s FDA approved. 

You are probably correct, there is grandfathering of blends continually produced and marketed prior to a 2007 date.  I remember it started as being a cost prohibitive death nail for most new blends to being more of a thorn in your side expense after the attorneys had a chance to interpret the law.  I'm no expert nor involved in the industry but I followed it as an interested consumer.  Oliva, Fuente and Garcias will pave the way long before HSA will need to face this obstacle. 

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7 hours ago, Lrabold89 said:

I think you’re off the Mark with this ...have you been to many lounges stateside ?

I'm talking exclusively NC smokers--those who don't smoke any CCs whatsoever nor would be interested in them if legal. 

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If Cuba opened up in USA and you could walk into a shop in NY or Chicago, they’d have a hard time keeping inventory, there would be a demand for $60 sticks of Monte 2s etc like no other, believe that.  Understandably not many people are comfortable with getting CC’s shipped in, and border cities like Windsor, ON are always chock full of Americans going over for a smoke, take away the pain of a border crossing and I assure you those stores would be littered with enthusiasts and salespeople buying gifts for their clients.  NCs would still survive just fine, as I’m sure the prices for Cuban tobacco would rival or surpass Canadian/Australian prices by the time they slap taxes and tariffs on them.  So to the point of CC being over or under priced, it would all be relative here.  

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21 hours ago, NSXCIGAR said:

As if there are 23 NCs better than all regular production CCs. 

Not that I care about „lists“ to any greater extent, but just for info that the Cigar Journal list (as opposed to e.g. CA) is exclusively on new cigars. In this case, 2019/20 releases. Folks usually tend to miss that no longer-term „regular production“, i.e. no Swinney and no Lanceros, will ever make it to this list.

So this fact alone explains the NC-advantage by the sheer number of all those continual new NC releases and boutique brands. And there’s only so much that can be tested within a year.

So let’s just take it for what it is - a next guy‘s random list of preference. Might provide some orientation for the NC-smoker. But in consequence it contributes to overhyping the new and killing the good and proven. Not a fan personally.

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2 hours ago, Fugu said:

the Cigar Journal list (as opposed to e.g. CA) is exclusively on new cigars.

I forgot this CJ does only true new releases, so there's only a few CCs to choose from, especially this year, but the Punta 55 has been out for quite a while. And no Punch SdP? New Trinis? ELs?

I stopped taking these lists seriously in the early 2000s when CCs disappeared completely from these lists and never really came back. I know how it works--it just never ceases to amaze me.

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18 hours ago, NSXCIGAR said:

And no Punch SdP? New Trinis?

The SdP made it to #4 on last year‘s list (as the single only Cuban...). But hell yes, omitting the Trinis, in particular with the brand‘s anniversary last year, borders on gross journalistic negligence (if we want to think in such categories with a publication like CJ). Probably they didn’t garner the acclaim we’ve given them.

I also suspect - and if we trust it all being blind tasting - a possible technical aspect at play. In that the Cubans, inevitably being smoked so fresh, often right off the truck, might be systematically provisioned at a sub-optimal preconditioning compared to their NC brethren. But sure, there may already be some bias through the preselection process...

Why these lists never bear any relevance for me as a real-life smoker.

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