Savouring the moment
Savouring the moment

The pleasure of a cigar is in the smoking. Exploring flavours from tobacco grown in different terroir, harvested, aged and blended to create a unique experience. It is in affording yourself time for stillness, time for socialising, time for reflection. And it is in allowing oneself the time to sample as many different brands and vitolas as possible to find what you enjoy.

But a tobacco harvest is a finite entity and the loss of tobacco can affect the supply of cigars globally, including of particular cigars. One just has to look at how the closure of factories and borders during the Covid-19 pandemic affected cigar supply. Cuba had the double impact of Covid-19 and Hurricane Ian in 2022 that damaged up to 80% of tobacco infrastructure.

Over the years, cigar brands have also been affected by fires and hailstorms. In 2023, a fire destroyed one of Arturo Fuente’s tobacco warehouses in the Dominican Republic while, in the same year, a fire tore through the drying sheds, which housed newly harvested tobacco, belonging to Matanzas Tobacco Collection and Benefit Company in Havana.

This shows the fragility of the cigar manufacturing process. The limited number of cigars produced means one is not guaranteed a steady supply of their favourite cigars. As a small market, SA is further limited.

One way of countering this is the systematic building of a collection with boxes of specific cigars that you can tap into sparingly, especially regarding special edition releases, which are usually produced in limited quantities. Only 5,000 boxes of 20 of the My Father Cigars Don Pepin Garcia 20th Anniversary Limited Edition 2023 were made and only 1,000 boxes of Pardon’s 50th Anniversary cigar and humidor were made, containing 50 sequentially numbered cigars.

Getting one box for smoking and a second for the collection might be the way to go. Of course, after a while, the size of your humidor does come into play.

Niche investment

A Hong Kong businessperson, Alex Wong, is considered to have possibly the largest cigar collection in the world. In a 2007 Cigar Aficionado interview, it was said that he had more than 5,000 boxes in his personal collection. I can’t begin to imagine what that collection looks like now. He has been decidedly low key since that profile was written.

In recent years, cigars, like art, whiskey and wine, are being seen as a niche investment opportunity, especially rare and vintage cigars. And, like wine in particular, the value is in the cigar box being sealed.

If you are looking to explore this, looking at limited editions as well as regional releases is advisable. Cuba often has cigar releases for specific territories.

Building a cigar collection is a niche investment
Building a cigar collection is a niche investment

Whether you are looking to invest or to add something to your collection for sampling, one can find rare and vintage cigars on online auction platforms such as Online Cigar Auctions, which has auctions every quarter; Cigar Auctioneer, which has regular and vintage cigars; Havana Cigar Exchange London, which has both Cuban and New World cigars available, and Bond Roberts, which is an “aged, rare and vintage cigar exchange”.

PuroTrader was a great cigar online trading, auction and marketplace where one could value and trade cigars but the owners were charged with defrauding America’s Covid-19 small business relief programme in 2022.

While cigars, for many, have been something to indulge in to celebrate a special moment, like the birth of a child, signing a big deal or an impending marriage, every moment is special enough for a cigar. But a vintage or rare cigar is truly one for those moments.

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