Let's face it, if you've been smoking cigars as long as we have, you have probably asked yourself what is the difference between expensive cigars and inexpensive ones. Sure, we've all seen the ads and read the hype about rare aged tobaccos, legendary blenders, long aging periods and the like.
Yes, we have found certain cigars to be much more enjoyable than others, but rarely has the price been a factor. Some of our favorite and most consistent smokes over the years have certainly not been the priciest and we've been sadly disappointed by some of the most costly.
For our purposes here, we are talking only about premium long filler hand rolled cigars made from quality aged tobacco, not short or medium fill products.
Most cigar factories look much alike, with rollers working at their benches day in and day out. These factories are in countries where low wages prevail and rollers are paid by the stick. It is doubtful that the rollers in one factory are really any better paid or experienced than those in another.
Most manufacturers of premium cigars use very much the same tobaccos in the filler, binder and wrappers. Most can't grow enough for their needs and procure what they need from large wholesale warehouses usually located in the cigar manufacturing districts. These wholesalers are supplied by countless small growers throughout their regions. Each grower's product has been sorted, graded and labeled as to its source. Most quality cigars indeed use quality tobacco and it is not uncommon to find the very same tobacco in many of the industry leader's cigars.
Each manufacturer has its own recipes (blends) which make each cigar unique. The only judge of whether a particular cigar has a nicer blend is you, the smoker. You either enjoy it or you don't. Not all cigars, no matter how good or pricey are going to be enjoyed by all smokers.
We doubt however that any manufacturer spends more than $1.00 to $1.75 to make any cigar regardless of blend, roller, tobacco and manufacturing overhead. These cigars must then be packaged, shipped to and taxed by their destination country. The current US tax rate on imported cigars is just under 60% of the wholesale cost of the cigar.
If our cigar costs $1.00 to make it becomes a $1.57 cigar after Federal taxes. Lets add another 30 cents for the cost of the fancy box and the shipping. Now we're at $1.87 for our cigar landed in the United States. Since business can't survive without profit, these cigars must be priced at $2.40 to $3.00 or more, and they're still in the manufacturer's warehouse. Now comes the costs associated with the distribution, promotion and sale of our cigar to you.