285 - May 17, 2012
The demand for
The premium handmade cigar is often referred to as “one of the world’s most affordable luxuries”, and has created a demand, especially in the USA, which seems to be almost insatiable. This, despite all the growing restrictions as to where one may indulge in this luxury product.
Recent statistics from the USA show that the premium, handmade cigar market, which is about 9% of the total cigar market in the US, grew by 7.7% in 2010 – 281 million up from 260.2 million - amazing.
In fact the total of large cigar imports into the US in 2011 was 2.93 billion sticks, an increase of 65% on 2010 – more amazing! This is slightly lower than in 2004 (and definitely lower than the boom of 1995/6) but is once again on the way up.
This demand is not only for quantity, but also for quality – and has dictated the taste and format of the cigars.
With Cuba still out of the legal picture, the beneficiaries of this “insatiable” market have been
1. The Dominican Republic (41%), 2. Nicaragua (37%) and 3. Honduras (21%).
Together they control 99% of this segment of the market!
The technical qualities of these cigars can only be described as outstanding – comparable to, and sometimes better than, the best from Cuba.
As it is the soil from each area that determines the taste of the tobacco produced, it is up to the skills of the blenders to create the great brands, and they have. We spoke about this in June 2009 – Blending“outside-the-box”, in which we quoted from a James Suckling article on the taste qualities of tobacco from various regions.
Our original imports in 1987 of non-Cuban cigars were from Honduras and Dominican Republic. Nicaraguan cigars were only introduced in 1993, and were considered to be really good. But the unsettled political situation has, over the years, prevented Nicaraguan cigars from achieving the market share their quality deserves. The situation seems to have improved, and for the first time in 2009 Nicaragua supplied more premium cigars to the US than Honduras did.
At our October 2011 Cigar Dinner, we blind-tasted three Coronas – Dominican, Nicaraguan and Cuban. The Dominican “Casa da Garcia” scored the highest points: superb technical qualities and smoothness, but was generally found to be short on fullness of taste. We have put together 10 only Selections of the 3 cigars from that Dinner at R270.00.
At our next Dinner (May 21, 2012) we will blind-taste 3 Robustos: 2 distinctively different Dominican Republic brands, and a Cuban Robusto. I look forward to seeing how the guests rate them.
In my last “Cigar Article” (April 19) I described how I prepared 10 special Burl 20-cigar Humidors (73-J1013) with Paradigm Humidifiers, to ensure that they would be stabilised ready to receive their cigars.
I said at the time that they would be on sale “from April 26” - but they just didn’t get onto the website - (lost their way??)
To make up for it, they will be there, and at some of the Wesley’s franchises, from May 24 – at less 25%.
And for those cigar smokers who missed out on the Dunhill offer last week, we will extend the less 15% offer on cigar accessories only.
Back where we started this article – enjoy “one of the world’s most affordable luxuries” kept in perfect condition!
PS – Read the articles - has dictated the taste; Blending “outside-the-box” – even more amazing!
No.285 May 17 - 30, 2012
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