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Old 05-25-2014, 07:56 AM   #1
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Cigar Trends

Anybody care to speculate what some of the upcoming trends might be? Specifically I was thinking about flavor/strength/size and tobacco origin. Obviously (I suppose) the trend has been to bolder, stronger smokes with larger ring gauges being on the upswing. I would also say that tobacco from Nicaragua is a "hot" commodity right now. Do you think these "trends" will continue? Of course there is always that common thread woven throughout......the allure of Cuban tobacco.
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:37 AM   #2
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I can't really claim to have any ability to see what's coming, but I do have a few thoughts on recent trends and how they might translate into future trends. Please note that these are my opinions only.

First, I detest the trend towards penis-girthed cigars. It strikes me that this is mostly (not solely, mostly) driven by poseurs who are trying to impress people with their cigar savvy. Guys, bigger is not better....which, interestingly, is validated (in my mind) by the increasing popularity of lanceros. I'm really pleased about that latter bit, because I loves me some lanceros.

You're absolutely right about the popularity of Nicaraguan tobacco, but there's a very simple reason for that: It's freakin' excellent. I think that trend started around 2007, when Jose "Pepin" Garcia and Pete Johnson really exploded onto the cigar scene. In particular, Garcia's work with cultivation, curing, processing, and blending really marked the beginning of the renaissance of non-Cuban cigars.

I think all of the hubbub about the increasing quality of non-Cubans brought a lot of new people into the fold. For the most part, that's been good, though many of the jawbreaker-fanatic-poseurs jumped in then, and the proliferation of brands and price inflation that have followed have hardly been beneficial. Most of us remember the bad old days of the Cigar Boom...I really hope we don't reach that nadir again.

As to the "allure of Cuban tobacco," you have only to read the numerous related threads here over the past couple of years to see what's happened to that. Habanos SA decided to make Cuban cigars into luxury goods - in the same category as Ferraris, diamonds, and sable coats - and to price them accordingly. The wholesale decimation of mainstream vitolas, particularly those with ring gauges less than 50, and the proliferation of "Special/Limited/Regional/Whatthefuckever" cigars with second bands and stupid prices has killed that allure a lot of people. I'm one of those people. I still enjoy Cubans, but I don't buy them any more.

So the insanity in Cubans coming at the same time that radical improvements in quality have been made by non-Cuban cigar manufacturers have shaped the industry we have today. I don't see that trend changing any time soon.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:18 AM   #3
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Seems all the new brands and sizes are 60+ ring. THAT sucks!
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Old 05-25-2014, 10:45 AM   #4
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I see Dominican tobacco starting to be used more often. Especially their ligro. It seems to be used in more and more cigars. PDR cigar, Feuente, and Perdomo, are using it in their cigars. As to size, there is a group of cigar smokers who like the 60 ring size. If there wasn't the manufacturers would stop making them. Also, cigar manufacturers make a variety of sizes to suit akk cigar enthusiast.
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:17 AM   #5
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I've always have the gift of being able to predict the future. I don't mean any sort of magical Nostradamus-type mumbo jumbo, I mean by forming opinions and theories based on past and current trends and other indicators, as well as a bit of gut feeling. That said, here are my cigar predictions for the next few years. We'll see how I do in time... First - the Cuba issue. I do not see the embargo being lifted any time soon, if at all. We citizens are certainly not privy to many things; and whatever the REAL reason for the Cuban embargo is, it does not seem to be going anywhere. If anybody would have done it it would have been Obama, and he did not. I have a feeling that in 2014 the embargo has a lot to do with North Korea; also, while no longer a Communist entity, Russia has been on the move lately. There are reasons for the embargo that we here will never know. So I would not waste my time wishing for its end. And on a related note, and not wanting to get too political, I think that Obama bit off a lot more than he can chew. He won on a "cult of personality" ticket. And although he was experienced politically, when he took office he was still naļve as far as the big picture is concerned. I believe that after he took office he learned a lot of things that he never knew, things that hardly anyone in the world knows. Just look at him. He looks empty and defeated and wishing that his term was over. He looks twenty years older and talks like its fifty years. He knows that the world is screwed and that he cannot do anything about it. I would not want his job. But, back on topic, I do not see the embargo ending.

However, I am no psychic. I don't believe in that crap anyway. So also allow me to predict what would happen to the cigar industry if the embargo WAS lifted. First, you don't need to be a genius to know that the cigar industry would be thrown into absolute chaos if the embargo was suddenly lifted. The possibilities are almost endless. Think about it - all of the sudden Cuba would have to produce at least 500,000,000 more cigars a year than they do now, and more likely well over a billion. It's either that or they pull out of their current markets and concentrate on the U.S.A. I don't think they would do that. Those markets are set. A U.S. market would be uncharted waters and nobody can really say what would happen as far as marketing and production is concerned. As far as the cigars themselves, if Cuba wanted to keep its existing markets AND serve the U.S.A. then quality would almost certainly suffer. All of the cool things that smokers talk about if the embargo were lifted, things like blending Cuban with non-Cuban tobacco, would not actually happen for several years after the initial hoopla. Distributors and others must be found who can handle such a monumental task. Do you think your favorite small-time tabacalera would just be able to make a phone call on the day the embargo ends and order up some Cuban tobacco? No way. And do you think that your local would suddenly have a bunch of boxes of Habanos on their shelves? No way. And I'm only talking about cigars. The lifting of the embargo encompasses so many, many things and believe me, cigars are not high on any politician's list. Why would they be? Just because some of us like them?

So, let's say that the embargo is lifted, all of the details are worked out, and quality Habanos start hitting our shelves. Here is what I think would happen. First, everybody and his brother is going to want to buy Cuban cigars. And they will, and the prices will be more than what we pay for them now in our own way. But it won't be long before one or more of the following happens. The rank amateurs will decide that they really don't like cigars after all and stop buying them. Then, the next level up, will be casual cigar smokers who eventually finds the Habanos to be too strong for them, or not worth the extra money. The prices will come down from their initial "shock point" and then we'll be able to walk into a shop and buy some Habanos for a decent price. BUT - the "domestic" cigar industry has become so good that many of us will decide that we like non-Habanos just as much as Habanos and sometimes more. Cuba will revert to being just another country where cigars are manufactured.. We will still buy them, but not exclusively. The price will drop down to what it should be, we'll be used to having them here, and the cigar industry would settle into a new groove. But all of that would take YEARS.

OK - now onto predictions about our current market proclivities. First of all the big ring fad will go away. A few will still be made, but the popularity will fade. They are not that fun to smoke. The balances are all out of proportion and they can be uncomfortable, physically. I've even begun seeing 70 ring cigars! That is not going to last. There have always been size crazes is the cigar market. In the early 2000's it was robustos. Then for a while it was Lonsdales, which I really like. Now it's short, fat, stubby cigars. The difference is that while robustos and Lonsdales are traditional sizes, 4" long cigars with a 70 ring are not. They WILL go away. What size or sizes will be the next to climb the popularity ladder? I'd go with belicosos. Odd shaped but easy smoking, easy to light, and they look cool and different. Odd shaped cigars will be the next trend as I see things. As far as wrappers I think that candelas are the next new trend. Candelas, and to a lesser degree, oscuros.

There. Hit me up in a few years and see if I got anything right!
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:37 PM   #6
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I see 70" ring gauges, box pressed, with maduro wrappers. Why not squeeze all recent fads into one?
This much I do know: there WILL be a new dad because cigar makers need to sell cigars and because there are a lot of suckers out there.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:01 PM   #7
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I think you are going to see more shop exclusives (i.e., W. Curtis Draper exclusive tatuajes, litto gomez, etc.), TAA special runs (tatuaje, my father, padron), and more collaboration between Pepin and up and comers (such as the about to be released Las Calaveras by Crowned Heads, rolled by Pepin).

I think gimmicks like huge ring gauge cigars will eventually die down. Stay with the fundamentals.

Nicaragua is definitely where it's at right now. Even if it's not a puro, there is some nicaraguan tobacco in there somewhere.

I talked to Pete Johnson at Drapers a month or so ago. He said the cigars resting at the My Father factory right now smell so good they remind him of the Cuban cigars he used to get in the early 90s. Prices aside, I think this is a great time to buy cigars. There are so many great ones out there right now.

Just my opinion.
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Old 05-27-2014, 07:06 AM   #8
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I've no ability to presict the future, but I doubt we've seen the end on big RG's (they must be selling or they wouldn't keep adding to them).

I expect more states to increase taxes on cigars as they face pressure on pension funds.

I expect I am wrong on most of this.

But things will change that is for sure
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