The Rising Value of Cuban Cigars: A Worthwhile Investment
Just like fine wine, Cuban cigars are highly sought after by many collectors’ all-over the world, in the hope that their investment can reap some returns in the long-run. The general rule is that the longer they are kept, the more valuable they will become. However, it’s not as simple as purchasing a box and leaving it on the shelf. You have to consider the kind of cigar you choose, the maintenance and the quality – or else you might have yourself a loss rather than profit. George Frakes, master of Habanos at London-based cigar merchant James J Fox, says: “Purchasing cigars as an investment is an increasing trend among cigar smokers, collectors and investors worldwide. A good box of cigars, if stored correctly and of the correct vitola brand and series will soar in value as the tobacco ages and fellow cigars of the same vitola become scarce.”
"THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT"
Cigar collectors undoubtedly agree that the best tobacco to place your bets on, is, of course, Cuban cigars. Ever since the U.S. embargo, Cuban tobacco has somewhat gained the image of a ‘forbidden fruit’. In result, the demand for tobacco is high despite the very harsh restrictions placed on these goods. Many keen cigar collectors for the last few decades have been finding it difficult to get their hands on these fine products. So, just by having a box of those limited edition Cohiba Talisman cigars, you're already at an advantage.
Cigar smokers, in today’s world, come from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter whether you're a refined individual or not, cigars can be smoked by everybody and anybody. This has led to increased demand to the Far East – Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Macau and Japan. According to research from Market Revenue, the Chinese spend about $335 million a year on cigars, with the industry growing by around 30 per cent per annum. In Hong Kong, cigars are passed from one generation to another, therefore it is certainly not unusual for a serious cigar collector to have more than 100,000 cigars – according to David Dale.
Cigars are seen as an alternative investment similar to wine and art. In 2010, a box of 10 Romeo y Julieta cigars sold for £11,500, with the original purchase price being £70. Another key factor to the value of a cigar is whether it has been smoked by someone significant. For instance, a cigar smoked by Winston Churchill was sold at auction for £4,800. As Mr Churchill was an iconic figure of British politics, it made sense that it was valued at a hefty price.
Amigos de Partagas, Italy – An event where cigar aficionados and collectors get together and celebrate all-things Habanos.
"CHOOSING AND MAINTAINING CUBAN CIGARS"
Choosing what cigar to invest in isn’t as simple as purchasing a standard box of Cuban cigars. There are actually many different factors that contribute to whether you will obtain sufficient returns in the next few years. First and foremost, cigar collectors must purchase their boxes of Habanos from reputable sellers. You can’t just travel to Cuba, purchase a few stogies and find out you’ve got a counterfeit. There are many online stores, just like EGM Cigars, who are actively getting their hands on rare, Limited Edition Cigars, that will – for sure – increase in value in the next few years. Read our article on “Buying Online: Useful Shopping Tips”, to obtain useful information on how and where you can reliably purchase Habanos.
EDICION LIMITADA – These kinds of cigars are very limited quantities and possess very good ageing potential. Naturally, the leaves selected for these limited editions are selected purely based on the fact that they will mature beautifully for a prolonged length of time. An example is Habanos’ Reserva lines, as tobacco farmers ensure that they meticulously pick certain leaves. Darker-wrapper and fuller-flavoured blends are the ones to look for, as their flavours are retained for much longer than cigars with lighter blends.
CERTAIN BRANDS DO BETTER – It’s no secret that brands like Cohiba, Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta are the brands to collect. If you’re starting to stock up some smokes, then choosing these smokes would be a good start. For better ageing potential, go for full-bodied brands such as Bolivar, Punch or Partagas Cigars as they age beautifully over time. Or if you've got extra buck, Davidoff and Dunhill cigars do especially well.
Rolled cigars in El Laguito, Havana.
MORE VINTAGE, THE BETTER – It is widely recognised that the older the cigar is, the higher the value it would be. Just have a look at the value of pre-embargo cigars, the value of some cigars more than tripled that when they were first bought. Furthermore, cigars can sometimes get discontinued, which can greatly increase the price of the cigar. Or, just like wine, the flavour profile gets better the more it has aged. To get started on ageing, you need a humidor. No arguments needed. A humidor can determine a smooth smoking experience, as well as retaining distinctive tasting notes. As long as the correct conditions are maintained, cigars can be stored indefinitely in a humidor – whether that’s a few months or for 30-years. The ideal temperature and humidity for cigars are generally 65-74%, with a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius. Some great humidors include the S.T. Dupont Matt Black Humidor. If you are inexperienced in storing cigars, then we highly recommend you head over to a cigar merchant. Sometimes they offer services where you can store your cigars in their high-tech humidor for a monthly charge.
If you happen to have an expensive cigar in your collection and you want to reap some returns. Our number one piece of advice is to not smoke it. The temptation is definitely there, however, give it at least five years and you’ll be thanking yourself later. However, if you do have the urge to smoke one, many aficionados actually buy two of the same box – one to sell, and one to smoke.
Our recommendations? Here they are:
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