I was looking back on the reviews I have done for Whiskey & Whitetails and the upcoming reviews I have planned and thought now would be a good time to touch on the topic of cigar production. In general there are 3 types of cigars: Limited Editions, Limited Production, and Regular Production. Yes, in theory, all cigars are limited to the materials available, however, there are regularly produced cigars that have more limitations (more on that later) and these are what I refer to as Limited Production cigars. Each of these types of cigars has a significant role in the marketplace, the portfolio of the company that releases them, and the personal collection of the consumer.
In my opinion, the category of limited edition cigars (LEs) contains LEs and true LEs. That seems kind of silly, but there are many cigars that are called LEs that are released on multiple occasions. In some instances, there may be several years between releases such as the Warped Maestro Del Tiempo 6102R (2016 & 2020), or they may be yearly releases such as the Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend. These cigars are LEs because there are a fixed number available at the time of release, and though the blend is the same, there may be some variances in the cigar due to the characteristics of the crops used for a particular iteration. A true LE is a cigar that is a one and done release. This could be as strict as a company producing a set number of cigars under a particular name and that cigar never returning, or the cigar returns under the same name, but as a completely different blend and size.
I think it is important to understand why LEs are made. I guess technically anybody can make a new product for no reason other than to call it an LE, but, oftentimes LEs are made to celebrate something, honor someone or something, highlight a special blend of tobaccos, or collaborate with another company, person, or group. The Room101 Cigars released 1,001 boxes of the 12th Anniversary this year to celebrate 12 years in the industry, carrying on from the 10th and 11th anniversary in the previous 2 years. The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras line of cigars is a yearly release of a unique blend that celebrates the lives of loved ones lost during the previous year. The Stolen Throne War Council I reviewed recently, from what I understand, was not intended to be an LE, but it became difficult to consistently source quality leaves for one of the components. The Davidoff Chef’s Edition (2016/17, 2018, 2021) is an example of an LE that presents a collaboration as each blend is created with the input of a group of globally renowned chefs.
Sometimes, LEs are released as a sort of test and the cigars made become a yearly or intermittent release such as the Viaje White Label series of cigars. Other times, a cigar is initially produced as an LE and due to consumer demand it is turned into a regular production product. Then there are some cigars that are limited because the tobaccos used are “rare and special”, but then, out of nowhere, the tobaccos magically become readily available for the cigar to go into regular production...
As I mentioned, some cigars toe the line between regular production and limited editions due to limiting factors such as material, manpower, or both. These cigars may be readily available in some locations, or they may be perpetually on backorder. It is truly a matter of consumer demand against product availability. A cigar like the Aladino Corojo Reserva is a limited production product with a monthly release of 400 boxes shipped to stores in allocated quantities. The reason for this limitation is because the blend utilizes a higher priming wrapper leaf known as the Corona leaf. This is a very low yield leaf, resulting in low production capabilities.
An example of a cigar with multiple layers of limitations is the Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Muestra de Sake Unicorn. This cigar was brand owner Steve Saka’s attempt at making a cigar with the highest cost of production possible. This included Steve making the hardwood molds himself, hand sorting thousands of pounds of tobacco to use only the highest quality leaves, having the cigars rolled by a single pair at the factory, and having each cigar packaged in it’s own coffin. Priced at $100 per, these cigars were, from what I understand, an example of an LE turned limited production.
Regular Production and Parting Words
I do not think it is really necessary to explain what regular production cigars are, but just in case: a regular production cigar is a cigar that is continually produced and distributed. There are instances where a regular production cigar toes the line of limited production, and is pushed over the edge for a period of time. An instance is the RoMa Craft Tobac Cromagnon. This cigar is perpetually backordered in normal circumstances due to smaller production numbers, however, it ordinarily is not difficult to acquire. However, there had been a Connecticut Broadleaf shortage in the premium cigar industry for a stretch of time, and this has made this cigar even more difficult to acquire.
Finishing up this article, I wanted to discuss the importance of these types of cigars, as well as my thoughts on them. For the majority of smokers, the most important thing is having a lineup of consistent, readily available cigars. You want, nay, need cigars that you can always count on. So it is obvious the place in the market for regular production cigars. However, like any consumable, you want to feel fancy sometimes. Maybe you want something different or exciting. This is where limited productions and LEs come in. They offer the manufacturer a vehicle to deliver something new and exciting to the consumer. It also gives them the ability to express creativity with their craft. LEs also give the consumer releases to look forward to and get the “thrill of the chase” for.
Now for the opinion part! Not every LE is a good cigar, and some of these manufacturers have to know that before they release some of this crap. To be honest, I have actually been let down by more LEs than I have been impressed with. Some companies thrive on FOMO sales of overhyped and underwhelming yearly, intermittent, or true LE cigars. That being said, there are a ton of people that love all these LE cigars (personally I think some people refuse to admit they wasted their money, so they convince themselves the cigars are the “best iteration yet!”, but maybe I’m just sour). Anyways, at the end of the day, do I think LEs are worth chasing? My answer: I think some LEs are worth obtaining, but I personally pick and choose what I actively pursue.
For example, I thoroughly enjoy Tatuaje cigars and I went out of my way to commit to purchasing the Tatuaje Monster Mash set and Advent Calendar because the Monster Series is iconic and I like a lot of the blends and the Advent Calendar is a cool idea. However, earlier in the year I did not jump on the Tatuaje T110s, or Fausto Old Man and the C, because they did not speak to me. After the release, I was at a shop that had a few T110s and the Faustos and I grabbed one of each of the T110s and I enjoyed them both, but I did not regret not actively seeking them out. I also recently purchased the Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2021 sampler because I really like what Crowned Heads does with Sumatra wrappers, so this year’s release was worth it to me to grab. However, the previous two years I had no desire to grab because they did not intrigue me in the way that the 2021s did. When Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust came out with the event only Polpetta, I had no retailer around that did events so I jumped through numerous hoops (and bought quite a bit of DT&T cigars) to obtain a pack of Polpetta all because I like what Saka does and was curious.
The moral of the story is, if the LE interests you or you want to support a company, then go for it! Just don’t fall victim to FOMO because of goofy marketing tactics and don’t expect every LE to blow your mind because it’s “special”.
Feel free to reach out to me with questions, concerns, criticisms, or just to talk at @guitarsandcigarsfarm on Instagram, or via email at email@example.com.