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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Pierce Brosnan, Nov/Dec 97

(continued from page 5)

So often we hear the adage, "You get what you pay for." The implication being, of course, that the costlier the product, the better the product. In discussing the pricing of cigars with dealers and friends, I have found this notion to be especially prevalent; on many occasions, for example, a cigar dealer has dissuaded me from choosing among relatively inexpensive cigars, suggesting that "the quality demanded by the discriminating palate" is much more likely to be found among the higher-priced, so-called "premium" cigars.

Cigar Aficionado's blind ratings of cigars, however, tell quite a different story. As a scientific researcher, I could not keep myself from running some statistical analyses on these ratings (please forgive me) to see whether there really is any correlation between cigar price and quality. Using the ratings of cigars available in the United States from your last four issues (361 in all) and analyzing them by cigar type, by country of origin and by combining all of the ratings together, the results consistently show that there is, in fact, virtually no correlation between cigar price and quality.

When the information is graphed, it is immediately apparent that the average quality of the rated cigars differs little across a wide range of prices, and the chances of finding a highly rated cigar among those costing just a few dollars are about the same as they are among those costing considerably more; similarly, the chances of finding a relatively poorly rated cigar are also about the same in the low and high price ranges. For the mathematically inclined, the "r-squared value" for this (linear) correlation is a minuscule 0.02, indicating that 98 percent of the pricing of these cigars is related to factors other than quality (as assessed by Cigar Aficionado's tasters). Of course, it is possible that cigars not included in these ratings may fare otherwise, but the large number of cigars included in this sample makes it unlikely that this would often be the case.

In short, where fine cigars are involved, costlier is not better. Routinely purchasing the lesser-priced cigars rated by Cigar Aficionado will not only give you many hours of great smoking pleasure, but will leave you with plenty of money left over for renewing your subscription to this excellent publication.

Jack G. Modell
Leeds, Alabama

***

Dear Marvin,

I consider myself a very fortunate man. My golf buddy/cigar compadre bought tickets for the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. We watched all the action as it unfolded on Friday and Saturday. I got to see the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus; the newest phenom, Tiger Woods; and all the fabulous pros in between.

I also met up with some friends from high school whom I had not seen in more than a year. Needless to say, my friends and I lit up some beautiful hand-rolled Dominicans over our two-day outing. During the rain delay on Friday, I enjoyed a Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur No. 2, lukewarm beer and good conversation.

On Saturday, I had waited to light my Montecruz Robusto until the afternoon. We were watching Davis Love III come down the ninth fairway. No sooner had I lit my stogie than one of the off-duty marshals started giving me a hard time about my cigar. He said, "Oh, no! You're one of those people!" as he waived his hands mockingly, blowing away the smoke. I told this ignorant gentleman (who was clearly high on his "marshal" powers) that I had every right to smoke a cigar in the open air and if he didn't like it, he should move. My friends shouted "Aire libre!" and whipped out their cigars and lit up in my defense.


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