Out of the Humidor

| By CA Readers | From Matthew McConaughey, March/April 2011

Dear Marvin,

An excellent article on La Gloria Cubana and recognizing their tradition and continued excellence in the cigar marketplace. I have been enjoying the Serie R for years, and while trying other brands on occasion, I always return to La Gloria. Their cigars, along with the relaxation and serenity of enjoying a great product, have the lasting ability to melt away the pressures of the day. Thanks as well for the timely editorials and articles in your magazine. I inhale it as soon as it arrives.

Frank Kohler
Scottsdale, Arizona

Dear Marvin,

I am immensely pleased each and every time I receive your publication. I am a cigar-a-holic, as my wife will grudgingly confirm with a curse word or two to declare her dissatisfaction with my obsession. We won't even go into the dollar aspect of it. I smoke three to four cigars a day and on a leisurely day, five. As one can already see, this eats up lots of moola.

With this being said, I am a bargain shopper doing the specials, house brands, auctions and downright cheapos. I'm not a wealthy man but struggle to survive as I'm a UA Pipefitter/welder, traveling around the country selling my skill (making a living) and turning fellow construction craftsmen on to the pure enjoyment and art of a fine hand-rolled cigar. On one job in particular, I even had a younger man fitting for me go to a local tobacco shop and buy me a couple of Padrón 1964 Anniversary cigars. I wouldn't accept them unless he promised to smoke one of them with me after they rested in my humidor for a week. He did. Two weeks later he laid down his cigarettes and now only smokes cigars. That was nine months ago. He now has a better collection than I do!

There are many stories I could tell, but my whole point aims in a different direction. We, the common men/women, need to know of the highly rated bargains that so many brick-and-mortar retailers offer at a price point that the average-income guy can afford. Bargain cigars that your publication points out at $6 and below are great, but $6 is still pricey to a lot of us. I do realize that the smokes listed in your bargain cigars section of the last issue were shown at suggested retail, though I have gotten many of those same cigars in sampler deals for far cheaper. But what I'm looking for is a standard working man's review-cigars in the neighborhood of $30-$60 per box or bundle. Some are extremely good if not classic. I, for one, should know. I have a rating system somewhat like yours and rate all the ones I purchase. But then there's my wife again: "Are you going to do anything else? Cigars, cigars, cigars. . . You can snuggle up with them tonight."

You get the rest of the story. Thanks for your excellent publication.

K. Michael Pinion
Cartersville, Georgia

Dear Marvin,

I want to ask you about the prices that I see printed in your magazine with the reviews of blind-tastings of various cigars. Specifically, the prices you claim to be the suggested retail on any and all Fuente Fuente OpusX cigars. I have done more than a little comparing over the years between the prices I see in your publication, and the prices I find at local retailers, as well as online purveyors. Typically the prices in the magazine are a little bit shy of what I am able to find them for, but they are in, what I would consider, an acceptable range of discrepancy, state taxes and federal taxes being what they are. For example, in your October 2010 issue you reviewed C.A.O's La Traviata Animado, (one of my favorite cigars of all time) and listed its price at $4.95. I've actually found them for less than that online, but retailers in the Seattle area sell them for $5.50-$6.
In that same issue you reviewed the OpusX Perfecxion No. 4, and listed its price as $9.75, and the OpusX Double Corona at $16. In another issue, the OpusX Pussy Cat is listed at $8.75. Where are you purchasing your OpusX cigars?! I have never even heard of one being sold for less than $10. Usually they're priced closer to three times that amount, and that's if there are any around.
So, there, that's it. Just curious. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to learn than you haven't actually paid for your own cigars in years, and the prices that get published are merely what someone told you they were pricing them at. But, if there's some secret retailer of ultra-premium cigars out there who is, in fact, selling OpusX cigars for less than $10, please let me know.

Dexter Carlson
Sammamish, Washington

Editors' Note: We simply publish manufacturer suggested retail prices. Just FYI, we purchase all our tasting cigars at retail shops in New York, but we can't control what retailers charge for sought-after brands like Fuente Fuente OpusX.