Cigar Aficionado

Over the Top Warning

I’m quite impressed with the new Edmundo Dantes Conde 54, a Regional Edition Cuban cigar designed only for sale in Mexico. It’s not a big surprise. When the Edmundo Dantes Conde 109 came out in 2007, it was utterly amazing, so when we heard of a new Edmundo Dantes we had high hopes indeed. So far, in non-blind tastings, the cigar has lived up to its expectations. You can read about how good it is in Gordon Mott’s blog from earlier this week.

I’m quite horrified, however, with the cigar’s packaging. It’s not the box itself—a lovely boite nature box, with an ornate brooch clasp and dovetailed corners, and a simple but stately pair of triangles making up the Edmudo Dantes logo—but what has been done to it. More than half of it is covered in unsightly warnings.

On the top is a seven-by-three-inch photograph of a little girl crying over what appears to be a dead body. The bottom is plastered with a black sticker with bright yellow type. I shot a video so you can see—take a look farther down the page.

This is something new and troubling for those who buy cigars in Mexico. Any box of cigars sold in that country must now be covered in a series of warnings that take up 60 percent of the surface area of the box.

The photo on the top is not always the same. In addition to the crying girl, there’s also a dead rat and a photograph of quite unseemly teeth.

As bad as the top image is, the bottom bothers me even more. The sticker covers everything, including the Cuban date and factory codes.

Cigar boxes are pieces of art, prized by collectors. They also contain essential information that helps people determine what is fake and what is real. Stickers such as these not only are unseemly, they make it difficult for collectors to get the most out of their cigars.

The warnings are extreme, and remind me of the short-lived campaign by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to put graphic images of diseased lungs, rotted teeth and other shocking images in cigar shops. A judge ruled in late 2010 that the warnings had to come down, and so they did.

“Our customers are elated that they no longer have to be subjected to these horrific images when purchasing a legal product,” said New York City cigar retailer Michael Herklots at the time.

Let’s hope these warning labels in Mexico are temporary as well.

"The bottom is plastered with a black sticker with bright yellow type. " —January 29, 2012 07:50 AM
"Count yourself even luckier. Lucky that you guys are even able to get your hands on these. I would be happy just to try one, let alone get a entire box. It is getting really frustrating watching and hearing you guys being able to land all of these fine cigars. I would gladly accept the ugly boxes just to try whats inside for once!!!" —October 18, 2011 17:30 PM
"More subconscious programming and brain washing from the fear-mongers. How come beer cans, bottles of fine wine, Tequila and the like do not have pictures of babies flying dismembered through windshields or images of spouses beating the crap out of their partners. One would think the same so called logic should apply. When buying cigar boxes in Canada, I always carefully remove these BS stickers with lighter fluid, dissolving the glue. Of course you have to do it when the box is empty incase of a spill. And I would never put the cigars back in, spill or no spill; too risky." —October 18, 2011 09:55 AM
"I hope the FDA doesn't do this in the USA..." —October 17, 2011 14:26 PM
"Agreed Christian A; I don't understand how so many countries, including the USA, worry so much about cigars and can't get their respective governments working properly." —October 15, 2011 16:37 PM
"Count yourself lucky. In Australaia that has been the norm for the past few years. Now there is talk of Plain Packaging where the whole outside of the box or cigar tube must be covered in drab brown contact. If this wasn't bad enough, the bands on the cigar must either be removed prior to sale or covered with a white adhisive label that can be written on." —October 14, 2011 18:40 PM
"I forsee this being the new logo of a Habanos line,"ER Mexicali death sticks" I'll take a box right now! I love it when countries tell us how to live as that always works out for the best. " —October 14, 2011 14:09 PM
"Yikes!!! I really don't know what else to say." —October 14, 2011 13:06 PM