Welcome to the Cigar Aficionado Club

Who is 46 years old, married, a college-educated executive or professional with a household income of $194,000 and an average net worth of $1.54 million?

Welcome to the club. That's the profile of an average CIGAR AFICIONADO reader.

Are you surprised? You shouldn't be. When we started exploring the launch of this magazine, we suspected that men who bought premium, handmade cigars were successful. We then commissioned a study of cigar smokers so we didn't have to guess. More than 1,300 people took about 30 minutes to fill out the four-page survey.

For now, virtually all CIGAR AFICIONADO readers are men.

Three-quarters of the respondents said they were in some kind of management position--over 30 percent have titles of president, executive vice-president or chief executive officer. Another 20 percent said they were doctors, attorneys or partners in professional firms. Pilots, journalists, scientists, stockbrokers and actors also sent back the questionnaire. Nearly 80 percent went to college. Over 55 percent said they had some kind of post-graduate degree.

Income is another barometer of this group. Nearly 50 percent report incomes between $75,000 and $300,000, with more people earning above $300,000 than below $75,000. Moreover, household net worths are extremely high. The biggest chunk of the readership--more than 50 percent--have net worths exceeding $500,000, while 38 percent are millionaires.

Those numbers highlight the basic fact that CIGAR AFICIONADO readers enjoy the best things in life.

Automobiles? Eighty-two percent own two or more cars, and 33 percent have three or more. Seventy-three percent have purchased an imported car. Thirty-one percent have paid more than $35,000. Luxuries? Seventy percent of you own art. Forty-eight percent have cellular car phones and 72 percent have compact disc players. Finances? Corporate stock is a favorite investment of 76 percent, mutual funds attract 60 percent of the readership.

Travel? Ninety percent of the respondents have taken a foreign trip in the last 12 months and 91 percent said that they traveled domestically during the previous year. As you might suspect, many of the foreign travelers also take advantage of their trips to pick up Cuban cigars.

Smoking habits also reveal a group of men who are dedicated to enjoying their cigars. The average cigar smoker has been smoking for nine years, and he normally has about ten cigars a week. Seventy-three percent buy cigars by the box, and they usually spend just over $3 per cigar. The average weekly expenditure on cigars is about $26, but 35 percent spend more than that.

The Dominican Republic earns the top ranking as the origin for most smokers' everyday cigar--52 percent. Honduras is second at 24 percent and Jamaica is third at 17 percent. Surprisingly, 14 percent of our readership survey group acknowledges that their everyday cigar is Cuban, in spite of the trade embargo. Cigars from the Canary Islands and Mexico rank next in order of popularity with ten and seven percent.

Buying habits also differ. The most important single attribute when buying a cigar, listed by 51 percent of the survey respondents, is its size. Freshness is cited in 47 percent of the answers, and smoothness of taste is checked in 38 percent of the questionnaires. Quality of construction is considered by 38 percent of buyers and rich taste by 34 percent. Other factors that between 20 and 22 percent of all buyers look for include brand name, full-bodied flavor and mildness. Price is only a consideration with 14 percent of the respondents.

Given that size is the most important factor in the choice of smoke, we also queried which sizes people prefer to smoke. The most popular size is a corona, or a five and a half inch length by a 42 ring gauge, followed by a Lonsdale at six and a half inches by a 42 ring. The third most popular is a double corona at six and a half inches by a 48 ring gauge, the fourth size is a Churchill at seven and a half inches by a 48 ring. The Rothschild size (four and a quarter inches by a 50 ring) came in as the fifth most popular cigar.

CIGAR AFICIONADO readers also enjoy the best distilled spirits and wine. In fact, nearly 93 percent of the respondents say they drink wine. Eighty-three percent say they also drink spirits.

If there's one statement that can be made about CIGAR AFICIONADO readers, it is that they enjoy the finer things in life. And that most certainly includes top quality cigars. Welcome to the club.