The question often arises: “What makes a cheap cigar cheap or a premium smoke so expensive?” Handmade cigars can range in price from a couple of dollars to several hundred dollars, and I bet you’ve asked yourself why that might be. Allow me to try to pull back the curtain a little bit and shed some light on this interesting topic. Expensive cigars are expensive because the tobaccos used are generally hard to come by.

Cheap vs. Expensive

It could be there was a small, exceptional crop that’s been aging in a bale in a warehouse for so many years, and the cigar maker can only make so many cigars from that tobacco. It could be that the cigars are made by one exceptional cigar roller. Or perhaps the cigars are made in a place with high labor costs. Inexpensive cigars are a byproduct of expensive cigars. Expensive cigars use only the best leaves from the plants, the leaves without imperfections. Therefore, some leaves aren’t as pretty and can’t be used on higher-end cigars. The cigar makers don’t waste anything, so they find a way to use the leaves that don’t “work” in the super-premium lines. In order to use all of the leaves, they also make less expensive lines (AKA cheap cigars). In some instances, they have the less experienced cigar rollers making the lower-priced lines too, sort of as on the job training. While some lower priced cigars are long-filler, there are those that are mixed filler, which uses scraps of the more expensive cigars. All of these things go into producing a lower-priced cigar for us to enjoy when the budget isn’t quite there for the more expensive cigar.

Expert Pick

One such cigar I recently came across is the Buffalo TEN, made by El Artista in the Dominican Republic. I haven’t quite figured out how they keep the cost of this cigar in the $4 range (depending on the taxes in your state, I live in Pennsylvania, which has no cigar tax, so I’m pretty lucky). This is 6” x 50 box pressed toro with a maduro wrapper from the San Andrés region of Mexico, a binder from the Dominican Republic, and filler tobaccos from The Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Columbia and right here in Pennsylvania.

Great inexpensive cigarsSide note: the Amish and Mennonite grow quite a bit of black cigar tobacco in Lancaster County, PA, about an hour west of where I live, I’ve seen it! This is a great, inexpensive cigar that has a deep, rich flavor with some cocoa and savory notes. It’s the baking cocoa without a lot of sweetness, but that’s OK, it’s a great tasting cigar, and worth the investment. They sell in handy paper-wrapped five packs (and massive boxes of forty) and are reasonably easy to find. So if you want a great tasting, inexpensive hand made cigar, check out the Buffalo TEN. For other great recommendations, reviews and commentary on cheap, medium priced, or expensive cigars, head on over to my blog at!

Feature Picture Credit: El Artista

Guest Post: Craig Vanderslice