Padron 2000 & the Flor de Oliva
Thrifty Cigar Picks in Lean Times
Gas is $4 a gallon, the real estate market is in the toilet and the stocks in my 401K are free falling. Let’s face it, this economy is driving us all to reconsider the little luxuries we have been able to enjoy over the many good years we had. These economic times are helping drive banks to their knees and the venerable Starbucks Coffee empire to announce the closing of 600 stores, as even caffeine-addicted patrons question the need of a $3 to $5 liquid fix (coffee treat).
Cigars are not immune to the trend. In fact, I have had some recent inquiries about “value” cigars – that is, a consistent, decent-flavored cigar offered at a cheap price. Independent of the economy, I have always prided myself on finding good cigars at $5 or less, and I certainly have a list of cigars in this range that I consider very good cigars. However, finding a decent cigar for $5 is getting a lot harder, as the vast majority of cigars are imports and the weak dollar is driving the price of imported goods a little higher. Couple this with increasing taxes on tobacco in many states, and even cheaper cigars are getting more expensive. This particular economic reality really hits home.
Given all of this, I thought it was time to revisit the list and challenge myself to come up with a couple of recommendations. These are smokes that you should be able to purchase, in the $3 to $4 range, in most brick and mortar cigar retail shops today. Thus, I lend a little support to the Bullz-Eye faithful who now and then light up a cigar. Note: I am purposely staying away from private label brands, as these are simply too regional and, quite honestly, tend to be of lesser quality anyway, though I do acknowledge some exceptions.
My picks: Padron 2000 and the Flor de Oliva, both available in Maduro or Natural wrappers. I prefer the Maduro in both.
The Padron 2000 will cost 60 cents to a dollar more than the Flor de Oliva, but you should not ever pay more than $4.75 at the top end. I picked up a couple in Texas for $3.60 each. The Padron 2000 is a more complex cigar with a medium to full flavor profile and is available in one size, robusto (5X50). It utilizes tobacco only from Nicaragua, making this a puro cigar (as in “pure” – all tobaccos from one country). Don’t be fooled by its look, which is somewhat plain including its thin plain brown band. In this case, it truly is an ugly duckling. It is one of my all time favorite cigars, independent of price. But factor in the cost and it is my favorite. On a scale of one to 10, the Padron 2000 consistently lands a 9.0.The Flor de Oliva robusto, (5X50), was purchased in the same Texas store for $3 even. It blends Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco to create the cheapest good cigar you will find. Independent of its cheap red, white and blue band, its appearance is one of a well-constructed cigar, even more so than the Padron. It is medium bodied, providing a rich and creamy smoke. A consistent 8.9 rating makes it a steal.
Keep the comments and recommendations coming – email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In keeping with the theme,
"What this country needs is a really good five cent cigar."
– Thomas R. Marshall, U.S. Vice President, under Woodrow Wilson.