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  • Cuban cigars hold a reputation

  • as the world's most opulent tobacco product.

  • A box of good-quality Habanos can cost thousands of dollars.

  • Every hand-rolled Cuban cigar goes through

  • about 500 manual tasks from seed to cigar.

  • But over the last 25 years,

  • cigars made in other countries

  • in the Caribbean and Central America

  • have become comparable in quality, consistency, and cost.

  • Worse still for American smokers,

  • your Cuban cigar could be fake.

  • Some experts suggest that up to 95%

  • of all Cuban cigars in the US are actually counterfeit.

  • So why are Cuban cigars so desirable?

  • And is that why they're so expensive?

  • For more than 200 years,

  • the culture of cigar making in Cuba hasn't changed.

  • In a process that takes about a year,

  • tobacco leaves are grown, harvested,

  • and hung in drying houses called secaderos

  • before a slow fermentation occurs,

  • which enhances flavor, aroma, and burning characteristics.

  • Each leaf is inspected for its type,

  • appearance, and quality

  • and handed to a torcedor, a highly skilled cigar roller,

  • greatly respected in Cuban society.

  • Narrator: The heartland of Cuban cigar production

  • is in Pinar del Río, the westernmost province of the island,

  • where 70% of premium cigar tobacco

  • used by state-run cigar companies is grown.

  • Cuban tobacco growers claim that the fundamental influence

  • on quality is the region's terroir,

  • the unique environmental factors that affect a crop.

  • Narrator: But some cigar connoisseurs now argue

  • that cigars from countries like Nicaragua

  • and Dominican Republic,

  • which the industry calls New World cigars,

  • have become both desirable and reliable in the market.

  • Mitchell Orchant: The offering has become

  • improved incredibly.

  • The presentations are excellent, the blending is excellent,

  • the construction's excellent.

  • In very general terms, New World cigars

  • are better quality than Havana cigars

  • because they have better quality-control procedures.

  • Havana have been very much

  • behind the curve on quality control.

  • I would say, on an average box of Cuban cigars,

  • 25 cigars, it's not unusual to get three

  • that are unacceptable in terms of quality,

  • usually in terms of construction more than blending.

  • Whereas on an average box of 25 New World cigars,

  • I would expect all 25 to be absolutely perfect.

  • Narrator: Despite the flaws in quality control,

  • Mitchell, who's an expert in vintage Habanos,

  • still prefers Cuban cigars.

  • Orchant: I would say I smoke eight Havana cigars

  • to two New World cigars,

  • and I absolutely adore Havana cigars.

  • However, I very much appreciate New World cigars as well.

  • It's nice to mix it up because there really isn't better,

  • there's only different.

  • So, you know, it's not a case of

  • "Cuban cigars are the best."

  • They're the best for me;

  • they're the best for a lot of people.

  • But 40% of our customers, the best is New World for them.

  • So it's just personal preference.

  • Narrator: In addition to quality,

  • there are a few fundamental factors

  • that determine the price of all cigars.

  • Firstly, the size,

  • measured in both length and diameter.

  • Generally speaking, the larger the cigar,

  • the more expensive it is.

  • Secondly, the vitola, differently shaped cigars

  • which take extra time and consideration when rolling.

  • Thirdly, the age.

  • The longer a cigar has aged, intensifying the depth

  • of flavor and aroma, the more precious it becomes.

  • But lastly, and most importantly, is the branding.

  • Habanos is the corporation,

  • part-owned by the Cuban government,

  • that controls the worldwide commercialization

  • of all Habanos cigar brands.

  • All Habanos cigars are made in Cuba,

  • but not every Cuban cigar qualifies as a Habano.

  • The state-owned company issues

  • Protected Denomination of Origin approval

  • for a selection of brands whose cigars it claims

  • are manufactured to the most stringent

  • quality-control standards.

  • To protect against counterfeiting,

  • Habanos only exports to selected companies in each country.

  • The only nation it does not sell to is the United States,

  • which hasn't allowed the import of Cuban cigars

  • since the 1962 embargo

  • actioned by President John F. Kennedy,

  • who just hours before signing the decree

  • banning all Cuban products from the United States

  • ordered his press secretary to buy over 1,000 Cuban cigars.

  • Not only did this ban increase the desire

  • for authentic Cuban cigars for American smokers,

  • but it also created a booming black market

  • for smuggled and counterfeit cigars.

  • Orchant: There's just so many fakes around in the US.

  • You can't buy Cuban cigars

  • and get them shipped into America.

  • It's illegal for the Americans.

  • And therefore, I don't know

  • where they're buying from, unscrupulous people.

  • Maybe the fake situation has declined a little bit

  • since Obama opened up that you could travel,

  • purchase Cuban cigars, and bring them in personally

  • if you've been on a holiday somewhere, you know,

  • I think you could bring in up to $800, I think.

  • And above that you can bring in whatever you want

  • and pay a very small amount of duty.

  • So it may have improved slightly,

  • but I would say probably 95% of the cigars

  • that are supposed to be Cuban cigars that I've observed,

  • quite simply are very bad fakes.

  • Narrator: Despite being the only country

  • that cannot legally import Cuban varieties,

  • the US is still the top cigar-consuming country,

  • by a considerable margin.

  • The cigar industry has grown substantially worldwide

  • in the last 20 years, and research has previously predicted

  • the market would reach $21 billion by 2025.

  • But cigar traders have long questioned

  • Cuba's supply capabilities,

  • an issue made even more problematic

  • amidst a global pandemic.

  • Orchant: Can Cuba continue to supply

  • as much as we need to feed the demand of our customers,

  • from agricultural problems to shipping issues

  • recently due to coronavirus slowing down

  • all the shipping lanes?

  • Will that ultimately feed through to the market

  • by prices increasing or discounts reducing?

  • That remains to be seen,

  • but I think that's the more likely scenario.

  • Narrator: As with any consumable,

  • taste and enjoyment are subjective.

  • Considering its depiction as a status symbol

  • in society for over a century,

  • it's reasonable to say that the allure of Cuban cigars

  • is somewhat based on prestige.

  • And although high prices are fetched for some Habanos,

  • particularly where outlawed in the United States,

  • in recent years all variety of premium cigar

  • have become uniformly priced.

  • Nonetheless, despite an increasing appetite

  • for cigars from other countries,

  • some connoisseurs will insist that

  • the most authentic smoke comes only from Cuban cigars.

Cuban cigars hold a reputation

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Why Cuban Cigars Are So Expensive | So Expensive

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    joey joey に公開 2021 年 05 月 23 日
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