The Best Selling Cigars of All Time…
By: Jonathan Detore
Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Muhammad Ali: All titans of the boxing world. They have jaws of steel and iron fists. These guys are the best of the best in the ring, right? Well, you’d be hard pressed to find a modern day boxing fan saying anyone outside of Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather is the best fighter. Why? Pac Man and Floyd “Money” Mayweather are young blood in a passionate industry. They’re the best of the modern era of boxing, while the greats of old are shoved to the nosebleeds in the MGM Grand. Simply put, they’re somewhat forgotten about.
And so the story goes with cigars. The Hammers of Herfs are shoved to the side to make room for newer, younger, flashier offerings. Just take a look at some of the modern cigars that have come out or are going through a rebranding! From Camacho’s new “Bold” repackaging campaign, Alec Bradley’s Mundial launch (where they literally sent their cigars up to the Stratosphere to promote their new smoke), among many others like the recent Oliva Cigars campaign, these campaigns are designed to capture the consumer’s eye and block out other stogies laying in the periphery. Great marketing to say the least, but after years of campaigns flooding the market, the real historic titans of the industry seem to have been lost in the ether.
So let’s get things straightened out. Let’s explore the real heavyweight champs of the cigar industry by examining the numbers. Much like the stats we analyze to determine who the best boxers of all time are, I analyzed the sales numbers to give you the top 10 best selling cigars of all time. It’s time to meet the champs.
Macanudo presents only one of many names on this list that were founded by Cuban immigrants trying to flee the communist regime. This particular brand landed in Jamaica, of all nations, and remained there up through the year 2000. In their 44 years of business, they hold the number one spot in terms of sales and are still a favorite among stogie heads world wide. So while other brands showboat like Anderson Silva, Macanudo delivers a knockout punch of pure flavor like Chris Weidman. I know it’s an MMA reference, but so what.
Romeo y Julieta 1875
Personally, I consider Romeo y Julieta 1875 as one of the titans of the industry. The 1875 celebrates the company’s Cuban founding year, and they continue to sell out like a politician time and time again. And it’s not like Romeo y Julieta does much in terms of marketing. Hell, they really don’t need to do anything. Hardcore smokers recommend them to newbies, and even revert back to them when they want to try the classic flavor they offer from time to time. They have a massive following of experienced smokers, and continue to excel in terms of quality, flavor, and consistency.
If you want a true story of a “comeback kid,” Arturo Fuente is it. Founded in 1912 in Florida, a fire destroyed their factory in 1924, ceasing production for 22 years. After they started production again, they remained local until the embargo which helped propel them into the limelight. From there, they released all of the cigar lines we love today like the Opus X and Hemingway, among many others. Again, they were devastated by a fire in 2011 where they lost 2 warehouses full of vintage tobaccos. But in true Fuente spirit, they didn’t miss a step and maintained production. Through it all, the vintage core Arturo Fuente line keeps swinging as one of their best selling cigars across the globe.
Padron Thousand Series
The Cadillac of cigars: Padron. These are some of the most sought after cigars you can buy. Cigars like the 1926 and 1964 are top tier smokes with the Thousand Series being the original and less expensive alternative. But when it comes to Padron, a lower price tag never means lower quality. Throughout time, these cigars have maintained extremely high standards of flavor and construction, along with a blue collar price tag to keep the cigar smoker on a budget happy.
By far, the majority of customers we serve who maintain a standby everyday smoke prefer Partagas over all others, and the sales figures match that sentiment. These are heavy hitting flavor bombs, and no matter who you are or what you smoke, these make a damn strong case to at least earn and maintain a spot in your humidor. Each one comes in traditional Cuban sizes, with the most popular being the Naturales (5 ½ x 49 Natural Toro). If there was ever a cigar that embodied an authentic and classic Cubanesque flavor, Partagas is it. These traits are the main drivers as to why old school cigar lovers continue to ask for them.
This is the Jack Dempsey of the modern age; still shattering the competition like it’s Jess Willard’s Faberge jaw. Although Punch remains under the radar quite a bit, customers still flock to the original lines because they’re literally unmatched. There’s nothing else like Punch on the market today, and there was nothing like it on the market when they began rolling cigars. They’re one of a kind, heavy hitting, full bodied powerhouse stogies. These are the real champions.
Nearly 100 years after the timeless classic The Count of Montecristo, the cigar under the same name was born. In the time they’ve been operating, Montecristo probably outsold their classical paperback inspiration 10 fold, which I guess says a lot about how much we love cigars, and how much we sadly despise reading intricate texts. In any case, the Montecristo Yellow serves as their flagship line and seemingly sells by the skid. Awesome flavor and complexity is their staple with a classic band taking you back to the old days of true vintage cigars.
Are you really all that surprised AVO is on the list? When we’re talking about the greats like Montecristo, Padron, and Arturo Fuente, AVO is sure to pop its head up somewhere. The extraordinary 5 tobacco blend from the Dominican Republic and creamy U.S. Connecticut wrapper gives this sucker a flavor arsenal that assaults the palate like Mike Tyson assaulted Evander Holyfield’s ear. Mix in the precision technique used to hand roll each of these gems and it earns a top spot in sales, with people clamoring over them.
Cohiba’s incredibly smooth sweet flavor with hints of cedar makes this a home run of a cigar. It offers a mild bodied smoker an easy transition to medium bodied offerings and it allows full bodied smokers to enjoy a hell of a cigar with great flavor for more special occasions. In short, this is an all encompassing stogie. Enjoy it as a celebration stick, or watch the fight with the boys while puffing away. It doesn’t really matter because either way, you’ll enjoy it to no end.
Hoyo De Monterrey
Just like Partagas, Hoyo De Monterrey has a massive following of old school cigar smokers who know good flavor when they taste it. I tend to trust brand fanatics because it indicates long term consistency, and Hoyo is one brand that hasn’t changed since its inception in Honduras. It’s a full bodied powerhouse with a really deep flavor coming from long aged Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican tobaccos. Let me put it this way: when you have a cigar that outsells most of the pack consistently and maintains thousands of regular cigar vets, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s a damn good smoke.
It goes without saying that all of these “best cigars” listed have been in the industry longer than boxing gloves have been part of the sport. I’m pretty sure back then boxing was just called “Let’s drink and beat the snot out of each other,” but sports are born of innovation I suppose. Anyway, by the number, these are the kings of the ring. Each has fans ordering them regularly; they’ve survived the most turbulent times in the industry, and continue to outsell even the most talked about newbies on the market. So when you make your next order, don’t ask for the flashy packages. Get the tried and true champions.