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What’s with premium cigar quality lately?

Q: Over the last year or more I have noticed that “premium” cigars mean rolled so tight there’s no draw until you dry them down. Even then, I’m glad to get to smoke 2/3rds of the box.

I’ve purchased large samplers to try out my theory and found that only 60% or so were smoke-able, the others plugged. I’m not talking about bundle cigars; I’m talking about box prices of $4 each and more. What’s going on in the industry?
– Brent W. in Bismarck, ND

A: This is a very good question. Though the test method used for your theory was smart, I have not had similar problems in terms of extra tight rolling and/or no draw; nor have I heard any of my cigar-smoking coworkers complain, and we all smoke at least a couple of cigars a day from a variety of manufacturers.

Have you noticed if these tightly-wound cigars are from a particular manufacturer? That would be a good clue, but I don’t think anything’s “going on” in the industry. Either you have extremely high standards for what you consider a “good draw,” or, yes, there is something going on. How that would happen, I have no idea. Between The DR, Honduras, and Nicaragua, there are so many rollers doing this it’s hard to believe that so many were rolling such a large number of cigars so poorly.

Perhaps it’s best to open this question up to the readers and see what their comments reveal on this. As is the case for you, I can only speak for myself.

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