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  • Writer's pictureBen Balliro

“Cigars Were Better Back in the 90’s!”

I’ve heard this phrase from different sources and web videos, always talking about the “good ol’ boom days of the 90’s”. “Back then we were getting our hands on some of the best tobacco of our time.” “Kids today will never know the quality of smokes from almost 30 years ago”. So forth and so on. That may be true, but it’s completely subjective. Long before vape was ever an option and aside from cigarettes, cigars were becoming a popular luxury commodity and more tv shows and movies featured cigar smoking.

Movies like Predator featuring Arnold as Vietnam Vet Major Dutch lighting a cigar mid scene. The ever popular Tony Montana from Scarface, Logan from the X-Men, and even popular tv shows such as Kramer from Seinfeld, Tony Soprano from The Sopranos, and Clay Morrow from Son’s of Anarchy (there are even a couple of gimmiked lines of cigars dedicated to the last two shows mentioned). I know there are a host of other cinema choices, but these are just a few examples.

When the publication of Cigar Aficionado in 1992 was launched it help bring celebrity cigar smokers out into the limelight and guide their emulators into the premium tobacco lifestyle. According to an article written by Cigar Aficionado, in their 1995 issue (featuring the infamous Jack Nicholson on the cover) U.S. Government statistics regarding the number of cigars imported from 10 years prior to the magazine’s launch was holding at 98-100M cigars. Within two years after the launch cigar importation numbers rose by almost 27% to 125M cigars. That’s a magnificent increase to reignite the spark of luxury product consumption!

I didn’t smoke cigars back in the late eighties and early nineties because I was a child, but I have been smoking cigars for the past 15 years or so now and I have to be honest, with the insane selection of cigars being produced right now, I would have a hard time believing that the tobacco harvests of yesteryear could be that much better. Over time our tobacco agrarians and blenders have had access to more precise microclimates, better materials and technology for tobacco harvesting and fermentation, as well as a wealth more choices in tobacco varietals. We are in another cigar boom as far I can tell.

In 1992 the cigar industry was on such a growing economic trend to the point where suppliers could not keep up with the demand. Back orders of upwards of 25M cigars in the U.S. forced suppliers to release cigars much too early and ultimately the quality of those cigars were compromised. Then towards the end of the 1990’s, (‘97,’98) the industry shifted and it began to balance itself out as normal. Then the early 2000’s arrived and the birth of online shopping was more widely available, cell phones were in more people’s pockets, and the economy was on the rise. There was more discretionary income to chase the American dream and the growing affectation to “keep up with the Jones’”.

All in all I have sufficient evidence to believe that we are not only in a cigar boom, but I think we will thrive ever more globally. In the struggle for our lives we have maintained our integrity and innovation in the premium tobacco industry. In my opinion, our perserverenace will prevail and this industry will be around for a long, long time. My opinion,however, is not the only one that matters, if you agree or disagree please drop us a line on or on our twitter and Instagram account under @cigartipsters

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