Cigar Czars


Can You Still Find a Good $2 Cigar?
4.5 out of 5 stars
By Dr. Mitch Fadem

As many of you will remember, Gary Manelski and I have been on a quest for many years looking for a good $2 cigar. Then, the government started taxing premium cigars so much that it became a challenge to find a good cigar for under $5. Yes, there are a lot of 2nds being sold of top name cigars at various websites but those are always in limited quantity and once you get them, well, there is a good reason that they are seconds. The same is true of closeout specials. The prices seem almost too good to be true and the deals too good to pass up but there is one problem. Most of what I have seen online like these are cigars I never smoked before and are difficult to find reviews on. When I do find a review, a real review, not one written by the company selling the cigars, it often times does not fair very well. In the case of the written word verses a Youtube video I will nearly always check out the video of people that I know give good honest unbiased reviews, and, you can see them smoking the cigars so you know right away if the draw is good, the burn is even, the ash holds on, and if it generates a lot of smoke.

Who do I watch for these video reviews?

There are only two that I feel give honest reviews. Brian Glen from Cigar Obsession and Rob (the Insomniac) from ‘Should I Smoke This’. Of course the reviews that Gary and I write are always honest and unbiased. I guess the point I am making is that I spend a lot of time researching cigars before I buy them. I have always said that when reviewing cigars you end up smoking a lot more bad ones than good ones. Now back to my $2 cigar question.

Those of you that have read my reviews over the years might remember cigars from Bobalu Cigars Co., Austin, TX. His cigars blends have been growing as his company gained success, some of it because of reviews like mine but really most of it is from word-of-mouth. He currently offers more than 40 different cigar blends, 15 of which are what I feel, the foundation of his business. They are simple to remember, no fancy Spanish names just different colored bands, very easy to remember – Red, Black, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Purple, White with blue or purple lettering, Green, Brown, Grey, and a few variations like a Red Sun Grown, a Corojo, Criollo and some aged tobacco from 1998 and 1991.

Last month the owner, Jeff Lipton, announced that he was starting a $2 Cigar Club. I was skeptical so I contacted Jeff to ask him if these were a special ‘cheapo’ blend, short fill, or perhaps seconds. He assured me that all of the cigar bundles he sends out to his club members are from his regular blends, some of which I mentioned above and many others. Then he shipped me seven sticks to reacquaint myself with his cigars (I have to be honest and I had not smoked one is a couple of years).

Here is photo of what he sent me:

I am not kidding when I say that even though all of these are very different blends every singe cigar had a great draw, even burn, good smoke generation, nice solid ash and most important they were all smooth smoking sticks.

Click Here for More Photos

Now I had to place my order for my first bundle of $2 cigars and see if this was a deal too good to be true. When they arrived they looked good, smell good, felt firm and all had the same type of roll.

They rested in my humidor for just a few days.

I started smoking them and although I wasn’t exactly sure which cigars I had received they are smoking just as well as the others I received that had bands on them. The reason you only see 10 cigars in this photo is because I smoked the other 10 already. They are all that good.

So there really are $2 cigars that are not just a great value, they are great cigars.

Post Script

The other night, I had 4 cigar smoking friends over our house with their wives.  They were are different types of smokers.  Here is little background on each…

1. Former Navy submariner that smoked cigars with other on board in a room with extra ventilation.  He is a realtor now and editor of a local magazine. He has not smoked in years because his wife in an ex-cigarette smoker.  He was allowed to smoke one last night with me.

2. Disabled Army veteran who now works as a construction estimator. He smokes cigars every day and likes cigars made by A.J. Fernandez.

3. Retired aerospace engineer that smokes about once a week.  He just smoked some cigars that a friend brought him from Cuba that he really liked.

4. An investment banker that is an occasional smoker, maybe a couple of times a month and likes mild cigars.

And then here I am and I smoke nearly everyday.  The reason to mention what each person does is to show that what we had in common was cigars.  Neither of the other two veterans was deployed so our military experiences were quite different.  Oh, two of them have Master’s degrees, I have a PhD and one never went to college.

I gave them each a cigar from my Bobalu $2 Cigar Club bundle that I got this month.  Everyone one of them said it was one of the best cigars they ever smoked and when I told them it cost $2 they wanted to know where I got them.

All the wives were sitting about 6 feet away from us and none of them complained about the smoke or aroma.  Just that alone says a lot about these cigars.

I am now very much looking forward to the next bundle.  I plan to save 2 cigars from each bundle for the next several months to compare them.