Brands to Avoid?

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Country Bladesmith

Preferred Member
May 2, 2020
3,050
12,933
Louisiana
After a pretty lengthy hiatus from cigars, I’ve found myself missing them and buying a few boxes on auction sites. Problem is, there are soooo many “new” brands that either weren’t around at all when I was still an avid cigar smoker, or just simply weren’t on my radar because I wasn’t shopping online back then.

My tastes are pretty eclectic. I like everything from mild-bodied Connecticut Shade-wrapped sticks with no spice to oily Nicaraguan pepper-bombs, but my question is this:
Which brands would I be wise to avoid? Either for construction issues or just inferior leaf.
 
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jerseysam

Member
Mar 24, 2019
261
2,100
Liberty Township. OH
If you are buying through the 'big' sites, you have to work hard to find flat out junk sticks. Quality, in terms of base leaf/processing and construction, is as high right now as anytime in my 20 years of smoking cigars. What you will see, most especially if you are on the giant "bid/auction" sites, is a lot of mid/house brand lines out of large production houses. Ave Maria, Cinco Vegas, etc. The trade-off in those lines is often complexity/depth though.....base leaf and construction is fine. Back in the late 90's early 00's there would be brands where I knew I'd hit plugs, uneven fill, etc.....I haven't hit that on a regular basis in years. Some of the mid-line producers will move excess product in the 'bid' sites that I find lacking compared to other parts of their line....Alec Bradley, Gurkha, Rocky Patel and Perdomo come to mind......but again now we're talking flavor and not basic quality.

What I'd look out for are noticeably low-priced sticks with "Yard gar' " in the description or those 50- bundle mazzo's.
 

Country Bladesmith

Preferred Member
May 2, 2020
3,050
12,933
Louisiana
If you are buying through the 'big' sites, you have to work hard to find flat out junk sticks. Quality, in terms of base leaf/processing and construction, is as high right now as anytime in my 20 years of smoking cigars. What you will see, most especially if you are on the giant "bid/auction" sites, is a lot of mid/house brand lines out of large production houses. Ave Maria, Cinco Vegas, etc. The trade-off in those lines is often complexity/depth though.....base leaf and construction is fine. Back in the late 90's early 00's there would be brands where I knew I'd hit plugs, uneven fill, etc.....I haven't hit that on a regular basis in years. Some of the mid-line producers will move excess product in the 'bid' sites that I find lacking compared to other parts of their line....Alec Bradley, Gurkha, Rocky Patel and Perdomo come to mind......but again now we're talking flavor and not basic quality.

What I'd look out for are noticeably low-priced sticks with "Yard gar' " in the description or those 50- bundle mazzo's.
Thanks, you actually hit on a few that I was wondering about.
 

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ChuckMijo

Member
Sep 26, 2020
265
761
There are too many new world cigars. I wouldn’t chase to many of them. They market the hell out of them. And then charge a crazy price for a sub par cigar with a beautiful band . New boutique brands pop up every month. Find a few sticks you really like and buy a few boxes. Stick with what works.
 

pantsBoots

Senior Member
Jul 21, 2020
438
922
Ain't no place I'd rather be
Generally, if it's online only, there's a reason. I also recommend avoiding Alec Bradley, Rocky Patel, Gran Habano, and anything carrying the name of a Cuban cigar brand (Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo, Cohiba, Saint Luis Rey, etc). In my early years I found quality in all of the above sorely lacking. Alec Bradley in particular had this knack of always containing gigantic leaf stems.
 

condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
4,941
6,958
New York
I have always been tempted by the offerings in Thompson Cigar but I know absolutely nothing about cigars other than the odd cuban I smoked in the mid 1980s in London. I once asked for some forum input on what I should try. Anyone with an idea feel free to pipe up as I am always game to try something new.
 
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pantsBoots

Senior Member
Jul 21, 2020
438
922
Ain't no place I'd rather be
In general, avoid them all, most of them suck. Stick with Padron, My Father, Oliva, Tatuaje, Fuente.
MyFather sucks too, these days. Garcia got in a tiff with the Fernandez family and now can't get the quality tobacco he built his brand on. Rest of the list is pretty solid. I'd add La Flor Dominican, La Aurora and, if you're feeling spendy, Davidoff.
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
4,357
9,260
MyFather sucks too, these days. Garcia got in a tiff with the Fernandez family and now can't get the quality tobacco he built his brand on. Rest of the list is pretty solid. I'd add La Flor Dominican, La Aurora and, if you're feeling spendy, Davidoff.
Didn't know that. Bought a few last week, have the try them. Davidoff Nicaraguan are superb, very expensive though as you mentioned. I smoked a LFD last time I played golf, was quite impressed with how good it was.
 
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anotherbob

Preferred Member
yeah the worst cigar I've had otherwise then that one Cuban (it was a gift from Castro that got regifted to me, my bosses wife was a congressman and loved that I have dirty tats and smoked cigars) has been enjoyable. Then again that's how I feel about the worst pipe tobacco I've smoked that wasn't Captain Black so maybe get out your salt pincher.
 

pantsBoots

Senior Member
Jul 21, 2020
438
922
Ain't no place I'd rather be
Didn't know that. Bought a few last week, have the try them. Davidoff Nicaraguan are superb, very expensive though as you mentioned. I smoked a LFD last time I played golf, was quite impressed with how good it was.
The LFD age a dream, though some are quite strong for a sissy Cuban/Dominican smoker such as myself. I've been partial to the Davidoff Millennium Blend, though have largely obtained them from overseas vendors when there's a sale.
 
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ChuckMijo

Member
Sep 26, 2020
265
761
I used to really like Padron. I smoked boxes of the 2000 . I just over time didn’t care for them. Maybe my tastebuds changed. I will say they have great construction and are consistent. I started buying almost exclusively Partagus from a over sea vendor. My father is a good cigar. AF I wouldn’t turn one down but have a weird flavor profile to me.
 
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danimalia

Preferred Member
Sep 2, 2015
2,759
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San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Honestly, there aren't too many brands I'd advise writing off completely. Even some of the manufacturers that have a lot of misses have some hits as well. Maybe Gurkha is one I'd avoid, but hell, they probably have some decent cigars too, and I just haven't found them yet. If you see something that interests you, look it up and see if it's available at more than one retailer, or if it has people not affiliated with retailers recommending it, etc. Aside from some of the bottom-shelf discount sticks that are barely even trying, most of the premium, handmade cigars out there are at least decent in quality. Everything else is a matter of taste, mostly.
 

danimalia

Preferred Member
Sep 2, 2015
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San Francisco Bay Area, USA
+1 on this

A while back I did some research and made a list of all the cigar brands that are still family/independently owned. Here's the list, although this could be outdated by now:

la flor dominicana
oliva
padron
perdomo
davidoff
aj fernandez
arturo fuente
rocky patel
Oliva is now owned by a European company, J. Cortes that mostly makes machine-made cigars. So far, it hasn't been an issue as quality hasn't slipped and prices have stayed reasonable. They also continue to have a very small number of lines compared to other brands, which is one thing I thought might change. Supposedly, J. Cortes bought out Oliva specifically because they wanted into the handmade market. It certainly seems they are following the "if it ain't broke..." approach.
 

Country Bladesmith

Preferred Member
May 2, 2020
3,050
12,933
Louisiana
Oliva is now owned by a European company, J. Cortes that mostly makes machine-made cigars. So far, it hasn't been an issue as quality hasn't slipped and prices have stayed reasonable. They also continue to have a very small number of lines compared to other brands, which is one thing I thought might change. Supposedly, J. Cortes bought out Oliva specifically because they wanted into the handmade market. It certainly seems they are following the "if it ain't broke..." approach.
That’s good, that they’re not meddling with a good thing. I think an Oliva sampler might be my next purchase.
 

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