Due to my feeling a little under the weather, I don’t have a video cigar review for you this week. What I do have is a video and a question that I think could potentially stir up a lot of conversation among the community.
Last week Marcian posed a question on the Stogie Review Fan Forums asking “How much is too much?”. The question revolved around the current pricing of the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial.
I just recently was able to get my hands on a few of the Oliva Serie V Maduros. The question that most people ask me is of course … What did I pay for them?
I paid $9.32 at a local B&M, which is up there for me. Generally I seldom go above the $6.50 range. I can’t blame the B&M for the price it is a business after all. I guess it boils down to whatever the market will bare.
Once I got to thinking about the question of price. It seemed to me that people where willing to pay $9 plus for a cigars like the Camacho Triple Maduro, San Cristobal, Opus X, Tatuaje Black, and so on. But paying the same for a limited edition Oliva cigar seem to give people a moment of pause.
Why do you think that is? Is it because Olivas are thought of as inexpensive smokes?
The Camacho Triple Maduro is a great stick, but are you paying for the cigar or that great looking label. The same holds true for the Opus X. How much is too much? And what determines whether or not you go above your comfort level to pay a cigar limited or not?
Also as a side note the Oliva V Maduro was a 8 x 50 cigar. I can’t get a Camacho Triple Maduro or San Cristobal robusto for under $10 in my area.
Maybe this should be called how many question are too many questions. Sorry guys …
So in essence, we look at Oliva as a producer of affordable, high quality cigars. Over time we have become comfortable with their pricing and a new line has been released with a premium price. Do you find it difficult to spend the extra money on this cigar simply because you know Oliva as a company that produces lower priced cigars?
Over the weekend I filmed another blind tasting at my local tobacconist and posed a similar question to the guys. Take a look at the conversation between Jess and Bud to see how they viewed a similar situation.
MP3 Version: Right Click > Save As
9 thoughts on “Ask The readers: How much is too much?”
Great post Walt, and I hope you feel better.
I kind of made my feelings known in the forums on this, but I think I’ve narrowed down my opinion pretty well now. (or not lol)
I think in the case of Oliva, who we all know is a great producer, and a large contributor to their popularity is their competitive pricing, that the higher prices on the Vmad really doesn’t bother me. For one main reason. They produce high quality cigars, that would sell, for higher prices, but they choose not price them high. Overall I think Oliva in many ways is undercutting the market. Its a great business decision to make the best cigar possible and keep the price as low as possible. So a special edition from them @ $9-10 doesn’t bother me a bit. I’d gladly pay that much for the Liga, but obviously won’t buy as many lol. I get the feeling with the Maduro that they either have less stock to meet demands, and cost is higher to produce the cigar. Or (very optimistic/unlikely view) the Vmaduro is a way of saying thank you to the consumers. The shops who do the most Oliva biz get more boxes, every other shop is lucky to get 2.
However… companies like Ashton, who rarely have a cigar dip below the $8 mark, I have a hard time believing that a price hike on a particular blend, is not a result of trying to gouge the market. The cigar community loves new sticks. We are all guilty of it, something new hits, we want to try it. I think the Altadis, General Cigar, and Gurkhas in this world know this, and take advantage of it. They price and dole out special editions with the intention of filling the desire for something new and different, and they know alot of people will pay the outrageous prices.
I just don’t get that feeling from Oliva….and its because they have earned my trust.
When companies like Cohiba can offer a fantastic smoke for less than $5 msrp, then I may change my mind, but how many of you really think that will ever happen.
Price is a huge factor to my enjoyment of a stick. I will like a $5 stick that has the identical characteristics of a $10 stick much more. Its just the way I am. I’m not going to go consistently spend $10 on a stick unless it is unique in my mind. Oliva to me, offers uniqueness in all of their blends. The G is one of the most, if not the most economical cameroon you can buy. The O, again, price makes it stand out to me over the rest of the habanos. Same goes for the maduro versions of each. The V is one of the most flavorful/powerful smokes I’ve ever had, and beats anything that I have had come close in price by a long shot.
Will the Vmad be a stick that could easily go for $20? maybe, I think its too soon to tell, but I don’t think its their goal. I think their goal is to extend their brands, with something that the consumers want. And at this time, economics/supply dictate that it is a limited edition, not the marketing department.
wow… I’ll go ahead and say it…
that post is too much… lol
I guess this comes down to a couple of things.
Everyone’s “comfort zone” on price is different, because I’m sure Donald Trump wouldn’t think anything of spending $25.00 on a cigar, where I’d think long and hard about that price.
Another thing is the “Limited Production” label, which always adds to the price! Personally, I find it hard to believe that all the “Limited Production” cigars on the market today are limited by anything other than the companies to drive up the price!
My comfort zone is probably a bit higher than most members on here, simply because I smoke only 1-2 cigars a week. Since I only smoke a couple of cigars a week, I don’t mind spending $10-$15 on a single smoke.
As for the Oliva V Maduro, I bought 6 of these over the past week ($9 at one shop, $9.75 at the other) and I don’t think the price is unreasonable given the limited production.
I like the point that Rich makes. Not all cigar companies have the same pricing philosophy. Oliva deserves high marks for making quality smokes at a great value. They make their money the hard way by earning people’s trust through the work they do. They realize that if the cigar tastes great and has a reasonable price, people will buy them regularly.
Whereas, other companies want to play marketing games with cigar smokers. They label things “limited edition” or “exclusive” and make up some elaborate story as to how special a cigar is just mark up the price and make a huge profit. I get the impression these companies just want to make a quick profit with little care as to the longevity of a buyer’s commitment to that particular brand. I don’t blame these companies because this may be there only way to make the most money. If they don’t have an adequate supply of tobacco to keep their cigars consistent year after year, then of course, the next best thing is to use creative marketing. If you can get away with it (which they do), why not? Sounds a little like the housing crisis philosophy…
I think the Oliva family constantly produces a quality product at an affordable price, I don’t think they are taking you for a ride on this one. The wrapper is likely harder and more expensive to prodce than the regular V wrapper.
10 bucks tops. I’ve paid that much only a few times in my 13 years of smoking.
for my regular daily smokes, I’ve found a few around 1.50 – 2 bucks that I enjoy.
When at a B&M shop, trying new products, I’ll spend 4-6 bucks to try something new to me. I do this about once a month, picking up 4 to 6 stix.
I also go for the taste more than the price. But after years of experimenting, I’ve found some I really enjoy that are also inexpense, so its a win-win situation.
That was cool Walt. Thanks for using my question. For me if the quality of materials used to construct the cigar come through in the overall experience of the cigar … then the price is warranted (no matter the brand name). For example the Oliva Serie V Maduro it is a limited premium quality smoke and it is priced accordiingly. That cigar has a unique profile that would be hard to match in another less expensive cigar that is avaiable today.
Paying over twelve bucks for a Davidoff is a different thing. You can find a flavorful mild smoke without much effort that can match or beat it. So to buy the Davidoff may be more about the heritage of the Davidoff line and not the cigar itself.
As I mentioned the Camacho Triple Maduro and San Cristobal. I wonder if these two cigars have the type of materials (quality-wise) and experience that warrant their prices. In the case of the Camacho are we covering the label making expenses? For the San Cristobal are we paying for the Pepin name (the great name that it is)? Instead of what it took to construct that particular cigar like in the case of the Oliva Serie V Maduro. Oliva could not charge seven dollars for that cigar if they wanted to…that would be giving it away.
Paying 10-15 bucks for a quality cigar is normal here in California 🙁 The Oliva serie V liga especial is 10+ , RP vintage 99 $13!!! If it wasn’t for online retailers I would not be able to afford this little hobby of mine. But if the cigar is a good quality smoke then I don’t mind paying a little extra once in a while.