Thursday, February 02, 2006

No new review today. Last night’s cigar was a disappointing JR Alt-Monte #2. But the disappointment was my fault—not Lew’s. I had to let the cigar die 5 minutes in, because Kedron woke up from her nap early. When I returned an hour later, the wrapper started to unravel and split, which led to burn and draw problems. This marred an otherwise fine night of heads-up, no-money-wagered poker with Anthony on the back porch.

This brings me to tonight’s subject: I first became a fan of the JR Alternatives line in 2004, because they were the only quality hand-rolled, long-filler cigars that could be obtained for a buck. Yes, there are cheaper buys, but they are either segundos (which by their nature are inconsistent) or mixed-filler sandwich cigars, like Riata and Mister B’s. Back in 04, a bundle of JR Alt-Monte #2 cost $21.95, plus $2 shipping, or $1.20 per smoke.

But over time, Lew’s inventories dropped and shipping costs rose. Today, that same bundle costs $26.95, plus $2.63 shipping, or $1.48 per smoke. Still a great bargain for a very good smoke.

However, I recently found a site called where boxes of name-brand cigars are routinely placed on the auction block at less than $10 and a feeding frenzy ensues. This site seems to specialize in new and boutique labels that became popular in the boom of the late 1990’s. I see more cigars with “by Rocky Patel” or “by Perdomo” in the name than Montecristo or Punch. Most boxes end up selling for 70% of retail; some even sell for higher than MSRP. But sometimes you can get a steal: I bought a box of Legends Series Camachos and a 20-cigar sampler of CAO, Gurkha, La Perla, and Puros Indios for almost the same price as the JR Alts ($1.68 per smoke, after shipping).

I’m excited about this, because it will mean more variety than what I find at JRCigars, at my present costs. I’ll post reviews soon.

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