Should I Get Cigar Factory Seconds?

February 27, 2009 · Posted in Cigar 101 · 11 Comments 

UPDATE: Since writing this post nearly two years ago I have tried some factory seconds. From my experience I can tell you that there are some truly awful factory seconds out there and I have wondered whether or not there was just some “cosmetic” imperfections with these cigars. Wrappers exploding, flavors nowhere to be found and a generally negative experience ensued with most of the seconds that I have tried. Is it possible that the term “second” is just some kind of marketing ploy to try to get consumers to buy cigars that are made with tobacco that is inferior to the tobaccos used in the ready for prime time cigars?

What I can tell is that there are some good, cheap cigars out there. For example, I do like the Joya de Nicaragua Fuerte Series B because it has a lot of flavor and comes with a small price tag. According to the literature on this cigar the wrapper for the JdN Fuerte is the same as the wrapper for the Antano while the filler tobaccos (and I’m assuming the binder as well) is “slightly” different. Some of the house blends from the various online retailers are pretty good as well.

Another way to cut back on the cost of your cigars is to buy smaller cigars. Usually, smaller cigars are less expensive and, as an extra bonus, with smaller cigars your wrapper to total tobacco volume is pretty high, which means you are experiencing more of the flavors and character of the wrapper with smaller cigars. That’s a good thing because the wrapper is the highest quality leaf in a cigar and many in the industry believe that the wrapper is responsible for a disproportionate amount of the flavor found in a cigar. Maybe even think about getting some of those cigars in tins – the CAO Lx2 in a tin is pretty good.

Now back to the original post.

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I’m looking to load up my humidor and I was looking around for some good ones that are less expensive. Sure, I could do some extra homework and find a bunch of different cigars that are cheap but, I don’t know, that just seems like too much time and effort for me right now. That got me to thinking about factory seconds.

Seconds are just cigars that don’t meet the cut for some reason. They may have something wrong with the wrapper, they aren’t packed correctly, or something else. Maybe they’re misshapen – you don’t really get to know what’s wrong with them until you get them. But, to be honest, I really haven’t gotten to many factory seconds before so I don’t know what to expect.

That’s where you come in. Should I even consider buying a couple dozen factory seconds? Is their quality so poor that it’s not even worth the discounted price? Basically, what should I expect from factory seconds? I was specifically looking into getting some Rocky Patel factory seconds and, knowing that it’s a very high quality brand, I can’t imagine they would sell something, even as a second, if the quality was not there.

Even though I do want your response I did some searching about factory seconds and found this from Cigar Advisor:

    Each manufacturer has their own way of “processing” bundle cigars. Sure, you can find some real dog rockets in the bundle aisles, but like boxed “firsts”, the tobacco in bundles and second cigars has been cured and aged prior to rolling. That said, I wouldn’t doubt that many bundle cigars are not aged after rolling, as are most boxed premium handmade cigars.

So, what do you think? Should I go ahead and get some seconds?