The term “boutique” cigar has been around for many years, probably since the first cigar boom of the 1990’s. At that time there were plenty of new brands that called themselves boutique.
Through the years, many characteristics have been used to quantify the term boutique. A production number of less than 1.5 million cigars has been a popular one. But, if you use this number, many limited edition cigars produced by major manufacturers could be considered boutique. I do not feel that is an accurate example.
If you reference the word boutique in the dictionary, one of the definitions is: “a small company that offers highly specialized services or products.”
It is this definition that I have kept in mind while writing this article.
For the most part, boutique companies do not own their own tobacco farms or employ their own rollers. What they do is contract with existing manufacturers to come up with a unique, consistent blend. These companies own the brand but not the manufacturing process.
Many brand owners have been in the cigar industry for years in other capacities. They had a built-in following which helped them when it came time to launch their new brands. Name recognition and reputation go a long way when you are introducing a new cigar.
The following is a list of 10 popular boutique cigar brands available today:
7-20-4 – this brand first hit the industry in 1874 and was produced until 1963. Kurt A. Kendall resurrected the brand featuring 6 new lines including the Classic, 1874, Dog Walker , Factory 57, Hustler and Spider.
E.P. Carillo – This company was founded my Ernesto Perz-Carillo. He is no stranger to the cigar industry. Ernesto first started out with El Credito and La Gloria Cubana. Today, EP Carillo has many brands including the Cardinal, Core line, E-Stunner, INCH, La Historia and New Wave.
Four Kicks – This brand is owned by Crowned Heads which was started by Jon Huber and Mike Conder, formally of CAO International. In addition to Four Kicks, they own the Headley Grange, J.D. Howard Reserve and Jericho Hill among others.
La Tradicion Cubana – based in Maimai, FL, La Tradicion Cubana features such brand names as Rserva Familiar, Sabor Cubano and Las Memorias Cubana and their namesake, La Tradicion Cubana. They also private label the T.L. Johnson and Santos de Miami brands along with brands for the Jameson Cigar Company.
Nomad – founded by Fred Rewey, Nomad features the C-276, S-307, Nomad Connecticut Fuerte and their Nomad Classic lines.
ROMA Craft Tobac – co-founded by Skip Martin and Mike Rosales, they feature the Intemperance, CroMagnon and Aquitane brands.
Southern Classic Cigars – owned by Cucubano Cigars, I have included this brand because I feel it is soon to become very popular. They feature four lines; Cucubano, Dujo, Coabey and Cuey.
This list does not include every “boutique” cigar offered in the industry but does represent some of the best cigars available in my opinion. The brands listed are a great starting point to expand your horizon if you have only smoked brands from major manufacturers.Top 10 Boutique Cigars by Tom Ufer