Got a Light? The World's Most Expensive Cigars
Believed to have originated in Guatemala, depictions of ‘Sikars’ can be traced to the 10th Century, from clay pots showing leaves bound by string being smoked. With the discovery of the ‘New World’, the practice was picked up by Europeans - spreading through Spain, Portugal, France and the UK before being taken to America where tobacco fields were planted in Connecticut and Virginia.
The word ‘Sikar’ literally means “to smoke rolled dried leaves” and became ‘Cigarro’ in Central & Latin America before evolving into ‘Cigar’ which came into use around 1730. It is accepted that the world’s best cigars are produced in Cuba and the Dominican Republic - 44% of globally traded ‘stogies’ come from Dominican.
Nowadays, the cigar industry is a massive global machine, predicted to be worth in excess of $22bn by 2025. Consumer reports show that smoking practices increased during the COVID pandemic - not surprising - and that in 2021, over $1bn of tobacco products are expected to be exported. There is a move away from machine-made cigars as consumers reevaluate the value of their money - both in terms of expenditure and value added. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the world’s most expensive cigars, as well as places in Dubai where you can get your fix.
1. Mayan Sikar
Estimated at over 600 years old, this collection of Mayan Sikars were found in sealed clay pots buried in a cave in Guatemala. Discovered in 2012, the Archeologists behind the find were astonished by the excellent condition of the cigars, which had been preserved perfectly by the humidor-like conditions in the cave. Deemed fit for human consumption, the lot of 800 cigars were sold at auction for $507,000 to Gary Liotta - the owner of Santiago Cigar Factory in Rochester, NY. The cigar aficionado reported he was happy to pay such a price because the Master Roller his factory is a direct descendant of the tribe who made the cigars! Mr. Liotta refuses to sell any of the collection, but has been known to gift them to close friends to use “as they see fit”
2. Gurkha Royal Courtesan
Handmade in the Dominican Republic, only a few Master Rollers are allowed to produce this particular cigar, and they are partially blindfolded whilst doing so, to “avoid distraction”. The cigar is made using only Himalayan tobacco which has been watered exclusively with Fiji water - during production it is infused with Remy Martin Black Pearl Louis XIII (which retails for an eye-watering $224,000 per bottle) and encased in gold leaf. It is then finished with a diamond-studded band. All of this might explain the extortionate price of $1.36m per cigar!
Whilst the two cigars above are the most expensive, we must give a nod to the rarest - Virginia Blues - which was created by Douglas Doan, a cigar lover who was so frustrated with the difficulty in obtaining authentic, rare cigars for his collection that he decided to grow his own! He documented the journey from seed to cigar, with a yield that produced 25 boxes (around 650 cigars). Douglas retained 5 of the boxes and gifted the other 20, meaning none of them are in active circulation. This, coupled with their handmade American origins earns Virginia Blues the title of rarest cigar.
The Best Cigar Lounge in Dubai
|1. Above 21, Five Palm Jumeirah||2. The Cigar Room, Fairmont The Palm||3. Churchill Club, Four Seasons DIFC|
1. Above 21, Five Palm Jumeirah
Above 21 offers a carefully curated selection of rare whiskies, as well as Cuban cigars in a “Gatsby setting”. Their walk-in humidor is a custom creation and the attentive, expert staff can make recommendations for cigar and whisky, or cocktail, pairings. Memberships are available, starting at AED 12,000 per year, available in immediate credit, and come with benefits such as a welcome box of gifts and cigar box maintenance.
2. The Cigar Room, Fairmont The Palm
Offering a selection of Cuban and Dominican smokes, The Cigar Room’s decor is focused around sumptuous leather sofas and evokes the feeling of a boys club - a next level man cave! Their award-winning sommelier can make excellent recommendations on their extensive cigar menu and they have curated relationships with Knights and Lords (suits and tailoring) and a private members club with Louis XIII.
3. Churchill Club, Four Seasons DIFC
Filled with overstuffed sofas and great artwork, the Churchill Club is only open in the evenings and is just what you expect in terms of service, offerings and price. Their cheapest champagne comes in at AED 790 per bottle, with cigars topping out at AED 450 each. If you’re looking for somewhere that offers a feeling of real exclusivity and privacy, this is it.