Is Cigar Culture a trend that is coming back, or is it just for the older gen?

Written by on 7th April 2022

In recent years cigar culture has changed, Chloe Walker investigates how and why more people are interested in cigars.

Over the past 5 years, Cigar culture has grown on a wide scale. Many companies now do Cigar subscriptions, and there is a growing female population in cigar smoking too. But why is cigar smoking becoming a ‘trend’ again? Is it really only just for older men?

We contacted one company that does cigar subscriptions, Privada Cigar Club, based in Orlando, USA.

Privada Cigar Club is owned by Brian Desind, A Cigar Aficionado that was crowned Tobacco Businessman of the year in 2021. Desind started his cigar subscription service in 2017, with an aim of educating people on exclusive cigars. However, this progressed into a subscription business, which has grown dramatically since its start in 2017.

The cigar club initially started because Desind and his wife were moving to Los Angeles to be closer to his wife’s family. They downsized from a six thousand square foot house to a 650 square foot apartment. This meant he had to get rid of some of his cigars. However, when it came to selling them on cigar forums, people did not want to pay retail value for them. So, he set out to educate people why those cigars were special, or at least why they were special to him. At the time cigar subscription boxes were ‘the hot thing.’ This birthed the idea of a cigar subscription business, he wrote down the information about each cigar, and packaged it up into a box. The information included the story about why the cigar was created, what it was made from and the flavor notes for each cigar.

Privada did not reach success very quickly. Desind thought that it was a failed business venture, until more people started unboxing his subscription on YouTube.

Smoking a Privada farm rolled cigar in the sun (Photo taken by author)

Before he knew it, he had 15 members, and someone who works for Boveda (A cigar accessories company) contacted him, asking to review Privada cigars on their YouTube. After this, his subscription jumped to 50 people.

Over the pandemic, Privada’s subscription rate jumped. Whilst they did not need the pandemic to help them grow, they needed this pandemic to help them grow this quickly. But they already knew Privada was taking over the cigar industry for younger cigar smokers, or cigar smokers looking for a change. Their subscription raised by almost 300% in one year, over the course of the pandemic. The company boomed over this period, and it was almost a struggle to keep up. Showing the growing population of people picking cigar smoking as a new hobby.

Desind aims to keep inclusivity as a main goal for Privada, rather than having ‘tiered’ subscriptions, anyone can access any box they want. Farm-rolled is one of the main boxes Privada sells, and with bands these cigars would retail at £10-£15 each. However, Desind leaves these labels off so that his subscribers can save money.

BHFATW BHFATW Cuban cigars, Close-up, Cuba, Carribean, North America, Amerika

We asked if there is any countries Privada ships to more now post-pandemic than pre-pandemic.

“In the UK we have always been big, to the point where we are considering figuring out how to possibly set up some kind of situation there, so all of Privada’s products are already in the UK ready to ship.”

Brian believes that the reason people smoke cigars is that there is something appealing about smoking cigars. He thinks cigars typically weed out bad people, as you have to sit and relax, or stand and relax. You need to find a little time and patience, something which he believes truly bad people don’t have.

It is believed we are now in the ‘craft-cigar’ movement. A time when people are waiting for something new to smoke, and a lot of new cigar smokers are in the movement now. The craft cigar movement relies on the actual people making the cigars. But a lot of people smoke certain cigars because of their personality.

Alternatively, there are people who smoke certain cigars because of what they smoked with a family member in their youth, and they continue to smoke it now, because it creates a sense of nostalgia.

Chloe (journalist) smoking a Privada cigar in her garden.

However, it is not just ‘men’ that smoke cigars. There is a growing community of women who smoke cigars. I spoke to Karen Hunter (@misscigarhunter) and Pandora (@pandorascigarbox) who are both women involved in Women based cigar clubs across the world.

Karen’s discovery of cigars came when she visited Cuba with a friend. At the end of their holiday, they had some money left over. So, they went to a cigar shop in Cuba and bought the most expensive cigar. She then bought cigars to take home and her journey into the cigar world started there.

Pandora started smoking cigars in university, with her friends in pubs (back when you could smoke indoors). She then started smoking them as a post-dinner treat. Her full journey into the cigar world began at the start of the pandemic when she began her website and YouTube channel, reviewing cigars. She has since left her job as a music teacher, to pursue a full-time career in cigar reviewing. This leading to her being invited to events across the country for cigar companies.

Both women participate in cigar clubs, WIC Wednesday (A zoom meeting that takes place on a Wednesday evening) this is a place where women can talk about their life and enjoy a cigar together. Ash holes – Which is a ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Style cigar club, with tiers to ‘full patch’ cigar smokers. As well as Cigar Club London, which is a mixed group of people who meet up in London monthly to smoke cigars together.

Both share the importance of inclusivity in the cigar community. It’s not just a male hobby, but a hobby that is also enjoyed by a wide community of women, and they want to break these old-fashioned stereotypes.

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