You may have seen factory overruns of cigars available on your favorite online cigar store. Many of them come in bundles of 10, 15, 20 or more. They are sometimes advertised as … They are however not described as damaged or beyond use. With the huge gap in the price – often times more than 50% less than the non-overrun cigars – these cigars seem like a great deal. Are they a waste of time or a great deal for the budget cigar smoker?
Let’s first look into the difference between overrun cigars and regular non-overrun varieties. The difference is minute and may be acceptable or unacceptable depending on what kind of cigar smoker you are. The overruns are those that did not meet the strict quality standards of that cigar brand. That’s it. They are not left over cigars on clearance because the warehouse is overstocked. They are not advertised as damaged, but according to the cigar brand themselves, they are unfit to carry their logo.
What does that tell us? What makes them unfit to carry the logo? More often than not, overruns become overruns during the testing phase. This happens in he factory while the master blender is keeping an eye on quality control.
More often than not, a cigar will not meet quality control standards if inspection of the wrapper leaf is not up to par. Each brand is different, but common issues could include the wrapper’s ability to stay on, the veins in the leaf, or the color of the leaf.
Sometimes the draw of the cigar is called into question. During the testing phase, the master blender may notice a difference in the ability of the cigar to draw properly, not allowing enough oxygen in during the inhale, or far too much than what the brand is expected.
Throughout everything, the brand is working on being a solid and unchanged product. Each brand wants consistency so that the cigar you bought today smokes the same as the cigar you buy next month, next year, and beyond.
A handful of companies are notoriously strict. While others are pretty easy going. That said, there is often more to be gained buying more premium brands that are factory seconds than buying cheaper brands, because the quality of the former is already far ahead of the later.
There’s another reason why factory overruns are a great deal that most people don’t realize and it has to do with the cost of packaging and marketing. Each cigar that you normally buy, has within its given price the cost of producing the packaging that it comes in. In the case of cigars, that is the iconic cigar box. These are relatively more expensive that plastic or paper packaging.
As well, the marketing segment include the painted or printed logo and slogan of the company. The cost of this printing should not be overestimated. Similarly, the cost of producing all of the bands (not wrappers) on each cigar with the logo, is a real price that has to be computed. Thus, with these two elements out of the equation, there is relief in the price.
So are factory overruns and seconds a good deal for the average cigar smoker? I would say yes. For budget smokers you can try a premium brand you might not otherwise be able to afford. Similarly, if you unsure of a brand and are not so sure about samplers, this is a great way to try the overall blend before committing to an expensive box.
If you have a favorite brand that is exactly the way you like it, these deals are probably not for you. That is a result of the differences in the overruns that will translate into a noticeable difference in what you smoke. The experience is likely to be different. Further, if the ambiance of the packaging and presentation are a requirement, factory overruns and seconds are probably not for you.