I am lucky to live in Miami-Dade County. This place is cigar central for the United States. Good, high quality cigars made by folks who know their business are pretty easy to find in this town. I have become so used to smoking the "Segundo" or seconds of the big brands that it is a rare day for me to buy a box of first quality cigars. Indeed, I tend to get gifted more first quality cigars than I purchase. I currently have about 700 +/- cigars in my humidors maybe a tad more. The vast majority are in bundles. The bundles are just the same quality of tobacco but may be over runs, cosmetic flawed, or apprentice made cigars. Most are constructed well and smoke just fine. All seem to age just fine in humidors and improve with proper storage and aging. So here are some of my favorite bundled cigars. What are yours?
1. Old Fashioned from Mikes Cigars. These are seconds of some major brands like Macanudo, Hoya de Monterrey, Punch, etc. They come in Honduran and Dominican variates and both are excellent bargains. This is especially true when Mike's offers free shipping.
2. JR Alternatives from JR Tobacco. These are just amazing. Every single one I have smoked have been superb. I have not seen any cosmetic or construction flaws. The JR Alternatives of Padron's and Remidios are are actually so close in flavor, appearance and smoke that it makes one wonder. The downside to these is the insane, stupid shipping prices JR charges ($2.50 per item). I rarely buy these through the mail but do make it a point to swing by JRs when traversing North Carolina to stock up for the year. JR often does not have their advertised varieties of these in stock. This is due to the sporadic supplies of these so be prepared to have a number of different ones you want so you do not peg your purchases on one single type that may not be present in stock.
3. Consuegra from Mikes Cigars. These are clearly seconds as you will see some that look poorly and some with bad construction but, in my experience it is quite rare to find one poorly constructed. I would estimate one in a couple hundred may be a hard smoker depending on storage conditions. On rare occasion you will get an entire bundle that smokes poorly due to construction problems I tend to grind these, still high quality tobaccos, up for smoking in my pipes. Consuegra come in Honduran and Dominican varieties with the Dominicans being the clearly superior smoke and flavor winner. The Dominicans tend to sell out VERY quickly when they come in and supply of these are sporadic as they are imported as they accumulate enough seconds to make a run of them.
4. The Brick. These are seconds of Carlos Torano cigars are, like their first quality brothers, are amazing. I like the box pressed maduro variates. These tend to be perfect in quality and these are priced a bit more than other bundled cigars.
5. El Credito Super Magnums. These are a little secret that even a lot of folks in Miami are not aware of. These are, to my knowledge, sold only at the El Credito factory in Little Havana. These are the seconds of La Gloria Cubana Serie R and priced at least 30% cheaper than the first quality cigars.
6. El Titan De Bronze. Again these are a little known gem that even a lot of folks in the Miami area are not aware of. This little firm is located across the street from El Credito (La Gloria Cubana) in Little Havana. They sell their seconds at their little factory and they are amazing. These are likely the nicest folks in the Miami cigar industry.