"Second-tier" and "third-tier" cigars


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What I call the "second-tier" cigars are those vitolas that were formerly long-filler machine-mades.

After the retirement of the machines in 2002, the survivors were resurrected as fully hand-made.

The "third-tier", in my definition, are the Tripa Corta.

I am an avid partisan of both.

These are the general characteristics that I find in the "second-tier" smokes :

Less finesse than their betters, but more robust, forthright power.

Less complexity, but a satisfying "comfort-food" style.

Meat and potatoes, not haute cuisine.

They are good young, but become much more refined with aging.

While I have had a very few bad boxes, too tight or plugged,

I normally find a good level of consistancy, both as to construction and taste.

Frankly, I've had more disappointments with lousy D4's, Mag46's, Lusis...

Partagas, IMHO, are the best, and most consistant at this level.

They also have the widest range.

These are in my current rotation :

Mille Fleurs '05, Habaneros '05, Petits Coronas Especiales '06, Super Partagas '06, Aristocrats '06.

Other favorites : Upmann Regalias '05 and Coronas Major '07,

R&J Coronitas en Cedro '05 and Mille Fleurs '05,

and, perhaps my #1, PL Montecarlos '07.

As for the TC cigars, two totally different, but equally enjoyable smokes :

Fonseca Delicias '06, and Quintero Brevas '04.

Both have aged well, with better still to come.

Another dependable standard is the PL Panatelas '04.

Best of all, there is nothing in either level that exceeds a 44 ring!

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I've tried a few of these smokes, but to be honest am not very familiar with most of them. There were others you brought up that I have thought about trying. Thanks for the insight.

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I used to smoke & enjoy RyJ Millefleurs, but that was a long time ago- pre 95 blend. I see they're pretty cheap, so probably should try some of the new hand made variety. So many cigars to try...

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I first started smoking PL Montecarlo's in the late 90's, does anyone else remember tem being boxed in cello? I have never personally considered them to be a "2nd Tier" cigar because the flavors for me have always been so profound, distinguished and delicious.

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I fire up the Jose Piedra La Cremas & Cazadores when I want an easy smoke. I have found that these two especially benefit if you can give them some time in your box. Good QPR in my opinion...

They sure are!

I have '06 Cazadores and Conservas.

They have really mellowed, becoming gentle and nicely aromatic.

Very pleasant.

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I have loved my 08 Partagas PC Especiales, 06 Aristocrats, 06 PL Panatelas, and 08 Upmann Coronas Major. The Coronas Major, while being a tubo, is an underappreciated gem of a cigar...I've smoked almost half my box already.

And about the 08 Party PC Especiales--I had one right after I smoked a SD#3 EL '06 that was a dud and the PC blew it away in flavor...classic Partagas for $3.50.

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I'm seldom in the market for a quick smoke these days, but when I am, Partagas Chicos are very enjoyable - especially with a few years' age on them...

I'm aging - or trying to - a few boxes bought in '06.

Man, they were rude and nasty when fresh, really tarry.

Lately, they have been coming around nicely,

more of a slap in the face than a fist in the nose!

I hope I still have a few left when they will really be ready.

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I first started smoking PL Montecarlo's in the late 90's, does anyone else remember tem being boxed in cello? I have never personally considered them to be a "2nd Tier" cigar because the flavors for me have always been so profound, distinguished and delicious.

A great memory from around ten years ago, sharing some superb Montecarlos

(no cello, so they must have been the hand-finished version)

with a couple of buddies.

It was a snowy winter's night, on the upper floor - which we had all to ourselves -

of a bring-your-own-wine Greek restaurant, with a blazing fire visible in the fireplace below.

From that moment, I was totally hooked on CC's.

Ahh, but those good old days of a fine cigar after a hearty restaurant meal are gone forever...

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I've tried a few (given to me) - the experience was not memorable enough to make me want more. If it were a simple matter for me to

go down to my local tobacconist and pick up a few, I might be more inclined to try more. But since that is not the case, I find I'm focusing

as much as possible on maximizing my enjoyment.

So for me, fewer cigars, but hopefully "better" cigars.

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While I dont currently have any the Upmann Corona Majors are underrated. I totally agree on that one.

The Partagas Super Partagas is a greate straightforward cigar that I fully enjoy. If you can age them then do so. Excellent ROI IMHO.

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From your list of 2nd tier cigars I like the Partagas they best. PC Especiale, Mille Fleurs and Super Partagas. I also have some young H Upmann Ragalias. Tried one and decided to let the rest age a little more.

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Por Larranaga Montecarlo is so different it is a classic. It can also be underfilled or overfilled. Still, I am happy to have them in my humidor at all times.

Partagas Belvederes. Great flavour (albeit one dimensional), great little size.

Fishing cigars:

Quintero Brevas

Jose Piedra Cazadores.

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