Cigars du Jour

I went to my favourite cigar shop today to pick up a few ‘supplies’. My football team Christmas party is on Wednesday and there are a few of us who enjoy a good smoke after our obligatory curry.

Norman Stein of the Bogart’s House of Fine Cigars and Tobacco* is a lovely chap and he always sorts me out with some lovely cigars.

Today, though, Norman wasn’t looking quite so chipper. And I could see why. Ever since the Australian government introduced ‘plain packaging’ on all tobacco products, Norman’s stock – as he put it “looks more like ammunition than cigars.”

He jokes, but he’s got a point. Where once sat the colourful majestic bands of Cuaba and Hoyo de Monterrey or the elegant sleekness of Montecristo and Cohiba, now bland brown stickers line up looking like a minimalist interpretation of miserable vegan shop labels. Or like Norman said, a range of brown large calibre bullets.

*Bogarts House of Fine Cigars is sadly no longer. Norm had to close this wonderful shop as a result of a huge downturn in sales. He blamed a lot of that on 2 moves by the Australian Government:

1. Plain packaging on cigars meant the people coming into his shop to buy a gift could no longer see the beautiful collars on the cigars, which stopped that kind of purchase.

2. Smoking laws, which I actually think are great, have made finding public venues very difficult for cigar smokers.

Cigar plain packaging - New Australian laws

I asked him if he’d noticed an impact on custom:

“Not for my regulars but for some people – people buying cigars as gifts – they often choose on the colourful bands. People can’t do that now.”

It’s a sad tale, but they still smoke the same – and we should take stock in that. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the lovelies I bought for me and my mates later this week. Check them out:

Cigars du jour - Montecristo - Bucanero - Dona Flor - MacanudoCigars - Montecristo - Bucanero - Dona Flor - Macanudo

[Left to right – Montecristo No.5 (Cuba), 2x Bucanero Boxpress Robusto (Nicaragua), Macanudo Marduro Robusto (Cuba), 3x Dona Flor robusto x3 (Brazil)]

What do you think of the new plain packaging rules on cigars? Will they do any good or are they just taking away a tradition?

Images by Mrs Romance.


  • Reply February 13, 2013


    I concur, it is a sad tale and our dear friend at Bogarts (where sweet husband and I also go for our cigars) is so correct when it says that the packaging looks like ammunition.

    One of the things I love about Cohiba Siglio cigars (which I bought for Hub’s birthday a week ago) is that they have yet to change their packaging – they still come in a bright yellow box, or for the bigger ones, a bright yellow cylinder…
    I am holding onto the pretty packaging for as long as I can, as I know that soon enough, it will change into an ammunition-style offensive.

    No fun.

    On the flip side, if you know of a good cigar lounge in Sydney, please share the news 🙂

    • Reply February 13, 2013

      Mr Romance

      Hi Eva
      I still love going to Bogart’s even if it’s just for a chat to Norman. What he can’t tell you (but I will!) is that the plain packaging in the Cuban cigar bands comes off to reveal their original bands! I was so excited the day I discovered that. I’m thinking of popping a quick post up about it.
      As for cigar lounges, I go to Cohibar in Darling Harbour, or there’s a good Cuban bar behind the QVB on York Street that’s cigar friendly. Called Bodeguita Del Medio. Otherwise it’s the Hilton or Ivy I’m afraid.
      Good luck and please let me know where you go for a smoke. Always looking for new places to try!

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