After Habanos S.A. announced that it was going to increase the prices of Cuban cigars worldwide as part of a new “global pricing standard” where prices around the world would be based on the costs of Cuban cigars sold in Hong Kong, fans of Cuban cigars began wondering just how much the prices would be going up, especially after hearing terms such as significant and substantial used to describe the increases.
Now we have a bit of an idea of what those increases will look like, as 5th Avenue Products Trading GmbH, which distributes Cuban cigars in Germany, Austria and Poland, has released an updated price list that will go into effect in Germany on July 1. Every single Cuban cigar, with the exception of a handful of SKUs that are being discontinued, will increase in price. While it is true that the prices of some Cuban cigars will double or triple in Germany, the bulk of them will be increasing by less than 15 percent.
As a note, halfwheel was provided with the price list used in this article under the condition that we do not publish the full price list, hence why it does not appear here.
While every cigar is increasing in price, there are four different groups of increases:
- J.L. Piedra/Vegueros — These two value-price brands are increasing between 4.8-8.7 percent.
- Montecristo Línea Edmundo, the Partagás Línea Serie that includes the Serie D, E and P options, and the Romeo y Julieta Línea Churchill will increase by 20-25 percent. This affects 35 SKUs, about 12 percent of the price list.
- Cohiba, Cohiba BHK, Trinidad, Montecristo Línea 1935 and the Romeo y Julieta Línea de Oro brands will double in price except for the Cohiba Siglo V, which is increasing by just 87.1 percent. This represents 56 of the 293 current SKUs, regular production cigars sold in Germany.
- Everything else will increase between 10-15 percent. This is 184 of the 293 SKUs, two-thirds of the portfolio.
Across the entire Habanos S.A. portfolio, the median increase for Germany is 13 percent and €1.60 per cigar, but because of the dramatic increases for Cohiba and Trinidad the increases to the average price are much greater: 39.4 percent and €8.20 per cigar.
Habanos S.A.’s limited statements on the changes focused on Cohiba and Trinidad and spoke about the need for price homogenization due what it perceives to be the luxury status of the two brands.
In a press release, the Cuban cigar conglomerate said that pricing for 2022 was established after “taking into account the current demanding aspects affecting all sectors, including the luxury and premium cigar market, and a new strategy of global homogenization in the highest segment of the price pyramid.” In other words, the top of the Habanos portfolio would be getting more expensive— namely the well-known Cohiba brand—as well as the Trinidad marca, which Habanos has called “the boutique Habanos brand par excellence.”
Beyond this, it has not explained much.
This includes why Habanos S.A. chose Hong Kong, one of the most expensive places to buy cigars in the world due to local taxes, as the basis for worldwide pricing. Habanos S.A. has told distributors in other markets what the cigars cost in Hong Kong and expects the distributors to adjust accordingly. It’s unclear how this will differ between markets with low taxes and high taxes, or even if distributors will be expected to change pricing based on the value of their local currency against the Hong Kong dollar. Using Germany as a single point of reference, it does not appear that the prices in Germany for Cohiba and Trinidad will be identical to the converted Hong Kong prices. It’s also not clear if all prices must be changed by July 1 or if that is the date 5th Avenue chose for its own reasons.
Finally, it should be noted, the prices below are only relevant to the German market. Each distributor sets the price of cigars in the market it sells and wholesale taxes will vary from country to country. It seems quite likely that in countries with higher taxes, the percentage of increases will be radically different than what they are going to be in Germany.
Trinidad is seeing the largest increases by percentage; five of the seven regular production Trinidad vitolas will more than triple in price in the German market.
No cigar in the entire Habanos portfolio will increase more percentage-wise than the Trinidad Reyes, a 4 3/8 x 40 petit corona that will go from €9.60 per cigar to €32, a 233.3 percent increase. The Trinidad Fundadores will see the smallest increase by percentage in the brand, but it is still more than doubling from €25.90 to €61 per cigar.
The Esmeralda, a 5 3/4 x 53 robusto extra, now becomes the most expensive vitola in the Trinidad line, priced at €63 per cigar, with the Topes (€62) and Fundadores (€61) close behind. Prior to the increase, the Fundadores had been the priciest Trinidad at €25.90.
These increases mean that prices for Trinidad will now be much closer to that of Cohiba. With these changes, Habanos S.A. has positioned Trinidad as the next brand after Cohiba. It’s an incredible 10-year turnaround for the brand, which had the majority of its cigars phased out of production in 2012.
As for Cohiba, the increases are also dramatic though not as drastic percentage-wise as they are for Trinidad. However, because Cohiba was already the flagship marca of Habanos S.A. and priced accordingly, the doubling of Cohiba prices can mean the largest price change from a raw price standard. For example, the Cohiba BHK 56 will increase in price by more than €100 per cigar, the largest increase in terms of dollars and cents, or euros in this case.
When looking at the cigars getting the highest and lowest percentage increased across the entire Cohiba portfolio, which includes the Cohiba Behike, Cohiba Línea 1492, Cohiba Línea Clasica and Cohiba Línea Maduro 5:
- The Cohiba Robustos will see the greatest increase by percentage, going up 176.4 percent from €24.60 per cigar to €68 for the version that comes in 25-count boxes and three-count packs. The tubo version will increase 159 percent from €27.80 to €72, which also means that the tubed version comes with a €4 premium.
- The Cohiba Siglo V is getting the smallest increase by percentage; the non-tubo version is going from €31 per cigar to €58, an increase of 87.1 percent. The version that comes in a tubo will go from €31.90 to €63, an increase of 97.5 percent, as well as having a €5 premium for the tube.
The popular Cohiba Línea 1492, which contains the seven cigars that use the world Siglo in their names, will see the following increases:
- Cohiba Media Siglo — was €21.20, now €57 (168.9 percent increase)
- Cohiba Siglo I — was €18.10, now €31 (140.3 percent increase)
- Cohiba Siglo II — was €19.90, now €36 (116.9 percent increase)
- Cohiba Siglo III — was €21.40, now €48 (124.3 percent increase)
- Cohiba Siglo IV — was €23.70, now €52 (119.4 parent increase)
- Cohiba Siglo V — was €31, now €58 (87.1 percent increase)
- Cohiba Siglo VI — was €37.50, now €81 (116 percent increase)
All of the above cigars are offered in tubo formats, which adds three to five euros to the single cigar price.
Other notable changes from the Cohiba portfolio:
- The Cohiba Espléndidos goes from €43.60 to €95 per cigar.
- The Cohiba Pirámides Extra increases from €41 to €95 per cigar, with the tubo version now priced at €100.
- The Cohiba Línea Clasica line will increase between 102.4 percent and 176.4 percent.
- The Cohiba Línea Maduro 5 line will see its prices increase between 123.6 percent and 153.7 percent.
As for the well-known Cohiba Behike line, it remains the most expensive regular production line in the Habanos S.A. portfolio after more than doubling in price:
- Cohiba Behike BHK 52 — was €48.60, now €120 (146.9 percent increase)
- Cohiba Behike BHK 54 — was €63.50, now €150 (136.2 percent increase)
- Cohiba Behike BHK 56 — was €68.10, now €170 (149.6 percent increase)
In addition to the announced Cohiba and Trinidad increases, there are two other lines of cigars that are getting similarly significant increases, both of which are fairly recent additions to the Habanos S.A. portfolio.
The Romeo y Julieta Línea de Oro, which was released in very limited quantities in December 2021, will be nearly tripling in price:
- Romeo y Julieta Línea de Oro Hidalgos — was €18.50, now €55 (197.3 percent increase)
- Romeo y Julieta Línea de Oro Nobles — was €16, now €49 (206.3 percent increase)
- Romeo y Julieta Línea de Oro Dianas — was €19.80, now €52 (162.6 percent increase)
Meanwhile, the Montecristo Línea 1935, which came out in April 2018, will see its prices more than double:
- Montecristo Linda 1935 Dumas — was €18.50, now €46 (148.6 percent increase)
- Montecristo Línea 1935 Maltés — was €22.50, now €58 (159.8 percent increase)
- Montecristo Línea 1935 Leyenda — was €25.40, now €66 (157.8 percent increase)
After the cigars seeing a three-digit percentage increase, another tier is seeing increases between 20 and 25 percent. This group includes the Montecristo Línea Edmundo, the Partagás Línea Serie that includes the Serie D, Serie E and Serie P lines, and the Romeo y Julieta Línea Churchill.
In terms of examples with real world numbers:
- Montecristo Edmundo — was €14.60, now €18 (23.3 percent increase)
- Partagás Serie D No. 4 — was €12, now €14.80 (23.3 percent increase)
- Romeo y Julieta Churchills — was €17.70, now €22 (24.3 percent increase)
If there is a bright spot among a list of price increases, it is that most of the brands in the portfolio are only seeing an increase of between 10 and 15 percent. This includes Bolívar, Cuaba, Diplomáticos, El Rey del Mundo, Fonseca, H. Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey (including its Línea Epicure and Línea del Hoyo lines), Juan Lopez, La Flor de Cano, La Gloria Cubana, Montecristo, Partagás, Por Larrañaga, Punch, Quai d’Orsay, Rafael Gonzalez, Ramón Allones, Romeo y Julieta, Saint Luis Rey, Sancho Panza and Vegas Robaina.
This group represents 184 out of the 293 SKUs on the price list, excluding cigars that appear to be discontinued yet are still on the list as well as a few SKUs that are samplers of cigars.
Two lines, J.L. Piedra and Vegueros, are seeing even smaller increases. J.L. Piedra, which is handmade using short filler tobacco, will see increases between 5 and 8.7 percent, while Vegueros will see increases between 4.8 and 5.9 percent. These two brands represent a total of 18 SKUs.
Notably absent from the price list are Edición Limitada and Edición Regional releases, since they are not part of the regular production offerings from Habanos S.A. They are expected to go up as well, as evidenced partly by the recent news of the Cohiba 55 Aniversario Edición Limitada 2022, which is set to be priced at $300 per cigar in Beirut.
Germany is one of the more interesting and useful markets to begin understanding the price increase, as retailers are bound to sell cigars according to the price indicated by the distributor. In addition, it is generally considered to be one of the lowest-priced markets around the world, though prices are higher than in places like Cuba or Spain. While we have now seen the changes in the German market, it remains to be seen what other distributors do in their markets as it could be different.
Several distributors contacted by halfwheel said they were still working through the increases or were prohibited from sharing the changes at the moment due to government regulations.
Charlie Minato contributed to this article.