The Value of Cigar Factory Seconds
What does every cigar aficionado want? The best premium cigar at the lowest, most affordable price. While this may seem to be an oxymoron, it actually is not - "factory seconds" and "factory overruns" make premium cigars available at significantly lower prices, without sacrificing the quality of the smoke.
Tobacco leaves are natural products that vary in quality and grade. As such, it is understood by manufacturers that some tobacco just will not pass the scrutiny of their quality control standards. In efforts to select leaves of aesthetic perfection (pre- and post-fermentation) and roll cigars with flawless construction, the most minute abnormality will cause these leaves and cigars to fail the test for use in a particular line. These cigars are of the same superior quality and underwent the same aging and fermentation process, but will be set aside to be sold as "factory seconds".
Cigars are primarily sold based on their wrapper; therefore, the top cigar manufacturers are extraordinarily meticulous with their inspections of leaves designated to be used for wrapper. Any discrepancies (even in the slightest) in color, lightness, darkness, sunspots, water spots, blemishes, prominence of veins, are all aesthetic qualities that have nothing to do with cigar quality, but may be intolerable to the inspectors, and are cast to the side to be used to create "seconds".
Some cigars are labeled as "seconds" after they are actually rolled. As premium cigars are hand-made, human error is inevitable - cigars may be rolled too thick, too thin, too short, tighter draw than the predetermined standard, or blended with the wrong tobacco leaves. Rather than scrap these cigars entirely, these "seconds" can be sold at discounted prices.
Some manufacturers actually over-produce cigars. These are not "seconds", but are simply known as "overruns" which may be sold at lower prices, much like a liquidation or clearance sale. Frequently "factory seconds" and "overruns" are bundled and labeled differently from the line from which they were intended, with the cigars being left unbanded.
One man's trash may be another man's treasure - how true a statement, and apropos in this case... Think again before you discredit any cigars labeled as "seconds" or "overruns". Their aesthetic flaws, which are completely unnoticeable to your untrained eyes, will render these cigars highly economical. So, don't deny yourself the opportunity to enjoy a fine premium smoke at an incredible price point.