As time goes by, I think most cigar enthusiasts’ tendencies change in which cigars they prefer. Whether it’s a simple change in flavor preferences, country of origin, blend components, or some other facet of the hobby, our tastes change. Personally, I began with mostly large, nationally distributed cigar marques…because that was what my local shops had available. Over the years, as I explored new and bigger tobacconists and new cigars on the market, I expanded my horizons. When I moved to Florida 13 years ago, a whole new universe opened up with my introduction to local sticks out of Ybor City, Miami, and a few other locales that were not distributed outside their community, let alone back in Tennessee. In recent years, the boutique makers have come on strong with some very good cigars. These days, there are a few big names in the industry that I will keep around, and a few of those obscure little guys I enjoy as well. But, the bulk of my “experimental” buying goes into trying new lines from that corner of the market we call “boutique” (whatever that term means to you). Many of them are in fact blended and manufactured by some of those bigger makers, using tobacco that for one reason or another may not be available in large enough quantities to introduce into the large, (inter-)national marketplace. Or, perhaps because the boutique owner specifies and works out a certain blend profile with the maker. The reasoning is unimportant – the fact is, the number of great cigars rolling out to tobacconists’ shelves is amazing these days, from any market sector. In comparison to the boom of the 90’s…there is no comparison. At that time, some cigar manufacturers were rolling and pushing out many cigars that simply were neither ready nor fit for smoking. These days, there are still some that make it to market without proper blending, preparation, or conditioning – but those often fall away quickly if they don’t pick up the sales to sustain them as a viable product. Just out of idle curiosity, I was wondering what the general consensus was amongst my fellow consumers. The answer holds no real value outside of satisfying my curiosity; the market will dictate the success of any line from any brand. I just thought I’d ask where your loyalties lie – and if you’re so inclined, leave a comment explaining why you lean the way you do when buying/trying new cigars (or if you just stick to a few cigars that you know you like and don’t experiment at all). The Cigarmy wants to know!