I have longed for a Peter JamesCigar Aficionado Case since I first saw one on Instagram a few years ago and later read about them on Cigar Aficionado. In pictures, and in person, they are just beautiful and masterfully crafted, but that comes at a hefty price tag. So I needed to test drive one for myself and see if the performance and function could justify the hefty price tag.
I reviewed the Xikar Cigar Locker over 4 years ago and raved about it, and I still bring that sucker just about everywhere I go when planning to smoke cigars. It would take something pretty special to replace that in my life, so I was very curious to see if the Peter JamesCigar Aficionado Case was up for it.
Peter James Cases have been around since 2015. The story goes that two cigar friends grew frustrated with not having enough room to put both cigars and accessories in the same case and having to carry their cutters and lighters in their pockets. The case measures 9 1/2″ tall x 5 1/2″ wide x 2″ deep. The company is based out of Canada including production of the product which using Italian full-grain leather and an American zipper. At the time I received my case, there were 6 color choices: Red & Black, Black & Brown, Castano (tan), Oceana (black and blue), and Koral (Tan and Beige). I went with the latter. Since then a few more color combinations have been added including Raven (gray and red), Nautica (brown and blue), Ruby (tan and red), Master (brown and green), and Black & Blue. When the cases were first released they ran for $225. At the time of receiving my sample, the price was up to $395, and now the most recent models are selling for $425.
Look & Feel
The look of this case is a masterpiece, it is just gorgeous to behold. Attention was paid to every detail and stitch. The appearance and wow factor of whipping one of these out at a herf or shop is one of the main selling points of this case. I went with the Koral color because I liked the traditional brown leather coloring but with a nice contrast of darker shades on the inside. Handling and using this case, you also get a feel for how well it is crafted. You can tell instantly that the leather is full grain and that the zipper and magnetic buttons will hold up to years of use.
When it comes to basic performance of a cigar case, you want it to protect your cigars, keeps them humidified, and in this case, carry some accessories too. All of these things the case does well, to an extent. Taking the Cigar Aficionado Case through its paces, you definitely realize that there is some tradeoff of style for function. I don’t know if lighters and cutters have grown in size over the last 5 years, but I found that a good number of mine just wouldn’t fit in the tight pockets provided. I found that realistically, only single jet lighters would fit in one of the button pockets with the exception of a few smaller double jet ones I own. You can forget about three or more jets. That may not be a dealbreaker for some, but I definitely like my many-jetted lighters.
Even cutters were a bit of an issue at times. Your standard Xikar Xi cutters will fit just fine, so that’s a relief, but some of my favorite v-cutters were either too tall or too fat. Now, you do have the larger pocket at the top for other random items, which could include a larger lighter or cutter, but the two main pockets are on the tight side.
When it comes to protecting your cigars, the case does a good job. It is a soft case, so it’s not going to give you the crush-protection of a hard-sided case, but if you don’t do anything crazy, your cigars will be fine. The leather is thick and there are two layers of it between your cigars and the danger outside. My only complaint in this area is that it is not very air tight. And I get that this case is made with a zipper and isn’t going to be a perfect seal, so as long as you understand that you shouldn’t be storing all your cigars for a two week trip to a dry climate in it, you will be fine. For a couple hours or even overnight, your cigars will be in good shape, but longer than that, even with a boveda pack inside, things will dry out on you.
The company says that the case can hold up 5-6 cigars in it’s main pocket, and this it does very well. It is actually more roomy on in the storage compartment than I expected. It can hold 5 or 6 cigars with room to spare and even accommodates the largest of cigars in both ring gauge and length. It can hold your lanceros, Churchills, and double coronas no problem. A nice feature is that for shorter cigars, you can pull the security flap down tighter so that they don’t move around on you.
My initial question for this review was whether the looks and performance of this case could justify the now $425 price tag. The answer is: Maybe. For me personally, I don’t mind splurging on conversation pieces and things that will last a lifetime like an S.T. Dupont lighter, or a Peter JamesCigar Aficionado Case. So, for me personally, yes I could see this as a once a year type of special occasion treat for myself of a gift from a very loving spouse. For some, the price could absolutely be a hindrance when you can get something that accomplishes the same functions, like a Xikar Cigar Locker for $29. This case won’t be replacing my Cigar Locker for the bulk of my herfs, but I will absolutely use it when the occasion is right like when I plan on only smoking one or two cigars, or an occasion when I won’t be handing many out. The next time you find me in a luxurious steakhouse or upscale cigar bar, you will absolutely find the Peter JamesCigar Aficionado Case next to me.
Verdict - Recommend
This case won’t be replacing my Cigar Locker for the bulk of my herfs, but I will absolutely use it when the occasion is right like when I plan on only smoking one or two cigars, or an occasion when I won’t be handing many out. The next time you find me in a luxurious steakhouse or upscale cigar bar, you will absolutely find the Peter JamesCigar Aficionado Case next to me.