The Cigar Holder is a relatively new cigar accessory company. Started in 2019 by British-Romanian entrepreneur Razvan Patache, the company set out to create heirloom-quality cigar cases inspired by British design. The company produces their cases in Great Britain and sources their leather from Italy. Everything is handmade and comes with an extensive warranty. The Cigar Holder Sierra Maestra Collection is their most recent design and comes in a variety of color options ranging from blue and green, to Harris Tweed. Pricing for these cases is a hefty £465.00 ($579.53), so let’s dive deeper and see if the price is justified by the product.
The obvious comparison of this case is with the Peter James Cigar Aficionado Case that I reviewed a couple years ago here. I will make comparisons to that case throughout this review so if you’re not familiar with that case, go check out that review. I will also make more generalized comments and comparisons to other cases.
Info – The Cigar Holder Sierra Maestra Aficionado Cigar Case
Here are the specs and dimensions from the manufacturer:
- Handmade in Britain
- Made from: Tuscan Vegetable-Tanned Leather
- Safe Storage: Build-In Metal Cigar Guardian
- Cigar Pocket Capacity: 4 – 6 cigars, 4 cigars up to 64 ring gauge
- Tested with the Boveda 8g 69% pack, it will maintain humidity for an average of 14 days
- Dimensions: 9.5″ x 5.5″ x 1.5″
- Pouch with rear slip: 4″ x 3.5″
- Lighter/Cutter pockets: 3.5″x 2.5″
- Cigar Pocket: 8″x 4.5″ x 1″
- Swiss High-End Zipper: Riri
- Detachable Strap
- Comes presented in a beautiful Gift Box
- Warranty Card @The Vegetable Tanned Italian Genuine Leather Consortium
- Find more about these and other products on their website here.
The cases are Handcrafted in Britain from Tuscan Vegetable Tanned Leather. Each case takes three days to make, and is made from Tuscan Vegetable-Tanned Leather. The trademark and logo “Pelle Conciata al Vegetale in Toscana” represent the symbol of excellence that guarantees the highest quality leather. The Cigar Case comes with a warranty card that certifies the origin and naturality of the vegetable-tanned leather used, along with the manufacturing process involved in creating the case. Each tag has a unique progressive serial number printed on it, which the company says is difficult to counterfeit, and allows the consortium to identify the tannery supplying the leather and the manufacturer of the product.
Look & Feel
The look of this case is where you get your money’s worth. It is beautiful. You show up to a friends house or your local shop sporting one of these, and you are sure to get compliments and questions. I really like the unique color of the blue version (most things I buy are blue of there’s an option). You can tell that much attention has been given to details and craftsmanship. The leather is not quite as supple as a Peter James case, but still a very high quality, and actually retains it’s shape better. I appreciate the extra removable strap provided as it gives you another option for transporting it, and makes it more secure if you wrap it around your wrist, and happen to be running or something. The zipper feels high quality as well, not one that’s going to give out over 100 uses. You also get two zippers, so you can chose whether to close from the top or bottom or anywhere in between.
As for the performance of this case, both my likes and dislikes are almost identical as with the Peter James case, with a few small differences. The basic functionality of any cigar case is to: 1. Protect your cigars 2. Keep them humidified and 3. (Sometimes) Keep some accessories along with it. This case does all of those things, but only to a certain point. There is certainly an element of form over function with a case like this. What you get in luxury and elegance, you pay for in protection and humidification.
The Cigar Holder Sierra Maestra protects your cigars exactly as well as you would expect from a soft-sided case. I will say that compared to the Peter James case, The Cigar Holder performed better at protecting the cigars due to the metal construction of the inner cigar pocket. It’s not completely crush-proof, so if you sit on it, you’re might to squish your sticks, but protection against bumps and scrapes, even drops, and minor objecting squishing it, and you’re solid. The leather is thick and there are two layers of it between your cigars and the elements. Depending on the size of the cigar, you can fit 4-6 cigars in the main cigar pocket. The pocket is roomy, so you can even fit your 60+ ring gauges in there if you’re into that kind of thing as well as tall cigars like lanceros and churchills. Really small cigars, like a petite corona may actually be too small, as they will slide around. I would recommend mixing those in with some larger sticks to keep them from sliding.
My biggest complaint with this case, and the Peter James, is that the accessory compartments are just plain too small. I have come to believe that this is mostly an American problem. Because we like everything in America bigger, our cigar accoutrements (and cigars themselves for that matter) are bigger too. I think for most people outside the U.S., this case would fit most cutters and lighters just fine. However, the bulk of ones I own are just too big to fit. This is amplified with the Cigar Holder Sierra Maestra in this case because instead of a button closure like the Peter James, it uses magnets to keep the flaps shut, leaving less margin for stretching. If you have a cutter that’s just a smidge too long, it’s not happening. I will say about the magnets, when you have a lighter or cutter that is an appropriate size, it’s nice to not have to fidget with a button.
This issue is mostly a problem with lighters, but cutters can be problematic also. Your standard Xikar Xi cutters are safe, but I tend to favor v-cutters which tend to be bulkier and were a no-go. You do have a larger pocket at the top miscellaneous items, but if you put anything too big in there, you run the risk of squishing the top of your cigars.
Humidification is where that trade-off between form and function comes into play again. It’s a soft case that closes with a zipper, so in no way is it airtight. It blocks enough airflow that you should be just fine for about 24 hours, but after that, I would put them back in a humidor or smoke them. I can’t recommend taking this on vacation as your only travel humidor. The company claims that if you add a boveda pack, you can keep cigars fresh for 14 days, but this has not been my experience with this case, or any other for that matter that closes with a zipper. You simply have too much airflow. A boveda will help, but it will only buy you an couple days, I will say that this case, for whatever reason, did seem to last a big longer humidity-wise than the Peter James case. Whether due to more airtight construction or more ideal testing conditions, I have to give it points for that.
Going into this review, my biggest questions were: Is it better than the Peter James case? Would I spend that kind of money on this case? And, would I recommend it to someone else? Surprisingly, the answer to all 3 is yes, although some more emphatically than others. I found The Cigar Holder Sierra Maestra Aficionado Cigar Case to be better than the Peter James case in a few areas, and worse in one. I liked that the cigars were better protected with the metal inner cigar pocket. I enjoyed that the humidification lasted a bit longer, although not overwhelmingly. And, I thought that the case retained its shape better over many uses. I didn’t like, however that the clasps for the accessories are magnetic vs a button. Overall the balance swings in favor of The Cigar Holder.
As for, would I spend £465.00 ($579.53) on this case or recommend to someone else? The answer is yes, if I had money to splurge on myself after a big bonus or something. I feel about this case like I feel about an S.T. Dupont lighter. Do you need to spend that much? No. Is it fun to have an uber-expensive and meticulously crafter conversation piece? Absolutely. Accessories like this are 100% not for everyone, and not for every occasion. I won’t take a case like this to a cigar festival, or a trade show. But, going to hang with a friend or group of friends at a lounge, shop, or house? For sure. High-end steakhouse that allows smoking? You bet. A case like this should last a lifetime, and in fact, it’s guaranteed to, or they will replace it.
A cigar case that costs over $500 is not for everyone, and not for every situation, but I can absolutely recommend this case for the right kind of occasion. This is a conversation starter and potentially an heirloom piece. The quality of the product and its craftsmanship is evident when you hold it in your hand, and begin to use it. If you are in the market for a splurge on a cigar accessory that will last forever, I can definitely recommend the The Cigar Holder Sierra Maestra Aficionado.