March 2010

Kazakhstan enters the cigar market

Surprising, but true – after France, Panama and Puerto Rico, we have another addition to the cigar landscape, and one that, surely, nobody expected. According to Itar-Tass, the testing is finished and Gaziz Batoev, head of KazTabak Inc., just announced that the experimental 10 hectares of land west of Qostanay, near the Russian border, will be planted in 2010 with the specially designed Cuban seed, Corojo 2005, a hybrid that resists wind and cold characteristic of the region. “Our population becomes richer and richer thanks to oil, gaz and uranium revenue”, says Batoev, chewing on a Montecristo Edmundo. “We are in need of luxury products and premium hand-made cigars will definitely be welcome in our country, especially if they are grown here”. While Batoev seems confident and claims he will make Kazakhstan the 5th producing country within 10 years, I honestly doubt the success of this venture. What do you think?

5 thoughts on “Kazakhstan enters the cigar market

  1. I have yet to find any place in Astana, other than some hotels and restaurants (that insanely jacked up the prices, e.g. more than 6000 Tenge for a single Romeo y Julieta) to buy cigars.

  2. I agree with kafreeman.
    Happy April Fools Day!

  3. Kazakhstan remains to be seen i myself are a ol nicaraguan man myself-FC.

  4. Happy April Fools day!!!

  5. Cigars boom in emerging economies that finally get a bit of wealth going in an expanding middle class. Global cigar distributors should watch such developing countries in Asia and Africa. (Internet cigar retailers would know!)

    But “homegrown” ventures such as this one For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan are very dicey. In Malaysia, where cigars boomed in the booming 1990s, entrepreneurs about five years ago tried producing homegrown “premium” cigars from imported seed – they burned and tasted like cardboard and have now mercifully vanished.

    Also, the KazTabac chief is right in that “premium handmade cigars will be welcome” among the nouveau riche of his country, but wrong if he thinks “especially if they are grown here”. (Especially if he’s drawing on a Monte Edmundo at the time.) It’ll be MCs, RyJs, Cohibas and Trinidads driving the growth, for no one is more brand-conscious and bling-ready than the newly wealthy in hitherto desperate economies.

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