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Live Updates from the IPCPR Trade Show (Day 1)

10 Aug 2010

[Editors’ Note: NEW ORLEANS — Stogie Guys staffers Patrick S and Patrick M are reporting live today from the 78th annual International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) Trade Show. This convention is where cigar makers from around the world come to showcase their products and debut their new creations. Check back throughout the day for live updates.]


6:00am Central: Before I arrive in New Orleans, here are a few thoughts on what to expect this year. One trend we’ll see more of are brick and mortar exclusive cigars. Cigar makers know that small independent smoke shops are the hardest hit by smoking taxes and bans, so offering them some protection from being severely undercut by online and catalog prices makes a cigar more desirable to a shop owner. I’ll also be curious to see the prices of new cigars. After year after year of higher and higher prices on new cigar lines, we saw some more reasonably priced introductions at last year’s show.

8:30am Central: Before hitting the Trade Show floor today, it’s worth mentioning that Hendrik “Henke” Kelner from Davidoff gave a tasting and blending seminar last night. The event started with a quick overview of the different factors that are responsible for the way tobacco tastes. Those factors were broken into three categories: cultivation (soil, climate, seed, leaf position, farmer), manufacturing (curing, fermenting, aging), and production (expertise of blender). He also discussed how different regions of the tongue respond to different taste stimuli (sweet, salty, bitter, acid) and that blending a cigar is really directing how the tongue is stimulated. After that quick overview, we smoked three pure grade tobaccos to determine which part of the tongue that particular tobacco was stimulating. Then we smoked a completed blend of the three tobaccos, which turned out to be a Davidoff Gran Cru No. 3. Finally, we smoked two more Gran Cru No. 3s, but each with different wrappers. Overall the experience was very educational and I highly recommend attending a tasting and blending seminar if you get the chance. Davidoff has been giving them across the country as part of the roll out of the Puro d’Oro.

8:50am Central: Yesterday, provided a preview of the Trade Show entitled “Cigar Smoke Descends Over New Orleans” for Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller. You can read the whole article here.


11:15am Central: Our first stop this morning was Altadis,where we learned more details about the cigars we covered in yesterday’s preview. The new H. Upmann Sungrown, made at the La Flor de Copan factory in Honduras, will be available in six sizes ranging in price from from $6.25 to $7.75. Altadis’ new Nicaraguan line, Warlock, comes in five sizes, priced $5.50-6.50. The A. Turrent Triple Play Maduro comes in five sizes, all selling for between $7 and $8.

11:20am Central: Altadis also told us about two new interesting lines. The first, Dos Familias, is a collaboration of the Turrent and Ortez families that’s made in Nicaragua with a San Andreas criollo wrapper around Nicaraguan and San Andreas binder and filler. Also previously unannounced is the Don Diego Fuerte, an extension that’s made in Nicaragua by Omar Ortez with an Ecuadorian Cubano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder, and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican. It comes in five sizes and is priced from $5-$6.50.

12:35pm Central: We stopped by the Cuban Crafters booth to get the latest from Don Kiki Berger. The only “new” line is the J.L. Salazar Maduro, which has been available for some time but is only now a regular full production series. The always friendly Don Kiki said he’ll have something new in a few months. Prompted by a reader’s question, we asked about the Miami Medina Habano and were told that, despite being well-received, they aren’t being made right now and only a few remain at their Miami headquarters. You won’t find them online, but if you ask a Cuban Crafters retailer to order some, or call headquarters directly, you may be able to get them.


3:15pm Central: Felipe Gregorio has three new lines coming out. The first is Vallejuelo, which features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper an a blend of Cuban-seed lijero filler. Vallejeullo will be available in three sizes with an estimated MSRP of $4.50-$6.00. W20 is another new line, this one celebrating the 20th anniversary of the company just like the Power celebrated the 15th anniversary. W20 has a marrón Habano 2000 wrapper and tis supposed to cater to those looking for full-bodied cigars. Finally, Felipe Gregorio is releasing the rosado-wrapped Minotaur at a price point of $15 a cigar for the only size in the line. Minotaur is sold in boxes of 15 and was made at the request of a prominent cigar distributor in France. It is blended to approximate the profile of Cuban cigars to make it more marketable in Europe. Interestingly, none of the new lines say Felipe Gregorio anywhere on the product, and it appears the company may be moving away from that name as part of their marketing. Also of note is that the company says their business is much stronger abroad than in the U.S.

4:55pm Central: Alan Rubin of Alec Bradley gave us the rundown on his new lines. First up was the Maxx Connecticut, which was crafted in response to requests from his sales staff. He told us you can’t build your name on a Connecticut wrapped cigar, but he felt that his brand is now established enough that it could produce a well-received Connecticut cigar in its Maxx sizes.

5:05pm Central: While he was enthusiastic about the new Maxx, Rubin was most excited to tell us about the new Tempus Maduro. To get the maduro leaf, he resurrected an old Cuban technique where the pulp of canna fistula fruit is boiled and the resulting liquid is sprayed on aging pilons of wrapper leaf along with water. Rubin says the process causes the maduro leaf to age more quickly, thus maintaining a full flavor while also having the traditional sweetness of a maduro. The new Tempus Maduro is available in five sizes and Rubin says the reaction from cigar shops has been very positive.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

5 Responses to “Live Updates from the IPCPR Trade Show (Day 1)”

  1. Cigar Jack Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    We had a local tasting once where General Cigar offered some small cigars each made with a different type of tobacco that went into the feature cigar so you could see how each impacted the flavor.

  2. jerry Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    Thanks for getting info from Don Kiki on Miami Medina habano,guys. I will be in Miami during Labor day weekend. I will pick some up at the factory then.


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