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Stogie News: More Tidbits from the IPCPR Trade Show

18 Aug 2010

Last week we reported live for three days from the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) Trade Show. If you missed it, you can review our coverage here. (Also, be sure to read our IPCPR previews here and here.) But even after our 23 live updates, we still had plenty of information that we didn’t have time to publish directly from New Orleans. So today we wrap up our comprehensive coverage of the event:

Drew Estate: One of the most interesting conversations we had was with Drew Estate President Steve Saka. Saka says he and everyone at the company have been free to innovate because there are no past generations to roll over in their graves. He was excited about the Unico Serie, of which the first release is the Dirty Rat. Unico will give him a venue to introduce limited releases and special projects that don’t fit neatly into other lines. For example, Saka says he made 250 different blends as part of the Liga Privada project. One cigar he’s considering for Unico is a version of the Dirty Rat he calls the Ratzilla (6 x 46). The Dirty Rat blend, Saka told us, is good up until about a 46 or 48 ring gauge. Another project he’s working on treats cigars like craft beer. One blend tastes like beef jerky, although Saka hasn’t yet decided if that’s a good thing or not.

Oliva: The Connecticut Reserve gets a new size, a Double Toro (6 x 60), that will come in boxes of ten. Cain, both the Maduro and Habano versions, is now available in Nub sizes. There are also rumors, as there have been for a couple of years now, that Oliva still has some Master Blends I and II aging and may bring them to market at some point. Also rumored is that a limited but regular production cigar named “Melanio” (after Gilberto Oliva’s grandfather) is in the works with an estimated MSRP of $12-15 per cigar.

Ashton: Ashton will continue to release about 1,000 boxes per year of the La Aroma de Cuba and San Cristobal Lancero samplers. Introduced this year is the “Perfection Selection” sample, which features 10 salomon-sized cigars, two each of the three La Aroma de Cuba lines. Also new is a size extension in the VSG, a tubo called “Eclipse” (6.25 x 52) that is already available.


E.P. Carrillo: Ernesto-Perez Carrillo’s family company will be releasing their “Core” line in mid-September. It features a Sumatra wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobaccos. It will be available in boxes of 20 in 6 sizes with MSRPs ranging from $6.45-8.70. Carrillo said that they currently have enough tobacco to produce the line for 2-3 years and described it as being a cross between the Inaugural 2009 and the Short Run blends that he has already released. Also new from E.P. Carrillo is the 2010 LE, which features a Brazilian habano wrapper, Dominican binder, and Nicaraguan filler with an MSRP of $15 per cigar. Only 1,000 boxes of ten will be produced and it is already sold out to retailers. Carrillo said he’s just finishing up the construction of his new 40,000-square-foot factory in the Dominican. With it fully up and running, he’ll be able to introduce more new cigars, including a couple of “Short Run” products each year, with the next coming in early 2011.

La Palina: Bill Paley told us about the La Palina Family Blend, which was debuting only a few months after the Limited Edition 1896 Robusto. The four shapes are each named after a family member. “Pasha” was the nickname for Bill’s father, William Paley Sr., the founder and Chairman of CBS. “Babe” is named for Bill’s mother, while “Alison” is named for his wife. Finally, “Little Bill” was Bill’s nickname growing up. More information on the sizes can be found in our preview post.


New Humidification Devices: With so many fine new cigars on the market, cigar makers are getting serious about humidification. Perhaps they realize that as cigar smokers grow more confident in their humidor, they are more likely to buy more cigars to age. Ashton will now be distributing Boveda, a maker of various humidification products. The Drew Estate booth featured a product called Cigar Mechanic, which uses non-propylene glycol two-way humidification products. Cigar Mechanic was also featuring some large protective travel cigar cases, including one designed to be pulled on two wheels. Alec Bradley had a new humidification system called Dr. RH. Alec Bradley President Alan Rubin explained to us that “humidity is second only to quality of tobacco” when it comes to how good a cigar is. To that end, Dr. RH uses three sizes of humidification beads and, through their website, you can even set up customized email reminders to check your humidor.

Patrick S and Patrick M

photo credit: Stogie Guys

5 Responses to “Stogie News: More Tidbits from the IPCPR Trade Show”

  1. dmjones1009 Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    Any word on MSRP for the La Palinas? I was gifted an 1896 and found it "just alright"…meaning there's no way in hell I'd pay $20 to give it a second chance. But if the regular line is more reasonably priced, I wouldn't mind giving one of them a try at some point.

  2. Patrick S Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 6:22 am #

    @dmjones1009: I don't have my notes in front of me, but I seem to recall that the La Palina Family line will retail for $16-18 (MSRP). Not quite as expensive as the 1896, but not a huge drop off either. Paley told me the slightly older tobacco in the 1896 accounts for the price difference.

  3. Dru Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    Steve Saka is the man. I now really want to smoke a Ratzilla.

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