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Stogie News: The Cigar Year in Review

23 Dec 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, I reflect back on the year that was and some of our favorite, and most important, stories. They’re listed below in chronological order.

The biggest news of January was when Swedish Match and the Scandinavian Tobacco Group merged to bring their many brands under one roof. The deal united General Cigar, CAO, and Toraño.

On January 21, we were the first to report that a new cigar club was opening in Alexandria, Virginia. CXIII Rex has since opened and is now one of the best cigar venues in the country.

President Obama held a townhall on January 28 to discuss the restoration of American jobs. The event took place in Tampa—ground zero the devastation caused by the SCHIP tobacco tax increase.

In February, politicians in Santa Cruz, California, passed one of the most oppressive smoking bans in the country.

The global economic downturn took its toll on so-called “luxury goods.” Cigars were no exception. In late February, it was reported that Cuban cigar sales fell 8% in 2009 to $360 million.

After they won gold at the Olympics, the Canadian women’s hockey team took to the ice with to celebrate with beer, champagne, and cigars. The International Olympic Committee’s executive director later scolded the athletes.

On March 22, the Paul Garmirian Symphony 20th Connoisseur became the first cigar of 2010 to earn a rating of five stogies out of five.

Alejandro Robaina, a “roving ambassador for Cuban cigars” for the last two decades, passed away at the age of 91 on April 17.

On May 27, we gave you a behind-the-scenes tour of La Aurora’s factory in the Dominican Republic.

For the World Health Organization, May 31 wasn’t Memorial Day; it was World No Tobacco Day.

The Church of Scientology paid about $7 million to buy what was once the world’s largest cigar factory, built in 1886 by the man who founded Ybor City.

On June 7, the Padilla Series ’68 Robusto became the second cigar to earn a perfect rating in 2010. reported live from the 2010 Cigar Expo, publishing video interviews with many of the world’s most influential cigar makers.

Wisconsin became the 28th state to enact a smoking ban.

Toraño Cigars took control of its own distribution back from a seven-month-old conglomerate that housed it under the same roof as General Cigar and CAO. The company also adopted a new name, a new look, and launched new blends.

On July 21, we unveiled cigar trademark secrets.

We reported live from the IPCPR Trade Show.

On September 14, the El Centurion Emperadores became the third cigar to earn a rating of five stogies out of five in 2010.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed banning smoking in huge swaths of government-controlled outdoor spaces, including Times Square.

Cuba announced plans to lay off over one million public sector employees and decriminalize certain forms of private enterprise.

When the Reds clinched the National League Central Division and celebrated with cigars in their locker room, the Cincinnati Department of Health decided to investigate the baseball club for violations of Ohio state law.

On October 13, we examined the dirty details of smoking data.

As the Food & Drug Administration moves to expand its oversight to include cigars, the agency announced new graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging.

Tim Ozgener, president of CAO, announced in mid-November that he is leaving the premium cigar business and the company he inherited from his father.

Three months after the IPCPR Trade Show, announced our favorite new releases of the year.

U.S. Customs officials seized 30,000 Cuban cigars when the illegal smokes arrived at O’Hare airport in December, the biggest raid seen at the Customs and Border Protection’s Chicago field office.

There you have it: our review of the world of cigars in 2010. A brand new year is just around the corner. Who knows what 2011 will bring us?

Patrick A

photo credit: various

2 Responses to “Stogie News: The Cigar Year in Review”

  1. Barry Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 5:23 am #

    Smoking has not yet been banned in Times Square. The proposal has pretty much been put on life support

  2. Hfdpipe Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    I would imagine Gloomy Bloomy has lost a lot of support now that he has proven himself to be a complete nincompoop. He needs to get his priorities in check, enough with the salt, smoking, soda, etc and just clear the damn roads of snow.