16 May 2014
As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. Below is our latest Friday Sampler.
1) Several days ago, amid little attention and without fanfare, the White House finally responded to the petition that was submitted to two years ago asking the president to instruct the Food & Drug Administration not to regulate cigars. Many of you likely signed this petition. As you may recall, any petition that collects 25,000 signatures in 30 days is owed an official response. The answer, penned by Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, predictably changes nothing. Zeller says “it’s important to remember that regulating a tobacco product isn’t the same as banning it,” however he fails to mention that, without an exemption for premium cigars, the creation of new cigar blends will almost certainly grind to a halt. The deeming document the FDA recently issued with its proposed rules is still in effect—though the document provides more questions than answers—and the public now has the opportunity to formally provide comments before final regulations are issued. If you’d like to participate in the comment process to ensure your voice is heard, you can do so here.
2) National shipments of José Blanco’s Señorial, the inaugural blend from his new Dominican-based Las Cumbres Tabaco company, are scheduled for June 9. The blend follows Blanco’s departure from Joya de Nicaragua, where he crafted the CyB brand. Señorial will be available in five sizes ranging from $7 to $11 apiece. It will only be sold at tobacconist shops, not online. The cigars are made by Blanco’s cousin, Jochi Blanco, at Tabacalera La Palma.
3) Inside the Industry: Drew Estate announced yesterday that Willy Herrera has been named “master blender.” Herrera will not be in charge of La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate; rather, in this newly created role, he will maintain current blends, produce new ones, and report directly to Jonathan Drew. “Herrera was originally recruited by Drew Estate to create a signature brand illustrating his Cuban heritage and ‘Cubanesque’ blending style,” reads a press release. “After working with him over the past three years in Nicaragua, Drew Estate determined he was suited to lead their blending team. This represents a major change for Drew Estate, marking the first occasion where someone of Cuban descent has held a top-level position at the company.” The announcement comes at the heels of Nick Melillo’s departure.
4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Fresh fires up the Davidoff Colorado Claro. Cigar Inspector inspects Nestor Miranda Grand Reserva. Nice Tight Ash checks out Ezra Zion Tantrum. Stogie Review reviews Hex. Leaf Enthusiast smokes the EPC Inch Short Run 2014.
5) Deal of the Week: Casa Magna has won some pretty high accolades, which makes this deal particularly noteworthy. Buy a box ($79 and up) from any of the five Casa Magna lines and you get a five-pack of Casa Magna Perfectos thrown in for free.
photo credit: Stogie Guys