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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Fratello Announces Navetta, FDA Commissioner Comments on Premium Cigars, Selim Hanono Departs Drew Estate, and More

23 Jun 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 536th in the series.

1) Omar de Frias’ Fratello Cigars is set to debut a new line at next month’s IPCPR Trade Show called Navetta. Navetta means “shuttle” in Italian and is a “dream project” Frias envisioned while he worked at NASA for 12 years. It sports an Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper and will be offered in four sizes with prices ranging from $10.50 to $12.50: Discovery (5 x 50), Endeavor (6.25 x 54), Enterprise (6 x 60), and Atlantis (6.25 x 52). Navetta is expected to ship in September; it is made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. “Blending Fratello Naveta was special as I wanted to translate the ultimate celebration our men and women of the space program felt after a successful mission,” says Frias. “After being part of over 21 missions, nothing beats the feeling of getting our astronauts home safe to their families. Colleagues of mine would get together and smoke a very special cigar to commemorate the occasion. This very special blend carries the ultimate feeling of innovation, duty, honor and success.”

2) FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb acknowledged the concerns of the premium cigar industry during an exchange with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee meeting on Tuesday. “Whatever we do in this regard is going to need to be science-based,” said Gottlieb. “But we are cognizant of the challenges faced by small businesses.” Gottlieb didn’t go into specifics since there is pending litigation (IPCPR, Cigar Association of America, and Cigar Rights of America filed a joint suit against the FDA last summer; the trial, which has been delayed, is set to begin August 30). But he did indicate the FDA would work to “mitigate unintended consequences” of the regulations should Congress act on proposed legislation to exempt premium cigars.

3) Inside the Industry: As part of a restructuring of Drew Estate’s sales organization, longtime industry veteran Selim Hanono will depart the company. Hanono, vice president of trade shows and events, has been a member of the Drew Estate management team for nearly ten years. “Selim has been a very valuable member of the Drew Estate team and his contributions to our large trade show success have been legendary,” said Drew Estate CEO Glenn Wolfson. “Being the consummate professional he is, Selim will remain on board leading our preparations and execution at IPCPR and we are very appreciative of his undying commitment to quality delivery. His last day at the company will be July 31st.” In a press release, Drew Estate noted the internal restructuring, “along with role redesign and greater decentralized decision-making, is intended to strengthen Drew Estate’s ability to better serve the needs of its customers in each channel of distribution in which it competes.”

4) From the Archives: What is cigar texture? The term often gets thrown around but is rarely defined. In this article, we define the term with the help of some of the foremost experts.

5) Deal of the Week: Here’s a “sleeper sampler” of some good cigars that often fly under the radar. Just $52 lands you the Southern Classic Cucubano, Espinosa Especial No. 5, Particulares Robusto, La Flor Dominicana La Nox, Crowned Heads La Careme Robusto, and CAO Flathead Carb.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Fratello Cigars

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