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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: NYC Adopts Anti-Tobacco Measures, Benji Menendez Honored, New Herrera Estelí Size, and More

1 Sep 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 545th in the series.

1) Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation on Monday that will raise cigar prices in New York and limit the number of retailers who are licensed to sell tobacco. As summarized by Cigar Aficionado: “The bill calls for a minimum pricing structure for a cigar, which is defined by New York City as ‘any roll of tobacco for smoking that is wrapped in leaf tobacco or in any substance containing tobacco, with or without a tip or mouthpiece.’ In other words, the measure does not distinguish between machine-made and premium, handmade cigars. Under 1544-B, cigars sold individually must adhere to a price floor and be sold for no less than $8.00. The measure would also assess an excise tax on cigars at the rate of 10 percent of the $8 minimum, or 80 cents. This means that single cigars could not be sold for less than $8.80 apiece, regardless of the MSRP. And this is before state, federal, and tobacco taxes are applied. Moreover, for a box of cigars, the price floor would be calculated by counting the number of cigars in the box, multiplied by $1.75, plus $6.25. The excise tax for a box would break down to be 80 cents for the first cigar, plus .175 cents for each additional cigar.” The legislation will also limit the number of tobacco retailers allowed to operate in New York City by capping the allowable licenses at 50% of the current number (which is about 8,300). “No new tobacco retail dealer licenses will be issued in a community district until its total decreases through attrition below the cap,” reports NBC.

2) General Cigar Co. is honoring Benji Menendez with “a very special event series for Partagas” in the spring, with dates to be announced in early 2018. Menendez retired as General’s vice president of premium cigars in 2014 after a career in the handmade cigar industry that lasted over 60 years. “General Cigar is my extended family and I am grateful that they have never forgotten me,” said Menendez in a press release. “I am looking forward to doing more things with the company. I hope I can help in some small way to spread the word about the fantastic cigars they make.”

3) Drew Estate announced the release of Herrera Estelí DeSocio (6 x 60, $8.60), an exclusive vitola manufactured for Alliance Cigar, a wholesale distributor based in New York. “I’ve been asked consistently over the years at events across the nation to blend a larger ring gauge Herrera Estelí,” said Drew Estate master blender Willy Herrera. “The opportunity and challenge of bringing out the unique set of flavors in a large format cigar took many trials, and this DeSocio takes the Herrera Estelí blend… to a whole new level.”

4) A noted bourbon curmudgeon asks: Where are all the good new releases?

5) Inside the Industry: China’s Xinhua News Agency reports that Cuba is developing four new varieties of tobacco. Two are higher yield varieties of cigarette tobacco, but two others are reportedly being developed for use in handmade Cuban cigars.

6) From the Archives: It can be easy to get caught up in the cigar world thicket and miss what’s right there in front of you. We took a look a few years ago at how to tell if this is happening to you and what you might do to increase your smoking pleasure.

7) Deal of the Week: For today only, here are 100 deals, including cigars from Ashton, Oliva, Tatuaje, Rocky Patel, Davidoff, Drew Estate, and more. Free shipping is included on any purchase. If you really want to stock up, add promo code “GBP20D” at checkout to knock $20 off an order of $150 or more.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

2 Responses to “Weekly Cigar News Sampler: NYC Adopts Anti-Tobacco Measures, Benji Menendez Honored, New Herrera Estelí Size, and More”

  1. Cigar Seeker Friday, September 1, 2017 at 8:11 am #

    Concerning item #1, looks like there’s no sense buying a cigar in NYC any more. It’s outrageous that a cigar that normally would retail at, say, $3.00, will now cost over $9.00, and probably closer to $10.00, once taxes are considered. Wow.

  2. Mike Friday, September 1, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    I don’t love the new tax, but do you ever see a $3 cigar in NYC, except maybe a drugstore banana ripple-flavored one? CA noted that most handmade cigars are well above $8 already.