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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: MBombay Classic Torpedo Ships, Unicorn Sightings, Havana Club Rum Wars, and More

12 Jan 2018

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 562nd in the series.

1) This week, MBombay began shipping a new Torpedo vitola as part of its Classic line. The cigar measures 6 inches long with a ring gauge of 52 and carries a suggested retail price of $11.95. It has an Ecuadorian wrapper and binder around filler tobaccos from Peru, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. “The cigars are aged for more than 14 months (which will be adhered to for future batches as well),” according to a press release. Because of lower production levels and the longer aging process, the only way to get the MBombay Classic Torpedo is in a new five-count MBombay Sample Pack. The pack retails for $45 and includes one each of the following MBombay cigars: Mora Toro, Habano Robusto, Corojo Oscuro Robusto, Gaaja Toro, and Classic Torpedo.

2) Fuel was just added to the fire in the legal battle between the French beverage giant Pernod Ricard—which, in a 50-50 joint venture with the Cuban government, claims to own the one true Havana Club Rum—and the Havana Club made by Bacardi in Puerto Rico. Pernod Ricard has taken issue with a new Bacardi marketing campaign called “Forever Cuban.” But Bacardi continues to claim legitimacy of the brand since it bought the original Havana Club name and recipe from the family that had been producing the rum prior to the company’s nationalization via Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution. “Pernod Ricard and the Cuban dictatorship have perpetuated a lie since they began their collusion in 1993, and continue to do so today,” reads a statement from Bacardi. “Our new marketing campaign affirms that, while our rum is now made in Puerto Rico, our heart and soul will be ‘Forever Cuban.’” If this feud sounds familiar, it should. It’s very similar to the legal war being waged by Cuban cigar brands and non-Cuban brands that carry Cuban names (i.e., Cohiba, Montecristo, etc.).

3) Legislators in Alabama are considering a bill that would raise the minimum age requirement for tobacco use, sales, and possession from 19 to 21. “The bill is authored by Rep. Chris Pringle of House District 101, Mobile County,” according to the Opelika-Auburn News. “It is expected to formally be referred to the House of Representatives committee on judiciary.” Federal law requires states to have a minimum age for tobacco of at least 18 years old (which is enforced via the threat of withholding FEMA grants). Currently, 42 states have set a statewide minimum age of 18; 8 have set a statewide minimum age above 18, with 3 at 19 years old (including Alabama) and 5 at 21 years old.

4) Inside the Industry: Steve Saka has been teasing a new Muestra de Saka called Unicorn (6.25 x 60) on Facebook since December 15. It is currently shipping to retailers with a suggested per-cigar price of $100. “I went into this personal project with the concept of what if you did everything physically possible to spend as much money and effort as is humanly possible to make 1,000 ultra-ultra premium handmade cigars,” he said. The result is a custom diademas (Saka had 24 molds made to his specification) made from the very best Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan filler (the tobacco selection process included hand-sorting through over 6,000 pounds of tobacco and selecting the best 1%). Following Exclusivo and Nacatamale, Unicorn is the third Muestra de Saka, which Saka describes as “a line comprised of cigars that allow me to create small-batch, unique blends in the vitola… that I find best represents its blend. It provides a way for me to share my personal love for blending while not having to  try to make it into a big brand.”

5) From the Archives: In addition to excellent flavor, balance, and combustion, the best cigars also feature outstanding texture. So what is texture? We explain, with the help of some experienced cigar makers, in this 2012 article.

6) Deal of the Week: Fancy humidors can be great, but when it comes to functionality and value you’d be hard-pressed to beat an acrylic jar like this one, which is currently on sale for $14 (with free Amazon Prime shipping).

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie GuysSteve Saka

Drew Estate

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