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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Villiger Goes Full-Bodied, Tequila Barrel-Aged Scotch, and More

26 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 564th in the series.

1) Villiger has announced its first full-bodied cigar. La Vencedora, Spanish for “the victor,” is a Nicaraguan puro made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory in Estelí. The line is intended as a “follow-up blend” to the Ecuadorian-wrapped La Flor de Ynclan, which debuted last year. “We are grateful for the opportunity to use our 130 years of experience to create what I feel is a very special cigar in the Villiger La Vencedora,” said Heinrich Villiger, chairman of the Switzerland-based company. Rene Castañeda, president of Villiger Cigars North America, added, “We as a team feel that the Villiger La Vencedora is a palate-pleasing, full-bodied, yet elegant cigar, that will satisfy the cigar connoisseur as well as the casual smoker.” The three La Vencedora sizes—Churchill, Robusto, and Toro—will retail in the $9-10 range.

2) Diageo, the London-based alcoholic beverages multinational, last year formed a “secret task force” aimed at seeking a break from longstanding scotch production laws and traditions in an effort to “arrest scotch’s declining market share,” according to the Wall Street Journal. With Irish, Japanese, Canadian, and U.S. whiskey makers cutting into scotch’s global market share, Diageo—which owns the Johnnie Walker, Talisker, Lagavulin, and Caol Ila scotch brands, just to name a few—is trying to think outside the box. “One idea was to finish aging scotch in old tequila barrels instead of the sherry, cognac, or port casks traditionally used. Another was to create a ‘scotch whisky infusion,’ a new category of flavored or low-alcohol blends sold under existing scotch brands.” But change is easier said than done. “Scotch watchers say Diageo will face stiff opposition to any rule changes—something its task force acknowledges… One of the biggest obstacles is the SWA, an Edinburgh-based trade body that has long interpreted the rules and policed scotch making.”

3) Inside the Industry: Edward Simon has been named the new leader of global marketing and innovation at Oettinger Davidoff AG. He takes over the role from Charles Awad, who is leaving the Switzerland-based company. The move is part of a broader organizational and personnel shakeup to align Davidoff’s business processes “with the changing market conditions.” According to a press release, “a corresponding transformation programme, known as ‘Way Forward,’ was initiated at the beginning of this year under the leadership of CEO Beat Hauenstein.”

4) From the Archives: Seven years ago we started our interview of A.J. Fernandez by noting: “A.J. Fernandez may be the best cigar maker you haven’t heard of. But not for long.” Read the whole interview here.

5) Deal of the Week: StogieGuys.com recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items (think fine bar accessories, hot sauce kits, wine, workout gear, etc…) delivered for just $45. Of note is the “Churchill” box, which features four cigars, an ashtray made of reclaimed wood, an odor-eating candle, cedar spills, and a cutter. Once you are signed up, there is no obligation; you can skip or purchase each month. Sign up here in the next five days to be eligible for the February box.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Villiger Cigars

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