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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Economic Issues Await Raúl Castro’s Successor, Villiger Opens Dominican Lounge, and More

16 Mar 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 570th in the series.

1) Cuba experienced its lowest voter turnout on Sunday in any election since the communist government initiated an electoral system 42 years ago. “Sunday’s elections were for provincial councils and the 605 candidates for the 605 seats on the national legislature. There were no contested seats,” reports the Miami Herald. “The candidates were selected by the Candidates Commissions, made up of government officials and members of pro-government organizations.” In addition to over 17% of voters not participating in the election at all, nearly a fifth of those who did vote “did not fill in the ‘all candidates’ box on the ballots, defying government and official media calls for a ‘united’ vote.” President Raúl Castro (pictured above, at right) is expected to step down in April, bringing an end to the Castro family’s six-decade reign. Many expect First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel (pictured above, at left) to take his place and inherit an extremely challenging economic situation. “The island’s economy is stumbling amid vanishing support from its principal benefactor, Venezuela, and the souring of relations with the U.S.,” reports Bloomberg. “And Cubans are increasingly unhappy with health care, education, and basic living conditions, the underpinnings of the communist social contract.” While Diaz-Canel has promised a more responsive government, “few Cubans on Sunday expected Diaz-Canel to bring about immediate or dramatic reform. The vice president has long been seen as Castro’s hand-picked successor, and he has consistently emphasized maintaining continuity in Cuba’s single-party political system and centrally planned economy,” reports CTV News.

2) Villiger has opened its first lounge in the Americas at the ABAM Cigar Factory (manufacturer of all Dominican-made Villiger cigars) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. According to a press release, other Villiger lounges may be coming to additional “key markets” as part of “the next evolution” for the Switzerland-based company. “We at Villiger Cigars look forward to entertaining members of the media, friends, and colleagues at the Villiger Lounge at the ABAM Factory,” said Rene Castañeda, president of Villiger Cigars North America. ABAM Factory tours, which will include seven cigars and drinks in the lounge, “will commence in the near future.”

3) Since before first president (and distiller) George Washington served as a general in American Revolutionary War, the United States has been making distilled spirits. Now every state has at least one distillery. This article lists the oldest active distillery in each state, from craft distilling companies that have sprung up in the past decade or so to those that have been at it for well over a century.

4) Inside the Industry: A new limited edition from Mombacho is set to ship to retailers in May. Called Cosecha 2013 Edición Unica, the pigtail-capped, single-vitola line (6 x 52) features Nicaraguan tobaccos from the 2013 harvest that were rolled in 2014. Only 7,000 cigars were made, each with a retail price of $21.95. The 2013 Edición Unica is differentiated from the 2012 release, which used different Criollo and Corojo seeds.

5) From the Archives: Cigar companies have been known to push their green candela-wrapped offerings around St. Patrick’s Day (which, in case you aren’t paying attention, is tomorrow). In this article, we run through some favorites so you know what to pick up if you are of the once-a-year candela-smoking variety.

6) Deal of the Week: Here are over 80 deals, including cigars from Ashton, Oliva, Tatuaje, Rocky Patel, Padrón, Drew Estate, Davidoff, Cohiba, Crowned Heads, RoMa Craft, 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: Reuters / Villiger

2 Responses to “Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Economic Issues Await Raúl Castro’s Successor, Villiger Opens Dominican Lounge, and More”

  1. Mike Friday, March 16, 2018 at 1:22 pm #

    Disappointed Stogie Guys didn’t at least mention the announcement by the FDA to start the rule process for lowering nicotine in cigarettes to nonaddictive levels. Cigars are not part of it now, but they’re asking for input since they acknowledge low-nic cigarettes could make smokers seek out other full-strength sources.

    They announced a new proposal process for possibly exempting “premium” cigars, too.

    • Patrick Friday, March 16, 2018 at 7:19 pm #

      It is big news. Expect some detailed analysis next week.