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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente Announced, Bishops Blend 2018 Ships, and More

20 Apr 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 575th in the series.

1) Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate are collaborating to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) by launching a TAA-exclusive cigar. Called Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente (6.75 x 50), the box-pressed Nicaraguan puro is made with five-year-old tobaccos and is Joya de Nicaragua CEO Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca’s favorite vitola. “When I requested the Gran Reserva blend in the Presidente size, it immediately became my private smoke,” he said. “I decided to share it only for special occasions. I can’t think of a better opportunity than this shared celebration of five decades of perseverance and companionship between TAA, its members, and Joya de Nicaragua.” Presidente is expected to ship next month and will retail for $12.50.

2) Black Label Trading Company (BLTC) this week announced the shipment of the 2018 vintage of Bishops Blend, and two-vitola line made with an Ecuadorian Habano Maduro wrapper, Ecuadorian Habano binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, Connecticut (Broadleaf), and Pennsylvania (Broadleaf). “I’m very excited about the third release of Bishops Blend,” said BLTC creator James Brown. “This is one of our most anticipated releases of the year and the 2018 vintage will not disappoint. The 2018 boasts big, bold flavors of anise, pepper, raisins and a sweet earthiness on the finish. It is very complex and extremely refined. As with the past vintages, the Broadleaf fillers shine at the forefront and are perfectly balanced by the Nicaraguan filler tobaccos.” The cigars—a Corona Larga (6.25 x 46, $11.50) and a Robusto (5 x 48, $11)—are made at BLTC’s Fabrica Oveja Negra in Estelí, Nicaragua.

3) The largest tobacco producer in Central America, Plasencia Cigars, is moving to create a natural forest at one of its farms in Estelí. “When Plasencia Cigars’ CEO Nestor Andres Plasencia stumbled upon a 2014 TED Talk by the founder of Afforestt, he was immediately inspired,” reads a press release. “In it, the founder and president, Shubhendu Sharma, speaks about a methodology used to create a mini-forest ecosystem anywhere, in a tenth of the time it would take a natural forest to grow.” Plasencia owns and operates over 3,000 acres of land in Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama. The new project calls for planting 40 trees in the shape of the Plasencia logo at the company’s Estelí plantation.

4) Inside the Industry: Michael Giannini has been promoted to the position of general manager at Ventura Cigar Company, and will also retain his current role of creative director. “I am so proud and honored to accept my new responsibilities…,” he said. “As we continue to receive top ratings for our Archetype, Psyko, and Case Study brands, we’re also forging bold, straight paths toward new products and steady growth. This move is really a natural progression of my career and will be a seamless transition as the brands evolve.” Giannini joined Ventura in November after 17 years at General Cigar Co., where he landed after Swedish Match bought Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s successful boutique brand that made La Gloria Cubana. Giannini is perhaps best known for his work at the helm of Foundry Cigar Co., a subsidiary of General that launched in 2012 and operated as a boutique with exotic packaging, obscure brand names, baroque themes, limited editions, and elaborate stories about the tobaccos.

5) From the Archives: Cigars may be our forte, but we can also help in the kitchen. Back in 2012, we offered up some suggestions for picking and cooking a an excellent steak.

6) Deal of the Week: recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items (think fine bar accessories, shaving kits, workout gear, and more) delivered for just $45. Of note is the Churchill box, which features four exclusive 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 now to be eligible for the May box.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Joya de Nicaragua

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