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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Royal Agio Ends U.S. Distribution Agreement with Drew Estate, H. Upmann Robustos Añejados Announced, and More

8 Dec 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 557th in the series.

1) Royal Agio Cigars and Drew Estate are expected to terminate part of their distribution agreement on Monday, December 18. “The two companies joined forces globally on April 1, 2014 with Drew Estate distributing Royal Agio Cigars’ products in the United States, and Royal Agio distributing Drew Estate products in key European markets, such as Holland, France, Belgium and Germany,” reads a press release. Going forward, while Royal Agio will continue to distribute Drew Estate in Europe, Drew Estate will no longer distribute Royal Agio in the U.S.—Royal Agio will now manage its own U.S. distribution. The move signals Royal Agio’s “strengthening commitment to the U.S. market,” which is underscored by the opening of its new U.S headquarters in Bradenton, Florida. “We are grateful for the enthusiastic support and significant contributions made on behalf of the Drew Estate organization that have helped improve distribution and awareness for our premium cigar brands over the past three and a half years,” said George Margioukla, President of Royal Agio U.S.A. “Thanks in large part to these efforts, Royal Agio Cigars is now in a position to strengthen our U.S. presence and enhance direct support for our highly-valued trade partners and consumers.” The Royal Agio portfolio includes the premium handmade Balmoral brand, as well as two cigarillo brands: Mehari’s and Panter.

2) Habanos, S.A. has announced H. Upmann Robustos Añejados (4.9 x 50)—a new Cuban cigar that has been aged for five to eight years—will be available at international retailers in the coming weeks. It “does not exist in the standard portfolio of the [H. Upmann] brand,” but instead joins four other Cuban cigars in the Añejados portfolio: Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejados, Montecristo Churchill, Partagás Corona Gorda Añejados, and the Hoyo de Monterrey Hermosos No. 4.

3) Inside the Industry: The cigar industry lost a legend this week when José Orlando Padrón passed away. If you’re looking for more information about his life, his memoir is for sale with proceeds going to the Padrón’s charitable foundation. Also, check out this 2006 New York Times profile and this interview from 1998.

4) From the Archives: One of the first cigars we ever gave a top rating to (way back in 2006) was the Padrón Serie 1926 No. 6.

5) Deal of the Week: Here are 100 deals, including cigars from Ashton, Oliva, CAO, My Father, Tatuaje, Rocky Patel, Padrón, 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: Royal Agio Cigars

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Nomad Expands Fin de los Mundos, A Cigar Guide for Beginners, and More

1 Dec 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 557th in the series.

1) Nomad Cigar Co. is increasing the reach of Fin de los Mundos, a Pennsylvania Broadleaf-wrapped cigar line that was launched in 2016 but, to date, has been limited to a few exclusive retailers. “Fin de los Mundos, or ‘End of the Worlds,’ is Nomad’s most recent (and strongest) blend in an already extensive portfolio,” reads a press release. “It comes in four sizes and is the second time [Nomad creator Fred] Rewey has used Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper… In true Nomad fashion, Fin de los Mundos is a complex blend utilizing fillers from three different countries and was created and rolled at Fabrica Oveja Negra in Estelí, Nicaragua.” The four sizes retail in the $9.25-$9.75 range: Corona Gordo (5.5 x 48), Robusto (5 x 50), Shorty (4 x 54), and Toro (6 x 50). An expansion launch party is planned for Underground Cigar in Ft. Worth, Texas, tomorrow.

2) Online retailer Famous Smoke Shop has launched The Beginner’s Guide to Cigar Smoking. The site features tips for novices, suggestions to help develop your palate, pairing guides, and recommendations for cigar collecting and storage. There are plenty of videos and, frankly, tons of solid info for beginners and cigar veterans alike. Check it out here.

3) Ever get in a debate about whether Jack Daniel’s is a bourbon? Here is the answer (even if you may not find it satisfying).

4) Inside the Industry: According to Cigar Aficionado, Altadis is preparing to release Montecristo Epic Craft Cured. The cigar uses a Nicaraguan wrapper grown in 2006 around a blend of filler and binder representing all four major growing areas of Nicaragua. It is made at the Plasencias’ Nicaragua factory and will come in boxes of ten with a suggested retail price of around $15 for each of the three sizes.

5) From the Archives: Take the time to smoke. Seriously. Don’t rush your cigars to get the most out of them.

6) 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, exclusive cigars, and more) delivered for just $45. Once you are signed up there is no obligation; you can skip or purchase every month. Sign up here to be eligible for the December box; the “Churchill” box features four cigars, an ashtray made of reclaimed wood, an odor-eating candle, cedar spills, and a cutter.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Nomad Cigar Co.

Tip: How to Smoke a Cigar Without Embarrassing Yourself

29 Nov 2017

Cigars are first and foremost about relaxation, which is why I hesitate to even write this. There really aren’t many hard and fast rules. That’s one of the best things about cigars: Smoking is ritualistic, but you determine the ritual that suits you best.

Still, I often get asked for tips from friends or acquaintances who rarely, if ever, smoke cigars. Inevitably, they are about to find themselves in a situation where they will be smoking a cigar with a regular cigar smoker they’d like to impress. Perhaps a potential business client, future father-in-law, boss, etc… They aren’t trying to pass themselves off as cigar experts; they just want to relax and not worry about embarrassing themselves.

So, if that situation describes you, or if you’re a more seasoned smoker who gets asked that from time to time, here are a few helpful suggestions to ensure what could be a stressful situation is as enjoyable as it should be.

Select Your Cigar

It may seem obvious, but let your host pick your cigar. If they are leading the charge, let them select a cigar they think you’ll like. Just ask them: What do you recommend?

If you’re tasked with selecting a cigar, my recommendation is stick with the classics, like Arturo Fuente, Ashton, Davidoff, Montecristo, or Macanudo. (If you’ve had one of these before and enjoyed it, stick with what works.) If you’re asked what size you want or which size to buy but are unsure, the robusto is a best-selling size for a good reason and is middle-of-the-road in terms of length and ring gauge.

Pick Your Cut and Light

If someone offers to cut your cigar for you, let them. If you are asked, go with a standard straight guillotine. If you have to cut the cigar yourself, the same straight guillotine cut is the easiest to execute properly. No matter the cigar size, just cut where it is still tapered, as opposed to where it is completely cylindrical. When it comes to lighting, nothing fancy is needed, just remember to light the foot, not the sides.

Don’t Inhale

Smoking without embarrassing yourself is easy as long as you follow one easy rule: Don’t inhale. Cigars aren’t meant to be inhaled (that’s why, health-wise, you are far better off being a regular cigar smoker than a cigarette smoker.) Even if you are a cigarette smoker, don’t inhale because a cigar produces far more smoke than a cigarette. Turning green is the opposite of what you are going for.

Don’t Stub Your Cigar

One way to spot someone who probably doesn’t smoke cigars is that they frequently ash their cigar by forcefully rubbing their ash off on the side of an ashtray. A decently made cigar will hold its ash longer than you think, so wait a little longer then tap the cigar with your finger to gently knock the ash into the ashtray. Similarly, when it comes time to put your cigar out, just put it down in the ashtray, don’t stub it out.

Patrick S

photo credit: Flickr

Happy Thanksgiving!

23 Nov 2017

Thanksgiving

StogieGuys.com will be taking November 23 and 24 off to enjoy that most American of holidays: Thanksgiving. (We will return on Saturday for our regularly scheduled coverage of the world of cigars.) Known for food, family, friends, and football, Thanksgiving is a perfect time to enjoy a fine smoke. Have a safe and happy holiday!

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Cigar Tip: Have a Happy Thanksgiving… with Cigars (2017)

22 Nov 2017

With football on the TV, turkey in your stomach, and family gathered, Thanksgiving is a great day to enjoy a cigar (or several). So as we have every year for the past ten years, today the StogieGuys.com team tells you what cigars we’ll be firing up after our big meals.

Patrick A: My first post-dinner cigar on Thanksgiving is always one of my favorite smokes of the year. Filled to the brim with turkey and wine and surrounded by family, I’ll grab a mug of strong black coffee and head to my parents’ garage with my father and brother-in-law. This year, the three of us will be smoking the Futuro Selección Suprema (5.6 x 46) from Kyle Gellis’ Warped Cigars. This TABSA-made cigar sports a reddish-brown Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 wrapper, Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 binder, and Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99 filler tobaccos. Its rich, balanced, creamy, bready flavors of oak, light spice, and honey will pair well with coffee (and probably also set the stage for a second cigar to pair with bourbon). I can’t wait.

Patrick S: This year I decided to select a Cuban: the Hoyo de Monterey Petit Robusto. While I’m not one to get caught up in the Cuban hype, this Habano hits all the right notes for me: woodsy and spicy, with cream and roasted notes. Also, the cigar’s small format that won’t have me sitting out in the cold too long, since I’m visiting family and smoking indoors won’t be an option (and I’ll want to get back inside to watch the Giants-Redskins game). I brought a few of these back with me (legally) from a trip to Europe this summer, and it should go well with some vintage port that tends to get opened after Thanksgiving dinner.

George E: My plan is to light up a cigar that’s been in my humidor for nearly a year: the Davidoff 2017 Year of the Rooster Diadema. When I reviewed it at the start of the year, I awarded it four and a half stogies out of five, and I’m curious to see whether age adds or subtracts from the experience. I plan to pair it with after-dinner coffee.

Previous cigars the StogieGuys.com team designated as Thanksgiving smokes include:

 

Not a bad list, eh? If you’re so inclined, feel free to let us know what you’ll be smoking tomorrow in the comments below. And be sure to have a safe and joyous Thanksgiving.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Altadis Teams Up with Crowned Heads, New Davidoff Lounge in West Palm Beach, and More

17 Nov 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 556th in the series.

1) Cigar giant Altadis U.S.A. has partnered with Nashville-based boutique outfit Crowned Heads to announce Montecristo Ciudad de Música, a new cigar line that celebrates the “lively spirit of Nashville.” The blend recipe includes an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. “The challenge for us was in taking such an iconic brand as Montecristo and putting our fingerprints on it all the while respecting the tradition and legacy that’s existed in the Montecristo brand since 1935,” said Crowned Heads co-founder Jon Huber. The four sizes—Robusto, Corona Gorda, Sublime, and Piramide—are expected to be available later this year and will retail in the $11.95-$16 range (Piramide will be exclusive to Casa de Montecristo locations). Production is 25,000 cigars in each size for a total run of 100,000.

2) Raising taxes on tobacco creates a black market. That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that New York City, with nearly $5 of local and state tax per pack of cigarettes (on top of significant federal taxes), is now the “cigarette smuggling capital of the nation” according to a report by the Tax Foundation.

3) Whiskey is popular here in the U.S. and overseas, and thieves in France took notice. This week the popular Maison du Whisky in Paris was broken into, with the bandits walking away with 69 bottles valued at nearly $800,000, including one bottle valued at over $200,000.

4) Inside the Industry: Today is the grand opening of the new Davidoff Lounge at Smoke Inn in West Palm Beach, Florida. The 14,000 square foot space features “Asian-inspired modern design, with industrial touches,” according to a press release. “Tobacco barns and traditions of the Dominican Republic influence a palette of natural materials, structure, and warm décor—a design delivering a balance of varying materials and architectural features to create a sanctuary of luxury for cigar aficionados to enjoy.” Abe Dababneh of Smoke Inn posted the following to Facebook on Wednesday: “By far the longest project I have ever been involved in finally comes to an end. I dedicate this shop to all the amazing patrons who have embraced our [West Palm Beach] location for the past 17 years! I hope this new store makes for many, many more years of great memories to come. Don’t miss our grand opening celebration… Incredible deals all day and complimentary hors d’ oeuvres and champagne from 6-9 PM.”

5) From the Archives: For almost a decade, we’ve shared what we plan to smoke after Thanksgiving. Here’s a list of our nearly 30 past selections. Be on the lookout for our 2017 Thanksgiving cigar selections next week.

6) Deal of the Week: Here are 100 deals, including cigars from Ashton, Oliva, CAO, My Father, Tatuaje, Rocky Patel, Padrón, 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: Altadis / Crowned Heads

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Drew Estate and Debonaire Partner Up on Daybreak, STG Planning Two Retail Locations in Texas, and More

10 Nov 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 555th in the series.

1) Debonaire Cigars and Drew Estate have teamed up to launch Debonaire Daybreak, which is shipping this week and expected to hit retailers this month. It is “the first Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigar exclusively sold through Drew Diplomat Retailers as part of the Drew Estate portfolio,” according to a press release. “Daybreak offers the ultra-premium quality expected of the Debonaire product line” with “crisp notes of spice and earthiness from the Central American fillers, [and] a nutty and sweet richness from the Dominican tobacco in the binder and filler with a smooth finish.” Six sizes will be available in the $8.74 to $13.25 price range: Corona (6 x 46), Belicoso (6 x 54), First Degree (4 x 44), Robusto (5 x 50), Sagita-Petite Lancero (5.5 x 38), and Toro (6 x 50). “Daybreak has given me a unique and nostalgic feeling of excitement in releasing another quality product into the industry I’ve been blessed to enjoy now for over 25 years,” said Phillip S. Zanghi III of Debonaire. “I cannot begin to express the excitement of the Debonaire lines’ growth, as well as the thanks and gratitude for those who enjoy my product and are willing to work with me.”

2) In an interim report this week, tobacco giant Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) announced plans to spend up to $7 million to open two new retail cigar shops in Texas. STG owns General Cigar and operates a number of retail outlets internationally, as well as catalog and online operations. In the U.S., STG has three Cigars International shops in Pennsylvania and Manhattan’s tony Club Macanudo. STG did not specify locations or names for the new Texas shops and did not reply to an email seeking further details. The opening for the first new store is planned for the middle of next year. (UPDATE — 10:20 AM ET: STG has confirmed both locations will be Cigars International stores, with one in Forth Worth and the other in the Dallas suburb of The Colony.)

3) Pennsylvania-based retailer Famous Smoke Shop has announced two new exclusive cigar lines, both made at Nestor Plasencia’s Nicaraguan factory and blended by Famous employees. Jim Charnley, director of purchasing and merchandising, created Huntsman Cigars, which is inspired by his Scottish heritage. His recipe includes a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, a Mexican binder, and Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Brazilian filler tobaccos. Michael Klingerman, Famous’ buyer of exclusives, created Truce Connecticut Reserve to symbolize the “middle ground we turn toward in times of turmoil.” His blend includes a Honduran Connecticut wrapper, a Nicaraguan Habano binder, and filler tobaccos from Honduras and Brazil. Both new lines are offered in three sizes—Churchill, Toro, and Robusto—and retail in the affordable $5.25 to $5.75 range.

4) Apple has removed multiple apps from its app store because of their cigar-related content. Cigar Aficionado announced this week that its “Where to Smoke” app, which provides cigar smokers with listings of smoking-friendly venues, was removed after Apple cited the app as violating its prohibition on promoting tobacco use.

5) Inside the Industry: Gurkha is offering three distinct “Super Luxury Packages” that include first-class accommodations from anywhere in the world to Miami for a three-night stay to blend your own cigars at Gurkha’s headquarters. Depending on your package of choice, you will receive anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 cigars. Prices range from $100,000 to $1,000,000.

6) From the Archives: Cook a steak up right, with the our guide to the perfect steak.

7) Deal of the Week: StogieGuys.com recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items (think fine bar accessories, hot sauce kits, shaving accessories, wine, workout gear, exclusive cigars, and more) delivered for just $45. Once you are signed up there is no obligation; you can skip or purchase every month. Sign up here to be eligible for the December box.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Drew Estate