30 Sep 2016
As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. Below is our latest Friday Sampler.
1) In a scathing—though perhaps unsurprising—story from Scientific American, it was revealed the FDA “has been arm-twisting journalists into relinquishing their reportorial independence” with a tactic known as the “close-hold embargo.” The entire article is well worth a read, but the gist of the unnerving scheme is that the FDA is offering certain media outlets briefings about upcoming announcements before those announcements are provided to their competition in exchange for the FDA’s ability to determine who the journalists can and cannot interview. “Documents obtained by Scientific American through Freedom of Information Act requests now paint a disturbing picture of the tactics that are used to control the science press,” reads the article. “For example, the FDA assures the public that it is committed to transparency, but the documents show that, privately, the agency denies many reporters access—including ones from major outlets such as Fox News—and even deceives them with half-truths to handicap them in their pursuit of a story. At the same time, the FDA cultivates a coterie of journalists whom it keeps in line with threats. And the agency has made it a practice to demand total control over whom reporters can and can’t talk to until after the news has broken, deaf to protests by journalistic associations and media ethicists and in violation of its own written policies.” This hardly seems like the behavior of an agency that works in the best interest of the public it supposedly serves. The revelation—which one observer described as “journalists become stenographers”—also may explain how so many supposedly reputable mainstream media outlets repeated many misleading FDA claims about the agency’s cigar regulations.
2) Major League Baseball may be officially anti-tobacco, but the players have no doubt what marks a special occasion. Before David Ortiz’s last game Sunday at Tropicana Field, the Tampa Bay Rays presented the Boston Red Sox slugger with gifts that included 34 cigars (his number) from local cigar company J.C. Newman. Reports referred to 34 Diamond Crown Maximus sticks, but a photo of the event (held off-field because of the death of José Fernández earlier that day) shows Rays’ star Evan Longoria with a box of Diamond Crown Julius Caeser and Big Papi holding the Maximus box. It’s not the first time cigars have figured in Ortiz’s retirement-tour celebration. The White Sox gave him a large cigar-filled humidor built by former Sox slugger-turned-woodworker Ron Kittle.
3) Inside the Industry: A trio of products that pay tribute to the company’s history highlight La Aurora’s new offerings this year. La Aurora has long been known for using tobacco aged in rum barrels, but the new La Aurora 1903 Edition Double Barrel Aged doubles, by one year, the rum barrel aging period for the filler. The blend uses Ecuadorian wrapper, a Brazilian binder, and filler from the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Nicaragua. The company is also introducing new formats of its flagship La Aurora Preferidos line, with non-tubo Corona, Robusto, and Toro sizes. Also new this year is the La Aurora 107 Cosecha 2006, which has tobacco from the 2006 harvest in three sizes: Churchill (7 x 50), Corona Gorda (6 x 47), and Robusto (5 x 50).
4) From the Archives: Picking a cigar to smoke is hard enough, but sometimes picking a tobacconist to buy it from can be equally frustrating. Based on lots of travel and visits to many cigar shops, this examination of “How to Spot an Excellent Tobacconist” will help you evaluate any shop.
5) Deal of the Week: Just $27 will land you this Lucky 7 Sampler. Included are three each of the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown and Oliva Serie O, plus a Punch Gran Puro, and a free cutter thrown in for good measure. Be sure to add the coupon code “stogie” for 10% off.
photo credit: Stogie Guys