28 Oct 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) Yesterday, Cigar Aficionado reported the exclusive news—which was then widely disseminated throughout social media and on cigar websites—that José Blanco will become the new senior vice president of EPC Cigar Co., the premium cigar company owned by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. In that capacity, he will focus on building out a sales force for EPC in the U.S. Meanwhile, Las Cumbres Tabaco, which includes the Señorial and Freyja brands, will be majority owned and operated by Blanco’s wife, Emma Viktorsson, who will work out of Macedonia to build distribution in both Europe and the U.S. The brands will continue to be manufactured at Tabacalera Palma in the Dominican Republic. Blanco launched Las Cumbres in 2014 after serving as vice president of Joya de Nicaragua. Before that, he was the sales director for La Aurora. He cites impending FDA regulations as the primary reason for the change. “The uncertainty behind the FDA’s rules is the main reason,” Blanco told Cigar Aficionado. “They are not making the terms clear and making business very difficult.”
2) The Wall Street Journal recently weighed in on the FDA clarification that cigar companies are no longer allowed to donate cigars to troops. “It would be hard to find a man or woman in uniform who doesn’t know that smoking is risky,” reads the editorial. “Then again so is combat. Meanwhile, the ban on cigar donations takes away the ability of these adults to make their own choices, contrary to President Obama’s explicit promise.” Duncan Hunter (R-CA) “says he’ll try to overturn the cigar-donation ban with an amendment to the next defense authorization bill. But he adds that the FDA’s overreach has given Congress good cause to take a fresh hard look at the FDA’s overall tobacco rule. Members are likely to find that it is less a genuine health measure than another government power grab.”
3) The book we called “spectacular” in a review earlier this year is on sale at a bargain price. The Cigar – Moments of Pleasure is available at Amazon and Cigars International for only $20, about a third of the original $59 list price. It’s a great gift for any cigar lover.
4) Inside the Industry: Drew Estate and Pappy & Company have announced the release of the Pappy Drew Limitada (4.9 x 60). The cigar is only available to those who purchase a box of each of the three regular Pappy Van Winkle cigars (Robusto, Toro, and Churchill). It sports an overstuffed perfecto shape similar to the Feral Pig.
5) From the Archives: Back in 2011, as part of our interview with cigar maker A.J. Fernandez, we observed “[A.J.] may be the best cigar maker you haven’t heard of. But not for long.” The years since have only validated that statement, which makes the interview worth a read now in light of how prolific Fernandez has been.
6) Deal of the Week: This week’s deal is a special sampler we personally selected. The contents highlight cigars we enjoyed years ago and still remain staples in our humidors. Just $58.49 gets you 10 cigars well below MSRP, including some high-end smokes from Padrón, Fuente, and Oliva.
photo credit: Las Cumbres