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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 387

13 Jun 2014

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.

Cohiba Cigar1) The latest decision in the long legal battle over the Cohiba trademark in the United States is a win for Cubatobaco. Since 1997 the Cuban national tobacco company has been attempting to have the Cohiba trademark, now owned by General Cigar, cancelled. The latest decision, by the Federal Circuit Court in DC, will let the Cuban company proceed with its attempt to have General Cigar’s Cohiba trademark cancelled and to obtain the valuable trademark, and opens the door to even more litigation. The ongoing legal battle involves two of the largest players in the American cigar market since General Cigar is the current owner and the Cuban cigar distribution company Habanos is partially owned by the parent company of Altadis USA.

2) Camacho Cigars is introducing its first Nicaraguan puro. The BG Meyer Standard Issue is the company’s first cigar linked to writer/director Rob Weiss, a member of Camacho’s “Board of the Bold,”  known for his work on the series Entourage. According to Camacho, BG Meyer is “a medium to full intensity smoke featuring five different tobaccos that have aged for up to 8 years. Available in five popular formats… and will retail from $8 to $10.”

3) Inside the Industry: Last week Joya de Nicaragua announced its latest cigar line, Joya Red. Since the announcement last week, the company announced that, due to a conflict with the name Cardinal, Joya de Nicaragua has changed the vitola name to of the 5.5-inch vitola to Cañonazo. While Joya’s statement doesn’t say who the conflict is with, it almost certainly is E.P. Carrillo, who has a line of cigars called Cardinal.

4) Deal of the Week: The Stogie Guys Sampler at Corona Cigar Co. was recently updated. Just $30 gets you 7 cigars, including an Undercrown and the limited Avo Lounge cigar.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 386

6 Jun 2014

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.

Miami Cigar1) In preparation for the 2014 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) Trade Show, which will take place in Las Vegas in July, Miami Cigar & Co. this week unveiled its new look, which coincides with the outfit’s 25th anniversary. “Along with the unveiling of the new design elements at the show, Miami Cigar & Co. will host a by-invitation 25th anniversary event at the fabulous Hyde Bellagio Las Vegas,” reads a press release. “The event…will welcome friends, colleagues, media, collaborators, and celebrities who have helped Miami Cigar & Co. reach this milestone. The event will also symbolize a passing of the torch as Nestor Miranda has decided to pass along day-to-day operations to his son-in-law, Jason Wood.” Wood is currently vice president of the company. “It has been an honor for me to begin the process of creating a new look and feel which is worthy of what Nestor Miranda and the Miami Cigar & Co. team have accomplished over the last 25 years,” he said.

2) Jeff Borysiewicz, president of Corona Cigar Co., has stepped down as chairman of Cigar Rights of America to spend more time with his family, concentrate on his cigar shops in Florida, and focus on his first crop of Florida Sun Grown tobacco. He will be succeeded by Robert Levin, president of Ashton and the Holt’s of Philadelphia. “We sincerely thank Jeff for his hard work for the last four years,” said Levin. “We would not be having the discussion of an exemption for premium cigars were it not for the legislative efforts of Jeff and the CRA staff and team of advocates. Jeff will remain active with our advocacy and legislative efforts, offering his expertise and passion for the premium cigar industry.”

3) Inside the Industry: Joya de Nicaragua has revealed its latest cigar line, which is called Joya Red. It was “developed for the modern smoker by the youngest executive team in the industry, together with the most senior master blenders of Nicaragua,” according to a press release. The Nicaraguan puro will come in four sizes and be positioned as a milder Joya smoke, using a Habano wrapper of a lower priming than usual, and featuring less ligero tobacco than is typical of the oldest cigar maker in Nicaragua.

4) Around the Blogs: Cigar Fan fires up the East India Trading Company Rogue. Cigar Inspector inspects the Cult Ometepe. Stogie Fresh smokes the Liga Privada Único Serie L40. Stogie Review reviews the Eiroa Prensado.

5) Deal of the Week: This sampler lands you five premium cigars for just $26. Included are such highly-rated sticks as the Fausto FT166, Sindicato Affinity Belicoso, Cain F 654T, Montecristo Classic No. 3, and the Vega Fina Robusto.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Miami Cigar & Co.

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 385

30 May 2014

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.

No Smoking1) The looming threat of Food & Drug Administration regulations being imposed on premium cigars is still priority number one for defenders of cigar rights. The proposed regulations issued on April 24 could effectively halt cigar innovation, criminalize special editions or seasonal blends, and cost countless jobs in the U.S. and abroad, among other adverse consequences. If you haven’t already done so, please make your voice heard by clicking here to participate in the public comment period. But let’s also not forget about the many battles being fought at more local levels. DC, for example, is facing a proposal that would hike cigar tax rates to those equal to cigarettes (which is 80%). New Jersey is considering a ban on smoking at public parks and beaches, as well as an increase in the minimum age for purchasing tobacco to 21. Minnesota is looking to raise cigar taxes. And there are a host of other threats at various levels of government all around the country. This is a reminder to stay involved.

2) Experts typically characterize the so-called “Cigar Bubble” of the ’90s in the following way: Increased U.S. demand drove cigar prices higher, prompting even inexperienced cigar makers to enter the market, resulting in many sub-standard, overpriced cigars. The result was a resounding bubble burst as consumers became less willing to pay high prices for lower quality smokes. An interesting article in The Atlantic asks if a similar bubble is emerging in craft distilling. According to the author, the number of small distilleries in the U.S. has grown from about 70 to more than 600 since 2003 as consumers clamor for “local” spirits that are small-batch rather than mass-produced. But there is a growing weariness that many of the spirits aren’t up to snuff and are made by inexperienced distillers who simply entered the market due to booming demand.

3) Inside the Industry: Originally released as a limited edition in 2013, La Palina’s “Mr. Sam” collection is now a permanent offering. The cigar is made at El Titan de Bronze in Miami and utilizes an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Mr. Sam—named after La Palina owner Bill Paley’s grandfather—comes in three sizes: Corona, Robusto and Toro, which sell for $11, $12.50, and $13.50, respectively.

4) Deal of the Week: Here are lots of discount codes on cigars ranging from Drew Estate and Tatuaje to Rocky Patel and Oliva. Notable deals include the Tatuaje Reserva Regios (box of 25 for $181) and Drew Estate Undercrown (box of 25 for $104).

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 384

23 May 2014

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.

FDA1) In a post on the Nomad Cigar Company website, brand owner Fred Rewey lays out five concerns about the proposed FDA regulations for cigars. The entire piece is worth a read, but one part is particularly noteworthy: “The process would be cumbersome and costly. So costly that I suspect you will see as much as 30% of cigar brands disappear overnight. My concern is that some of the big guys will actually see this as a benefit—not weighing in the long-term cost of being regulated…I know that sounds cynical, but we have seen it happen…even in our industry.” It’s a legitimate concern, and even though we haven’t seen any cracks in cigar industry unity so far, there’s always a chance that in pursuit of short-term profits one or multiple companies may see FDA regulations as a way to limit competition. (In fact, the FDA law was originally passed with the backing of Phillip Morris, who saw it as a way to lock in the market share of its brands, including Marlboro.) It’s another reason why the FDA needs to hear not only from the cigar industry but also from consumers who want to protect their right as adults to enjoy handmade cigars. Make your voice heard here.

2) In what must be a first, 262 Cigars released a song to go with their new cigar, Allegiance. The song was written and performed by 262′s Mike Justice along with guest rapper Brunson. The cigar is produced at the Tabacalera Carreras factory in Nicaragua with a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras.

3) Pinar del Rio is coming out with the Flores y Rodriguez 10 Anniversary Reserva Limitada in celebration of 10 years since Abe Flores and the Rodriguez Brothers came together to create the Pinar del Rio brand. The cigar is made with a Habano Ecuador wrapper, an Olor binder from the Dominican Republic, and the filler is comprised of seven-year-old Dominican Piloto Cubano leaf along with Nicaraguan tobaccos from Jalapa. The FyR 10th Anniversary Reserva Limitada will be released in three classic vitolas: Robusto, Grand Toro, and Wide Churchill with MSRPs of $9, $10, and $11, respectively.

4) Inside the Industry: Alec Bradley announced its new Family Blend Lineage featuring a Honduran wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. Smoke Inn introduced the eighth blend in its Microblend Series, the 601 La Bomba Bunker Buster (5.5 x 56), a figurado variation of Espinosa Cigar’s 601 La Bomba.

5) Deal of the Week: Looking for nice bottle of booze? Caskers is an email newsletter that finds you quality spirits and gets them delivered to your door (in more states than anywhere else we’ve come across). Sign up here for access to their store and for the latest craft spirit offerings, including hard-to-find single malt and bourbon whiskey.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 383

16 May 2014

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.

FDA1) Several days ago, amid little attention and without fanfare, the White House finally responded to the petition that was submitted to two years ago asking the president to instruct the Food & Drug Administration not to regulate cigars. Many of you likely signed this petition. As you may recall, any petition that collects 25,000 signatures in 30 days is owed an official response. The answer, penned by Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, predictably changes nothing. Zeller says “it’s important to remember that regulating a tobacco product isn’t the same as banning it,” however he fails to mention that, without an exemption for premium cigars, the creation of new cigar blends will almost certainly grind to a halt. The deeming document the FDA recently issued with its proposed rules is still in effect—though the document provides more questions than answers—and the public now has the opportunity to formally provide comments before final regulations are issued. If you’d like to participate in the comment process to ensure your voice is heard, you can do so here.

2) National shipments of José Blanco’s Señorial, the inaugural blend from his new Dominican-based Las Cumbres Tabaco company, are scheduled for June 9. The blend follows Blanco’s departure from Joya de Nicaragua, where he crafted the CyB brand. Señorial will be available in five sizes ranging from $7 to $11 apiece. It will only be sold at tobacconist shops, not online. The cigars are made by Blanco’s cousin, Jochi Blanco, at Tabacalera La Palma.

3) Inside the Industry: Drew Estate announced yesterday that Willy Herrera has been named “master blender.” Herrera will not be in charge of La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate; rather, in this newly created role, he will maintain current blends, produce new ones, and report directly to Jonathan Drew. “Herrera was originally recruited by Drew Estate to create a signature brand illustrating his Cuban heritage and ‘Cubanesque’ blending style,” reads a press release. “After working with him over the past three years in Nicaragua, Drew Estate determined he was suited to lead their blending team. This represents a major change for Drew Estate, marking the first occasion where someone of Cuban descent has held a top-level position at the company.” The announcement comes at the heels of Nick Melillo’s departure.

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Fresh fires up the Davidoff Colorado Claro. Cigar Inspector inspects Nestor Miranda Grand Reserva. Nice Tight Ash checks out Ezra Zion Tantrum. Stogie Review reviews Hex. Leaf Enthusiast smokes the EPC Inch Short Run 2014.

5) Deal of the Week: Casa Magna has won some pretty high accolades, which makes this deal particularly noteworthy. Buy a box ($79 and up) from any of the five Casa Magna lines and you get a five-pack of Casa Magna Perfectos thrown in for free.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 382

9 May 2014

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.

FDA1) On Tuesday, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) issued a legislative alert to prepare its members for the public comment period of forthcoming Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. “We believe it is critical that the industry works together and takes a unified approach to the regulations we are facing,” reads the alert. “IPCPR’s first step is to request an extension of the 75 day comment period granted by FDA in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. We feel an additional 60 days is critical for affected parties to provide substantive comments, data, research, and other information to aid in FDA’s decision-making process.” IPCPR is also encouraging its member retailers to ask their customers to participate in the comment period, and will be distributing literature on how individual cigar smokers can participate in the process. In that same vein, Cigar Rights of America set up this page complete with talking points for individual comments and a link to submit them. Be sure to take action to ensure your voice is heard.

2) Prometheus and God of Fire yesterday announced the Lost City Scholarship Fund, which will provide college scholarships to the students who have graduated from the high school established by the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. The fund is named after The Lost City, a 2005 film directed by Andy Garcia that included Chateau de la Fuente as a filming location. The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation was founded by the Fuente and Newman families in 2001 to support education, health care, and recreation for the people of the Dominican Republic.

3) Inside the Industry: Espinosa Cigars is launching the Sake Bomb, a small cigar (4.5 x 42) that will be included in the full-bodied La Bomba line. Quesada is commemorating Manuel “Manolo” Quesada’s 40 years in the industry with a San Andrés-wrapped, five-vitola series called Quesada 40th. Hedley Grange is expanding with a new Laguito No. 6 vitola (6.5 x 56) that includes a unique fanned cap. Alec Bradley plans to release The Lineage, a blend that celebrates both of his sons being old enough to smoke cigars.

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Fresh reviews the Lou Rodriguez Habano Rosado. Cigar Inspector inspects the Padrón 1926 Serie 80 Years Maduro. Leaf Enthusiast checks out the Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte. Seth’s Humidor lights up a Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Corona Gorda. Cigar Fan sparks an Ezra Zion FHK & Rodrigo Fortaleza.

5) Deal of the Week: Smoke Inn has a number of cigars on clearance, including deals on CAO La Traviata, El Tiante, La Dueña, Nestor Miranda Grand Reserve 2012, and the Xikar HC Series. Check them out here.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 381

2 May 2014

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.

Sindicato1) Sindicato, the first cigar outfit to be launched by a formidable “syndicate” of veteran tobacco retailers, is now shipping its new eponymous flagship cigar to hundreds of tobacconists. The line will be available in 6 sizes and sell for $10 to $14. Made at Casa Fernandez in Nicaragua, it will be a square-pressed Nicaraguan puro complete with a shade-grown Corojo wrapper. “Master blender Arsenio Ramos has combined this unique wrapper with a rich, bold Estelí double leaf binder, which encompasses a blend of strong, flavorful Jalapa and Estelí leaves and delivers a medium-full strength cigar with exquisite taste,” reads a Sindicato press release. Sindicato is headed by Jim Colucci, formerly EVP of sales for Altadis. The retailers who formed the company include Abe Dababneh (Smoke Inn in Florida), Dan Jenuwine (Quality Fresh Cigars in Michigan), Gary Pesh (Old Virginia Tobacco in Virginia), Robert Roth (Nice Ash Cigars in New York and Pennsylvania), and Jeff Borysiewicz (Corona Cigar Company in Orlando). Sindicato is also the maker of the Hex, Affinity, and Casa Bella lines.

2) Padrón Cigars turns 50 years old in September, and the company is celebrating with two new ultra-premium lines due out this fall. The first will be the Family Reserve 50, which will be made in small quantities yet become a permanent fixture in the Padrón portfolio. The second will be sold in 50-count quantities and packaged in special humidors. Only 500 humidors will be made, and only the owners of these humidors will be able to purchase 50-cigar refills once a year for up to 5 years.

3) Last Thursday, the FDA announced a proposed rule to regulate cigars that would devastate the handmade cigars we enjoy, and of course is on top of it. Read our primer on what the FDA deeming document means for cigars and also check out yesterday’s commentary on probably the most controversial aspect of the proposed rule, the $10 exemption for “premium cigars” and why it’s worse than you realize. We’ll have more in the coming weeks on this critical issue.

4) Inside the Industry: General Cigar announced the new 1907 by Dunhill, made with a Honduran Olancho wrapper, Dominican Olor binder, and Dominican Ligero and Brazilian Mata Fina filler; it will come in four sizes with suggested prices from $8.35 to $9.25. Drew Estate is adding a limited edition (2,000 boxes) Herrera Estelí in the Lancero size, available soon in 15-count boxes with a suggested retail price of $12 per cigar.

5) Around the Blogs: Stogie Review reviews a Camacho Diploma 11/18. Stogie Fresh fires up a Regious of London White Label. Leaf Enthusiast checks out the Davidoff Royal Robusto. Cigar Fan fires up the Ezra Zion FHK and Rodrigo Fortaleza. Cigar Inspector inspects the Curivari Buenaventura.

6) Deal of the Week: Emerson’s Cigars has pre-orders available on two new offerings from Tatuaje. Move quickly to pick up the new lancero sampler, which has ten Tatuaje blends each in a lancero size. Also available is the new Tattoo line. These are sure to go quickly.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Sindicato