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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 401

3 Oct 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.

USG1) Officials of the governing board that oversees Georgia’s 31 institutions of higher learning have officially prohibited tobacco. The ban, which went into effect on Wednesday, applies “to all employees, students, contractors, and visitors on all property owned, leased, rented, or in the possession of the University System of Georgia (USG),” according to the Associated Press. “The ban will also apply to events being hosted by institutions within the system.” With over 315,000 students, USG is the fourth biggest university system in the country, behind Ohio, New York, and California.

2) About a month after launching its fifth upscale lounge in the U.S.—the latest one in Greenwich, Connecticut—Davidoff is already unveiling its newest lounge. Located in Ridgewood, New Jersey, a suburb of New York City with a population of about 25,000, the lounge will feature 2,400 square feet of smoking space, WiFi, 100 private humidified lockers, and an exclusive cigar called the Davidoff Lounge.

3) Inside the Industry: Victorinox, the company that makes the world famous Swiss Army Knives, has introduced its first knife with cigar scissors; it’s called the Cigar 36 and sells for $40. Davidoff announced it is releasing 14-count samplers of every Avo limited edition going back to 2001, except the 2005.

4) Deal of the Week: If you’re interested in the new Avo limited edition sampler (see above), consider picking it up from site sponsor Corona Cigar. They’ve knocked 11% off the price (down from $224 to $199) plus they include free shipping and a four-pack of Avo regular release cigars.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: University System of Georgia

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 401

26 Sep 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.

Don Kiki1) On Monday, we lost a respected, beloved, and talented cigar maker. Henry “Kiki” Berger—known affectionately as “Don Kiki”—passed away from complications resulting from a recent heart attack. Berger was 56. He will be remembered for his many contributions to cigars—from establishing an operation in Estelí, to launching a company (now dissolved) with Mike Argenti called Berger & Argenti, to producing such brands as J.L. Salazar and Cupido. On a personal note, StogieGuys.com will always remember Berger for his Don Kiki brand, which is still sold through Cuban Crafters, a retailer based in Miami. These cigars from Berger’s Tabacalera Estelí—particularly the Criollo-wrapped Don Kiki Brown Label—were a major contributor to our introduction to premium tobacco. We can only echo the chorus of sincere condolences that so many in the industry have proclaimed this week. Our thoughts go out to Berger’s wife, Karen, and his children, José and Nicole.

2) Officials in Boulder—a Colorado city with a population of about 100,000—are eyeing a comprehensive outdoor smoking ban for the downtown business district. The aim is to criminalize those who are taking smoke breaks to escape the statewide indoor smoking ban that took effect in 2006. The city already implemented more restrictive measures than those required by the state when, in 2009, Boulder banned smoking in enclosed porches, balconies, patios, and within 15 feet of any building entrance. In addition to the proposed outdoor business district ban, a separate ordinance is expected to be introduced in the fall that would “ban smoking in city parks, on multi-use paths, and anywhere within 25 feet of public bus stops and libraries,” according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Typical violators would face tickets of $100, but penalties are capped at $1,000 and 90 days in jail.

3) Inside the Industry: Prometheus has expanded its God of Fire Serie Aniversario line, made to celebrate the 10th year of the introduction of the Fuente-made super-premium cigar. Available in boxes of 10 with suggested retail prices ranging from $24 to $28 per cigar, the line now consists of three perfecto vitolas.

4) Deal of the Week: Famous Smoke Shop has a variety of coupons available ranging from free shipping or humidification solution to samplers or even free boxes. The coupons can be combined with sale items, or even constantly updating Cigar Monster deals.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 400

19 Sep 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.

Sam Leccia1) About one week after announcing it had acquired the brands associated with the Toraño Family Cigar Company, General Cigar revealed it has hired Sam Leccia as “Cigar and Blend Specialist.” General is now also distributing the Leccia Tobacco Company brands—including Black, White, and Luchador—through its Foundry Tobacco Company. Up until the announcement on Wednesday, the fate of Leccia Tobacco—formerly distributed by Toraño—remained unclear. The new arrangement with Leccia was detailed in a General Cigar press release: “Sam has built a strong reputation in the premium cigar category through his non-traditional approach to cigar making and brand building. He is best known for developing contemporary blends that put a unique and exciting spin on the tradition of premium cigars. In his new role at General Cigar, Sam will continue to develop his brands while leveraging the company’s vast tobacco resources, premium cigar blending expertise, and creative talent. He will also bring new, innovative products to the premium cigar market. As an ambassador for his brands, Sam will continue on his quest to share his passion for premium cigars with retailers and consumers across the country.”

2) In an email alert, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) claims that at least two American tobacconists “have been seriously affected by banking restrictions brought on by the Justice Department’s ‘Operation Choke Point.’” The Operation “targets certain industries by pressuring banks to deny financial services to legitimate businesses for political reasons.” Reportedly, a couple IPCPR members have recently received written notices from their banks terminating their business relationships. If you’d like to learn more about Operation Choke Point, you can check out this PDF.

3) Serious Cigars in Houston is holding a different kind of rolling event. Sixty students will learn from a master roller how to roll a toro (6 x 50) from scratch. The $125 fee will get you, in addition to instruction, a catered dinner, cocktails, a custom chaveta, and up to 10 cigars of your own creation in a commemorative box. You can watch previous session highlights here.

4) Inside the Industry: Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory is making the limited Cigar Dojo Sarsaparilla, a Mexican-wrapped maduro belicoso (5.5 x 52) that will be sold exclusively through Famous Smoke Shop. Meanwhile, cigar distributor Arango announced it is exclusively introducing a series of Chicago-themed frontmarks for CAO Gold Clasico, Macanudo Clasico, and Punch Clasico, all made for Arango by General Cigar.

5) Deal of the Week: If you’re a fan of the Man O’ War Ruination, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a deal as good as this. CigarsForMe.com is selling boxes of 20 for only $105, plus you get free shipping. Grab yours here.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Leccia Tobacco

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 399

12 Sep 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.

Torano Logo1) General Cigar has announced it has acquired the brands associated with the Toraño Family Cigar Company. The move comes four years after Toraño re-launched itself at the 2010 industry trade show—taking back control of its own distribution from a conglomerate that housed Toraño under the same roof as General Cigar and CAO, and introducing a new logo (seen at right). Now, all Toraño brands will be folded into the General Cigar portfolio, and the Toraño Family Cigar Company will be dissolving. Reports are circling that Toraño’s staff will not be included in the acquisition, but StogieGuys.com has been unable to confirm with reliable sources. “There is a long-standing and proud history of partnership between General Cigar and Toraño, dating back to my family’s exodus from Cuba,” said Charlie Toraño. “There is no other company that I would rather have continue my family’s legacy, and I look forward to seeing the Toraño brands prosper under General Cigar’s expertise.” Later in the day yesterday, on Toraño’s website, Charlie had this to say: “The acquisition will provide me with more time to be with my family while still enjoying the pleasures of the cigar business. I will work with General Cigar to transition the brands to them. They are committed to learning the portfolio and maintaining the integrity of the cigars you have come to know and love. You can be sure that the blends will not change, the factories that make these incredible cigars will not change, and there are no plans to discontinue any of our cigars.”

2) It remains to be seen how General Cigar’s acquisition of Toraño’s brands will impact Leccia Tobacco, which is distributed by Toraño. Whether Leccia’s brands like White, Black, and Luchador were included in the deal is unknown. Yesterday, via Facebook, Sam Leccia responded to dozens of concerned commenters: “Gang, I have a multitude of options, no need to be concerned at all whatsoever.”

3) Inside the Industry: Nat Sherman announced it is opening a rooftop cigar lounge (with plenty of heaters for those cooler evenings) on top of the Knickerbocker Hotel overlooking Times Square in New York City. Meanwhile, Joya de Nicaragua announced that Arnold André will market, sell, and distribute Joya de Nicaragua cigars in Germany.

4) Deal of the Week: Act quickly to get this grab-bag special of 15 cigars for just $40. Smoke Inn lists the following brands as likely (though not necessarily) included: Toraño, Perdomo, Rocky Patel, Ortega, Nestor Miranda (old blend), SI House Blend, Camacho (old blend), Romeo Y Julieta, Gran Habano, La Aurora, and Montecristo.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Toraño

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 398

5 Sep 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.

Nebraska Supreme Court1) Nebraska’s highest court has ruled that smoking in cigar bars and tobacco shops is unconstitutional. The Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act renders it “unlawful for any person to smoke in a place of employment or a public place,” but exemptions were granted to tobacco retail outlets and the state’s 11 cigar bars. However, according to the Lincoln Journal Star, “Judge Kenneth Stephan, writing for the majority, said there is no substantial difference in circumstances between cigar bars and other public places or workplaces that justifies treating them differently.” Cigar bar owners have reportedly met in Omaha to discuss their response, which is likely to entail allowing patrons to smoke until their licenses expire on October 31, and asking lawmakers to address the issue in the next legislative session.

2) In partnership with the Tobacconist of Greenwich—a cigar shop in Connecticut that’s lacking in lounge space—Davidoff has opened its fifth upscale lounge in the U.S. “The store is a landmark in Greenwich. This [lounge] is an additional location,” Michael Cafagno, co-owner of the Tobacconist of Greenwich, told the Greenwich Time. “Of the 229 stores, we’re the largest Davidoff retailer in the U.S. We have a very good relationship with them. The majority of products will be Davidoff, but we’ll be selling the other high-end brands.” Annual lounge memberships cost $3,000, and single-day passes are also available for $50. Greenwich is an affluent suburb of New York.

3) Inside the Industry: Antillian Cigars, manufacturer of Sosa, announced that it will be the exclusive U.S. distributor for Arandoza Cigars, Headlines Cigars, and Doña Nieves Cigars. Meanwhile, Davidoff is beginning an “aggressive” expansion of Camacho to Canada.

4) Deal of the Week: Using these coupon codes you can score some good deals from site sponsor Cigar Place. Our favorites include 20% off Undercrown and Oliva. You can also use the promo to score 5% off the limited Tatuaje Reserva Noella.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Nebraska Judicial Branch

Happy Labor Day from the Stogie Guys

1 Sep 2014

Today presents a perfect opportunity to kick back, relax, and enjoy a fine cigar or two. We here at StogieGuys.com are taking our own advice, interrupting our daily coverage of cigar news, reviews, commentary, and tips to do what we do best—savor the pleasure that is premium tobacco. After all, you wouldn’t want us to be hypocritical, would you?

So happy Labor Day. We’ll resume our musings on the world of cigars tomorrow.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: N/A

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 397

29 Aug 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.

Tienda Exclusiva1) This week Drew Estate announced “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera,” a “concept cigar” made in “extremely small batches” at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. Each Tienda Exclusiva (Spanish for “store exclusive”) will be crafted for one particular retailer, and there will only be a few releases each year. The first retailer to win this distinction is Barrister Cigars in Union, New Jersey. The cigars will sell for $12 apiece at Barrister starting on September 2. “I recommend you don’t sleep on this one,” said Jonathan Drew. “These are one and done. Willy has a lot on his plate right now as Master Blender of La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. As I’ve said before, ‘boutique is in the heart’ and Willy has spent so much time creating and experimenting with blends. We have some real gems out of the blends he has worked on. Now it’s time to get them into production.” If you can’t make it to Barrister, you can enter to win the first box of this Tienda Exclusiva release here.

2) Camacho, which is owned by Davidoff, is now available in the Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec provinces of Canada. “Our success with the re-launch of Camacho now spans across six countries and two continents,” said Dylan Austin, director of marketing for Davidoff. “Even though Canada is one of the more restrictive markets for premium cigars, we have big plans for this new territory…”

3) Contest: StogieGuys.com readers who register at CigarsFor.Me this week will once again be registered to win a free five-pack of cigars. CigarsFor.me specializes in recommending customers the perfect premium cigars without having to go through endless hours of research. Users simply fill out their quick Palate Profile and instantly they’re shown cigars that they’ll love. It’s fun, easy, and this week you can win free smokes. Click here. Congrats to last week’s winner: Jacob McCraw.

4) Inside the Industry: Drew Estate has begun shipping the Undercrown Flying Pig to U.S. retailers. Also starting to arrive in select shops is the Laranja Reserva from Espinosa Cigars, which features a Brazilian Laranja wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos.

5) Deal of the Week: This five-cigar sampler sports a nice variety of fine cigars. Just $26 gets you one each of the CAO Gold Churchill, Oliva Connecticut Torpedo, Nat Sherman Timeless 660, Four Kicks Robusto Extra, and Gran Vida Maduro Robusto.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Drew Estate