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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 379

18 Apr 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.

Tobacco Field in Nicaragua1) Nicaragua, which is on pace to surpass the Dominican Republic as the number one exporter of premium cigars to the U.S. market, has recently been hit by a series of earthquakes. For the population, the tremors are causing unease, and forcing many to recall painful memories of a disastrous earthquake 42 years ago. “Life in Nicaragua, whose capital was devastated in 1972 by a magnitude-6.2 quake that killed nearly 10,000 people, has become a tense game of waiting between shakes,” reports ABC. “The Sandinista government has placed the country on red alert, the highest possible level, and is urging Nicaraguans to sleep outside their homes until further notice.” In recent days, earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.6, 6.1, 5.6, and 4.6 have rattled the country of 6 million.

2) Atladis has announced a new H. Upmann brand called “The Banker,” which is expected to start shipping to retailers this month. It is reportedly named for a private label cigar two nineteenth century German bankers crafted from Cuban tobacco for their top clients. This time around, The Banker features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. It will be available in three sizes and retail for $7 to $8.40.

3) Inside the Industry: Reinado Cigars’ highly-rated Grand Empire Reserve line will be distributed by Alliance Cigars. Alliance Cigars may not be a familiar name to consumers, but it sells numerous well-known cigar brands wholesale to cigar retailers.

4) Deal of the Week: Twenty-seven dollars lands you this five-cigar Silver Tray sampler. Included are the Nat Sherman Timeless Churchill, Wynwood Rout Corona, CAO Gold Double Robusto, Rocky Patel 1950 Robusto, and Room 101 Master Roxxo.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 378

11 Apr 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.

Amadeus1) Iconic Leaf has announced an extension to its Recluse line of cigars called Amadeus. Select retailers will receive pre-IPCPR shipments of the product, which features a Connecticut-seed Ecuadorian shade wrapper, a proprietary binder, and a filler combination of Dominican and Connecticut tobaccos. A press release issued by Iconic Leaf describes Amadeus as “rich and flavorful with a smoothness that is undeniably Recluse.” There will be six vitolas—three box-pressed, and three of the Sidewinder variety (a format pioneered by Iconic Leaf that’s a flattened oval with a slight box press and a bit of a taper at the cap). Amadeus appears to be the company’s first attempt to capture some of the milder premium cigar market. Iconic Leaf launched a few years ago and has kept the identities of its principals private.

2) Customers of Pennsylvania-based online retailer Famous Smoke Shop may notice the recently introduced cigar brand search page. The tool enables browsing of all brands by alphabetical order, by strength, or by country of origin. According to a press release, “Famous Smoke Shop is excited to implement the new cigar brand search page to offer their customers an easier and more convenient way to shop to improve the overall shopping experience.”

3) Inside the Industry: D’Crossier is introducing a new line called Golden Blend Series featuring Nicaraguan and Dominican filler that is comprised 40% of tobacco aged for ten years. The Costa Rican-made cigar has an Ecuador wrapper and Costa Rican binder and comes in five sizes: Robusto, Torpedo, Taino (6.5 x 54), Churchill, and Double Corona.

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Review reviews L’Atelier Extension de la Racine. Cigar Fan fires up a Cain Daytona. Cigar Inspector inspects the Punch Ninfas. Leaf Enthusiast checks out the Nica Rustica by Drew Estate.

5) Deal of the Week: Famous Smoke Shop has a variety of coupons available ranging from $10 or $20 off (orders of $100 and $200, respectively) to free five-packs and free boxes. The coupons can be combined with sale items or even constantly updating Cigar Monster deals.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Iconic Leaf

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 377

4 Apr 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.

Drew Estate1) For the third time in three years, next week will be on location at Drew Estate’s Cigar Safari. The four-day pilgrimage takes place in Estelí, a city in northern Nicaragua that has become a mecca of tobacco cultivation and premium cigar production. Its prominence in the industry has grown considerably in recent years; imports from Nicaragua grew 15% in 2013—an achievement that has the Central American nation on pace to surpass the Dominican Republic as the largest provider of premium cigars to the U.S. market. Patrick A and Patrick S will once again be on hand to learn from cigar icons like Jonathan Drew, visit tobacco processing facilities, walk cigar factory floors, and get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the industry’s most exciting companies. And, of course, we’ll return with lots of content and information to share with you. Before we depart on Sunday, feel free to leave comments on this post with any questions you’d like us to ask while we’re there.

2) La Palina’s “Mr. Sam” is transitioning from an 850-box limited run to a regular production series in the La Palina portfolio. Crafted in Miami at El Titan de Bronze with an Ecuadorian wrapper around Nicaraguan tobaccos, it will be offered in three vitolas: Corona, Robusto, and Toro. The line is named for Samuel Paley, who founded La Palina in 1896.

3) Inside the Industry: Nicaragua took another step towards surpassing the Dominican Republic in cigar imports to the United States. According to Cigar Association of America numbers (published first in Cigar Insider) Nicaragua produced 15% more cigars in 2013 than it did in 2012. Dominican production was flat, while Honduras was down slightly. If the rates of growth remains the same in 2014 then Nicaraguan would surpass the Dominican Republic.

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. 376

28 Mar 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.

Alaska Flag1) Alaska is currently one of fewer than ten U.S. states that don’t have a statewide smoking ban. But that may be changing. While anti-tobacco forces in America’s biggest state have been pushing for smoking regulations for over a decade, a bill recently introduced by Rep. Lindsey Holmes (R-Anchorage) has made it further than any other effort to criminalize smoking statewide inside bars, restaurants, and other workplaces. And Alaska certainly isn’t the only state where anti-tobacco measures are under consideration. A newsletter issued this week by the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association lists 20 different states with legislative proposals ranging from mail order prohibitions and tax hikes to smoking bans and raising the legal tobacco age from 18 to 21.

2) During a Congressional hearing yesterday, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg responded to a question from Representative Kevin Yoder, a co-sponsor of the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2013, which would prohibit the FDA from regulating premium cigars. In her response, Hamburg said that cigars would be part of a rule that the agency would be “hopefully putting forward for public comment very soon,” and also she said that she felt it was “very appropriate for FDA… to take [cigar regulation] on.”

3) Want to know more about cigar tasting? There’s a fascinating article in Bon Appétit exploring how your taste buds and olfactory senses work and, more importantly, how they can change dramatically over the years. While it’s obviously focused on food, the solid information applies to cigars as well.

4) Inside the Industry: Drew Estate has announced a new vitola for its popular Undercrown line called Dogma. A box-pressed cigar, it will measure 6 inches long with a ring gauge of 56. The limited run of 10-count bundles will be sold through Smoke Inn exclusively at a price of $9.95 per cigar or $99.50 per bundle. Pre-orders are being taken starting today.

5) Giveaways: Win a five-pack of Undercrown Dogma. Win a box of limited edition Punch Rare Corojo Salomones. Win a year of free cigars.

5) Deal of the Week: Emersons Cigars is featuring this five-cigar sampler for just $25. Included are the CAO OSA Sol, Rocky Patel Edge Habano, Room 101 Master Series, Toraño Master, and the Affinity by Sindicato.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 375

21 Mar 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.

Viva Republica1) Viva República, a boutique cigar brand made at La Aurora’s facilities in the Dominican Republic, will be distributed by Miami Cigar & Co. starting April 1. Jason Holly, Viva República’s “smokemaster general,” is also joining the Miami Cigar & Co. staff. He created Viva República, which debuted at the 2012 industry trade show, and its three blends: Rapture, Rapture Maduro, and Guerilla Warfare. “I am proud to have Viva República in the Miami Cigar family of lines we distribute,” said Jason Wood, vice president of Miami Cigar. “In adding Holly we bring on another valuable team member, who has seen the industry from the traditional retailer’s eye. He is highly creative and can add to our strategy immensely.” Miami Cigar is best known for distributing the Nestor Miranda and La Aurora lines. Viva República cigars are expected to continue to be produced at La Aurora under the guidance of Guillermo León.

2) Omar de Frias is adding a new vitola to his Fratello line, which is now being sold in 25 states. A box-pressed torpedo, it will measure 6.25 inches long with a ring gauge of 52. It is expected to be available at authorized retailers shortly after this summer’s IPCPR Trade Show, though a “soft launch” may put a few in circulation sooner. Fratello currently has four sizes—Corona, Robusto, Toro, and Timacle—and features a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper around an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Peru.

3) Inside the Industry: Via Twitter, the EPC Cigar Co. announced its upcoming new release, La Historia, which will feature a Mexican San Andres wrapper. La Flor Dominicana is introducing a giant (7 x 70) version of its popular Ligero blend as an exclusive offering to retailers that are members of the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA). Also exclusively for TAA members is Angel’s Anvil by Crowned Heads, a Churchill (7.1 x 49) with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler.

4) Giveaway: Win cigars for a year ($1,500 worth of cigars) or one of two Gran Habano prize packs (worth $500). Enter here.

5) Deal of the Week: Smoke Inn has a variety of cigars on clearance (with free shipping on all orders over $100). Notable deals include Cubao, La Dueña, Añoranza, CAO La Traviata, El Tiante Oscuro, and Nestor Miranda Danno.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Viva República

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 374

14 Mar 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.

La Palina Logo1) The Goldie series from La Palina, launched in 2012, is adding its third size. Called the Laguito Especial, the fan-capped vitola will measure seven inches long with a ring gauge of 40 and be presented in boxes of 10. Only 2,500 boxes will be made, and they’ll start hitting stores in late May. Crafted at El Titan de Bronze in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, each Goldie cigar is rolled by Maria Sierra. “Maria is one of the first women trained to roll cigars in Cuba,” according to a La Palina press release. “Her historic 32-year career at Villa El Laguito began July 22, 1967. Maria is a 95-rated, category-9 roller trained by Fidel Castro’s personal roller… as well as Avelino Lara, the creator of the legendary Cohiba blend.”

2) A.J. Fernandez’s popular San Lotano line is launchig a new regular production blend called The Bull. Wrapped in a cedar sleeve marked with an image similar to the University of Texas’ Longhorns logo, the recipe includes Nicaraguan tobacco from Fernandez’s plantations with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The Bull is intended to be medium- to full-bodied and will be available in three sizes—Robusto, Toro, and Torpedo—with prices under the $10 mark.

3) Tatuaje is now shipping the Tatuaje Black Corona Gorda size (originally released in 2007) packaged in jars of 19, with 10,000 jars being made. Also being released (likely in far more limited quantities) is the Tatuaje Belle Encre Reserva, which is the 10th Anniversary perfecto size of the Tatuaje Brown label blend, but with a broadleaf maduro wrapper.

4) Inside the Industry: This week, to meet demand from consumers and retailers, Espinosa Premium Cigars started shipping its La Zona Connecticut and Habano blends in 20-count boxes. Until now, La Zona has only been available in 80-count crates or 20-count bundles. Made in Estelí, La Zona comes in two sizes—Robusto ($4.40) and Super Toro ($4.80)—with two different wrapper varieties: Connecticut Shade or Nicaraguan Habano.

5) 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: La Palina

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 373

7 Mar 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.

Tobacco Farm in CT1) In response to the looming threat of regulation, Cigar Rights of America (CRA) has formed the Connecticut-Massachusetts Tobacco Growers Association—a group aimed at protecting American farmers who would be adversely impacted by FDA oversight of hand-made cigars. “We have written about and proclaimed extensively the impact federal regulation of cigars could have on more than 350,000 jobs in Latin America,” wrote CRA Executive Director Glynn Loope. “Now it’s time to discuss the American farmer.” Connecticut Shade and Connecticut Broadleaf are among the most in-demand tobaccos for premium cigars. The FDA threat “brings into question the impact federal regulatory authority… could have on a valley that spans both Connecticut and Massachusetts and happens to produce some of the world’s most sought-after cigar leaf,” says Loope.

2) Cigar Place, an online cigar retailer and a supporter, launched a notable sweepstakes this week. The grand prize is “a year worth of cigars” in the form of a $1,500 gift certificate to the site. Two runner-up winners will receive a boxes of Gran Habano cigars. Check out the contest here. You can enter through April 5, but registering earlier gives you more opportunities to win.

3) Inside the Industry: Punch Rare Corojo is returning to stores this month with updated packaging but the same blend. In addition to Rare Corojo’s traditional seven sizes, this year Punch is adding a limited edition Rare Salomones size in boxes of 10 with a price of $7.99 per cigar. You can enter to win a box of the new size here.

4) Deal of the Week: This sampler features five excellent cigars for just $26. Included are the Sheffield HR500, Liga Privada Undercrown Gran Toro, Hex Figurado, CAO Concert Stage, and the Gurkha Red Witch Toro.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr