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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 423

27 Mar 2015

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.

Hoyo 1501) General Cigar has announced a new Hoyo de Monterrey line will be appearing at retailers starting in April. Called Edición de Cumpleaños 150, the blend includes a Habano shade-grown wrapper—the first ever grown in Estelí—around an Ecuadorian binder and a variety of Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. “The cigar is a study in contrasts, with a hearty, well-oiled leaf that burns to a strong, yet sweet smoke for an unparalleled taste experience,” according to a General Cigar press release. As the name suggests, Edición de Cumpleaños 150 celebrates the 150th anniversary of Hoyo de Monterrey. It will be offered in a single size (6 x 54) for $7.99 and packaged in 15-count boxes.

2) Drew Estate is rolling out new packaging for its Liga Privada Papas Fritas cigar (4.5 x 44) which will reduce the per-cigar price from $6.40 to $5.25. Papas Fritas will now be found in 50-count boxes instead of 4-count tins or 28-count boxes. “Papas Fritas has been a good choice for any Liga Privada fan looking for a short smoke,” said Drew Estate President Michael Cellucci in a press release. “We neede something for fans of Papas Fritas who already had plenty of tins and wanted a better value, so now we’re offering the cigar with no tin. The tins will now become a collector’s item and the Papas Fritas will be a little more budget-friendly. It’s a win-win.”

3) In last month’s “Question of the Month” (which admittedly ran significantly longer than a month), we asked how you feel about year-end best-of lists. “They inform some of my purchases” won with 51% of the vote. The other choices were “I read them only for entertainment” (26%), “I highly value these lists” (13%), and “They annoy me” (10%). Be sure to weigh in on this month’s question by voting in the sidebar to the right. And feel free to contact us if you’ve got a good suggestion for a future poll.

4) Inside the Industry: In April, Espinosa Cigars is introducing the Espinosa Especial. The new blend, which will come in three sizes, features a Mexican Capa Negra wrapper and around a binder and filler combination using tobacco from each of the four main cigar growing regions of Nicaragua: Estelí, Jalapa, Condega, and Ometepe.

5) Deal of the Week: Check out this five-cigar “plethora of flavors” sampler for $25 shipped. Included are the Partagas 1845 Double Corona, La Gloria Cubana Serie N Rojo, Affinity Belicoso, Four Kicks Robusto, and La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Robusto.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: General Cigar

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 422

20 Mar 2015

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.

Harrahs New Orleans1) Harrah’s Casino is in the midst of a “last-ditch” effort to gain an exemption from New Orleans’ smoking ban, which goes into effect April 22. “In a press release issued March 18, Harrah’s said it will request a smoking section on its gambling floor while promising ‘to offer programs to make patrons and employees aware of the dangers of smoking and programs to quit smoking,’” according to The Times-Picayune. “The company said it plans to shop this proposal to City Council members in the next few days… Harrah’s rehashed its argument that banning smoking on its gambling floor would run off a large number of its customers, reduce its revenue, and cut yearly sales tax collections by $500,000. It also claimed the law could jeopardize the $3.6 million in gambling money the state sends to the city to cover some public safety and sanitation costs and another $13.6 million in annual lease payments the casino pays to New Orleans.” Notably, New Orleans is the host site of the next International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association Trade Show in July.

2) Viaje Cigar Co., which took a break last year from issuing its annual Summerfest cigar, is planning its return this summer. According to the company, noted for small batch and seasonal releases, the 2015 Summerfest will have a new blend and a new manufacturer. Summerfest was released annually from 2010 through 2013 in a single size each year, with all but the first having a shaggy foot.

3) Inside the Industry: Eric Piras has entered into a partnership with Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars & Azan Tobacco Group. A French national based in Hong Kong, Piras has nearly 20 years of experience in sales and marketing in the cigar industry. Piras is formerly of Altadis (later acquired by Imperial Tobacco Group), where he strengthened distribution channels. “I am thrilled to have Eric Piras on our team,” said Roberto Pelayo Duran in a press release. “His global network is enormous and diverse. I am very confident that with Eric on board we will be able to expand Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars & Azan Tobacco Group brands into new markets around the world.”

4) Deal of the Week: This Silver Tray Sampler features 5 cigars for just $25 with free shipping. Included are the Hex Perfecto, BG Meyer Standard Issue Toro, E.P. Carrillo Cardinal 54 Maduro, Kristoff Sumatra Robusto, and Gran Vida Connecticut Corona.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 421

13 Mar 2015

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.

Habanos1) A recent article from the Associated Press sheds some light on how the Cuban cigar industry is anticipating an end to the embargo. “Habanos, which reported global sales of $439 million last year, estimates it could sell roughly 70 million to 90 million cigars [in the U.S.], nearly doubling Cuba’s current production, if the embargo were lifted.” But despite the recent thaw in diplomatic relations, an outright end to the embargo is not expected anytime soon. And even if it were, questions remain about Cuba’s ability to drastically increase production. “The country suffers from major infrastructure deficiencies, and tobacco farmers sometimes complain of transportation delays following the harvest that can cause the leaves to go bad.” Still, under the new rules that allow Americans who travel to Cuba to bring back $100 of Cuban cigars, “officials said that this year alone they expect to double on-island sales of hand-rolled cigars… from 3 million to 6 million.”

2) Viva Republica is releasing a Culebra, limited to 1,000 coffins of three intertwined cigars (5.75 x 39 apiece). Three different blends will be represented in each Culebra: Rapture, Rapture Maduro, and Guerrilla Warfare. Viva Republica retailers will sell the Culebras for $18. The official launch will be held tomorrow at Tobaccology in Manassas, Virginia.

3) Inside the Industry: Room 101 is adding a second cigar to its retailer exclusive series called the Ichiban Roxxo, which will be headed to the Cigar Realm shop in Ashland, Virginia. Tatuaje announced on its Instagram that it is introducing a new event-only sampler featuring five Tatuaje blends (all 5.5 x 52) with a melamine ashtray.

4) Deal of the Week: Fans of My Father Cigars will want to check out this store-exclusive lancero release of the highly-ranked Flor de las Antillas made for Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston. Lancero fans should also see their store-exclusive Room 101 H-Town Namakubi Lancero. Use the discount code “SG10” for 10% off your first order, plus land free shipping on all five-pack or box purchases.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Habanos

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 420

6 Mar 2015

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.

Tom Wolf1) Tom Wolf, the governor of Pennsylvania, has included in his 2015 budget proposal a state cigar tax of 40% of the wholesale value. Along with Florida, the Keystone State is currently the only state without a cigar tax, which is why a disproportionate number of online cigar wholesalers call Pennsylvania home, including Famous Smoke Shop, Holt’s, and Cigar’s International. “A lot of these retailers have threatened to move to Florida, which is the capital of the premium cigar industry,” said Greg Zimmerman, president of the Pennsylvania Retail Association for Premium Cigars, to The Patriot-News. “If there was to be this onerous tax of 40 percent on the wholesale it would put us above all neighboring states and drive businesses out of Pennsylvania.” In 2010, Gov. Ed Rendell proposed a 30% tax on cigars that was ultimately voted down.

2) Here are some more details on an item from last week’s sampler. Later this year, the largest Davidoff store in the world—5,000 square feet—will open in Tampa. Called “Davidoff of Geneva–Since 1911,” the location will feature “a completely humidified store filled with premium cigar retail space, multiple lounges both indoor and out, private lockers, as well as an elegant full-service bar serving premium alcoholic beverages,” according to a press release. “This will be the company’s first licensed flagship store outside of Las Vegas.” Jeff and Tanya Borysiewicz of Corona Cigar Co. are partnering with Davidoff in the venture.

3) Inside the Industry: Altadis U.S.A. is releasing “Romeo by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room,” a limited release slated for April that is being made for Altadis by Boutique Blends, an up-and-coming boutique-oriented Dominican cigar company. The cigar, which also will carry the name “Small Batch F25,” is a Dominican puro currently being rolled at Tabacalera La Palma, the Dominican Republic factory where Boutique Blends makes all of its offerings.

4) Deal of the Week: This $26, 5-cigar sampler will save you over 30% off retail price, plus you get free shipping on your entire order. Included is one each of the Avo Heritage Short Robusto, La Aurora 107 Robusto, Gran Vida Habano Corona Extra, E.P. Carrillo Cardinal 56, and the Kristoff Ceniza de Plata Gordo.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 419

27 Feb 2015

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.

Cohiba1) On Monday, officials from Habanos S.A.—the Cuban state tobacco company that controls the promotion, distribution, and export of Cuban cigars—said they expect “to immediately gain 25 to 30 percent of the U.S. premium cigar market if the United States lifts its trade embargo, and up to 70 percent of the market within a few years,” according to Reuters. “Habanos S.A. also promised to preserve the quality of its Cohibas, Montecristos, and Romeo y Julietas should it need to ramp up production to meet any new U.S. demand, which it estimated at 70 to 90 million units per year right away if the United States were to strike down the embargo… The prospect of the United States removing its 53-year-old ban on trade with Cuba improved after the United States and Cuba announced on Dec. 17 their intention to restore diplomatic relations.”

2) More details are emerging about Punch Signature, a Honduran line that will ship on March 2 and be a permanent addition to the Punch portfolio. It will feature an Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper grown specifically for the blend that’s related to the original Cuban Corojo seed. The binder is a proprietary Connecticut Habano leaf. As for the filler: “Some of the filler leaves are very aged, and others are less so,” according to a press release from General Cigar. “The aged leaves bring flavor and balance, and the newer leaves deliver more strength. It’s all about incredible, balanced flavor.”

3) Inside the Industry: Altadis USA recently added a corona size (5.5 x 44, $8) to its RyJ by Romeo y Julieta line. Meanwhile, Davidoff continues to expand its retail footprint, this time partnering with Jeff Borysiewicz of of the Orlando-based Corona Cigar Company to open a store in Tampa.

4) Deal of the Week: Here are 5 highly sought-after cigars bundled together for just $47. Included are the Nat Sherman Epoca Prince, Laranja Reserva Corona Gorda, Arturo Fuente Casa Cuba Cinco, Jericho Hill .44s, and Sindicato Corona Gorda.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 418

20 Feb 2015

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.

Portland1) Officials in Portland this week voted to criminalize smoking in many of the Oregon city’s outdoor areas. “Starting in July, smoking or consuming tobacco products in more than 200 Portland parks and nature areas could lead to a misdemeanor citation,” reports The Oregonian. “City officials say that’s unlikely, and that the primary goal of the policy is education and public health-related… City officials plan a five-month grace period, in which offenders will be educated about the new policy. It’s not yet clear how much the city will spend on signs and other enforcement measures.”

2) Cigar Insider reports a new tobacco seed variety has been produced by Cuba’s experimental tobacco institute that’s a cross between Habano 2000, Corojo ’99, and Criollo ’98. Called Corojo 2012, it is elastic, oily, reddish in color, and highly resistant to the plant disease called “black shank.” Hirochi Robaina, grandson of the late Cuban tobacco grower Alejandro Robaina, just harvested acres of Corojo 2012, and he said the yield was excellent.

3) Inside the Industry: Altadis USA will soon be releasing a batch of extra-aged Trinidad cigars dubbed the “Trinidad Lost Blends” (supposedly lost in depths of their aging room) that will sell for $10-12 per cigar. Dante is launching its first limited edition cigar next month: “Purple Mofo” is a corona gorda featuring a sun-grown Criollo wrapper, Corojo ’99 binder, and Estelí filler that will only be available in a handful of shops nationwide.

4) Deal of the Week:  This $25 sampler (free shipping included) features five fine, full-bodied smokes. Included is the Avo Heritage Short Torpedo, Rocky Patel Edge Sumatra Torpedo, Old Homestead Torpedo, Kristoff Corojo Limitada Robusto, and Camacho Corojo Gigante.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 417

13 Feb 2015

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.

Signature by Punch1) Over the next two weeks, General Cigar is “teasing out” details about a new blend called Punch Signature, a Honduran line that will ship on March 2 and be a permanent addition to the Punch portfolio. “Master Blender Agustin Garcia hinted that Punch Signature ‘was inspired by the original Punch’ and that it ‘mixes tradition with modern tastes,’” according to a General Cigar press release. “He also said that he and his team ‘spent three years developing the blend.’” Punch Signature’s band is “a re-creation of artwork developed in the 1800s for the first Punch cigars.”

2) Earlier this week the cigar industry lost Estelo Padrón, the 87-year-old uncle of Jorge Padrón who is best known for his management of Villazon’s HATSA (Honduran-American Tobacco S.A.) factories, as well as heading up the Punch and Hoyo de Monterrey brands once General Cigar acquired Villazon. “Born in Cuba in 1927, Estelo expatriated to Spain in 1969 before his brother, Padrón company patriarch Jose Orlando Padrón, brought Estelo from Spain to Nicaragua that same year,” according to Cigar Aficionado. “Estelo joined the Padrón family cigar business and stayed on until 1971. Shortly after, he moved to Honduras to join Villazon and its HATSA factories.”

3) Inside the Industry: Black Label Trading Company announced it is opening its own cigar factory in Estelí called “Fabrica de Oveja Negra.” Davidoff announced a series of five Exclusive Edition cigars for 2015, including three cigars available only in Davidoff Flagship Stores in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York City, plus one only available at Heinemann Duty Free shops, and a final offering only available in Russia.

4) Deal of the Week: Fans of My Father Cigars will want to check out this store-exclusive lancero release of the highly-ranked Flor de las Antillas made for Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston. Lancero fans should also see their store-exclusive Room 101 H-Town Namakubi Lancero. Use the discount code “SG10” for 10% off your first order, plus land free shipping on all five-pack or box purchases.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: General Cigar