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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 405

31 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.

65th Anniversary1) This week, industry veteran and well-traveled personality José Blanco—formerly of La Aurora and Joya de Nicaragua—celebrated his 65th birthday. He is commemorating the occasion with a new cigar, launched by his relatively new, independent cigar operation called Las Cumbres Tobacco. Produced by Jochy Blanco (José’s cousin) at Tabacalera La Palma in the Dominican Republic, the blend will be featured in one format called Perfecto Elégance (5.75 x 55), and it will retail for $14 at brick-and-mortar locations only. A Dominican puro, Señorial by José Blanco 65th Anniversary will sport a Piloto Cubano wrapper from La Canela.

2) La Palina has hired Bob Moreno as vice president of sales. He officially starts on November 1. “Bob Moreno comes to La Palina from E.P. Carrillo, where he was the vice president of sales and marketing,” reads a La Palina press release. “Before joining EPC, Bob was the director of marketing for Xikar, had a successful career in publishing, and a distinguished 22-year career as an executive with the Coca-Cola Company. ‘With his industry knowledge, diverse background, and professional sales experience, Bob Moreno will be a valuable asset to La Palina,’ says Bill Paley. ‘He is driven, passionate and committed. We welcome Bob to the La Palina family.’”

3) Inside the industry: Emilio Cigars officially released Mia Dora this week. The line is produced by A.J. Fernandez in Nicaragua and features a Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder. It is being released in three sizes: a Robusto and a Toro, which come in 21-count boxes; and the Coronita, which comes in a 40-count box. The boxes are embossed in gold, while the cigar bands feature a theme dedicated to the town of Ascoli Piceno in Italy, birthplace of the ancestors of the love of Emilio owner Gary Griffith’s life, Dora.

4) Deal of the Week: Looking for a sampler of excellent cigars? Each of these samplers includes free shipping. Our favorite picks include: 10 cigars from My Father for $50, eight cigars from E.P. Carrillo for $40, five cigars from Drew Estate for $30, and five Liga Privada and Undercrown cigars for $40.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Las Cumbres Tobacco

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 404

24 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.

U.S. Capitol Building1) With the midterm election only 11 days away, it isn’t too early to start thinking about cigar rights—and keeping your cigar liberties (or lack thereof) in mind while you cast your ballot. “The impending mid-term election promises to be a pivotal one that could alter the balance of power in Washington,” according to Cigar Rights of America (CRA). “With that, CRA would like to recognize those individuals who serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, who have stood up for premium cigars and have supported a legislative exemption from FDA regulation as co-sponsors on both H.R. 792 and S. 772, respectively.” If you’re a CRA member, you likely received an email this week with a voting guide for your region; if you aren’t a member, please consider signing up here.

2) The Oliva Tobacco Company (not to be confused with Oliva Cigars) turns 80 years old this month. The company is a major provider of wrapper tobacco leaves to the cigar industry, especially Ecuadorian Habano and Ecuadorian Sumatra. It grows most of its product in Ecuador and processes and ferments it in Nicaragua. “If there’s a premium brand with an Ecuador Habano wrapper, the chances are more than likely that it was grown by the Olivas,” says Cigar Insider. The company has recently begun experimenting with growing Cameroon wrappers in Ecuador.

3) Inside the Industry: More new cigars introduced at the IPCPR are now shipping to retailers. The L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER14 (a torpedo) recently began hitting shops. So did the Sindicato Maduro, which has a Mexican Marrón wrapper, a double leaf binder from Estelí, and Nicaraguan fillers from Jalapa and Estelí.

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, 15% off Drew Estate MUWAT, and 10% off Ashton VSG. You can also use the promo to score 5% off the limited Tatuaje Reserva Noella and other Tatuaje cigars.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 403

17 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.

Culver City1) Culver City—a California town near Los Angeles with a population of about 40,000—has criminalized smoking inside condos, apartments, and other multi-unit residences. This week, the City Council voted 4-1 to approve the new ban, with the only opposition coming from an official who thought the ordinance lacked the “teeth” for proper enforcement. “The ordinance calls for ‘private enforcement’ as city police would not have the time…” reports the Culver City Observer. “There will be anti-smoking signage in shared areas of multiple unit residences, including smoke-free ‘buffer zones’ to be established within 25 feet in any direction of any doorway, window, opening, or other vent into an enclosed non-smoking area. Substances that are prohibited include all tobacco products and medical marijuana.”

2) Speaking of California and smoking ban enforcement, it was reported this week that officials in Turlock, California, discovered their town has had a smoking ban for parks on the books for over a decade that had never been enforced. “In our research over the last month we were trying to figure out why our sports complex—the soccer fields—had a no-smoking ban, but none of our other parks did,” said a parks official. “Due to our research, we came across a resolution from back in 2003, and within that resolution there was a banning of smoking in parks and parking lots—all parks and parking lots. For whatever reason, after the council took action on that item, there was never any enforcement, never any signs posted.”

3) Inside the Industry: In response to reports of crackdowns by  cigar industry representatives, yesterday a bipartisan group of 33 members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Justice’s Inspector General asking for an investigation into DOJ’s “Operation Chokepoint.” The letter alleges that DOJ is engaging in “an egregious abuse of power” by targeting completely legal businesses, including tobacco retailers, by pressuring financial institutions into ending their access to banking services with the effect of driving the targeted legal enterprises out of business.

4) Deal of the Week: Fans of Montecristo Classic and Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve will want to check out this “Super 10 Sampler.” Just $37 (over 50% off the regular price) gets you five toros of each blend.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Google Maps

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 402

10 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.

Ray Maybus1) A Congressional proposal to stop attempts to ban tobacco sales on military bases and ships could be decided later this year, Politico reports. California Republican Duncan Hunter, a reservist and author of the provision to keep the Defense Department—whose review of tobacco policy is expected next month—from ending tobacco sales, told Politico that “it’s not curbed for anyone else… Leave us the hell alone. We’re out here fighting for your freedom, and you’re taking away ours.” Meanwhile, a group of Democratic senators wrote the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus (pictured), supporting his proposal earlier this year to ban tobacco sales on ships and naval bases. “Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the smoking rate for service members is 10 percent higher than that of the general population,” according to Politico.

2) Fresh off the Toraño brands being acquired by General Cigar, Roberto P. Duran Cigars has hired Jack Toraño, formerly the director of marketing for the now-defunct Toraño Family Cigar Company. Jack will oversee the company’s sales in Florida and the Caribbean. “I wanted to take the time to find the company that matches my vision,” said Jack Toraño. “I am excited to be working with Roberto Pelayo Duran, who is as passionate about cigars as I am. Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars is truly a boutique cigar company which owns its tobacco fields and creates their own cigars. The fact that we will be involved in everything from tobacco field all the way to the valued customer is what brought me here.”

3) Inside the Industry: A number of cigars that debuted at the IPCPR Trade Show this summer are just now starting to ship to cigar shops, including the Rocky Patel Super Ligero and Decade Cameroon, the La Aurora Untamed, and La Palina Black Label.

4) Deal of the Week: If you’re looking to try Crowned Head’s latest cigar, Jericho Hill, this line sampler is a great way to do it.Only $30 gets you one each of the four sizes and, for a limited time, you can get it with free shipping.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Wikipedia

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