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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 408

21 Nov 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.

Ratzilla1) Drew Estate announced this week a Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla would be launched as a new limited edition holiday release. The cigar will be available at tobacconists in Drew Estate’s Drew Diplomat Retailer Program, which affords some retailers priority allocations on new cigar releases, limited editions, and commemorative cigars and products. “Prior to this formal release, the Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla was handed out to a few friends at the IPCPR tradeshow in 2011, and then introduced at Casa de Montecristo in Chicago in 2012 with an extremely limited production of 50 12-count bundles,” according to a Dew Estate press release. “The Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla, produced at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Estelí, Nicaragua, features a Connecticut stalk-cut and cured sun-grown Habano wrapper, a Brazilian Mata Fina binder, and Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers.”

2) “The Boulder City Council unanimously approved two versions of a broad outdoor smoking ban Tuesday night,” according to the Denver Post. “The smoking ban would cover city parks, multi-use paths, the area around transit stops, the entire downtown business district, including alleys, Chautauqua Park, and the Flatirons Golf Course. Smoking is already prohibited on the Pearl Street Mall, in the Civic Area, and from the corner of Arapahoe Avenue and 13th Street southeast to 17th Street and University Avenue.”

3) Inside the Industry: This week Illusione shipped its 2014 Singulare cigar called Anunnaki. Named after Sumerian deities, the latest annual release from Illusione is a 5.5-inch, 54-ring gauge Nicaraguan puro made at the TABSA factory in Nicaragua.

4) Deal of the Week: Only $36 gets you a dozen fine smokes in this cold front sampler special from Smoke Inn. Included are two Romeo Toros, two Nish Patel Toros, two Partagas Black Maximos, one Gran Habano Azteca Jaguares, three Ortega Wild Bunch Gearhead Garys, and two Wynwood 465s.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Drew Estate

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 407

14 Nov 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.

Pactum1) Smoke Inn has announced the ninth installment in its Microblend Series: Pactum, which is crafted by Illusione specifically for the Florida-based cigar retailer. Pactum will be offered in a single, lightly box-pressed size (5.5 x 56) and feature a Mexican Maduro wrapper around Nicaraguan tobaccos. Starting on December 6, it will be sold for $8.95 for a single, or $134.25 for a box of 15. Previous participants in Smoke Inn’s Microblend Series include 601, Room 101, Arturo Fuente, Tatuaje, My Father, and Padrón.

2) Drew Estate recently announced an exclusive manufacturing agreement with Pappy & Company, maker of the impossibly hard-to-find Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Drew Estate—which is in the process of being acquired by Swisher International—will craft the so-called “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve” cigar in Estelí. “It’s a well-rounded, sophisticated cigar, with body and a hearty expression,” says Jonathan Drew. “Drew Estate is known for passion and innovation, and making premium cigars is our ‘raison d’être’ [reason to be]. The ‘Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve’ premium cigar is truly a showcase of our passion for cigar-making.”

3) Smoking Freedoms Update: In Vermont, Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace will now prohibit smoking. The Nebraska Supreme Court has decided not to reconsider a statewide ban on smoking inside cigar shops and cigar bars. In New Jersey, legislation has been signed to ban smoking in Newark’s parks and recreational facilities. The North Dakota town of Fargo has criminalized smoking at city parks.

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: Smoke Inn

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 406

7 Nov 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) Sam Leccia took to Facebook on Wednesday to provide an update on his new gig at General Cigar. You’ll recall that, back in late September, Leccia was hired by General as a “Cigar and Blend Specialist” shortly after it was revealed General had acquired the brands associated with the Toraño Family Cigar Company (the Leccia Tobacco Co. brands were formerly distributed by Toraño). “I truly couldn’t be happier with how everything is going,” says Leccia. “The Leccia Tobacco brands of Black & White and Luchador will not only stay the same, but will continue to be made at the factories that I have been using since day one. I have a great relationship with my two factories, and not only will they continue to manufacture my products, but they will be used for future projects of Leccia Tobacco and we will be using them for future Foundry projects as well.” In addition, Leccia said he had been “planning a packaging update for Black & White long before this transition, and those changes are currently being finalized and should be on shelves sometime early next year.” Finally, Leccia said, “Outside of Leccia Tobacco, I am responsible for new product development and innovations. I will be, and already have been, working on the entire General Cigar portfolio to some degree… Expect big things!”

2) After a six-week renovation, Casa Fuente is reopening for business. Located in an upscale mall in Las Vegas, the famous cigar shop/lounge had to make changes to bring the smoking area from the patio—which ventilates into the main mall—to within the shop itself. Casa Fuente is a popular hangout during the IPCPR Trade Show (when Las Vegas is the host city) and during Cigar Aficionado’s Big Smoke. It carries rare Arturo Fuente smokes including the two Casa Fuente blends that are made exclusively for the store.

3) Inside the industry: An under-appreciated aspect of the cigar industry is its unwavering support for worthy charities, especially those that help Americans who serve their country in the military. Continuing that tradition, Viva Republica is releasing a special charity cigar for Veteran’s Day. The5.1-inch, 42-ring gauge cigar features a Nicaraguan wrapper and will retail for $6. Proceeds will benefit the “Operation: Cigars for Warriors” charity.

4) Deal of the Week: This deal really is a mystery, but it still might be worth picking up if you want to try new cigars and get some good value. If you’re up for little gamble, $30 gets you ten cigars.You’re promised to “always get more than you paid for.”

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Leccia Tobacco

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