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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 431

22 May 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.

Fratello1) Omar de Frias’ Fratello Cigars has announced a new blend called Bianco. The four-vitola line will feature a San Andrés Negro Wrapper, Dominican Binder, and filler tobaccos from Pennsylvania, Nicaragua, and Peru. “We wanted a richer, darker, and a fuller body smoke that would be smooth, complex, and characteristic of our full flavor cigars,” said de Frias in a press release. Bianco cigars will sell in the $8-9 range and be packaged in 20-count boxes. This is the first line to come out of Fratello since the inaugural blend debuted in 2013.

2) Drew Estate announced Wednesday it would be launching the new Nica Rustica “Belly” (7.5 x 54) at a release event at the Louisville Water Tower Park on July 30. The belicoso will sell for $7.95 and begin shipping nationally in September. As with the rest of the cigars in the Nica Rustica line, Belly will feature a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, San Andrés binder, and filler tobaccos from Estelí and Jalapa.

3) Craft rum maker Papa’s Pilar is launching a cigar “co-pack” to select retailers in Florida in celebration of Father’s Day. The gift package includes a reusable cigar humidification tube, a Sosa Classic Natural cigar, and a 750 ml. bottle of Papa’s Pilar Dark (reviewed by us here). Papa’s Pilar Rums are hand-selected from ports-of-call in the Caribbean, Central America, and the U.S. for their age, character, and maturity, and then solera-aged and blended in a unique process using American oak bourbon barrels, port wine casks, and finishing in Spanish sherry casks.

4) Inside the Industry: Gran Habano announced the first official release from the Private Humidor Selection by George Rico. The series represents aged cigars the company says come from George’s private reserve, a cache of 30,000 cigars going back to 2003. The first release, called MLG, is a lancero (7.5 x 38) from a run produced in 2007 and 2008. Only 100 boxes of the $10 cigar will be sold at select retailers in California, Hawaii, and Texas.

5) Deal of the Week: Here’s a no-brainer deal for Avo Classic fans. Buy any box of 20 or 25 cigars (starting at $120) and get a bonus 10-pack of the Avo Classic No. 2.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Fratello Cigars

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 430

15 May 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.

Pope of Greenwich Village1) Pre-orders begin on Monday for Drew Estate’s new “Pope of Greenwich Village” cigar. Named for the 1984 black comedy film of the same title, the cigar features a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, Connecticut stalk-cut Habano binder, and Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaraguan fillers. The single vitola (6 x 40) will sell in 10-count soft packs for $85. The first 300 pre-orders receive a limited edition T-shirt. Pope of Greenwich Village will be exclusive to Smoke Inn, and part of the Florida-based retailer’s Microblend Series, which commissions custom, limited edition blends from top manufacturers. The series, which is sold online, also includes Arturo Fuente’s Solaris, Tatuaje’s Anarchy and Apocalypse, My Father’s El Hijo, Padrón’s 1964 Anniversary SI-15, Quesada’s Oktoberfest Dunkel, Room 101’s Big Delicious, 601’s La Bomba Bunker Buster, and Illusione’s Pactum.

2) On Monday, America’s oldest vet marked his 109th birthday with a cigar. But Richard Overton of Texas doesn’t need a special occasion to light up a smoke. “Overton lights up a dozen cigars a day, but he’s stopped taking a shot of whiskey in his morning coffee,” reports Fox News. “Overton served from 1942-45, with stops in Hawaii, Guam, Palau, and Iwo Jima while attaining the rank of sergeant.”

3) For Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) the FDA’s impending regulations on cigars and other tobacco products can’t come soon enough. The notoriously anti-tobacco legislator is upset the FDA has taken as long as it has to consider public comments and issue a final rule. Blumenthal says he will introduce legislation to intervene in the FDA rulemaking process if the regulations don’t come before the end of summer, although it seems unlikely that such legislation would have much of a chance of passing through Congress.

4) Inside the Industry: Next Friday will be the fifth anniversary of the annual legal outdoor smoke in New York City’s Samuel Paley Park. In response to New York’s ban on smoking in city parks five years ago, La Palina (which is owned by Samuel Paley’s grandson, William C. Paley) and Cigar Rights of America organized the annual event in the private park space. Anyone over the age of 21 is welcome to attend provided they bring a receipt from a New York City tobacconist. The event runs 5-7 PM on May 22nd.

5) Deal of the Week: Who doesn’t want five bold cigars? This deal lands you one each of the Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill, Liga Privada Undercrown Gran Toro, Romeo y Julieta RyJ Toro, Punch DLX Royal Coronation Maduro, and Rocky Patel Valedor Robusto for just $27, with free shipping.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Drew Estate

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 429

8 May 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.

Havana Cuba1) Relations between Washington and Havana have warmed of late, but the days of legal Cuban cigar sales in the U.S. probably aren’t approaching soon. That said, there’s a lot of legal jockeying and market positioning taking place now over brand names and trademarks, as reported in this recent article from Reuters. “‘Thousands of U.S. companies have registered… intellectual property in Cuba in anticipation of the day when they will be able to sell their products there. Cuban companies are doing exactly the same thing,’ said Michael Krinsky, a partner with Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman. Cuba has already begun to penetrate the U.S. market using its European partner [Altadis] to churn out Cuban brand cigars made with non-Cuban tobacco, legally using the same names as its top domestic brands such as Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta. As a result, when the trade embargo ends, U.S. consumers could find themselves being offered multiple products: a pricier original Romeo y Julieta from Cuba alongside a more affordable non-Cuban variety.”

2) Espinosa Premium Cigars is reviving the old Murcielago brand that debuted six years ago and was made by Don José “Pepin” Garcia. Erik Espinosa had to reverse-engineer the blend since the Garcias never disclosed the recipe to him. The new Murcielago is said to have the same blend as the old one, but this time it is being crafted at Espinosa’s La Zona factory with updated packaging. The three box-pressed vitolas are expected to debut this summer.

3) Earlier this week, Major League Baseball’s website ran a story on the 146th anniversary of the first professional game, which was held in Cincinnati. For cigar fans, there’s a great photo, showing an ancient cutter adorned with a player and the legend Red Stocking Cigars.

4) Inside the Industry: Numbers released by the Cigar Association of America have cigar imports leveling off in 2014 (technically down 3.6 million cigars) after multiple years of steady significant growth. Both the Dominican Republic (126.5 million) and  Nicaragua (117.9 million) were down very slightly, while the third largest producer, Honduras (63.8 million), was up less than one percent. [Related: Cigar Renaissance or Unhealthy Bubble?]

5) Deal of the Week: Limited to 2,000 boxes of 10, the J.D. Howard Single Action 2015 LE by Crowned Heads will not likely last long. The petit lancero (6 x 38) uses a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. sponsors Smoke Inn and Emerson’s both have them in stock in 5- and 10-packs for $46 and $84, respectively.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 428

1 May 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.

American Barrel-Aged1) Yesterday Camacho announced American Barrel-Aged, a “complex and intense” cigar with “bourbon barrel-aged Corojo at its heart.” The first release under Camacho’s Master Built Series, the blend is “constructed almost entirely of American-grown tobacco including a Broadleaf wrapper, binder, and filler, along with maduro filler tobacco from Pennsylvania,” reads a press release. “One leaf of the six-year-old, bourbon barrel-aged Corojo tobacco was added to the recipe and is the main component that amplifies the complexity of the blend.” The cigars retail for $10 to $12 apiece and are being supported by a nationwide tour beginning on June 8 in Orlando and ending December 19 in Tampa. Dylan Austin, director of marketing for Davidoff, had this to say about American Barrel-Aged: “This project marks the first time a Camacho core line has been made outside of Honduras and we are extremely proud of what our master builders in the Dominican Republic have brought to life. Barrel aging is a very tedious and hands-on process. We are aging around 2,000 pounds of Corojo filler tobacco and rotating the barrels one leaf at a time every few weeks. Each batch takes a full five months to complete and requires constant attention to ensure the proper journey for this special tobacco.”

2) La Flor Dominicana has announced its 2015 Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) Exclusive Series. The TAA 47 (5.5 x 52) will begin shipping to TAA retailers in late May in 25-count boxes with an MSRP of $9. The Dominican-made blend includes an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. You can find the list of TAA retailers here.

3) Legislation introduced by four Democrat senators would raise federal taxes on all tobacco products. The so-called “Tobacco Tax and Enforcement Reform Act” purports to, among other things, fight tobacco smuggling by raising the federal tax on cigarettes from $1.01 per pack to $1.95 per pack. For other tobacco products, including cigars, the bill would “set tax rates… at an equivalent amount,” presumably increasing federal taxes by 94%.

4) Inside the Industry: Rocky Patel’s The Edge brand was first introduced in 2004, and the new Edge A-10 celebrates the line’s tenth anniversary (the delayed release was supposed to debut in 2014). The dual barberpole-style Honduran and Costa Rican wrappers are the same wrappers used on the original Edge Corojo and Edge Maduro. The cigar also has a Honduran binder and Nicaraguan and Panamanian filler.

5) Deal of the Week: This “five great cigars” sampler features, you guessed it, five excellent cigars for just $26. Included are the Kristoff Galerones DR4 Toro, Curivari Gran Rey Belicoso, PDR 1878 Habano Robusto, Avo Classic Robusto, and the Asylum 13 Robusto.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Camacho

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 427

24 Apr 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.

New World Connecticut1) A.J. Fernandez is set to release New World Connecticut, a line that previewed at the IPCPR Trade Show last summer. Expected to begin appearing at retailers in May, the blend features a Connecticut Shade wrapper around a Mexican binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Brazil. “Master blender A.J. Fernandez created the New World brand to pay homage to the discovery of the ‘mystical smoking leaf’ named tobacco by the Europeans, when their ships landed in what is now known as the New World,” reads a press release. Fernandez says, “The New World cigar was a very special project as it was the first cigar that was created with the help of my father Ismael Fernandez since he joined me at A.J. Fernandez Cigars.” Four sizes will be available in 20-count boxes: Corona Gorda, Robusto, Toro, and Belicoso. “Smokers of the New World Connecticut will experience notes of cream, wood, and almonds in a very well-balanced and refined cigar.” The cigars will cost about $6.

2) Online retailer Famous Smoke Shop is launching an exclusive cigar called Inferno 3rd Degree, which is made by Oliva. “The first shipment has just arrived at the company’s warehouse and is currently available for sale on their website,” reads a press release. “The company has expressed that the new brand will be available in limited quantities, but is not a one-time release and will be a consistent offering for the foreseeable future. The Inferno 3rd Degree is the third release under the Inferno umbrella… Inferno 3rd Degree cigars utilize a blend of all Nicaraguan tobaccos with a triple-fermented Ligero and Viso longfiller core, and a Habano-seed binder, all encased in another silky Habano-seed wrapper.” Four sizes will be available in the $5.80 to $6.50 range: Churchill, Double Toro, Robusto, and Toro.

3) New Orleans’ smoking ban went into effect this week, but many bars went out in a blaze of glory. Shelly Waguespack, owner of the famed French Quarter spot Pat O’Brien’s, noted how the smoking ban contradicts the best aspects of New Orleans. “It’s that overall bohemian kind of free spirit that we have in New Orleans that makes it so unique, and it’s why people love it.” Pat O’Brien’s, along with Harrah’s Casino and other businesses, are suing to overturn the ban.

4) Inside the Industry: Davidoff is set to introduce a cigar at the upcoming IPCPR Trade Show that will, for the first time in the company’s history, include a significant percentage of Brazilian tobaccos. The Turrents, the famed Mexican cigar family, has severed is distribution relationship with Altadis USA and will soon introduce a Casa Turrent cigar which will be distributed in-house.

5) Deal of the Week: This Hidden Treasures Sampler features eight solid cigars for just $60. Included are the Padrón 3000 Natural, Camacho Ecuador Toro, La Jugada Habano Toro, Sindicato Corona Gorda, RyJ Toro, 601 La Bomba Bunker Buster, H. Upmann The Banker Annuity, and the Nat Sherman Timeless Dominican Hermoso.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: A.J. Fernandez

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 426

17 Apr 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.

Pappy Cigars1) Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented cigars started shipping this week from Drew Estate. Available exclusively at the Pappy & Co. website, the cigars pay homage to one of the rarest, most sought-after bourbons in the world. “This historic cigar features Kentucky-seed, Kentucky-grown tobacco that was fire-cured and then barrel-fermented,” reads a Drew Estate press release. “The blend includes a barrel-fermented ‘tapa negra’-style wrapper over a Mexican San Andrés base wrapper, as well as aged Nicaraguan filler tobaccos.” Two sizes are available: Robusto (5.25 x 52, $130 for a box of 10) and Toro (6 x 54, $150). Drew Estate President Michael Cellucci said, “We are excited to bring the Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented cigar to market with the barrel-fermented wrapper, something that has never been featured on a premium cigar in this way.”

2) Virginia-based 262 Cigars is launching a Lancero size (7 x 38, $8.10) in its Allegiance blend. This is the third Lancero offering from 262, which also offers the size in its Paradigm and Revere lines. Allegiance is marketed as a mild- to medium-bodied cigar with a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper around a Nicaraguan binder and a filler blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. “The Allegiance name, while stirring many connotations for many people, is 262’s official ‘line in the sand’ campaign” against tobacco taxes, bans, and regulations.

3) The Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) is a smaller (more limited than the IPCPR) association of cigar retailers which is holding its annual meetings in the Dominican Republic this week. One of the benefits of membership is access to exclusive TAA  sizes or blends that can only be ordered at the annual show. This year, TAA members have offerings from 13 cigar makers to choose from, including an exclusive Padrón 1964 and a brand new La Flor Dominicana blend, among others.

4) Inside the Industry: A few years ago Viaje announced it was going to be exclusively producing small-batch cigars, but the company recently announced that its Exclusivo blend would be a regular production cigar available in three sizes. Gran Habano announced the release of the next edition of its S.T.K. lines; the Miami-made Mas Paz uses dual Ecuadorian Connecticut and Nicaraguan Habano wrappers, a Nicaraguan Habano binder, and Nicaraguan fillers in three sizes: Lancero (7.5 x 40), Corona Gorda (5.6 x 46), and Rolo (6 x 54).

5) Deal of the Week: This sampler features five cigars, free shipping included, for just $26. Included are one each of La Gloria Cubana Retro Especiale Taino, Perdomo Champagne Noir Super Toro, Curivari Selección Privada Diplomaticos, Kristoff Maduro Torpedo, and La Flor Dominicana Colorado Oscuro #3.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Drew Estate

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 425

10 Apr 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.

New Orleans1) In two weeks, New Orleans’ smoking ban will take effect—an event that’s notable since the Louisiana city is set to host this summer’s International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) Trade Show (you’ll still be able to smoke on the convention floor). An effort by Harrah’s Casino to have a smoking section on its gambling floor seems to have “fallen on deaf ears,” according to The Times-Picayune. But there are other tweaks to the law that are still under consideration. They include an exemption for cigar bars (defined as establishments with 10% of revenue from cigar sales and humidor rentals) and whether bars, casinos, and restaurants can have outdoor smoking areas. It will be interesting to see how this shapes up, especially since Harrah’s, and the bars and restaurants surrounding the convention center, were popular hangouts among the IPCPR crowd the last time the Trade Show was in New Orleans in 2010.

2) Davidoff is building a new factory in Honduras to support its Camacho, Room 101, and Baccarat brands, and has also purchased tobacco fields in Condega, Nicaragua, and Jamastran, Honduras. “The new Camacho factory in Danlí, Honduras, will sit on almost 450,000 square feet of land, and in its initial phase, operate over an area of 185,000 square feet,” according to Cigar Aficionado. “The new factory will be located near the Pan-American Highway, less than half a mile from the company’s existing box factory.”

3) Many people will tune in to the Masters Golf Tournament this weekend. Look hard and you might see cigar smokers in the gallery, although according to a local paper fewer than you used to. One patron told the paper: “Golf and cigars, they just blend… It’s in the outside, the open air… but you don’t see as many of them anymore.”

4) Inside the Industry: Maya Selva Cigars, producer of Flor de Selva, Cumpay, and Villa Zamorano, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in premium cigars. As a part of what it calls the “20 Años” celebration, the company, which has a strong following in Europe, will be releasing new cigars, including a limited edition “20 Años” Lancero to the Flor de Selva brand, and adding a Toro (6 x 52) to both its Connecticut and Maduro lines.

5) Deal of the Week: Only $25 (shipping included) lands you this five-cigar sampler. Included are the Room 101 Connecticut 808, Macanudo 1968 Toro, Quesada Q40 Toro Box Press, Alec Bradley The Lineage Robusto, and Rocky Patel Edge Maduro Missle.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr