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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Crux Ships PB517, Davidoff Celebrates 50th Anniversary, and More

5 Jan 2018

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 561st in the series.

1) Crux Cigars this week began shipping the latest in its Limitada PB5 line. A thousand ten-count boxes of PB517 (5.75 x 54) will be available. Like earlier PB5s, it uses a proprietary Engañoso wrapper grown by Plascencia in Nicaragua. “We continue to appreciate the positive response to the Limitada PB5,” said Crux Vice President Casey Haugen, “and are pleased to offer this limited edition again.” Each Crux PB5 quickly sells out to retailers when it is announced, and the PB517, the third iteration in the series, was no exception.

2) Davidoff is celebrating its 50th anniversary by issuing new bands for some its cigars. The white bands will feature a large gold “50” above “Davidoff,” though the cigar blends, boxes, and prices will remain the same. It was in 1968 when Davidoff launched its cigar brand from its flagship store in Geneva. “At the head of this journey was Zino Davidoff,” reads a press release. “It was his sense of pioneering and innovation that set Davidoff apart from the outset. His restless pursuit of new tobaccos and blends has been the inspiration for all the fine cigars that have since carried the iconic Davidoff ring over the last five decades.” In addition to the new bands, expect a series of events and several “specially commissioned” cigars in celebration of the company’s half-century milestone.

3) Drink what bartenders drink when there’s an open bar: “Before you default to a generic glass of red or white (seriously, where else do you order wine by the color except airplanes and open bars?), we asked six bartenders across the country for their go-to open bar orders. So this holiday party season, you can go forth and order with confidence.”

4) Two centuries of Wild Turkey bourbon: a timeline.

5) From the Archives: It’s really cold out, so warm up with these five warm beverages perfect for pairing with a cigar.

6) Deal of the Week: StogieGuys.com recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items (think fine bar accessories, hot sauce kits, wine, workout gear, exclusive cigars, and more) delivered for just $45. Once you are signed up there is no obligation; you can skip or purchase every month. Sign up here to be eligible for the January box called “Churchill” that features four cigars, an ashtray made of reclaimed wood, an odor-eating candle, cedar spills, and a cutter.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Crux Cigars

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Remembering the Patriarch of Oliva Cigar, Sen. Lindsay Graham Commits to Protecting Premium Cigars, and More

22 Dec 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 560th in the series.

1) Surrounded by family in Miami, the patriarch of Oliva Cigar, Gilberto Oliva Sr., passed away on Saturday. He was 86. Oliva was born into a tobacco-growing family in Cuba and married there before fleeing the island in his early thirties to escape the Cuban Revolution. He lived in Spain, Nicaragua, and New Jersey before settling in Florida. His first cigar—called Gilberto Oliva—debuted in 1995 and was made by the Plasencias. Shortly thereafter, he launched his own factory in Nicaragua and shortened the brand name to Oliva. Gilberto is succeeded by his wife, five children (including future Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva), and fourteen grandchildren. In 2016, the Oliva family sold Oliva Cigar to a Belgian cigar maker, J. Cortès, for an undisclosed price.

2) U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) has signed on as a co-sponsor to S. 294, a bill that would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to exempt premium cigars from harmful FDA regulations. He is the 19th senator to do so. “CRA and the entire premium cigar industry would like to thank Senator Graham for standing with the consumers and small businesses of the premium cigar industry,” reads an email update from Cigar Rights of America. A companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 564, currently has 139 co-sponsors, according to Congress.gov.

3) Lists like this one are frequently full of over-hyped offerings, but this gift guide actually has some pretty good suggestions: 15 bottles that make perfect gifts for whiskey lovers.

4) Inside the Industry: This week CigarAficionado released its top ten cigars of 2017. Number one is the extremely hard-to-find Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark. Retailers (who usually report a boost in sales for the top selection) are already grumbling about such a limited production cigar being chosen.

5) From the Archives: Next week we’ll release our top cigars of 2017. While you wait, check out our 2016 list: part one and part two.

6) Deal of the Week: StogieGuys.com recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items (think fine bar accessories, hot sauce kits, wine, workout gear, exclusive cigars, and more) delivered for just $45. Once you are signed up there is no obligation; you can skip or purchase every month. Sign up here to be eligible for the January box; including the “Churchill” box that features four cigars, an ashtray made of reclaimed wood, an odor-eating candle, cedar spills, and a cutter.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Oliva Cigar

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Villiger Unveils New Packaging for La Libertad, Foundation Cigar Co. Opens a Branded Lounge, and More

15 Dec 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 559th in the series.

1) La Libertad from Villiger Cigars is getting a new look. “The Villiger La Libertad has a loyal following and has always been highly rated by consumers and media alike,” said Villiger North America President Rene Castañeda. “We felt that this brand needed a fresh new look, that was worthy of the cigar, as well as meeting the expectations of the consumer.” La Libertad comes in four sizes—Robusto, Torpedo, Churchill, and Masivo—and retails in the affordable $5.10 to $6.60 range. Handmade in the Dominican Republic, the cigar features a Brazilian wrapper around Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos.

2) Nicholas Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Co.—best known for its El Güegüense brand—has opened a cigar lounge outside Atlanta. This is the first Foundation-branded lounge. It is located within the Ligero Tobacco House in Buford, Georgia. Adam Tirado, owner of the shop, is a longtime friend of Melillo’s. The entire Foundation Cigar Co. portfolio, including its four branded coffees, is available at the shop.

3) Davidoff has named Dylan Austin vice president of sales and marketing in the U.S., effective January 1. Austin, 36, steps into this role from his current position as vice president of marketing. He will now lead the strategic and day-to-day oversight of the company’s sales organization and key account team.

4) Inside the Industry: Rich Cigars Inc., the DJ Khaled-promoted cigar company you likely never heard of, announced yesterday plans to end its cigar business to transform into a patent marketing and cryptocurrency mining company.

5) From the Archives: Here are five “best buy” bourbons you can actually find. (In a sign of the times, Weller 107 is now very hard to find and thus wouldn’t qualify.)

6) Deal of the Week: Here are 100 deals, including cigars from Ashton, Oliva, CAO, My Father, Tatuaje, Rocky Patel, Padrón, Drew Estate, and more. Free shipping is included on any purchase. If you really want to stock up, add promo code “GBP20D” at checkout to knock $20 off an order of $150 or more.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Villiger Cigars

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Royal Agio Ends U.S. Distribution Agreement with Drew Estate, H. Upmann Robustos Añejados Announced, and More

8 Dec 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 558th in the series.

1) Royal Agio Cigars and Drew Estate are expected to terminate part of their distribution agreement on Monday, December 18. “The two companies joined forces globally on April 1, 2014 with Drew Estate distributing Royal Agio Cigars’ products in the United States, and Royal Agio distributing Drew Estate products in key European markets, such as Holland, France, Belgium and Germany,” reads a press release. Going forward, while Royal Agio will continue to distribute Drew Estate in Europe, Drew Estate will no longer distribute Royal Agio in the U.S.—Royal Agio will now manage its own U.S. distribution. The move signals Royal Agio’s “strengthening commitment to the U.S. market,” which is underscored by the opening of its new U.S headquarters in Bradenton, Florida. “We are grateful for the enthusiastic support and significant contributions made on behalf of the Drew Estate organization that have helped improve distribution and awareness for our premium cigar brands over the past three and a half years,” said George Margioukla, President of Royal Agio U.S.A. “Thanks in large part to these efforts, Royal Agio Cigars is now in a position to strengthen our U.S. presence and enhance direct support for our highly-valued trade partners and consumers.” The Royal Agio portfolio includes the premium handmade Balmoral brand, as well as two cigarillo brands: Mehari’s and Panter.

2) Habanos, S.A. has announced H. Upmann Robustos Añejados (4.9 x 50)—a new Cuban cigar that has been aged for five to eight years—will be available at international retailers in the coming weeks. It “does not exist in the standard portfolio of the [H. Upmann] brand,” but instead joins four other Cuban cigars in the Añejados portfolio: Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejados, Montecristo Churchill, Partagás Corona Gorda Añejados, and the Hoyo de Monterrey Hermosos No. 4.

3) Inside the Industry: The cigar industry lost a legend this week when José Orlando Padrón passed away. If you’re looking for more information about his life, his memoir is for sale with proceeds going to the Padrón’s charitable foundation. Also, check out this 2006 New York Times profile and this interview from 1998.

4) From the Archives: One of the first cigars we ever gave a top rating to (way back in 2006) was the Padrón Serie 1926 No. 6.

5) Deal of the Week: Here are 100 deals, including cigars from Ashton, Oliva, CAO, My Father, Tatuaje, Rocky Patel, Padrón, Drew Estate, and more. Free shipping is included on any purchase. If you really want to stock up, add promo code “GBP20D” at checkout to knock $20 off an order of $150 or more.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Royal Agio Cigars

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Nomad Expands Fin de los Mundos, A Cigar Guide for Beginners, and More

1 Dec 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 557th in the series.

1) Nomad Cigar Co. is increasing the reach of Fin de los Mundos, a Pennsylvania Broadleaf-wrapped cigar line that was launched in 2016 but, to date, has been limited to a few exclusive retailers. “Fin de los Mundos, or ‘End of the Worlds,’ is Nomad’s most recent (and strongest) blend in an already extensive portfolio,” reads a press release. “It comes in four sizes and is the second time [Nomad creator Fred] Rewey has used Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper… In true Nomad fashion, Fin de los Mundos is a complex blend utilizing fillers from three different countries and was created and rolled at Fabrica Oveja Negra in Estelí, Nicaragua.” The four sizes retail in the $9.25-$9.75 range: Corona Gordo (5.5 x 48), Robusto (5 x 50), Shorty (4 x 54), and Toro (6 x 50). An expansion launch party is planned for Underground Cigar in Ft. Worth, Texas, tomorrow.

2) Online retailer Famous Smoke Shop has launched The Beginner’s Guide to Cigar Smoking. The site features tips for novices, suggestions to help develop your palate, pairing guides, and recommendations for cigar collecting and storage. There are plenty of videos and, frankly, tons of solid info for beginners and cigar veterans alike. Check it out here.

3) Ever get in a debate about whether Jack Daniel’s is a bourbon? Here is the answer (even if you may not find it satisfying).

4) Inside the Industry: According to Cigar Aficionado, Altadis is preparing to release Montecristo Epic Craft Cured. The cigar uses a Nicaraguan wrapper grown in 2006 around a blend of filler and binder representing all four major growing areas of Nicaragua. It is made at the Plasencias’ Nicaragua factory and will come in boxes of ten with a suggested retail price of around $15 for each of the three sizes.

5) From the Archives: Take the time to smoke. Seriously. Don’t rush your cigars to get the most out of them.

6) Deal of the Week: StogieGuys.com recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items (think fine bar accessories, hot sauce kits, wine, workout gear, exclusive cigars, and more) delivered for just $45. Once you are signed up there is no obligation; you can skip or purchase every month. Sign up here to be eligible for the December box; the “Churchill” box features four cigars, an ashtray made of reclaimed wood, an odor-eating candle, cedar spills, and a cutter.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Nomad Cigar Co.

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Altadis Teams Up with Crowned Heads, New Davidoff Lounge in West Palm Beach, and More

17 Nov 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 556th in the series.

1) Cigar giant Altadis U.S.A. has partnered with Nashville-based boutique outfit Crowned Heads to announce Montecristo Ciudad de Música, a new cigar line that celebrates the “lively spirit of Nashville.” The blend recipe includes an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. “The challenge for us was in taking such an iconic brand as Montecristo and putting our fingerprints on it all the while respecting the tradition and legacy that’s existed in the Montecristo brand since 1935,” said Crowned Heads co-founder Jon Huber. The four sizes—Robusto, Corona Gorda, Sublime, and Piramide—are expected to be available later this year and will retail in the $11.95-$16 range (Piramide will be exclusive to Casa de Montecristo locations). Production is 25,000 cigars in each size for a total run of 100,000.

2) Raising taxes on tobacco creates a black market. That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that New York City, with nearly $5 of local and state tax per pack of cigarettes (on top of significant federal taxes), is now the “cigarette smuggling capital of the nation” according to a report by the Tax Foundation.

3) Whiskey is popular here in the U.S. and overseas, and thieves in France took notice. This week the popular Maison du Whisky in Paris was broken into, with the bandits walking away with 69 bottles valued at nearly $800,000, including one bottle valued at over $200,000.

4) Inside the Industry: Today is the grand opening of the new Davidoff Lounge at Smoke Inn in West Palm Beach, Florida. The 14,000 square foot space features “Asian-inspired modern design, with industrial touches,” according to a press release. “Tobacco barns and traditions of the Dominican Republic influence a palette of natural materials, structure, and warm décor—a design delivering a balance of varying materials and architectural features to create a sanctuary of luxury for cigar aficionados to enjoy.” Abe Dababneh of Smoke Inn posted the following to Facebook on Wednesday: “By far the longest project I have ever been involved in finally comes to an end. I dedicate this shop to all the amazing patrons who have embraced our [West Palm Beach] location for the past 17 years! I hope this new store makes for many, many more years of great memories to come. Don’t miss our grand opening celebration… Incredible deals all day and complimentary hors d’ oeuvres and champagne from 6-9 PM.”

5) From the Archives: For almost a decade, we’ve shared what we plan to smoke after Thanksgiving. Here’s a list of our nearly 30 past selections. Be on the lookout for our 2017 Thanksgiving cigar selections next week.

6) Deal of the Week: Here are 100 deals, including cigars from Ashton, Oliva, CAO, My Father, Tatuaje, Rocky Patel, Padrón, Drew Estate, and more. Free shipping is included on any purchase. If you really want to stock up, add promo code “GBP20D” at checkout to knock $20 off an order of $150 or more.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Altadis / Crowned Heads

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Drew Estate and Debonaire Partner Up on Daybreak, STG Planning Two Retail Locations in Texas, and More

10 Nov 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 555th in the series.

1) Debonaire Cigars and Drew Estate have teamed up to launch Debonaire Daybreak, which is shipping this week and expected to hit retailers this month. It is “the first Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigar exclusively sold through Drew Diplomat Retailers as part of the Drew Estate portfolio,” according to a press release. “Daybreak offers the ultra-premium quality expected of the Debonaire product line” with “crisp notes of spice and earthiness from the Central American fillers, [and] a nutty and sweet richness from the Dominican tobacco in the binder and filler with a smooth finish.” Six sizes will be available in the $8.74 to $13.25 price range: Corona (6 x 46), Belicoso (6 x 54), First Degree (4 x 44), Robusto (5 x 50), Sagita-Petite Lancero (5.5 x 38), and Toro (6 x 50). “Daybreak has given me a unique and nostalgic feeling of excitement in releasing another quality product into the industry I’ve been blessed to enjoy now for over 25 years,” said Phillip S. Zanghi III of Debonaire. “I cannot begin to express the excitement of the Debonaire lines’ growth, as well as the thanks and gratitude for those who enjoy my product and are willing to work with me.”

2) In an interim report this week, tobacco giant Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) announced plans to spend up to $7 million to open two new retail cigar shops in Texas. STG owns General Cigar and operates a number of retail outlets internationally, as well as catalog and online operations. In the U.S., STG has three Cigars International shops in Pennsylvania and Manhattan’s tony Club Macanudo. STG did not specify locations or names for the new Texas shops and did not reply to an email seeking further details. The opening for the first new store is planned for the middle of next year. (UPDATE — 10:20 AM ET: STG has confirmed both locations will be Cigars International stores, with one in Forth Worth and the other in the Dallas suburb of The Colony.)

3) Pennsylvania-based retailer Famous Smoke Shop has announced two new exclusive cigar lines, both made at Nestor Plasencia’s Nicaraguan factory and blended by Famous employees. Jim Charnley, director of purchasing and merchandising, created Huntsman Cigars, which is inspired by his Scottish heritage. His recipe includes a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, a Mexican binder, and Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Brazilian filler tobaccos. Michael Klingerman, Famous’ buyer of exclusives, created Truce Connecticut Reserve to symbolize the “middle ground we turn toward in times of turmoil.” His blend includes a Honduran Connecticut wrapper, a Nicaraguan Habano binder, and filler tobaccos from Honduras and Brazil. Both new lines are offered in three sizes—Churchill, Toro, and Robusto—and retail in the affordable $5.25 to $5.75 range.

4) Apple has removed multiple apps from its app store because of their cigar-related content. Cigar Aficionado announced this week that its “Where to Smoke” app, which provides cigar smokers with listings of smoking-friendly venues, was removed after Apple cited the app as violating its prohibition on promoting tobacco use.

5) Inside the Industry: Gurkha is offering three distinct “Super Luxury Packages” that include first-class accommodations from anywhere in the world to Miami for a three-night stay to blend your own cigars at Gurkha’s headquarters. Depending on your package of choice, you will receive anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 cigars. Prices range from $100,000 to $1,000,000.

6) From the Archives: Cook a steak up right, with the our guide to the perfect steak.

7) Deal of the Week: StogieGuys.com recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items (think fine bar accessories, hot sauce kits, shaving accessories, wine, workout gear, exclusive cigars, and more) delivered for just $45. Once you are signed up there is no obligation; you can skip or purchase every month. Sign up here to be eligible for the December box.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Drew Estate