30 May 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.
1) The looming threat of Food & Drug Administration regulations being imposed on premium cigars is still priority number one for defenders of cigar rights. The proposed regulations issued on April 24 could effectively halt cigar innovation, criminalize special editions or seasonal blends, and cost countless jobs in the U.S. and abroad, among other adverse consequences. If you haven’t already done so, please make your voice heard by clicking here to participate in the public comment period. But let’s also not forget about the many battles being fought at more local levels. DC, for example, is facing a proposal that would hike cigar tax rates to those equal to cigarettes (which is 80%). New Jersey is considering a ban on smoking at public parks and beaches, as well as an increase in the minimum age for purchasing tobacco to 21. Minnesota is looking to raise cigar taxes. And there are a host of other threats at various levels of government all around the country. This is a reminder to stay involved.
2) Experts typically characterize the so-called “Cigar Bubble” of the ’90s in the following way: Increased U.S. demand drove cigar prices higher, prompting even inexperienced cigar makers to enter the market, resulting in many sub-standard, overpriced cigars. The result was a resounding bubble burst as consumers became less willing to pay high prices for lower quality smokes. An interesting article in The Atlantic asks if a similar bubble is emerging in craft distilling. According to the author, the number of small distilleries in the U.S. has grown from about 70 to more than 600 since 2003 as consumers clamor for “local” spirits that are small-batch rather than mass-produced. But there is a growing weariness that many of the spirits aren’t up to snuff and are made by inexperienced distillers who simply entered the market due to booming demand.
3) Inside the Industry: Originally released as a limited edition in 2013, La Palina’s “Mr. Sam” collection is now a permanent offering. The cigar is made at El Titan de Bronze in Miami and utilizes an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Mr. Sam—named after La Palina owner Bill Paley’s grandfather—comes in three sizes: Corona, Robusto and Toro, which sell for $11, $12.50, and $13.50, respectively.
4) Deal of the Week: Here are lots of discount codes on cigars ranging from Drew Estate and Tatuaje to Rocky Patel and Oliva. Notable deals include the Tatuaje Reserva Regios (box of 25 for $181) and Drew Estate Undercrown (box of 25 for $104).
photo credit: Flickr