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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 372

28 Feb 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 Pepin Garica1) Arguably the most celebrated family in the cigar industry today has announced a new cigar that’s slated for release before the end of 2014. The Garcias, including patriarch Don Pepín Garcia (pictured), are planning a line called La Antiguedad (Spanish for “the antiquity”). It will feature an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around double binders (Nicaraguan Criollo and Nicaraguan Corojo). The filler tobaccos will also be Nicaraguan, and it will be made at the heralded My Father Cigars factory. All five sizes will be box-pressed and the prices will range from $6 to $10.

2) “Hire the trio, experience the quartet.” Such is the marketing pitch for the new Avo Quartet, a four-pack of Avo robustos that’s sold for the price of three. Included in the $30 pack is the Avo Heritage, Signature, Lounge Edition, and a new Avo Mystery Blend. Avo is considering turning the Mystery Blend into a regular line based on feedback it receives via a special website that solicits consumer opinion from those who purchase the Avo Quartet.

3) Inside the Industry: Sam Leccia is, according to a press release, “looking to put the cigar industry in a headlock” with a new blend called Luchador (Spanish for “wrestler”). The four-size line is expected to be released on Cinco de Mayo. It will feature a Mexican wrapper around an Ecuadorian Habano binder with filler from Nicaragua, Pennsylvania, and Honduras. “I wanted to create something fun, yet different and exciting,” said Leccia. “With Luchador being a combination of exotic blends and flavors with a Mexican wrapper, I thought it was time to tap into my childhood fascination of Mexican pro wrestling. Fun branding aside, the Luchador is a seriously unique blend that goes from sweet to spicy in 0 to 60.”

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Fresh smokes the Padrón Family Reserve No. 85 Maduro. Stogie Review reviews the J. Castañón Mareba. Cigar Fan fires up the Legado de Pepín. Cigar Inspector inspects the Avo 80th Anniversary. Tiki Bar tries the Casa Miranda Chapter 2.

5) Deal of the Week: Here’s a sampler with some high-end, highly-rated cigars. Only $77 gets you one each of the following: La Jugada Habano Robusto, Drew Estate Nica Rustica, Illusione Rothchildes, L’Atelier Extension de la Racine, My Father El Centurion Belicoso, Nat Sherman 1930 Corona Grande, Leccia Black Robusto, Crowned Heads J.D. Howard Reserve Robusto, L’Atelier Maduro 54, and Drew Estate Herrera Estelí Lonsdale.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: My Father Cigars

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 371

21 Feb 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.

A.J. Fernandez Warehouse1) A heist recently occurred at the A.J. Fernandez warehouse in Sunrise, Florida. According to a press release from A.J. Fernandez Cigars, robbers stole product valued at $25,000 on the evening of February 13. “In a scene right out of a heist film, the burglars cut a hole through the wall of an adjacent business using powered cutting tools—disabling one sector of the alarm system—and gaining access to a delivery/staging area of the AJF facility,” reads the press release. “The gang of at least five burglars made off with several crates of product, which had been delivered earlier in the day from Nicaragua, but had not yet been unpacked by AJF warehouse staff. The criminals did not gain access to the main humidified area of the facility. Thankfully, there were no injures to AJF staff as a result of this incident.” Some readers may recall the Alec Bradley warehouse robbery in September 2013, which occurred in Hollywood, Florida—approximately 25 minutes away from the AJF facility. In that heist, the burglars made away with merchandise worth $300,000 at wholesale, or nearly $600,000 at the retail level.

2) The “On the Road” column in the New York Times this week offered information about a website that helps travelers find hotels that offer smoking rooms. Smoketels.com features 100,000 hotels worldwide. The column also dealt extensively with cigar smoking—unfortunately reinforcing the idea that we’re almost all wealthy conspicuous consumers—and quoted Cigar Aficionado‘s Gordon Mott about an app the magazine is developing to pinpoint hotels that permit cigar smoking and nearby smoking lounges.

3) Inside the Industry: General Cigar is introducing the Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte, a “fuller-bodied, fuller-flavored follow-up to the [original] 1845.” According to two magazine ads posted online, the cigar uses an Ecuadorian Habano Ligero wrapper and Nicaraguan filler.

4) Around the Blogs: Cigar Fan fires up Fonseca 120th Anniversary. Cigar Inspector inspects Nat Sherman Timeless Collection. Stogie Review reviews Cuban Stock Triumph. Stogie Fresh smokes Nica Rustica. The Tiki Bar kicks back with LEAF by Oscar.

5) Deal of the Week: Maduro fans would do well to check out this special. Only $45 gets you 5 each of the Liga Undercrown Gran Toro and the Rocky Patel Private Cellar Robusto.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Google Maps

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 370

14 Feb 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.

Jose Blanco1) When longtime industry veteran and roving cigar ambassador José Blanco left Joya de Nicaragua in August, few expected he would be away from cigars for long. Questions about the nature and timing of his return were answered this week as Blanco announced the creation of Las Cumbres Tabaco. The new venture, which translates to “summits of tobacco,” will run out of the Dominican Republic and include a partnership with Tabacalera La Palma, operated by Blanco’s cousin, Jochi Blanco. The first Las Cumbres blend is still in the works—don’t expect to see anything until the summer—as are details about cost and distribution. But it is known the blend will be called Señorial (Spanish for “lordly”), have an Ecuadorian wrapper, and feature Dominican tobacco.

2) The Indiana Supreme Court ruled this week that an Evansville ordinance banning smoking in bars violates the state constitution. Since 2012, Indiana has had a statewide ban that exempts bars, retail tobacco stores, cigar clubs, gaming facilities, and a few other locales. The court struck down the stricter Evansville regulation because it closed the bar exemption but maintained the exemption for a local casino. Evansville is Indiana’s third-largest city.

3) Inside the Industry: General Cigar has unveiled a new project with E.P. Carrillo called “Re+United” under its boutique-oriented Foundry Cigar Company. The cigar will reunite Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and Foundry’s Michael Giannini, who worked closely together at General Cigar until Carrillo left in 2009 to form his eponymous family-owned cigar company. Even before this official partnership, the two companies cooperated, including E.P. Carrillo boxes being built at General Cigar’s Dominican box factory. The trademark for “Re+United” (seen here) is owned by General Cigar.

4) Deal of the Week: Cigar Place has some excellent deals if you use these coupon codes. Some of the deals include Cain Daytona starting at $76 (box of 24) and Liga Undercrown starting at $104 (box of 25).

-The Stogie Guys,

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 369

6 Feb 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.

Mayor Randy Voepel1) Lost in the seemingly endless supply of news about smoking bans, regulations, and taxes at the local, state, and federal levels is a cadre of officials who aren’t afraid to stand up to anti-tobacco zealotry. Take Randy Voepel, for example. He is the current mayor of Santee, California. Mayor Voepel recently received an “F” grade for his city’s tobacco control policies (or lack thereof) from the American Lung Association—a grade he calls “’F’ for Freedom” while proudly donning a cigar tie (pictured). Then there’s Missouri State Representative Kathie Conway, who continues to encourage localities in the state to not pass smoking bans, and is drawing attention to how smoking bans harm small businesses. And, at the federal level, U.S. Representative Tom Cotton of Arkansas is the latest legislator to pledge to protect premium cigars from impending FDA regulation. Officials like these deserve our thanks.

2) This week it was announced that Crowned Heads and My Father Cigars have teamed up to create a new release (due out in May) called Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014—Crowned Heads’ first Nicaraguan cigar. Three sizes will be offered, each with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Only 1,000 boxes of each vitola will be made, with per-cigar prices ranging from $8 to $12.

3) Inside the Industry: Royal Gold Cigars, the premium cigar subsidiary of machine-made giant Swisher, officially announced Nirvana, which is made by Drew Estate. The five-size line will feature a Rosado wrapper grown in the Eastern province of Cameroon, a Mexican San Andres binder, and filler from Jalapa, Estelí, and Jamastran.

4) Around the Blogs: Cigar Inspector inspects a Cuban Davidoff No. 1. Keepers of the Flame fires up some Gurkhas. Stogie Review reviews the Fratello. Stogie Fresh smokes the Room 101 Master Collection One.

5) Deal of the Week: We make no apologies for being fans of corona-sized cigars, which makes this deal particularly noteworthy. Just $24 gets you five coronas: Kristoff Ligero Maduro, Montecristo, Cain Daytona 543, Tatuaje Noella, and L’Atelier Maduro 44.

-The Stogie Guys,

photo credit: Santee Patch

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 368

31 Jan 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.

DE21) We first told you about Drew Estate’s enormous, new “pre-industry” facility back in May, when we visited it while it was still under construction. This week Drew Estate announced it held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the building they’ve now dubbed “DE2.” Located right across the street from Drew Estate’s La Gran Fabrica in Estelí, Nicaragua, the $4 million building will be used to ferment, age, and sort tobacco, as well as house a medical center and cafeteria for Drew Estate employees. The facility is “one of the largest, most state-of-the-art leaf processing operations in the world, specializing in dark air-cured tobaccos,” according to a press release. “DE2 provides Drew Estate with the ability to drastically increase their scale for pilone curing and bail storage, as well as provide all of the necessary professional support services in leaf sorting, classification, and analysis.”

2) Officials in Boulder have instituted a smoking ban for parts of the Colorado city’s downtown area, where lighting up a cigar is now a criminal activity, even outdoors. Interestingly, the law also applies to smoking inside parked cars within this area. Details about enforcement are not yet clear.

3) Inside the Industry: Drew Estate is giving away a bundle of MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured cigars. Just post a photo of yourself smoking one and tag it Drew Estate. Details here.

4) Deal of the Week: Cigar Place is offering this CA 2013 Top 25 Sampler that is definitely worth checking out. Just $180 (about $8 per cigar) gets you 22 top-rated smokes, including quite a few hard-to-find, super-premium smokes like an Opus X, Padrón 1964, Davidoff Nicaragua, and many more.

-The Stogie Guys,

photo credit: Drew Estate

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 367

24 Jan 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.

Stewart Greenleaf1) Pennsylvania has had a statewide smoking ban dating back to 2008, originally signed into law by Ed Rendell, who was governor at the time. In its current state, the ban provides a few exemptions, most notably for bars where minors are not permitted and where 20% or less of revenue is from food. However, State Senator Stewart Greenleaf (pictured) and State Representative Mario Scavello are hoping to make it even more difficult to enjoy a cigar. They have introduced measures that would render Pennsylvania one of the toughest places to light up by extending the current ban to private clubs, bars, gaming floors, and outdoor patios of bars or restaurants. This is a bold move for a state that’s home to major retailers like Famous Smoke Shop, Holt’s, and Cigars International.

2) In last month’s “Question of the Month” (which admittedly ran significantly longer than a month), we asked readers how many cigars they are currently aging or storing. “Fewer than 25” was the most popular answer with about 24% of the vote, followed by the 26-50 range (19%), 50-100 (18%), 100-200 (15%), 200-500 (13%), and more than 500 (11%). About 2,500 unique visitors participated in the poll. We’re not sure if it’s more surprising that about a quarter of our readers are only aging/storing 25 cigars or less, or that 11% of readers have a collection of more than 500. Please feel free to weigh in on this in the comments below, and you can also contact us if you’ve got suggestion for a future poll. A new “Question of the Month” is open for voting in the sidebar on the right.

3) Inside the Industry: The Nashville Scene gives us an update on what CAO founder Cano Ozgener is up to these days. During the Nicaraguan cigar festival this week, Drew Estate officially unveiled its new, massive, pre-industry building where it stores, ages, and sorts tobacco before rolling it into cigars.

4) Deal of the Week: The clearance section of Smoke Inn currently has some deals worth checking out. Of particular note are boxes of Añoranzas, El Tiante Habano Oscuro, and La Dueña Petit Belicoso, each for under $90 per box.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Pennsylvania State Senate

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 366

17 Jan 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.

Roger Dickinson1) Some politicians in California are aiming to criminalize the online sale of cigars in the Golden State. “In an effort to clamp down on youth smoking, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) announced Monday that he was introducing a bill that would block the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, and electronic cigarettes to individuals via the internet,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “The bill, AB 1500, does not prohibit online retailers to ship to other retailers. By requiring customers to purchase tobacco products at brick-and-mortar locations, Dickinson says, the state would generate $24 million in sales tax revenue.” If adopted, the bill would close off one of the biggest markets to online cigar sales and surely put a major dent in the revenue of many online cigar retailers.

2) On Wednesday, the third annual Nicaragua Tobacco Festival kicked off in Managua. The event is a showcase of the best cigar makers in Nicaragua, a country that’s home to many of the world’s hottest brands, and a nation that’s poised to become the number one source of premium cigars in the U.S. (the current leader is the Dominican Republic). Latest estimates indicate that over a third of all cigars sold in the U.S. are of Nicaraguan origin.

3) Inside the Industry: The Toraño Family Cigar Company has announced the “Blends from the Vault Tour,” a 40-store tour featuring exclusive blends. E.P. Carillo said this week that it’s upcoming release, the first in the Generational Series, will come out in May or June.

4) Deal of the Week: Cigar Place has a bevy of discount codes available. One particularly good deal is on the Undercrown Corona Viva, our favorite size of the Undercrown blend. After you add it to your cart, add the promo code “liga” to knock the price down 20% to just $104 for a box of 25.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Roger Dickinson