5 Aug 2016
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 just-concluded IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas will probably go down as one of the industry’s most important conventions in history. Cigar makers introduced new cigars at what seemed like a record pace, as blends introduced after August 8 will have to wait for FDA pre-approval before being marketed or sold in the United States, while those on the market before that date can be sold for two years without needing pre-approval. Many of those new blends will be shipped to retailers within days to make the FDA’s deadline. With that in mind, it’s appropriate to mention a few notable trends—trends that are sure to make themselves apparent at a tobacconist near you within the coming weeks. New Candela-wrapped cigars, for example, debuted in large numbers from manufacturers like Drew Estate, Nomad, and (as hinted on Facebook by Steve Saka) Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. Also, more than a few companies reached back into their archives to re-release old lines, likely in part because older lines may fair better in the FDA approval process.
2) Cigar Insider has released its 2016 Retailer Survey, a poll of over 100 shop owners who represent over 140 tobacconist locations. According to the respondents, the best-selling cigar brands are, in order, Arturo Fuente, Padrón, Rocky Patel, Ashton, and Romeo y Julieta (Perdomo and My Father both finished just outside the top five). Over 70% of shops saw an increase in sales over the previous year, although many also expressed concern and uncertainty about the year ahead in light of the new FDA regulations.
3) Inside the Industry: Traditionally, Illusione has limited its new offerings at IPCPR Trade Shows. Whether due to the upcoming FDA regulations or some other reason, though, this year numerous new Illusione offerings were announced. Garagiste is a new “medium- to full-bodied” cigar concentrating on the combination of two tobaccos, Viso Corojo and Viso Criollo, from a specific farm, finished with an Ecuador Habano wrapper that has been put through final fermentation techniques at TABSA. Also made at TABSA is Cigares Prive, which was originally a store exclusive; it’s now a full line in three sizes, each available in a San Andrés Maduro or Corojo wrapper. Another new offering is the Illusione HAUT 10, which celebrates the company’s tenth year in business and combines Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99 fillers finished with an AAA grade Café Claro Corojo wrapper (5.5 x 52, $15.95). Illusione is adding to the Rothchildes and Gigantes blends with an Ecuador Connecticut Shade wrapper version of each. Finally, Illusione is also reaching back into its archives to make past Singulare blends (Anunnaki, Misrerre, Phantom, plus the new Kadosh) into regular offerings.
4) From the Archives: Want to get serious about aging cigars? The place to start is making sure you know how old the cigar you are smoking is. Read this tip for some suggestions on how to keep track of aged cigars.
5) Deal of the Week: Want to check out some of the hottest new cigars of 2016? Check out this sampler. Included are ten high-end cigars ($90) like the Padrón Family Reserve No. 50 Natural, Caldwell Blind Man’s Bluff, Avo Syncro Nicaragua Fogata, and Illusione Epernay.
photo credit: IPCPR