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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 390

11 Jul 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.

Captiva1) The 2014 IPCPR Trade Show is just eight days away, and many new releases have been announced in anticipation of the biggest cigar event of the year. Among them is the Charlie Toraño Captiva, the first cigar to bear Charlie Toraño’s name. “Working alongside his father and industry legend Carlos Toraño for 15 years, Charlie has had his hand in creating unique cigar brands under the family name as well as for countless other major distributors,” reads a Toraño press release. “Charlie, who has held the title of President of Toraño Family Cigar Company for over a decade, felt it was time to create a cigar under his own name which represents his personal tastes and pastimes.” Named for a small island off the coast of Florida where Charlie takes his family each summer, Capitva sports an Ecuadorian wrapper around Nicaraguan fillers and will be sold in four sizes for $7.95 to $8.95. Charlie says the cigar “represents the slow rhythms of the island.”

2) Also expected at the IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas is the debut of La Palina Black Label. The line will be available in four sizes—Gordo, Toro, Robusto, and Petit Lancero—and includes a Brazilian Bahaino wrapper around tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The Classic Blend is the only other La Palina line to feature a Brazilian wrapper.

3) Inside the Industry: Kuuts Nicaraguan Blend—which has an Ecuadrian Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler—is ready for release, with shipments to stores starting in August. In a pairing of two up-and-coming outfits, Toronto-based Mombacho Cigars S.A. has entered into an exclusive U.S. distribution agreement with Texas-based RoMa Craft Tobac, maker of Cromagnon, Aquitaine, and Intemperance.

4) Deal of the Week: This Super Ten Sampler takes over 50% off two big-name classic cigars. Just $37 bucks lands you five each of the Montecristo Classic Toro and the Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve Toro.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Toraño

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 389

27 Jun 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.

Montecristo Espada1) In addition to Nicaragua being on pace to surpass the Dominican Republic as the largest exporter of cigars to the United States, one of the best indications of Nicaragua’s rise to prominence has been the fact that historically Dominican-centric brands are now creating Nicaraguan offshoots. Five years ago, this trend would be unthinkable. Examples include La Gloria Cubana, Davidoff, and Romeo y Julieta. And now we can add the storied Montecristo brand to the list. Altadis this week announced the release of Espada by Montecristo, a Nicaraguan puro with a Habano Jalapa Vintage 2010 wrapper, a Habano Jalapa Vintage 2009 binder, and a blend of filler tobaccos from Jalapa, Ometepe, and Condega. Espada is Spanish for sword. It will come in three sizes— Ricasso (5 x 54), Guard (6 x 50), and Quillon (7 x 56)—and retail for $11.25 to $12.50. Espada is made for Altadis by the Plasencia family. It will be packaged in suede boxes of 10.

2) According to a Reuters report, the FDA proposal to regulate cigars and e-cigarettes was made less drastic by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) when they reviewed it prior to the deeming document being issued for public comment. The article states OMB “weakened language detailing health risks from cigars… [and] deleted language in the [proposal] describing how the rules would keep thousands of people from taking up cigar smoking and have enormous public health benefits.” Further, according to the report, “OMB turned the FDA’s proposal as it relates to cigars from a two-part rule—one for traditional tobacco products and one for products that have not previously been regulated—into a ‘two-option’ rule, one of which would exempt ‘premium cigars.’” While the exact reasoning for the changes is just speculation, it’s worth noting OMB is responsible for evaluating the economic impact of proposed rules which, absent a premium cigar exemption, would be devastating to the handmade cigar industry. Another possible reason for the changes is if the FDA includes unsupported claims, it becomes easier for the rules to be challenged.

3) Inside the Industry: My Father Cigars is expected to launch its first Connecticut-wrapped line at the upcoming IPCPR Trade Show. Crafted in Estelí, the cigar will be called My Father Connecticut and feature an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper around tobaccos from the Garcia family’s farms: a Nicaraguan Corojo binder and a filler blend of Habano and Criollo leaves from Nicaragua. My Father Connecticut will be offered in Robusto, Toro, Toro Gordo, and Corona Gorda formats. It will retail for $7.30 to $9.40.

4) Deal of the Week: The Smoke Inn clearance section currently has a number of notable deals. Acclaimed cigars on sale include Añoranzas, La Dueña, Quesda Q d’Etat Daga, El Tiante Habano Oscuro, Nestor Miranda Grand Reserve 2012, and others.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Altadis USA

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 388

20 Jun 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.

KFC Flying Pig1) Drew Estate has announced its Kentucky Fire Cured blend will soon be offered in the “Flying Pig” format (3.9 x 60), a unique cigar shape that’s short, thick in the middle, and tapered at the foot and head. Drew Estate has released other Flying Pig cigars before, including the Liga Privada No. 9. The official unveiling will be at a private event at Oxmoor Smoke Shoppe in Louisville, Kentucky; the nationwide release will be at the IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas next month. “Kentucky is obviously a major inspiration for the Kentucky Fire Cured line, and that inspiration comes through in everything from the blend profile to the iconic imagery,” said Jonathan Drew, who will personally attend the event in Louisville. “The tobacco that gives the Kentucky Fire Cured line its distinctive smoky aroma and flavor is grown right here in Kentucky.” You can expect 12-count boxes of Kentucky Fire Cured Flying Pigs to start shipping to your local retailers in September.

2) To celebrate 20 years of cigar making, Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana will be releasing a yet-to-be-named limited edition cigar that will be packaged in porcelain Oktoberfest beer steins. The cigars are expected to feature Mexican San Andrés wrappers around Dominican tobaccos. Come September, Gomez is expecting to ship 60,000 of these special anniversary cigars in 20-count steins.

3) Inside the Industry: 7-20-4 cigars has announced a new “Factory 57″ line, which will use a Jalapa Habano wrapper, a Costa Rican binder, and filler from Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Colombia; it will come in four sizes retailing for $6.75 to $9. Nat Cicco is adding a Habano-wrapped version to its HHB line.

4) Deal of the Week: This “silver tray special” sampler features five cigars for $26 (35% off normal retail). Included are the Tatuaje Noella, Alec Bradley Prensado, H. Upmann Maduro Corona, CAO Gold Double Robusto, and Romeo y Julieta 1875 Petite #2.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Drew Estate

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 387

13 Jun 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.

Cohiba Cigar1) The latest decision in the long legal battle over the Cohiba trademark in the United States is a win for Cubatobaco. Since 1997 the Cuban national tobacco company has been attempting to have the Cohiba trademark, now owned by General Cigar, cancelled. The latest decision, by the Federal Circuit Court in DC, will let the Cuban company proceed with its attempt to have General Cigar’s Cohiba trademark cancelled and to obtain the valuable trademark, and opens the door to even more litigation. The ongoing legal battle involves two of the largest players in the American cigar market since General Cigar is the current owner and the Cuban cigar distribution company Habanos is partially owned by the parent company of Altadis USA.

2) Camacho Cigars is introducing its first Nicaraguan puro. The BG Meyer Standard Issue is the company’s first cigar linked to writer/director Rob Weiss, a member of Camacho’s “Board of the Bold,”  known for his work on the series Entourage. According to Camacho, BG Meyer is “a medium to full intensity smoke featuring five different tobaccos that have aged for up to 8 years. Available in five popular formats… and will retail from $8 to $10.”

3) Inside the Industry: Last week Joya de Nicaragua announced its latest cigar line, Joya Red. Since the announcement last week, the company announced that, due to a conflict with the name Cardinal, Joya de Nicaragua has changed the vitola name to of the 5.5-inch vitola to Cañonazo. While Joya’s statement doesn’t say who the conflict is with, it almost certainly is E.P. Carrillo, who has a line of cigars called Cardinal.

4) Deal of the Week: The Stogie Guys Sampler at Corona Cigar Co. was recently updated. Just $30 gets you 7 cigars, including an Undercrown and the limited Avo Lounge cigar.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 386

6 Jun 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.

Miami Cigar1) In preparation for the 2014 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) Trade Show, which will take place in Las Vegas in July, Miami Cigar & Co. this week unveiled its new look, which coincides with the outfit’s 25th anniversary. “Along with the unveiling of the new design elements at the show, Miami Cigar & Co. will host a by-invitation 25th anniversary event at the fabulous Hyde Bellagio Las Vegas,” reads a press release. “The event…will welcome friends, colleagues, media, collaborators, and celebrities who have helped Miami Cigar & Co. reach this milestone. The event will also symbolize a passing of the torch as Nestor Miranda has decided to pass along day-to-day operations to his son-in-law, Jason Wood.” Wood is currently vice president of the company. “It has been an honor for me to begin the process of creating a new look and feel which is worthy of what Nestor Miranda and the Miami Cigar & Co. team have accomplished over the last 25 years,” he said.

2) Jeff Borysiewicz, president of Corona Cigar Co., has stepped down as chairman of Cigar Rights of America to spend more time with his family, concentrate on his cigar shops in Florida, and focus on his first crop of Florida Sun Grown tobacco. He will be succeeded by Robert Levin, president of Ashton and the Holt’s of Philadelphia. “We sincerely thank Jeff for his hard work for the last four years,” said Levin. “We would not be having the discussion of an exemption for premium cigars were it not for the legislative efforts of Jeff and the CRA staff and team of advocates. Jeff will remain active with our advocacy and legislative efforts, offering his expertise and passion for the premium cigar industry.”

3) Inside the Industry: Joya de Nicaragua has revealed its latest cigar line, which is called Joya Red. It was “developed for the modern smoker by the youngest executive team in the industry, together with the most senior master blenders of Nicaragua,” according to a press release. The Nicaraguan puro will come in four sizes and be positioned as a milder Joya smoke, using a Habano wrapper of a lower priming than usual, and featuring less ligero tobacco than is typical of the oldest cigar maker in Nicaragua.

4) Around the Blogs: Cigar Fan fires up the East India Trading Company Rogue. Cigar Inspector inspects the Cult Ometepe. Stogie Fresh smokes the Liga Privada Único Serie L40. Stogie Review reviews the Eiroa Prensado.

5) Deal of the Week: This sampler lands you five premium cigars for just $26. Included are such highly-rated sticks as the Fausto FT166, Sindicato Affinity Belicoso, Cain F 654T, Montecristo Classic No. 3, and the Vega Fina Robusto.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Miami Cigar & Co.

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 385

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.

No Smoking1) 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).

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 384

23 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.

FDA1) In a post on the Nomad Cigar Company website, brand owner Fred Rewey lays out five concerns about the proposed FDA regulations for cigars. The entire piece is worth a read, but one part is particularly noteworthy: “The process would be cumbersome and costly. So costly that I suspect you will see as much as 30% of cigar brands disappear overnight. My concern is that some of the big guys will actually see this as a benefit—not weighing in the long-term cost of being regulated…I know that sounds cynical, but we have seen it happen…even in our industry.” It’s a legitimate concern, and even though we haven’t seen any cracks in cigar industry unity so far, there’s always a chance that in pursuit of short-term profits one or multiple companies may see FDA regulations as a way to limit competition. (In fact, the FDA law was originally passed with the backing of Phillip Morris, who saw it as a way to lock in the market share of its brands, including Marlboro.) It’s another reason why the FDA needs to hear not only from the cigar industry but also from consumers who want to protect their right as adults to enjoy handmade cigars. Make your voice heard here.

2) In what must be a first, 262 Cigars released a song to go with their new cigar, Allegiance. The song was written and performed by 262′s Mike Justice along with guest rapper Brunson. The cigar is produced at the Tabacalera Carreras factory in Nicaragua with a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras.

3) Pinar del Rio is coming out with the Flores y Rodriguez 10 Anniversary Reserva Limitada in celebration of 10 years since Abe Flores and the Rodriguez Brothers came together to create the Pinar del Rio brand. The cigar is made with a Habano Ecuador wrapper, an Olor binder from the Dominican Republic, and the filler is comprised of seven-year-old Dominican Piloto Cubano leaf along with Nicaraguan tobaccos from Jalapa. The FyR 10th Anniversary Reserva Limitada will be released in three classic vitolas: Robusto, Grand Toro, and Wide Churchill with MSRPs of $9, $10, and $11, respectively.

4) Inside the Industry: Alec Bradley announced its new Family Blend Lineage featuring a Honduran wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. Smoke Inn introduced the eighth blend in its Microblend Series, the 601 La Bomba Bunker Buster (5.5 x 56), a figurado variation of Espinosa Cigar’s 601 La Bomba.

5) Deal of the Week: Looking for nice bottle of booze? Caskers is an email newsletter that finds you quality spirits and gets them delivered to your door (in more states than anywhere else we’ve come across). Sign up here for access to their store and for the latest craft spirit offerings, including hard-to-find single malt and bourbon whiskey.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys