The Ramon Allones Club Allones was released in 2015 as a limited edition by Habanos S.A. I heard a lot of great things about this cigar, so I was excited to give it a try. How did it measure up? Well … honestly it wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be. Read on to find out what my experience was like.
Happy Holidays to all our readers here on Cigar Inspector! With 2016 drawing to a close, let’s check out what we have to look forward to heading into 2017 with new cigar releases. We’ll also share some industry and legislative news updates with you.
New and Upcoming Releases:
The 2016 Alec Bradley HJ10-I Fine & Rare blend is currently shipping out to retailers around the globe. This version will measure 6 inches with a 52 ring gauge. The Fine & Rare includes seven different types of filler tobacco from Esteli and Jalapa as well as the Trojes Region of Honduras. There is an Esteli and Trojes double binder and a Trojes corojo wrapper. In total, that is ten different types of tobacco. Only 2,000 boxes of ten cigars each will be released.
If you are a fan of Drew Estate or Caldwell Cigar Co., you probably have been closely following news about their collaboration, All Out Kings. Originally it was anticipated that All Out Kings would ship in November this year, but delays have pushed the release to next year. Now it has been announced that the All Out Kings cigars will finally be available in March of 2017. There will be four sizes in all: Smash (5 x 52), Foreverlast (6 ½ x 54), Give Me Your Lunch Money (5 ¾ x 46), and The Fourth Pose (6 x 54).
Sosa Cigars has just been acquired by A.J. Fernandez, who purchased them from the company by the same name. Included in this purchase are all the brands which fall under the Sosa family of cigars, including Santa Julia, Imperio Cubano, and Sosa Classic. What changes can we expect? Celina Contreras Sosa stated, “While the blends will remain the same, they will be made using the techniques and curing processes mastered by A.J. Fernandez as well as his own grown tobacco made with his special knowledge.”
As you likely have noticed, a lot of cigar companies are being forced to raise their prices to cope with the rising costs associated with new regulations. Perdomo is now the latest company to announce a price hike. This is expected to amount to an average of around 37 cents per cigar. The new prices will go into effect as of January 1st.
Cigar companies which are behind schedule implementing changes to conform to the new FDA regulations are being granted a six-month extension. The new registration deadline has been pushed back to June 30th, 2017.
Orange County, New York just became the latest to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco to 21. The new law will go into effect on June 1st, 2017. Retailers could be fined up to $1,500 per offense.
Bogalusa City, Louisiana just passed the most restrictive ban on smoking in the entire state. Smoking in Bogalusa City is now illegal in all indoor facilities inside city limits with the exception of tobacconists, hotel rooms, private residences, and vehicles. If you are visiting Bogalusa or reside there, you can no longer even smoke inside a bar or gaming facility.
Meanwhile, Clarkdale, Arizona has rejected a bill to push the minimum purchase age for tobacco to 21.
Thanks for checking in with us for this week’s cigar news updates! Check back in soon for more!
I was hunting for something new to try for the holidays this year, and Velvet Fig by Wemyss Malts caught my eye. This is a limited edition blend, but it wasn’t too hard to find it for under $50. Interestingly enough, it’s the first blended malt whisky from Wemyss which hasn’t been chill-filtered. It’s also the first to contain 46% alcohol. It’s been matured in Oloroso sherry casks, so I went into this expecting some sweetness and that distinctive sherry flavour.
In the bottle, Velvet Fig has a beautiful, rich deep amber brown color that is almost red. The label contains a band of lilac color which offsets the amber nicely. Opening the bottle, I smelled a delicious blend of poached pears, wine, raisins, oak, apple pie, cinnamon, cloves, and something very much like cake.
In terms of flavor, this was very sweet, just as I expected, but not sickly sweet. There was a lot of spice in there to keep the flavors balanced. I tasted caramel apples, raisins, cherries, apricots, figs, and plenty of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. There was definitely something in there like scones or fruitcake. The liquid was thick with a syrupy consistency, and the finish was long and smooth and lingered. The last note I tasted reminded me of roasted chestnuts.
You are not going to find a better choice of the holidays, and at under $50 a bottle, this is a good deal especially for a limited edition. If you do not like a lot of sweetness, you may want to steer clear, but if you don’t mind it and are looking for a dessert dram, you should love it.
Wemyss Malts Velvet Fig : Review Summary
Color: Deep reddish amber.
Nose: Smells like Christmas: Poached pears in wine, oak, apple pie, rains, cloves, cinnamon, cake.
Welcome back to another installment in our regular news feature here at Cigar Inspector. Quite a lot has transpired, particularly on the legal front. We have a few new releases to share with you as well.
New and Upcoming Releases:
Viaje fans can look forward to some holiday cheer in the form of a special Holiday Blend release (as yet unnamed). This cigar will be packaged with an Edición Limitada band. Only 200 bundles (not boxes) will ever be produced, each with 20 cigars. So far there are no details on either the pricing or the blend. We do know that the cigar will measure 5 x 58, making it the second thickest Viaje Holiday Blend to date, following the 2013 Christmas Tree. The Holiday Blend Candy Cane will also come back this year with the Edición Limitada band. In 2015, the Candy Cane cost $12 per cigar and featured an Ecuadorian and Brazilian wrapper with Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco inside. There is no word yet on the pricing or blend this year.
La Flor Dominicana has just shipped out the TCFKA “M” Collector’s Edition to retailers. This year’s release is again a perfecto measuring 7 x 57. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra with oscuro accents. You can buy these cigars in boxes of five.
New releases have been announced for the upcoming Festival del Habanos. The first of these is the Sir Winston Churchill Gran Reserva Cosecha 2011, which will be the first Gran Reserva from H. Upmann. Another new introduction will be the Montecristo 1935, which will apparently include some sizes traditionally in the main line, but there are still no other details on this extension. Finally, Quai d'Orsay will introduce some new cigar sizes—no further information has been released concerning these either.
General Cigars has parted ways with its vice president of marketing, Alan Willner, who has been replaced (in the interim) by company president Régis Broersma. Broersma took over General Cigar operations almost exactly one year ago. The official statement provided no details to the reason for the change.
Starting with the good news first, Sioux Falls, South Dakota rejected a proposal to ban smoking in parks. It was a strong victory, with six of the city’s eight council members opposing the ban. A considerably reduced version was approved instead. Smoking is banned near playgrounds and youth recreation areas, but is still completely legal at the city’s two golf courses and other outdoor entertainment venues.
Meanwhile, Olympia, Washington has approved a ban on smoking in parks and recreation areas. This ban will go into effect on January 1, 2018, so Olympia residents can still smoke in these public venues for another year. The rumor about the ban is that it may not be used to target and fine smokers so much as to educate the public. Signage and polite reminders will generally be used to enforce the ban before fines are imposed.
Also in the pile of bad news, Columbus, Ohio has just approved an increase in the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21. This change will go into effect 10 months from now. This is bad news for retailers in particular, who will have to purchase a $150 license every year to fund compliance checks with the new law.
You may know that there is a joint lawsuit which has been filed against the FDA by the CAA, CRA, and IPCPR. This lawsuit includes nine different complaints. The court date has just been set for July 28th, 2017. The outcome of this case will be momentous for the cigar industry.
With the transfer of power in the White House and Fidel Castro’s death, the future of Cuba-USA relations is uncertain. American Airlines is scaling back its USA-Cuba flights. As of February 16th, there will only be one flight a day to Varadero, Holguin, and Santa Clara. Even with the changes, American Airlines will remain the top airline for flights between the two countries. There is no comment as to the reason for the change save for the airline to “remain competitive.”
Thanks for dropping by to check on the latest cigar news updates! Be sure to check back in with us soon!
Origin : Nicaragua Format : Lancero Size : 7 x 38 Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano Light Claro Filler : Undisclosed Binder : Half Mexican San Andres/Half Jalapa Seco Leaf Hand-Made (factory: New Order of the Ages (NOA)) Body : Medium to Medium-Full Price : $9.50 each
The idea came from one man, Riste Risteski, who was disappointed with most cigars currently available on the market. Smoking mainly Cuban cigars, he wanted to create a profile which maintained Cuban standards, while adding an interesting yet elegant twist. He wanted to add value to what is already a saturated boutique market. Being Macedonian and both large in stature AND personality, the name for this cigar came easily, JAS SUM KRAL, I AM KING in English.
He noticed many of those calling themselves boutique cigar makers, weren’t involved in the actual blending process. He decided the only way to properly create JAS SUM KRAL, was to set out to find the right factory. After speaking with several trusted individuals in the industry, he decided on New Order of the Ages, owned by master blender, Noel Rojas.
Upon arriving in Esteli, Noel suggested getting right to work. Having discussed with Noel prior to arriving Noel already had a profile in mind. Riste and Noel sampled leaf after leaf of the finest tobacco. Finally assembling what is sure to change the boutique cigar market. We are extremely proud and excited to release JAS SUM KRAL. We hope that you will join Riste on this journey.
Riste is a hard-working guy who is very present on social media. It’s been fun to watch his boutique brand take off, and great reviews have come flooding in over and over. Let’s take a look at the JSK Red Knight Lancero.
We are a little late in announcing winners for the Cuban cigars contest we ran in November. We had almost 1,000 participants, a record! This definitely has something to do with the exceptional prizes we had, thanks to Tobias from VIPCigars. Here are the lucky readers who won:
An astounding number of famous people have died in 2016 … and now we can add none other than Cuba’s cigar-toting President, Fidel Castro, to the list. Fidel Castro’s health had been deteriorating for some time, and he passed away on Friday, November 25th.
Everyone will remember Fidel Castro for something different. To some he was a heroic revolutionary, to others a tyrannical despot. But for the cigar industry, he was a revolution. It was Fidel Castro who made Cuba’s cigar brands and factories state property, nationalizing the entire industry.
Cuban cigars are of course known the world over for their quality. If you live in the USA, you have struggled to get your hands on them for decades thanks to long-standing trade embargoes between the two countries. But ever since President Obama started normalizing affairs with Cuba, that has started to change. You can now travel to Cuba and bring home as many cigars as you want.
Looking to the future now, we have no idea what to expect for Cuban cigars, or for trade between the USA and Cuba. With Fidel Castro gone and Trump the president-elect in the USA, it is impossible to guess at what will happen next. I suggest snapping up as many cigars as you can now; who knows how long open trade will be in place. It is best to take advantage while we can.
In the meantime, at least the rest of this week’s news is decidedly positive. Not a lot is going on in the regulatory world, but we have a number of new and returning cigar releases to report.
New and Upcoming Releases:
The Oliva Serie V Maduro 2016 has made its way to retailers. It is basically identical to last year’s version. Measuring 6 x 60, it has a Mexican San Andrés wrapper and carries a price of around $10 per stick. The total number which will be produced is 60,000.
A new box-pressed Montecristo cigar is being manufactured by Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. in Nicaragua. This blend features Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers inside a Mexican San Andrés binder and an Ecuadorian Sumatra oscuro wrapper. It comes in five sizes: Churchill (7 x 50), Figurado (4 x 52), Gordo (6 x 58), Robusto (5 x 52) and Toro (6 x 50), and will cost between $9.95-$12.50.
Several of Tatuaje’s cigars are making a comeback, among them the highly sought-after Pork Tenderloin. The other two cigars which will once again be made available include the Porkchop and Le Vignoble. All three are being re-released as part of Pete Johnson’s Oh F*ck I’m Lost tour. During the tour, Johnson will visit seven different cities and participate in events at nine different retailers. This is the perfect time to restock on some of your favorite Tatujae cigars which you have been missing!
If you have been searching for the CAO Amazon Basin in the USA, good news—the sold-out brand is making a comeback in a single size, a 6 x 52 Toro. The Amazon Basin sold out very quickly in 2014, so act fast to grab a box of these before they are gone.
A new Cuban exclusive has just been released, the Saint Luis Rey Marquez. This cigar was first offered to participants attending the Partagás Festival in Havana a couple weeks ago. The cigar measures 5 7/8 inches with a 54 ring gauge, and comes in boxes of 10. Only 7,500 boxes are being produced. You can purchase a box of Saint Luis Rey Marquez cigars for 116 CUCs.
Drew Estate is bringing back Pappy Van Winkle cigars this year with a couple new sizes. In 2015, the only sizes available were Toro and Robusto. In 2016, the brand will add Churchill and Pappy Drew Limitada sizes. The latter is a distinctive figurado based on the Liga Privada Feral Flying Pig. The new cigars are currently being shipped to retailers, but are already available to order online.
Thanks for checking in with us for this week’s cigar news updates! Be sure to check back again soon!