News of the Week (September 02, 2017): New Aging Room, Alec Bradley and More

Aging Room Quattro F55 Blend

Image from https://www.cigarjournal.com

Welcome to our latest cigar news post! In this week’s post, we’ll take a look at some new releases and discuss some changes in the industry. We’ll also touch down on a few important legal updates.

New and Upcoming Releases:

  • To kick it off, this has been an exciting month for Aging Room fans. As you likely know, in 2013, Founder Rafael Nodal produced the Aging Room Quattro F55 blend in collaboration with Jochy Blanco. Now, a new version of that award-winning cigar has been released, this time with a Mexican San Andres Morrón wrapper and Dominican Habano binder and filler. The cigars are box-pressed and will be limited to a run of 40,000 boxes per year, each containing 10 cigars.
  • Another exciting new release is Alec Bradley’s TAA Exclusive cigar, Black Market Illicit. While this is not the first time Alec Bradley has developed a cigar exclusive to TAA, it has been quite a while—the last time was 2013 (the Prensado Figurado). Owner Alan Rubin has described the Black Market Illicit as the original Black Market “on steroids.” It consists of a Nicaraguan filler, a Honduran and Nicaraguan binder, and a Nicaraguan wrapper. You can only buy it in one size: a 6x50 Toro.

Industry News:

  • In our first item of industry news, Beat Hauenstein, previously the COO of Oettinger Davidoff, has just taken over as the CEO. Hauenstein has been with the company since 2003. The previous CEO, Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, is departing so that he can focus on his external board and consultancy duties.
  • In other industry news, Drew Estate has recently announced that it is partnering up with STG Canada. Effective August 28th, STG Canada is the manufacturer’s new exclusive distribution partner in Canada.

Legal News:

  • Let’s give the bad news before the good. Unfortunately for residents of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, it is no longer possible to purchase tobacco at age 18. The minimum age has been raised to 21. Curiously enough, the entire village health commission rejected the ordinance, but the village board voted it into effect anyway. Let’s hope that means that there is enough resistance to eventually get this new restriction overturned for Buffalo Grove’s 40,000 residents.
  • In other discouraging news (don’t worry—it hasn’t been all bad this month on the legal front), New York City’s Committee on Health has passed several items of anti-tobacco legislation. Combined, these are going to have a significant impact on the cost of cigars in the city. The new legislation will set minimum thresholds for cigar prices, so starting next year, it will be a lot more expensive to shop for stogies locally. The only upshot is that some of the extra revenue will be going to public housing programs in the city.
  • In very good legal news, the FDA has given the premium cigar industry more time to send over information on the manufacturing and ingredients of their cigars. The original deadline was next February, but it has now been moved to August 2021. This means that the industry has been granted a significant extension of time to push for exemption from the harsh new FDA restrictions on tobacco products. This is a conversation which the FDA seems increasingly interested in having, so it is now more important than ever for those in the cigar community to lift up their voices and be heard.

Thanks for stopping by to check out the latest news in the cigar world! Check back with us soon for more updates!

Buffalo Music and Cigar Festival – USA Event

Western New York’s first ever cigar and music festival is coming to town on September 23rd. Novices and aficionados alike (and even non-cigar-smoking music lovers) are welcomed to this single-day event brought to us by Orchard Park’s own Buffalo Cigars.

Fellow cigar lovers know Buffalo Cigars is WNY’s very own “Cuban style slice of cigar heaven” featuring over 30,000 cigars in inventory, hundreds of cigar accessories, cigar lockers and a gorgeous lounge to relax in.

As a Buffalo Cigar & Music Festival attendee, you’ll enjoy a day dedicated to celebrating the legacy of cigar smoking, accompanied by an all-day lineup of music, great beer and a ton of food. Cigar Lover & VIP ticket holders will be greeted with a gift bag containing approximately 15 premium cigars, a cutter and other great cigar-related items. Food will be plentiful, with a pig roast on site, hamburgers, hot dogs and more (all included with an admission ticket). In addition, a variety of local food trucks will be available all day during the event. Beer will be provided and served by Hamburg Brewing Company, the festival’s official beer sponsor. Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas and maybe even a few other special guests will be in attendance for meet-and-greets and to sign autographs!

VIP tickets are available for purchase and include access to the Ventura VIP Tent Lounge where guests can enjoy comfortable lounge seating and exclusive meet & greets with special guests. The VIP ticket also includes extra beer tickets and a commemorative Buffalo Cigar Fest t-shirt.

Cigar Showcases will take place from 2:00pm – 6:00pm throughout the festival. Guests can stop by the Cigar Vendor Tent to watch various cigar-related presentations hosted by special guests from major cigar & accessory manufacturers. Cigar vendors include XIKAR, Altadis, General Cigars, Romeo y Julieta, Cohiba, Foundry, CAO, Ventura Cigar Co, Brioso, & MORE! All cigar vendors will have their cigars and accessories available for purchase.


You have 3 options.

Cigar Lover: $99
This ticket gets you a cigar freshly hand-rolled by Buffalo Cigars’ own Alejandro, all you can eat food (pig roast, burgers, dogs+) and 2 beers at the fest, access to all cigar vendors/showcase areas, and a goodie bag filled with at least 15 premium cigars to take home. Additional beer purchased at nominal price (Must be 18+)

VIP Aficionado- $139
The VIP experience comes with additional perks, such as access to the VIP tent lounge, meet-and-greets with special guests, and preferred & reserved parking. Plus, you get 3 extra beers. (Must be 18+)

Concert Only- $29
Everyone’s welcome at this event, even if you aren’t a cigar lover. In fact, there’s a ticket just for you. With a Concert Only ticket, you can enjoy the music all day long, and purchase plenty of food and beer on-site.

Get ready to light up, drink up, eat up, and celebrate at the Buffalo Cigar & Music Festival. For this event, coming close, but no cigar is a major misfortune. Mark your calendar, get tickets while they last, and thank us later.

BUFFALO CIGAR & MUSIC FESTIVAL

DATE: Saturday, Sept. 23

TIME: 12-8 p.m.

WHERE: Wings Meeting Place Pavilion, Orchard Park, NY

TICKETS & MORE INFO: www.buffalocigarfest.com

News of the Week – IPCPR Updates and More

Drew Estate Booth at IPCPR

Drew Estate Booth at IPCPR. Image credit: The Cigar Authority

As you probably know, the IPCPR trade show for this year just wrapped up, running from Monday, July 10th through Friday, July 14th. So there has been a lot of news over the past week. Let’s catch up on some of the highlights.

Click here to read the full article...

Cohiba Talisman EL 2017 – Launch Evening

There are many new exciting releases this year. The new Cohiba 2017 limited edition, called Talisman is one of them. This big size cigar (154 X 54) may become another big collector items.

Like every year, Habanos S.A. will host a launch evening to promote the new Limited edition cigars. Last year the Romeo y Julieta Capuletos was presented first in the Italian city of Verona, organised by the country's exclusive distributor Diademas S.P.A.
A very limited number of guests including Habanos Specialists, representatives of Smoking Clubs, Habanos Exclusive Distributors from other countries, media and influencers are usually part of that special event.

This year the Cohiba Talisman will most probably be launched on the land of Hunters and Frankau. Exclusive distributor for the United Kingdom. If the city of London is almost confirmed to be presenting the new gold and black double banded cigar, the date is a total mystery. I would guess not before October or November...

Let's see if the inspector was right or wrong...

Happy Smokes!

It’s That Time of the Year – Final Countdown – 24 days!

19th Habanos FestivalFollow the Inspector's live diary from Havana.

Latest news, cigar reviews and trends will be shared with you on a daily basis. Don’t miss out and stay tuned…

In a few weeks, 24 days to be precise, many of us will be in Havana attending the 19th Habanos Festival.

I am always very pleased to see the number of participants growing every year to attend the Festival. When looking at the tobacco industry being the target of our governments, with strange laws sometimes, to reduce the cigarette consumption without differentiating the beautiful world of premium cigars. The Festival keeps growing and attracts more and more Habanos lovers, HOURAAA!!!

So far, nothing has been announced for a potential release celebrating the 20th anniversary of Vegas Robaina, I think I know why and I will tell you as soon as I get the confirmation!

From what we know the Gran Reserva release for this year will be the H. Upmann Sir Winston. Habanos S.A. will also present new vitolas increasing the Montecristo selection, with a new range called 1935 (year of creation of Montecristo), and French’s favorite marqua, Quay d’Orsay.

The inspector will be in Cuba during the Festival and will be your reporter sharing all the news and insights in “almost live”, so make sure you check out everyday my diary and as well reviews of all the cigars we will be enjoying.

Coming back to the awaited H. Upmann Sir Winston Gran Reserva, we will post a review of the current production Sir Winston just before flying to Havana and will share the Gran Reserva review from Havana. So let’s see the difference.

Happy Smokes everyone.

All Out Kings Delayed Until March, New Alec Bradley

All out Kings coming March 2017

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).

Industry News:

  • 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.

Legal News:

  • 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!

New Viaje, La Flor Dominicana + Legislative Updates

Viaje Holiday Blend 2016

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.

Industry News:

  • 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.

Legal News:

  • 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!

Fidel Castro Dead at 90, New Oliva, Montecristo

Fidel Castro Dead at 90

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!

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