In this week’s news, we have some exciting new releases from Drew Estate, Alec Bradley and La Flor Dominicana. Let’s check them out!
New and Upcoming Releases:
Drew Estate has announced the release of a new cigar exclusively for Stogies World Class Cigars of Houston, Texas, called the Herrera Estelí Edicion Limitada H-Town Lancero. This 7 x 38 cigar will come in packages of 10 and will feature Nicaraguan fillers in a Brazilian Mata Fina binder and a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.
Yet another new cigar has inconspicuously made its way to retail shelves. This time it is the Alec Bradley Medio Fuerte Liga de Reyes, which appeared sneakily on the shelves of Atlantic Cigar. The new smoke includes filler leaves from Nicaragua and Honduras inside a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. It is classified by the retailer as a “solid medium-bodied smoke,” and comes in seven sizes: 770, Churchill, Corona, Gordo, Robusto, Torpedo, and Toro.
Meanwhile, La Flor Dominicana is reviving the 2000 Series and adding two brand new sizes. All but one of the existing sizes was discontinued back in 2013. All the old sizes are being brought back, along with the new Lancero and Chisel sizes. The new version of the 2000 Series will include the same Cameroon wrapper, Dominican binder and Dominican filler.
As you are likely aware, many cigar companies have been raising their prices lately in response to the new regulations by the FDA. Rocky Patel is the latest to join the lot, having recently sent out a letter to retailers announcing a 5% increase on all products across the board—with the exception of the Rocky Patel Decade (which will increase in cost by 2.5%), and the Rocky Patel Vintage Juniors (which will go up in price by 5 cents for each cigar). The new costs will be implemented starting on November 15th. So now is the time to get in those Rocky Patel orders—before prices go up!
Two cities in California have just banned smoking in parks: Calistoga and Kerman. The Calistoga ban additionally prohibits smoking in lots which are adjacent to parks. The Kerman ban prohibits the sale or exchange of tobacco products in parks along with smoking.
Thank you for checking in with us for this week’s cigar updates!
With elections just around the corner, the Obama administration has given one last gift to the cigar community domestically and abroad—and that is a complete lift of the ban on Cuban cigars and rum.
As of Monday, you will now be able to bring back as much Cuban rum and as many Cuban cigars as you want when you visit Cuba and return to the US. You also can purchase Cuban cigars in other countries and bring them back. So long as you are importing the cigars and rum for your own personal consumption (and not for retail purposes), you are good to go.
The only restriction still standing is on online sales. Sadly you do still need to travel in person to pick up your cigars. You cannot buy them through a website and have them shipped to you stateside.
This is the latest step in the normalization process announced by US President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on December 17th, 2014.
On Friday, Obama also charted a path for the future which will hopefully cancel out the economic embargo on Cuba altogether. The goal is to build numerous ties between the US and Cuba so that the fates of the two countries are positively intertwined. This will make it difficult for any future administration to try and reinstate the embargoes and cut off relations.
As you may be aware, some action was already taken in January of 2015 to reduce restrictions on Cuban rum and cigar imports. But previously, you could only bring back $100 worth of cigars and rum in your carry-on. Now there are no restrictions, save for this: “normal limits on duty and tax exemptions will apply.”
Speaking on the change, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said, "These steps have the potential to accelerate constructive change and unlock greater economic opportunity for Cubans and Americans.”
There is no doubt that this will be a game-changing boon to the cigar industry. While the benefits will center on Cuba and the US, there will be a positive ripple effect which stimulates cigar sales throughout the world!
It’s that time again … time for a round-up on all the news in the cigar industry! This week we have some updates for you on new releases from some of your favorite cigar brands. There is also some news on the legislative front (a mixed bag, as usual), and a festival announcement from Habanos. Let’s check it out.
New and Upcoming Releases:
This month, Davidoff will be launching the New Royal Series. Sound familiar? This release is more than a new look. The wrapper is changing from the Ecuadorian one used previously to an Aromatica Dominicana. This wrapper will be exclusive to the New Royal Series. Only 8 individuals are involved with wrapping the cigars by hand, each of whom has 15 or more years of experience.
Tatuaje has announced its “Unlucky 13” list of retailers for the year, each of which will receive special boxes of the 2016 Monster Series, starting with the Krueger, which has already shipped.
Viaje has just announced a couple of new projects. This includes the Full Moon release for 2016 (Full Moon has been shipped every year since 2013), which will be a Collector’s Edition, and the new Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua. This cigar looks a lot like the Exclusivo line which already exists, except that there is a new band and packaging, and it is also a brand new blend manufactured at the TABSA factory in Nicaragua.
As you likely know, a lot of cigar releases this year have been simply “appearing” on shelves because manufacturers have been forced to release them early in limited quantities to select retailers to get in under the new FDA deadline. Well, the newest one to turn up is the Alec Bradley Corojo, found at STOGIES World Class Cigars in Houston. It comes in five sizes: Gordo, Robusto, Churchill, Torpedo and Toro, and costs $6-8.
Habanos S.A. will be releasing the Cohiba Selección 50 Aniversario Travel Humidor at the Tax Free World Association Exhibition in Cannes, France. As you might guess, these humidors will go on sale at duty free shops worldwide. Each comes with a special gift inside: eight Cohiba cigars. No release date or price has been announced yet.
Live in Fulton County, Georgia? Unfortunately, you will no longer be able to smoke in parks throughout the county. The seven-member board approved the ban unanimously, and tacked on a hefty fine to boot: $1,000 and 60 days in jail. Just in case you don’t live in Georgia, you need to know that this is a big deal, because Fulton County is very populous; it contains around 90% of the city of Atlanta. The cities of Alpharetta, College Park, Sandy Springs, and East Point are all inside county lines as well. So that is a lot of people who can no longer smoke in public parks.
In happier news, if you live in the state of California, you can still smoke cigars at state beaches and parks. As we recently reported, Governor Jerry Brown struck down a bill that would have banned smoking on public campuses throughout the state. Now he has vetoed a second bill which would have prohibited smoking at state parks and beaches. Brown’s veto message does suggest that some regulatory steps should be taken, but, “The complete prohibition in all parks and beaches is too broad.”
President Obama has just nominated the first ambassador to Cuba since 1961, Jeffrey DeLaurentis. This is a huge step forward in the normalization of relations, and like all other steps in that process, represents excellent news for cigar lovers in the US.
In one more exciting news item relating to Cuba, Habanos S.A. has just announced the dates for the 19th Festival del Habanos, which will commence on Monday, February 27th, and run through Friday, March 3rd. The featured cigar has yet to be announced.
And that wraps it up for this week’s cigar news updates. Be sure to check back soon for more industry news!
It has been a pretty good week all-around in the cigar world. There are a number of exciting new releases to share, and there is also some good news on the regulatory front. Let’s check it out.
New and Upcoming Releases:
As you may recall from literature class, Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet took place in Verona, Italy. Now Verona serves as the stage for launching the new Romeo y Julieta Capuletos, which measure 6 inches with a 53-ring gauge. This launch is part of a new program by Habanos to launch special release cigars in individual cities before pressing on to global distribution. There is no word yet as to when Romeo y Julieta Capuletos will be available worldwide.
If you were at IPCPR this year, you may have seen the new My Father release “The Judge.” But you may also know that the packaging was not yet finalized at the show. Well, now it is. These cigars feature a chestnut-brown band with the name “The Judge.” The color closely mimics that of the wrapper leaf on the cigar. There is also a Victorian-style logo. The overall effect is very stylish.
Alec Bradley will be releasing a new cigar with sun grown wrappers soon. We do not have a lot of details on this yet, because this is one of many products recently distributed in small quantities to limited retailers to get in under the FDA pre-approval deadline. The new product was spied at STOGIES World Class Cigars, and is billed as the Alec Bradley Havana Sun Grown. Four sizes will be available: Churchill, toro, torpedo and robusto, and the line will sell in the $7-$9 range.
As you may know, the Joya De Nicaragua Rosalones Reserva debuted recently in Spain. Now the company has announced that it will be shipping out the cigars to the rest of the European markets. Joya De Nicaragua Rosalones Reserva comes in four sizes and is priced in the $2.80-$5.00 range.
Over the past year, smokers in Worcester, Massachusetts have not been faring too well. The minimum age to buy tobacco jumped from 18 to 21, and smoking has been banned in a number of establishments. Tobacco retailers have also faced new restrictions. There is finally some good news on this front, however; the Worcester Board of Health has decided not to ban smoking in the patio areas of restaurants and bars, and has also opted not to ban flavored tobacco products from being sold. These motions are now off the table until further notice.
Finally, in one more item of encouraging regulatory news, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed legislation which would have banned smoking on public university campuses throughout the state of California. Public universities will remain free to set their own rules.
Thanks for checking in with us for this week’s cigar updates. Be sure to check back soon for more cigar news!
With summer drawing to a close, it is time for another round of cigar news. This week we have a lot of legal news to report. Some of it is good, some of it isn’t—as usual it is a mixed bag for the cigar industry. But first, let’s talk about new releases.
New and Upcoming Releases:
Fans of the Illusione Ultra line will be excited to learn that there are now two new formats available: a Churchill and a short robusto. The short robusto is known as the Op. No. 3, and measures 4 1/4 inches with a 50-ring gauge. You can purchase it for $8. The Churchill is the Op. No. 8, measuring 6 3/4 with a 48-ring gauge. The larger size will sell for $13. You can purchase the new sizes in boxes of 20, but there are also limited-edition 48-count boxes of the Op. No. 3, each adorned with special artwork.
Fans of Oettinger Davidoff AG and the Corona Cigar Company know these two cigar giants have enjoyed a longstanding business relationship. To celebrate that association, Davidoff is releasing a limited edition cigar to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Corona Cigar Company. The Davidoff Exclusive Corona Cigar Co. 20th is a 6 x 52 Belicoso featuring an Ecuador Connecticut Rojiza wrapper, a Mexico Negro San Andres Binder and a combination of Florida Sun Grown and Dominican Republic fillers.
You may know there is a ban on smoking in restaurants, casinos, bars, video lottery establishments, and package liquor stores in South Dakota. A business owner recently challenged this ruling and it went to the circuit court. Unfortunately, the ruling has now been reaffirmed and still stands, so this represents another loss for the cigar community.
The FDA has just issued its first set of warning letters to retailers who sell newly regulated tobacco products. The goal with these particular letters is to stop the sale of tobacco to minors. The FDA has been conducting inspections and issuing similar warnings (and penalties) since 2009, but the list of newly regulated products includes cigars. Fifty-five letters have been sent out so far to retailers across the country.
Did you know there is a ban prohibiting the donation of cigars to U.S. soldiers abroad? U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, D-Florida, is currently spearheading an effort to get the ban overturned by introducing H.R. 5955. Be sure to write in to your congressmen in support of the bill so our troops can get back to enjoying donated cigars on their tours of duty!
Finally, in a solid victory, the General Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee of New Jersey voted 9 to 1 to permit a municipality to authorize new cigar lounges. At the present time, cigar bars which opened prior to 2005 are exempt from the Smoke-Free Air Act. Patrons in these exempt bars can smoke, but patrons at newer lounges cannot. This bill will allow new cigar lounges the same rights as those which opened before 2005.
Here is one more exciting legal news item. After more than five decades, the U.S. Department of Transportation has finally approved flights to Havana! Eight airline companies will be participating. This is a great step forward in cementing commercial relations between the US and Cuba, and a great day for Cuban cigar fans in America.
Thank you for checking in for this week’s cigar news. Be sure to check back soon for another set of updates!
What’s been going on in the cigar industry? Here’s a quick overview of the top stories in the cigar world over the past couple weeks!
Altadis USA has just released a limited edition Romeo y Julieta aged for 11 years, predictably named the Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old. You can buy them in an 11-count box for a price of (you guessed it) … $11. Note that the “aged 11 years” here does not refer to the tobacco, but rather to the finished cigars, which have been on a shelf in a warehouse somewhere waiting that long to be sold and smoked.
J.C. Newman’s brand Perla del Mar was originally launched with a natural wrapper in 2012. Now a new line featuring maduro wrappers is being added. The Nicaraguan binder and filler will remain the same.
If you enjoy collecting cigar accessories as much as you enjoy collecting cigars, you may own a few products designed by French manufacturer Elie Bleu. If so, you will be stoked to learn that the company is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the introduction of the J-11 collection. These lighters feature a slick design available with six different durable lacquer finishes.
There is a good chance you already know this, but earlier this month, Carlos Fuente Sr. passed away from cancer. He was 81 years old. He was of course a legend in the cigar world, and stayed actively involved in his business up until the day he died, serving as chairman of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. He will be sorely missed by all cigar fans.
For once, we have a victory to report on the legal front. As you know, US tobacco companies have been struggling under harsh new restrictions on product packaging—including on cigars. On Tuesday, August 16th, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta sided with Altria Group Inc., Lorillard Inc., Reynolds American Inc. and their subsidiaries, who argued that their First Amendment rights were being violated by the FDA’s new rules. Hopefully this lays the groundwork for a productive conversation benefiting the cigar industry in America.
Thanks for checking in with us! Be sure to check back next week for more exciting cigar news!
As you probably know, this years IPCPR Convention just wrapped up a few days ago, running from July 24th-July 28th at Sands Expo in Las Vegas. Hopefully you already read our first update where we shared news on new releases from Drew Estate, General Cigar, Nat Sherman, Joya De Nicaragua and others. Now I would like to share some additional updates!
Davidoff of Geneva USA: Yamasá
Davidoff of Geneva USA is always a big booth, and this year it seemed larger than ever. There were numerous Davidoff products on display as well as products from a number of other big cigar brands: Room101, AVO, Camacho and Ditka.
The big deal however was definitely the Davidoff Yamasá, which is a brand new addition to the Davidoff catalog. This was its official unveiling and the first time that members of the public got a chance to smoke it.
The Yamasá includes a Dominican wrapper and binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler leaves. Flavors are bold and include notes of coffee, cedar, nuts and spices. It will be launching in August, and will be available in four sizes: - Davidoff Yamasá Petit Churchill (4 x 48) $12.90 (Box of 14, $180.60) - Davidoff Yamasá Robusto (5 x 50) $19.70 (Box of 12, $236.40) - Davidoff Yamasá Pirámides (6 1/8 x 52) $23 (Box of 12, $276) - Davidoff Yamasá Toro (6 x 52) $22.70 (Box of 12, $272.40)
The Yamasá is actually a somewhat fascinating story. It was pioneered by blender Henke Kelner, who has literally been working on it for 20 years. The name of the cigar pays tribute to the swampland of Yamasá. Unbelievably and against the odds (and the doubts of others), Kelner managed to convert the swamp into a tobacco-producing region. How and why? That part I am not sure about, but it is a spectacularly impressive feat resulting in a charismatic new cigar.
Oliva: Rebranding and Virtual Reality
The Oliva booth is another biggie. Overall it looked much like it did in previous years, but you could sense the change in ownership (J. Cortès now owns it). Perhaps this accounts for some of the re-branding of Oliva products, for example the Nub Café, which is now known as the Nub Nuance. Additionally, two new blends are available. The first is called the Nub Nuance Fall Harvest, which includes additional notes of pumpkin spice. The wrapper is Indonesian while the binder is Nicaraguan. The filler leaves are Nicaraguan and Dominican.
- Nub Nuance Fall Harvest 354 (3 3/4 x 54) $6.15 (Boxes of 20, $123) - Nub Nuance Fall Harvest 460 (4 x 60) $7.18 (Boxes of 20, $143.50) - Nub Nuance Fall Harvest 542 (5 x 42) $6.15 (Boxes of 20, $123)
The second new blend is the Winter Blend, which contains an added note of mint:
- Nub Nuance Winter Blend 354 (3 3/4 x 54) $6.15 (Boxes of 20, $123) - Nub Nuance Winter Blend 460 (4 x 60) $7.18 (Boxes of 20, $143.50) - Nub Nuance Winter Blend 542 (5 x 42) $6.15 (Boxes of 20, $123)
All of the new Nub Nuance cigars will be available in September.
New Nub Nuance blends were not the only means by which Oliva impressed booth visitors at IPCPR 2016. Oliva is a brand that is on top of the latest technology. If you happen to be a gamer, you probably are familiar with virtual reality headsets. VR headsets are cutting edge, but should soon be available for your PlayStation or Xbox console. As it turns out, their applications go far beyond gaming.
Oliva had the very cool idea of allowing trade show attendees to visit their company plantation and factories through a virtual reality tour. This is really quite an amazing concept and a mind-blowing and unique experience for everyone who dropped by the Oliva booth. As a bonus, Oliva demonstrated their generosity and appreciation to all of their dedicated buyers by giving away a complimentary cigar at the end of their virtual tour.
Avo's new blend this year is Classic Covers Volume 4. This cigar is based on the Avo Domaine, and includes Yamasá filler leaves, an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and an Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper. The Avo Syncro Nicaragua is also getting an expansion with the new Fogata.
Boutique Blends has four new cigars on the way. Two are Oliveros and two are Aging Room.
Recluse Cigar Company has announced the fourth expansion of their Draconian Blend with the Recluse Draconian Habano. This cigar includes a Sumatra binder and Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Dominican Ligero, Iconic Ligero, Braziago and Piloto Cubano fillers. It will be available in 14 formats.
Thanks for following along with this years IPCPR updates here on CigarInspector.com! Be sure to check back each week for ongoing industry news!
If you follow cigar news, you are doubtless aware that this week is one of the biggest of the year for the industry. The 84th Annual IPCPR Convention is taking place right now in Las Vegas, running from July 24th through July 28th. With the event in full swing, there is already a ton of news. Here is a rundown of some of what’s been happening at the show.
You may know that IPCPR opened up with a number of seminars, more than one of which involved the impending harsh regulations being imposed by the FDA. These seminars went well and provided an abundance of information and advice for large and small businesses. As you might expect, the entire convention has been abuzz about the changes. In fact, a number of brands were showcasing incomplete products or were unable to show off certain products because they are in such a hurry to complete them before the new rules come down.
Getting away from the legal aspects, let’s talk about some of the exciting new releases that have been announced at the event thus far.
Drew Estate: Undercrown Additions and More
Drew Estate made quite a few announcements at IPCPR this year. To start with, the Undercrown line will receive a number of extensions: Undercrown Shade Flying Pig, Undercrown Shade Churchill, Undercrown Shade Tubos, Undercrown Shade 10 Count Metal Tins, Undercrown Maduro Tubos, Undercrown Maduro Churchill, and Undercrown Maduro 10 Count Metal Tins. All of these were showcased at their booth.
What else does Drew Estate have cooking? Well, for one thing, the brand new Kentucky Fire Cured “Swamp Thang” as well as the Kentucky Fire Cured “Swamp Rat.” The Swamp Thang is a particularly interesting blend of smoky Kentucky Fire Cured tobaccos and a sweet candela wrapper. This is the first time in cigar history that these two flavors have been combined in the premium market.
Drew Estate is also extending the Herrera Estelí brand with the addition of the new Herrera Estelí Miami. The Herrera Estelí Miami features Dominican and Nicaraguan filler leaves in an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder with an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. As the name “Miami” indicates, the cigar is being manufactured in Miami, Florida. 10-count boxes will retail for $130.
General Cigar: Cohiba Macassar and La Amistad
General Cigar introduced the brand new Cohiba Macassar at this year’s IPCPR. This new blend features Nicaraguan Jalapa fillers in a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and a Connecticut Havano leaf wrapper. All of the tobacco used has been aged for over four years and finished in Dominican rum barrels.
Three vitolas will be available for purchase starting in August this year in the US.
Meanwhile, General Cigar’s Hoyo brand has a new limited edition line coming out in September called La Amistad. La Amistad will feature a Nicaraguan filler with a blend of Estelí, Ometepe, Condega and Jalapa leaves. The binder will also be Nicaraguan and the wrapper will be from Ecuador.
Four vitolas will be released:
Rothschild 4.5 x 50 (USD 6.49)
Robusto 5 x 54 (USD 7.59)
Toro 6 x 50 (USD 7.79)
Gigante 6 x 60 (USD 7.99)
My Father: New Lines + Accessories
In the past, My Father and Tatuaje shared booth space. This year the booths were located close together, but each had its own separate area. Even though that meant a lot more room overall, it didn’t contribute much in the way of elbow room. Both booths were extremely crowded.
This year, My Father announced the new limited edition line My Father Le Bijou 1922 Limited Edition 2016 and expanded distribution for the limited release García y García. You may also be familiar with Flor de Las Antillas Maduro. While this cigar has been released twice through Federal Cigar, it will now be entering the regular production line. This will include the original two sizes plus three new sizes. All will be available in November with a price estimated between $7.40-$10.30:
Flor de las Antillas Maduro Petit Robusto (4 1/2 x 50)
Flor de las Antillas Maduro Toro (6 x 52)
Flor de las Antillas Maduro Torpedo (6 1/8 x 52)
Flor de las Antillas Maduro Toro Gorod (6 1/2 x 56)
Flor de las Antillas Maduro Corona (5 5/8 x 46)
Additionally, My Father has announced a November launch for My Father The Judge, which includes Nicaraguan fillers and an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper:
My Father The Judge (5 x 60) — $12.40 (Boxes of 23, $285.20)
My Father The Judge (6 x 56) — $12.10 (Boxes of 23, $278.30)
Nat Sherman: Metropolitan Habano
Nat Sherman is another brand which is in a rush to get a new line released before the FDA deadline. As a result, there is only one new line coming out, the Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano. It is a Nicaraguan puro available in five sizes. The product is already shipping, so it will be available very soon:
Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Short Robusto (4 1/4 x 54) — $5.50 (Boxes of 18, $99)
Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Robusto Fino (5 x 46) — $5 (Boxes of 18, $90)
Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Robusto (5 1/2 x 56) — $6.25 (Boxes of 18, $112.50)
Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Toro (6 x 52) — $6.75 (Boxes of 18, $121.50)
Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Gordo (6 x 60) — $7.25 (Boxes of 18, $130.50)
Nat Sherman Timeless Dominican Gordo (6 x 60) — $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $175)
Nat Sherman Timeless Dominican Robusto (4 3/4 x 50) — $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $150)
These are also already shipping out to retailers.
Joya De Nicaragua Updates Branding
As you may know, Joya De Nicaragua updated the look for its cigars and packaging with Joya Red in 2014. This year, the company showed off more updated design work with the Joya Black. Joya De Nicaragua has also updated the look of the popular Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta Serie. The updated line will be available in stores in August this year and will be sold exclusively through Drew Estate in the US.
While Alec Bradley made a showing at this year’s convention, the company only had a chance to showcase existing products. The manufacturer is in a rush to release new cigars before the August 8th FDA deadline.
Illusione debuted the Illusione Haut 10, a brand new robusto to celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary. The Illusione Haut 10 features a blend of Nicaraguan criollo ’98 and corojo ’99 leaves inside a Nicaraguan café claro AAA wrapper.
So that wraps up our first update on IPCPR 2016! Be sure to check back in soon for more news!