Cigar Release: Urbano Connecticut

Urbano cigars

“Our new boutique cigar line, Urbano Connecticut, fills out our portfolio of just-released boutique premium cigars,” reports Matt Urbano, founder and owner of Urbano Cigars. “It is mild-to-medium-bodied, yet has a startlingly opulent flavor profile. ‘Connecticut’ complements our previously-released ‘Corojo’ (medium-full body, check out Aaron's review of the Urbano Corojo) and ‘Sumatra’ (medium-body) lines. We’ve blended all three cigars to offer the full spectrum of flavors and strengths, to satisfy all smokers’ palates”.

Urbano Connecticut is available in four shapes: Robusto, Torpedo, Churchill, and a new 6” x 60 shape. The cigars are protected by cellophane tubes, and are presented in high-quality, handsomely-decorated cedar boxes of 20 cigars.

The cigar’s Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut wrapper, and Dominican filler and binder tobaccos are triple-fermented naturally, without scalding or other artificial means. This process yields a refined smoke, and significantly reduces the tobacco’s nicotine and natural starches and sugars … no spinning heads and queasy stomachs from “untamed alkaloids,” which many mistake for a nicotine buzz. The wrapper matches the mild Dominican long-leaf filler and binder, with their smooth flavor and delicate fragrance. It also dresses the cigar in a silky, delicately-veined leaf, pleasing to the eye and touch. The tobaccos are aged a full two years, and the finished cigars rest for another four months.

Urbano Connecticut’s filler leaves are bunched in the traditional Cuban entubado style., as are Urbano Corojo’s and Sumatra’s fillers. Quoting Urbano, “Although more labor-intensive, it eliminates the two top smokers’ complaints. First, hard or plugged draw, caused by the folded or twisted leaves, more seen in conventional bunching. Secondly, the ligero is accurately centered by eye, avoiding off-center burn … seen more with commercial bunching.” When building the bunch, each base filler leaf is rolled lengthwise, resembling soda straws. The buncher arranges them in a circle around one or more similarly-tubed ligero leaves, visibly centered. With the smoke passing freely through each tubed leaf from foot to head, and the dead-centered ligero, the smoker is assured of an easy, uniform smoke.”

The cigar is available at selected brick & mortar stores and from the official Urbano website (MSRP $5.00-$5.50).

Cigar Release: Wicked Indie

Wicked Indie

(Miami, FL) - November 2nd, 2011: Be on the lookout for the Goblin as the Beach Cigar Group, makers of the super premium cigar brand Gurkha, proudly announces the release of the much anticipated Wicked Indie, that arrives at cigar stores nationwide this November.

The Wicked Indie is the first cigar release under the East India Trading Company, a subsidiary of the Beach Cigar Group/Gurkha, and also known as one of the oldest registered trademarks in the world. Housed in rustic and authentic 50-count wooden boxes, the Wicked Indie is a medium to full-bodied all Nicaraguan Puro that provides an exceptional combination of flavor and strength that is a must try for any cigar enthusiast.

“We are very excited about the new Wicked Indie, which is a fantastic blend at a great price point,” said Gary Hyams, President and CEO of Beach Cigar Group. “We are proud that this is the first cigar release under the East India Trading Company.”

The Wicked Indie blend is comprised of an oily Habano, Nicaraguan wrapper, a carefully selected Nicaraguan binder that is combined with rare, 3-year aged Nicaraguan fillers and will be available in 4 sizes: a 5 x 52 Robusto, 6 x 54 Toro, 7 x 50 Churchill and a 6 x 60 XO, with an MSRP ranging from $4.79-5.90. This cigar encompasses a rich and complex taste profile, full of sweet spice and nuttiness that evolves to a long and cool finish.

Time for Cigar Aficionados to Move Against the FDA

Freedom of choice

"Freedom of choice", photograph by Krzysztof Poltorak

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest political news which concerns cigar smokers, you probably are aware that the FDA has been threatening to move in on the cigar market and institute more control—control which could severely harm the industry and result in a loss of individuality and freedom among manufacturers, their products, and the shops which distribute cigars. It’d also mean a loss of freedom of choice for the consumer.

This is the time to move against the FDA by supporting the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act. You can do this by writing your Senator and Congressmen. At least 100 congressmen and 20 senators must be enlisted in order to ensure passage; this will only happen if their constituents explicitly ask that they support the bill(s).

You can also speak out against the FDA’s actions online (Facebook, Twitter...) and inform others of the existence of the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Preservation Act. Every bit of help counts as this is a pivotal moment for anyone who cares about preserving the integrity and uniqueness of the premium cigar industry.

Cigar Release: Cremo Cigars

Cremo Cigar

Update: here is our review of the Cremo Magnum Opus.

The original Cremo Cigar, an icon of early America and the most successful cigar brand of the early 20th century, made a commitment to providing their customers with value. The company which rose out of beautiful Manhattan, New York City attained the largest sales of any cigar in its class. The brand was also famously linked to musician Bing Crosby in the early days of Broadcasting Radio.

With a shift in the way cigars were made, factories moved south and all was lost... Now in the 21st century a new dawn awaits. After new buildings were built, and old ones were torn down, a piece of history remained. Now, that piece has been found. Walter Santiago, better known as "Lilo", a native New Yorker, decided that this amazing company, a staple in the cigar world, should rise from its ashes.

With the revival of Crémo, the tradition continues with taste and quality as well as class. This was found in El Titan de Bronze (ETB) cigar factory, makers of the "Redemption", which has scored 88 in Cigar Aficionado and 90 in Cigar Snob. Lilo, along with ETB owner Sandy Cobas and Master Blender Willy Herrera (now with Drew Estate), created an ultra-boutique cigar of masterful construction and excellent flavor.

The factory located in Miami’s famed Calle Ocho, known best for its old school Cuban entubado techniques, is a family owned and operated "fabriquita" which employs level 9 rollers from Cuba, who have worked for Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta, Corona and Partagas. These torcedores (cigar rollers), like a painter to a canvas, handcraft each cigar with meticulous detail.

Cigar Release: La Gloria Cubana Retro Especiale

La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale

Update: here is our review of La Gloria Cubana Retro Especiale.

Continuing its tradition of innovation, Team La Gloria is proud to introduce La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale, a collection that spent eight years in the making.

Inspired by an antique humidor found at the El Credito Cigar Factory, Michael Giannini and Team La Gloria toiled for nearly a decade to replicate the antique humidor. Inclusive of a two-year process that encompassed cultivating a new wrapper, the development of the blend for Artesanos Retro Especiale was approached with an equal amount of creativity and commitment.

According to Michael Giannini, director of marketing for La Gloria Cubana, “It gives me great pleasure to debut La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale. We set out to create a product that was as unique in its packaging as it is in its taste and I believe we’ve delivered that in spades. I stand with Team La Gloria, fully confident that this collection will be a welcome addition to the smoking repertoires of today’s most discriminating premium cigar smokers.”

Team La Gloria set out to break the mold with the blend by cross-breeding a Connecticut seed, which was then cultivated in Honduras. The maiden crop yielded a hearty, golden wrapper as noteworthy for its color as it is for allowing each of the cigar’s components to enjoy equal bearing on the overall taste of the cigar.

Despite the golden appearance of the wrapper, the blend is brash in its full flavor and engages the entire palate. The double binder of bold Nicaraguan and Mexican leaf is further enhanced not only by Nicaraguan and Dominican ligero but also through an additional peppering of proprietary Nicaraguan and Dominican leaf.

La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale

Each of the four frontmarks is uniquely packaged in a 25-count box with a different design and bears a classic name that hearkens back to the early days of La Gloria Cubana. Taino (7” x 52) will be available for a suggested retail price of $7.50 per cigar, or $187.50 per box. Habanero (6” x 52) will sell for an SRP of $7.25 per cigar, or $181.25 per box. Cubano (6 1/2” x 58) will carry an SRP of $8.15 per cigar, or $203.75 per box and Club (5 ¾” x 47) will sell for $7.00 apiece, or $175.00 per box.

La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale will debut in mid-August, with private tastings to be held throughout the country. The product will ultimately ship in late September.

Cigar Release: H. Upmann Royal Robusto

H. Upmann Royal Robusto

Update: here is our review of the H. Upmann Royal Robusto

Habanos s.a. is pleased to present the new H.Upmann Royal Robusto, an exclusive release aimed at La Casa del Habano franchise stores with more than 140 stores all around the world. H.Upmann is one of the most historic Habanos brands. The blend of the brand, characterized by its aroma and light to medium flavour, is made with selected leaves of the best crops of the Vuelta Abajo zone, in the Pinar del Rio region, Cuba.

The excellence regarding the history and prestige of the brand founded in 1844, is shown in the gold medals of the H.Upmann boxes, that certify the awards obtained in no less than eleven international exhibitions during the 19th Century.

The factory size selected for this special production -Edmundo- (ring Gauge 52 x 135 mm in length) is highly appreciated by Habanos smokers, that will now have the occasion to enjoy it within the H. Upmann brand with its own features of flavour and aroma.
Its production limited to only 5,000 boxes containing 10 Royal Robusto each results in a very exclusive item for those who seek perfection. All Habanos have been produced Totalmente a Mano con Tripa larga –Totally by hand long filler- by skillfull rollers.

Specially for those connoisseurs who prefer the elegant taste and aroma unmistakably found in the brand, this vitola will be available in the next weeks in the La Casa del Habano stores worldwide.

Cigar Release: Ocean State Cigars “J. Grotto Reserve”

Ocean State Cigars J. Grotto Reserve

Update: here is our review of the J. Grotto Reserve.

Paul Joyal, founder and president of Ocean State Cigars, Inc., describes his new J. Grotto Series Reserve boutique premium cigar line: “Above all, it’s an intriguing, memorable smoke. Unlike many one-dimensional cigars, it displays a complexity and depth, with a unique spectrum of flavor and body profiles. For the first inch,” he continues, “J. Grotto Reserve gives the impression of a mild-to-medium smoke. But then, the powerful, flavor-loaded nature of the cigar announces itself, augmenting its complexity, thanks to the J. Grotto Reserve’s five-leaf recipe. In addition to the tobacco’s three-year aging, we rest the finished cigars for three to four more months, to allow their tobaccos to meld and mellow. It rewards the connoisseur with pure opulence ... rich and full-bodied, but refined.”

Based on the success of Ocean States’ premiere introduction in 2009, the J. Grotto Series, Joyal developed the Reserve, to satisfy an entirely different palate. “If you like spice and medium body, the original J. Grotto is for you; the Reserve has power, but no spice.”

Reserve owes its performance to a Nicaragua-grown Criollo 99 wrapper and Criollo 98 binder, plus a filler of Honduran-grown ligero and Jalapa leaves. Four shapes ... a Gran Corona (5-5/8" X 46), a Gran Robusto (5" X 52), a Gran Toro (6" x 52), and a new shape, a 6" x 60. The last, not a Cuban standard size, is rapidly becoming a most popular shape with veteran smokers ... its size carries the power and richness handily. The Reserve’s suggested retail pricing settles at $8.50 to $9.50. Reserve’s presentation measures up to its boutique stature. The cigar’s striking band and lush artwork on the substantial Spanish cedar boxes catch the eye on retailers’ shelves. All shapes are presented 20 cellophane-sheathed cigars to the box.

Cigar Release: Urbano Sumatra

Urbano Sumatra

Matt Urbano, founder and owner of Urbano Cigars, describes his company’s just-released, second boutique premium cigar: Urbano Sumatra has a sweet, earthy flavor that settles into a creamy, ‘chocolaty’ smoke. It has a light, leathery finish and a luxurious white ash. Sumatra’s medium body complements our first introduction this summer, the medium-to-full-bodied Urbano Corojo, and is perfectly suited to mid-morning or early-afternoon relaxation.”

The Urbano Sumatra has a sleek, satiny Sumatran wrapper, with an Indonesian binder and Dominican filler blend. Sumatra’s wrapper, like the Urbano Corojo, is triple-fermented, without scalding or other artificial means. This process yields a refined smoke, significantly reducing the tobacco’s nicotine and natural starches and sugars. Combine that with a full two years of aging of the tobaccos, and the result is a flavor-filled but smooth smoke.

Sumatra’s four classic Cuban shapes - Robusto, Torpedo, Churchill, and a 6" x 60 unnamed shape - come cellophane-tubed for freshness and protection, in luxurious cedar boxes of 20. Like his first introduction, Urbano Corojo, production is limited to 25,000 cigars, to assure Sumatra’s quality. Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing for the cigars ranges from $5.00 (Robusto) to $5.50 (6" x 60). The entire Sumatra line, like the Corojo, is now available from

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