Cigar Release: CAO Osa Sol

CAO Osa Sol

OSA Sol is a 3 size cigar collection featuring a wrapper hand picked by Rick Rodriguez and his team of master blenders. OSA stands for Olancho San Agustin, the region the wrapper hails from. This blend will be released at this year's IPCPR.

La Flor Dominicana Colorado Oscuro & more releases

Coral Gables, FL July 13, 2011 - La Flor Dominicana will introduce the following items at this year's IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas next week, July 17 - July21.

Casa de Tabaco featuring "Airbender Maduro" - A unique cigar box/humidor made in the style of a true Dominican curing barn. This beautiful package will house 24 of our limited Airbender Maduros, made with a Brazilian maduro wrapper and Dominican filler and binder. Production of these will be limited to orders taken at the IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas.

After releasing 2 successful Salamones, Litto Gomez has blended the Diadema Duo Natural & Maduro - A single coffin will house two different diademas measuring 9.25 inches long! The natural has a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, while the maduro diademas has a Nicaraguan Habano Ligero wrapper. They both have Dominican fillers and binders grown on our farm in La Canela, Dominican Republic, and will be a limited production item.

With the success of the "Digger" maduro, we will be introducing the "Digger Natural" - The 8.5 inch by 60 ring Digger natural will have an Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper with our Double Ligero Blend.

Finally, we will be introducing Colorado Oscuro, a limited production that will be released twice a year. This new blend will be available in 4 sizes released in 50 count cabinets. They have an Ecuadorian Ligero Sumatra wrapper with a Dominican Sumatra binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. The No. 2 will be a 48x4.25; No. 3 50x5; No.4 54x5.25; and the No. 5 is 60x5.75.

Cigar Release: Toraño Vault

Toraño Vault

(Miami, FL) July 12, 2011: Toraño Family Cigar Company is excited to unleash Vault, the family’s newest cigar creation. The Toraño family will unveil Vault at the upcoming 2011 IPCPR in Las Vegas.

Blends from the Vault originate from the family’s cigar “blend book” which was started by Carlos Toraño, Sr. in 1982. The blend book, which is now almost 30 years old, has a record of every blend concept the Toraño family has ever worked on. The tobacco stained pages of this book include blends that could only come from a family with the history, knowledge and tobacco experience of the Toraño family. Amongst the blends recorded are many which the family has released over the years, together with some blends which were deemed to have tremendous potential, but fell short of the family’s high expectations. This book has come to symbolize the Toraño’s blending expertise, creativity, and is now securely stored in a safety deposit box in a bank vault.

Charlie Toraño, current president of Toraño Family Cigar Co.(and son of Carlos Toraño Sr.) along with VP of Sales and Marketing, Bruce Lewis, revisited the blend book and discovered an intriguing, yet unreleased blend, Liga A-008, which was first recorded in 2000. The original Blend A-008 consisted of heavy filler tobacco from Estelí and Condega, Nicaragua, one single binder from Jamastran and was finished with a shade grown Nicaraguan Colorado wrapper. Charlie and Bruce decided to embark on a project to enhance this special blend.

After numerous attempts to slightly modify the original recorded blend, the missing ingredient was discovered – tobacco from Ometepe, Nicaragua. Ometepe is an island located on Lake Nicaragua. The island is home to two volcanoes and its soil is rich and fertile. Adding Ometepe to the original Toraño blend, specifically as a second ligero binder, brought an added layer of complexity and strength to the blend.

Vault blend A-008 opens instantly to reveal a rich and flavorful base of spice and earth which is quickly rounded and complemented by notes of ripe fruit and a nutty creaminess. Complex and exhibiting a multi-layered taste profile, this full bodied blend coats and satisfies the entire palate. Vault comes in three sizes: 6 x 50 Toro; 6 1/8 x 52 Torpedo and a 5 x 52 Robusto. The MSRP is $7.20 - $7.95.

The Toraño family heads into the IPCPR in Las Vegas boasting two new brands in Vault and Loyal along with the launch of the new 6 × 60 Exodus 1959 - 50 Years BFC. The Toraño Family hopes to see you at the IPCPR in Las Vegas at booth 0584—0693.

Gurkha Cellar Reserve, Royal Challenge & Seduction

Gurkha

Beach Cigar Group Inc., owner of Gurkha Cigars, one of world’s most premium and luxurious cigar brands announced today the creation of three new retailer exclusive brands timed to launch at this year’s IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas : Cellar Reserve, Royal Challenge and Seduction. Gurkha’s aim is to re-emphasize the continued importance of the retailer. “These exciting new brands represent our ongoing commitment to further support our brick and mortar customers,” stated Gary Hyams, President and CEO of Beach Cigar Group.

The vintage Cellar Reserve uses the finest quality 15 year-old aged tobacco, comprised of an oily Criollo 1998 wrapper, that combines an aged Dominican, Olor binder with a 15 year old Criollo, Nicaraguan filler. These cigars are housed in unique 20 count wooden boxes that aesthetically evoke a maturing wine barrel. Cellar Reserve is a delicious medium to full-bodied cigar that is available in 5 different sizes: 4 x 58 Perfecto, 5 x 58 Doble Robusto, 6 x 58 Gran Rothchild, 7 x 54 Churchill and a 6 x 60 XO, with an MSRP ranging from $7.99-$12.95

Gurkha’s second release is the dignified Royal Challenge, a medium bodied cigar that is smooth and complex. The blend is highlighted by a silky, Connecticut/Ecuadorian shade wrapper, with a Habano, Honduran binder, complimented by Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. The Royal Challenge will be available in majestic 20 count boxes in 5 different sizes: 5 x 50 Robusto, 6 x 50 Toro, 6.5 x 53 Torpedo, 7 x 52 Churchill and 6 x 60 XO, with an MSRP ranging from $5.98-$8.50.

The third release, Seduction, is designed to captivate the palate. This tasty and appealing, medium bodied blend has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, with a Dominican, Olor binder with a Corojo, Columbian filler. Seduction comes in sleek and alluring 20 count boxes and will be available in 4 sizes: 5 x 55 Robusto, 6 x 55 Toro, 7 x 55 Churchill and a 6 x 60 XO with an MSRP ranging from $6.80-$9.50.

The new releases, along with the full range of Gurkha products will be on display at this year’s IPCPR Trade Show at the Sands Expo Center in the Venetian Hotel resort at booth numbers: 0936-1145. Gurkha’s booth will also have on show the company’s flavored brand, Cojimar.

Maryland Online Cigar Sales Law Update

Comptroller Peter Franchot

Many of you (especially those of you in Maryland) probably remember the Maryland General Assembly banning the order of cigars online or by mail order last month. On the first of May, HB 88 went into effect after having been passed in both the Senate and the House. HB 88’s purpose was broad—it was intended to prohibit the buying and selling of OTP (“Other Tobacco Products”) either on the internet or through the mail … which ended up banning cigar smokers from doing the same.

The point of the law was to enable Maryland to collect the maximum sales tax on tobacco products by simply doing their best to outlaw consumers from buying them elsewhere. That means a heck of a lot of cigar connoisseurs have been inconvenienced. Not only did it mean legally purchasing cigars would involve traveling into town to visit a local retailer, but a lot of premium cigars aren’t even available to them except online.

Fortunately there has been a positive development recently; you can purchase all the cigars you want online in Maryland right now—at least for the time being.

Comptroller Peter Franchot stated in a letter to the General Assembly on June 13 that he would prefer not to enforce the ban while the legislature deliberates in the fall session about whether to repeal the ban.

On June 20, the Office of the Attorney General confirmed to Franchot in a letter that it is legal for him to do this. According to the letter, “The Comptroller is fully empowered with the discretion to enforce or decline to enforce the online sales ban against buyers of premium cigars."

During this grace period, Maryland consumers will be entitled to purchase their cigars through whatever means they deem best. It may or may not be a temporary stay of execution. Everything will ultimately depend on the legislature’s actions this fall. If the law is upheld, the Comptroller will be forced to uphold it as well. That means if you’re in Maryland, right now is the time to place that premium cigar order online, as well as contact your state officials.

To read the letter from the Office of the Comptroller, visit the Baltimore Sun.

Cigar Release: Toraño Loyal

Toraño Loyal

(Miami, FL) June 20, 2011: Toraño Family Cigar Company is proud to announce the launch of the family’s newest brand: Loyal, which will be hitting the shelves this July. The Toraño family will unveil its newest creation at the upcoming 2011 IPCPR in Las Vegas.

Carlos Toraño Sr. has always maintained that anyone who enjoys a cigar deserves to smoke a great Toraño blend at an affordable price. For decades, Carlos and his son, Charlie, have remained loyal to this philosophy of providing outstanding value to cigar lovers. Loyal provides value, quality, consistency, and most importantly, an abundance of flavor.

“Our new brand, Loyal, is dedicated to my father’s long standing commitment to provide exceptional quality cigars without breaking the bank. To him cigars were never a far reaching luxury, but one of life’s simple pleasures”, said Charlie Toraño, president of Toraño Family Cigars. Loyal will be available in 5 x 56 Robusto, a 6 1/8 x 52 Torpedo, a 7 x 47 Churchill, and a 6 x 60 BFC sizes, all with an MSRP between $4.95-$5.50.

Displayed in attractive 21 count boxes, the Loyal blend features fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, combined with a Nicaraguan binder and dressed in an oily Ecuadorian Sumatra seed wrapper. Loyal is a solid, medium bodied smoke, that intrigues the palate with a spicy, peppery start and then transitions to a variety of rich flavours with notes of coffee and brown sugar.

The announcement of Loyal comes on the heels of recent exciting news from the Toraño Family Cigar Co. In the past 30 days Toraño announced distribution agreements with Graycliff and the Sam Leccia Cigar Co. The Toraño’s see no slowing down till the IPCPR in Las Vegas as they are putting the final touches on yet another brand which will be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Release: Sosa Underground, 60 & Family Selection

Sosa Underground, 60 & Family Selection

Update: you can read reviews of these cigars in our "Off the Beaten Path" article dedicated to Antillian Cigar Corp.

Miami, Florida June 2, 2011 - Antillian Cigar Corporation, owner of popular cigar brands such as Sosa, Imperio Cubano and Macabi, explodes onto the cigar scene this summer with the introduction of three new brands. The new brands, Sosa Underground, 60 by Sosa, and Sosa Family Selection, are a collaboration of new and old cigar traditions by the Sosa family created to appeal to the individuality of the cigar lover. You can see all the new blends on the picture above (click to enlarge).

The hippest of the new brands, Sosa Underground, is a full-bodied cigar made in Little Havana, Florida with an Habano wrapper. Three hundred cigars will be manufactured per week in two sizes of perfectos: Arcane at 4 ¾ x 41 with a suggested retail of $6.00 and Delphic at 5 ½ x 41 with a suggested retail of $6.50. As a special feature, the Underground brand unveils original tattoo artwork created solely for the Sosa family by local Miami tattoo artist, Jay Barranco.

60 by Sosa brings sophistication to the cigar connoisseur. 60 by Sosa is a medium-bodied cigar made in Honduras with an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper. All cigars are manufactured with 60-ring gauges in the following sizes: 4 x 60, 5 x 60, 6 x 60 and 7 x 60 with a suggested retail between $6.25 and $7.80.

It just keeps getting better with the Sosa Family Selection brand. Sosa Family Selection is a medium- to full-bodied cigar made in Honduras and available in Natural and Maduro wrappers. Sizes available will be: Robusto at 5 x 50, Toro at 6 x 50, Gran Toro with 6 x 50, Churchill at 7 x 48 and Double Magnum at 6 x 60 with suggested retail at price ranging from $5.40 to $7.00.

“We are looking forward to introducing the quality of Sosa cigars back to the consumer and creating something this fresh and exciting,” said Arby Sosa, sales manager of Antillian Cigar Corporation and son of Juan B. Sosa.

The Sosa cigar tradition began with Don Juan Sosa, a small tobacco grower in the fertile Taguasco region of Cuba at the turn of the century. By the 1920’s, his farm had become one of the largest tobacco-producing haciendas in Cuba. Over the next 30 years, Don Juan’s son, Arturo, and grandson, Juan, manufactured cigars for sale in Cuba and abroad. Juan B. Sosa moved the operation to the Dominican Republic in the 1960’s where the family re-established their factory along with operations in Miami, Florida. Today, the legacy of quality, handmade cigars made in the Cuban tradition continues with master blender, Juan B. Sosa, alongside his wife, sons and nephews.

Guillermo León acquires La Aurora

Guillermo LeonGuillermo León recently purchased La Aurora S.A., the celebrated cigar company, from E. León Jimenes. La Aurora not only makes cigars, but is also well known for its Presidente beer brand and its banking business. Guillermo León was previously the head of La Aurora’s cigar division which he has run successfully for the past 15 years.

“I’m very happy. Very excited,” León told Cigar Aficionado regarding his acquisition. “Now we can make faster decisions. That’s an advantage. The philosophy won’t change, the philosophy of how we handle business.”

The Jimenes family has owned and controlled La Aurora for over a century. The brand was originally founded in 1903 by Eduardo León Jimenes, the grandfather of the previous owner. La Aurora got its start in cigars before branching into the banking industry, beer manufacturing, and for a while, cigarettes.

The acquisition deal includes not only La Aurora’s brands, but also its cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. It does not include the building where Aurora Preferido cigars are rolled which is located next to the Museum of the City of Santiago.

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