Cigar Release: La Aurora Cien Años

La Aurora

Established in 1903, La Aurora is the oldest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. In 2003, the company celebrated Cien Anos, 100 years in the business. To mark this milestone of great cigars, the Cien Anos was released, a cigar that is still talked about today. The cigar was the #1 rated cigar from the Dominican Republic according to Cigar Aficionado in 2004 and is set to be released again in time for IPCPR.

The cigars feature a silky looking Dominican Corojo wrapper that has been aged 4 years and will be available in:

  • Robusto ($12.00 MSRP; 25 count)
  • Churchill ($14.00 MSRP; 25 count)
  • Belicoso ($16.80 MSRP; 25 count)

These vitolas will be limited in production to 20,000 cigars per size.

In addition to the highly rated original blend, an ultra-limited edition version in a Connecticut Broadleaf will be available. The cigar will be released as part of a package to a select number of retailers and limited to 7,000 cigars.

According to Guillermo Leon, owner of La Aurora cigars, “In my travels the one question that has been constant is the request for Cien Anos. But this time, we wanted to share not only our history, but also a piece of our future and what has yet to come.”

“We are happy to have a cigar back for a limited time; whose original release is still talked about today” added Jason Wood VP of Miami Cigar & Company which handles distribution for La Aurora in the United States. “The addition of the Connecticut Broadleaf will only add to the legend of the Cien Anos”.

Cigar Release: JM Tobacco Classic Petits

JM Tobacco Classic Petits

JM Tobacco, Inc., is displaying its new small cigar product category at the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers trade show in Orlando, Florida, August 2-6. The 4" x 32 Classic Petits, according to company president Anto Mahroukian, “Satisfy the rapidly expanding market for shorter-duration smokes.”

“Smokers are moving toward smaller cigars like Classic Petits, because they provide a rich, flavorful fifteen-minute smoke break, for cigar lovers who don’t have the time or budget for a full-sized premium cigar. But, unlike cigarillos, their larger ring gauge delivers a more abundant amount of smoke, which allows the smoker to enjoy more of a ‘large cigar’ experience.”

Classic Petits are available in both natural and maduro wrappers. Their manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing will be announced at IPCPR, and Mahroukian states it will be very competitive with existing brands of European “connoisseur-level” small cigars. The hand-made cigar combines a multi-nation blend of top-quality tobaccos, aged a full 2 years. They are made in the same Dominican factory as value-priced JM’s Dominican line and Carnero premium cigars, also appearing at the show. JM’s Dominican line is a Cuban sandwich, while the Carnero is an all-long-filler cigar.

Cigar Release: La Sirena Merlion

La Sirena Merlion

In what one can term Beauty & The Beast; La Sirena and La Aurora have teamed up to create a new cigar, Merlion. The name Merlion comes from a mythical creature that is half lion and half mermaid, the perfect fit for La Sirena and La Aurora.

The Merlion will be rolled at La Aurora Cigar Factory utilizing 6 different types of tobacco. The wrapper is a silky looking Ecuadorian Corojo, while the binder is Sumatra from Brazil. The filler, has 4 different types of tobacco including; Brazillian Bahia, Dominican Corojo, Dominican Criollo '98, and Nicaraguan ligero to add that strength that you expect from a La Sirena cigar.

The Merlion which comes 20 in a box is available in 3 sizes, Robusto (5 x 50 / $9.00); Toro (5.5 x 54 / $10.00) and Gran Toro (6 x 58 / $10.50). All prices are before local taxes.

According to Brand Manager, Arielle Ditkowich "We are very excited to be working with Guillermo and La Aurora, they have blended us a beautiful medium bodied cigar that is extremely complex and offers a nice contrast to our existing line."

The Merlion by La Sirena is expected to start shipping late June 2012.

More sales, more taxes?

More sales, more taxes

Normally we’d be happy to report news of increased cigar sales, but in this case it’s not really a good thing, IMO. The Government Accountability Office recently released data which demonstrates that cigarette smokers are switching to pipe tobacco and cigars in order to dodge the sales tax on cigarettes, which is substantially higher. The federal government estimates that it has lost between $615 million and $1.1 billion in uncollected sales tax revenue from April 2009 to September 2011. In January of 2009, pipe tobacco sales were just 240,000 pounds. In September 2011, that number rose to 3 million pounds—a tremendous leap. Cigar sales more than doubled in the same timeframe, rising from 411 million pounds to 1 billion pounds.

We’re already starting to see the consequences, and they’re not good. Congress has raised taxes on small cigars to the same rate as cigarettes. As a result, the manufacturers of small cigars have already had to raise the weight of their cigars in order to enter the lower large cigar tax bracket. Naturally the Government Accountability Office has already taken notice of this fact, which means it’s only a matter of time before they end up cracking down on those, too.

Many cigar smokers (if not all) don’t even smoke cigarettes, and it is unfair that cigar aficionados should have to pay a higher tax on their cigars simply because cigarette smokers are dodging taxes, but that could well be what’s in store for the future. That could harm premium cigar manufacturers and tobacconists too, which won’t do any good for small business in this country.

Cigar Release: Toraño Master Maduro

Torano Master Maduro

The Toraño Family Cigar Company is proud to announce the release of a new chapter in the Master story: The Master Maduro. The Master line of cigars has been a smashing success with the launch of the original Master two years ago. The Master BFC 6X60 quickly followed, and as demand for this popular line has increased, the Toraño family now brings you the Master Maduro.

As with the original Master, the Master Maduro was a collaborative effort between Toraño’s master roller Felipe Sosa and President of the Toraño family business Charlie Toraño. Sosa, who is a true artisan, is passionate about the Master line which carries his image on the boxes. Sosa approached Charlie about experimenting with a Habano Maduro wrapper that would create a new cigar worthy of the Master name. After tinkering with the blend using the Habano Maduro wrapper (a dark rich wrapper grown in Nicaragua), Charlie and Sosa found this cigar to be medium in strength and full of flavor. In true Maduro style, this flavourful blend is a complex balance of sweet spicy notes with a rich, chewy finish.

The Master Maduro’s final blend was a cigar that needed to pass the strict test of Charlie Toraño, as it had to match the quality of the original Master. The Master was released with much anticipation after the Toraño family took back its distribution in 2010. The new cigar blew the doors open as the Master garnered high ratings from Cigar Aficionado (91), and went on to make waves in Europe as it received a 98/5 star rating and rated third best cigar of the year by Cigar Journal Magazine.

“The Master brand has been one of our most successful brand launches. The positive feedback, both in the U.S. and abroad, inspired us to expand the brand.” Charlie Toraño went on to say, ”The Master Maduro is that rare combination of just enough power with an abundance of rich flavor.”

With an MSRP of $6.00 to $8.00, the Master Maduro is a competitively priced cigar in its category. The Master Maduro will be offered in a Robusto 5 x 50 and Toro Gordo 5 ½ x 54. For those who prefer the big and bold the Master Maduro is also available in a BFC 6 x 60.

25,000 signatures received on petition to protect cigars

25 000 signatures received on petition to protect cigars

You may recall we recently told you about H.R. 1639 and Senate Bill 1461, the two bills filed in Congress to protect premium cigars from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The FDA is seeking to impose rather fascist regulations on the industry which would harm small businesses throughout the country as well as harm the experience of cigar aficionados nationwide.

We have some great news — 25,000 signatures have already come in on the petition sponsored by the Cigar Rights of America (CRA) and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR). This is an outstanding accomplishment — the petition achieved its initial goal of 25,000 names within just fifteen days. That’s how fast cigar aficionados, businesses, friends and supporters (including cigar bloggers - I've seen mentions of this petition on multiple websites - great job guys!) across the nation have come together.

While this is a milestone, one which will surely get the attention of Congress and the White House, the battle isn’t won yet. There is still time to sign the petition and add your voice to the 25,000 other signees who have spoken out against unfair and excessive FDA regulation. You may find and sign the petition here if you haven't already done so.

Counterfeit Cohiba cigars seized in Miami

General Cigar, owner of the Cohiba trademark, has announced that more than 10,000 counterfeit Cohiba cigars were seized by law enforcement officials in Miami. The raids on April 23rd were conducted by the Miami Office of the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco. The raids were the result of an investigation conducted by law enforcement officials in conjunction with the efforts of General Cigar.

The 10,000 counterfeit cigars were discovered for sale on Calle Ocho, a popular tourist shopping area in Little Havana, Miami. Around 1,800 boxes of counterfeit cigars worth over $200,000 were uncovered and confiscated in all. The cigars included the Cohiba brand name along with the words “Republica Dominicana.” Nor is this the only instance of fraud uncovered by the brand. In November of last year, law enforcement officials in Florida seized over 3,000 counterfeit Cohiba cigars in Key West.

I thought only Cuban cigars were faked, but it turns out some people fall for counterfeit Dominican Cohibas :)

Help Save Cigars from FDA Regulation

Help Save Cigars from FDA Regulation

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has announced their intent to regulate cigars in the United States three times now — the most recent being on February 13th of this year. If the FDA is allowed to regulate cigars, we will see an end to walk-in humidors, and the FDA could start requiring that new cigar blends be submitted for testing. We also may see an end to the beautiful packaging which is part of the premium cigar experience (like in Australia). Many cigar makers may simply turn away from the US market, and numerous boutiques and tobacconists could close outright.

This is the time to fight back, once again. Two bills have been filed in the House and the Senate, H.R. 1639 and Senate Bill 1461, respectively. They are both filed under the name Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act. If passed, these bills will protect premium cigars from FDA regulation. More than 85,000 Americans work in the cigar industry, and of course, many more than that enjoy cigars. If cigars are an important part of your life, then please take action now to sign the petition (almost 10,000 signatures as of today) to protect cigars from the FDA. Call up your senators and representatives and ask them to support these preservation acts. Act now while we still can!

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