The cigar industry is a hectic place right now. With a near endless stream of quality products exploding into shops near you and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show going into full swing down in New Orleans; it can be a bit much to keep up. Luckily, Cigar Inspector has you covered. Stay tuned here for announcements and updates concerning the goings on within the IPCPR.
Gran Habano announces its newest release from their Gran Reserva line, the Gran Reserva #5 2011.
The Gran Habano Gran Reserva line offers a bold new experience in full-bodied premium cigars made with vintage tobaccos. Expect a remarkably smooth, earthy and spicy smoke accompanied by notes of sweet wood and espresso of this aged smoke. The Gran Habano Gran Reserva #5 2011 comes in boxes of 10 cigars with a brand new look to its packaging. It is the fourth installment to follow the #3 2008, #3 2009 and #5 2010 vintage blends.
Gran Habano Gran Reserva #5 2011 : Cigar Stats
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: G.R. Tabacaleras Unidas, S.A.
Distributor: Gran Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa
Size: Corona Gorda 75 5/8 x 46, Gran Robusto 6 x 54, Imperial 6 x 60, CZAR 6 x 66, Grandioso 7 x 70
Box Count: 10
MSRP: $7.50 - $10.00
Release Date: Available Now
Zander-Greg, Inc., is celebrating its twenty years as a national distributor of tobacco products with a new, special edition New World boutique cigar line. The circumstances in which this cigar is offered are a rarity … it is a brand manufactured and owned by AJ Fernandez, but with a slightly “tweaked” blend that is solely Zander-Greg’s.
The New World/20th Anniversary cigar is manufactured by the Tabacaleras Fernandez factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. The company is operated by third-generation tabacalero A. J. Fernandez, whose grandfather first grew tobacco in pre-Castro Cuba.
Zander-Greg’s 20th Anniversary is available in the same four shapes as the New World … all are classically Cuban, but with 5/64” larger diameters. They are: Robusto (5" x 55), Belicoso (5½" x 55), Toro (6½" x 55) and an extra-brawny Gordo (6" x 60). The cigars are Nicaraguan puros … dark Nicaraguan wrapper, Jalapa binder, and a filler of Nicaraguan Ometepe, Condega and Esteli. The cigars are full-bodied, and have a flavor profile that includes coffee, pepper, wood and chocolate notes. An extraordinary shifting of nuances throughout the smoke reflect the complexity of this five-tobacco recipe.
All shapes are box pressed, even the tapered-head Belicoso. An eye-catching gold “20th” adorns a second band below the Fernandez “New World” band. The cigars are presented 21 to a traditional Cuban dress-up box. Manufacturer’s suggest retail pricing falls between $5.00 and $6.00, and they will appear in tobacco retailers’ stores this September.
Hialeah Gardens, Florida (May 22, 2015) - Six years after its initial release, Erik Espinosa of Espinosa Premium Cigars has announced that the "Murcielago" will fly again and should be landing in humidors nationwide after its re-debut at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in July.
The Murcielago (Bat in Spanish) was first released at the 2009 IPCPR by EO Brands. It had a short production run due to the split with the original makers of the blend (Inspector's note: Don Pepin Garcia?). "Once the partnership with the manufacturer dissolved, we kept the name, but they kept the blend" says Espinosa. Shortly thereafter EO Brands (Erik and his partner Eddie Ortega) went their separate ways with Erik keeping the rights to Murcielago in hopes of re-launching the brand.
Says Espinosa, "It was one of my favorite cigars. It took us three years, but myself along with my staff, painfully dissected all the Murcielagos we could find, tasting test blend after test blend until we got it right. We couldn't rush it, there weren't that many surviving Murcielagos out there to begin with but we managed to reverse engineer the cigar. I am very happy with the results and to me they are even better than the originals, because I am making them myself in my own factory at La Zona in Esteli, Nicaragua."
The Murcielago logo and band have been modernized with a sleeker look and a cutting edge box design; the cigar itself remains a medium to full-bodied blend that is semi-box pressed and wrapped in a beautiful Capa Negra Wrapper from Mexico with Nicaraguan filler. The initial release will be in three vitolas, the Noir (5 x 52), the La Lune (6-1/2 x 54) and the Nocturne (5 1/2 x 56). Pricing will be announced prior to the IPCPR.
Last month came the amazing news from the White House that America is going to normalize relations with Cuba. This is great news for cigar smokers, who can now look forward to legally bringing cigars home with them to the states. Now there’s something else to look forward to from Cuba, and that’s the news that Habanos S.A. will debut two vitolas in the first quarter of 2015 in their new "Añejados" line. Añejados cigars have been aged in Cuba, in perfect conditions of preservation, for a minimum of five years.
The two new vitolas will be the 155 mm x 52 Romeo y Julieta Píramides Añejados and the 178 mm x 47 Montecristo Churchills Añejados. Both cigars will come in boxes of 25 stamped with the Añejados sticker as well as the month and year of manufacture and the word “Revisado.” This translates to “checked,” as a measure of quality control. What will they be like? Habanos S.A. has stated in a press release that the aging process will give these vitolas a “rounder and mellower” flavor than the others in the Añejados line. The cedar boxes they have been aged in will contribute a wood note. These same boxes are the ones the cigars will be sold and distributed in, with the artwork printed on fresh before shipping. The pricing for these cigars has yet to be announced.
On December 17th, the White House released a statement outlaying a plan to normalize relationships with Cuba. This is a huge change after decades of Cold War policies in place, and follows a recent exchange of prisoners between both countries. President Obama, speaking about the changes, said, “Neither the American, nor Cuban people are well served by a rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.” He goes on to add, “We are taking steps to increase travel, commerce, and the flow of information to and from Cuba.” There is finally going to be a U.S. embassy in Havana. It will be the first time since January 3, 1961 that America has operated an embassy inside Cuban borders, so this is again historic news.
This is also fantastic news for cigar enthusiasts! It is now legal for the first time in decades to import Cuban cigars. If you travel to Cuba, you can bring back $400 worth of goods, including $100 worth of tobacco and alcohol products—including Cuban cigars. This is still pretty restrictive. You won’t be able to bring back much in the way of boxes, but at least now you can legally transport back a few stogies of your choice, and perhaps one of the cheaper boxes. What’s great about this too is that now it is legal to smoke Cuban cigars in the U.S. While obviously people have been doing this for decades without consequence, it was technically a violation of the law, and now it isn’t. The U.S. is the largest market for Cuban cigars already, despite the trade embargo. With restrictions lifting, the industry might thrive even more.
Early this year, the news hit that the FDA is seeking to extend its control over tobacco products. If the FDA is granted this control, it will have a great deal of regulatory power over product packaging, marketing, outreach, and more. And if those products were to include premium cigars, that would mean an end to the beautiful packaging that we have come to expect on our premium cigar boxes. Artwork would be replaced by warnings (you can see an example here...), all of this in the name of preventing America’s youth from indulging in tobacco.
Of course, as you and I both know, cigars are hardly a “gateway” drug for a lot of teens, who are far more likely to go and pick up a cheap box of cigarettes than an expensive premium stogie. It would be insane for the FDA to impose the same restrictions over the cigar industry—which is focused on quality and artistry, not on volume of sales or addicting America’s youth.
If you have been following the situation, you know that a congressional committee proposed early on that premium cigars be excluded from these changes. The FDA opened up a comment period, and a lot of cigar activists reached out with their concerns and opinions (including, I’m guessing, a number of readers here on this site).
So what’s the news? It’s good news, because it looks like Congress is hearing us. In the recently introduced “CRomnibus” budget package, the premium cigar industry was discussed as follows:
“Regulations.- The Committee is encouraged that FDA has provided options for a way forward on distinguishing between premium cigars and other tobacco products in its recently proposed rule ''Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as Amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; Regulations on the Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products and Required Warning Statements for Tobacco Products'' (Docket No. FDA-2014-N-0189). In particular, the Committee notes that FDA is considering excluding premium cigars from the scope of this proposed rule through Option 2. The Committee believes this could be a viable solution, given that the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act makes little mention of cigars throughout the legislation, and there is even less evidence that Congress intended to focus on the unique subset of premium cigars. The Committee notes that premium cigars are shown to be distinct from other tobacco products in their effects on youth initiation, the frequency of their use by youth and young adults, and other such behavioral and economic factors.”
So it looks like Congress at least is starting to understand that premium cigars should not be included in the new act, because premium cigars have nothing to do with indoctrinating America’s youth into tobacco culture. This is a very good sign that we are winning the war against proposed tyrannical legislation that would hurt the industry and the community.
It is important though to know that the fight is not yet won, and that the 114th Congress is going to be sworn in on January 6th, and that is going to mean a whole new slew of changes. While the current Congress appears to support the premium cigar industry and community, we will be faced with the challenge of reaching out to a new group of state officials. Our voices are going to be more important than ever. So keep checking back for more updates as we head into 2015 (you can join Cigar Rights of America to support the cause and get the latest updates in real-time), and remember to keep writing your senators and representatives, and continue to reach out directly to the FDA. If we stay the course, we can win this one!
La Flor Dominicana is proud to announce the release of the 707 Ligero. The 707 Ligero is a full-bodied blend of Dominican filler and binder wrapped in an aged Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Measuring in at 7 x 70 the 707 Ligero will be largest ring gauge regular production cigar we have ever produced. The 707 Ligero will be presented in (10) count boxes and will have an MSRP of $10.50 per cigar and $105.00 per box. The 707 Ligero will begin shipping to Premium Cigar Retailers nationwide the week of December 15, 2014.