Aged Cuban cigars from LCDH Knokke

It's really hard to age Cuban cigars for several reasons, limited storage space and lack of willpower being the main ones. Some retailers understand this and offer a selection of already aged cigars to their customers. These "vintage" boxes sometimes have 10 or more years on them (this kind of ageing is rarely necessary in my opinion though, I usually get great results with 3-5 years). I just got word that our friends at LCDH Knokke opened their own Aged Corner where you can buy boxes of vintage and/or hard to find cigars knowing the box code in advance.

Here is what they say about it:

Connoisseurs have been aging their cigars for quite some time. Indeed, cigars do change with years just like wine does. Even though there are several approaches to the phenomenon, we think that in essence there are three stages.

In the collection there are some true gems : the much praised Partagas D5 EL 2008, the always elegant Romeo y Julieta Exhibicion No. 3, flavour bomb Bolivar Petit Belicoso EL 2009, style-icon H. Upmann Lonsdale and the surprising Vegueros Especiales No. 1 en No. 2.

The price list is below (click to enlarge):

LCDH Knokke aged cigars

Orders will be taken at this stage by email (frederic [at] lacasadelhabano-knokke [dot] be) and shipping is foreseen in the second week of December to make sure your order arrives before Christmas! First come first serve. Montecristo Sublimes & Diplomaticos No. 2 are sold out.

Cigar Release: Davidoff Year of the Snake

Davidoff Year of the Snake

2013 is represented in the Chinese calendar by the sign of the snake. To mark the occasion, Davidoff has created the new "Year of the Snake" edition of cigars with three fine limited edition accessories.

At the start of the Chinese Year of the Snake (February 10, 2013), Davidoff is launching the new 2013 "Year of the Snake” Edition cigars with exclusive limited-edition accessories. In the Chinese calendar, the sixth of the twelve Chinese signs of the zodiac is characterized as wise and graceful. The Snake is the quintessential symbol for intelligence and profundity. Particularly delicate and fine when depicted in a figure of eight, it has become one of the most popular decorations in all of Asia, not only for its unique symmetry but also because it carries the promise of infinity, material prosperity and luck. It is said that Snake-people like to possess the finer things in life.

Premium cigar brand Davidoff is also synonymous with luxury and the total "crop to shop" concept. "Year of the Snake" is, therefore, not only the unusual name given to the new limited edition, but also the connection of quintessential wisdom and stylish quality awareness with Davidoff.

Integrating these characteristics into an aroma represents a challenge for the Davidoff Master Blender: namely, to combine particularly old tobaccos to successfully create three layers of flavor - from floral nuances reminiscent of honey, to caramel, and finally to peppery notes of wood or nut, whilst also providing a captivating quality... highly aromatic, with light-medium strength and Cuban thickness, the cigar develops a charming creaminess due to the Ecuadorian binder. The impressive Churchill format makes for a long smoking experience punctuated with the delicacy and refinement of a cigar with charisma. The octagonal, redlacquered wooden box containing eight cigars will provide pleasure in the coming year.

The cultural background of this 2013 "Year of the Snake” Edition is every bit as fascinating as its aesthetic appearance: The "White Snake Story", the Chinese love story still extremely popular today, can trace its origins back to a legend from the Ming dynasty (1368 AD) and, amongst other things, has inspired Davidoff’s new cigar — a cigar that preserves its cultural heritage whilst using passion and attention to detail to unlock the spirit of a dynamic, global environment. Those who fall in love with this cigar have no sense of superficiality. The fine, profound 2013 "Year of the Snake” Edition is for aficionados who smoke intelligently.

The uniqueness of this luxurious edition with a double ring speaks for itself. It is limited to 4,500 pieces and is available at Appointed Merchants beginning in December 2012.

Davidoff 2013 "Year Of The Snake” Edition: technical specs

Format: Churchill
Length: 7”
Diameter: 48 RG
Wrapper: Ecuador 702
Binder: San Vicente Seco
Filler: Piloto Seco, San Vicente Ligero, Piloto Viso, Hybrid 192 Seco/Yamasá
Price: USD $29.90 per cigar / USD $239.20 per wooden box of 8

Cigar Release: Gurkha 125th Anniversary Edition

Gurkha 125th Anniversary

After much anticipation, the Gurkha 125th Anniversary Edition cigar is shipping to cigar stores nationwide! This special cigar is particularly significant as 2012 commemorates the 125th Anniversary of the Gurkha cigar, where it was this year back in 1887 at the height of the British rule that Nepalese soldiers first began to smoke and enjoy their own cigars from local tobacco, which they named: ‘Gurkhas’.

The 125th Anniversary is already an award winner, having received the company's highest ever rating of 96 points by Cigar Journal and is the recent recipient of the prestigious Golden Label Award for the printing, design, innovation and technical execution of the 125th Anniversary cigar band.

The unique blend features an oily Brazilian Cubra wrapper, accompanied by an Ecuadorian, Habano binder and a complex combination of Nicaraguan, Brazilian and Dominican fillers. This intriguing medium bodied cigar encompasses a very smooth and complex taste profile, with flavorful notes of rich tobacco and subtle hints of sweet spice, vanilla and chestnut. The Gurkha 125th Anniversary is available in 20 count boxes featuring four vitolas: 5 x 52 Robusto, 6 x 54 Rothchild, 61/2 x 54 Torpedo and a 6 x 60 XO with an MSRP ranging from $8.39-$10.99. Each box is hand-carved using the finest mango wood and finished with exquisite brass fittings, specially designed by Gurkha Chairman Mr K. Hansotia.

Cigar Release: Zander-Greg’s Nat Cicco HHB

Nat Cicco HHB

Zander-Greg has just debuted their new Nat Cicco HHB superpremium cigar. It comes in three sizes: 7-1/4" x 52, 6-1/4" x 56 and 5-1/4" x 54. They share a pigtail-capped head and a foot that is enclosed within the wrapper. Both features are also common to Zander-Greg’s just-introduced Aniversario 1965, which celebrates the year the Nat Cicco (SEEK-oh) “Rejects” were born ... the original value-priced cigar based on the oft-copied “Rejects” theme.

HHB has an Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut Shade leaf wrapper, with a Nicaraguan binder and filler. The cigar is well-balanced and full-bodied. The result is a smoke that the company describes as “robust, but creamy- smooth, very flavorful and elegantly aromatic.” The cigar’s performance and opulent presentation have prompted Zander-Greg to confidently compare it to Cuba’s vaunted Cohiba Behike, which retails for over $50 a cigar. HHB’s presentation befits its $14.00 manufacturer’s suggested retail price ... a black “piano-finish,” furniture-grade Spanish cedar humidor-style box, holding ten nude cigars.

In only five years since buying and reintroducing the dormant Nat Cicco Reject brand, Zander-Greg has systematically climbed the ladder to market recognition and acceptance. Rejects are machine-made with homogenized binder, but still trump their short-filler competitors .. Rejects’ extra-select, medium-length Cameroon, Connecticut, Honduran and Dominican remnants come from some of America’s most prestigious and sought-after premiums.

Cuban Legends, their first 100%-prime-leaf, handmade premium, retailing at under $2.50, has been their next success, fueled by the sagging economy. In early 2012, the company unveiled the Nat Cicco Aniversario 1965 vintage cigar, with a competitive retail price of $6.00. It is also gaining ground rapidly, according to a company spokesman.

Zander-Greg’s ambitious 2013 advertising campaign will introduce HHB to smokers and retailers alike, to help build a network of participating shops. The company is also actively promoting their cigars with in-store events nationwide.

Nat Cicco HHB is making a beachhead on the superpremium and Havana market, with smokers being asked to “Just compare it ... especially to Cuba’s Cohiba Behike.”

Fine collectible cigars auctioned off in Geneva

Christies Geneva

2 days ago, a famous private collection of well-aged spirits and cigars was auctioned off at Christie’s auction house in Geneva. You can check out the results of the auction for yourself here. Search for lots 120 to 178 to see the results of the cigar auctions; many of these cigars were auctioned off for a thousand dollars or more per lot. Some of the lots included Cohiba Robustos ($789 for a box of 25) and Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 ($728 for a box of 25). There were also some more exotic items, like Montecristo Robusto Millenium jars.

Unfortunately the auction is already over, so you’ve missed your chance to participate (we’re sorry we didn’t hear about it sooner!), but it’s pretty exciting to see how things panned out just the same. At the same time, I find the prices a bit steep, even for aged cigars. Would you participate in such an auction?

New Australian tobacco law and cigarette packs

New Australian tobacco law requires shock images on packages

Australia’s courts have just upheld a new law that requires tobacco products to be packaged in “plain packaging.” As far as we can tell, this law includes not only cigarettes but also cigars and pipe tobacco. The “plain packaging,” however, is not plain at all. The packages will include shock images of cancerous lungs, gums, and more. These images will be grotesque in nature and will probably scare away a fair number of customers, including people who aren’t even coming into stores to shop for tobacco products!

What will the long term results of this law be? As far as the positives go, hopefully the shock images really will educate the public about the dangers of smoking tobacco, because let’s be honest—those dangers do exist. There are going to be some negatives as well, however. Economically this law will harm a lot of small businesses in Australia, and it’s not going to stop people who are determined to smoke from buying cigarettes or other tobacco products. What it may do is compel those people to turn to other sources for their tobacco products, fueling the black market and harming legitimate businesses in Australia and elsewhere.

People who want to avoid these packages will just turn to the streets to buy tobacco, and who can blame them, especially given that packaging is often part of the appeal of a product? People who want cigars in their original packaging, for example, will no longer be able to buy those cigars from local tobacconists in Australia. They’ll have to turn to black-market cigars, which may not even be the real thing. This will harm cigar companies, including boutique manufacturers who put quality craftsmanship into their products. Should people be apprised of the dangers of tobacco in cigars? Of course—and most cigar smokers already are. These laws are usually aimed at protecting ignorant young people, and while the young people do need to learn what tobacco can do, the fact is that most youngsters who are going to dive into a bad habit are going to buy a cheap pack of cigarettes and not a box of premium cigars.

While this law seems mainly geared toward cigarette smokers, it’s also going to strip the packaging of cigars and pipe tobacco products, rebranding those packages with shock images. Cigar smokers don’t usually smoke a pack of cigars each day, however, and it seems unreasonable that the same law which should rebrand the packages of cigarette companies should also rebrand the packaging of cigar companies. While cigars carry health risks just like cigarettes do, many cigar smokers do not smoke them as a habit; instead they are reserved for special occasions, and collected for their beautiful packaging as well as the artistry in their design.

Right now the FDA is fighting to be able to enforce plain packaging laws in the US for all tobacco products including cigars. If the FDA wins this dispute, similar economic consequences will ensue in America. We’ll have to wait and see how this law unfolds in Australia when it goes into effect, but we’re pretty sure the ramifications will have a major influence on what happens in the US and elsewhere in the world where tobacco products are concerned.

Cigar Release: Davidoff White Edition 2012

Davidoff White Edition 2012

Davidoff is presenting its limited edition in the form of an elegant “White Edition” for the second time. The cigar’s dark wrapper leaf gives the perfect contrast to the white band with classic Davidoff lettering in gold. In addition to the main band, the cigar bears a white band at the foot with a discreet mother-of-pearl inscription “2012”. The special Robusto Gordo format also lends the cigar a harmonious appearance.

A strong and full-bodied taste is the hallmark of the Davidoff “White Edition” 2012. Filler tobaccos from a number of different growing regions in the Dominican Republic were matured over six years before finally being brought together to form this special vintage. Due to the addition of the Piloto binder leaf and choice Dominican Criollo wrapper leaf, smokers will be delighted by the aromatic and complex notes in the finish.

A cigar of such noble character deserves an exceptional packaging to match. The Davidoff “White Edition” 2012 comes in a white enamelled box of which just 8,000 individually numbered specimens will be offered for sale worldwide. The Davidoff “White Edition” 2012 will be available at authorized tobacconists in the US from August 1, 2012.

Davidoff “White Edition” 2012: technical specs

Format: Robusto Gordo
Length: 14.6 cm / 5 ¾”
Diameter: 2.1 cm / RG 52
Wrapper: Dominican Criollo
Binder: Piloto
Filler: Piloto Ligero, Criollo Visus, Olor/Piloto Hybrid Visus, Corojo Visus, San Vicente Ligero (all Dominican Republic)
Price: US$ 21.50 (wooden box of 10)

General Cigar releases at IPCPR 2012

Here are a few videos about new cigar releases from General Cigar at IPCPR 2012:

Macanudo Vintage 2006

La Gloria Cubana Trunk Show

Foundry

Don Sixto

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