This week’s news on the regulatory front is mostly depressing, but thankfully we have some exciting new cigar releases to report to make up for it. Read on to find out what’s been going on in the cigar world.
New and Upcoming Releases:
Cuba’s 2016 Edicion Limitadas Trinidad Topes and Romeo y Julieta Capuletos are now being distributed to Casa del Habano stores around the globe. The third Edicion Limitada, the Montecristo Dantes, still has not made its way to stores, but one Casa del Habano owner in Germany has indicated that he should be able to start selling them to customers on the 1st of December.
To honor the Year of the Rooster, Davidoff of Geneva is introducing a limited-edition cigar to celebrate the Chinese New Year. These cigars are immediately eye-catching thanks to their unusual diadema figurado shape. The cigar measures 6 ¾ x 50, and will come in boxes of 10 at a cost of $40 per cigar. Along with this limited edition line of cigars, a line of Year of the Rooster accessories is also being produced. This includes a double-guillotine cutter which you can purchase in either steel or rose gold as well as a carrying case in red leather. 8,000 Year of the Rooster boxes are being produced.
Rocky Patel is now formally distributing the Dark Dominican. While the manufacturer has provided no information about the wrapper, binder or filler, retailers are stating that the cigar is a Dominican puro. Four sizes are available: Churchill, Robusto, Corona and Supremo.
Tabacalera USA has just acquired a Houston-based chain of retail stores called Serious Cigars. While Serious Cigars was originally founded as an online store in 1996, it now operates four of the largest cigar retail stores in the state of Texas. Through this acquisition, both Serious Cigars and Tabacalera should be able to grow and continue to expand their distribution.
You may remember a recent report that the FDA had banned cigar donations to U.S. soldiers. This seems so absurd that many in the cigar community held out hope that the ban was some kind of a mistake. But the Wall Street Journal has reported that the ban was not made in error; it was a deliberate action by the FDA. That’s right—U.S. soldiers can get themselves killed or injured in action, but they cannot accept your gift of stogies.
In one few positive regulatory developments this past week, Lane County, Oregon (home to the city of Eugene), has become the latest to reject a smoking ban in parks. Two factors helped to decide the commission against the ban; the first is the fact that it would’ve resulted in smoking bans in 240 campgrounds, which would have made enforcement quite thorny. The second is the concern that the new decree might have been used as an excuse for law enforcement officers to harass the homeless.
Last week, the Council of the District of Columbia voted to make age 21 the new minimum for tobacco purchases in Washington D.C. Anyone who violates the new decree will be fined $25. On the upside, this fine was going to be $50, but thankfully there was an amendment which lowered it to a more reasonable amount. The new minimum purchase age will go into effect in 30 days after being signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Thanks for checking in for this week’s updates! Be sure to check back with us soon for more!
As I stated in my best cigar books post, proceeds from sale of books would be given back to one lucky reader in the form of a gift certificate. Here is another one. It is a gift card for $43 that can be redeemed on Amazon.com (doesn't work on .co.uk or .fr).
Just leave a comment on this post to be entered in the draw. The winner will be announced in one week, next Thursday.
PS Want to support CigarInspector.com? Just do your Amazon purchases through this link.
First of all, some quick background info for those of you who are not familiar with the brand: Trinidad is a Cuban cigar brand with an interesting history. Way back in its early days, Trinidad only manufactured exclusive cigars for visiting diplomats. It was only in 1998 that Trinidad cigars became available to the public. At that time, there was only one Trinidad cigar available, known as the “Fundadores.” The Fundadores was long and thin, quite the opposite of the short, fat Trinidad Vigia which I am reviewing today.
After its public debut in 1998, Trinidad expanded with more vitolas—for a while. In 2012, they cut back. In fact, the Vigia is the first new regular production from Trinidad since 2012’s withdrawal of the Robusto T and the Robusto Extra.
So that gives you some context on the Vigia. Let’s check it out.
Last week we had a look at the cigar ashtray made by our friends at Screwpop, and had three samples to give away to our readers. You were over 180 people to participate and here are the three winners, chosen randomly:
In this week’s news, we have some exciting new releases from Drew Estate, Alec Bradley and La Flor Dominicana. Let’s check them out!
New and Upcoming Releases:
Drew Estate has announced the release of a new cigar exclusively for Stogies World Class Cigars of Houston, Texas, called the Herrera Estelí Edicion Limitada H-Town Lancero. This 7 x 38 cigar will come in packages of 10 and will feature Nicaraguan fillers in a Brazilian Mata Fina binder and a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.
Yet another new cigar has inconspicuously made its way to retail shelves. This time it is the Alec Bradley Medio Fuerte Liga de Reyes, which appeared sneakily on the shelves of Atlantic Cigar. The new smoke includes filler leaves from Nicaragua and Honduras inside a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. It is classified by the retailer as a “solid medium-bodied smoke,” and comes in seven sizes: 770, Churchill, Corona, Gordo, Robusto, Torpedo, and Toro.
Meanwhile, La Flor Dominicana is reviving the 2000 Series and adding two brand new sizes. All but one of the existing sizes was discontinued back in 2013. All the old sizes are being brought back, along with the new Lancero and Chisel sizes. The new version of the 2000 Series will include the same Cameroon wrapper, Dominican binder and Dominican filler.
As you are likely aware, many cigar companies have been raising their prices lately in response to the new regulations by the FDA. Rocky Patel is the latest to join the lot, having recently sent out a letter to retailers announcing a 5% increase on all products across the board—with the exception of the Rocky Patel Decade (which will increase in cost by 2.5%), and the Rocky Patel Vintage Juniors (which will go up in price by 5 cents for each cigar). The new costs will be implemented starting on November 15th. So now is the time to get in those Rocky Patel orders—before prices go up!
Two cities in California have just banned smoking in parks: Calistoga and Kerman. The Calistoga ban additionally prohibits smoking in lots which are adjacent to parks. The Kerman ban prohibits the sale or exchange of tobacco products in parks along with smoking.
Thank you for checking in with us for this week’s cigar updates!
I have a ton of cigar accessories, some of which are pretty specialized. You are probably already familiar with Screwpop; these guys are well-known for their keychain cigar accessories including punch and scissor cigar cutters. I have always enjoyed their products, so I was stoked when I found out about the new Screwpop Ashtray, “the world’s first cigar centric ashtray”, which I'm very a happy to have a chance to try today.
The Screwpop Ashtray is very sleek-looking, and designed out of melamine. Melamine offers a couple of advantages: it is lightweight, and it can stand up to high heat. The tray is pretty compact, and features a perpendicular orientation for the cigar. This allows you to get a nice view of your cigar while you are smoking, which is quite handy if you write a lot of cigar reviews and want to constantly check up on the ash and burn line and so on.
Functionally, there are some other cool features especially for cigars. For example, there is a ramp which the ash slides down from the holder into the bowl. There is also a cylinder which protrudes from the tray which you can use to knock ash off.
All in all, the Screwpop Ashtray is a very cool tray which functions well and is a lot sturdier than it feels (it is rare to find a lightweight material this strong). About my only complaint is that it cannot hold a whole lot of ash, so it can fill up a little quickly - which means that during a gathering, you either need to empty it regularly, or make sure everyone has his/her own ashtray. Aside from that, it is awesome and knocks the socks off of any standard cigarette tray.
Courtesy of Screwpop Tool, we are giving away 3 Screwpop Ashtrays! To enter, all you have to do is comment. We will pick the winners randomly by next Tuesday and post their names on the blog.