Origin : Nicaragua Format : Corona Size : 5.6 x 46 Wrapper : Nicaraguan Corojo Filler : Nicaragua Binder : Nicaragua Hand-Made Factory : Casa Fernandez Body : Medium Price : $10.50 MSRP More info about purchasing Warped cigars...
Warped is a rising star boutique brand (as far as I’m concerned, they have arrived) founded by Kyle Gellis. In recent years, they’ve received accolades for their unique blends, and if you haven’t delved into the Warped brand yet, now is the time. A great place to start is with La Hacienda (“The Estate”). Warped brought back an old Cuban brand for this blend, and this Nicaraguan puro has been a home run, and it’s a staple in my humidor. I’m amazed at the consistency in performance and flavor profile.
It has been a pretty good week all-around in the cigar world. There are a number of exciting new releases to share, and there is also some good news on the regulatory front. Let’s check it out.
New and Upcoming Releases:
As you may recall from literature class, Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet took place in Verona, Italy. Now Verona serves as the stage for launching the new Romeo y Julieta Capuletos, which measure 6 inches with a 53-ring gauge. This launch is part of a new program by Habanos to launch special release cigars in individual cities before pressing on to global distribution. There is no word yet as to when Romeo y Julieta Capuletos will be available worldwide.
If you were at IPCPR this year, you may have seen the new My Father release “The Judge.” But you may also know that the packaging was not yet finalized at the show. Well, now it is. These cigars feature a chestnut-brown band with the name “The Judge.” The color closely mimics that of the wrapper leaf on the cigar. There is also a Victorian-style logo. The overall effect is very stylish.
Alec Bradley will be releasing a new cigar with sun grown wrappers soon. We do not have a lot of details on this yet, because this is one of many products recently distributed in small quantities to limited retailers to get in under the FDA pre-approval deadline. The new product was spied at STOGIES World Class Cigars, and is billed as the Alec Bradley Havana Sun Grown. Four sizes will be available: Churchill, toro, torpedo and robusto, and the line will sell in the $7-$9 range.
As you may know, the Joya De Nicaragua Rosalones Reserva debuted recently in Spain. Now the company has announced that it will be shipping out the cigars to the rest of the European markets. Joya De Nicaragua Rosalones Reserva comes in four sizes and is priced in the $2.80-$5.00 range.
Over the past year, smokers in Worcester, Massachusetts have not been faring too well. The minimum age to buy tobacco jumped from 18 to 21, and smoking has been banned in a number of establishments. Tobacco retailers have also faced new restrictions. There is finally some good news on this front, however; the Worcester Board of Health has decided not to ban smoking in the patio areas of restaurants and bars, and has also opted not to ban flavored tobacco products from being sold. These motions are now off the table until further notice.
Finally, in one more item of encouraging regulatory news, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed legislation which would have banned smoking on public university campuses throughout the state of California. Public universities will remain free to set their own rules.
Thanks for checking in with us for this week’s cigar updates. Be sure to check back soon for more cigar news!
So I’m sitting here with this rather impressive seleccion box, I mean it’s incredible – the small wooden humidor the set comes in, the smell right as you open the box, the unbelievably beautiful looking cigars you get to see as soon as you take off the wax paper. What’s the first “out of place” thing I notice? This Partagas. It really stands out.
Origin : Dominican Republic Format : Toro Size : 6 x 52 Wrapper : Negrito Dominicano - 2008 Filler : Corojo Ligero Dominicano 30% – 2006; Negrito Viso Dominicano 20% - 2008; HVA 20/20 50% - 2010 Binder : Corojo Dominicano - 2006 Hand-Made Price : $10.50 MSRP More info about purchasing Caldwell cigars...
Please welcome Scott AKA The Bare Hand, our new author! He starts with a very detailed review of a boutique cigar, Caldwell The King is Dead. Enjoy!
The King is Dead by Caldwell Cigar Company, owned by Robert Caldwell, is their second blend. They make very small batch releases, so finding them can be somewhat tough, but this cigar has been a hit, and I’m excited to finally give it a go after resting in my humidor for about a year.
Interestingly, according to Robert Caldwell, this cigar was blended with the intention of smoking the related brother blend, Long Live the King (which is fantastic BTW), just before. Unfortunately, I did not have that opportunity, but this cigar was enjoyable nonetheless.
This blend utilizes some rare and underused Dominican tobaccos (just check the blend. What a mouthful!), so I’m preparing for a unique experience.
With summer drawing to a close, it is time for another round of cigar news. This week we have a lot of legal news to report. Some of it is good, some of it isn’t—as usual it is a mixed bag for the cigar industry. But first, let’s talk about new releases.
New and Upcoming Releases:
Fans of the Illusione Ultra line will be excited to learn that there are now two new formats available: a Churchill and a short robusto. The short robusto is known as the Op. No. 3, and measures 4 1/4 inches with a 50-ring gauge. You can purchase it for $8. The Churchill is the Op. No. 8, measuring 6 3/4 with a 48-ring gauge. The larger size will sell for $13. You can purchase the new sizes in boxes of 20, but there are also limited-edition 48-count boxes of the Op. No. 3, each adorned with special artwork.
Fans of Oettinger Davidoff AG and the Corona Cigar Company know these two cigar giants have enjoyed a longstanding business relationship. To celebrate that association, Davidoff is releasing a limited edition cigar to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Corona Cigar Company. The Davidoff Exclusive Corona Cigar Co. 20th is a 6 x 52 Belicoso featuring an Ecuador Connecticut Rojiza wrapper, a Mexico Negro San Andres Binder and a combination of Florida Sun Grown and Dominican Republic fillers.
You may know there is a ban on smoking in restaurants, casinos, bars, video lottery establishments, and package liquor stores in South Dakota. A business owner recently challenged this ruling and it went to the circuit court. Unfortunately, the ruling has now been reaffirmed and still stands, so this represents another loss for the cigar community.
The FDA has just issued its first set of warning letters to retailers who sell newly regulated tobacco products. The goal with these particular letters is to stop the sale of tobacco to minors. The FDA has been conducting inspections and issuing similar warnings (and penalties) since 2009, but the list of newly regulated products includes cigars. Fifty-five letters have been sent out so far to retailers across the country.
Did you know there is a ban prohibiting the donation of cigars to U.S. soldiers abroad? U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, D-Florida, is currently spearheading an effort to get the ban overturned by introducing H.R. 5955. Be sure to write in to your congressmen in support of the bill so our troops can get back to enjoying donated cigars on their tours of duty!
Finally, in a solid victory, the General Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee of New Jersey voted 9 to 1 to permit a municipality to authorize new cigar lounges. At the present time, cigar bars which opened prior to 2005 are exempt from the Smoke-Free Air Act. Patrons in these exempt bars can smoke, but patrons at newer lounges cannot. This bill will allow new cigar lounges the same rights as those which opened before 2005.
Here is one more exciting legal news item. After more than five decades, the U.S. Department of Transportation has finally approved flights to Havana! Eight airline companies will be participating. This is a great step forward in cementing commercial relations between the US and Cuba, and a great day for Cuban cigar fans in America.
Thank you for checking in for this week’s cigar news. Be sure to check back soon for another set of updates!
You are probably familiar with the Edición Regional program from Habanos S.A. This is a program where Cuban cigar brands create unique limited-edition cigars for exclusive distribution to retailers in particular countries. One interesting aspect of this program is the fact that all the release ideas must be initiated by the distributors, who must also provide the financial underwriting.
The program first launched back in 2005, and since then many Cuban brands have participated (except for global brands like Cohiba, which are prohibited from participation). One which did not until 2013 was Rafael González.
Rafael González’s entry is an exclusive for Germany. Having heard good things, I decided to give it a try. Let’s check it out.
Origin : Costa Rica Format : Toro Gordo Size : 6 x 54 Wrapper : Ecuadorian Hybrid (Connecticut Desflorado & Mejorado 2004) Filler : Dominican HVA Mejorado Ligero, Dominican Criollo 98 Viso, Ecuadorian Criollo 98 Viso, Peruvian Hybrid Habano, Paraguayan Hybrid Habano 2000 Viso Binder : Ecuadorian HVA Mejorado Seco Hand-Made Price : ~$15.50 each
UPDATE Sep 15: the winners have been chosen and announced in the widget at the end of this post.
The MBombay Gaaja is a cigar I have been excited to try because I have been anticipating it for so long, and also because I really liked the previous cigar from MBombay that I reviewed earlier this year - the MBombay Kesara Pyramid. Like the other cigars blended by Mel Shah of Bombay Tobak, the name of this one is a Sanskrit word (pronounced GUY-yuh) meaning “elephant.” The elephant is a symbol of patience, and patience was exactly what Shah needed in developing this cigar.
Just take a closer look at all the different types of tobacco which have gone into creating this boutique blend. No wonder the development process took four years to complete.
If you do some research, you will notice that this size, the Toro Gordo, is presently all that is available. This is because there are literally only a couple of rollers working at the factory to create these cigars right now. Once more personnel are trained, the line should be expanded.
In any case, the wait is over—so let’s set aside our patience and finally check out the Mbombay Gaaja!
What’s been going on in the cigar industry? Here’s a quick overview of the top stories in the cigar world over the past couple weeks!
Altadis USA has just released a limited edition Romeo y Julieta aged for 11 years, predictably named the Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old. You can buy them in an 11-count box for a price of (you guessed it) … $11. Note that the “aged 11 years” here does not refer to the tobacco, but rather to the finished cigars, which have been on a shelf in a warehouse somewhere waiting that long to be sold and smoked.
J.C. Newman’s brand Perla del Mar was originally launched with a natural wrapper in 2012. Now a new line featuring maduro wrappers is being added. The Nicaraguan binder and filler will remain the same.
If you enjoy collecting cigar accessories as much as you enjoy collecting cigars, you may own a few products designed by French manufacturer Elie Bleu. If so, you will be stoked to learn that the company is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the introduction of the J-11 collection. These lighters feature a slick design available with six different durable lacquer finishes.
There is a good chance you already know this, but earlier this month, Carlos Fuente Sr. passed away from cancer. He was 81 years old. He was of course a legend in the cigar world, and stayed actively involved in his business up until the day he died, serving as chairman of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. He will be sorely missed by all cigar fans.
For once, we have a victory to report on the legal front. As you know, US tobacco companies have been struggling under harsh new restrictions on product packaging—including on cigars. On Tuesday, August 16th, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta sided with Altria Group Inc., Lorillard Inc., Reynolds American Inc. and their subsidiaries, who argued that their First Amendment rights were being violated by the FDA’s new rules. Hopefully this lays the groundwork for a productive conversation benefiting the cigar industry in America.
Thanks for checking in with us! Be sure to check back next week for more exciting cigar news!