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!
Alec Bradley American Classic - this budget offering from Alec Bradley is a really good smoke (see our review here), especially if it can be found at less than $5 per stick. It's currently on sale at Cigar & Pipes, check it out.
Cigars International Humidor Combo - 10 cigars and a desktop humidor for $19.99, it's not that bad. Even considering the fact that half of the cigars included in this deal are trash, the deal is good if you're looking to get your first humidor, and fill it a bit.
Spotted a nice cigar deal? Post it in the comments area below!
Origin : Italy Format : Cheroot Size : 6 x 38 (at middle) Wrapper : Italian Kentucky Filler : Blend of Italian and American Kentucky Hand-Made Price : : 5-pack for £26.39 ($17.95 US on Italiansmokes.com)
Today we have another guest review by Chris, an aficionado from the UK who runs a YouTube channel called CigarHub Cigar Reviews. Enjoy!
I never have much time for writing reviews, I mainly stick to my video reviews and that’s it. But when it comes to something astonishing it’s definitely worth the effort to make this cigar more known to those who are lucky enough to get ahold of some. This isn’t your average Cuban, this isn’t your average Dominican, Nicaraguan, or even Honduran – this is something completely special from Italy and was a real pleasant surprise for me.
Want a huge honkin’ stick for not a lot of money?? Buy a 50 Cab of Punch Double Coronas. Punch is a more well-known name in the market that I am in, but most of their non-Cuban offerings leave a bit to be desired.
If you ask a random cigar smoker about the Nub Cameroon 358, you may get any of a wide variety of responses. This is a cigar which seems to inspire love or hate reactions. They were quite popular when they were originally released, but since then, interest in them seems to have ebbed a bit.
Nub Cameroon 358 cigars are manufactured by Oliva Cigar Co. and marketed under the Studio Tobac name. The motto for the cigars is, “Just the sweet spot.” Nub Cameroon 358 is designed to be a relatively quick smoke with ideal flavors from start to finish. Does it measure up? I decided to find out.
As you probably know, this years IPCPR Convention just wrapped up a few days ago, running from July 24th-July 28th at Sands Expo in Las Vegas. Hopefully you already read our first update where we shared news on new releases from Drew Estate, General Cigar, Nat Sherman, Joya De Nicaragua and others. Now I would like to share some additional updates!
Davidoff of Geneva USA: Yamasá
Davidoff of Geneva USA is always a big booth, and this year it seemed larger than ever. There were numerous Davidoff products on display as well as products from a number of other big cigar brands: Room101, AVO, Camacho and Ditka.
The big deal however was definitely the Davidoff Yamasá, which is a brand new addition to the Davidoff catalog. This was its official unveiling and the first time that members of the public got a chance to smoke it.
The Yamasá includes a Dominican wrapper and binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler leaves. Flavors are bold and include notes of coffee, cedar, nuts and spices. It will be launching in August, and will be available in four sizes: - Davidoff Yamasá Petit Churchill (4 x 48) $12.90 (Box of 14, $180.60) - Davidoff Yamasá Robusto (5 x 50) $19.70 (Box of 12, $236.40) - Davidoff Yamasá Pirámides (6 1/8 x 52) $23 (Box of 12, $276) - Davidoff Yamasá Toro (6 x 52) $22.70 (Box of 12, $272.40)
The Yamasá is actually a somewhat fascinating story. It was pioneered by blender Henke Kelner, who has literally been working on it for 20 years. The name of the cigar pays tribute to the swampland of Yamasá. Unbelievably and against the odds (and the doubts of others), Kelner managed to convert the swamp into a tobacco-producing region. How and why? That part I am not sure about, but it is a spectacularly impressive feat resulting in a charismatic new cigar.
Oliva: Rebranding and Virtual Reality
The Oliva booth is another biggie. Overall it looked much like it did in previous years, but you could sense the change in ownership (J. Cortès now owns it). Perhaps this accounts for some of the re-branding of Oliva products, for example the Nub Café, which is now known as the Nub Nuance. Additionally, two new blends are available. The first is called the Nub Nuance Fall Harvest, which includes additional notes of pumpkin spice. The wrapper is Indonesian while the binder is Nicaraguan. The filler leaves are Nicaraguan and Dominican.
- Nub Nuance Fall Harvest 354 (3 3/4 x 54) $6.15 (Boxes of 20, $123) - Nub Nuance Fall Harvest 460 (4 x 60) $7.18 (Boxes of 20, $143.50) - Nub Nuance Fall Harvest 542 (5 x 42) $6.15 (Boxes of 20, $123)
The second new blend is the Winter Blend, which contains an added note of mint:
- Nub Nuance Winter Blend 354 (3 3/4 x 54) $6.15 (Boxes of 20, $123) - Nub Nuance Winter Blend 460 (4 x 60) $7.18 (Boxes of 20, $143.50) - Nub Nuance Winter Blend 542 (5 x 42) $6.15 (Boxes of 20, $123)
All of the new Nub Nuance cigars will be available in September.
New Nub Nuance blends were not the only means by which Oliva impressed booth visitors at IPCPR 2016. Oliva is a brand that is on top of the latest technology. If you happen to be a gamer, you probably are familiar with virtual reality headsets. VR headsets are cutting edge, but should soon be available for your PlayStation or Xbox console. As it turns out, their applications go far beyond gaming.
Oliva had the very cool idea of allowing trade show attendees to visit their company plantation and factories through a virtual reality tour. This is really quite an amazing concept and a mind-blowing and unique experience for everyone who dropped by the Oliva booth. As a bonus, Oliva demonstrated their generosity and appreciation to all of their dedicated buyers by giving away a complimentary cigar at the end of their virtual tour.
Avo's new blend this year is Classic Covers Volume 4. This cigar is based on the Avo Domaine, and includes Yamasá filler leaves, an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and an Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper. The Avo Syncro Nicaragua is also getting an expansion with the new Fogata.
Boutique Blends has four new cigars on the way. Two are Oliveros and two are Aging Room.
Recluse Cigar Company has announced the fourth expansion of their Draconian Blend with the Recluse Draconian Habano. This cigar includes a Sumatra binder and Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Dominican Ligero, Iconic Ligero, Braziago and Piloto Cubano fillers. It will be available in 14 formats.
Thanks for following along with this years IPCPR updates here on CigarInspector.com! Be sure to check back each week for ongoing industry news!