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IPCPR 2017: Day One

Top 10 things we learned on Day 1 at IPCPR 2017

  1. Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a bad ass. His keynote speech was what the cigar industry needed to hear from a politician in light of the recent FDA regulations.  "President Trump realizes regulations are killing businesses," he said "Let businesses operate like businesses instead of government -regulated organizations."
  2. IPCPR knows how to party. Light up the Night with General Cigar was the best ever with food, drinks, cigars, drinks, T-shirt screening, cigars, drinks and cigars. And Mombacho parties-Enough said about that. 
  3. Ventura Cigars is bringing back old favorites from their supplier and production partners in the case study line. They cleverly named them Case Studies 1-5. Try them and see if you can find your old favorites. 
  4. Unfortunately this year we lost Avo Uvezian. David off has pledged to continue with the vision AVO began long ago. 
  5. With the changing laws concerning medical cigarettes, two companies I have come up with unique products to aid those smokers. PDR's Devil's Weed (in red and dark) provides rollers with a quality tobacco leaf to use as their wrapper. Total Flame has marketed a Russian tube product that you can easily load with your own blend to make a smooth smoke. 
  6. Stepping up the presentation standards, United-A luxury brand- has perfected beautiful humidified tubes sold with their cigars
  7. Davidoff once again presented their Gold Band awards to deserving partner retailers at a press event complete with fancy hors d'oeuvres,  Champagne and of course their new Churchhill, Comacho and Avo blends.
  8. For every serious businessman's office, the new Hiram and Solomon pyramid humidor, complete with 30 of their cigars, is a must have.
  9. In a perfect example of how the cigar industry has helped the economies of multiple small countries, Crossfire Cigars has several blends whose profits roll directly back into the Dominican Republic people through hospitals, schooling and jobs.
  10. Warfighter Cigars is made up of six soldiers who bonded together to create cigars for other soldiers, naming all the cigars after calibers of ammunition. 

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Punch Diablo To Debut at IPCPR

Punch beckons you to the dark side without fear of losing your soul with the release of its newest collection called Diablo.

Punch Diablo marks the first time that a Punch cigar will be made outside of Honduras, where the brand has been made since the 1960s.

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Cigar Regulations and the Little Guy

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This is a guest article by Rob McKeon of CigarZen, manufacturer of the Blüme family of products. CW makes no product endoresements as a matter of policy.


It’s tough out here for us cigar smokers!

As we all know, tobacco has been highly regulated and the level of those regulations seems to keep climbing, almost by the day. For cigar lovers, it seems unfair that the products we use--to relax, to de-compress, to celebrate--are becoming more and more difficult to acquire.

While we can all appreciate the government’s desire to keep tobacco far away from kids, it’s hard to see the justification behind including cigars in its recent rigorous FDA rulings which were originally intended for smokeless tobacco only. The act of cigar smoking is almost artistic in its nature, viewed as a sign of sophistication, hard work and appreciation for the craftsmanship behind each stick. While it’s easy for a teenager to get their hands on a cheap pack of cigarettes, they’re likely not going to get too far in an artisanal cigar store.

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INVERSOSpringfield, VA (June 30, 2018) – Omar de Frias is proud to announce the debut of Navetta Inverso at this year’s IPCPR. Translated “inversed shuttle” in Italian, Navetta Inverso is all about us using the same tobaccos we used under Navetta but literally inversing all the tobaccos. The result of this change was incredible.

“It does not seize to amaze me how one leaf of tobacco can change a blend entirely. In our case we changed it all.” Said de Frias. Navetta Inverso features an habano Nicaraguan wrapper Ecuador binder and Dominican and Nicaragua filler.

“Reality is when you use well fermented and aged tobaccos, the likelihood that the cigar will be great is high” said de Frias.

Navetta Inverso will be featured in 3 vitolas:

Corona Gorda (5 7/8 x 46) 9.50
Robusto (5 ½ x 54) 11.25
Toro Grande (6 ¼ x 54) 12.50

Navetta Inverso is manufactured at Joya de Nicaragua and will be available for shipment in September. Omar de Frias worked at NASA for 12 years prior to leaving to focus full time on Fratello.

Industry (raw)

I am cnp'ing this raw from my PM inbox. I'm not quite sure what to do with it yet, but it is relevant and could easily be cleaned up for publication.


I smoke cigars to Celebrate. A wedding, a birth, a promotion. A Life.

I lost my paternal Grandmother a year ago, and I celebrated.

I celebrated a life of nearly 75 years. A life of handing down love, lessons, admonishments and accolades.
She was a woman of action with a strong will and a huge heart.

I sat on the porch at the farm where we shared countless conversations - the place where she imparted her wisdom upon me.
I sat next to the black rocking chair with the word 'MA' emblazoned across the back in gold leaf. It was her throne during haying season, where she rested and surveyed the fields.
It occurred to me that I had never sat next to that chair without her sitting there next to me.
I smoked a 'Queen B' from Fuente. The name seemed fitting, and it was a solid smoke.

A few days ago, our community was rocked by the sudden passing of a childhood friend. He was my first 'best' friend.
Some of my earliest memories are of the two of us discovering the world together. We spent countless hours exploring the woods, riding our bikes, camping, and dirtbiking. We played the Hero and we played the Villain. Saturday mornings full of Thundercats and Voltron cartoons and epic GI Joe battles. We Talked. The conversations were of people yet unburdened by the weight of the world.
The divorce of my parents changed everything in my world, and my friendship suffered as well. I moved away, and we drifted apart. Only after his passing did I realize what that friendship really meant. He died at 34 years old in an ATV accident. His name was Jason.

Soon I will go and find him, at the spot on our dirt bike trail where we would shut the bikes down and talk. I will take a Hemmingway 'Short Story'. The name seems fitting, and it’s a solid smoke.

I will celebrate a life.

J Norton

Federal Judge Delays FDA Warning Labels

ipcprlogoEarlier today, D.C. District Court Judge Amit Mehta issued an injunction prohibiting the U.S. Food & Drug Administration from enforcing its warning label requirements on cigars and pipe tobacco. The warning label requirements for packaging and advertising were slated to go into effect on August 10th. Judge Mehta’s order delays any enforcement of the requirement until at least 60 days after the conclusion of an appeal currently underway.  No date has been set for a court to hear the appeal.

Today’s decision is a direct result of the ongoing lawsuit brought by IPCPR, the Cigar Association of America and the Cigar Rights of America. Judge Mehta had previously ruled on this case in May – and did not endorse the Associations’ challenge to the warning labels issue. Following the ruling, IPCPR, CAA and CRA appealed and requested that Judge Mehta prohibit the FDA’s warning label requirements until a decision on the appeal is finalized.  In his order issued today, Judge Mehta agreed, recognizing the suit raises substantial and complex issues about retailers' constitutional rights, and that the FDA was not justified to require warnings before those issues are fully resolved, “In the end, this court believes that Plaintiffs are entitled to a full hearing before an appellate court with the specter of a warnings regime going into effect.”

Scott Pearce, IPCPR Executive Director recognizes this is a positive, if not temporary development for retailers and the broader industry.  “This deadline has been bearing down on our members for some time now.  And while this is a temporary reprieve, it is a welcome development and hopefully a sign that our message is resonating. IPCPR is proud to be a party to this lawsuit, and we’ll continue to work with our great legal team and staff in DC to bring about the optimum regulatory framework for the premium cigar industry.”

For questions on today’s injunction or any issues concerning the FDA’s Deeming Rule – please contact Daniel Trope, IPCPR Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

VIDEO: Y.A.Berra updates the Guayabera


Y.A.Berra, a Miami based company has redesigned the traditional guayaberra shirt to modern wearers. The fit has been changed, to give a different feeling to the shirt, It also comes in a variety of colors and patters that allow the wearer to make a fashion statement and personalized. The company's founder was present at the IPCPR show in Las Vegas in July and sat down for an interview with CW's Jeff and Brenda Slatton.


island lifestyleIsland Lifestyle Importers is introducing two new Tommy Bahama lighters at this year’s International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Convention in Las Vegas. 

The “Longboard” is a sleek triple-flame pinpoint torch pocket lighter available in two color combinations: white or blue body on a gunmetal frame.  It has an oversized capacity fuel tank with a large fuel window.  An easy-adjust fuel wheel and pull-down trigger mechanism round out the ergonomic feel and function.  The suggested retail is $59.99.

The “Rocker” is a dual torch flip-top pocket lighter with a fold out cigar punch on the bottom.  It includes a large capacity fuel tank with easy-adjust fuel wheel.  The side squeeze trigger mechanism makes for easy function.  It is being released with a black body on gunmetal frame and a blue body on a gunmetal frame.  The suggested retail is $49.99.

“These are great lighters that offer high value features at a fantastic price-point.  The feel and look are all about the Tommy Bahama lifestyle.  We are really excited about these new additions.” said Ryan Frailing, Vice President of Island Lifestyle Importers. 

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IPCPR Statement on ALTRIA

IPCPR is aware of comments recently submitted by Altria Group, Inc. regarding premium cigar regulations, as well as the subsequent concerns raised about these comments. IPCPR has long been and remains a staunch advocate for premium cigar exemption from FDA regulation. Additionally, we have worked diligently with industry partners, including Altria and Nat Sherman, both on and off Capitol Hill to advocate for this position.

While the association differs with Altria’s official position on premium cigar exemption, we are heartened by the company’s statement that “Premium Cigars Are Different”, and further, their subsequent comments that premium cigars are a unique tobacco product category harmed by current FDA regulations. This includes their opposition to the unwarranted pre-market pathway and untenable testing framework under the Deeming Rule. Moreover, Altria has publicly supported current legislative language sponsored by Congressman Cole (R-OK) that includes a premium cigar exemption. We will continue to work with our partners in industry in support of favorable outcomes for premium cigars and pipe tobacco.

IPCPR urges its member retailers to review the full Altria comment, Nat Sherman’s response, as well as IPCPR’s comments. The association remains an ardent supporter of premium cigar exemption, and will continue to be the leading advocate for this outcome in Washington, DC.

Daniel Trope


FratnewboxSpringfield, VA (July 3, 2018) – Omar de Frias is proud to announce brand new packaging for the Fratello Bianco and the Fratello line of cigars. With this new packaging Fratello Seeks to better align its footprint across humidors, yet our blends will continue to be the same.

Along with this change the original Fratello line launched in 2013 will receive a new name. “We had envisioned this change a long time ago. When our customers placed their orders, they would always refer to the original blend as the classic. Fratello Classico and Fratello Bianco’s new packaging will be featured at this year’s IPCPR.” Said de Frias.

Nick Goss Joins Hiram and Solomon

gossHiram and Solomon Cigars would like to welcome and introduce Brother Nick Goss to our Team as our newest Brand Ambassador. Nick will be covering all of New England and visiting a store near you soon. We believe that Nick’s experience and character will be a very positive factor towards reaching our Goal of becoming the Brand of choice for many experienced Cigar Smokers. Welcome to the Team Nick!


Pires(Miami, Florida) July, 3, 2018— Villiger Cigars  continues its growth in the North American market as they announce today that Hector J. Pires was promoted to the position of National Sales Manager for Villiger Cigars North America. Hector Pires is being promoted from the position of South Eastern Territory Manager, (now being managed by Villiger new hire Roger Peña). Pires begins his new role immediately.

Hector Pires, born in Caracas, Venezuela received his education in his native country, earning a degree in International Trade. He later found his niche in hospitality as he joined his family’s restaurant group in Caracas. After rising through the ranks, he moved to Miami to open a high-end restaurant serving International cuisine. After successfully running his restaurant for 10 years, Hector decided to sell and move on to follow his passion for tobacco. A handmade premium cigar smoker enthusiast since his early 20’s, Hector has been able to combine his love of tobacco and background in hospitality management, to provide the best service possible to customers.

Rene Castañeda, Villiger North America President said,” Hector has been a great asset to Villiger Cigars over the past year and a half, and has proven that he can be an effective leader for our sales staff.  I look forward to working closely with him as we continue to spread the Villager message to our retailers and consumers.”

The news of Villiger North America naming Hector Pires as national sales manager comes only a week after the announcement of the special limited edition Villiger La Flor De Ynclan in Lancero Especial size, which will be presented at the 2018 IPCPR in Las Vegas this coming July. The Villiger La Flor De Ynclan robusto in 2017 garnered a 93 rating, ranked as the number 10 cigar in the world by Cigar Aficionado Magazine and voted the 2017 number 6 cigar in the world by Tobacco Business Magazine.

Villiger Sons Limited was established in 1888 by Jean Villiger in the small town of Pfeffikon, Switzerland, where Villiger remains headquartered to this day. The company manufactures and sells more than 1.5 billion cigars annually, world-wide. Today, under the leadership of Heinrich Villiger, the company prides itself in its commitment to quality, in all their products made in many countries around the globe.

Joint IPCPR and CRA Statement on FDA Regulation

Yesterday, IPCPR and Cigar Rights of America filed a joint comment in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing review of how it should define and treat premium cigars. This process, known as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – marked a major milestone for premium cigar retailers, manufacturers, consumers and the industry at large. It was an opportunity for IPCPR, CRA and other stakeholders in the industry to provide another evidentiary based justification for why premium cigars should be regulated differently from the direction the agency has thus far taken.

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Villiger Cigars to produce a limited run of 500 boxes yearly of the Villiger Flor De Ynclan Lancero Especial

(Miami, Florida) June 26, 2018— Villiger Cigars announces that the Villiger La Flor De Ynclan will be presented in a special edition Lancero Especial size, at the 2018 IPCPR in Las Vegas this coming July. The Villiger La Flor De Ynclan robusto in 2017 garnered a 93 rating, ranked as the number 10 cigar in the world by Cigar Aficionado Magazine and voted the 2017 number 6 cigar in the world by Tobacco Business Magazine.

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vencadora(Miami, Florida) July 11, 2018— Villiger Cigars, which is celebrating its 130 year Anniversary, unveiled its first ever full-bodied Villiger Cigar brand, the Villiger La Vencedora in early 2018. Villiger Cigars will now unveil the Villiger La Vencedora “Gordo” which is a new 6X60 size vitola at the 2018 IPCPR in Las Vegas. Reviews by consumers and media alike have been strong as the Villiger La Vencedora received a 92 rating by CigarSnob Magazine, a 92 Four Star rating by Cigar Journal, and a 90 rating by Cigar Aficionado.

Rene Castañeda, President of Villiger North America said,” The Villiger La Vencedora has been very well received and so much so that there has been demand to introduce a 6X60 vitola. We look forward presenting this new size and seeing all of our friends and colleagues at the 2018 IPCPR in Las Vegas.”

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June 30, 2017 (Miami, FL) — While it’s release has admittedly been a long time coming,

the much anticipated Crux Epicure is ready for launch – and with an additional size, a 5.375 x 46 Corona Gorda.

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H&S Debuts Holy Grail Cigar at IPCPR 2018

holygrailHiram and Solomon Cigars is once again proud to announce an expansion in one of our high caliber cigar lines. The Shriner, also known as, “The Holy Grail” is NOW AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE in a Petit Corona 5.5x42 size! Made and constructed with the same high quality standards you have come to know from our cigars.

 *Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

*Binder: Indonesia

*Filler: Arapiraca, Habano Jalapa, Habano Ometepe, Dominican

MSRP has been set at $7.49 USD

 The Shriner Petit Corona will come packaged in 20 count split top cabinet boxes similar to other cigars in our company’s portfolio.

The Shriner Petit Corona will be featured along with our other high caliber cigars at this years International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Association trade show, in Las Vegas, NV this coming week! Hiram and Solomon will be at Booth #333, stop by and see what makes our cigars great!

Prime Cigar and Whiskey Bar Event

oneoff1The host of the official launch for "One off" will be the 2X winner of the Best Cigar & Whiskey Bar / Shop in Miami by the Miami New Times Readers, Casa de Montecristo by Prime Cigar and Whiskey Bar. Event takes place on Wednesday, June 27th @ 7pm.

1106 S. Miami Avenue #202 Brickell Miami, FL 33130

Prime Cigar & Whiskey Bar will be one of 500 retail locations across the nation selling the highly anticipated (back on the market) "One Off" by Illusione.

Production details are not that easy to come by, but all we can say is it is being handled at Aganorsa Leaf's Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. factory in Estelí, Nicaragua and that ONLY 120,000 One Off's have been rolled out to the market.

We are personally inviting you to attend and/or share with your readers to invite them and experience the sophisticated ambiance of South Florida's cigar smokers favorite hideaway, Prime Cigar and Whiskey Bar, and meet and greet the Illusione Family.

oneoff2Formal introduction will be celebrated at the July 2018 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV.

Kindly find attached the invitation for the One Off Launch Party and images of Prime Cigar and Whiskey Bar!

Crux Hires New VP of Sales

Roy MacLaren color(Miami, Fla.) - Crux Cigars today announced the expansion of their national sales efforts with the hi-profile hiring of industry veteran Roy MacLaren as their new Executive Vice President of Sales. The hiring is effective immediately, and Roy will join the Crux Cigars Company at this weeks 2018 IPCPR trade show.

“I have been watching the growth of Crux Cigars, and have been impressed,” commented Roy MacLaren, “They produce a great product, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to assist in their future success.”

Roy has over 20 years senior executive experience in the premium cigar industry. Previously as the President of Villiger Cigars of North America, he successfully restructured the U.S. operation. In addition, Roy has been both the Vice-President of Sales for Gurhka Cigars and U.S. Area Sales Manager for Davidoff of Geneva Cigars, where he oversaw each company’s impressive sales growth.

“I’ve known Roy for many years. He brings a wealth of knowledge and contacts from 20 plus years in our industry,” stated Crux Cigars President Jeff Haugen, “We are extremely excited to add Roy’s talents and experience to our company.”

Sin Compromiso Debuts

dunbartonlogoDunbarton, NH Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (DTT) is debuting it’s much awaited Sin Compromiso series of ultra- premium handmade cigars at the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers 86th Annual Convention in Las Vegas, NV, on July 13th, 2018.

Sin Compromiso is the result of over three years of experimental black tobacco harvests in Mexico, Ecuador and Nicaragua and the culmination of my experiences as a cigar blender, states the founder and Master Ligador, Steve Saka. The marquee’s name translates to no compromise and that is the exact approach I took when creating this cigar. This blend is a direct reflection of all the skills I have learned and developed over the last twenty plus years and I am genuinely excited to share it with my fellow cigar smokers.”

To which he adds, “Sin Compromiso is a truly unique, complex cigar that is simultaneously smooth, yet strong. It delivers a captivating and entrancing smoke for the experienced palate with flavors that are constantly swirling and changing from puff to puff. At its core is an inherent sweetness paired with a savory spiciness, but hidden within its layers are notes of cocao, espresso, loam and even a hint of smoky chicory root. I spent over three

years meticulously crafting and tweaking this blend and I can say without reservation it is personally my very best liga ever bar none. I have never experienced such an intriguing and satisfying smoke.

Initially offered in 5 sizes: Selección No. 2 Torpedo (6x52), Selección No. 5 Parejo (6x54), Selección No. 7 Parejo

(7x56), Selección “Intrépido (5.63 x 46) and the Selección Espada Estoque (7x44). The MSRP will range from

$15.95 to $18.45 USD per puro.

Each cigar is gently soft pressed, sleeved in Spanish Cedar and packed in beautifully crafted 13-ct matte lacquered boxes. Available at only our very best Select Purveyors and very limited in supply.

The anticipated ship date to those Select Purveyors who pre-order is late August 2018. About Steve Saka

Regarded as a cigar expert throughout the industry, he is credited as being an experienced cigar blender and

maker, a prolific author regarding cigars and black tobaccos, a forefather within the online media segment and a dynamic tobacco industry executive. In 2000, he worked directly for Lew Rothman, the former owner of JR Cigar, as an executive consultant for four years and he subsequently served as the President, then CEO of Drew Estate from 2005 through 2013. In 2015, he established the family held Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust to craft and distribute traditional handmade puros. For more information, please visit:

®Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and Sin Compromiso are registered trademarks of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and/or affiliated companies.