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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.

Read more...

TOP PREMIUM CIGAR RETAILER DEBUTS INTERACTIVE CIGAR & BEER PAIRING GUIDE

EASTON, PA--(Marketwired - November 23, 2016) - Famous Smoke Shop, the leading online distributor of discounted premium cigars, has debuted their new interactive Cigar & Beer Pairing Guide. Created in partnership with The Man Guide, the pairing guide offers expert picks on 54 cigar and beer combinations, including detailed cigar ratings, in an easy-to-use interface for cigar smokers who want to make their cigar and beer experience more enjoyable.

"As we did with the Cigars & Spirits Pairing Guide earlier this year, we made the Cigar and Beer guide easy to use and very intuitive," said Cory Grover, Digital PR Specialist at Famous Smoke Shop. "Starting with the color of the beer -- light, medium, or dark -- the cigar smoker then selects the type of beer -- Amber Lager, IPA, or Bock -- and chooses one of six scenarios that will find the best cigar and beer for that situation."

The scenarios are also quite witty. For example, after the user chooses the type of beer they want, the page displays: "So you're drinking a [beer type]. What are you doing?" Then offers pithy circumstantial answers like, "Looking for Liquid Courage," "Planning on Taking a Sick Day Tomorrow," "Quitting Your Job in a Jerry Maguire-like Way," to mention a few.

Chosen by the experts at both Famous Smoke Shop and The Man Guide, the resulting pairings include selections from both major and boutique manufacturers for the cigars, and U.S. micro craft, large manufacturer, and international breweries for the beers.

Among the cigars users will find, along with numerous others, are the Perdomo Craft Series, Oliva Serie V, Montecristo White, Rocky Patel Edge, and Padrón F75, as well as beers from Anchor Brewery, Dogfish, Yuengling, Guinness, Victory, and dozens more. Detailed tasting notes for each pairing, plus consumer rating scores and other related articles about the breweries and cigars, are also included with the results.

"As a beer guy and a cigar smoker, doing the match-ups for the pairing guide was right in my wheelhouse," said The Man Guide's Beer Product Manager, Jorge Vazquez, who, with the Guide's Beer Editor, Javier Neciosup, co-wrote the pairing descriptions.

"I wish I had a resource like this when I was getting into cigars and beer," added Mr. Neciosup.

In addition to offering users the opportunity to find their ideal cigar and beer pairing, The Famous Smoke Shop Cigar Pairing Guide gives them the option to easily buy cigars online from Famous Smoke Shop.

As Famous Smoke Shop's Digital Marketing Director, John Lamberti said: "Famous has always been dedicated to selling cigars at the lowest prices, great customer service, and providing consumers with relevant information. That's why this pairing guide is such a great addition to our overall online content."

"For those who already appreciate and enjoy a good cigar with a tasty craft beer, the pairing guide will help them discover many new combinations," said Neciosup. "And as for those who are still developing their pairing skills, the guide will get them up-to-speed by offering the right pairing in a way that's both informative and fun."

See the complete Famous Smoker Shop Cigar & Beer Pairing Guide here.

About Famous Smoke Shop

Famous Smoke Shop is the nation's #1 discount retailer of premium cigars online, offering one of the largest selections of handmade cigars, machine-made cigars, cigar humidors and accessories. Famous offers the web's lowest prices on a wide selection of cigar brands including Acid, Davidoff, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, Ashton, Padron, Oliva and Perdomo cigars, and many more. Famous offers their customers the best prices on all premium cigars as well as friendly and knowledgeable customer service.

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

HEDON DEBUTS ON INTERNATIONAL MARKETS

hedon1THE ONE AND ONLY FRENCH PREMIUM CIGAR BRAND

The region of Béarn, in south-west France, is best known for its picturesque villages and countryside, forests, rivers, lakes and, of course, for its excellent
food and wine.

Not many are aware that Béarn, which once belonged to the Navarre kingdom, is also the home of Hedon, the one and only premium cigar-maker,
working exclusively with 100% French tobacco grown here.

Hedon’s history dates back to 1999, when, for the first time, the idea of introducing cigar tobacco cultivation to this area and of setting up a small
luxury hand-made production became reality thanks to a group of French entrepreneurs. Since the start of the first tobacco plantation in Navarre,
exclusively dedicated to premium cigars, it has taken twelve years of research and experimentation to develop the optimal type of tobacco and master
a perfect production technique. The following years were employed to make the cigar production chain more efficient and more sustainable, introducing
advanced irrigation technologies in the fields and energy-saving systems in production facilities.

In 2015, backed by a small team of passionate shareholders and supported by the competence of expert artisans, a new management team brought
new energy to the project in order to develop the brand on international markets.

Today, Hedon intends to share its expertise and vision with the most demanding cigar lovers worldwide through a premium cigar range of
unique and unparalleled quality. Impeccably rolled by artisans of traditional expertise with fillers, binders and wrappers from the Pyrenean Piedmont,
Hedon cigars unveil subtle aromas and a deep body that slowly reveals itself, delivering an entirely new and unexpected experience.

Already named “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” by the French government, Hedon stands in the wake of the most authentically French luxury
and offers an original tasting experience. Its sweet and aromatic notes, both typical and recognisable, are particularly sought after not only by cigar
aficionados but also by those who are approaching the cigar world for the first time.

hedon2THE MAKING OF A HEDON CIGAR

A cigar is never just a cigar, it is the pleasure of a moment that is just our own. It is a journey that started in the XVII century, when the first tobacco
plantations were introduced in France, and then reached this corner in the mild south-west.

Here, Hedon cigars are made, in the middle of a green and generous land, where tobacco cultivation takes place, giving life to a masterpiece of craftsmanship and savoir-faire.



www.hedon-cigares.com

Hedon is the first and unique French premium cigar where both the filler, the inside of the cigar, and the wrapper, its outer cover, are grown in the same area: it is the Navarre region at the foot of the Pyrenees. Unlike other places of production, however, in Navarre only a single variety of tobacco, especially
identified and developed to ideally suit this terroir, is grown and used for both components.

For this reason, Hedon tobacco leaves attain both a superior colour and appearance that are absolutely incomparable and stand out from all others, with
unique organoleptic characteristics.

In March, seeds are sown in the greenhouse. Two months later, the seedlings are transplanted into the ground, where they grow for about a month partly outdoors and partly under the shelter of light nets for a more balanced and harmonious ripening if they are destined for the most precious wrapper
leaves.

In Navarre, there is an abundance of pure natural mineral water, which springs from the Pyrenees: a pureness that is also to be found in Hedon cigars.
By accurately monitoring the real-time water requirements of plants, an advanced irrigation system guarantees that the water needs of the plants
are met in an optimal way.

When the plants reach optimum maturity, they are harvested and then left to dry in small automated dryers, fully self-sufficient in terms of energy
consumption and conceived to work, in detail, every single batch of the crops.

After two months, the dried tobacco is ready for fermentation, which takes place in such a way so as to allow a linear evolution of taste. In fact,
fermentation is needed to burn the sugars in the starch of leaves at the time of combustion. Perfect control of the fermentation process is therefore
essential to obtain a product that can release all its aromas and fragrances.

hedon3The leaves are then sorted and stacked to mature for at least three years. In due time, they are selected and processed by Hedon’s skilled artisans, who roll each cigar by hand with the utmost care, using only whole leaves. At the end of the manufacturing process, every cigar is draw tested to guarantee
maximum quality.

Three hundred separate operations are carried out to create a French “puro”. Every phase of the whole production process is important, from planting to
rolling, as the smallest detail affects the final taste: given the soil and climate, a daily effort is needed to guarantee an excellent product for consumers.

What really makes a difference in the cultivation of Hedon tobacco is a unique savoir-faire developed through a combination of technology and
intelligence, traditional knowledge and agricultural innovation, which over the years has resulted in high quality wrappers, binders and fillers that are
able to release all their complex aromas.



www.hedon-cigares.com

CIGARS

Since 1999, Hedon has been striving to build a world made of pure pleasure and elegance.

hedon4Today, the Hedon range offers a wide choice of premium handcrafted “puros” cigars: each of them will deliver an unexpected and unique experience that will turn into a living ritual of taste.

Eclatant - Short Robusto

Origin: France

Size: 105 x 19.84 mm

Smoking time: 30 min.

Strenght: High (4/5)

At the first draw, the strength of the French terroir is outlined with aromas of black currant and chestnuts, freshened by a touch of mint. An expression of French finesse.

Revêur - Robusto

Origin: France

Size: 124 x 19.84 mm

Smoking Time: 45 min.

Strenght: Medium (3/5)

Created for a smooth savouring taste, which, still unlit, emits notes of gingerbread, lilac and dry tea leaves. Outstanding first draws are bold, then
softened by notes of cocoa and liquorice, as well as spicy aromas of wet earth and roasted coffee beans.

Flâneur - Corona Gorda

Origin: France

Size: 143 x 18.26 mm

Smoking time: 60 min.

Strenght: Low (2/5)

hedron5A very aromatic cigar of mild strength. It could be smoked with an appetizer and is well-suited to enjoying champagne. A representation of French elegance.

Savant - Grand Robusto

Origin: France

Size: 150 x 20.64 mm

Smoking time: 75 min.

Strenght: High (4/5)

The strongest cigar in the Hedon range, with a light aromatic aftertaste that comes from our specific French terroir.

Légendaire - Double Corona

Origin: France

Size: 230 x 19.84 mm

Smoking time: 240 min.

Strenght: High (5/5)

An exceptional draw for a cigar of this size, which enhances the fresh aroma of citrus fruits and figs. A heady taste of floral and spice, evocative of musk
and leather.

Brillant - Panatela

Origin: France

Size: 113 x 11.26 mm

Smoking time: 20 min.

Strenght: Low (1/5)

A light, aromatic smooth taste with a refined outlook. Very easy to smoke, it is esteemed both by women and men.



www.hedon-cigares.com

RARE, EXCEPTIONAL, UTTERLY FRENCH

Unique in combining traditional craftsmanship and modern agricultural know-how, Hedon is the only producer of “puros” cigars entirely made in France.

For the launch of the brand, Hedon has collaborated with the Hangar Design Group, a renowned international communication agency, which has developed new branding and communication tools. The logo depicts a stylized “H”, which could also be read as an “N”, referring both to the name of the
brand and to its homeland Navarre. Its refined imagery, together with a sophisticated colour palette, immediately states Hedon’s vocation for excellence.

All Hedon cigars are available at selected retail stores and at the most prestigious luxury hotels worldwide.

 

Foundry Tobacco Company Presents Temple Hall Estates

foundry templehall open leftHistory takes many forms, from words in books to stories handed down through generations. Foundry Tobacco Company’s new Temple Hall Estates collection is a story of heritage, best told through smoke.

The Temple Hall Cigar Factory was born of necessity. During WWII, England needed to keep its currency within the commonwealth to support the war effort. As the Brits were among the world’s largest buyers of Cuban cigars at that time, many Cuban cigar masters expatriated to British-held Jamaica to continue to supply this important market. The Temple Hall cigar factory quickly became a big-time player. Years later, when the Castro regime took control of Cuba, Ramón Cifuentes, the father of Partagas, assumed the day-to-day operation of the factory. His legendary attention to detail and exacting standards quickly put Temple Hall on the map, and it became known as one of the world’s premier cigar factories.

When the Temple Hall factory was acquired by General Cigar in the 1960s, Edgar Cullman, then chairman of the company, saw tremendous promise in Ramón and ultimately transferred him to the Dominican Republic where he played a pivotal role in developing the company’s strict standards for cigar making and quality assurance.

Justin Andrews, sales manager for Foundry Tobacco Company had this to day about the brand, “Temple Hall Estates pays homage to the factory in Jamaica, and the people who shared Ramón Cifuentes’ love for the art of cigar making. This new line is made in Santiago, DR, according to the techniques set forth at Temple Hall by Ramón.”

foundry templehall cigarA silky, elegant, and flavorful smoke reminiscent of the cigars crafted at Temple Hall under the tutelage of Ramón Cifuentes, Temple Hall Estates is made with a Connecticut Shade wrapper over a Mexican San Andrean binder. Proprietary Dominican Piloto Cubano leaves grown in Mao, DR and harvested from all three grades (volado, seco and ligero) and Mexican San Andrean long fillers round out the blend and deliver enticing notes of earth and cedar.

Andrews noted, Temple Hall Estates rounds out the Foundry Tobacco Company portfolio by offering a mild, smooth-smoking cigar not previously represented in the FTC Heritage Series which includes Ramón Allones and Bolivar.”

Temple Hall Estates is available in four classic sizes listed below, and is now shipping to cigar retailers across the U.S. The brand will be supported with in-store educational events beginning in March and taking place at cigar shops across the country.

5.5 x 49 – SRP per cigar is $6.99

6 x 50 – SRP per cigar is $7.49

5.25 x 54 – SRP per cigar is $7.99

7.5 x 49 – SRP per cigar is $8.49

Elie Bleu 40th Anniversary Accessories

FlintsThis year will mark Elie Bleu’s 40th Year. To celebrate this milestone, we have some amazing product introductions including the launch of a complete line of elite smoking accessories.  For the first time, Elie Bleu has introduced a collection of Cigar lighting instruments.  The first of the collections is the F-1 Wide Flame Flint Lighter available in six stunning finishes:  Platinum plated with a satin finish, platinum plated with a mirror finish, gold plated vertical design, platinum plated with Japanese black lacquer, rose gold plated with Japanese black lacquer and rose-gold plated with Japanese blue lacquer.

KEY FEATURES:

·        Wide Flame

·        Ergonomically balanced: Perfect weight, height and width

·        Japanese Lacquer:  Japanese lacquer is applied to the body of lighters like a resin; poured, sanded, poured and polished.

·        Easy Adjust flame system

·        Platinum plated finishes:  The most expensive metal used to make luxury jewellery in the world.

·        Made in Japan

It is the perfect weight, height and width for the cigar smoker.  There is an easy adjust flame system which allows the flame to be adjusted in various conditions.  The Japanese lacquer designs are as durable as they are beautiful.

A custom 2-piece black leather carrying case is available.  Purchased separately.

For those who enjoy the experience the smoking. Indulge with Elie Bleu. Complete the passion.

FAMOUS SMOKE SHOP RELEASES LONG-AWAITED "THE JUDGE VOLUME 2”

Jesus Fuego Sets “Sequel Cigar” For Exclusive New Release


judgecEASTON, PA – Famous Smoke Shop, the largest American-owned distributor of discounted premium cigars online, has announced a new cigar release: The Judge Volume 2. In a collaboration with Jesus Fuego, this new premium cigar is in production at a boutique factory in Nicaragua and is now available exclusively at Famous Smoke Shop.


Jesus Fuego began The Judge saga with a savory 4-nation tobacco blend, which was clad in unique Brazilian Mata Fina wrappers. Now he’s continued the story of this well-received and highly-rated series by applying his trademark full flavor profile to a milder and more mellow cigar. The unique mellow touch owes thanks to the dedicated following of J. Fuego Cigars, who requested a Judge that was lenient on the palate; counter to the traditional peppery spice of a premium Nicaraguan cigar. In the first edition, we saw a hard-lined, no-nonsense Judge. He came, saw, and conquered; now, The Judge is back - and he’s brought some friends with him.

judge2aThe epic tale of The Judge moves on with a shiny Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper applied to a mix of Nicaraguan binder and fillers. “It may look intimidating, but this cigar is one sweet smoke,” said Fred Lunt, writer at CigarAdvisor.com, who was among the first to sample this new Fuego cigar upon its arrival at Famous Smoke Shop. Three of the original 5 vitolas are making a return appearance, the Retribution (6x50 toro), deemed guilty and sentenced to a staggeringly competitive price. The Contempt and Blind Justice will be making cameos as well, with Contempt making a blood and guts comeback in a 7 x 48 Churchill. As Blind Justice makes its presence known as a force to be reckoned with in a bold, yet smooth 5 x 50 robusto.


“The Judge Volume 2 is truly a unique Connecticut that’s affordable, full-flavored, and definitely not boring”, says John Lamberti, Director of Marketing at Famous Smoke Shop. “The verdict is, its exceeding quality and flavor has won our approval at Famous Smoke.”


judgedIn an unbelievable introductory offer, Famous Smoke Shop has made discounts of up to 25% off the suggested retail price. Additionally, J. Fuego’s The Judge Volume 2 cigars are packaged with earth friendliness in mind, being made available in reusable and easily maintained humidor jars of 20, which would normally retail alone for $29.99; this new Judge is also offered in 5-packs and singles.


Blind Justice (5” x 50 Robusto) $4.75/cigar SRP
Contempt (7” x 48 Churchill) $5.20/cigar SRP
Retribution (6" x 50 Toro) $5.20/cigar SRP

Come get your sticks! The Judge Vol. 2 is available now for Sale at Famous Smoke Shop.

Judge2b

Protocol Probable Cause Released

Cubariqueño Cigar Co. is proud to announce that it is releasing its second blend, Protocol Probable Cause, at the 2016 International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailer (IPCPR) trade show in Las Vegas.


“We are super excited to announce the Protocol Probable Cause,” stated Juan Cancel, co-founder of Cubariqueño Cigar Company. “These cigars will launch at the 2016 IPCPR trade show.”


The name, Probable Cause, stays true to the company’s law enforcement motif, with co-founders Bill Ives and Cancel both law enforcement officers. Production will remain at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.


Probable Cause will be available in two offerings, a round 5 x 52 Robusto with a closed foot and a 6 ½ X 48 Churchill semi-box-pressed, also with a closed foot.


Probable Cause is elegantly wrapped in a stunning Mexican San Andreas Maduro leaf with a smooth, oily appearance. Its all- [probable cause cigar] Nicaraguan filler is enveloped by a Nicaraguan binder.


“We are classifying Probable Cause as a medium-strength cigar with full flavor,” explained Cancel.


The robusto will retail for $9.69 and the Churchill will have a M.S.R.P. of $9.89. Both vitolas will be available in boxes of 10.
Also being introduced at this year’s trade show will be a line extension to the original Protocol release. The highly anticipated Protocol Lancero will make its official debut this summer in Las Vegas.


The Protocol Lancero will stand in at 7 ½ x 38. The blends of all Lancero offerings must be tweaked slightly to maintain intended flavor notes and proper draw. The Protocol Lancero will undergo those modifications while continuing to use the Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper, Nicaraguan binder andall-Nicaraguan filler. It will be available in 10-count boxes.  The price of the lancero has yet to be determined.

“The Protocol Lancero is being introduced as a small-batch production depending on its success with possible increased production in the future,” said Ives.


Cubariqueño Cigar Co. will be celebrating its one-year anniversary with a special event at Berkeley Humidor on May 21.


“The Protocol Lancero and Probable Cause will be made available for purchase for our loyal customers at this event prior to the 2016 IPCPR trade show,” stated Bill Agathis, co-owner of Cubariqueño Cigar Co. and owner of Berkeley Wine and Humidor.



CRUX CIGARS LIMITADA PB5 SECOND RELEASE ARRIVING AT RETAILERS

Crux Cigars PB5January 9, 2017 (Hialeah, FL) – Crux Cigars announces the highly anticipated 2016 Second Release of the Limitada PB5 will begin arriving at retailers this week.

Announced at the IPCPR Show last summer, Crux Cigars reports the new 2016 Second Release has been produced using the same wrapper, binder and filler tobaccos, that were used in the very successful 2015 Limitada PB5 First Release. Additionally, the cigars have been produced by the same bunchers and rollers at the Plasencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.

The cigar remains a 5.75 x 54 toro that features the Nicaraguan Engañoso wrapper leaf and Cuban box press finish. Production is limited to just 7,500 cigars, split into 750 10-count boxes. The SRP is $11.99 per cigar.

Crux Cigars will have a special web page for consumers convenience that lists the retailers around the country who have ordered the 2016 Limitada PB5 Second Release, which you can find at http://cruxcigars.com/index.cfm/limitadaretailers.

VUDU "BLOOD" CIGARS NOW AVAILABLE

VUDU "BLOOD" CIGARS NOW AVAILABLE AT FAMOUS SMOKE SHOP
New Line Extension Blended by Jesus Fuego is 4th in VUDU Cigars Series

EASTON, PA--(Marketwired - August 16, 2016) - Famous Smoke Shop, the leading online distributor of discounted premium cigars, specializing in offering the web's widest selection of cigars at the lowest prices, has announced the arrival of VUDU Blood cigars, the fourth installment in the VUDU cigars' lineup, and it comes with a very attractive price point. As the name suggests, VUDU Blood carries forward the themes inspired by the mystical Haitian religious practices, which are also reflected in the striking red and white humidor jar packaging adorned with line art drawings of snakes, skulls, and other cadaverous creatures.

Created by master blender, Jesus Fuego, VUDU Blood starts with a full-bodied blend of perfectly-aged Honduran Criollo, Dominican Piloto Cubano, and Pennsylvania sun-grown filler tobaccos cinched in a Costa Rican binder leaf, and finished in a dark, oily Nicaraguan Corojo Maduro wrapper.

Fuego, a Cuban expatriate whose family heritage in the tobacco growing trade dates back more than 130 years, is known for producing some of the most flavorful Corojo-leaf cigars in the business; a success that began with the release of his Gran Reserva Corojo No.1 cigars introduced in 2007.

The following VUDU Blood sizes are presented in collectable, refillable vacuum sealed humidor jars of 19 cigars:

No.3 (4¾" x 50 Robusto) $4.25/cigar MSRP

No.7 (5¾" x 50 Toro) $4.70/cigar MSRP

No.9 (6¾" x 50 Churchill) $5.15/cigar MSRP

A fourth size, No.13, is a 5½" x 46 Corona presented in a bundle of 13 cigars with an MSRP of $3.80 per cigar.

"I think they've hit pay dirt with this one," said CigarAdvisor.com editor, Gary Korb, during a recent tasting session of the new cigars. "The smoke is smooth, full, and well-balanced with a rich, earthy-cedary baseline augmented by flavors of leather, cocoa, roasted coffee and sweet spices on a peppery finish," he added.

Korb also compared VUDU Blood to Jesus Fuego's highly-rated Sangre De Toro cigars, which are only sold at retail cigar stores.

Punch to Launch Gran Puro Nicaragua

punch granpuro open leftGeneral Cigar announces the debut of Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua, a four-cigar collection that features a rich and savory Nicaraguan-forward blend.

Ed McKenna, director of marketing strategy for General Cigar noted, “Punch Gran Puro has been a true staple in humidors for over a decade and the brand’s recently-received high ratings have cemented its legacy in the handmade cigar category. For the extension of the Gran Puro line, our artisans built a blend that balances Nicaraguan tobaccos with a Maduro wrapper to deliver a layered, dimensional flavor not traditionally found in Nicaraguan-based cigars. We are confident that Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua will be a fast favorite among tenured smokers.”

Handcrafted at General Cigar’s HATSA factory in Danli, Honduras, Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua represents the ultimate in body and flavor. The cigar gets its full-bodied taste from high priming Nicaraguan binder and filler leaves which yield bold notes of pepper and cedar.  The powerful Nicaraguan leaves are complemented by a hearty Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that brings forth notes of leather to the smoking experience.

punch granpuro cigarPunch Gran Puro Nicaragua will debut in February and will be accessibly priced, with suggested retail prices under $7.00 per cigar. The collection is packaged in 20 count boxes with a unique blue and green color scheme featuring Mr. Punch, the brand’s iconic mascot.

(4.875 X 48); SRP per cigar $5.29

(5.5 X 54); SRP per cigar is $6.39

(6 X 54); SRP per cigar is $6.49

(7.5 X 54); SRP per cigar is $6.99


About General Cigar
General Cigar Co. is a leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. The company is owned by Scandinavian Tobacco Group. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo®, Cohiba®,  La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, CAO®, Punch®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends and has a dedicated R&D practice that develops new varieties of tobacco and revitalizes vintage seeds. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2010, General Cigar entered into a joint venture agreement with Plasencia Group to expand its leaf growing and processing expertise and increase its access to tobacco.  Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists in the U.S. and exports select products to 62 countries.

CAO Launches CONSIGLIERE Line

CAO Consigliere left openThere was a great CAO cigar that came in a red lacquered box. One day it was gone. Everyone assumed it was sleeping with the fishes.

A certain crew of guys who smoke CAO made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. They said bring back that wise guy cigar, or else. So we delivered the goods.

CAO Consigliere is a straight sequel -- the five-country blend is the same as before, the one that made it to Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 list in 2006.

Consigliere is handmade in Nicaragua, with a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper, bound with a Honduran leaf and features a blend of Nicaraguan, Dominican and Colombian leaves. This is a bold cigar with flavors of espresso, wood and spice.

Consigliere will be pulled back in as a full-time member of the CAO family starting in October, with suggested retail prices that are less than the original. Three new sizes were created for the launch. They are:

Associate -- 5 x 52; SRP per cigar is $6.99

Soldier -- 6 x 54; SRP per cigar is $7.99

Boss -- 7 x 56 Torpedo; SRP per cigar is $8.99

Rick Rodriguez, CAO’s blender/ambassador was mostly tight-lipped about the new Consigliere launch. “Right now, all I can say is leave the cannolis and take the cigars. Capisce?”

Rick will hit the road later this year, doing events across the U.S. to celebrate the return of this tough guy smoke.

VUDU "DAMBALLA" CIGARS NOW AVAILABLE AT FAMOUS SMOKE SHOP

vudu 1VUDU "DAMBALLA" CIGARS NOW AVAILABLE AT FAMOUS SMOKE SHOP
New Blend from Jesus Fuego Marks 5th Vudu Cigars Release in the Series

EASTON, PA – Famous Smoke Shop, the leading online distributor of discounted premium cigars, specializing in offering the web’s widest selection of cigars at the lowest prices, has announced the fifth release in their exclusive Vudu cigars series, Vudu Damballa.  Like its four predecessors, Vudu Damballa comes to retail with very attractive price point, averaging just under $4.50 (MSRP) per cigar. Keeping with the mystical Haitian Voodoo theme that runs through the entire series, Damballa – the serpent spirit Sky Father and primordial creator of all life who rules the mind, intellect, and cosmic equilibrium – is illustrated on the humidor jar packaging with a jet black, snakeskin-like appearance accented by splashes of red and white. In Voodoo culture, Damballa is "The Great Master" who created the cosmos by using his 7,000 coils to form the stars and the planets in the heavens and shaped the hills and valleys on earth.
Keeping the series consistent from a blending perspective, Jesus Fuego created Vudu Damballa using equal parts Nicaraguan, Honduran Criollo, and Brazilian Mata Fina long-fillers, bound them in a Brazilian Corojo leaf, and rolled them in a savory, Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The result is a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke with a well-balanced, earthy-spicy baseline.
After sampling the new blend, CigarAdvisor.com editor, Gary Korb said, "The Vudu Damballa went through some impressive changes, starting off smooth and earthy, as some peppery spice crept in, then faded-out as some roasted coffee notes entered the fray. The pepper returned at several intervals, interchanging with additional flavors along the way, which really held my interest."

vudu2Vudu Damballa is presented in collectable and refillable vacuum sealed humidor jars of 19 cigars, with the exception of the No.13, as well as 5-packs and singles.


No.3 (4¾" x 50 Robusto) $4.25/cigar MSRP
No.7 (5¾" x 50 Toro) $4.70/cigar MSRP
No.9 (6¾" x 50 Churchill) $5.15/cigar MSRP
No.13 (5½" x 46 Corona Extra) $3.80/cigar MSRP (Bundle of 13 cigars)


"Cigar smokers looking for a great value in a well-made, complex smoke with a medium-full character will find the Vudu Damballa very satisfying," added Korb.

IPCPR Alert: Cigar Imports

On August 8, 2016, FDA’s deeming regulations went into effect, extending FDA’s authority over tobacco products to cover cigars, e-cigarettes, and all other tobacco products.  Although additional requirements relating to cigar manufacture, packaging, labeling, and promotion will be implemented in the future, one of the more immediate impacts of FDA jurisdiction over the cigar industry will be at the import level.
 
Cigar imports are now subject to FDA review.  As a result, brokers will need to provide additional information about the cigar product and wait for FDA to review this information and ultimately release these entries.  Essentially, product release goes from a one-step process (release by Customs only) to a two-step process (release by Customs and by FDA).

To briefly summarize the process, a customs broker will need to identify the country of origin of the import, provide a written description of the product (usually obtained from the invoice), the name and address of the manufacturer, the name and address of the shipper (obtained from entry documents), and generate a “product code.”  Entry information is typically submitted electronically and your import broker should be familiar with the procedure, however FDA review is an additional step that will add time to the import process, and importers should be prepared for this.  If your customs broker needs additional information on the importation procedure for an FDA-regulated product, it can be found here:


http://www.fda.gov/forindustry/importprogram/entryprocess/entrysubmissionprocess/default.htm

Like other FDA-regulated products, FDA reviews and subsequent entry releases can be as quick as a few hours after receipt of information, or can take days/weeks if information transmitted is incorrect, incomplete or FDA has questions about product compliance.  Cigar importers should be aware of the potential for an import delay. 

Congress Re-introduces Premium Cigar Exemption Bill

Today, Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) re-introduced the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2017, at the request of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (“IPCPR”) and Cigar Rights of America (“CRA”).  The legislation’s explicit purpose is to both define what constitutes a “premium cigar” and exempts the product category from regulations now in place under the FDA’s Final Rule. The bill is identical to its predecessor in the 114th Congress, H.R. 662, which had the support of 170 Members of the House of Representatives.
 
Like H.R. 662 and previous bills, Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL) is once again serving as the primary Democrat co-sponsor on the legislation.  At its introduction, the bill has strong bi-partisan support with 40 original co-sponsors on the legislation.
 
Under the provisions of the act, a cigar is “premium” and exempt from the rule if it meets several strict definitions:
 

    It must be wrapped in 100 percent leaf tobacco and bunched in 100 percent tobacco filler;
    Can not contain a filter, tip or non-tobacco mouthpiece;
    Must weigh at-least 6 pounds per 1,000 count;
    Has 100 percent tobacco binder and is hand rolled or is made with human hands to lay the wrapper or binder onto one machine that bunches, wraps and caps the individual cigars or has a homogenized tobacco leaf binder and is made in the United States using human hands to lay a 100  percent leaf tobacco  wrapper onto one machine that bunches, wraps, and caps each individual cigar.

 
Since the FDA’s Final Rule went into effect on August 8th, 2016, premium cigar and pipe tobacco manufacturers and retailers have been left to adopt new compliance measures, and to absorb significant costs in order to meet the burdensome and costly new requirements.
 
Additionally, several key provisions under the regulations remain unclear despite pending deadlines and the industry continues to wait for new guidance from the FDA. In the short time the rule has been in effect, it has already resulted in industry consolidation, job losses, and economic uncertainty for small businesses domestically and with international trading partners.
 
IPCPR and CRA  applaud Congressman Posey and Congresswoman Castor and  each of the original co-sponsors on the bill for their continued work and support on behalf of  small businesses, spanning from Main Street America to international trading partners throughout Latin America and the Caribbean Basin.  
 
The Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2017 is an encouraging response to the daily crushing costs that many in the premium cigar industry are already starting to experience. IPCPR CEO Mark Pursell stated,  “We look forward to working with Congress on behalf of the our retailers, small businesses and the rest of the premium cigar industry to advance this common sense legislation.”
 
CRA Executive Director Glynn Loope added, “Since 2011, this legislation has served as a platform to convey the threat such regulations could pose to the premium cigar industry. Now that threat is reality, and Congress, in concert with the new Administration, need to advance measures that can not only mitigate the damage of the rules in front of us, but to ensure protection from rules yet to come.”

New Cohiba--Macassar!

macassarDistant from even the most primitive modes of transportation, Indonesian Macassar is arguably the most difficult ebony in the world to procure and one of the world’s most beautiful exotic woods. In a fitting tribute to this extraordinary work of nature, the artisans of Cohiba have created Cohiba Macassar, a new collection that lends itself to extravagant smoking occasions as readily as it does to life’s most treasured moments.

Only the finest leaves were selected to meet the exacting standards of taste and aesthetics set forth for Macassar. As such, this super-premium expression is made solely of proprietary tobaccos, each aged for more than four years including a year of finishing in Dominican rum barrels.
The blend of Cohiba Macassar is centered on a supple Connecticut Havano wrapper grown in a micro climate that helps to achieve a richer, more flavorful tobacco, yet with far less yield than  traditional plants. To deliver a refined wrapper with barely perceptible veins, only the finest seco leaves are chosen for Cohiba Macassar.

The blend is made with a proprietary Dominican seed cultivated by Cohiba’s agronomists in Mao, complemented by a Nicaraguan Jalapa leaf grown exclusively for Cohiba. The Connecticut Broadleaf binder is aged six years to impart a mellow flavor and optimal combustibility.

Cohiba Macassar brings forth nuanced notes of wood and spice. The flavor is distinctive and unmistakable, bearing subtle references to other blends in the Cohiba portfolio.

Handcrafted in the Dominican Republic, Cohiba Macassar will make its debut fine cigar shops nationwide beginning in August. This remarkable collection will be a full-time addition to the Cohiba portfolio and will be launched with three sizes, each protected in 10-count boxes.

Toro Grande -- 6 x 52; SRP per cigar is $21.99

Gigante -- 6 x 60; SRP per cigar is $23.99

Double Corona  -- 7.25 x 54; SRP per cigar is $24.99

BLÜME by Cigar Zen launches on Indiegogo

blumeCigar Zen is excited to announce the launch of its new market-disrupting humidification system, BLÜME, which hit Indiegogo yesterday. The crowdfunding campaign runs from November 8 to December 23, 2016, with a goal of raising $60,000 USD for manufacturing and related costs. The campaign can be found here.

BLÜME is a first-of-its-kind active and fully connected smart humidifier for use in any humidor. The system pairs ultrasonic humidification with an inventory management app for both iOS and Android.

For the first time ever, desktop, end-table and small cabinet humidor owners can reap the benefits of ultrasonic humidification – rather than systems that utilize a fan to enable evaporation, BLÜME uses atomizing transduction which means ultrasonic waves create tiny water droplets that are then released into the air, creating more efficient humidification.

The connected app paired with the BLÜME humidification device acts as both an inventory management system and device management platform. Humidity sensors on either side of the device send real-time data to the BLÜME app, which then provides notifications when the water reservoir needs to be refilled, if humidity levels alter unexpectedly and when battery power is running low. This system simplifies the process of aging cigars, which is ideal for both experienced and novice cigar owners alike, taking away the guess work that often comes with humidification.

Cigar Zen Co-Founder Lee Cocking says, “BLÜME is about enabling that perfect cigar smoking experience for every cigar smoker. It’s about bridging the long-standing gap between cigar craftsmanship and modern technology.”

About Cigar Zen
Cigar Zen is co-founded by friends and cigar lovers Lee Cocking and Rob McKeon. Together, they aim to bring perfection to every cigar smoker's experience, using their vast knowledge of technology, product craftsmanship and of course, cigars.

General Launches La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli Maduro at IPCPR 2106

La Gloria serie R Black Maduro open right facingLa Gloria Cubana is launching two new lines, one created solely for sale at brick and mortar cigar shops and the other developed for internet and catalog retailers.

Serie R Esteli made Cigar Aficionado’s list of the Top 25 Cigar of 2014. With a 91 rating, the magazine called the line “one of the best La Glorias in years.”  This outstanding collection is now being extended to include a new Maduro offering created exclusively for brick and mortar retailers. Made with the same Nicaraguan-forward blend that won the brand critical acclaim, the new expression is wrapped in rich Connecticut Broadleaf to deliver a cigar that’s medium in strength, deep in sweetness and brimming with leather notes and spice.

La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli Maduro began shipping in July, and is available in three sizes. Each box contains 18 cigars.

No. 54  – 6 x 54; SRP per cigar is $6.99

No. 60 -- 6 x 60; SRP per cigar is $7.49

No. 64 – 6.25 x 64; SRP per cigar is $7.99

La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Maduro


With large ring vitolas, deep, rich flavor and a bold Nicaraguan blend, La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black debuted as an unbeatable addition to the Serie R line. The trend continues with the addition of La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Maduro. This deep and full-bodied smoke delivers a powerhouse of flavor, filled with pepper, earth and coffee notes and the slightly sweet, creamy taste that can only be found with an aged Maduro wrapper.  With an SRP of less than $8, Serie R Black Maduro has all the makings of a top-selling new smoke for cigar lovers who demand Nicaraguan flavor at an accessible price. 
La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black began shipping in July and is available in three sizes through internet and catalog retailers only. Each box contains 18 cigars.


No. 58  – 6.875 x 58; SRP per cigar is $7.79


No. 60 -- 6 x 60; SRP per cigar is $7.49

No. 64 – 6.25 x 64; SRP per cigar is $7.99

La Gloria Cubana

Facebook: La Gloria Cubana

Twitter: @LaGloriaCubana

Instagram: @lagloriacubana

FDA Compliance Update: Pipe Tobacco and Product Sampling

To register or not to register (as a manufacturer)?


We have received many inquiries from our retailers about this issue.  This is an important question because if you are considered to be a “manufacturer” by FDA, then you are required to register and list your products with FDA.  It sounds like an easy question when you think about factories and other manufacturing facilities, but when FDA extended the definition to include certain activities that have long been performed by retailer it created uncertainty for all of us.  We have been asking FDA for clarification for some time about what, exactly a retailer can do and not be considered to be a manufacturer.  We are hoping to have more details soon, but here is what we currently have from FDA:

1)  By regulation at 21 C.F.R. § 1140.3: “Manufacturer means any person, including any repacker and/or relabeler, who manufactures, fabricates, assembles, processes, or labels a finished tobacco product.”
FDA’s definition of a “manufacturer” introduced some additional terms that need to be defined, namely “repacker,” “relabeler,” and “finished tobacco product.”

2)  The Tobacco Control Act does not define any of these terms, but it does talk about how “repackaging” can be considered to be “manufacturing.”  In particular, tobacco product “manufacturing, preparation, compounding, or processing” under the Tobacco Control Act includes “repackaging, or otherwise changing the container, wrapper or labeling of any tobacco product package from the original place of manufacture to the person who makes the final delivery or sale to the ultimate consumer or user.”

3)  Going back to the FDA regulation, note how it applies only to a “finished tobacco product.”  This term is not defined in the law or regulation, but in the deeming rule FDA said that a “finished tobacco product refers to a tobacco product, including all components and parts, sealed in final packaging intended for consumer use (e.g., filters, filter tubes, e-cigarettes, or e-liquids sold separately to consumers or as part of kits).

4)  Finally, FDA explained in the deeming rule that the way the Agency read the law, “retail establishments that blend pipe tobacco, are subject to and must comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements for tobacco product manufacturers.”

So what does this mean?  Pipe tobacco has long been provided in bulk containers and retailers simply weigh out the amount the customer wants (with or without blending by the retailer).  One way to look at it is if the retailer does not “seal” the package of pipe tobacco provided to the consumer, then no “finished tobacco product” is created and therefore there is no requirement for the retailer to register as a manufacturer.  Another way to look at it is if the retailer provides the bulk tobacco but the customer weighs it out (with or without blending by the customer according to a “formula board” posted in the shop), then that is not manufacturing.  In addition, FDA has not said that a retailer is a manufacturer if the retailer simply weighs out a smaller quantity of bulk pipe tobacco for a customer.  Instead the Agency seems focused on a “blending” step, which would involve two or more bulk pipe tobaccos.  We have asked FDA about all of these issues (and many, many more!) but we don’t know how FDA will rule on these situations.  Finally, we are aware that at least some pipe tobacco manufacturers are packaging their products into smaller packages, which may affect whether a retailer needs to “repack” the product at all.

FDA believes that blending pipe tobacco is “manufacturing.”  Therefore, retailers that plan to continue blending pipe tobacco after December 31, 2016, must:

    Register with FDA between August 8, 2016 and December 31, 2016. Registration forms and information about registering and listing electronically is available on FDA’s website. There is no registration fee.


    Submit ingredient lists to FDA by August 8, 2017 if you are a small scale tobacco manufacturer that has 150 or fewer full-time equivalent employees and $5 Million or less of revenue. Otherwise submit ingredient lists by February 8, 2017.


    Submit health documents on the effects from the pipe tobacco products to FDA by August 8, 2017 for small scale tobacco manufacturers. Otherwise submit health documents by February 8, 2017.


    If you register and list a tobacco product, you then need to determine whether that product is grandfathered commercially marketed on February 15, 2007, (see FDA guidance here http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/RulesRegulationsGuidance/ucm416495.htm), or whether you need to submit a substantial equivalence (SE) application (see FDA guidance here http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/RulesRegulationsGuidance/ucm253273.htm), or whether you need to submit a premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) (see draft FDA guidance here  http://www.fda.gov/downloads/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/RulesRegulationsGuidance/UCM273425.pdf). The last day to submit an SE application to FDA is February 8, 2018, and the last day to submit a PMTA application to FDA is August 8, 2018.

Retailers that do not plan to register as a manufacturer with FDA should discontinue selling blended pipe tobacco by December 31, 2016. FDA has not explained whether any other practices would also constitute “manufacturing” but if they do, we will let you know as soon as possible.

Sampling


In our last update, we explained that effective August 8, 2016, retailers are not permitted to distribute free samples to consumers.  We also noted that IPCPR believes that the following practices do not violate the free sample provision, and have requested written confirmation from FDA:

    Providing a cigar in exchange for buying other products (e.g. “buy one get one free”).
    Replacing a plugged, spoiled, or otherwise damaged cigar for free.
    Having a raffle with cigar(s) as prizes if there is a cost to enter the raffle.

We have not received a formal answer from FDA on these questions.  However, FDA has said:  “Given the public’s interest in the free sample prohibition provision, however, FDA intends to issue guidance in the future to further clarify the provision.”  We know this issue is of great importance to our retailers and we will update you as soon as we learn anything from FDA.

IPCPR’s Recommendation: A transaction must always take place, so keep a paper trail. IPCPR recommends exercising caution until we receive further explanation from FDA regarding the legality of specific practices and scenarios.

International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Disclaimer of Legal Liability:
The materials and information set forth in this email are provided by the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers (“IPCPR”) for informational purposes only and are to be used as a tool to help retailers navigate the recently issued Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) regulations.  IPCPR has taken reasonable efforts to ensure that all materials and information included herein are accurate and complete. However, as new information becomes available and as the FDA regulations are implemented, the recommendations set forth herein may change.  For this reason, it is recommended that retailers evaluate the applicability of the information set forth herein in light of particular situations and current information. The review of this document is not a substitute for obtaining advice from qualified professionals.  If legal or other professional advice is required, it is recommended that the reader obtain advice from qualified legal or other professionals.
The information presented in this document is provided “as is” without representation or warranty of any kind. In no event shall IPCPR, or its directors, officers, or employees, be held liable for any losses, injury, damages, or any other consequences resulting from, or arising in connection with, the use or reliance on this document, or any information or materials contained therein.

Hoyo La Amistad Debuts at IPCPR 2016

hoyo ajThe legendary Hoyo de Monterrey brand continues its bold march into the future with an intriguing, limited edition collaboration called La Amistad. The blend was developed by AJ Fernandez, the Cuban expat cigar maker best known for producing highly-rated cigars in Nicaragua.

Hoyo La Amistad is bold and full-bodied, and showcases the artisanal cigar making techniques and modern packaging of the new Hoyo launched earlier this year. Named for the camaraderie forged when creating this exciting new release, La Amistad means friendship in Spanish.

Alan Willner, vice president of marketing for General Cigar said, “AJ Fernandez embodies the same ethos as the Hoyo brand. His passion for the craft of cigar making is what led us to collaborate with him on La Amistad. This collection combines AJ’s love of tobacco and blending with the knowledge of Hoyo’s cigar makers in Honduras and Nicaragua.”

AJ Fernandez noted, “I grew up very near to the Hoyo de Monterrey farm and I have always had a love for the brand. When it came time to develop this blend, I put my heart and soul into it. To me, this project represents how far my family and I have come since Cuba, and how our expertise in tobacco continues to be recognized. This cigar represents the best of me and my factory and I am proud to be a part of this collaboration.”

La Amistad is brawny and robust, with notes of leather and spice. The wrapper is a bold Ecuadoran Habano, bound with a Nicaraguan leaf cultivated by AJ Fernandez in Esteli. The blend features powerhouse Nicaraguan tobacco from Esteli, Ometepe, Condega and Jalapa.

La Amistad is handcrafted at the AJ Fernandez cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. It will be available in four sizes beginning in September. They are:

Rothschild – 4.5 x 50; SRP per cigar is $6.49

Robusto – 5 x 54; SRP per cigar is $7.59

Toro – 6 x 50; SRP per cigar is $7.79

Gigante -- 6 x 60; SRP per cigar is $7.99

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