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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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World's first cigar themed phone - The COHIBA iPhone XS

cohiba luxury iphone legend
Legend has launched the world's first cigar themed phone as part of their new iPhone XS collection.
The company that pioneered the bespoke phone and smartwatch concept has collaborated with Finnish cigar accessories company Conocedor to create this Cohiba tribute iPhone for the Cohiba fans worldwide.
Like the rest of the products from these companies, the phone is handcrafted by experienced artisans with high attention to detail. Each phone is made to order and additional bespoke features can be requested as with other phones from Legend Helsinki: Hand engraved gift inscription plate, custom logo, alternative precious metal plating and more, although the customization options on this model are more limited than for their other models.
The Cohiba model is Legend's tribute to the finest cigar brand in the world. The iconic Taino Indian head logo is made of solid 18 karat gold to emphasize the gold theme found in Cohiba's premium quality Behike cigars. The squares are machined into a mirror polished solid silver plate and the spaces are filled with black enamel to give a unique inlaid appearance.

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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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fratellologoSpringfield, VA (November 6, 2018) – Omar de Frias is proud to announce the launch of Fratello D.M.V and Delaware. The D.M.V is an abbreviation well known to residents of the DC metro area as DC, Maryland and Virginia. This blend will be sold exclusively to retailers in DC, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware and manufactured at the La Aurora factory in Dominican Republic.

The cigar features an Havana Vuelta Arriba Ecuador wrapper with a Sumatra Ecuador binder and Dominican, Nicaragua and USA filler.

Fratello D.M.V will begin shipping to retailers the last week of November with launches planned throughout the DC metro area.

“The first retailer to carry my cigars was in Maryland, my launch event was in DC and Virginia is home to my business. This blend is my tribute to the DMV and to the retailers that helped put Fratello in the map.” Said de Frias.

Fratello D.M.V. will be released in 4 vitolas:

District of Columbia – Toro (6 ¼ x 54) 9.00 MSRP per Cigar
Maryland – Gordo (6 x 58) 9.25 MSRP per Cigar
Virginia – Robusto Extra (5 ½ x 52) 8.75 MSRP per Cigar
Delaware – Robusto (5 x 50) 8.50 MSRP per Cigar

Fratello Cigars was established in 2013. Since inception Fratello has grown to be sold in 800 brick and mortars in the US and 9 international destinations. Fratello is considered one of the fastest growing manufacturers in the last five years.

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

IPCPR Webinar: 11/15/2018

ipcprlogoIPCPR's 2018 Election Wrap Up and Fall Compliance Update
Thursday, November 15, 2018 @ 2:00 PM EDT

Join us for our latest Federal Government Affairs Update

Featured presenters Will Woodlee, partner at Kleinfeld, Kaplan & Becker, LLP, and Daniel Trope, Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs for IPCPR, will bring you up to speed on what you need to know about FDA Regulations, and how the 2018 Congressional Elections could impact the premium cigar and pipe tobacco industry. Register now for this can’t-miss conversation on politics, cigars and compliance.

Register Today


There are a limited number of viewing slots available for IPCPR Webinars. Pre-registration will be cut off approximately two hours before the broadcast, or when the registration allotment is reached.


IPCPR Webinars are recorded for the viewing convenience for those who are unable to view live. Beginning on Friday, November 16, members may request a link to view the recorded webinar via the Webinar Request Link Form at the Association's website,

Questions about the IPCPR Tobacconists Webinar Series and other Member Services should be directed to Retail Member Services Manager Greg Vickers at 202-849-6048 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Will Woodlee - Partner

Kleinfeld, Kaplan & Becker, LLP

Washington, DC

Daniel Trope - Senior Director, Federal Government Affairs

International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association

Washington, DC


Cohiba Connecticut Unveiled

COHIBA Conn RobustoThe artisans of Cohiba are proud to unveil COHIBA CONNECTICUT, a super-premium release that marks an important milestone for the brand, as this is the first Cohiba to be wrapped in Connecticut Shade.

Cohiba Brand Ambassador Sean Williams said, “Our agronomists partnered with an independent grower in Ecuador’s Los Rios province to produce a silky and lustrous Ecuadoran Connecticut Shade wrapper. Unlike cloth-covered fields that shield the tobacco from the blistering sun in Connecticut, this special wrapper is grown beside Ecuador’s Vinces River and beneath the thick, natural cloud cover that blankets the region. The volcanic soil yielded a wrapper that was intentionally developed for its aesthetic qualities, with veins that are barely perceptible. Looks aside, the wrapper is ideal for blending, as it maximizes the filler and binder leaves.”

Brazilian Mata Fina and Dominican Piloto Cubano lend complexity to the blend, and Nicaraguan Jalapa enhances the strength of the cigar, while Dominican Olor adds depth to the smoke. A Mexican San Andrean binder complements the filler leaves and delivers optimal combustibility. This is a mild-to-medium-bodied smoke with a rich aroma and compelling notes of sweetness and spice.


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Drew Newman Speaks at the FDA Conference

Last week, the FDA held a conference on tobacco regulation. The agency invited Drew Newman, J.C. Newman's general counsel, and a fourth-generation cigar maker, to address the conference on behalf of the premium cigar industry and respond to questions from the audience. Below are Drew's remarks. 

In his speech, Drew explained that "premium cigars are an old-world, handmade craft enjoyed by adults." "It is not a science," he said. "It's an art, and the tradition has been passed down from generation to generation." He discussed how the latest FDA data show that premium cigars are smoked infrequently and by adults — not children — and that the entire premium cigar industry is just 0.5% of the entire tobacco industry. He noted that the FDA's guidance is "completely unworkable for handmade cigars." In urging the FDA to provide relief, Drew said, "Our one goal as a family business is to continue my great-grandfather's legacy and continue hand rolling premium cigars in America for another four generations and 123 years."

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David Lafferty new VP Sales at Dunbarton

dunbartonlogoDunbarton, NH – On February 6th, 2019, David Lafferty was named the future Vice President of Sales at Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (DTT).

Lafferty spent eleven years employed with Drew Estate in a sales position. He began his career as the New England Sales Representative to be promoted to the East Coast Regional Sales Manager and then again, he worked his way up to become the Director of National Accounts prior to his departing in May 2018. Lafferty then served as the Executive Director of Nat Sherman International in their premium cigar division until his scheduled departure on February 28th, 2019. He will assume the responsibilities of his new position with Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust on March 1st, 2019.

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Springfield, VA (November 1st 2018) – Omar de Frias is proud to announce the hiring of Samuel Dietz as the new Director of Sales for the Mid-Atlantic for Fratello Cigars. Sam is an energetic and engaging young leader. With his background and sales acumen we expect to boost our presence and product traction in the northeast.” Said de Frias.

“When it comes to business growth one of the hardest things for any entrepreneur is to learn to let go and delegate key aspects of the business. This is the moment where we double down to keep up with our accelerated growth. Said de Frias.

“I’ve been an avid cigar smoker and fan of Fratello for years. This opportunity comes full of challenges and with a clear path to learn from Omar and expand my knowledge of tobacco.” Said Dietz.

Fratello Cigars was established in 2013. Since inception Fratello has grown to be sold in 800 brick and mortars in the US and 9 international destinations.




Springfield, VA (January 24, 2019) – Omar de Frias announced today that Fratello Cigars, in partnership with W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist, will be offering relief to federal employees in the DC area. Over 800,000 federal workers are going without pay as the government shutdown enters the record books as the longest in history.

“Having been furloughed myself back in 2013 while working at NASA, I can tell you the uncertainty and the worry was real for me and my family”. – Said Frias.

“Being in Washington, DC we see stress of furloughed government employees and we want to help them in their time of need. Smoking a cigar is a fantastic way to relax and we would like to offer all furloughed government employees a discount on Fratello cigars in their time of need.” Said Anderson.

Omar de Frias has decided to extend this partnership to all of his accounts in DC, Maryland and Virginia to offer a bit of relief to all furloughed government employees. 

Tell Congress to Save Premium Cigars

ipcprlogo- Time is Running Out - Tell Congress to Save Premium Cigars-

FDA regulations continue to threaten the future of premium cigars - putting small business retailers at risk.  The best way to make a difference is to take a moment today to contact your elected officials urging them to exempt premium cigars from the one-size-fits none FDA regulations. 

Over 1,000 retailers and enthusiasts have already reached out to Congress urging them to save premium cigars, but we are not done yet!   Help us reach our goal and make your voice heard on behalf of the premium cigar industry!

After you send a letter to Congress, post this link on social media and email it out to fellow cigar enthusiasts, store owners, and employees. We need everyone to do their part to save our industry.

John Anderson
IPCPR Vice President Board of Directors and Federal Chair
Owner W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist and Civil Cigar Lounge

Crux Cigars Introduces Short Salomone Series

crux salamones(Miami, Fla.) - Crux Cigars has announced the introduction of the Crux Short Salomone Series. 

The initial production will include three of their popular blends; Epicure, Guild, and Limitada.

Each will be debuted in short run fashion, produced in limited quantities. The initial production
will be 10-count boxes of 500 or less. The Short Salomone is a 6 x 54 vitola.

The company are taking pre-orders through December 31st.

“We are excited to announce these short run releases. We are continually looking to enhance
our portfolio and the smoking pleasure of our brand,” shared Crux Cigars President Jeff Haugen,
“and frankly, we enjoy challenging ourselves and our team.”

The cigars are rolled by a single pair at the La Catedral de Tabaco factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.

Epicure Short Salomone $12.99 MSRP/Cigar Initial Production: 500 boxes
Guild Short Salomone $11.99 MSRP/Cigar Initial Production: 200 boxes
Limitada Short Salomone $13.99 MSRP/Cigar Initial Production: 300 boxes

Release Date: Spring 2019

For questions or additional details, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


fratello2Springfield, VA (October 25, 2018) – Omar de Frias is proud to announce that Navetta Inverso is heading to stores Monday.

Inverse shuttle in Italian, Navetta Inverso, was introduced at the 2018 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in July. Blended with a Nicaraguan wrapper, Ecuador binder and Dominican and Nicaragua filler, Inverso is rich in flavor and full in body.

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

Montecristo Event in Miami



Montecristo Cigars to auction one of a kind

Art Basel-inspired humidor designed by artist, Ruben Trespalacios

MIAMI – Montecristo, maker of world renowned premium cigars, will host an exclusive Montecristo Art Basel event in South Florida’s most popular pop-up event space: The Wharf Miami. The event “Montecristo Marina” hosted by the Montecristo Social Club will combine live art, fine spirits, music, networking and Montecristo cigars while overlooking the Miami River. The event takes place on Saturday December 8, 2018 at 7PM. The Wharf Miami is located at 114 SW North River Drive. Miami, Fl. 33130.

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Screwpop® Tool to offer "Tether™

Tether 3Screwpop® Tool to offer "Tether™ - Universal Key Holder and Organizer"

The latest in compact and highly functional tools, Screwpop® introduces - Tether™, that makes attaching, removing and carrying your keys made easy.

The Tether™ uses an revolutionary anchoring system. It's completely "tool-less" and requires only your hands to fully assemble and/or disassemble.

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Pivat Cigar Lounge Now Open



Rancho Mirage, Calif. (November 29, 2018) – Cigar aficionados and those who aspire to become one have a new upscale smoking lounge with the opening of the Pívat Cigar Lounge at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, a AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Recommended property. This luxurious destination’s latest addition, Pívat — named after the Cahuilla Indian word for “smoking tobacco”— offers a selection of premium hand-rolled cigars, signature cocktail and cigar pairings, and a select menu of delectable small bites and entrees from the resort’s award-winning fine dining restaurant, The Steakhouse, recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence yearly since 2007.

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5 closed box clippedDoral, Florida, October 23, 2018 – George Rico of Gran Habano is excited to announce the official release of its long awaited Gran Habano’s Blue in Green project.

This medium-bodied version of a Gran Habano classic blend is selected from the finest vintage tobaccos. The Blue in Green Connecticut-wrapped cigar blissfully embodies the rich nuances of its fillers from the exceptional sunbathed soils of Nicaragua. Blue in Green’s wrapper, binder, and fillers produce a synergy of smooth, creamy, and toasted loaded flavors. This is one cigar that demonstrates that a mild to medium-bodied cigar does not have to be bland. Now shipping to retailers nationwide.

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Gran Reserva closed sideDoral, Florida, November 8, 2018 - Father and son team, Guillermo and George Rico, are proud to announce the official release of the Gran Habano Corojo No. 5 Gran Reserva 2012.

Gran Habano’s Gran Reserva cigars are made using the top 10% best leaf from the yearly crop and aged for an extra seven to eight years prior to the cigar being rolled. It is then aged for a period of four to six years additionally as cigars. The 2012 installment has been aged an additional three years longer than any other prior Gran Reserva release. These cigars offer a bold new experience in full-bodied premium cigars made with vintage tobaccos. Expect a remarkably smooth, earthy and spicy smoke, accompanied by notes of sweet wood and espresso for this aged smoke. The Gran Habano Corojo #5 Gran Reserva 2012 is currently shipping to retailers nationwide.


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FDA Updates Unified Regulatory Agenda

ipcprlogo17 Oct. 2018

Earlier today, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its roadmap for regulations, called the Unified Regulatory Agenda. This outlines the regulatory priorities and perspective timeline for the FDA and other federal agencies.

Importantly, on its agenda, the FDA noted their recent review for premium cigars remains ongoing, meaning the agency still considers this issue an open item. However, the FDA did not prescribe a specific timeline for any potential action on item, instead noting that it is “Long-Term Action” that will be addressed at a date “To Be Determined.” In short, the premium issue is an agenda item, but it is unclear at the moment when any regulatory change will come to the product category.

Scott Pearce, IPCPR Executive Director, believes this underscores the need to continue pressing the FDA to act on the premium issue. “As an organization, our number one priority is to fight on behalf of our retailers and the industry at large to bring a quick resolution to arbitrary regulations on premium cigars. We have the right message and we’ve armed the FDA with government data disproving the need for regulations. However, the agency chose to prioritize other initiatives at the moment. I remain optimistic that the FDA will address this glaring issue – but it is on all of us, as a united voice for the industry, to continue applying pressure on the Administration and the Congress.”

The FDA recently solicited thousands of comments from industry and the public at large for data on the use and public health impact of premium cigars. IPCPR’s comment provided a significant amount of government sourced data and statistics that definitively show premium cigars are not a public health concern for youth or adults.

Regulatory requirements on premium cigars and the small businesses that sell them have been in place for over two years. In that time frame – the economic pressures of the ill-conceived Deeming Rule have been felt across the industry. Ken P Neumann, President of the IPCPR Board of Directors, reiterates this point- “Cigars have needlessly come off the market, retail jobs remain at risk and the uncertainty of rising product costs and reduced stock continue to threaten brick and mortar stores around the country. All of this without any proven benefit to the public health or the FDA’s goal of stopping youth use of tobacco products and mitigating adult addiction to nicotine.”

IPCPR will continue to press this issue on behalf of our retailers and the industry and provide any and all updates as necessary.


Today’s Unified Regulatory Agenda also included a new FDA proposal to prohibit “characterizing flavors” in all cigar products. Earlier this year, the agency solicited comments from the industry and the public on flavors in all tobacco products and what, if any action the FDA should take. It is unclear what the FDA’s intended timeline for this initiative is. IPCPR will continue to engage with the agency and others in industry as the agency pursues this objective.