Author Archives: Tom Ufer

D’Crossier introduces L’Forte at IPCPR

Heralding a new era in artisanal cigar craftsmanship, we are proud to introduce L ’Forte, the newest addition to the D ’Crossier Cigar family. One of the most exclusive premium cigars available anywhere in the world, this exclusive new line, L’Forte, will be a limited production run of only 2000 numbered boxes each year. Carefully and meticulously produced in every aspect, these handcrafted cigars are fashioned as a result of the most demanding and comprehensive sorting process that we have ever developed with leaves originating from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.  Our yearly aging process is based on a rotation of 24,000 cigars, allowing us to inspect and ensure the quality of the L’Forte supply. We humbly claim to use the best and most aged Spanish cedar in the cigar world today, aging without cellophane and artificial odors to deliver your ultimate smoking pleasure. Fashioned with a Costa Rican wrapper that has itself been aged for 2 years, L’Forte is available in four sizes which we consider to perfectly showcase the exquisite balance of this blend, delivering a complex, delicate and sophisticated mélange of full tobacco flavors.

Available September 2014.


La Flor Dominicana to introduce new items at 82nd IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas this year

LFD logo

La Flor Dominicana will introduce the following items at this year’s IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas, July 20th – 23rd.

La Flor Dominicana 1994 Limited Edition Beer Stein - In honor of our 20th anniversary we have created a very special cigar uniquely packaged in a beautiful porcelain beer stein. The cigar is made with tobaccos that were set aside several years ago in anticipation of this very special occasion. The complex and powerful flavors of this cigar originate from the best fillers and binder grown on our farm in the beer steinDominican Republic and are complemented with a sweet and savory Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper. This blend is as special as the occasion it serves to commemorate and is symbolic of the quality and pride with which La Flor Dominicana has built its name. The packaging is a toast to our friends and loyal fans that have supported us over the years. It is because of them that our passion for making cigars is as strong as it has ever been. Cheers!

1994 - In addition to the limited release, a very similar blend will be made

1994available in 4 sizes, a 58 x 6 “Aldaba”, a 52 x 6.5 “Rumba”, a 52 x 5 “Conga”, and a 54 x 7 “Mambo”. The blend will feature the same fillers & binder, but with a natural San Andrés wrapper. This line will be a permanent addition to our portfolio.

capituloCapitulo II - A great sequel should pick up where the first left off, and the highly anticipated continuation to Antonio Gomez’s Chapter 1 does just that. An entirely new blend was created for the familiar box pressed Chisel shape, and though the tobaccos may be different, Capitulo II promises power and flavor all the same. This cigar features a gorgeous Nicaraguan Colorado wrapper which adorns a sweet Ecuadorian Habano binder and robust Dominican fillers. Sweetness, spice, and power are what define this story.

Salomones - The La Flor Dominicana Salomones is a subject of great lore salomonamong cigar collectors worldwide. We are ecstatic to announce that a very small quantity of these will once again be made available at this year’s IPCPR in both natural and maduro. These cigars have been maturing for years in our aging room and promise to provide an unbelievable experience of complex flavors and aromas like no other Salomon ever has!

digger ashtrayDigger Ashtrays - Cigars these days have outgrown the accessories made to complement them. Being pioneers of the large cigar craze that has taken off over the last few years, we have noticed this problem more than most. This is why we are introducing a new line of ashtrays, Digger ashtrays to be exact. Beautiful, refined, and practical, these ashtrays have never met a cigar they couldn’t hold. They will be available in full porcelain and solid mahogany with metal trim.

 digger porcelin

La Flor Dominicana is a vertically integrated premium cigar company, where we proudly control the process from the seed to the final grading, inspecting and packing process. Our tobaccos are grown at our farm in La Canela, Dominican Republic. Our factory is located in Tamboril.

Berger & Argenti Entubar V3-D Tres Hombres; Cigar review


Berger & Argenti’s Entubar V3-D was first announced during the 2012 IPCPR in Orlando, Fl. There are two vitolas of this blend; the Tres Hombres (5 ½ x 64) and Tres Leches (6 1/2 by 64).

I received a single sample of the Tres Hombres vitolas as a gift from Al Argenti when I ran into him during the IPCPR event. So, doing the math, this cigar had about 2 years of age at the time I smoked it.

The Entubar V3-D’s blend is comprised of a Nicaraguan Maduro Jalapa wrapper leaf, an unknown binder and three levels of filler: Esteli Ligero (longest protrusion), Viso Condega (second protrusion) and Seco Jalapa (flush with wrapper).

The Entubar V3-D is certainly an unusual looking cigar. There is a huge brown band with Berger&Argenti all across it and a thin yellow and black band below it with the name V3-D. At the foot is the advisory band that tells you to thoroughly toast the foot before smoking.

Looking past the bright and shiny bands, the Maduro wrapper leaf is dark, oily and has one or two prominent veins. The cigar has a nicely applied triple cap. There is a sweet cedar and tobacco aroma coming from the wrapper. The foot has an earthy scent and the cigar is firm to the touch.

The pre-light draw is easy, which I attribute to the entubar rolling method. Typical (for me) Nicaraguan tobacco flavors of sweet berries are present at this point. At a full inch in diameter, this cigar is quite a bit larger than my regular smokes.

Enough of the poking and prodding, it’s time to light up and smoke!

After following instructions and completely toasting and lighting the entire foot, the cigar produces a tremendous amount of smoke. The cigar develops a firm gray ash, has an even scalloped burn with a thin carbon ring. There is a mild, spicy sensation on the exhale and peppery flavors on the palate.

The second third has a good balance between strength and body. The main flavor profile is an earthy tobacco base with pepper notes.

Coming into the home stretch, the strength increases and the more peppery spice sensations increase on the exhale. The tobacco notes remain constant to the end and the cigar has a long finish.

At $17.50 MSRP for the Tres Hombres and $20.00 MSRP for the Tres Leches, this is not an everyday smoke for most people. The Entubar V3-D is a great cigar with good flavors and balance and certainly worthy of a treat now and again.

Pedro Martin in the news with IPCPR updates

With a brand new makeover to a consistent premium blend, Gurkha Cigar Group is proud to announce the reintroduction of Pedro Martin Ruby and Maduro Cigars.  Gurkha welcomed Maria Martin and the Pedro Martin brand under the corporation’s umbrella in the spring of 2013 and closed the year with the release of the Limted Edition 2013.  “The Limited Edition 2013 has had a wonderful reception by retailers nationwide,” says Maria Martin, Pedro Martin Brand Ambassador.  “Many of our customers have repeatedly asked for the popular Pedro Martin brands and now we are happy to finally be able to introduce them once again.”

The Pedro Martin Maduro and Ruby cigars are set to be re-released at IPCPR this month.  These medium to full body, full flavor cigars include the traditional Pedro Martin blends with a brand new look and feel under the same watchful eye of Arsenio Ramos in TABASA ESTELI NICARAGUA.  Set to incorporate the customary feel of old world Cuba, family tradition, and a matter of pride, Gurkha has paired with Maria Martin to honor the famed master blender of cigars himself: Pedro Martin, with a brand new band and box.  The Pedro Martin Maduro includes a Mexican San Andrés Wrapper, Nicaraguan Maduro Binder, and Nicaraguan Filler to incorporate the flavors of spice, caramel, sweetness, and cocoa.  The Pedro Martin Ruby includes a Red Colorado Corojo Wrapper, Nicaraguan Binder, and Nicaraguan Filler for another medium to full body profile.  Both cigars will be available in the following three sizes: Robusto (5×50), Toro (6×52), and XO (6×60) with an MSRP set between $7.50 and $10.10 per cigar.

“I am beholden to both Juan Lopez and Kaizad Hansotia for giving me the opportunity to honor my father through the Gurkha brand.  I know dad is looking down and proud to see his legacy continue,” said Maria Martin, Official Brand Ambassador to the Pedro Martin line.  With all these Pedro Martin releases, Gurkha Cigar Group could not be more proud of the hard work and dedication that the company has pulled together to present these new cigars to both new cigar lovers and aficionados alike.  Be on the lookout for these new brands and other traditional favorites from Gurkha Cigar Group at your local retailer.

More information on Gurkha Cigars: can be found on the company’s:

Facebook: Gurkhacigars
Twitter: @Gurkhacigars

VegaFina Sumum Edición Especial 2010; Cigar review

sumumThe VegaFina Sumum was originally released two years ago as a limited edition, but earlier this year, is was re-released as a full production cigar in three sizes: Robusto (54 x 5″),Toro (54 x 6″) and Magnum (60 x 6″). “Sumum” is Latin for “the highest, greatest or summit.”

The cigar’s blend is comprised of an Ecuadorian grown Cuban seed wrapper, a Dominican binder leaf and a combination of filler leaves from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Peru.

The cigars I used for this review came from Altadis. When they arrived, I made some notes about their appearance before letting them rest.

The Sumum’s wrapper is a medium brown color with a mottled appearance. The cap is nicely formed and the cigar has some visible veins and seams.

Once these cigars were ready to smoke, I took them out and examined them once more. The wrapper and foot both had slight cedar notes along with a rich tobacco aroma. The cigars were also firm to the touch with no soft spots.

The pre-light draw was firm and I could pick up on some berry flavors from the filler.


After I had lit the cigar and got about a quarter of an inch in, the draw loosened up a bit and I picked up on some nutty flavor notes. The ash was a bit flakey and white in color. The cigar burned slowly and was a bit wavy but, no touch ups were needed. After about an inch and a half, the ash dropped off. During this first third, the primary flavor was mild tobacco with a short finish.

There weren’t many new developments in the second third with the exception of some spice on the exhale.

As I get into the last third of the cigar, things begin to change. The strength picks up and there is a long, spicy finish with some chili pepper heat at the very end.

The VegaFina Sumum Edición Especial 2010 was a very enjoyable cigar. I would consider it to be a medium strength and full bodied smoke.

A.J. Fernandez to introduce their newest cigar brand at IPCPR: New World

A.J. Fernandez Cigars, known for producing consistently highly rated and sought after cigars is proud to unveil “New World” at the 2014 IPCPR in Las Vegas. New World will be showcased as a value brand featuring the same quality, consistency, and workmanship that is expected from A.J. Fernandez.  The New World Cigar brand is the first blend in where A.J. Fernandez and father Ismael Fernandez come together.

new world

Master blender A.J. Fernandez has created New World. A unique cigar which pays homage to the discovery of then “mystical smoking leaf” called tobacco by the Europeans when their ships landed in what is now called the New World. In November 1492, Jerez and Luis de Torres first observed natives smoking as they were searching for the Emperor of China. Not knowing they landed in what is now known as Cuba, they came across natives that made rolls of palm and mais leaves in the manner of a musket formed of paper with tobacco on the inside. One would light one side and drink the smoke out of the other.

A.J. Fernandez said: “The New World Cigar relates to expanding one’s knowledge and questioning the status quo by discovering our personal New Worlds as we go through life. The team at A.J. Fernandez Cigars is grateful for the amazing support we have received from the consumer and therefore will offer the New World Cigar at a value price as we invite everyone to join us on our New World journey.  Furthermore, I am especially proud to announce that my father Ismael Fernandez who recently retired after 17 years with the Plasencia family has now joined the A.J. Fernandez family. New World marks the first cigar that we work on together since he joined the company. “The New World blend is an elegant box press cigar, beautifully adorned with a cigar band that depicts the European landing on the shores of the “New World.” As with every A.J. Fernandez cigar brand, New World is carefully hand crafted cigar which was blended under strict supervision of A.J. Fernandez in their Estelí, Nicaragua based factory.

The New World Cigar is a medium to full bodied cigar with an amazing aroma. Smokers of New World will experience elements of sweetness, spiciness in a very balanced and refined cigar. The New World Cigar is composed of a Jalapa binder, Viso Ometepe Filler, Condega Ligero, Esteli-Finca Soledad Ligero, wrapped in a beautiful Dark Nicaragua. At a MSRP of six dollars, A.J. Fernandez is looking for New World to be a first class cigar that can be a daily source of enjoyment.

New World Cigars come in a beautifully adorned 21 count box and come in four sizes.

  • Navegante:    5 ½ X 55 Robusto
  • Almirante:      51/2 X 55  Belicoso
  • Gobernador: 6 ½ X 55 Toro
  • Virrey:             6 X 58 Gordo 

A.J. Fernandez Cigars is based on the rich tradition of the Fernandez cigar legacy. A.J. Fernandez now produces unparalleled, hand-rolled cigars in Estelí, Nicaragua which have garnered numerous top ratings and acclaim from cigar publications and consumers alike.  Today A.J. Fernandez continues the family tradition as he oversees production and manages day to day operations in his factory in Estelí.

Espinosa Cigars to debut Laranja Reserva at IPCPR

Espinosa Cigars is proud to announce that they will debut a new line at the upcoming IPCPR convention and trade show called Laranja Reserva.

Dark wood background“I wanted to release something different for the show, we had started working with this orange Brazilian Laranja wrapper last year and we are very excited with the end result.  I have always liked the color orange (laranja which is the Portuguese word for orange) and the positive energy associated with that color.  It is the color of enthusiasm, creativity, determination and success, that’s what we are all about here” said Erik Espinosa.

Laranja Reserva will be available for sampling at the 2014 IPCPR and available for shipping shortly thereafter.

Laranja Reserva is made at Erik Espinosa’s own La Zona Cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua and features a Brazilian Laranja wrapper paired with a Nicaraguan binder and fillers.   Laranja Reserva will come in a 20 count cedar lined box and is available in three sizes: Corona Gorda (5-5/8 x 46, $9.90), Robusto Extra (5-1/2 x 54, $10.50) and Toro (6 x 52, $10.90).

Tobacconist University introduces first certified cigar

We are looking forward to the 2014 IPCPR convention in Las Vegas!  With over 1100 Certified Tobacconists and apprentices at TU, we are excited to see our family of tobacconists, administer exams, and sign up new retailers who want to project their credibility.  Look for the TU booth right by the front entrance where we will be administering final exams, all day, every day.
At TU, certifying tobacconists is the most rewarding function we perform.  Proving the substance and credentials of retail tobacconists is the core of our Vision and Mission.  With that said, 2014 is a historic year for TU and our Certified Tobacconists because we are introducing R&D Cigars: the first Certified Cigars that are sold exclusively by TU Certified Tobacconists.  R&D Cigars are educational products which teach consumers and tobacconists while providing a competitive advantage to Certified Retailers: education = loyalty!
The first R&D Cigars release is the Brazilian Corojo Serie I by J. Fuego.  As TU Certified Cigars, we declare the components, production date and quantity, and provide unprecedented education, to educate your mind and palate.
Highlights and advantages of R&D Cigars include:
Certified Cigars for Certified Tobacconists
Educational content in the R&D Lab
4 Large Vitolas + Puro Components (5pk)
Versatile Merchandising, Bundling & Upselling
The R&D Manifesto - #beaboutsomething
 If you are at the IPCPR convention, come by the booth for an educational sample… if not, visit your local Certified Retail Tobacconist, smoke an R&D Cigar, and learn something!

Drew Estate names Willy Herrera as “Master Blender”


Drew Estate announced today that Willy Herrera will become the “Master Blender” of Drew Estate, effective immediately. Herrera was originally recruited by Drew Estate to create a signature brand illustrating his Cuban heritage and “Cubanesque” blending style. After working with him over the past three years in Nicaragua, Drew Estate determined he was suited to lead their blending team. This represents a major change for Drew Estate, marking the first occasion where someone of Cuban descent has held a top-level position at the company.

Herrera’s new responsibilities will place him at the front and center of Drew Estate’s blending team, which will allow him to channel his passion and energy into creating new blends and maintaining Drew Estate’s current signature blends.

Herrera’s talents were honed over the eight years of “on-the-job training”, running the El Titan de Bronze factory in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Florida. His responsibilities at El Titan de Bronze included tobacco purchasing, production, blending and quality control.

Jonathan Drew, company co-founder, had this to say about Herrera:

“Authenticity is the key factor that originally attracted the DE shareholders to Willy. I personally know the challenges and skill set necessary to lead a premium cigar factory at all stages of development, fifteen employees to fifteen hundred. Willy has the main ingredients, passion, humility and confidence to achieve great results. It is important for me to clarify that Willy is not in charge of running La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. His position is a newly created, specific role – built around his greatest talent, Master Blender.

We intend to challenge Willy in expanding his blending universe, from Liga Privada to Kentucky Fire Cured. This will not be easy for him. Willy will report directly to me, and I am not an easy person to work for. I am very demanding and require absolute excellence when it comes to creativity.”

Willy Herrera stated that, “my passion and love for Nicaragua has grown immensely over the past three years. I lived in Nicaragua while we blended our Herrera Esteli line and, during that time, really got to know the people at the factory. I grew to love the country, especially Estelí. This is an incredible
opportunity, and it’s a dream come true for me to become “Master Blender” of a global company as well respected as Drew Estate. There are many people who have believed in me along this journey, especially my family.”

Due to Drew Estate’s decision to appoint Herrera as “Master Blender”, they have also decided to bring the new “NORTENO by Willy Herrera” line into production at Drew Estate, as opposed to Joya de Nicaragua, where it was originally to be produced. Additionally, this will allow Joya de Nicaragua to focus on production of the MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured line, which is currently backordered, along with the new Joya de Nicaragua products to be released at IPCPR.

The “NORTENO by Willy Herrera” line will debut at the 2014 IPCPR tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a formal press release will follow with more information about that project.

About Drew Estate:
Founded in New York City in 1996. Drew Estate has become one of the fastest growing tobacco companies in the world. Under their mantra “The Rebirth of Cigars”TM, Drew Estate has led The “Boutique Craft” movement by innovating new elements to the tobacco industry with their unique tobaccos and blending styles that have attracted new and old cigar enthusiasts. In their Gran Fabrica
Drew Estate, the Nicaraguan headquarters, Drew Estate produces successful brands such as ACID, Herrera Estelí, Java by Drew Estate, Kentucky Fired Cured, Liga Privada, MUWAT, Natural, Nica Rustica, Tabak Especial and UnderCrown.

Gurkha Cigar Group announces new releases for IPCPR

Gurkha Cigar Group, maker of the world’s finest cigars announces several new releases for this month’s IPCPR show in Las Vegas, NV.  Among the releases, are rare tobaccos, unusual pairings, and the company’s most beautiful packaging to date.  Gurkha Cigar Group is known as the industry’s Rolls Royce of Cigars and releases nothing shy in exceeding the preceding expectations.

Last year Gurkha unveiled the Cellar Reserve Limitada as an addition to the traditional Cellar Reserve line.  This year the company has once again gone above and beyond in perfecting the blend with a Corojo wrapper and 18-year aged tobacco.  Dubbed the Cellar Reserve Edición Especial, this medium body, full flavor cigar is offered only to brick and mortar retail stores and is packaged in a beautiful piano finish, mahogany box.  This smooth and flavorful cigar is estimated to have a retail value of $11.00-$15.00 per cigar and is offered in four sizes: Koi (4×58), Solara (5×58), Hedonism (6×58), and Kraken (6×60).  “I partnered with our blenders to search for the rarest tobaccos we could find and stumbled upon this 18-year old Corojo wrapper and blend.  There was only enough to make 1000 boxes of each size and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.  In fact, at this very moment we are searching for another rare blend for next year,” commented Kaizad Hansotia.

Adding to the esteemed Royal Challenge blend, Gurkha is set to release the Royal Challenge Maduro.  Set inside the traditional leather style box with a platinum band and embellishment, the Royal Challenge Maduro pairs the Habano/Honduran binder and Nicaraguan/Dominican filler of the traditional Royal Challenge cigar with the perfect Broadleaf Maduro wrapper.  Available in Robusto (5×50), Toro (6×50), Churchill (7×52), Torpedo (6.5×53), and XO (6×60) sizes, this mild body, full flavor cigar has a smooth draw with earthy, flavorful tones and a sweetness on the lips from the wrapper.  This cigar will be released only to brick and mortar retail stores and is set at an MSRP of $8.38-$11.06 per cigar.

Gurkha also announces the newest edition to the East India Trading Company line in The Classic Cigar: Havana Blend.  This cigar has been perfected using a proprietary binder and filler with twenty different tweakings of the blend to get it just right.  With a San Andrés wrapper, The Classic Cigar: Havana Blend is a box-pressed, medium body, full flavor cigar including earthy, nutty undertones.  This Nicaraguan blend will be available at $7.99-$9.99 each cigar in a Robusto (5.5×52), Toro (6×54), XO (6×60), and Figurado (6×58).

  “After a few years of searching for the right wrapper and combination of tobaccos, we created this beautiful San Andrés wrapped Nicaraguan masterpiece.  We are very proud to unveil it as our best creation from the East India Trading Company yet.  A cigar worthy of its name: A true Classic,” said Juan Lopez, National Sales Director and part of the East India blending team.

With all these new releases, Gurkha Cigar Group could not be more proud of the hard work and dedication that the company has pulled together to present these new cigars to both new cigar lovers and aficionados alike.  Be on the lookout for these new brands and other traditional favorites from Gurkha Cigar Group at your local retailer.

More information on Gurkha Cigars: can be found on the company’s:

Facebook: Gurkhacigars
Twitter: @Gurkhacigars