Category Archives: Cigar Industry

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Zander-Greg’s New HHB Gold Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Nat Cicco Brand Cigars with Improvements and Reduced Price

HHB GoldThe first production run of Zander-Greg’s HHB Gold super premium cigars is now shipping, after undergoing improved packaging, an all-new ring, larger sizes and a 25% price reduction.

Zander-Greg introduced this latest addition to its existing HHB series with a new name … HHB Gold … changed from the original HHB Habano branding that reflected its wrapper tobacco.  The new name, plus an all-gold band, honor the 50th anniversary of the Nat Cicco (Seek-oh) line of cigars, which premiered in 1965.

HHB Gold’s blend is unchanged, with an Ecuadorian-grown Habano leaf, surrounding a Nicaraguan filler and binder.   The three cigar shapes, which it shared with the original HHB, are now larger at 7-3/4″ x 54, 5-1/4″ x 56 and 6-3/4″ x 58.

The presentation is 10 cigars per box, the same as the original HHB, and each cigar is now protected in a cellophane sheath.  The visual impression of the black piano-finish Spanish cedar box remains a strong visual incentive to experience HHB Gold’s satisfaction.

A final bonus is a reduction in HHB Gold’s suggested retail price to $7, down from the IPCPR 2014 tobacco trade show-announced $10.  As the company says, “This saving, plus the larger sizes, offer extra value to the smoker.  HHB Gold is a superpremium cigar at boutique pricing.”

Nat Cicco’s Churchill and Robusto Rejects pioneered the value-priced cigar concept a half-century ago.   Now, their Nat Cicco offerings include Cuban Style, Cuban Legends, and the new Aniversario 1965 and HHB superpremium series.  HHB Gold, proudly wearing their all-gold cigar bands, are now at better tobacconists nationwide.

Headlines cigar, a Dominican puro, is re-launched for 2015

Headlines - photo by Tom Ufer

Headlines – photo by Tom Ufer

Headlines Cigar has been re-blended and re-branded for a new launch in 2015. Arby Sosa from Antillian Cigar Corporation, as the exclusive distributor for Headlines Cigar, collaborated with Dee from Fusion Cigar and the Master Blender, Don Amadiz, in creating these two amazing Dominican Puro blends.

Headlines Cigar is being made out of the Tabacalera Real factory in Tamboril, Dominican Republic. Headlines First Edition is made with a Pennsylvania seed wrapper grown in the Dominican Republic and a Dominican Olor binder. Dominican Criollo 98 and Dominican Piloto Cubano are used for the ligero and Dominican Criollo 98 and Dominican Olor are used for the seco. The strength of Headlines First Edition is full-bodied and will MSRP between $7.50-8.50.

The Headlines Second Edition is a maduro with a Dominican Habano Oscuro wrapper and a Dominican Piloto Cubano binder. Nicaraguan and Dominican Piloto Cubano are used for the ligero and Dominican Andullo and Dominican 20-20 make up the rest of the filler. The strength of the Headlines Second Edition is also full-bodied and will MSRP between $7.50-$8.50.
Arby Sosa of Antillian Cigar stated, “I’ve never been a part of creating an all-Domincan Puro, so this was an exciting project for me. It took over 6 months to perfect both blends, but we are all impressed with the final result. I believe in this cigar and hope all cigar fans will venture out and try this one, and I know they will be happy.”
About Antillian Cigar Corp:

Antillian Cigar Corporation is the manufacturer of the popular brands of Sosa Classic, 60 by Sosa, Sosa Underground and Macabi. The Sosa cigar tradition began with Don Juan Sosa, a small tobacco grower in the fertile Taguasco region of Cuba at the turn of the century. By the 1920’s, his farm had become one of the largest tobacco-producing haciendas in Cuba. Over the next 30 years, Don Juan’s son, Arturo, and grandson, Juan, manufactured cigars for sale in Cuba and abroad. In 1964, Arturo and Juan opened their first factory in Miami, FL.  The factory closed in 1980 and moved operations to the Dominican Republic. In 1996, Juan B. Sosa began with the Fuente family and manufactures various lines of cigars of out the Fuente factory.  Today, the legacy of quality, handmade cigars made in the Cuban tradition continues with master blender, Juan B. Sosa, alongside his wife, sons and nephews.

About Headlines Cigars:

Headlines Cigars is owned by Dee Aguasvivas and Ulises Delgado of Fusion Cigar.  The cigar is a 100% Dominican cigar.


Alexander III Premium Cigar to release new Corojo blend

Jordan_AlexanderJordan Alexander III Premium Cigar Company’s newest release, the Jordan Alexander III Corjo will begin shipping to retailers on February 2, 2015. Originally announced as a mid-Fall 2014 release, the release will instead now mark the first release of 2015 for JA3 Cigars.

The new blend is manufactured by the Quesada Cigar Factory and will largely replace JA3’s current corojo blend (See August Press Release for details on rebranding/release). The Jordan Alexander III Corojo is constructed with a Dominican Corojo wrapper, Dominican binder, with Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. This release is available in four vitolas; robusto (5 ½ x 54), toro (6 x 52), double toro (6×60), and belicoso (6 x 52). The three parejo vitolas feature a pigtail cap and closed foot.

The corojo is sold in boxes of 20, with 4 sticks wide by 5 high. The MSRP for the robusto is $7.95, toro is $8.50, belicoso is $9.25, and double toro is $9.75. Pre-orders are still being accepted. Retailers interested in carrying the Jordan Alexander III Corojo are asked to contact or call 1-855-216-3349. Shipment priorities are given to current retailers and are first come, first serve. All current pre-orders will ship on the official release date. Prerelease samples are immediately available for interested reviewers and retailers. Those interested are asked to contact

JM Tobacco’s  State-of-the-Art  “Sealed-In” Humidity Packs” Offer Extra-Long, Unattended Storage

JM Sealed-In-Humidity Packs“Imagine,” states Anto Mahroukian, JM Tobacco’s president, “finding a sealed package of cigars in the bottom of your golf bag, forgotten from last year.  Dried out and unsmokeable?  If they’re our new JM Sealed-In Humidity Packs, you’ll find they’re as fresh as the day you purchased them.

“Sealed-In Humidity Packs feature a unique breakthrough in cigar preservation … food-grade plastic packaging that is impervious to changes in ambient conditions that can cause loss of flavor and aroma through desiccation or mold-producing high humidity.  This innovation involves evacuating each sampler pack, then sealing it.  Additional humidification materials in the packs are unnecessary, because the cigars remain factory fresh for up to a year.”

The sealed packs are opened by tearing off the end, leaving a handy Zip-Loc™ closure.  The packaging material is FDA-approved for storage of bulk foods … grains, etc. … which assures a smooth, flavorful smoke.

The cigars themselves are from the popular JM’s Dominican and Nicaraguan lines.  The Dominican comes in Sumatran Natural or Broadleaf Connecticut Maduro; the Nicaraguan has a Sumatran Natural or San Andreas (Mexican) Maduro.  Each package holds three Churchills, all sharing the same blend.   Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing is less than $10.  JM Sealed-In Humidity Packs are appearing at tobacco retailers at press time.

7-20-4 Cigars Completes Initial Shipment of “Factory 57” Boutique Cigars, Featuring High-Primed Nicaraguan Wrapper

7_20_4  “Following its introduction at last July’s IPCPR trade show, we realized retailers’ orders had exceeded our initial production run,” states Kurt A. Kendall, 7-20-4 Cigars’ Founder and President.  “Since we didn’t have enough extra-select, high-primed Jalapa (Nicaragua) wrapper leaf, we opted to fill as many pre-holiday orders by retailers as possible, and wait for the balance of this extraordinary leaf, before completing the shipments.  The tobacco has now arrived, and we have shipped the balance of the Factory 57 cigars in all sizes … Corona, Robusto, Churchill and 6″ x 60 Gordo.”

Factory 57’s five-nation blend consists of the high-primed Nicaraguan wrapper, a Costa Rican binder, and a filler of Nicaraguan, Honduran, San Andreas (Mexican) and Colombian tobaccos.  They are all aged a full three years.  Kendall describes the cigar as “medium-to-full bodied, with a flavor profile that is bold but very smooth, with a distinct creaminess.”

Factory 57 is entubado bunched for a plug-free, even-burning cigar.  The wrapper tobacco is triple-fermented, which prevents bitterness in the latter part of the smoke.  About then, the smoker also notices the head remains firm, with no unraveling in his mouth, due to the double cap on the head.  The cellophane-tubed cigars are presented in high-quality Spanish cedar boxes.  Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing runs from $7.75 to $9.50.

The “Factory 57” name was the US government’s 1874 designation of the original factory as a manufacturer of premium cigars, for purposes of federal taxation.  Following this licensing, the company went on to become the world’s largest manufacturer of premium cigars, continuing until the Cuban Embargo led to 7-20-4’s demise in 1964.  The old factory still stands silently, only a few blocks from Kendall’s Manchester, New Hampshire location.

Arango Cigar Co. debuts new Rattray’s pipes and tobaccos

Three new Rattray’s briar pipe lines and matching tobaccos have joined the company’s classic British pipe lineup of pipes and tobaccos now available from Arango Cigar Co.

Three new Rattray’s briar pipe lines and matching tobaccos have joined the company’s classic British pipe lineup of pipes and tobaccos now available from Arango Cigar Co.

Arango Cigar Co., the exclusive US importer/distributor for Rattray’s briar pipes and tobaccos, has added three new series to its extensive lineup of Rattray’s pipes: Macbeth, Red Lion and Sir William.   Each one is available in six shapes.

Arango’s president, Michael Gold, states, “Rattray’s pipes follow the time-honored, rugged styles typical of the British Isles.  Some pipes display just enough creativity to make even seasoned pipe connoisseurs look twice.  Smokers will find an abundance of shapes, colors, finishes, and mouthpieces.”

Each of the new pipe lines comes in only one style, color and finish  Red Lion ($154.70 MSRP), has a smooth, red-hued finish; Sir William ($215.60) comes in a brown sandblast finish; and, Macbeth ($262.50) is a smooth black.  All three styles have black acrylic mouthpieces and are trimmed with polished metal bands on their shanks.  Quoting Gold, “Smokers who favor classic British briar will find a desirable piece at a fair price, due to Rattray’s innovative carvers.”

Rattray’s pipes can be divided into three categories.  Entry-level selections, in limited varieties, average about $115.  The great majority of Rattray’s pipes from Arango fall between $150 and $200.  This price point is where pipe shoppers find the widest spectrum of selections.  Pipes of superior quality and greater freedom of creativity, retail at around $250.

Arango is also offering new English/Scottish tobacco mixtures, bearing the same names as the pipes.  They are packaged in 3.5-ounce tins.

Gold comments on the company’s history: “Charles Rattray established his retail tobacco shop in the Scottish capital of Perth in 1903.  The reputation that Rattray and his son gained as master blenders built it into Perth’s largest tobacconist.  Their unique recipes and adherence to time-honored English and Scottish tobacco recipes have earned them the pipe world’s admiration.”

Shortly after the German tobacco manufacturer Kohlhase & Kopp KG was formed in 1976, it purchased Rattray’s.  Pipe connoisseurs haven’t been disappointed … Kohlhase & Kopp has maintained the same quality level, as well as most of the original catalog of tobaccos.  Tobacconists nationwide currently have these and other Rattray’s pipes and tobaccos in stock.

New Lancero Limitado joins J. Grotto Silk boutique cigar line from Ocean State Cigars

The new J. Grotto Lancero Limitado joins the Silk line of J. Grotto boutique cigars, offering delicate flavors with an underlying power, plus smooth, effortless burn.

The new J. Grotto Lancero Limitado joins the Silk line of J. Grotto boutique cigars, offering delicate flavors with an underlying power, plus smooth, effortless burn.

Paul Joyal, founder and president of Ocean State Cigars, has added a 7-1/2″ x 41 Lancero Limitado shape to his J. Grotto Silk line of boutique premium cigars.   It joins the J. Grotto Reserve Lancero Limitado, introduced in 2012.  The Lancero is a classic shape that originated in Cuba.  It remains a favorite of seasoned connoisseurs, for having surprising power for its slim, elegant profile.

The Lancero joins four other Silk shapes: Gran Robusto (5” x 52), Gordo (6” x 60), Gran Toro (6” x 52), and Churchill (7” x 50).  Both the Silk and Reserve Lanceros share the same blends as the other shapes in each line.  Silk has an Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut Shade wrapper, surrounding a double binder of Indonesian and Criollo 98 tobaccos, plus filler leaves from Honduras (Trojes region) and Jalapa, Nicaragua.  All tobaccos are aged a full three years.  “The double-leaf binder,” Joyal reports, “is largely responsible for the Lancero’s ability to routinely grow two-inch ashes.

“The Silk Lancero’s performance,” Joyal continues, “is fragrant and delicate, but with an unexpected fullness of lush flavor nuances.  Combined with the superb burning character of today’s strains of Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut-seed tobacco, you have a superlative smoke.  Silk is also the perfect name to describe the wrapper’s silky smooth feel and appearance.  The draw and burn are equally trouble-free, thanks to the accordion-fold bunching.  Each filler leaf is folded on itself lengthwise in the buncher’s palm, then combined with the other filler leaves and bound.  The technique minimizes hard draws and plugs, as well as uneven burn.”

The Silk line’s presentation complements the prestigious image of the cigars with cellophane sheaths, substantial 20-count Spanish cedar boxes and the distinctive J. Grotto bands and box art.  MSRP for the Silk Lancero Limitado is $7.99.  Silk Lanceros are currently available at tobacconists nationwide.

A.J. Fernandez to introduce the New World Connecticut exclusivley for event at New York’s Cigar Inn

AJ_New WorldA.J. Fernandez Cigars, known for producing consistently highly rated cigars will introduce a limited batch of New World Connecticut cigars for a one-night only sit down dinner event taking place at the world famous “Cigar Inn” located in New York City.  Event will take place on Monday, December 1, 2014 at Cigar Inn located at 1016 2nd Ave. NY, NY 10022.

New World which was collaboration between A.J. Fernandez and father Ismael Fernandez has been received with rave reviews. To celebrate the success of New World, A.J. Fernandez Cigars and Cigar Inn will partner for a limited seating dinner event featuring a course meal by Rothmann’s Steakhouse. The exclusive event will also feature a premium whiskey pairing hosted by Gentlemen’s Jack to introduce the unveiling of the New World Connecticut.  Cigar Inn is one of the most notable cigar shops in the nation and boasts the only Cigar Aficionado endorsed cigar lounge.

The New World Connecticut to be introduced at the event will be a Robusto 5 1/2 x 54

  • Wrapper: Connecticut Shade U.S.A.
  • Binder: San Andres Mexico
  • Filler: Nicaragua, Brazil

Kris Katchaturian, managing partner at A.J. Fernandez Cigars, said: “A.J. is extremely excited about introducing this limited batch of the New World Connecticut cigars for this event. It only makes sense that this event takes place at Cigar Inn which is arguably the most well-known cigar shop in the country.”

Billy Sakih, owner of The Cigar Inn, said: “A.J. Fernandez is one of the most talent cigar blenders on the scene today and we are looking forward to offering our guests this event which will feature amazing food, drink, company and the chance to enjoy the New World Connecticut.

For More information or to reserve your seat for this event please call Cigar Inn @ 212.717.7403 or 212.750.0809. 

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.

Drew Estate announces Undercrown ShadyXV premium cigars and partnership with Shady Records

shadyDrew Estate announced today the release of the Undercrown ShadyXV, a line extension to their coveted Undercrown line, produced in partnership with Shady Records. The NY and Detroit-based Shady Records celebrates their fifteenth anniversary in 2014 and will be working with Drew Estate on the release of the Undercrown ShadyXV. ShadyXV, a compilation celebrating the label’s anniversary and featuring greatest hits alongside new music from Shady Records artists, will be released on November 24.

The Undercrown ShadyXV will be offered in a 5 x 50 box pressed belicoso size, featuring the same blend as the Corona Viva line. For hardcore fans, this release follows the lineage of the Corona Viva and Dogma blends. The cigar will be limited to 500 10ct soft packs, which will be sold exclusively through Detroit-area cigar retailers (full list below) in honor of Shady Records’ fifteenth anniversary.

When asked about the project, Drew Estate co-founder Jonathan Drew stated that, “this project has been in the works for some time and I couldn’t be more amped that it’s finally coming to fruition. Anyone who knows JD understands my affinity towards hip-hop, so to have this opportunity to work with Paul Rosenberg and the Shady family is a true honor. Drew Estate is always on the cutting edge and ‘in the cut’ — and the Undercrown ShadyXV is no exception. This will be a collector’s piece for both the Drew Estate and the Shady fan.”

The 10ct soft packs of the Undercrown ShadyXV will retail for $99.95 MSRP and will be sold at the retailers listed below:

  • Churchills, Birmingham, MI
  • Churchills, West Bloomfield, MI
  • Wild Bill’s, Roseville, MI
  • Wild Bill’s, Commerce, MI
  • Smokes on Burdick, Kalamazoo, MI
  • La Casa, Detroit, MI
  • The Wine Garden, St Clair Shores, MI
  • Jenuwine’s, Troy, MI
  • Jenuwine’s, Sterling Heights, MI
  • Jenuwine’s, Royal Oak, MI

Paul Rosenberg, Eminem’s long-time manager and partner in Shady Records, was the impetus behind this collaboration and had this to say about the Undercrown ShadyXV from New York:

“As an avid boutique cigar smoker and a long-time Drew Estate fan, this collaboration on our label’s 15th anniversary is a huge honor that I’m really excited about.  JD and his team went all-out to create a really special smoke that I’m very proud to be associated with.”

The ShadyXV will be shipped to stores by November 27th. Please remember that quantities are extremely limited. To learn more about the ShadyXV cigar, visit

About Drew Estate, Inc.

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”™, Drew Estate has led the “Boutique Cigar” movement by innovating new elements to the tobacco industry with their unique tobaccos and blending styles that have attracted new and traditional cigar enthusiasts. In their Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, the Nicaraguan headquarters, Drew Estate produces a variety of brands such as ACID, Herrera Estelí, Kentucky Fired Cured, Liga Privada, MUWAT, Natural by Drew Estate, Nica Rustica, Tabak Especial, UnderCrown, and Java by Drew Estate.

About Shady Records

Fifteen years ago Eminem co-founded New York and Detroit based Shady Records with his manager Paul Rosenberg in a venture with Interscope Records. The label quickly became an international powerhouse with the label’s debut release, D 12’s chart-topping, double-platinum album Devil’s Night and the quadruple-platinum Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture 8 Mile.

Shady’s next move was signing Queens rapper 50 Cent along with Dr.Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment.  50’s 2003 major label full-length debut Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was an instant classic with sales of over eight million units, turning 50 into a household name.

Mid-decade saw the release of platinum seller Eminem Presents: The Re-Up as well as 50 Cent’s sophomore Shady album The Massacre, and D 12’s follow-up, 2004’s D12 World. Obie Trice’s 2003 release, Cheers, was a critical favorite and earned gold status. Bad Meets Evil (a collaboration between Eminem and Royce Da 5’9”) took Shady into yet another decade of topping the charts with 2011’s gold-seller Hell the Sequel.

In 2011 the label signed both rap supergroup Slaughterhouse (comprised of Joe Budden, Royce Da 5’9″, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I) and Gadsden, Alabama rapper Yelawolf which ushered in the “Shady 2.0″ era. The label released Slaughterhouse’s Welcome to: Our House and Yela’s Radioactive both to critical acclaim.

On November 24th, Shady Records releases a double-disc compilation, SHADYXV, featuring a disc of brand-new music and a second disc showcasing the label’s iconic singles, club hits, and street records of the last decade and a half. The project includes 50 Cent’s monumental “In Da Club”, D-12’s classic hit “Purple Pills,” and Eminem’s Academy Award and Grammy-winning anthem, “Lose Yourself,” the theme from his smash film debut 8 Mile.  New albums from Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse are slated for early 2015 positioning Shady Records to continue its stride, with over 30 million albums sold worldwide.