Category Archives: Cigars

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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 Sales@JordanAlexanderIII.com 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 Alex@JordanAlexanderIII.com.

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.

Espinosa Premium Cigars to release the Backroom Series

The Alibi Cigar Box

The Alibi Cigar Box

Erik Espinosa of Espinosa Premium Cigars proudly announces the release of The Backroom Series, an Espinosa Lounge Exclusive.  The Backroom Series will feature cigars exclusive and limited only to Espinosa Lounges.

Its first release, “The Alibi”, is a secretly blended, 6 x 48, Small Churchill, wrapped in a dark Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper.  The Alibi is made at Erik Espinosa’s own La Zona Cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.

Said, Erik, “My guys have been pushing me to get some limited and exclusive stuff out there.  I have been waiting for the right time and never at the expense of our core lines, which remain our company’s priority.”  Added Erik, “At the end of the day, we are cigar makers, it’s what we love to do.  This gives us a chance to be creative and an opportunity to further showcase our factory, La Zona.”

Only 200 of these 10 count boxes will be made and distributed among the three Espinosa Lounges across the United States.  “The Alibi” will ship to the Espinosa Lounges by the middle of December 2014, with an inaugural launch event on December 20, 2014 at Smoke Inn VI in Margate, FL.

The first Espinosa branded lounge was the 601 Cigar Lounge at Casa Belicoso in Walnut Creek, California, which was launched on September 23, 2011. Since then there have been two more lounges opened, one at Cordova Cigars in Pensacola, Florida on November 14, 2013 and another at Smoke Inn VI in Margate, Florida on August 16, 2014.

Those interested in purchasing “The Alibi” can contact any of the Espinosa Lounges listed below:

  • Casa Belicoso, Walnut Creek, CA, (925) 979-9330
  • Cordova Cigars, Pensacola, FL, (850) 473-0080
  • Smoke Inn VI, Margate, FL, (954) 970-0001

 

 

 

 

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.

Screwpop Cigar Punch; Cigar accessory review

boxI recently received the new and improved Screwpop Cigar Punch 2.0 from Screwpop for review purposes. Upon arrival, I swapped out my trusty double guillotine cutter for the Screwpop to give it a fair trial. I’ve used the Screwpop Cigar Punch exclusively for a couple of weeks and put it through its paces.

I’ve used cigar punches before. Usually, the punch was built into the side or bottom of a cigar lighter. While this is a good option to have if you have no other way to cut a cigar, I have found them to be cumbersome. While convenient, these punches are not always very sharp either.

The Screwpop Cigar Punch 2.0 on the other hand, is lightweight, easy to use and razor sharp. It is comprised of two parts that screw together. The cigar punch itself has an aluminum body and a stainless steel insert that cuts through the cigar cap. As I said before, it is razor sharp and it cut through the thickest cap with ease. Using only gentle pressure and a twisting motion, the Screwpop went through every cigar like a hot knife through butter.

I used the punch on various ring gauges and found a single punch was sufficient to produce a good draw on each cigar. The diameter of the cut was large enough that a buildup of tar never occurred and I never tasted bitterness on the cap.

The best part of this improved tool, in my opinion, it the ejector rod. Just slide the punch body over the ejector rod and twist it closed. Once the cutter is attached to the clip half, that circle of cut cigar cap falls out and drops into the ashtray. No fumbling or banging the side of the cutter to get rid of that piece of tobacco.

You can clip the Screwpop Cigar Punch to keychains, belt loops, zipper pulls, laniers, etc. Since it’s made from aluminum and stainless steel, you can even leave it outside without worrying about it rusting. The clip on the Screwpop doubles as a bottle opener and also works quite well.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m not really a cigar punch guy. The quality and performance of the Screwpop Cigar Punch 2.0 has really impressed me though. I will honestly give this product a good recommendation to anyone who is looking for a new cigar punch for their use.

I currently have an aluminum mini bottle / can opener attached to my keychain. Since the Screwpop serves a dual purpose, I will now use it as a backup cigar cutter or bottle opener when needed in a pinch.

The Screwpop Cigar Punch 2.0 retails for $14.95 and can be purchased directly on the Screwpop website. With the holiday season upon us, this may make a great gift for your cigar smoking friends or family.