February 18, 2012 — The year 1874 saw the establishment of what would become one of the world’s largest cigar manufacturers, the 7-20-4 Cigar Company. Founder R. G. Sullivan built his company’s reputation on his motto: “Quality Still Impels Its Growth.” The Manchester, New Hampshire, company was flourished until the Cuban Embargo closed it and many other world-renowned premium cigar labels.
Founder and company president of the newly-reborn company, Kurt A. Kendall, is a successful New Hampshire cigar retailer, with three stores in the state. He became intrigued with the historic brand, and acquired the defunct trademark in 2009, determined to return the brand to prominence. When asked the origin of the company’s name, he explained, “It was the original factory showroom’s address at 724 Elm Street.” All 7-20-4 boutique premium cigars are now hand made from 100% long-filler tobaccos, in Danli, Honduras and Esteli, Nicaragua.
The 1874 Series is Kendall’s second introduction, following the 7-20-4 brand’s 2009 debut. The first cigar was noted for its deeply complex six-nation blend, which has now grown to eight shapes. The premiere 7-20-4 boutique cigar received wide acclaim for its performance, and the 1874 Series has followed, receiving kudos in the cigar media.
Three 1874 Series shapes are offered … a 6″ x 46 Corona Especial, a 5-1/4″ x 52 Robusto Especial, and a 6″ x 54 Torpedo Especial. The complex blend consists of a filler from Nicaragua’s Jalapa Valley and the nearby cigar-making capital of Esteli, an Indonesian binder, and a Jalapa-grown Habano wrapper.
Kendall feels he has struck the ideal balance of medium body and full flavor, based on his fifteen years as a cigar retailer. “I know what sells,” he explains, “plus branding and what kind of box and band art draws the eye in a humidor. Like the original 7-20-4, this cigar is blended for every palate. The generous flavor of both 7-20-4 lines satisfies even seasoned veterans, and newer smokers aren’t overwhelmed by the body.” To date, his roster of 350 retailers validates his philosophy.
Although Kendall does not describe the flavor profile of the 1874 Series, reviewers use, among others. the terms “toasty,” “buttery,” and “slightly raisin-like.” They also comment on its excellent balance. Kendall does say the cigar is “very smooth on the palate, highly aromatic, with a spicy character … not on the tongue, but in the nose.” Much of the 1874’s sophistication is due to its five years of wrapper aging and four years of age on the filler.
The completed cigars rest another 180 days before shipment to retailers. Traditional Cuban Entubado bunching, wherein each individual filler leaf is tubed, prevents off-center burn and hard/plugged draw, smokers’ two major complaints. The finished cigars are individually cellophane tubed, and presented 20 cigars to a high-quality cedar cabinet. Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing for the cigar is $8 to $10, and all three shapes are now available at better tobacco retailers nationwide. In-store posters and humidor “shelf talkers” guide smokers to the 1874 Series cigars on display.