Originally created by Dee Aguasvivas and blenders Don Amadiz and Radhames Perez of Tabacalera Real, the Headlines brand was revitalized earlier this year, and is now a collaboration between Aguasvivas, co-owner of Fusion Cigar, blender Don Amadiz and Arby Sosa of Antillian Cigar Corporation, who is the distributor for the brand.

Patrick Lagreid explained the transition in his review of the Headlines 1st Edition Page 3:

Fusion Cigar and Antillian Cigar Corp. had signed a distribution agreement in August 2014, part of a significant announcement made by Antillian as they also acquired the distribution rights to Arandoza Cigars, Doña Nieves and The Cigar Cork line of accessories. Sosa said he found that each line offered something different and interesting, and he thought that the collaboration would allow all of the companies involved to remain competitive in the cigar business. 2014 also happened to be the 50th anniversary of Antillian Cigar Corp., and Sosa said the family looked at the cigar landscape and realized that “strength in numbers is the future.”

There are two different lines under the Headline brand: 1st Edition and 2nd Edition. The Headlines First Edition incorporates filler tobacco made up of Dominican criollo ’98, Dominican Piloto Cubano ligero, Dominican criollo ’98 and Dominican odor seco along with a Dominican odor binder and a Pennsylvania seed wrapper grown in the Dominican Republic.

The Headlines Second Edition features a Dominican habano oscuro wrapper and a Dominican Piloto Cubano binder along with filler tobaccos composed of Nicaragua and Dominican Piloto Cubano, Dominican Andullo and Dominican 20-20.

The same three vitolas are offered in both lines: the 5 1/2 x 60 known as Page 1, a 6 x 54 torpedo dubbed Page 2 and a 6 x 50 named Page 3. All of the Headlines cigars are packaged in 20-count boxes, and are rolled at Tabacalera Real in Tamboril, Dominican Republic.

Headlines 2nd Edition Page 2 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Headlines 2nd Edition Page 2
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera Real
  • Wrapper: Dominican Habano Oscuro
  • Binder: Dominican Piloto Cubano
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Torpedo
  • MSRP: $8 (Boxes of 20, $160)
  • Date Released: Jan. 8, 2015
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The Headlines 2nd Edition Page 2 is covered in a milk chocolate colored wrapper that is exceedingly smooth to the touch, and exhibits a bit of oil that leaves your fingers slick after holding it. There are quite a few veins running up and down the length of the cigar, and it is just short of rock hard when squeezed. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of cedar, milk chocolate sweetness, leather, barnaryd and manure, while the cold draw brings flavors of sweet fruit, oak, creamy leather and a touch of pepper on the tongue.

The first third of the Headlines 2nd Edition torpedo starts out with a dominant oak flavor, somewhat interspersed with lesser notes of hay, bitter espresso, leather and a slight nuttiness that comes and goes. There is a creaminess to the profile overall, but it is not overt, and while I taste some generic sweetness on the finish every once in a while, it is not nearly strong enough yet to place or even really affect the other flavors. Smoke production is well above average, white and dense, and while the draw is excellent, the burn is a bit wavy so far with little pieces of ash falling all the time. The overall strength is quite low so far, and barely reaches a point halfway between mild and medium by the end of the first third.

Headlines 2nd Edition Page 2 2

There is not much change in either the flavors in the profile or the strength during the second third of the Headlines 2nd Edition Page 2, with the same creamy oak note easily reaching the dominant spot, while other notes of espresso, hay, leather and earth flit in and out. I am still tasting a nice — albeit still quite generic — sweetness on the retrohale, but it remains too light to identify. The ash is still flaking off all the time, and the smoke production has been reduced a bit from its high point in the first third. Construction-wise, the draw remains excellent, while the burn is still wavy enough to force me to touch it up before it gets out of hand. The overall strength slowly rises and hits a point just shy of medium by the end of the second third, but does not seem to be going much further very quickly.

Headlines 2nd Edition Page 2 3

The creamy oak note remains the dominant flavor during the final third of the Headlines 2nd Edition, although the sweetness from the first two thirds has bumped up a bit in strength, allowing me to—barely—identify it as a maple flavor. The other flavors in the profile remain very consistent compared to the first two thirds: earth, leather, espresso, hay and a bit of nuttiness. The burn has evened up nicely, and the draw remains wonderful, as it has for the entire smoke. As expected, the strength almost refuses to budge, and ends the cigar just shy of medium by the time I put the nub down with a little more than an inch left.

Headlines 2nd Edition Page 2 4

Final Notes

  • The ash on each of my samples was extremely, almost frustratingly, flaky, with little bits breaking off seemingly every time I took a puff. It got to the point that I had to watch what I had the foot over almost every second I was smoking or risk getting a lot of ash in my lap. The burn was also uneven, though the draw was phenomenal.
  • I smoked a Headlines 2nd Edition Page 3 to compare, and found that the toro vitola was significantly sweeter on the palate, as well as a touch stronger.
  • The band is—interesting. One one hand I applaud the fact that it fairly original and looks like a newspaper that actually tells how Headlines Cigars came to be, but on the other hand it looks almost like it was printed on a home printer.
  • While not a very complex cigar, there is something to be said for the fact that each of the samples I smoked were so close to the others in terms of profile.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by Antillian Cigar Corp., who distributes the Headlines brand for Fusion Cigars.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 55 minutes.
80 Overall Score

While I enjoyed the Headlines 2nd Edition Page 2, the actual profile of the cigar left a lot to desired. There was nothing exciting or all that interesting in the flavors, and the same notes kept showing up in the same places on each of the cigars I smoked. Construction-wise, the draw was excellent on all samples, but the burn had to be touched up quite a bit before it got out of hand and the extremely flaky ash did not help the smoking experience at all. In the end, the Headlines 2nd Edition Page 2 is a decent enough cigar, but if you are seeking complexity or uniqueness in a Dominican-heavy blend, you won't find it here.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.