IPCPR 2014: Altadis USA

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Altadis USA kept all of its new product announcements under fairly tight wraps prior to the show, and when the doors finally opened trade show attendees were treated to new lines from Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta, the latest installment from VegaFina, new humidor gift sets from a trio of brands, a new lounge concept from Montecristo and a few other new items.

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The Espada by Montecristo was the focal point of the Altadis booth on Sunday as it is the latest blend from the storied brand. Made in Nicaragua by the Plasencia family, it’s a Nicaraguan puro that uses a habano Jalapa vintage 2010 wrapper, while the binder is a 2009 vintage from Jalapa. The filler consists of a trio of 2008 vintage leaves: habano Jalapa seco, habano Ometepe viso and habano ligero from Condega. It’s available in three sizes: the 5 x 54 Ricasso, 6 x 50 Guard and 6 x 56 Quillon. The Espada by Montecristo also earned points for its suede covered box and impressive packaging, which will certainly have it in the running for a packaging award at the end of the year.

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1875 Romeo y Julieta is the newest addition to the line, Honduran-made cigar that uses select vintage 2010 Indonesian shade leaves for the wrapper with an aged Dominican piloto binder and aged Dominican & Olor filler. It will come in five sizes: the 5 1/2 x 44 Dos, 5 x 50 Bully, 6 x 50 Tres, 7 x 50 Churchill and 6 x 60 Gordo, all in 15-count boxes. The line is a brick-and-mortar exclusive and will have prices between $6.50 and $7.25. It will be interesting to see how the line is received in retail humidors given its name; 1875 is used in a number of the brand’s other lines and is prominently featured on pretty much every band, so this cigar might need a bit of help distinguishing itself from several other of the brand’s existing lines.

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The VegaFina Sumum 2013 carries on the line’s series of year-specific releases. It comes in a single 6 x 55 vitola and is limited to 2,000 boxes of 10 with a price of $9.50 per cigar and a scheduled August arrival. It’s made in the Dominican Republic and uses a Cameroon wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and filler of Nicaraguan viso and Dominican piloto ligero to create a mid-to-full bodied cigar.

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Three collectible humidors were released, all of which are limited in production. First up is the Monte by Montecristo humidor, which contains 50 cigars in a 6 x 52 toro vitola and sells for $507.50. Only 150 of the units are being made and should begin shipping in mid-August.

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The Banker by H. Upmann Annuity Humidor contains 50 of the 6 x 52 Annuity vitolas, with 200 humidors being produced. These will sell for $437.60 and are slated to arrive in August. The entire The Banker by H. Upmann line also got a good amount of attention as it was recently released.

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The third humidor is the most limited and comes from VegaFina. There are only 50 of the VegaFina Sumum Edicion Especial 2010 Toro Humidor being produced, each of which contains 50 of the cigar in a 6 x 52 toro vitola, with a price of $400.

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As for image makeovers, both Saint Luis Rey and Gispert are getting reinvigorated looks, with both brands moving towards 15-count boxes.

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Finally, Altadis U.S.A. set up its new Montecristo Lounge concept, which has begun to rollout to the 29 branded lounges across the country. Those stores are being sent a number of amenities including a personalized sword plaque, lounge chairs, a domino table, special humidors, Montecristo cigar molds and other items that show the brand’s history, as well as the Casa de Montecristo Exclusivo, a lounge exclusive cigar.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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