Walking up to the Graycliff booth the first thing that you notice is the carpet is back to white really allowing the booth to pop out, unlike the black carpet from last year that just kind of blended in. As for the rest, at least on the surface, things look status quo – from the white drape display in the middle to the roller setup in the booth. Except for a little less square footage causing the booth to be more rectangular than square, you might not know much was different.
On one hand there isn’t much different – nothing in fact. Graycliff did not have a single new cigar it was showing off at the show. What they did have was some tobacco leaf artwork that its most talented roller, Ivan Torres, has done for the company. From an almost Oom Paul pipe-shaped cigar and tobacco leaf bouquets, to an approximately three foot long culebra – the pieces are definitely interesting.
On the other hand, it sounds like many things are changing for Graycliff. Brendan Nutt and Adam Collins from the now-closed Havana Humidor at the Atlantis resort are now part of the Graycliff team. While they’re helping with the factory side of things, they’re also effectively expanding the team to fight the government’s astronomically high taxing. A quick rundown that was given to me of the proposed tax was 220 percent of the cigar’s MSRP, plus $0.50, plus $0.20 per stem and each cigar would be required to have a tax stamp – a time consuming process that would also require a government employee to oversee it at $50 an hour.
Along with the revamping of quality control and other factory methods, they are getting rid of old, subpar tobacco in their warehouse and tweaking some of their blends. While specifics weren’t available at this time they’re expecting to have some of the new stuff and information at the 2015 IPCPR trade show.