IPCPR 2015: Altadis U.S.A.

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The Altadis U.S.A. booth was a busy place to be early in the week, as the company had a handful of limited editions that sold out on day one and several other new releases that were gaining quite a bit of attention.

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Henry Clay Tattoo
While it is hard to pick a headliner, the reaction for the collaboration with Pete Johnson of Tatuaje that will result in the Henry Clay Tattoo was hard to deny, as all 2,500 boxes of 25 were sold out on the first day of the show. They will be priced at $9.50 per cigar when they hit shelves as early as the end of July.

The cigar uses a dark Connecticut broadleaf wrapper from the 2010 vintage, Dominican piloto binder from the 2010 vintage and fillers from the 2012 vintage Dominican olor, 2012 vintage Dominican piloto and 2013 vintage Nicaraguan criollo from Ometepe.

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Montecristo 80th Anniversary
The other big headliner in the Altadis U.S.A. booth was the Montercristo 80th Anniversary, a cigar that brings back a tobacco varietal called Pilotico, a Dominican-grown Cuban seed that hadn’t been used in some time due to how it responded to a certain type of disease. Those issues have largely been eradicated and the tobacco is able to be grown successfully, and Altadis U.S.A. is showcasing it in this new release.

The seeds were hand-carried by noted farmer Pepe Mendez when he left Cuba and have been in storage until fairly recently, when they were grown in the Navarette region of the Dominican Republic. The plants are notably smaller than what you might be familiar with and produce fewer, smaller leaves, but the flavors remain rich and bold.

Siegfied Mendez-Maruschke, one of the growers of the tobacco, talked a bit more with us.

As for the rest of the components in the cigar, it uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, while the binder is a Dominican olor leaf from the 2010 Villa Gonzalez crop. The Dominican Pilotico in the filler is complemented by Nicaraguan criollo ’98 and Nicaraguan corojo ’99.

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It’s being released in a single vitola, the Belicoso No. 2 (6 x 54), with 3000 boxes of 12 cigars being produced, along with 80 humidors of 80 cigars, and the sales of both were very brisk early in the show. The single stick MSRP is $22, and it is expected to begin shipping in early September.

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Montecristo White Vintage Connecticut
The Montecristo line also added the White Vintage Connecticut, which uses a 2008 Connecticut shade-grown wrapper from the company’s farms, Nicaraguan binder and filler from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Peru. While it may share the Montecristo White name, it’s a unique blend that needs to be tried on its own. It comes in three sizes, No. 2 Belicoso (6 x 50), No. 3  (5 1/2 x 44) and Double Corona (6 1/4 x 50), with pricing between $10.50 and $14.50 per cigar. It should be on stores in the coming weeks.

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Montecristo Estoque
Rounding out the new additions for Montecristo is the Estoque, a limited edition that builds on last year’s release of the Espada line. The name comes from the flat and elegantly shaped sword wielded by Spanish Matadors in the bullfighting arena, while the tobacco comes completely from Nicaragua.

The wrapper is an upper priming Nicaraguan Cuban-seed viso leaf from Jalapa grown in 2013, while the Nicaraguan criollo seco binder from Jalapa dates back to 2002. The filler uses corojo seco from Estelí grown in 2009, criollo viso from Ometepe grown in 2013, and criollo viso from the 2013 crop in Condega.

A very limited line extension, the ESTOQUE will be available in one size: 50 x 6 Torpedo and priced $14.50 per stick. With only 5,000 boxes being produced, the ESTOQUE will be presented in an exquisite, 10 – count, black leather box.

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H. Upmann The Banker Basis Point No. 2

There’s a new size for H. Upmann’s The Banker line as it has its first figurado, the 6 1/8 x 52 Basis Point No. 2 will arrive in August and uses the same blend of a dark Ecuadorian habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder from the Jalapa region, and aged Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. It has an MSRP of $8.30 before taxes and comes in 15-count boxes.

As we have seen in years past, several brands are getting limited edition humidor editions. This year, it’s the Vega Fina Nicaragua, Espada by Montecristo, Montecristo White Vintage Connecticut and ROMEO Añejo by Romeo y Julieta.

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Vega Fina Nicaragua
The Vega Fina Nicaragua comes with 50 Gran Toro (6 x 52) cigars with 50 humidors made; the Montecristo White Series Vintage Connecticut comes with 50 Double Coronas (6 1/4 x 50) with 50 units produced; the Espada by Montecristo comes with 50 Guard (6 x 50) cigars with 200 humidors available; and the ROMEO Añejo by Romeo y Julieta contains 50 Toro (6 x 54) with 200 humidors produced.

Altiadis Casa de Garcia Bundles

Casa de García Update
The wallet-friendly Casa de García line is getting a makeover this year to help consumers tell the five blends apart.

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There’s also a new six-pack of the Casa de García Connecticut Petit Corona (4 x 38) that sells for $6.25 per pack.

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Montecristo White Series Especial No. 4
Rounding out some of the other new releases from Altadis U.S.A. that you may have already seen are a pair of new sizes for existing brands. First is the new Montecristo White Series Especial No. 4, a 7 x 50 vitola that is being released in hand-painted, 20-count boxes, with the single-stick MSRP at $11.

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Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Gran Churchill
The Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real line is adding a limited edition Gran Churchill (7 x 54) to its offerings. Just 1,500 boxes of 20 are being released, with a single stick MSRP of $9.25.

(Select images courtesy of Altadis U.S.A.)

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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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