IPCPR 2018: Altadis U.S.A.

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While there are seemingly always a lot of companies to watch at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, the big companies are almost always on that list, including Altadis U.S.A. In terms of what has changed since last year, the company has revamped its marketing department and Rafael Nodal has had just about a full year in his role at head of product development and production capability of Tabacalera USA, which includes both Altadis U.S.A. as well as the JR Cigar and Cas ade Montecristo retail outlets. This year, the company is taking a mix of steps with its vast portfolio, adding a new series to the headlining Montecristo brand, a new line to Romeo y Julieta, as well as additional new offerings to several other lines and a revamp of one of its smallest lines.

The booth design returned, though walking through the main entrance revealed one new aspect: an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sport that was the company’s sales incentive to retailers, with the winner getting a two-year lease on it. As far as the inside, it’s basically several booths within a booth, with many of the Altadis U.S.A. brands, as well as Boutique Blends, given their own distinct spaces to show off the new products coming out this year.

H. Upmann Grupo de Maestros Connecticut

This new line for the H. Upmann brand pays tribute to the line’s 175th anniversary that comes up in 2019, though that references its creation in Cuba, not the post-revolution brand. It’s the first time that the company’s Grupo de Maestsros—which oversees the blending of the company’s cigars and factory operations—has had its name on an H. Upmann release.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut) & Ecuador (Connecticut Maduro) tip
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • H. Upmann Grupo de Maestros Connecticut Robusto (5 x 52) — $8.35 (Boxes of 20, $167)
  • H. Upmann Grupo de Maestros Connecticut Toro (6 x 50) — $8.60 (Boxes of 20, $172)
  • H. Upmann Grupo de Maestros Connecticut Belicoso (6 1/8 x 52) — $8.80 (Boxes of 20, $176)
  • H. Upmann Grupo de Maestros Connecticut Churchill (6 3/4 x 48) — $8.95 (Boxes of 20, $179)

Production: Regular Production

Launch Date: August 2018

Montecristo Artisan Series III

The third entry in the Montecristo Artisan Series is a Dominican puro, and the company says every leaf in the Artisan Series III is selected by three members of the Grupo de Maestros, Altadis’ name for its senior-most production heads.

  • Wrapper: Dominican Republic
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Montecristo Artisan Series III (6 1/4 x 52) — $19.50 (Boxes of 25, $487.50)

Production: 2,000 Boxes of 25 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)

Launch Date: August 2018

Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Batch IV

Another series getting a new installment is the Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Batch, and as the name implies, it’s the fourth installment selected by the company’s Grupo de Maestros. It returns in 100-count crates that are decorated versions of the bulk boxes used at the Tabacalera de García factory to store cigars.

  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: U.S.A. (Broadleaf)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & U.S.A.
  • Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Batch IV (6 3/4 x 48) — $16.50 (Boxes of 100, $1650)

Production: 500 Boxes of 100 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)

Launch Date: September 2018

Montecristo Nicaragua Series

By far the most notable new cigar in the Altadis U.S.A. booth is the Montecristo Nicaragua Series, because it is a new, full production series for the Montecristo brand, which includes the White, Gold and Platinum lines. It’s a fairly full-bodied Nicaraguan puro made by A.J. Fernández at his factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Montecristo Nicaragua Robusto (5 x 54) — $11.75 (Boxes of 20, $235)
  • Montecristo Nicaragua Toro (6 x 54) — $12.25 (Boxes of 20, $245)
  • Montecristo Nicaragua No. 2 (6 1/8 x 52) — $12.70 (Boxes of 20, $254)
  • Montecristo Nicaragua Churchill (7 x 56) — $13.70 (Boxes of 20, $274)

Production: Regular Production

Launch Date: August 2018

Montecristo White Toro Jar

A special release for the Montecristo White Series, the jar contains 20 cigars but is most notable for its sealing capability; a small button creates an airtight seal that helps keep humidity inside the jar. It’s quite impressive and a detail that might be overlooked, but having seen a number of jars before with questionable seals, it’s certainly appreciated. This is a brick-and-mortar exclusive product.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Montecristo White Toro (6 x 54) — $11.45 (Jars of 20, $229)

Production: n/a

Launch Date: August 2018

Onyx Reserve Packaging Update

The Onyx Reserve brand is getting a packaging refresh, most notably turning the word mark horizontal from its previous vertical layout, which means the band becomes more round and sheds the oval design. It also adds a gold foot band for additional visual identity. The blend stays the same.

  • Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & Peru
  • Onyx Reserve Robusto (5 x 50) — $6.75 (Boxes of 20, $135)
  • Onyx Reserve Toro (6 x 52) — $7.03 (Boxes of 20, $140.60)
  • Onyx Reserve No. 2 Belicoso (6 1/8 x 52) — $8.23 (Boxes of 20, $164.60)
  • Onyx Reserve Churchill (7 x 50) — $7.74 (Boxes of 20, $154.80)
  • Onyx Reserve Torbusto (5 1/2 x 60) — $8.23 (Boxes of 20, $164.60)

Production: Regular Production

Launch Date: July 2018

Romeo y Julieta 1875 Nicaragua

The Romeo y Julieta line adds another Nicaraguan cigar, this time a puro made using all Nicaraguan habano leaves and coming from the Plasencia factory. The company calls it a medium-bodied cigar designed to expand and complement the brand’s history.

  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habano)
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Habano)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Habano)
  • Romeo y Julieta 1875 Nicaragua Bully (5 x 50) — $6.80 (Boxes of 25, $170)
  • Romeo y Julieta 1875 Nicaragua Toro (6 by 50) — $7.10 (Boxes of 25, $177.50)
  • Romeo y Julieta 1875 Nicaragua Churchill (7 x 52) — $7.70 (Boxes of 25, $192.50)
  • Romeo y Julieta 1875 Nicaragua Magnum (6 by 60) — $7.95 (Boxes of 20, $159)

Production: Regular Production

Launch Date: July 2018

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Toro Jar

A similar design to the Montecristo White Toro Jar above, this contains a toro vitola in the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real blend. It’s also a brick-and-mortar exclusive.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Toro (6 x 50) — $7.65 (Jars of 20, $153)

Production: n/a

Launch Date: August 2018

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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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