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IPCPR 2019: A.C.E. Prime

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Cigar factories that release their own brands are not exactly rare in the industry, but that did not stop Tabacalera Pichardo—a Nicaraguan based factory—from offering its own cigars under the A.C.E. Prime name in its debut at the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. In fact, the factory released a massive number of cigars, including the most talked about lines that are collaborations with former NBA players Dominique Wilkins and Tiago Splitter.

I have to say, I was extremely impressed with the booth for A.C.E. Prime every time I saw it, and I saw it a lot since it was located right in front of the halfwheel bunker. Each line had not only its own stand, but also its own screen behind it playing videos about it, and there was a huge closed in room behind the booth for meetings as well.

A Cuban Experience El Corazon

A.C.E. stands for A Cuban Experience, and El Corazon translates into The Heart from Spanish. There are three different blends under the A.C.E. name, with each blend offered in a single size.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • A Cuban Experience El Corazon (6 x 52) — $10.50 (Box of 20, $210)

Production: Regular Production

Release Date: July 2019

A Cuban Experience El Elegante

Sharing the same vitola size as the Cuban Cohiba lancero, the El Elegante is said to have been developed by Eradio Pichardo and the late Arsenio Ramos.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Condega, Jalapa & Ometepe)
  • A Cuban Experience El Elegante (7.5 x 38) — $15 (Box of 10, $150)

Production: Regular Production

Release Date: July 2019

A Cuban Experience La Sombra

While the wrapper is the same as the other two A.C.E. Prime lines, the company says that the La Sombra has been blended with six different ligero tobaccos.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • A Cuban Experience La Sombra (6 x 60) — $14 (Box of 20, $280)

Production: Regular Production

Release Date: July 2019

Prichardo Classico

According to the company, the Pichardo Clasico line has been blended to taste similar to Cuban cigars. There is only one size so far, a 6 1/2 x 50 toro extra.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Pichardo Clasico (6 1/2 x 50) — $9.50 (Box of 20, $190)

Production: Regular Production

Release Date: July 2019

Pichardo Reserva Familiar Connecticut

Moving on from the A.C.E. Prime and Classico lines, there are also three different cigars and blends offered under the Pichardo Reserva Familiar moniker, each named after the tobacco used for the wrapper. Therefore, the Connecticut line incorporates an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Pichardo Reserva Familiar Connecticut (6 x 52) — $10.50 (Box of 15, $157.50)

Production: Regular Production

Release Date: July 2019

Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres

The Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres replaces the Connecticut wrapper with an Mexican leaf and also drops the Dominican tobacco in the filler.

  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Pichardo Reserva Familiar San Andres (6 x 52) — $10.50 (Box of 15, $172.50)

Production: Regular Production

Release Date: July 2019

Pichardo Reserva Familiar Habano

The Pichardo Reserva Familiar Habano is much like the Pichardo Reserva Familiar Connecticut, except that is replaces the Connecticut wrapper with a habano leaf from Ecuador, while managing to keep the Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Pichardo Reserva Familiar Habano (6 x 52) — $11 (Box of 15, $165)

Production: Regular Production

Release Date: July 2019

Luciano The Traveler

A.C.E. Prime’s founder Luciano Meirelles was also memorialized with his own cigar named Luciano The Traveler. According to the company, the blend includes pelo de oro tobaccos in the filler from both Ecuador and Peru and production is limited to just 25,000 total cigars.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Ecuador & Peru
  • Luciano The Traveler (7 x 46) — $17 (Box of 12, $204)

Production: 2,084 Boxes of 12 Cigars (25,008 Total Cigars)

Release Date: July 2019

M.X.S. by Tiago Splitter

While the above blends are nothing to sneeze at, most people who were coming by the booth while I was there were wanting to see the cigars the company made with former NBA players Dominique Wilkins and Tiago Splitter. The latter NBA player actually has two different vitolas in his apporpaitly named M.X.S. by Tiago Splitter, which incorporates an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper covering Peruvian and Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua & Peru
  • M.X.S. by Tiago Splitter Robusto (5 x 52) — $10.80 (Box of 20, $216)
  • M.X.S. by Tiago Splitter Sublime (6 1/2 x 54) — $14 (Box of 20, $280)

Production: Regular Production

Release Date: July 2019

M.X.S. by Dominique Wilkins

Finally, there is Dominique Wilkins’ one-vitola blend, dubbed M.X.S. by Dominique Wilkins, which stands for Maximum Excellence and Success.

  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • M.X.S. by Dominique Wilkins (6 1/2 x 54) — $17 (Box of 20, $340)

Production: Regular Production

Release Date: June 2019

Overall Score

NullDavidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
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Brooks Whittington
About the author

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.

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