After more than two years of development, Jeff Haugen and Joel Rogers, co-owners of Tobacco Grove in Maple Grove, Minn., are preparing to release their first two cigars under the new Crux Cigars label: Ninfamaniac and Skeeterz, both made at Plasencia Cigars S.A. in Nicaragua, Estelí.
The Ninfamaniac will be released in two wrappers. As the name implies, it’s based off the 7 x 33 ninfa vitola, but in the style of a double perfecto and with a closed foot. The standard Ninfamaniac uses a habano wrapper from the Jalapa region of Nicaragua, while the Ninfamaniac Dark uses a sun grown wrapper from Jalapa. Internally, an Indonesian wrapper covers habano fillers from Estelí, Nicaragua.
Pricing is set at $5.99 per cigar with boxes of 30 selling for $179.70 before applicable local taxes.
“The combination of a cigar in the ninfa tradition with a twist: The two ends that suggest a unique style and grace,” said Mark Daum, designer of the Ninfamaniac art. “Of course, the name suggests so much more, so I created the Ninfamaniac gal. A true nymph with suggested allure of something naughty but oh so nice.”
The first release of the Ninfamaniac will include 5,000 total cigars and 2,000 Ninfamaniac Darks, with more to be produced as demand warrants.
For Skeeterz, Crux is adding another entry into the shorter and smaller cigar market. The 4 x 32 purito will be priced at $2.99 and sold in boxes of 40. It uses a Jalapa-sourced habano wrapper, Indonesian binder and Nicaraguan habano fillers. Artwork for the brand is meant to pay homage to World War II.
Both the Ninfamaniacs and Skeeterz will be the company’s first regular production releases.
“We have been retailers of premium cigars for over 20 years and have been truly blessed to be involved in selling a product that has done so much good for so many people,” said Haugen. “We look forward to the next chapter in our company’s future as manufacturers. We believe that our ‘front line’ retailer experience is a huge advantage that will enable us to build cigars of the highest quality, develop new cigars for the underserved markets and service our retail partners with the greatest respect.”
As seen in the company’s logo, a Swarovski crystal will be embedded into each box Crux sells.
Haugen and Rogers plans for a cigar company have taken many turns. The pair originally planned on launching last year, even previewing the cigars at Tobacco Grove in Dec. 2012, but trademark issues created delays and the need for rebranding.
Ninfamaniac and Skeeterz are both targeted for April 1 with three additional lines—Bull & Bear, Classic and Passport—coming later in the year. At the moment, 15 retailers have pre-ordered the cigars with additional accounts being offered once the cigars are ready for shipment.
In addition to operating a retail store, AllanPaul Companies, who holds the trademarks for Crux Cigars, also owns travel humidor-maker Armored Humidor trademarks.