This was mentioned a few weeks ago in the news, and today the details became public. Surrogates Cigars is made made for Dan Welsh of New Havana Cigars, and will be available exclusively at NHC. While the Ohio-based online retailer has had some exclusives before, Surrogates is different in that it is made to be a regular production line, as opposed to the NHC Selección Limitada and EO and ELO series.
As per Dan Welsh:
I wanted to develop a brand for NHC that would bring new customers our way as well as serve the clients that we have who want something special – but want access to it whenever they want more. To me, that means two things: Availability and Price. Bringing something out that has a good price point and can continually be made at a quality that rivals a more expensive stick equals something that I would want to keep in my smoking rotation. There are sticks that I want to save, to age, to collect and there are sticks that I want to smoke all the time. When the two collide – that is, I really want to smoke a stick but I only have a couple of them left – then I have a problem. Surrogates is trying to solve that problem! As for the sizes and blend, many of NHC’s customers are big fans of smaller ring guages – like the NHC SL – but there are many who wanted something bigger and stronger. I smoke a lot of strong sticks – but I really want a balance of strength and flavor when I do. So these first vitolas do just that for me.
Dan has been unwilling to even state the factory off the record. He says that he’s interested in seeing how important that is for customer’s choices. He has stated that it is a new source for him, so no Pepín and no Raíces Cubanas, presumably. The blend info goes as follows: Broadleaf wrapper on a strong filler blend that contains a lot of Ligero.
Surrogates Cigars Bone Crusher
5 1/4 x 54 ($7.50 Boxes of 20)
Surrogates Cigars Skull Breaker
5 1/4 x 52 Belicoso ($7.50 Boxes of 20)
Word is the Bone Crusher is the stronger of the two because of the size, but we shall see. There should be a hundred boxes available next week.
Update (September 7, 2011): The following statement from Dan Welsh:
It’s been less than a week since we announced the Surrogates line and there has been a lot of response already. Both the Bone Crusher and Skull Breaker vitolas are hitting your mailboxes and being reviewed and talked about online.
From all of the speculation that has shown up in the forums, it is apparent that I need to set straight some conclusions that are being drawn. In fact, I feel so strongly about it that this is in the form of an apology.
Although Surrogates is meant to be “for those who can’t get enough” of a good thing – namely a great cigar – it is my hope that the name will stand on it’s own and represent our intent to make available the kind of sticks that I love and that hopefully you will love as well.
When people saw the names of these first two vitolas, there was much speculation that they were either made by one of our trusted vendors, or were meant to be a duplicate of one of their offerings. Neither is true nor implied. The names were based on the novelty fonts that I chose for these full bodied beasts. In retrospect, I should not be surprised that some people jumped to conclusions about them being made by Viaje, because of the themes used in the names. This was never my intent. Bone Crusher is a play on the strength of the stick ‘hitting you to the bones’ and Skull Breaker is a play on ‘feeling it in your head’ when you are done. Had I projected the myriad of conclusions being drawn I might have chosen ‘Punisher’ for the Skull theme and simply ‘Krusher’ for the other vitola. But Surrogates was the branding I wanted to bring forth and create a following for.
So, for the record – Any resemblance to Viaje’s SnB is surely not on purpose and I want to apologize to Andre for any confusion this has caused to his and our loyal Viaje customers. Andre was not aware of this project until everyone else was, and I wished I would have projected the conclusions being drawn ahead of time and stated my position with him before it went public. I am very proud of the relationships we have established with our manufacturers and what we do for each other in this business. I wouldn’t risk harming those relationships by purposefully trying to mimic one of their brands, especially without talking to them first.
I hope you are enjoying being a part of the Experiment of Surrogates. I think it’s human nature to try to solve a mystery, but let the tobacco speak for itself and trust your palate. We don’t want your skull hurting from an overworked brain, let these first vitolas do that for you!