July 3, 2013 (Tampa, Fla.) — Dona Flor USA officially announced today the availability of the Alonso Menendez line of premium Brazilian cigars for US distribution. Chris Edge, president of Dona Flor USA stated that very few people and only a couple of stores in the US even know about the Alonso Menendez line.

The line was actually the first to be manufactured by Menendez Amerino under the guidance of Benji Menendez in 1980. Europe was the main market at that time and with the rich, deep flavor of Mata Norte tobacco combined with the creamy smoothness of Mata Fina tobacco, the Alonso Menendez was instantly a success there.

Plans were to re-establish the Dona Flor brand first because it had already gained acceptance with American consumers. Once that was accomplished, plans are to reintroduce the Alonso Menendez line with it’s richer, fuller bodied profile. Those plans were already on the table for this year at the IPCPR 2013 when Cigar Journal announced both lines were nominated as Best Cigar and Best Brand – Brazil.

For those unaware of the history, Alonso Menendez became famous for creating the Cuban Montecristo #2 and the Montecruz after acquiring the H. Upmann factory in Havana. His sons Benji and Félix continued the old fashioned traditions when they relocated to Brazil and formed Menendez Amerino in 1975. Benji later moved on to General Cigar while his brother Félix Menendez continued to lead operations of Menendez Amerino in Brazil. He was later joined in 1995 by Arturo Toraño of the well known Toraño family.

“Brazilian tobacco is some of the finest tobacco on the earth,” states Félix, “and the fact that its flavor characteristics are so close to the Cuban tobacco is why we are here.

Mata Fina tobacco, grown only in Brazil, is unsurpassed for it’s dark, creamy, smooth and naturally sweet flavorful profile without any bitterness. It is truly unique.”

Also slated for introduction at the IPCPR 2013 is a very special limited edition, small batch, personally signed and numbered by Felix and Arturo, introducing the Precioso 36 Edição Limitada. Only 400 boxes will be available, so be sure to see them at the show.

Dona Flor USA and Menendez Amerino will be located in Booth 3340 and 3341 at the upcoming IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas in July.

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Patrick Lagreid

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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.