State of the Brand: La Flor Dominicana

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Editor’s Note: Unlike some of the prior “State of the Brand” features, this one features a lot of rumors. Other announcements that have been mentioned in prior editions have been more concrete. What’s below aren’t guesses, speculation or random thoughts – these are plans, although in the cigar industry things happen real quick. Personally, I’d be shocked if most (if not all) of what’s mentioned isn’t true, but don’t blame Ray if that new Cameroon Cabinet doesn’t hit shelves. In addition, this features a much broader “State of the Union” update to all of the other happenings at LFD, something we hope we can do with other brands as we continue this series. – Charlie

The folks at La Flor Dominicana have been busy … and while there is some unconfirmed chatter out there about upcoming products, Litto’s son, Antonio (Tony) Gomez was kind enough to answer a few questions about the economics of the company. LFD’s most successful year ever, some clarification about the 2.5% price hike, Litto testing blends a new Diadema and a new LFD prouct hitting stores as soon as March? More to come …

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Regarding the economics of the company and the 2.5% price hike:

“LFD had (its) best year ever in 2010 and is proud to say we continue to experience growth even in a down economy.” – Antonio Gomez

“We just underwent a 2.5% raise in prices to accommodate for a generous raise we just provided to our rollers. We currently have the highest paid rollers in the Dominican Republic and are proud to say that. They have been great to us and we are glad to say we are doing the same for them.” – Antonio Gomez

Tour Info:
If you were hoping for a LFD tour to pass through your local B&M you can start your moping now. Antonio confirmed that there are currently no plans for LFD tours in 2011.

A new Diadema:
Michelle Stewart, midwest manager for LFD, tweeted a couple of weeks ago that while the LFD reps were in the DR they were testing some blends that Litto is working on and she posted a picture of what appears to be a Diadema. This set off a bit of chatter with speculation being that Litto is testing different blends to see if it would be worth while to release a new blend in that vitola. (The tweet is now missing, but we all saw it…)

LFD Salomon:
For fans of the LFD Salomon Sungrown and LFD Salomon Maduro; there is also some buzz that a new iteration of the Salomon line might be in the works, although nothing has been 100% confirmed. No word on what will change or when it might be released.

For Fans of the Litto Gomez Diez line:
Litto has partnered with Michael Herklots, General Manager of the Davidoff NY stores, to produce a Litto Gomez Diez vitola called the “Galego” which is exclusively available at NYC Davidoff stores. Herklots blogged about the cigar a few days ago stating that it measures in at a whopping 6×60 and that there is a very limited supply (exact numbers not known).

Random Statistic of 2010:
The Double Ligero 700 was LFD’s #1 selling cigar . So well done to all you DL fans who like big ring gauges!

New Products for 2011:
For the last bit of buzz … aside from all being limited sampler releases from the 2010 IPCPR show, what do the Coronado Maduro, Air Bender Maduro and Cameroon Cabinet Chisel all have in common? Well, it’s rumored that they’re all under consideration for addition to the standard LFD production line.

It’s also been whispered that there’s a good chance we could see a new LFD product hit the shelves sometime between March and May. Whether this speculated release happens at all and whether the new product will be one of the 2011 IPCPR cigars, a new Diadema or something else entirely is something we’ll just have to wait to see.

Something interesting to note is that Jack Schwartz has Coronado Maduros in stock. Eric from Jack Schwartz said that the Coronado Maduros they have came from an extremely limited production run (less then 100 boxes) and that he believes that Jack Schwartz is one of only a small handful of B&M’s to get them (small meaning less than 5 B&Ms). Jack Schwartz was also the shop that had Habano Coronas and Habano Double Coronas for sale … a popular line in certain circles of LFD enthusiasts. Aside from the Habano Perfecto this line hasn’t seen any recent activity and would make sense to expand upon given the popularity of the blend.

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