And cigar news… (Going to have to find a way to keep the intros interesting, which might be difficult.) This past week was dominated by the XIII Festival del Habano in Cuba and all of the events that make-up what is perhaps the most interesting cigar festival. Outside of Havana, there was still quite a bit of news however, as there seemingly always is. Then there was the announcement the world had seemingly been waiting for, something from Jon Huber.
el niño diablo didn’t make the trip to Havana, but I was paying attention, sort of. Like was mentioned last week, there were a total of seven releases (four limited editions and three regular production.):
- Montecristo No. 2 Gran Reserva Cosecha 2005
- Cohiba 1966 Edición Limitadas
- Hoyo de Monterrey Short Hoyo Pirámides
- Ramón Allones Allones Extra
- H. Upmann Half Corona
- Partagas Serie E No.2
- Partagas Serie D No.5
If you want more info about the XIII Festival del Habano, this is the place to look.
On Thursday, there was a bit of Davidoff news including info on the new Zino Platinum Specter Z-Class, extensions to the Davidoff Puro d’Oro, the Davidoff LE2011 and updates to the Winston Churchill line. All that info is available here.
It wouldn’t be Noticias Semanales without some exclusive news. Puff n Stuff of Decatur, Georgia, the shop that received the “Puff n Stuff Lancero” (more formally known as the Don Pepin Garcia (Blue) Lancero) is receiving another special size from the stables of Don Pepin. This time, three hundred boxes of the My Father Le Bijou 1922 will be made in the traditional Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) size. The details regarding pricing and box count are still tenantive and will likely be until the cigars arrive, but the plan as of now is twenty count boxes with a box price of $160. The shop is working with Jaime to finalize the blend, but the hope is to have the cigars in the shop in the next sixty days.
- General Cigar Co. & Altadis Raise Prices — Reports from various retailers indicate that the two largest cigar manufacturers have raised their prices, this comes after a strong Q4 from the former. No current word on details or reasons for the change.
- Jon Huber Announces Crowned Heads — Former Director of LIfestyle Marketing for CAO has teamed up with Mike Conder, former Senior VP of Marketing for CAO, Michael Trebing, former creative media manager for CAO and Nancy Heathman, CAO’s former graphic designer. I’ll put out something later, but you can check out the Crowned Heads’ website here.
- Swag Limitado 99 — Oliveros’ Swag brand is introducing the Swag Limitado 99. The Dominican puro will be released in the Toro vitola, limited to 2,000 boxes. Unclear if this will be out before the show, but summer is the planned date.
- Rocky Patel Vintage Cameroon 03 — This is the latest addition to the Rocky Patel Vintage series, made in General Cigar’s Honduran factory and out at the IPCPR show in July. Rocky also celebrated his fiftieth birthday this past weekend, word is there might be a cigar made for that occasion. Happy Birthday!
- Tatuaje “The Old Man & The C” — The Tatuaje Culebra, which we first mentioned here, will be released nationally in a few months, i.e. this isn’t a limited release. Inside the coffin will be the Culebra and an Original El Triunfador. According to Pete Johnson, we should expect a Black release at some point.
- Alec Bradley Family Blend 6 x 60 — Should be out sometime in the next month.
- Royal Jamaica Acquired by Adduci — It seems Altadis has sold the old Royal Jamaica line to Adduci cigars, a pretty lengthy (and informative) article is available here.
- The Cain Daytona arrived in stores. Studio Tobac tour starts March 12th.
- Savinelli plans on launching five new lines this year: 20th Anniversary Edition, Dos Campeones, Nicaraguan Reserve 07, Special Selection 06 and one more line, the new Savinelli blog seems to be the place to go for news.
- Punch Rare Corojo Announced — An interesting approach to packaging design, traditional with a modern twist. Pictures and details can be found on this post from Ben Lee.
- New Havana Cigars has added the newest member of the ELO family, which are Tatuaje blends that for whatever reason aren’t Tatuajes, this is a 6 x 50 vitola with a Corojo wrapper, the same cigar as the Holt’s #9.
- La Gloria Cubana has a new website, it still has flash and I’m not sure why, which is a problem… Other than that though… looks good.
- The Gurkha Ninja is getting a new band. This represents the first of many changes that seem to be in place for Gurkha this week. More to come later.
- The Viaje WLP Candela and Exclusivo Shorts shipped on Friday, meaning they should be in stores shortly. Both are limited to one-hundred boxes, the former was offered to all Viaje accounts, it’s unclear on the latter.
- In legislation news, a new bill in the state of New York plans to place a $1 cap on cigar taxes, a huge step forward in regards to enjoying cigars in the state. Barry Stein has a good summary, which you can find here.
- But you can’t go forward without going backwards, as a settlement to a lawsuit from his neighbors, a man in the Upper East Side has agreed to pay $2,000 every time he lights up a cigar in his apartment.
- Auburn, NY has banned smoking outdoors.
- California has a new bill which seeks to ban smoking in all businesses, including cigar shops. While others have pointed out that Democrats are behind this bill and traditionally are the more likely party to oppose smoking rights, state politics is usually tricky and jumping to conclusions would be wrong. In the interest of bipartisanship, I’d like to remind everyone that a Republican representative introduced Colorado’s 2006 smoking ban and a Republican Governor signed it… But, before we start the party politics, those in California should be reasonable and smart about their opposition, as you only need to ask the folks in Washington how bad a complete indoor smoking ban is.
Since there were no press releases this week, here’s a message from Carlos Fuente Jr. & Eric Newman, regarding the recent Cigar Family Charitable Foundation trip to the Dominican:
We want to thank the 75 Cigar Family members who were able to make this past week’s Cigar Family Celebration — the best and largest CFC we have ever had in the Dominican Republic. We just wish that every Cigar Family member was able to join us for CFC’11 — you would have been so proud. It was especially fun to see the expressions on the faces of the newbies when they saw the remarkable Cigar Family project and the enthusiastic and loving Cigar Family students – It was just like taking your child to Disney World for the first time – they couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
Whether it was visiting the Kindergarten class with those cute little munchkins with their smiling faces or the kids and their parents being cared for in the Health Clinic or the kids playing baseball on the baseball field, these first-time CFers were blown away by what they saw. It’s no reason why your Cigar Family project was named by the United Nations as their Model Project for the Dominican Republic. Then we spent Friday touring Tabacalera A. Fuente and enjoying special, unreleased cigars. We thoroughly enjoyed spending the past few days with so many friends.
It was a privilege for us to welcome you to the Dominican Republic. It’s been 13 years since our first CFC in Tampa back in 1998. We feel blessed and so fortunate to have had your support and loyalty for all these many years. And now you are helping Change the World One Child at a Time. How special is that! Congratulations.
We look forward to seeing you at our next CFC.
Carlos Fuente, Jr., and Eric Newman