17 December 2009


Here are some very special, very limited cigars that will no doubt be gone as quickly as they arrived!
please call or email for more information!!!!

Davidoff Colorado Claro

The Davidoff Colorado Claro cigars are made in very limited productions. It's been more than 7 years since we've had any of these special cigars for sale. Now, through more attention in the sorting process in Dominican Republic, we will be bringing these cigars back to the U.S. They are the same blend as their name implies, except with a darker richer wrapper leaf adding some intensity and aroma. Our first shipment arrived early in the fall and sold out in 2 days. We've just received only a few boxes of ten cigars in 2 formats: Short Perfecto ($137+taxes), and for the first time the Double R ($276)

Puro Belicoso
Additionally, we've just released a very small amount of never-released Davidoff "Puro Belicoso". It is a classic belicoso, tapered on the foot, with a stunning, beautiful oily wrapper grown from a hybrid seed on our farms in Dominican Republic. The cigar has a full body, but one that is balanced and sophisticated. The mouth feel of the smoke is more "velvety" than "creamy". It's spectacular, and certainly worth getting a box or two before they're gone. Though the tobaccos are already well aged, these also indicate that they will continue to get more interesting and complex with aging. $178 + taxes per box of ten cigars.

Outside of Davidoff News, the Fuentes always release something exciting around the holidays and this year is no exception.

Don Carlos 30th Edicion de Aniversario:
Finally available in boxes (prior to this they were only available in assortment packs or bundles) these full bodied cigars first appeared in 2006. There's a touch of sweetness at first light, but they quickly build into flavors that are reminiscent of cooking spices and roasted nuts. The three sizes in this line are all the same price at $300 per box of ten cigars. Available in Double Robusto, Toro and Robusto.

Fuente Fuente Opus X – The Lost City:
These special Opus X cigars use tobacco that was grown on a very small area on the Fuente's "Chateau de la Fuente" used to film Andy Garcia's "The Lost City" in 2004. These are truly the best Opus X cigars I've smoked that have been made within the last 2 years. They're rich yet balanced, with wonderful classic flavors of earth, cinnamon, and leather. Each shape does smoke a bit different, ranging slightly in strength and intensity. The cigars feature the "Forbidden X" band- a "sub-brand" of the Opus X line.

Double Robusto $289
Lancero $299
Piramide $299
Robusto $279
Toro $299
(prices subject to NY taxes if shipped in NY)
We also have a few very special collectible Lost City Humidors available, that come WITH cigars. Please let me know if you're interested.

Fuente Fuente Opus X "22 Collection Humidor":
The annual "Opus 22" collection is always exciting. This year is NO exception. With 14 cigars in 7 unique, never commercially available sizes, and 8 cigars from the classic Opus X line-up, this collection is by far one of the most exceptional, exciting assortment of cigars I've ever seen by Fuente. Each humidor is serial-numbered and includes a certificate of authenticity. Each individual cigar comes packed in a beautiful coffin, which is dated and displays the name of the unique cigar inside. The price is $1200 plus applicable taxes. And, - all proceeds from the sales of these special humidors are donated to the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. So you can treat yourself and help some folks in need at the same time!

This year's collection features:
Special & Rare Sizes
FFOX Rising X (1)
FFOX BBMF Natural (1)
FFOX BBMF Maduro (1)
FFOX Shark (3)
FFOX Scorpio (2)
FFOX Chili Pepper (1)
FFOX Forbidden X Lancero (2)
FFOX El Scorpion Natural (2)
FFOX Love Affair (2)
Classic Sizes
FFOX Reserva d'Chateau (2)
FFOX Perfecxion X (2)
FFOX Perfecxion No. 2 (1)

535 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10022
tel +1.212.751.9060

The Shops at Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle Suite 104A
New York, New York 10019
tel. +1.212.823.6383


03 December 2009

Nicaraguan All Star Cigar Party

And Miami Cigar Company present…

A Nicaraguan All Star Cigar Party
Each guest will enjoy:
                                                                           Presidente Beer
                                                                           Ron Barcelo Rum
                                                                           Latin Cuisine
And a 12 cigar assortment of Miami Cigar Company's finest smokes:
     -1 Nestor Miranda Coffee Break    -1 Nestor Miranda Ruky
     -1 Nestor Miranda 6x54                 -1 La Aurora Preferidos Maduro
     -1 La Aurora Cien Años                 -1 La Aurora 1495
     -1 Murcielago                                 -1 Cubao Maduro
     -1 601 Blue Label Box Pressed      -1 My Father
     -1 My Father ‘Le Bijou’                 -1 Don Pepin Black Label

Davidoff Madison Avenue
Monday December 14, 2009
$75 per person and must be purchased in advance

Meet Special Guests:

Nestor Miranda, Eddie Ortega, Erik Espinosa
Jose "Pepin" Garcia, Jaime Garcia and Janny Garcia


30 November 2009


It is that time once again to begin thinking about this year's ProCigar festival.  For those of you unfamiliar with ProCigar, it was founded 1992 by the leading Dominican Cigar manufacturers.  Since then, the member manufacturers have worked tirelessly to "compare notes" and trade ideas, always with a common goal in mind- "to defend, protect and divulge the good name of the land of Cigar Country, number one exporter of Premium Cigars in the World."

This is the thrid annual event, and each year gets better and better!

This year we are pleased once again to host a group to attend this fabulous trip.  Our group will meet in Santiago, Dominican Republic on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at Camp David Ranch.  This gorgeous hotel will be reserved exclusively for the Davidoff NY group.  On Tuesday evening, our group will enjoy a fabulous Dominican Dinner at the hotel complete with an incredible selection of Premium Cigars from our hosts.

The following 3 days will be filled with tours of factories, fields, and other interesting sights in Dominican Republic.  Guests will be able to choose their own itinerary for the 3 days.

Each evening offers a different event, from a classic Dominican Fiesta, to an exclusive "White Party" at "El Monumento", and finally a closing a gala dinner.  The food, music and of course cigars is incredible every single day!

Our group is limited, so if you'd like to attend with the Davidoff group please reach out directly to me.  You are also welcome to make your own arrangements outside of the Davidoff group and attend on your own.

Once you receive confirmation from us that you will be part of the Davidoff NY Group, you'll be instructed on how to make your travel arrangements and hotel arrangements.

Pricing is as follows for Feb 16-21

HOTEL (Camp David Ranch) TBA

Complete Itinerary February 17-19 (includes all tours, lunches and dinners) US$795.00

for those who do NOT wish to participate in the full itinerary, you may register for only what you wish to participate in:

Fee for Welcome Dinner - February 17th - US$125.00

Fee for White Dinner Party - February 18th - US$125.00

Fee for Closure Dinner - February 19th - US$150.00

Registration fee for 1 Day (Tour and Dinner included) - US$325.00 each day

10% deposit is required for the complete registration. All other reservations must be paid completely.

Deadline for registration and Full payment must be made by February 06, 2010.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT http://www.procigar.org/ OR EMAIL ME DIRECTLY: mherklots@davidoffusa.com

18 November 2009

An INCREDIBLE evening of tasting.

So, last night I hosted a dinner for 30 folks that was requested to be an evening of pairings. While it's common to have pairings of food and wines, often times the cigar portion is left out of the mix. BUT, when you have 30 cigar enthusiasts... it becomes a very important part of the overall equation. After a great deal of work (and pre-tasting) with the folks from Rothmann's Steakhouse and Andrew Bell (President of the American Sommelier Assoc) we came up with an evening that will be very hard to beat.

Tesch Konigschild Riesling Spatlese Trocken 2005 Nahe Germany (750ml)
Davidoff Grand Cru No. 4
The entrance was meant to set the stage for the evening. A German Riesling is hardly the first pick for any cigar, however in this particular case the two go together beautifully- each "filling in the blanks" for what the other didn't offer.

Chilled Seafood Platter (Oysters, Mussells, Clams, Scallops, Lobster tail, crab meat)
Moraga White 2007 Bel Air California Sauvignon Blanc (750ml)
The second pairing was a clean one. A cigar was not part of the pairing, allowing the palate rest, and focus on the delicacies of the seafood and the beautiful sauvignon blanc. This combination was really an easy sharing of flavors and offered a nice break after the first.

Bone in Rib Steak with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach
Talisman Red Dog Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir 2004 (Magnum)
Camacho Corojo Diploma
The third pairing was 3 tiered, and really did require all three to make it work. We served the cigar and wine first. We encouraged people to light the cigar first. It was quite full-bodied, and too full for some. However, once the wine was introduced, it rounded out the intensity of the cigar... almost softening some of the edginess, and creating a great finish that was almost reminiscent of a great piece of meat before even eating the Rib Steak. Once the steak hit the palate it was a magical trio of flavor, each embracing the other and really performed like one great dish.

Chocolate Mouse Cake
Benessere Phenomenon " Super Napan" St Helena, California 2004 (750ml)
Quesada 35th Anniversary
The final pairing was also 3 tiered. Served in the same order as pairing three, the cigar and wine were served together. The "Super Napan" helped neutralize some of the cedar notes on the cigar, while showing its rich, dark ripe fruits beautifully. The Chocolate Mouse Cake's cool creaminess offered a texture change that helped make this trifecta exciting. A puff of the cigar would start to get your palate cooking. The wine balanced out some of the cigar's aggressiveness and further built up the intensity of flavors on the palate, and the bite of cake would then gently pull everything together and at the same time tame everything so you could do it all over again. The finish once the three were tasted in order was actually quite reminiscent of a Padron 1926 Maduro.

02 November 2009

Davidoff "Limited Engagement" Event

Join us for a very intimate evening to of The Good Life at Davidoff Madison Avenue.

The evening will begin with the very limited Davidoff Colorado Claro.

Followed by a 2009 Avo Limited Edition "Companero".

Dinner prepared by Rothmann's Steakhouse, including tiered seafood platter, porterhouses for two served family style w/ creamed spinach and mashed potatoes paired with Fine Wines.

At the completion of dinner, guests will be served the 2009 Davidoff Limited Edition <<702>> Toro Especiales. 


Dessert will be served paired with a selection of the Finest Glenmorangie Scotch Whiskeys, as well as the Zino Platinum Crown Series 2009 Limited Edition Emperor Edition. 

Tickets are $300 per person. Seating is very limited and tickets must be purchased in advance

Monday, November 9, 2009 @ Davidoff Madison Avenue w/ Rothmann’s Steakhouse. 212-751-9060

The Tuesday, November 3, 2009 @ Davidoff Columbus Circle and Porterhouse, New York is sold out,

29 October 2009

October wrap up!

What a month!  October was jammed with some incredibly exciting things!  On October 6 I participated in the 2009 Annual Porterhouse Open at the Quaker Ridge Country Club to benefit the Alan T. Brown Foundation to help find a cure for paralysis.  It was a beautiful day and lots of money was raised!

That Following weekend I trecked out to Los Angeles for a couple days to celebrate the 60th Birthday of my good buddy Fred Schrader, proprieter of Schrader Cellars in Napa Valley.  If you're not familiar with Schrader's wines... you're missing out.  His 2006 "Old Sparky" is currently the highest rated American Cabernet of the vintage." While we partied all weekend at Chateau Marmont, drinking wine and smoking amazing cigars (Davidoff Ltd Ed 2009's were served after dinner), Schrader Cellars sold $511,000 of Cabernet from its cellar at a Zachys wine auction in Los Angeles, featuring 195 lots and including every wine Schrader has made along with many rare, oversize bottles, up to 9 liters in volume. HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRED!!!

I landed back at JFK sunday night, and the following monday was our annual Oktoberfest- and what a fest it was!!!  Spaten was the official beer sponsor, Oliva Cigars provided the evening's smokes, and Colibri was on hand to raffle off some great torch lighters.  Rothmann's Steakhouse put out a spread of brats, gnats, kraut, bacon, and every other thing we're not supposed to eat... but we did.  And it was incredible!!!  Every guest also took home their collectible stein from the evening, ranging in values from about $150-$500 per piece!
Stay tuned for MANY more events coming up through the end of the year!

13 October 2009

Spaten and Oliva Cigars' OKTOBERFEST

The fall is finally here, and with it comes all the new seasonal brews surrounding Oktoberfest. Every year, we host Oktoberfest at our Madison Avenue store, and each year it proves to be one of our most popular events.

This year's event is Monday October 19, 2009

(7:15pm-10:00pm). Each guest receives a gorgeous stein to take home, as well as great Alsatian cuisine (brats, gnats, sausage, kraut, etc..), premium cigars, and plenty of brew!
The cost of the event is $175 p/p. This year the official cigar sponsor is OLIVA cigars, and Colibri Lighters will also be on hand with some great raffle prizes.
Don't miss this amazing event! Contact the Madison Avenue Store directly at 212-751-9060.

Here's a look back at last year's event.

ADDITIONALLY: Since the 19th is a Monday, we will still be hosting our Monday Night Football event at Columbus Circle and will offer a mini Oktoberfest, with Oktoberfest Brews, traditional fare, and great cigars. Contact the Columbus Circle store directly for more info. 212-823-6383

19 September 2009

S.T. Dupont Shop in Shop Launch at Davidoff of Geneva's Madison Avenue Store

We had a very exciting week this week at Davidoff. On Tuesday September 15, 2009 The Davidoff of Geneva store on Madison Avenue in Manhattan debuted the first ever S.T. Dupont Shop-In-Shop Corner. Joining me in hosting the event were Alain Crevet, CEO of S.T. Dupont Paris, and Michael Reynolds, CEO of Lotus MJYX, US Distributor for S.T. Dupont. About 85 invited guests and media attended the event including Comedian Ron White, Entertainment Reporter Bill McCuddy, and Actor Gianni Russo.

For me, the "Shop in Shop" is important for a few reasons. When it comes to luxury smoking accessories, S.T. Dupont is undoubtedly the industry leader. From the elegance of the Line 2 lighter with its signature "ping" to the practicality and functionality of the MaxiJet's single action ignition and torch flame, they've really got something for everyone. We've always carried a full line of the S.T. Dupont smoking accessories, however the challenges of finding space to carry everything has always been a problem. That's prohibited us from branching out into some of their other categories like leather goods and writing instruments. This new "Shop in Shop" has now opened the door to all those other categories allowing us to offer a full range of their products including brief cases and wallets, cufflinks, pens, and of course the full assortment of smoking accessories including their lighters, cutters, ashtrays, cigar cases, and humidors.

Although Davidoff and S.T. Dupont have very different stories and histories, the philosophies of both are quite similar in their unwavering dedicati on to quality. Both companies embrace the Good Life, and encourage us to celebrate life, and enjoy life. There is close attention paid to ensure that only the finest materials go into both companies' products. No shortcuts are taken. And in the end both companies are industry leaders, making products that are first class, innovative, and luxurious. This new collaboration with S.T. Dupont with a true "shop in shop" allows us to offer our customers an even greater range of unique merchandise, in keeping with what they’ve come to expect from Davidoff of Geneva in New York City. Although the Columbus Circle store does not have an official "shop in shop" it does have an extensive collection of S.T. Dupont products, and has access to the entire portfolio.

Price range for dupont's accessories is pretty vast. Their MiniJet torch lighters start at $150, while some table lighters are up to $5,000. Their limited edition pieces range up to $20,000 depending on the types of precious metals and stones that are used.

Below are a few pictures of the event. Click on the photo to see it full size.

I hope you will come and visit the store soon.


Michael A. Herklots

General Manager

Davidoff of Geneva, New York

FOLLOW ME: http://twitter.com/michaelherklots

08 September 2009


Davidoff of Geneva and S.T. Dupont Paris Premiere the S.T. Dupont Shop-In-Shop Corner at the Davidoff of Geneva Madison Avenue Store

NEW YORK, 7 September 2009: Davidoff of Geneva and S.T. Dupont Paris have partnered to develop the first of its kind Shop-In-Shop Corner within Davidoff of Geneva’s Flagship store on Madison Avenue. The Davidoff and S.T. Dupont Shop-In-Shop Corner will premiere during a private reception the evening of Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at Davidoff of Geneva’s Madison Avenue location. Hosting the event will be Michael Herklots, General Manager for Davidoff of Geneva New York, Alain Crevet, CEO of S.T. Dupont Paris, and Michael Reynolds, CEO of Lotus MJYX, US Distributor for S.T. Dupont. For more information on the event, please contact The Lilian Raji Agency at (404) 806-9948x75 or lilian@lmrpr.com.

“There’s been a wonderful synergy and working relationship for a number of years between the Davidoff stores in New York and S.T. Dupont”, said Michael Herklots, General Manager of Davidoff of Geneva’s New York locations. “We’re excited to take this next step with our two brands. Our beautiful Madison Avenue flagship store has always maintained a selection of the finest cigars and good life accessories including those by S.T. Dupont. This new collaboration with S.T. Dupont allows us to offer our customers an even greater range of unique merchandise, in keeping with what they’ve come to expect from Davidoff of Geneva in New York City.”

The S.T. Dupont Shop-In-Shop Corner at Davidoff’s Madison Avenue Store features a dedicated S.T. Dupont branded corner with an extensive selection of S.T. Dupont merchandise. While Davidoff has always carried S.T. Dupont lighters and smoking accessories, this new partnership will now allow U.S. customers access to S.T. Dupont’s complete product portfolio, including pens and writing accessories, leather goods and men’s accessories.

Davidoff of Geneva opened their first US location in 1987 on Madison Avenue in New York City, relocating to their current Madison Avenue address on the corner of East 54th Street in 2000. In 2006 Davidoff of Geneva acquired their second New York City location in the posh Shops at Columbus Circle, in the Time Warner Center, and later that year acquired the De La Concha store on 6th Avenue in Manhattan.

About Davidoff of Geneva
In its products the Davidoff brand unites craftsmanship, dedication and understanding. Knowledge of tradition linked to innovation and a sense of elegant functionality is the key for the success of the Davidoff products. They are created with both care and a great love of detail.

Davidoff employees are personally committed to high quality, for they – like many of their customers – have been strongly attached to the brand for many years.

Davidoff cigars consist of a balanced blend of selected tobaccos. The tobacco specialists, the so-called “tabaqueros”, have their own formula for each Davidoff cigar series, which they harmoniously match to the respective cigar format. In this way, each cigar is given its very own, unique character, which distinguishes it apart from its length and ring gauge. The fine art of blending, which requires extensive training and above all a great deal of experience, guarantees aroma, flavour and burning characteristics of a consistently high quality.

The Good Life – that is the art of living. A culture of its own that revolves around taking time, perceiving the world with all the senses in order to experience the fine nuances of pleasure. Enjoying the delightful moments in life with spirit and emotion, either for oneself or together with friends. This is a genuine lifestyle – it is Davidoff's - The Good Life.

About S.T. Dupont Paris
For over 135 years, the company’s master goldsmiths, lacquerers and travel case makers have produced rare objects that are veritable works of art – all hand-finished, numbered and made in France. This rich history is evidence of S.T. Dupont’s passion for the pleasures of writing, travelling, wearing fine apparel accessories, and the art of smoking.

This precious heritage is owed to the founder, Simon Tissot-Dupont. Founded in 1872, its leather goods workshop experienced phenomenal success in the 1920s when his sons took over and the company’s unique and sumptuous travel cases won over the international aristocracy. The wedding of the Britain’s Princess Elizabeth offered one of the last occasions to produce beautiful, tailor-made travel case, a gift to the future Queen from the President of France. In 1941, war encouraged the replacement of leather craftsmanship with metalwork, which led to the production of petrol cigarette lighters. But it was the gas lighter in 1952 that met with spectacular success, and by the 1960s it had become a cult object. The “Dupont” lighter won the brand its honours and placed it among the most famous brands in French luxury goods. Prestigious pens soon followed, marking in 1973 a successful diversification strategy for the company. Then followed a whole series of innovations such as the sensational return of fine leather goods, ready-to-wear apparel, and accessories for men.

Thus S.T. Dupont entered into legend – famous for its quality skills, know-how and luxury ‘à la française’ renowned throughout the world.

For More Information
Lilian M Raji
The Lilian Raji Agency
(404) 806-9948x75

31 August 2009

IPCPR 2009 round up

This summer has been an absolute whirlwind! It seems like it just began, and yet it's already wrapping up. Labor Day is THIS WEEKEND!!! Summer for me is exciting as it's always the season for checking out new products at the annual trade show. This year's festivities were in a scorching New Orleans. Fortunately, my hotel was accross the street from the convention center!
I was amazed at all of the new products at the show, and more importantly- how many GREAT new products were at the show. I walked in with relatively low expectations, but to my delight- I was overwhelmed with exciting new cigars from all over the world.
Of course, it's tough to go through everything... and document it all, BUT- with the help of Cigarcyclopedia.com (these guys are amazing.... if you don't get their newsletters, sign up) I'm at least going to give a run down of what you can expect to see in the stores in the coming months. There were A LOT more new products than this, but these are most of the new cigars I purchased for the Davidoff stores in New York.

I'm a big fan of Alan Rubin, and his cigars... especially the Tempus. His latest creation is equally great. Slightly more subdued than the Tempus, the new Prensado still delivers great flavor and balance. At the IPCPR, he showed off the new Prensado, made inHonduras with a medium-to-full body, full box-press and offered without cellophane in really elegant boxes of 20. There are five sizes, all featuring wrappers from the Trojes farm and made at the Raices Cubanas factory in Danli. Retail pricing is $8.95 to $11.75 per cigar, with the blend expected to be released in September. He also highlighted his Alec Bradley Family Blend and Select Cabinet Reserve which we're already carrying.

This was a really nice smoke. Separate from the popular C.A.O. Gold line, the Vintage uses a 2004-harvested Ecuadorian-grown, Connecticut-seed wrapper with a Nicaraguan binder and Honduran and Nicaraguan filler leaves for a mild-to-medium-bodied profile with a creamy taste. Two sizes are offered in boxes of 10 at $7.75 or $8.25 each.

Honestly, I didn't want to like this. I mean, I have enough C.A.O.'s! Or so I thought! This retro-smoke was fabulous! For a company known for its edgy approach to cigars and marketing, La Traviata is a throwback to more traditional days. Made at the C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos in Esteli, Nicaragua, it is an elegant, fullbodied blend in packaging that reflects the brand’s look circa 1904! It features an Ecuadorian-grown, Habano-seed wrapper, Cameroon binder and ligero fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. It’s available in boxes of 24 in three sizes: Divino (5”by 50 ring); Radiante (6” x 52) and Intrepido (7 x54), varying in price from $4.95 to $5.75 each, not including local sales and tobacco taxes.
Sam Leccia, who was the inspiration behind the hot NUB line by Oliva, follows up with CAIN. This is a “straight ligero” cigar which has three different types of Nicaraguan-grown ligero – Jalapa (30%), Condega (27%) and Esteli (25%) – in it and is offered in three sizes with either a Nicaraguan-grown Habano wrapper or with aMaduro wrapper, all in boxes of 24. It’s reported to be an extra-powerful smoke, but in the Oliva tradition, accessibly priced at $5.80 to $8.00 each. WHILE SUPPLIES LAST, PURCHASE A BOX OF CAIN AND RECEIVE A 5PK FREE!!! I smoked a habano and maduro next to each other, and they were ferociously strong- more in effect than flavor. But impressive nonetheless.

The follow-up to the highly-successful Casa Magna introduced last year, the Oscuro is made in
Honduras and has, as you would guess by the name, an extraordinarily dark wrapper. The presentation is quite unusual, as there are 27 cigars per box in all five sizes! As with every brand offered byManolo Quesada’s S.A.G. Imports, it’s reasonably priced at $5.75 to $7.95 each, not including the 40-cent SCHIP tax or local sales or tobacco taxes.

One of seven blends introduced by Altadis U.S.A. at the IPCPR, Frank Llaneza achieved legendary status as a cigar master at the Villazon & Co. factory in Honduras. Having left there to work at Nicaragua American Tabaco, S.A. (NATSA), he’s created a bold blend with an Ecuadorian Criollo ‘98 wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler leaves. If you have enjoyed his work on Hoyo de Monterrey and Punch over the decades, you owe it to yourself (and Frank) to try the 1961. Retail prices are $7 to 9 each.

These are not cigars to put away, but a lively blend of a Connecticut wrapper, Cameroon binder and Nicaraguan filler that are offered in boxes of 92! (We’re not making this up; boxes of 92). The cigars themselves are of medium-to-full body and are slightly box-pressed, but not completely squared. There are three sizes that will retail from $9.78 to $10.22 each.

The sculpted red-and-black box signals danger and the Gurkha Assassin, made in Nicaragua,
delivers a “full, full” smoking experience according toHansotia. It’s no wonder given the ingredients: a dark Brazilian wrapper, Dominican binder and heavy-duty Nicaraguan and Peruvian filler leaves. It’s certainly not for the novice and is offered in boxes of 20 at retail pricing of $8.00 to $8.50.

Another dark and foreboding cigar, but with a full-bodied heft and plenty of flavor. Also made in
Nicaragua, the Gurkha Evil is packed in blackened boxes of 20 and features a Brazilian wrapper,
Dominican binder and all-Nicaraguan filler. The pricing is bound to brighten your day, however,
with the five sizes retailing for between $6.80 and $7.60 each.

Drew Estate, is not just about "acid and natural" and infusing flavors into cigars. They made their point with Liga Privada, but this collaboration with Dion has really driven it home. This blend was developed to offer a full-bodied experience with a Nicaraguan wrapper and filler and a Connecticut-grown Habano binder. It’s interesting packaged in three layers of seven, seven and six cigars in boxes of 20 in eight different sizes that retail from $7.50 to $12.80 each.

I enjoyed the Joya de Nicaragua Antano for years, so I was skeptical at how they were going to top it. Well, they truly did. Recommended as a “nicotine I.V. drip” by Drew Estate president Steve Saka, this is a new and powerful blend for Joya de Nicaragua. It features 75% ligero leaf in the filler and is, of course, full-bodied. Saka noted that it starts smooth and then builds to a mighty crescendo. There are five sizes, up to 60 ring gauge, offered in boxes of 20. It’s easy to pick out on the shelf: look for the dark cigars with the footer band that reads “Fuerte Doble” – double power!

Although not a new brand, the blend on this well-known brand has been completely re-worked
by Pepin Garcia and production moved from Altadis U.S.A.’s Flor de Copan factory in Honduras
to Garcia’s Nicaraguan operation. (Likely the first time a brand in national distribution has changed factories since Romeo y Julieta moved from MATASA to the Tabacalera de Garcia in 1999 after Romeo brand owner Hollco-Rohr was purchased.) The new blend is described as heavy, rich and smooth, with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan-grown binder and filler leaves. It’s distinct from its previous editions by a new, red footer band, but prices have remained steady at $5.25 to $6.00 each.

Drew Estate president Steve Saka was visiting farms in Connecticut looking for tobacco when he found a small farm that was stalk-cutting tobacco (harvesting the whole plant at once) rather than picking it leafby-leaf. After amassing more than 50,000 pounds of it over three years, he used it as wrapper for this seven tobacco blend made in Nicaragua. It’s full-bodied and has some pepper to the flavor and it’s Saka’s new personal favorite. He’s willing to sell you some, in two sizes, in boxes of 24 or 48 (depending on size) at $10.25 to $11.33 per stick. Remember, that 25+
tons of tobacco cost money, and that money has to be recouped!

Don’t expect Altadis U.S.A. to keep quiet about the 75th anniversary of the legendary Montecristo brand in 2010. The Dominican-made 75th Aniversario blend is now out, with an
Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Honduran and Nicaraguan filler leaves for a fullbodied smoke. Five sizes are being offered to start; in sampler packs of five up to boxed assortments of 20 (four of each), with retail prices of $10.00 to 18.50 per cigar. A full assortment box of 20 cigars features the original and 75th anniversary logos and retails for $318.00, exclusive of local taxes.

Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega of EO Brands really went overboard with this one, named for a memorable experience they had in a Mexican cave filled with bats.Made in Nicaragua and named after the Spanish word for bats, it has a darkMexican maduro wrapper,Mexican binder and Nicaraguan wrapper, with a bat-image logo in five sizes. Sure to be a favored Halloween cigar!

This is the latest from Pepin Garcia, who created this blend to honor his father, born in 1922. (The "My Father" currently on shelves was created by Pepin's son Jaime in tribute to Pepin) It’s
double-banded and is marked by an extra-dark Habano Oscuro Oscuro (O.O.) Wrapper. It’s fullbodied and offered in three sizes in boxes of 23 and will retail from $7.00 to $12.18.

The Padrons have adopted the “martillito” – the little hammer – as the new family logo. It’s a tribute to Jose Padron’s use of a small hammer given to him when he came to the U.S. as a Cuban refugee in 1962 that he used on his second job as a carpenter. The Family Reserve is a limited-production, 6” by 52- ring cigar with maduro wrappers, offered in 1,500 boxes of 10 and all produced in July of 2009, and the first of six consecutive years of limited-editions leading to the brand’s 50th anniversary in 2014. Retail will be $25 per cigar (if you can find them).

This cigar premiered at the Madison Avenue store a couple months ago. (See blog post) The first blend of the Quesada brand, this limited-edition cigar marks the 35-year anniversary of the founding of the MATASA factory in 1975. Six members of the fifth generation of the Quesada family helped to create this cigar, which features an Arapiraca wrapper grown (surprisingly) in Ecuador! It has plenty of balance and a medium-to-full body and is produced in only a single size, a 6” by 49-ring. By the way, the cigars sold out at the show by lunch of the second day!

Litto Gomez has created a vibrant brand by harnessing the power of tobaccos at his disposals in
unique ways. This year is no different, as he introduced two sensational items, both of which use
an Ecuadorian-grown, Habano-seed wrapper and binder and filler leaves he grows on his La Canela farm in the Dominican Republic. The first result is the Perfecto Habano, a 55/8” by 54-ring perfecto he is offering in boxes of 20 ($8.75 per cigar retail), but the second is the amazing Double Press, a box of 20 that opens on both sides! Instead of having two layers of cigars on top of each other, they’re back-toback, squared off in an ingenious version of his Factory Press limited editions! Each cigar measures 6 x 52 and the box goes for $160.00 at retail.

The 1961 commemorates Rocky’s year of birth and is medium-to-full in body with an Ecuadorian-grown, Habano-seed wrapper that gives the blend richness but also spice. This is
the first release from his new Tabacalera Villa Cuba factory in Esteli, Nicaragua and will be
closely watched for quality as production there ramps up. There will be four sizes, at $6.50
to $8.50 each.

This is the long-promised collaboration cigar between brothers Rocky and Nish Patel, which ended up as a full-bodied powerhouse using a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper not often seen on premium cigars. It’s a dark and inviting brown color, with Nicaraguan binder and filler leaves; this cigar is also made in Nicaragua. It is expected to ship in October and will retail for $6.50 to $9.00 per stick.

Long whispered, here is the maduro version of the ultra-popular Reserva Real line from Altadis U.S.A. It uses a Mexican Morron wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan and
Honduran fillers for what should be a moredeeplyflavorful cigar than the standard Reserva Real blend. There are six sizes, priced from $6-7 each at retail. Predicted favorite size: the perfecto-shaped Romantico, elegantly proportioned at 6 1/2” and 48 ring gauge.
ROOM 101
This is a wild brand which is an outgrowth of discussions between Camacho chief Christian Eiroa and leading-edge designer Matt Booth of Room 101 Silver. Already a well-known maker of jewelry, clothing and accessories, Booth wanted to add a cigar and this medium-bodied line fit the bill. It’s made in Honduras, with a specially-grown Semilla 101 wrapper in six sizes, all uniquely named for zip codes! Boxed in silver-lettered boxes of 25, these cigars are nicely priced at $7.00 to $9.00 each.

While the standard San Cristobal blend was slightly tweaked, the Seleccion del Sol is a totally
new blend, albeit also with all Nicaraguan-grown tobaccos. The sun-grown wrapper, grown on an
Esteli farm, is reserved only for this cigar and the blend is bright and spicy, with layers of taste that make it seem lighter than its medium-to-full-bodied presence. Three sizes are offered, each in boxes of 20, priced at $8.00 to $8.50 retail.
FOR A FULL RUNDOWN ON EVERYTHING NEW, GO TO: http://www.cigarcyclopedia.com/webapp/content/view/1117/141/

22 July 2009

Interview with Ernesto Padilla

[Interview conducted January 2009]

There are a lot of brands that we consider “household” names… all solid products with a long history of quality and consistency which makes them deserving of the “household” status. And then there’s the other side… the “boutique” brands. The ones that you hear about once in a while, or read about in a magazine and start looking for but you have a hard time finding… and then finally you find one and get the chance to try it. I’ve known Ernesto Padilla for a number of years, and it’s been a treat watching him develop as a brand during that time. It’s been even more of a treat to smoke his cigars and see how they too evolve. With the recent opening of his own factory in Miami, we’re entering the newest chapter of the Padilla saga.

So how did u get started in this business??
I was born in Havana, Cuba. My family is from Spain, the Canary Islands, which have had a long tradition with cigars. Then they came to Cuba, bought land and began to sell to major manufactures in Havana.

But your father was a poet, right?
Oh yeah! He was Cuba’s foremost poet! But he was a great cigar man too. He loved cigars and the people who were part of the cigar industry. He always smoked cigars, for as long as I can remember.

And do you still have family in Cuba?
I still have some family there. They grow tobacco in Pinar del Rio as a matter of fact.

Really… are you sneaking a little of your “home grown” tobacco into your blends? They’re certainly reminiscent of some Cuban Cigars.
Ha… no. But, I try and make cigars that are reminiscent of great Cuban cigars, so I guess I’m doing something right.Tell me about your recent change in factory.I have opened the Padilla Miami Cigar Factory to create ultra premium limited cigars.

What about the cigars not made in Miami?
We’ll continue to make some of our cigars in Nicaragua and Honduras and actually hope to expand in those countries soon as well. But Miami allows me to have access to the largest concentration of experienced Cuban cigar rollers and that's in line with the style of cigars I want to make.How has your product changed with the change in factory?In my own factory I have better control of production and can maintain a higher overall quality level for my products. Plus it allows me to really focus on continuing to make cigars in the Cuban tradition. I select the best Cuban seed Nicaraguan Grown fillers and wrappers. This combined with the experience of my rollers gives me some very high quality, very unique cigars!
Did u always want to be in this business?I started in the advertising world but I always loved the culture and history of cigars. The people I remember seeing who smoked cigars seemed to always be larger than life; Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Orson Wells, hell… even Bill Clinton!!!

So do you think ‘the cigar’ was a Padilla?
What Cigar?

C’mon… y’know… THE CIGAR?......... CLINTON?............. MONICA?
OH man! I forgot about that…. I think that might have been a little before my brand, but I guess ya never know!

What's your favorite everyday cigar?
I smoke 5 to ten cigars a day always checking draw, burn, construction and flavor. I’ve really been enjoying my new Padilla Miami. It has an amazing Corojo wrapper that I’m really happy with!

Is that what we’re smoking now?
Yes. It’s a blend of all nicaraguan esteli ligero condega jalapa fillers and the wrapper is Corojo ’99.

It’s very good, man! Rich, full bodied! Lots of those classic Nicaraguan flavors.
Exactly, that classic coffee note… a little spice, but I think it still has balance. Also, I like the sweetness of the Corojo as it develops… Yeah, me too… and definitely unique! So is there a beverage you favor to accompany your cigar?I like Single Malt Scotches, some rum, but mostly when I’m home in Miami, I do like most of the other Cubans, walk across the street to the Cuban restaurant, go up to the window and order a shot of Cuban Coffee.

Are you living in Miami full time or do you travel a lot?
In years past I’ve traveled a lot, but now with the opening of my factory I’m really staying put and staying focused. I hope to get out a little more next year and travel around to smoke some cigars with my fellow cigar smokers around the country.

So you miss the traveling?
Well… I like meeting new people and smoking cigars with them. But, Miami is Miami. Beautiful weather, Brazilians girls in bikini’s… it’s not a bad place to be.

What can we expect in the future for Padilla?
I just want to continue making new, unique limited releases. I’m working on a box-pressed maduro from my Miami factory, but really the key for me is maintaining high quality… it’s not about making millions of cigars, but rather make high quality cigars!

And how many cigars do you expect to make?
About 400,000, but again… only if I can maintain the standards I want, otherwise it’s not worth it.
Do you ever see yourself expanding your brand outside of cigars?
I enjoy wine a lot. I read a lot about that industry, and find it interesting how many parallels there are between wine and cigars… especially on the manufacturing side with things like lower yields in the fields to increase quality, or the way the manufacturer has to balance tradition with innovation… it’s fascinating. So who knows maybe one day wine.

Great, well I appreciate your time… any closing remarks?
Did I mentioned I like Brazilians girls in thongs?

Uh, yes… yes you did.

05 July 2009

Quesada 35th Anniversary Premiere @ Madison Avenue

For 35 years, the MATASA factory has made some of the finest cigars in the Dominican Republic. From their flagship "Fonseca" brand, to other well known favorites like Cubita, Casa Blanca, and several others... the name MATASA has always been synonymous with excellence. Manuel Quesada has been the force behind the MATASA factory. Now, his "young ones" are growing up, and becoming more and more involved. With the "young ones" come new ideas, new concepts, and finally new cigars. On June 29, 2009 the entire Quesada family came to New York to premiere their new brand, Quesada, and a commemorative cigar to celebrate and honor their father and uncle, Manolo.

Although it won't be available until late in the summer, about 80 lucky guests got to taste this new cigar, and I was one of them. Now, I'm a little biased since I had the pleasure of being part of the creative process from the beginning on this project, but to finally taste it finished, it its proper format was incredibly exciting... and no doubt once these cigars get the necessary age on them, they'll be showing beautifully.

At 6" x 49, this box pressed toro is "just right", allowing the nuances of the Ecuador-grown Arapiraca seed to shine without being too overwhelming. The binder and one leaf of filler is a relatively young tobacco from the 2008 crop, however it adds a bit of excitement and some up front spiciness that is certainly a departure from most of the cigars made by MATASA. Other ligeros from Dominican Republic and Nicaragua round out the blend.

It was really a special evening, perhaps the most moving when the "young ones" all spoke about the project, and how much it meant to them to create this cigar and honor a man who has meant so much to them.

Below are some highlights.