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/

Popular posts from this blog

A Message from Michael Herklots

Eight Great Alternatives to the Cigar Aficionado’s Eight Great Cuban Cigars to Buy Now

An evening with the Fuente Family