Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Black Label Trading Company is announces limited release: BISHOPS BLEND

June 28, 2016 — Black Label Trading Company is pleased to announce the release of BISHOPS BLEND: Hand crafted in Esteli at Fabrica Oveja Negra.

BISHOPS BLEND will be debuting at this year’s IPCPR Trade Show.

“The Bishops Blend has been a long time in the making, and I’m very excited for its release. I took a very different approach by using Pennsylvania and Connecticut Broadleaf in the filler. The end result is a very rich and intense flavor profile that highlights the Broadleaf but doesn’t overpower the Nicaraguan tobaccos. The Bishops Blend has a great balance between richness, spice and strength. As with all the BLTC limited releases, it is a unique smoking experience,” says James Brown.

BISHOPS BLEND cigars will be available in limited quantities at select BLTC retailers at the end of July, 2016.

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
Binder: Ecuador Habano
Filler: Nicaragua / Pennsylvania/ Connecticut Broadleaf
  Robusto – 5 x 48 (20 count) MSRP $9.50
  Corona Larga – 6.25 x 46 (20 count) MSRP $10.00
Black Label Trading Company is redefining the standards for cigar making. With a “less is more” philosophy, Black Label Trading Co. creates hand crafted premium cigars of the utmost quality in small batch, limited quantities.

BLTC cigars are available for purchase through Boutiques Unified.  More information can be found at www.BlackLabelTrading.com.

Davidoff Cigars to honor its Appointed Merchants with the Golden Band Awards in Vegas

PINELLAS PARK, FL, JUNE 27, 2015 — Davidoff, the leading luxury premium cigar brand, announces the Fifth Annual Davidoff Golden Band Awards Show nominees, honoring those Appointed Merchants who best embody the Davidoff standard of excellence. The Fifth Annual Awards show will be part of an exclusive Davidoff event on July 26th at IPCPR in Las Vegas, NV.

This year, Davidoff will introduce a new category, “Canadian Depositaire of the Year“, which will honor the Canadian Appointed Merchant with the highest sales & support of all of the Davidoff of Geneva products. In conjunction with the announcement, the Golden Band Awards website has been revamped featuring this year’s nominees.

“The Davidoff Golden Band Awards provide us with an opportunity to recognize our Appointed Merchant network and, in particular, those Appointed Merchants who have really taken their business with Davidoff to the next level. The success of Davidoff has been made possible through decades of close and longstanding partnerships with trusted merchants. Davidoff has a strong track record of cooperation with its family of retailers to help them grow their businesses, align on best practices and contribute towards the increased growth of the Davidoff brand,” says Jim Young, President of Davidoff North America.

“The Golden Band Awards provides us the opportunity to say thank you to our Davidoff Appointed Merchants not only for their partnership, but also their support, enthusiasm and commitment to high standards,” emphasizes Richard Krutick, Vice President of Marketing for Davidoff USA.

The Golden Band Awards will honor Appointed Merchants across ten categories:

Best New Appointed Merchant
Tobacco Grove (Maple Grove, MN), Smoker’s Haven (Lincroft, NJ), ZT Cigars (Oklahoma City, OK), Franklin Cigar (Franklin, TN), Fogue & Bates (Tulsa, OK)

Best Davidoff Merchandising
Just For Him (Springfield, MO), Club Humidor (San Antonio, TX), Tobacco Locker (North Port, FL), Ambassador Fine Cigars (Phoenix, AZ), Franklin Cigar (Franklin, TN)

Davidoff Growth Award (Single Location)
Doc James Tobacco (Shrub Oak, NY), Mission Liquor & Tobacco Inc. (Pasadena, CA),Buckhead Cigar Club LLC (Atlanta, GA), Maxamar Cigars (Orange, CA), Hemingway (Palo Alto, CA)

Davidoff Growth Award (Multiple Locations)
Ambassador Fine Cigars (Phoenix, AZ), DW International Distributors LLC (Santa Monica, CA), Smoke Inn (Boynton Beach, FL), Puffs-n-Stuff (Pittsburg, PA), Tinder Box #208 (Charlotte, NC)

Canadian Depostaire of the year
Nottingham Cigars & Pipes (Sherwood Park, Alberta), Cigar Connoisseurs (Vancouver, British-Columbia), Vasco (Montreal, Quebec), The Humidor Cigar Company Ltd (Woodbridge, Ontario), Zigarren – A simple Pleasure (Calgary, Alberta)

Davidoff Appointed Merchant of the Year
Doc James Tobacco Inc. (Shrub Oak), Prime Cigar LLC (Boca Raton, FL), Humidor and Lounge (Wichita, KS), Hemingway (Palo Alto, CA), Blend Bar Cigar (Indianapolis, IN)

The Industry Service Award honorees will not be announced until the evening of the event. This award is presented to the Appointed Merchants that have contributed to sustain the premium cigar industry and to advance the industry’s agenda in legislation, regulation and the community.

The final award category is the Zino Davidoff Legacy Award, which will be presented to the Appointed Merchant who has stood out over the years as the champion of what premium cigars and premium cigar retailing are all about.

Please visit GoldenBandAwards.com for more information.
Media contact:
Richard Krutick
Vice President of Marketing, Davidoff
Davidoff of Geneva
davidoff.com | @Davidoff_Cigars | facebook.com/DavidoffCigars1911

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Black Works Studio (BLK WKS) is pleased to announce the upcoming release of GREEN HORNET

June 22, 2016 — Black Works Studio (BLK WKS) is pleased to announce the upcoming release of GREEN HORNET: Hand crafted in Esteli at Fabrica Oveja Negra.

GREEN HORNET will be debuting at this year’s IPCPR Tradeshow and will be released in small batches throughout the year.

“It’s never easy following up your biggest hit, but I think the Green Hornet is the perfect addition to the Killer Bee Line. The Green Hornet started as an event only cigar, however after seeing the response from consumers and retailers we knew it had to become a regular release.

The blend is a touch stronger than the Killer Bee to compliment the larger vitola and the closed Candela foot creates a very unique profile from the first puff. The Green Hornet is big, bold, rich and spicy. Everything you expect from a cigar in the Killer Bee lineup,” said James Brown.

GREEN HORNET will be available in limited quantities at select BLK WKS retailers at the end of July, 2016.

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Maduro w/a Candela linear cap & closed foot
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua
  Robusto – 5 x 48 (20 count) MSRP $9.50
BLK WKS cigars are an expression of art showcasing the talent, technique and tobacco behind boutique cigar factory; Fabrica Oveja Negra.

BLK WKS Cigars are available for purchase through Boutiques Unified.  More information can be found at www.BlackLabelTrading.com

Monday, June 20, 2016

La Jugada Habano Robusto


Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 5
Ring: 50
Cost: $7.25

Background: The La Jugada Habano is the second offering from Moya Ruiz Cigars, which is headed up by Danny Moya and Nelson Ruiz (hence the name). If you are familiar with the La Zona at all, this one should strike a chord since these are hand rolled at the same factory that the La Zona is. 

Appearance (0-20):  From a first glance, the La Jugada Habano looks pretty inviting. There are minor veins along a rich brown habano wrapper, and smooth seals throughout. The band is a white backdrop and has bold black lettering that is leafed in gold. In the bottom half of the band it swaps, with bold gold lettering on a black backdrop.
Score: 18

Construction (0-20): Picking this one up reveals what feels like a relatively solid stick, though there are a couple of small pockets that feel slightly loose. Cutting the end revealed a small amount of debris, but nothing extremely excessive. Taking a few puffs to check the draw confirmed what I feared, that it was a little too loose. Post lighting didn’t improve that draw, which continued to be loose throughout. The ash was also a bit on the flaky side and didn’t hold for very long. Worse still, it cracked up the side slightly.
Score: 13

Strength (0-20): This one is listed as a medium to full smoke, and I believe it falls almost directly in that range, with small deviations more toward the medium side of the scale.
Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): There is a pretty sweet bit of cocoa that is predominant to begin, which simultaneously balanced and enhanced by a peppery spice. There is also a hint of nuts that gets pulled in intermittently. There are also some periods where there is a bit of earthiness. Through the entire cigar its deviations of those same flavors, just fighting for control. The transitions between them are pretty seamless.
Score: 16

Value (0-20):  $7.25 is a bit on the high side for this given the construction, but when compared against the rest of the items, it’s a decent value – which makes this one tougher to assess.
Score: 15

Additional Notes: Paired with water.

Overall (0-100): This one really is tough to assess from an overall perspective. I wanted to enjoy it, I really did. But this falls short. That, however, is not to say that this is a complete bust by any means. In fact it’s still a solid cigar… but not one I’m rushing out to get.

The appearance and strength work and are right where they should be. But the construction on the 2 I smokes both had their issues. Obviously this one in particular cracked and didn’t hold its ash at all. Both had draw issues too. And then on top of it, the flavors end up being somewhat one dimensional… or at the very least they are predictable and only stay within a certain range (cocoa, pepper, nuts, earth). Again these aren’t bad flavors, and the transitions are good, but they become a little rote. These factors, of course, call into question the value.

Again this is not a bad stick. But it also isn’t a stick I am going to rave about. As a second or third for the day? Definitely serviceable there.
Score: 80

Monday, June 13, 2016

Oliva Baptiste Toro

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 5.5
Ring: 54
Cost: $5.63

Background: So if you are a movie fan, like I am, the name Baptiste may actually ring a bell. I personally didn’t think there could be any connection between the movie Lord of War (with the dictator in the movie being named “Andre Baptiste”) and this cigar. Low and behold, I was completely wrong. The cigar was inspired by that character, and there are some simple nods to it that you will see other than the name itself. But if the marketing is to be believed… this one will be ruthless to the palate (but in a good and decadent way).

Appearance (0-20):  The Baptiste looks good from a first look. It has the same shape as something like the San Lotano Oval, where it isn’t quite a normal wrap and isn’t quite a box pressed cigar either. It’s kind of a mix of the two styles. The overall cigar looks pretty solid, with a nice deeper wrapper on the outside. There are a couple of veins of note but beyond that it’s pretty clear and seems well wrapped with no other visible imperfections.

The band is where there’s some really interesting elements. This one is gold, cream, red, and black for its primary color set – which isn’t breaking new ground for Oliva as it falls within the traditional wheelhouse for them. However the nods to the movie Lord of War are evident here. The T from Baptiste is actually a knife, and flanking the central “B” on the band are two more knives. Really subtle, but they are definitely there.
Score: 18

Construction (0-20): As noted previously it’s interesting to see Oliva utilizing the oval style design. From a first feel, it’s definitely got some give to it to the point of being springy. No major causes from concern from the perspective of any potential pockets, but the prelit draw was on the tight side. The stick loosened nicely through the rest of the smoke, with a really solid ash that held for about 2 inches per.
Score: 18

Strength (0-20): Famous has this one listed as a being a full strength cigar, and I think they are pretty close with their assessment. I feel like this one is at the high end of the medium spectrum to begin and just slides into the full range. The score here is maybe more of a commentary that is isn’t strictly a full strength cigar but definitely builds to it.
Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): Before even lighting this one up there is definitely a rich scent to it. It’s got some woodsy and leather smells and something almost… musky?

Post lighting the first flavors are a bit grassy. To be frank, I was worried that this one might have been a little too young but was pleased when quickly there were some nice light coffee flavors that began to trickle in, slightly bitter and just a dash of cream. Progressing through the rest of the first third there was a bit of baking spices that you could pick up – namely hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. But the predominant flavor was what I am going to describe again as musky hay. Think of a time where you may have been on a farm – it’s got that kind of taste that a barnyard has – in a positive sense.

Entering the second third, the same musky hay flavor remains but there is a bit of pepper that begins to pick up on the retrohale. The flavor, from a base standpoint, remains with some extra bits of cedar, but as the stick progresses so does the peppery flavor. It never reached the point where the pepper is terribly overpowering, but it’s definitely a kick to the snout.

The final third adds a slight amount of sweetness along with the pepper, coffee, and hay. There’s still a tiny amount of cedar too. Otherwise not much changes.
Score: 18

Value (0-20):  $5.63 is a solid price for a single. However buying this one in a 5 pack or box and it reducing the price sets it off even better…
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with Glenlivet 18. Cigar provided by Famous Smoke Shop.

Overall (0-100): Everything works here. Lower end of the full strength range, good and interesting construction, and an appearance that is strong while sticking with the brand image. The whole cigar itself has a nice backstory when tied with the movie Lord of War.

The flavors are absolutely interesting with almost seemless transitions between the musky hay, nutmeg, cinnamon, light coffee, pepper, and sweetness. The nuances are done well, and really are pronounced almost perfectly at times. So everything is goof in that realm too.

So finally the price. When I saw the press release and saw the tag of $5.63 for a single, I knew it was going to be a competitively priced cigar, as long as the quality stood up. So the quality does, making this a good one. But here’s the big catch - when you find a deal on a 5 pack like they have now, and it drops them to $4 a stick, it becomes an absolute buy. I recommend giving this Famous Exclusive a try.

Score: 90

Friday, June 10, 2016

Drew Estate announces Herrera Estelí Inktome for Small Batch Cigars

Thursday, June 9, 2016 — Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today that they would be releasing a new blend within their Herrera Estelí line. The new cigar will be available exclusively for Small Batch Cigar, also known as Maxamar Ultimate Cigars.
The new Herrera Estelí Inktome will be presented in a 6 x 46 box-pressed Corona Gorda vitola and will be packaged in 10-count boxes. The blend showcases extensively aged tobaccos from the Estelí and Jalapa growing regions of Nicaragua, with a spicy Honduran Binder and a higher priming Ecuadorian Habano Wrapper than the core Herrera Estelí line. The result is a darker, richer wrapper. The MSRP will be $12.00, and the cigars will be released at tonight’s event at Maxamar Ultimate Cigars with Willy Herrera present.
When asked about the new cigar, Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera stated that, “I like to read cigar forums and blogs for inspiration on new sizes. Adjusting blends based on new sizes is something that I enjoy doing at the factory because it challenges my palette to keep the blends balanced and aligned within the portfolio. I was reading on Reddit that consumers wanted to see a Herrera Estelí in a Norteño format. Something that was simple, yet different.”
To learn more about the new Herrera Estelí products, download Drew Estate’s official mobile application Drew Diplomat on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Users will be able to log the new Herrera Estelí Cigar starting today.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve Toro

Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler / Binder: Honduras and Nicaragua
Length: 6
Ring: 56
Cost: $3.75

Background: Romeo y Julieta has done well in our eyes here, with its lowest scoring offering coming in at an 86 – The House of Capulet. Not far off were the Havoc, House of Montague, and Media Noche. And the tops of our list that we have tried? The Romeo, which scored a 92. All are respectable scores, from a respectable brand – and we expect more of the same from the Habana reserve for today’s review.

Appearance (0-20):  RyJ has been relatively consistent with the appearance of their cigars, bands, and wrappers. I only say relatively because in recent years they have done some things that are a little more outside the box to entice some new customers in. This one, however, harkens back to their normal roots – a clean solid cigar with minimal veins and a straightforward band. That band is brown and matte gold, giving off the pertinent details of the smoke. Nothing flashy – just their standard fare. There a couple of small imperfections in the wrapper itself from a discoloration standpoint.
Score: 16

Construction (0-20): Without even picking this one up, I can see that the cap itself isn’t as snug as I would prefer. But the overall wrap job otherwise seems to be on par. Once I picked it up, I could feel that the stick was well packed. It’s soft and silky to the touch. The initial cut had a minimal amount of excess tobacco, and the prelit draw was really close to being the perfect amount of resistance (though a tad tight). After lighting though, it opened up to the proper resistance. The ash held pretty easily for about an inch and a half at a time, but was slightly flakey.
Score: 16

Strength (0-20): Medium to Full. This smoke definitely hits the realm it needs to, though I will say I feel it’s a bit closer to the medium side of the realm.
Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): The predominant flavor right off the bat is one that is of nuts and some peppery spice. There is also a very slightly bitter flavor floating in the background, akin to a weak coffee. As the smoke continues, leather and earth meld in almost seamlessly. The flavors remain consistent throughout with just the slightest of variances – sweetness and some delicate touches of wood.
Score: 18

Value (0-20):  Here is where a cigar, with the inherent flavors and strength, drops into a bargain price. At $3.75, I would absolutely pick this one up as a normal smoker.
Score: 19

Additional Notes: Paired with water. Provided by the folks at Cigars City.com

Overall (0-100): Romeo y Juliet has been a bastion in the industry, and for really good reason. The flavors they put into their cigars are some of the most consistent out there. This is no exception. Nuts, pepper, and bitter coffee will hit your taste buds immediately but it will be followed by sweetness and delicate touches of wood. It’s simple and pleasing, but still packs some minor transitions in the blend that will keep you from being bored.

While the appearance and construction aren’t exactly going to wow you, they are still definitely good enough to get by. Ditto for the strength, which sits more toward the medium end of the medium to full spectrum that it is billed at. But for the price of $3.75, there isn’t much to complain about. In fact, this is exactly the type of cigar that will be the perfect day to day cigar – it’s got great flavor and is balanced perfectly with the strength with a price tag anyone can handle.

Score: 86

Black Label Trading Company announces the shipment of the third release of MORPHINE

June 6, 2016 — Black Label Trading Company is pleased to announce the shipment of MORPHINE: Hand crafted in Esteli at Fabrica Oveja Negra.  Morphine will be available in limited quantities at select retailers.

MORPHINE is produced by BLTC’s factory, Fabrica Oveja Negra in Esteli.

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua

Corona Gorda – 5.5 x 48 (20 count) MSRP $10.50
Lancero – 7.25 x 42 (12 count) MSRP $11.00
Torpedo Box Press – 5 x 54 (18 count) MSRP $10.50

BLTC cigars are distributed by Boutiques Unified.  More information can be found at www.boutiquesunified.com.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

2016 Camacho Liberty Series Announced

TAMPA, FL (Wednesday, June 1st, 2016) –– Camacho, the world’s leading brand of bold cigars, is proud to announce the new 2016 Camacho Liberty Series, the 14th annual limited edition released in celebration of the 4th of July.

This year’s Camacho Liberty cigar is a rich and powerful blend featuring tobaccos from five different origins, skillfully rolled in a proprietary 11/18 figurado format (48 x 54 x 48 x 6) and medium-to-full in intensity. As with each of the Liberty releases, the recipe takes inspiration from one of the best concept blends of the year developed by our master builders. Utilizing rare, hand-selected tobaccos not available in sufficient quantities for full production, the Camacho Liberty Series blend is unique in the sense it can never be replicated again.

At the core of 2016’s edition are two high-octane Ligero tobaccos from Mexico and Nicaragua, making up over half of the tri-country filler blend. Combined with two Seco tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic for added complexity, the 2016 Liberty displays the perfect balance of intensity and finesse.

Dressed in a matte black Spanish Cedar box, the 2016 Liberty’s artwork takes inspiration from our Star Spangled Banner. The artwork displays a triangular folded US flag with 14 stars in honor of the 14th year of this Series. Each master box consists of twenty limited edition cigars packed and individually numbered in their own cedar coffins. The single cigar coffins are best stored sealed inside a humidor, and will allow the cigars to properly age without absorbing the characteristics of other cigars stored in the same unit.

This year’s release also marks a special first; the first time a Camacho Liberty limited edition will be sold and marketed outside the US.

Habana 2000 (Ecuador)

Original Corojo (Honduras)

San Andres Ligero (Mexico)
Esteli Ligero (Nicaragua)
San Vicente Seco (Dominican Republic)
Ometepe Seco (Nicaragua)

Production & Launch Dates:
US – June 6th
(2,000 boxes / 40,000 cigars)
Europe – November 2016
(1,000 boxes / 20,000 cigars)

Suggested Retail Price (US): $18.00 per cigar / $360.00 per box

Camacho is the world’s leading brand of bold cigars, representing the concept of unleashing unmistakable and intense experiences. Infamous since 1962, the brand has become a sanctuary for the powerful, elemental being who seeks to fill their lives with unapologetic good times. A combination of rich heritage, product excellence and a never surrender attitude has enabled Camacho to grow into a brand globally recognized as the standard of full-frontal flavor and full-frontal lifestyle.

For more information about Camacho, please visit www.camachocigars.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Dylan Austin
Vice President of Marketing
Davidoff of Geneva USA

Melanie Büscher
Manager Media Relations & Public Relations
Oettinger Davidoff AG