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Friday, November 28, 2014

Cigar Review: J. Grotto Anniversary P555 by Ocean State Cigars

J. Grotto Anniversary P555 by Ocean State Cigars
The J. Grotto Anniversary is the fourth line of cigars launched by Paul Joyal's Ocean State Cigars.  This line is significant for several reasons: First, it introduced a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper blend into the company's portfolio; second, it added a fuller and stronger cigar to Ocean State's lineup; third, it marked the first cigar that Ocean State Cigars has made with Debonaire Cigars; and finally it commemorates several family events for Joyal and his family. Today I look at the perfecto vitola in this line, the J. Grotto Anniversary P555. Overall, the work by Joyal and Ocean State Cigars has been outstanding.  Without a doubt, the J. Grotto Anniversary is the best line the company has produced to date - and the perfecto format of the P555 does justice to this line.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Cigar Review: Hammer + Sickle LE14

Hammer + Sickle LE14
The Hammer + Sickle LE14 is the third limited edition cigar to be released by Hammer + Sickle in 2014.  This cigar joins the Berlin Wall Series Celebration Short Corona and the Hammer + Sickle Sochi Limited Edition 2014 as the other limited editions by Hammer + Sickle this year.  It is easy to draw a comparison between the LE14 and the Sochi.  Both cigars have an undisclosed blend - and both were released in a 6 3/4 x 48 Churchill sized vitola.  The LE14 was a cigar that was offered to retailers at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show and has recently made its way to retailers. Recently I've had an opportunity to sample the Hammer + Sickle LE14.  Overall I found this cigar to be an excellent release by Hammer + Sickle.

Cigar News: Phil Zanghi Reacquires Indian Tabac Trademark, Will Launch Indian Tabac Ultra Premium Cigars (Exclusive)

Phil Zanghi of Debonaire Cigars was a special guest on the Stogie Geeks 3 Year Anniversary Show and announced he has re-acquired the Indian Tabac Cigar Company trademark and will launch a new brand called Indian Tabac Motorcycle Ultra Premium Cigars.  The line of cigars will be a collaboration with Polaris, who owns the Indian Motorcycle name and will feature an retro Americana theme. Zanghi says the brand is being targeted for a launch at the next IPCPR show.

"It's signed, sealed and delivered. I have gotten back my original trademark, Indian Tabac Cigar Company. But I'm not going to concentrate on that. What I'm going to concentrate on is making whole new brand called Indian Motorcycle Ultra Premium - directly working with the people at Polaris and making another luxury brand along the lines of Debonaire that will be a little less expensive."

Cigar News: Tortuga 215 Reserva Connecticut, Cedro No. 10, and El Coyote Negro No. 700 Targeted for January

Victor Vitale of Legacy Brands was a guest on the Stogie Geeks Three Year Anniversary Show and confirmed that the Tortuga 215 Reserva Connecticut, as well as the Tortuga 215 Reserva Cedro No. 10 and Tortuga 215 Reserva El Coyote Negro No. 700 line extensions are all targeted for a January 2015 release.

It was at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show when we first brought you the news of this forthcoming line.  The Tortuga 215 Reserva Connecticut becomes the third offering in the Tortuga 215 line joining the Tortuga 215 Reserva (Box Press and Cedro) as well as the Tortuga 215 Reserva El Coyote Negro.

Cigar News: OMB Sets Timetable for June Date for Final Rule on Regulations, New Legislation Will Be Filed

Cigar Rights of America issued a statement in regards to the Office of Management and Budget's timetable for a ruling on proposed regulations to the premium cigar industry.  It has been announced that a new set of legislation will be filed, with additional planned overtures to the White House Administration planned.  This is in response to a "Final Ruling" date set of June 2015  forward by the OMB.

On August 8th, 2014 the period for public comment ended.  The FDA is now reviewing all comments that have been submitted.  The OMB's "final ruling" date is intended as a target date for considering the feedback and making any changes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cigar News: Viaje Confirms Holiday Blend 2014 Release

Viaje Holiday Blend 2014
(Photo Credit: Andre Farkas Facebook)
Viaje Cigars President Andre Farkas has announced on his Facebook page that the Viaje Holiday Blend will be returning in 2014.  This marks the fifth batch of the Viaje Holiday Blend to be released since its inception in 2009, and it also marks the return of this blend after a one year hiatus.

After initially planning to release the Holiday Blend in 2013, Farkas announced that the Holiday Blend was not being released due to production delays.  While the regular annual release was shelved, Viaje still delivered a seasonal release to tie in with the Christmas Season - the Viaje Holiday Blend Christmas Tree.

The Holiday Blend is a Nicaraguan puro that features a Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper.  These annual releases vary from year to year due to different vintages of the tobaccos used.

There has been no announcement on whether there will be an additional "special" release tied in with the Christmas Season.  In 2013, Viaje released the short torpedo Viaje Christmas Tree.  In 2012, Viaje released barber-pole Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane.

Cigar News: VegaFina Nicaragua by Altadis USA (Cigar Preview)

Altadis' VegaFina Nicaragua will now be heading to the U.S. market.   The VegaFina Nicaragua had ben showcased at Inter Tabac 2014 in Dortmund Germany and since then had been released to European retailers. The cigar is now scheduled for a U.S. release in December.

The VegaFina Nicaragua becomes the latest Altadis brand to release a Nicaraguan puro.  Over the past 18 months, Altadis has released Nicaraguan puros in the Juan Lopez brand (Juan Lopez), Romeo y Julieta (RyJ), and Montecristo (Montecristo Espada).

The cigars will be offered in three sizes packaged in boxes of 25.  The three sizes reflect the same sizes that were released for Europe.  The cigars will have a price point between $5.20 and $6.00 per cigar.

The cigar is described by Altadis USA as a medium to full-bodied smoke with a woody and spicy profile.

At a glance, here is a look at the VegaFina Nicaragua:

Cigar News: 1502 Cigars Sampler to Feature Xikar Cutter and Two Unreleased Robustos

Global Premium Cigars has announced a limited edition "cigar sampler for the Christmas season for its 1502 line.  The sampler will contain nine different cigars that the company has referred to as its "Exquisitos" - meaning its most exquisite sizes.  Included in the nine cigars are two previously unreleased robusto sizes of the 1502 Emerald and 1502 Black Gold.  In addition, a 1502 Xikar branded cutter will be a part of the sampler.

The nine cigars will be divided among the 1502 Emerald, 1502 Ruby, and 1502 Black Gold lines evenly.  Each blend will contain a 6 x 50 Toro, a 6 1/2 x 52 Torpedo, and a 5 x 50 Robusto.