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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Feature Story: Swisher's Acquisition of Drew Estate - The Analysis

This past week, one of the biggest stories in recent cigar industry history took place as Swisher International announced they had entered into an agreement to acquire Drew Estate Tobacco Company.  Last month, shockwaves rode through the cigar industry as General Cigar Company acquired the brands of Toraño Family Cigars and Leccia Tobacco.  As big as the shockwaves that were sent with those acquisitions, they pale in comparison to this past Monday's announcement.  Drew Estate was one of the largest privately held handmade cigar companies in the world, and Swisher is the largest cigar producer in the world.  One thing that is certain is that the acquisition will be a create a lot of possibilities and opportunities for the two companies - as well as more questions to be answered.

Cigar Review: Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker Edición Limitada (2014)

Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker Edición Limitada
The Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker Edición Limitada was released with the May 2014 shipment of Viaje Skull and Bones.  This shipment was the eleventh of the Skull and Bones series released by Viaje since its launch in the Spring of 2010.  In each of the shipments there have been different blend variations and sizes of this line of powerhouse cigar from Viaje.  The Cloudmaker is a 5 x 60 vitola of an undisclosed blend falling into the Skull and Bones genre.  It actually is the second 5 x 60 vitola to be shipped in the Skull and Bones family.  Back in 2013, Viaje released the Viaje Skull and Bones Big Ivan - another 5 x 60 cigar with not a lot of details disclosed.  I recently had the opportunity to smoke the Cloudmaker. Overall I found this to be an excellent addition into the Skull and Bones line.

Cigar News: La Flor Dominicana Mr. Blonde Heading to Westside Humidor in Wichita Kansas

La Flor Dominicana Mr. Blonde
(Photo Credit: Westside Humidor)
As a part of Westside Humidor's 5th Anniversary celebration, La Flor Dominicana will provide a limited edition shop exclusive to the Wichita-based retailer.  Plans are for the La Flor Dominicana Mr. Blonde to launch at the retailer's 5th anniversary celebration on November 1st.

Details of the Mr. Blonde have not been disclosed, but in an email to Cigar Coop from Westside Humidor General Manager Gorden Crippen, he described some background on this cigar, "Mr. Blonde is our version of the up-and-coming event cigar for La Flor Dominicana.  it is a beautiful cigar, complex with a burn that starts mild and becomes full as it progresses.  Tony Gomez (son of La Flor Dominicana founder Litto Gomez) has been to the shop a few times, and we always have a blast with him when he's here, even when we have to pull him away from the football game on TV (HAHAHAHAHA).  But in all seriousness, when we started talking to our rep about doing some thing special, and his first call was to Tony, it was just a matter of minutes before he said he had something awesome for us to use.  this is an exciting cigar, and the first of time anyone has seen this available in the U.S.".

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cigar News: 262 Paradigm Mr. Pink Lonsdale Heading to Westside Humidor in Wichita Kansas (Cigar Preview)

262 Paradigm Mr Pink
Photo Credit: Westside Humidor
As a part of Westside Humidor's 5th Anniversary celebration, 262 Cigars will be provide 6 1/2 x 42 lonsdale size of its 262 Paradigm blend.  The 262 Paradigm Mr. Pink will be a limited edition shop exclusive to the Wichita-based retailer.  The Mr. Pink will launch at the retailer's 5th anniversary celebration on November 1st.

Mr. Pink becomes the eighth frontmark to be made in the Paradigm line.  Paradigm was the first line released by 262 Cigars and the first shop exclusive to be in the Paradigm line. Last year, 262 released the 262 Revere Lonsdale as a shop exclusive to J. Shepherd in Louisville, Kentucky.

The packaging will be unique for the 262 Paradigm Mr. Pink as it will contain the 262 logo in pink font on a white painted box.  Normally the 262 Paradigm features a black colored logo.

The 262 Mr. Pink will have a suggested retail price of $9.55

Cigar Review: Tatuaje Drac (Part of the Pudgy Monsters Series)

Tatuaje Drac - Part of the Pudgy Monsters Series
The Tatuaje Drac is a part of Tatuaje's Pudgy Monsters Series that was released in mid 2014.  For the past few weeks we have been looking at the various cigars that are a part of this sampler.  Pudgy Monsters is the second sampler series based on Tatuaje's Monsters Series - a line released on an annual basis that pays homage to a different monster / horror movie character. In 2012, the Tatuaje Little Monsters would be the first sampler series released - providing smaller and thinner versions of the original Monster Series releases. While there are two all new blends in the new Pudgy Monsters Series with the Tatuaje Chuck and Tatuaje Tiff; the remainder of the set provides another set of smaller monsters.  With these other Pudgy Monster cigars, for the most part they will have the same ring gauge as the original Monsters and same length as the Little Monsters. Today, we take a look at the Tatuaje Drac - which is a shorter version of the 2009's Tatuaje - The Drac and a thicker version of the Little Monsters' Tatuaje Lil' Drac.  I recently had an opportunity to smoke this cigar.  The Pudgy Monsters sampler has scored very nicely on Cigar Coop, and the Pudgy Monsters Drac is no exception.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cigar News: Saka Comments on Swisher International's Acquisition of Drew Estate Tobacco

Steve Saka (Cigar Coop Photo)
Former Drew Estate CEO and President Steve Saka took to his Facebook page this evening to address his thoughts on Swisher's acquisition of Drew Estate Tobacco company.

Saka, who retired from Drew Estate 15 months ago did say his departure did not have anything to do with a pending deal and there were no such discussions taking place with Swisher during his tenure.  Saka addressed some of the business reasons the timing was right for a sale, why Swisher International can be an ideal partner for Drew Estate, whether the products and the company will change, and finally he commented on the initial denial of the sale by Chairman Jonathan Drew.

Feature Story: A Closer Look at Swisher International

While Swisher International is the largest manufacturer of cigars worldwide, they are a company that the online cigar media has not focused on. This is because much of the cigar media focuses around handmade premium cigars. In light of the acquisition of Drew Estate Tobacco Company by Swisher International, we take a closer look at who Swisher International is, and examine what actually is a rich history by this 150+ year old company.

First up, in terms of products it makes, Swisher's  focus has been around machine made / mass market cigars - playing heavily in the flavored cigar market.  The company does have roots in premium handmade cigar manufacturing.  For a while the company had a bit of hiatus from this area of the business.  Last year, this changed when it was announced that Royal Gold Cigars was being launched as a subsidiary under Swisher.  In addition to cigar making, the company also produces cigarillos, pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes.

Cigar News: Swisher International Announces Plans to Acquire Drew Estate Tobacco

Swisher International and Drew Estate Tobacco Company have announced they have entered into an agreement in which Swisher International will acquire Drew Estate Tobacco company.  The announcement was made via a press release and confirms what has been weeks of speculation that such a transaction would occur.  According to the press release, the transaction will close sometime during the fourth quarter of 2014.  Drew Estate will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary with its current management team in place.