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Friday, October 24, 2014

Feature Story: How Limited is that Limited Edition Cigar?

Over the past few years, the rise of limited edition cigars has become an integral part of the cigar landscapes.  It seems like every month, a new limited edition cigar is hitting the marketplace and there are more companies adding limited edition cigars as offerings.  There are many factors that drive a company to produce a limited edition cigar.  From one standpoint, tobacco supplies often dictate how many cigars can be produced, and a limited edition cigar is a great way to leverage quality tobaccos that are in finite supply.  At the same time, by making a limited offering, a cigar company can create some excitement and buzz from a marketing standpoint.  I've started to look closely at these limited releases, and what I've discovered is that “limited edition” can mean different things in the cigar industry. In some cases there are production drivers that create a limited edition as well as some distribution drivers.

Cigar News: Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro Mr. Orange Heading to Westside Humidor in Wichita Kansas

As a part of Westside Humidor's 5th Anniversary celebration, Alec Bradley will be provide box-press torpedo of its Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro blend. The Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro Mr. Orange will be a limited edition shop exclusive to the Wichita-based retailer. The Mr. Orange will launch at the  retailer's 5th anniversary celebration on November 1st and is one of six limited edition and / or shop exclusive cigars for that occasion.

According to Westside Humidor General Manager Gorden Crippen the Tempus Maduro was a favorite of his.  When it was suggested that a box-press version of this blend be included in the set of 5th Anniversary cigars, local Alec Bradley representative Christopher "Snappy Bigman" Manso recommended the box-press be done in the torpedo format.  The Tempus Maduro features a San Andres Mexican Maduro wrapper, a Honduran binder, and Honduran and Nicaraguan filler

The suggested retail price of the  Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro Mr. Orange is $9.55

Mr. Orange is one of six shop exclusive cigars being made for Westside Humidor's 5th Anniversary. The name Mr. Orange is a tribute to Tim Roth's character of "Mr. Orange" in the motion picture "Reservoir Dogs". Mr. Orange is one of six main characters (Mr. Blonde, Mr. Brown, Mr. Pink, Mr. Blue, Mr. Orange and Mr. White). In regards to the characters Crippen commented, "It all kind of fell into place that there were 5 main characters to go with our 5 year anniversary.  In the movie, the sixth guy (Mr. Blue) is killed off right after the credits, and so we decided the 6th guy for us would be that 'one to grow on'."

A sampler pack called "The Heist" (the theme of the movie is a botched Diamond Heist) contains one of each of the cigars.  The Heist will come in 100 individually numbered sampler packs and carry a suggested retail price of $59.99.  The six cigars include:

Mr. Blonde - A special event cigar for the shop by La Flor Dominicana
Mr. Blue - Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition Petite Lancero (first release)
Mr. Brown - Paul Stulac Red Screaming Sun Lancero
Mr. Pink - 262 Paradigm Lonsdale
Mr. White - Viaje Platino 5 x 58
Mr. Orange - Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro - Box-pressed torpedo

Cigar News: Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition to be Featured at Westside Humidor 5th Anniversary Celebration as "Mr. Blue"

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition
Petite Lancero
Reinado Cigars' Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition will be a part of six limited edition cigars for Westside Humidor's 5th Anniversary Celebration. Westside Humidor has reported they have been the first store in the country to receive the Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition.  In keeping with naming each cigar from featured characters from the motion picture Reservoir Dogs, this cigar is being dubbed "Mr. Blue".

The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve marks Reinado's first Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade blend. It is being launched in one size - a 6 x 38 petit lancero.  This is the only cigar in the set that is not a shop exclusive to the Wichita Kansas-based Westside Humidor, but it will get its formal launch at the 5th Anniversary Celebration on November 1st.   The cigar was showcased by Reinado at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cigar Review: Padrón 1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive Natural (2014)

Padrón 1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive Natural
The Padrón 1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive Natural is one of two cigars made by Padrón for the 2014 TAA Exclusive Series.  These two Padrón exclusives represent two of the eight cigars made for the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) in 2014. As is the case with the Padrón 1964 Anniversary line, the Padrón 1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive comes in a natural and a maduro offering. This is the second set of cigars that Padrón has provided to the TAA. There is also Padrón 1964 Anniversary Toro TAA Exclusive (in a natural and maduro). While the Toro TAA Exclusive is an on-going offering to the TAA, the Belicoso TAA Exclusive set is intended to be a one time offering for 2014. Today we take a look at the Padrón 1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive Natural offering. Thus far, I have found the 2014 TAA Exclusive series to be underwhelming. To date I have smoked seven of the eight releases of the 2014 TAA Exclusives and have found the  Padrón 1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive Maduro to be the best offering.  While not quite at the level of that Maduro, the Padrón 1964 Anniversary Belicoso TAA Exclusive Natural is still one of the better offerings in the 2014 TAA Exclusive set.

Cigar News: Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2014 (Cigar Preview)

For the seventh consecutive year, Oliva Cigar Company has released a maduro version of their popular Oliva Serie V cigar.  The maduro wrapper version is released once a year (usually at the end) and a single production run is done.  The cigar is typically released in one size toward the end of the calendar year..  For 2013, Oliva introduces a new size to this line - a double toro measuring 6 x 60. 

Numerous retailers have reported receiving the cigar.

The Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2014 uses a San Andres wrapper from Mexico - marking the fifth consecutive year the wrapper has been used.  The 2014 edition marks the first time a 6 x 60 frontmark has been done in the Serie V Maduro line.

Cigar News: Viaje Platino Mr. White Heading to Westside Humidor in Wichita Kansas (Cigar Preview)

Viaje Cigars will be a part of Westside Humidor's line of exclusive shop exclusives for their 5th Anniversary.  While Westside Humidor already has an annual shop exclusive called the Viaje Platino Five Fifty-Eight, the Viaje Platino Mr. White will be a modified version of that vitola, but without the usual covered footer. The cigar will be officially released at the Wichita Kansas-based retailer's 5th Anniversary celebration on Novermber 1st.

In an email to Cigar Coop, Westside Humidor General Manager Gorden Crippen explained the Mr. White and how it differs from the Five Fifty-Eight: "Mr. White is our annual store exclusive release from Viaje.  it's 5x58 in the Platino Blend, the largest size our good friend Andre Farkas makes in the Platino blend.  This year, in order to differentiate it from other years, we have had the factory roll it without the usual covered foot.  These cigars have been aging for almost 7 months, and are ready to smoke today.  Due to the open foot, we have found that it smokes a little bit brighter than our other releases of the 558."

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.