At today’s Procigar tour at the Quesada Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic, the company formally announced its newest release: Manuel Quesada 70th.
The cigar is made in honor of Manuel “Manolo” Quesada Jr., who turns 70 in April. Quesada Jr. himself blended the cigar and as of now, he’s apparently not telling anyone what it is.
It’s offered in his two favorite sizes: Toro (6 x 50) and Belicoso (6 x 52)—both of which are priced at $12.95 per cigar. The Manuel Quesada 70th is limited to 1,000 boxes of 10 cigars in each size.
“My uncle has dedicated his life to cigars and all of us at Quesada cannot express in words how proud we are of him,” said Terence Reilly, gm of Quesada Cigars, in a press release. “Whether you know him well or have never met him personally, smoking the MQ 70 gives the aficionado an opportunity to connect with Manuel through the taste and avor of this blend. It truly exemplies his palate.”
Football fans in the Lone Star State will have a special cigar to puff on during Super Bowl LI. La Flor Dominicana has crafted a new version of its Special Football Edition cigar—a unique figurado that dons a football-shaped cover leaf—and has sent it to Texas cigar retailers in anticipation of next Sunday’s big game.
“They have been made available only to LFD retailers in the state of Texas,” said Tony Gomez, vice president of La Flor Dominicana. As in previous years, the special cigars are only sold in the Super Bowl’s host state. Gomez added that out-of-state customers might be able to get their hands on them through Texas retailers that sell cigars online.
This year’s matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots at NRG Stadium in Houston is cause for the third release of this special cigar. Previous iterations, in different vitola sizes, were released in California for Super Bowl 50 and Arizona for Super Bowl 49.
La Flor Dominicana’s Special Football Edition for 2017 wears an Ecuadoran Habano wrapper over Dominican binder and filler. The football design on the wrapper, as well as the cap and a strip on the foot, is made from Connecticut-seed tobacco grown in Ecuador. Only 1,500 boxes of 10 have been produced, and the cigars carry a suggested retail price of $15 each.
The voluptuous figurado measures 6 1/2 inches with a ring gauge of 52 at its slimmest, swelling to 60 ring at its maximum girth. The foot of the cigar is an angular cut, which Gomez says was picked from a number of uncommon shapes.
“There’s no particular reason for the angular cut; we had about five different designs that we were choosing from and this was the one we liked best,” said Gomez.
La Flor Dominicana is no stranger to crafting esoteric vitolas. The Andalusian Bull, which was recently awarded Cigar Aficionado‘s Cigar of the Year for 2016, is also a unique figurado that brand owner Litto Gomez based off of an old cigar mold he found in Belgium.
The Special Football Edition for 2017 also isn’t the only La Flor Dominicana cigar that uses wrapper leaf as a canvas for eccentric designs. The Salomon Único cigars, a one-of-a-kind assortment of artfully constructed vitolas, was released to retailers last summer.
*Credit: Cigar Aficionado.
In 2009, Davidoff released a limited edition cigar bearing the number 702, a name given to a unique hybrid-seed that was created using three different Cuban strands of tobacco. It was then grown in Ecuador and became the wrapper for the aforementioned cigar, the Davidoff Limited Edition 2009 Selección 702. Now, the seed and the number are back.
Next month, Davidoff will formally release seven cigars under the 702 name, each in some of the company’s most noted sizes. Five sizes will be offered internationally: Entreacto (3 1/2 x 43), No. 2 (6 x 38), 2000 (5 1/16 x 43), Special R (4 7/8 x 50) and No. 3 (6 x 50).
Two other sizes 702 Series Special T (6 x 52) and Double R (7 1/2 x 50) will be offered only in the U.S. However, the Entreacto and No. 2 will only be offered in Davidoff of Geneva since 1911 flagship stores in the U.S.
The cigars are offered in both boxes of 20, as well as soft boxes of four and five.
These cigars will use the aforementioned Ecuadorian wrapper from the 702 seed over the normal binder and filler. The idea is to give a twist to some of the company’s more iconic cigars.
“It is time to unexpect. Davidoff Masterblenders have taken on the challenge to reimagine and reinvent our most iconic cigars –2000, Special R, Special T, Aniversario No. 3 among others – and give them an exciting twist for those seeking a more intense, bolder taste experience,” said Charles Awad, svp global marketing and innovation at Oettinger Davidoff AG, in a press release. “These cigars, that have defined and refined Time, are wrapped in the new 702 ‘Habano’ wrapper from Ecuador to give them a bolder edge. The 702 Series is an exciting opportunity for those who have not yet had the chance to discover, or may want to rediscover, these iconic cigars.”
J.C. Newman is planning a new size in its Diamond Crown Julius Caeser line, a 5 1/2 x 43 corona.
Like the rest of the sizes, the Julius Caeser Corona will come in leather-wrapped boxes of 20. Unlike the rest of the sizes, it will be priced below $10 with a suggested retail price of $9.75 per cigar.
The Julius Caeser line uses an Ecuadorian wrapper, Dominican binder and an undisclosed filler. It is named after the company’s founder Julius Caeser Newman, whose initials make up the J.C. Newman. While he shares a name with the Roman emperor, the cigarmaker spelled his last name differently, hence the unique spelling.
While a new price list from the company says the line will be released in March, a spokesperson for the company said that is not accurate. The new size was shipped last summer to comply with the new regulations from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), but a formal release has not been scheduled.
Here is an unusual, perhaps unfamiliar cigar that gleams with distinction but doesn’t have much market history, as it only came out last summer. The wrapper is a striking hue somewhere between red and brown and the beautiful shape is all curves and tapers. Salomones, as they’re known in cigar factories, are far from an easy cigar to craft. Look closely at the band, which is a shade of emerald green, and you see the letters “LFD”: La Flor Dominicana. The cigar is called the Andalusian Bull, and nothing about it is typical.
But nothing about its creator, Litto Gomez is typical either. With Gomez, you’ll find few of the tropes and stories typically associated with men in the tobacco business. No family history in tobacco. No Cuban lineage. No passed-down tobacco traditions. Born in Spain, but raised in Uruguay, Gomez came into the cigar industry in 1994 after a stint in the jewelry business went sour. His initial cigars were mild, but Gomez started getting the attention of premium smokers when he began producing stronger blends rolled in unusual shapes. Some will remember the El Jocko Perfecto No. 1 and all should know the wedge-shaped Chisel. Such odd shapes have become mainstays in the cigar world. Among serious smokers, the Chisel is now synonymous with La Flor Dominicana—which brings us to the Bull.
The La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull is a truly new concept within La Flor’s portfolio of fine cigars. The size is based on that of an old cigar mold that Gomez found in Belgium. Naming it after Andalusia was a nod to Spain, the country where Gomez was born. And the silhouette of a matador on the band represents the celebrated history of the sport of bullfighting in Andalusia. That eye-catching shade of green is similar to that found on the Andalusian flag. But there’s more to decode. The font on the band is based on Pablo Picasso’s handwriting—he loved to paint bulls—and the scrollwork reflects patterns found on a bullfighter’s uniform.
Fittingly, with this combination of heavy-handed and subtle symbolism comes a blend that is both bold and refined (like a bull and a matador). Gomez and his son Tony collaborated on the cigar and spent a fair amount of time fine-tuning the blend. The result was a cigar as intriguing in flavor as it is in appearance. It’s a combination of Corojo-seed Ecuador Habano wrapper on a blend that consists primarily of Dominican Criollo ’98 tobacco, a hybrid and a bit of Pelo d’Oro too. First impressions are bold and savory with strong notes of hickory and leather. But it continues to take on a complex spiciness of saffron and cumin as well as a slight tangy note that brings the strength and spice together quite gracefully—and it only gets better with every puff.
Gomez owns the brand and company with his wife, Ines Lorenzo-Gomez. This marks the first time that La Flor Dominicana has been awarded No. 1 Cigar of the Year.
*Credit: Cigar Aficionado
Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary who would rule the island for nearly five decades, has died at 90.
Born in 1926 to Spanish immigrants to Cuba, Castro would become politically active as a laws student at the University of Havana in the mid-1940s and quickly became a critic of then-president Ramón Grau. In 1950, Castro co-founded a law practice for the far that ultimately provoked unsuccessful. He then planned to run for congress in the 1952 elections, but Fulgencio Batista took control of the country in a military coup and cancelled the elections.
Castro began a variety of attempts to remove Batista from power starting with lawsuits that proved fruitless before ultimately turning to the idea of overthrowing the government.
In 1959, after nearly a decade of fighting, Castro and his MR-26-7 movement (26th of July Movement) succeeding in overthrowing the army of Batista.
Castro then started a government of his own and transitioned Cuba to a communist country. This included the seizing and nationalized of private owned businesses including all of Cuba’s tobacco industry.
In 1962, days before the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. extended its embargo to include almost all Cuban goods, cutting off Cuba’s cigars and other products from the world’s largest market.
Castro himself was a cigar smoker. The modern Cohiba brand was started in the mid-1960s as a private label for Castro himself. In 1968, Cubatabaco launched the brand to be used as diplomatic gifts and in 1982 Cohiba would be offered for sale.
In 2006, an ailing Castro relinquished powers to his brother Raúl.
Over the last decade, Raúl and President Obama have made significant strides towards dismantling many of the restrictions created by the embargo. American consumers are now able to bring back Cuban cigars they purchased abroad, commercial flights to Cuba resumed earlier this year and many of the economic restrictions on the island regarding private businesses and foreign investments have been moderately relaxed.
Smokers will soon be able to smoke a Montecristo cigar as imagined and interpreted by cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez. In a collaboration with cigar distributor Santa Clara Inc., Montecristo Crafted By A.J. Fernandez is the newest version of the heritage Montecristo brand.
Altadis U.S.A. owns the U.S. trademark for Montecristo. Both Santa Clara and Altadis U.S.A. are run by Tabacalera U.S.A., which is an arm of Imperial Brands PLC.
Made in Nicaragua at the A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, Fernandez worked with Altadis’ Grupo de Maestros to develop this new Montecristo, which consists of Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, Mexican San Andrés binder and filler from Nicaragua and Honduras.
Montecristo Crafted By A.J. Fernandez will come in five sizes: Churchill at 7 inches by 50 ring gauge; Figurado, at 4 by 52; Gordo at 6 by 58; Robusto, 5 by 52; and Toro, 6 by 50.
This would be the second time that Altadis has collaborated with a third-party producer to make a . In 2014, Nestor Plasencia worked with Altadis to create the Espada by Montecristo line. Other recent collaborative releases include the Henry Clay Tattoo (with Tatuaje Cigars) and the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room (with Boutique Blends).
This would also be the second time that A.J. Fernandez has the opportunity to interpret a heritage brand. The Hoyo La Amistad is his version of the storied Hoyo de Monterrey brand, which is owned by General Cigar for sale in the U.S.
The cigars should be widely available later this month.
*Credit: Cigar Aficionado