New Herrera Estelí Edición Limitada H-Town Lancero

By now, STOGIES World Class Cigars’ H-Town Lancero Series should need no introduction. There is no store that is known for selling lanceros, typically the slowest moving vitola in a humidor, than the Houston-based retailer. So it was no surprise when the ongoing series of releases from different manufactures turned out to be exclusively composed of long and skinny vitola.

The newest release in the series is the Herrera Estelí Edición Limitada H-Town Lancero, a 7 x 38 lancero that incorporates the same Connecticut broadleaf maduro wrapper, Brazilian mata fina binder and Nicaraguan fillers tobaccos that were found in the company’s Herrera Estelí TAA 2016, which was released exclusively to members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America in April. As with all of the H-Town cigars, the new Herrera Esteli is a limited release, priced at $12 each with only 500 boxes of 15 cigars having been produced.

Produced at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Nicaragua, the Herrera Estelí Edición Limitada H-Town Lancero was released during STOGIE’s annual Big Damn Cigar Jamboree & Wingding last month.

The cigar is covered in an espresso brown wrapper that is devoid of oil and sandpaper rough to the touch. There are multiple viens running up and down the length, but none of them are overly annoying, though the cigar is quite spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of creamy oak, dark cocoa nibs, black pepper, manure and vanilla sweetness, while the cold draw brings flavors of a huge creamy oak, leather, gritty earth, peanuts and the same vanilla sweetness from the cold draw.

It starts off the first third with a very obvious and dominant creamy oak note carried over from both the aroma and cold draw, interspersed with lesser flavors of anise, barnyard, hay, fresh brewed coffee, cocoa nibs and leather. A wonderful vanilla sweetness is noticeable on the finish, while there is a small but obvious white pepper on the retrohale that seems to be getting stronger as the first third burns down. The draw is fantastic after a simple straight cut, the burn is razor sharp and the smoke production is massive off of the foot. Strength-wise, the H-Town starts off fairly mild, but ends up close to the medium mark by the time the first time comes to a close.

The vanilla sweetness that was such a major part of the profile in the first third seems to dissipate quite a bit in the second third of the H-Town, becoming less of a dominant flavor and more of a complimentary note that combines with the creamy oak coming right behind. Other flavors of cocoa nibs, black pepper, coffee beans, hay and gritty earth flit in and out, while there is a slight ancho chili note on finish that is gone almost as soon as I register it, although it is strong enough to throw off the balance a bit. Construction-wise, the draw continues to impress, and while I have to correct the burn once just after the halfway point, it was never in any danger of getting out of control. The overall streghth easily hits the medium mark by the end of the second third, but seems to be content to stay at that level, at least for the time being.

Although it is never a major part of the profile, the ancho chili note on the finish continues to pop up now and again, screwing with the balance of the cigar when it is present. However, for the most part, the dominant flavors continue to be a very distinct creamy oak combined with hay and dark chocolate. Other notes of fresh coffee grounds, earth, barnyard, dried tea leaves, black pepper and a touch of floral are obvious at different points, while the vanilla sweetness from the first two thirds has morphed into more of a graham cracker note. The burn has evened up nicely and the draw continues to impress, and although the strength does increase slightly compared to the second third, it barely makes it past the medium mark before settling down for good, and I put the nub down with less than an inch to go.

*Credit: Halfwheel

California Passes Higher Cigar Tax

The good news is, voters in three states—Colorado, Missouri and North Dakota—yesterday defeated ballot measures that sought to raise the tax on cigars in their respective states. The bad news is that California voters didn’t.

More than 62 percent of California voters opted to pass Proposition 56, which will raise the tax on cigars in the state by a whopping 153 percent. Currently, the tax on cigars is 27.3 percent of the wholesale cost, but this vote will lead to a new tax that’s expected to be 69.2 percent of the wholesale cost. The state, one of the world’s largest markets for cigars, is unusual because it bases its cigar tax on the rate of taxation on cigarettes. The new tax will likely take effect on July 1 of next year.

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This means that the state tobacco tax for a $10 cigar will jump from $2.73 to $6.92.

Fortunately, cigar smokers in Colorado, Missouri and North Dakota won’t have to worry about increased taxes, as voters in all three states defeated measures that would have raised the tax on cigars sold in those states.

In Colorado, Amendment 72, which sought to raise the cigar tax to 62 percent, was defeated. Approximately 53.6 percent of voters opposed the bill, with 46.4 percent supporting it.

North Dakota’s Initiated Statutory Measure 4, which sought to double the cigar tax, was soundly defeated by 61.52 percent of voters.

Eligible voters in Missouri voted no on two tobacco-related measures, Amendment 3 and Proposition A. While both measures looked to raise cigarette taxes, Proposition A included language that called for an additional 5 percent sales tax to OTP products, which include cigars. However, 55.26 percent of eligible voters said no to the measure.

*Credit: Cigar Aficionado

Davidoff Unveils Exclusive Corona FSG 20TH Anniversary

Since October 2014, Davidoff has been helping celebrate milestone anniversaries of its appointed merchants by producing limited edition cigars. In the case of Corona Cigar Co. in Orlando, Fla., Davidoff isn’t just making a cigar for the store’s 20th anniversary, it’s using some of owner Jeff Borysiewicz’s tobacco in the blend.

The Davidoff Exclusive Corona FSG 20th Anniversary is a 6 x 52 belicoso that uses a uniquely tailored blend of Florida Sun Grown and Dominican tobacco in the filler, bound with Mexican San Andrés Negro and wrapped in an Ecuador Connecticut Rojiza leaf. Davidoff noted that the Florida Sun Grown tobacco was reviewed and quality controlled under the same standards that every Davidoff product is held to, with the tobacco adding a spicy flavor and complexity. The cigar itself delivers a rich, full bodied profile with exceptional palate stimulation, according to a press release.

“We are very proud to be working with Davidoff and there is no way better to celebrate our 20 year milestone of becoming a leader in premium cigar retailing,” said Jeff Borysiewicz, president and founder of Corona Cigar Company, via a press release. “Our unique and exclusive Florida tobacco farm has truly allowed our company to come full circle as a premium cigar retailer as well as the world’s only grower of prized Florida cigar tobacco. We are excited to be able to share with fellow aficionados this unique Davidoff cigar that is blended with our 2014 crop of heirloom Florida Sumatra seed tobacco that was grown on our farm in Clermont, Florida.”

“The Borysiewicz family has been trusted colleagues of Davidoff for over 20 years,” noted Richard Krutick, vice president of marketing for Davidoff of Geneva USA, adding that “as one of our largest partners, the collaboration to create a 20th Anniversary Exclusive Edition incorporating FSG was a natural decision. Davidoff and Jeff Borysiewicz share many of the same philosophies and principles regarding cigar retailing and tobacco cultivation. It’s important for Davidoff to support Jeff and his family in their efforts to grow and protect the premium cigar industry in the US.”

*Credit: Patrick Lagrid, Halfwheel

2017 Habanos S.A. Release List Leaks

It’s August and once the Habanos S.A. release list for the proceeding year has leaked.

The Brazilian website Conexão Tabaco has posted the list, which includes a handful of Montecristo additions amongst others.

According to Conexão Tabacothe 2017 releases are:

Duty Free Exclusives

  • Hoyo de Monterrey Petit Belicoso — 4 11/12 (125mm) x 52 — Boxes of 15

Edición Limitada 2017

  • Cohiba Talisman — 6 1/12 (154mm) X 54 — Boxes of 10
  • Partagás Serie No.1 — 5 5/12 (138mm) x 52 — Boxes of 25
  • Punch Regios de Punch — 4 3/4 (120mm) x 48 — Boxes of 25

Gran Reserva

  • H.Upmann Sir Winston — 7 (178mm) x 47 — 5,000 Boxes of 15

La Casa del Habano Exclusives

  • H.Upmann Connoisseur B — 5 11/12 (150mm) x 54 — Boxes of 25
  • Trinidad La Trova — 6 1/2 (166mm) x 52 — Boxes of 12

Regular Production

  • Montecristo Dumas — 5 1/8 (130mm) x 49 — Boxes of 20
  • Montecristo Leyenda — 6 1/2 (165mm) x 55 — Boxes of 20
  • Montecristo Maltes — 6 (153mm) x 53 — Boxes of 20
  • Romeo y Julieta Petit Royales — 3 3/4 (95mm) x 47 — Boxes of 20; Packs of 3
  • Quai D’Orsay Alma — 5 3/10 (135mm) x 54 — Boxes of 10; Boxes of 25
  • Quai D’Orsay Gourmet — 4 1/3 (110mm) x 50 — Boxes of 10; Boxes of 25
  • Quintero Favoritos — 4 1/2 (115mm) x 50 — Packs of 3

Special Release

  • Bolivar Mundiales — 6 1/3 (160mm) x 56 — Humidors of 115
  • El Rey del Mundo Imperio — 7 1/11 (180mm) x 54 — Humidors of 50
While the information has not been confirmed by Habanos S.A., over the past few years leaks around this time have proven to be highly accurate.
*Credit: Charlie Minato, Halfwheel

New Cigar release: Camacho Check Six

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Camacho is proud to announce the latest addition to its Brotherhood Series, the new Camacho Check Six.

Built with the impenetrable character of the Original Corojo, Camacho Check Six pays tribute to the unbreakable bond between those who watch their brother’s six no matter what. In honor of those bold individuals who stand side by side to protect our freedom, Camacho deploys its latest addition to the Brotherhood Series with a cigar built from the legendary tobacco we fought to defend.

Backed by integrity and bound by virtue, this is one cigar that yields to no other. Celebrating those who prove themselves through actions, not words. A rare breed of individuals who stop at nothing to lay everything on the line for what matters most. Always doing what’s right, never what’s easy. Confirming that there are no limits when it comes to solidarity.

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“We are very excited about this second release under our Brotherhood Series. While the concept was inspired by a common bond shared amongst the military brotherhood, it is also aspirational for many. We all have those people in our lives that we know have our back. By extension, it is also understood that you have theirs as well. This is the cigar to share with those special individuals,” said Dylan Austin, Vice President of Marketing for Davidoff of Geneva USA.

At the core of the new Camacho Check Six is a tri-country blend of Original Corojo, San Vicente and Criollo tobaccos. These powerful filler tobaccos combine to add a depth of strength, complexity and flavor to the overall experience. The addition of a Criollo 98 binder from Nicaragua amps up the pepper notes, while the Habana 2000 wrapper from Ecuador adds roundness and excellent combustion to the blend.

*Credit: Cigar Inspector

La Gloria Cubana Launches Serie R Esteli Maduro

La Gloria Cubana is launching two new lines, one created solely for sale at brick and mortar cigar shops and the other developed for internet and catalog retailers.

Serie R Esteli made Cigar Aficionado’s list of the Top 25 Cigar of 2014. With a 91 rating, the magazine called the line “one of the best La Glorias in years.”  This outstanding collection is now being extended to include a new Maduro offering created exclusively for brick and mortar retailers. Made with the same Nicaraguan-forward blend that won the brand critical acclaim, the new expression is wrapped in rich Connecticut Broadleaf to deliver a cigar that’s medium in strength, deep in sweetness and brimming with leather notes and spice.

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With large ring vitolas, deep, rich flavor and a bold Nicaraguan blend, La Gloria Cubana `debuted Serie R Black as an unbeatable addition to the Serie R line. The trend continues with the addition of La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Maduro. This deep and full-bodied smoke delivers a powerhouse of flavor, filled with pepper, earth and coffee notes and the slightly sweet, creamy taste that can only be found with an aged Maduro wrapper.  With an SRP of less than $8, Serie R Black Maduro has all the makings of a top-selling new smoke for cigar lovers who demand Nicaraguan flavor at an accessible price.

*Credit: Written by BigO from Cigar Weekly.

Gurkha Partners With Hartfield & Company For Bourbon Collection

Gurkha Cigars has partnered with Kentucky-based Hartfield & Company for a new line of bourbon-infused cigars, the Gurkha Bourbon Collection.

The company isn’t disclosing specific details about the blend, other than that two wrappers are being used for the project. The Churchill vitola (7 x 47, $12) uses a maduro wrapper from an undisclosed country, while the Toro (6 1/2 x 52, $10) uses a natural wrapper, again from an undisclosed origin. The company is hailing them as medium-bodied with richness from the bourbon infusion and a balanced and complex profile.

“There is no better marriage than pairing Gurkha’s premium leaf with Kentucky’s own Hartfield & Company’s small-batch bourbon,” said Kaizad Hansotia, founder and ceo of Gurkha Cigars. “This union provides an incredible sensory experience that releases the rich taste of the leaf and the smoothness of their handcrafted bourbon like no other. We’re excited to announce our collaboration with Hartfield & Company and launch our new cigars at this year’s IPCPR show.”

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“When thinking about what Gurkha has meant to the cigar community for decades, it was incredibly humbling when they asked us, a new craft distillery, to join them in this partnership,” said Andrew Buchanan, founder and head distiller at Hartfield & Company. “Combining the legacy of Gurkha Cigars with our handcrafted bourbon made in Bourbon County, KY, was simply too incredible to pass up. In creating our bourbon, we focused on the complexity of the flavor and the experience we wanted when we sat down with a glass of bourbon. A fine cigar company does much the same thing. With two expertly crafted products combined into one, you have the chance to broaden the flavor profile and enhance the overall experience. Partnering with Gurkha Cigars seemed to be a very natural fit.”

According to a press release from Gurkha Cigars, Hartfield & Company is the first distillery to open in Bourbon County, KY, since 1919. It was founded in 2014 by Andrew and Larissa Buchanan, and is the first distillery to reestablish itself in the birthplace of Bourbon.

“Our Bourbon Whiskey brings together the flavors of corn and rye, both of which are Kentucky sourced, and malted barley that creates a grain-forward, balanced bourbon,” said Buchanan. “Caramel, vanilla and oak are all present. They combine with smoke and leather from the barley, pepper from the rye and sweetness from the corn that results in a new style of bourbon from the home of bourbon: Bourbon County, Ken.”

*Credit: Patrick lagreid from Halfwheel.

*Image via Hartfield & Co.’s Facebook page.