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J.C. Newman Adding Diamond Crown Julius Corona

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.

*Credit: Halfwheel

Fidel Castro Dead At 90

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.

fidel_castro

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.

*Credit: Halfwheel

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

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

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.”

Gurkha-Hartfield-and-Company

“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.