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14
Feb

Can you believe that it’s already 2018? 2017 sure went by in a flash! Let’s take a look at some of the top stories from the industry this year.

Personnel Changes at Major Cigar Companies

Let’s start by talking about major personnel changes. There were quite a few staff changes at the top of major cigar companies this year.

For starters, in January, Drew Estate’s co-founder Jonathan Drew became the company’s president.

At Davidoff in August, Andreas Schmid and CEO Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard both made their departures while Domenico Scala Beat Hauenstein took over as new chairmen for the company.

Meanwhile, Mark Pursell departed his role as CEO of IPCPR in September. In October, Janelle Rosenfeld left her post as VP of Marketing for Altadis U.S.A. Terence Reilly, National Sales Manager at Quesada, departed his company as well.

That same month, Michael Giannini joined Ventura Cigar Co. as Creative Director. In November, Swisher International selected John Miller as President.

Miscellaneous Industry News

  • We lost several industry greats this year. Gilberto F. Oliva Sr. passed away at age 86 this December, as did José Orlando Padrón at age 91. This March, we also lost Avo Uvezian, who died just two days after his 91st birthday. While we lament the passing of these legendary men, their legacies will live on through their celebrated brands.
  • This year marked the 25th anniversary of Cigar Aficionado, the industry’s most prominent publication.
  • On a related note, Apple Inc. decided this year that it has a beef with cigars. The company decided to remove Cigar Aficionado’s popular Where to Smoke app from the App Store. Apple argued that the app was in violation of its TOS despite the fact that it does not promote or sell specific products.
  • Room101 branched out into spirits in November. The famous cigar brand now has its very own gin label.
  • Hurricane Irma took its toll on cigar companies in Florida in September. Many were forced to temporarily shut down their operations until the storm passed. Nonetheless, the industry was very generous with helping out the broader community in the wake of the storm. Both Tabacalera USA and a boutique cigar company called EPC Cigar Co. donated substantially to relief efforts.
  • A few companies made notable expansions this year. Casa de Montecristo has new locations in Arizona and Florida. Davidoff opened up a brand new Camacho Factory. La Flor Domincana expanded its Tamboril factory in the Dominican Republic.

Cuba

Now that we’ve gone over some general industry news, let’s talk a bit about developments concerning Cuba in 2017. Let me go over the timeline:

  • First, let’s put things in perspective. In 2016, 4 million tourists visited Cuba. The Ministry of Tourism in Cuba reported that was a jump in 13% over the prior year. It was also a record. Many of those travelers came from the USA. After Obama opened up relations with Cuba, there were finally flights scheduled between the US and Cuba on a regular basis again.
  • Early in 2017, a number of airlines decided to either restrict their flights to Cuba or end them altogether. These included American Airlines, Spirit, Frontier, JetBlue, and Silver Airways.
  • In June, Trump announced a new set of limits on trade and travel relations between Cuba and the US.
  • In September, unusual circumstances at the US embassy in Havana resulted in the State Department culling back personnel so that only emergency staff would remain on hand.
  • In November, yet more restrictions were announced by Trump’s administration. You can still transport cigars from Cuba to the United States, but you must “fit into the revised travel categories” in order to do so.

So while the doors are not totally closed, they are moving in that direction. It has once again become challenging to find flights to and from Cuba, and many hotels in Cuba no longer accept US citizens.

On top of that, you can only visit Cuba if you fit into one of the previously mentioned “travel categories.” These include:

  • Family visits
  • Government business
  • Journalism
  • Business-related travel
  • Education
  • Religious travel
  • Public performances
  • Support for the people of Cuba
  • Humanitarian ventures
  • Private foundations
  • Information-related imports and exports
  • Other select exports

So can you still take a flight to Cuba, get off and buy cigars, and return home with them? Sure, but you will need to have a legal excuse for your presence there.

On the Legal Front

The easiest way to go over legal highlights from 2017 is just to review them chronologically as well. Here’s the rundown of major events:

  • April saw the publication of a scientific research study in The New England Journal of Medicine. The FDA provided funding for the study, which demonstrated that kids are not smoking premium cigars. Yes, we all knew this—but the FDA didn’t, so this research is important.
  • Several states raised their legal smoking age to 21 years. This included New Jersey in July, and Maine and Oregon in August.
  • In August, it was announced that the cost of cigars in New York City is set to increase significantly.
  • There was some actual good news in September in the House of Representatives. An act called “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018 (H.R. 3354)” would prohibit the FDA from regulating the premium cigar industry. It passed in the House, but still needs to pass in the Senate.
  • In October, International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers, the Cigar Association of America and the Cigar Rights of America all filed motions against the FDA concerning product labeling rules. The FDA filed back on October 24th. On December 15th, the case went to court, and is still awaiting a ruling. The case is titled, Cigar Association of America, et al. v. United States Food and Drug Administration.
  • Also in October, the FDA clarified that free samples of cigars are not completely banned. They simply cannot be given out until a customer purchases a cigar.
  • 29 Republican congressmen submitted a letter to Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in December. The letter requested that premium cigars be removed from the FDA’s regulatory sphere. There is also a relevant bill in Congress (Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2017 (H.R. 564) which has garnered 133 bipartisan co-sponsors. It has yet to be passed by either the House or the Senate.

Now you are up-to-date on all the biggest events to shape the cigar industry through 2017. While there have been some losses on the legislative front, particularly with regards to Cuba, the industry overall has been strong. There are a lot of exciting cigar releases awaiting us in 2018, so it should be a great year ahead!

You might be interested in these articles too:

2017 in Review: Cigar Industry Highlights

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CigarStash.com – the ultimate cigars shopping tool!

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13
Feb

Origin : Dominican Rep & Nicaragua
Format : Cañonazo
Size : 52 x 6″
Hand-Made
Price : ~17€ (20$)

Bought at Mellgrens Fine Tobacco, in Sweden.
Aged in my humidor for 3 years, so this cigar have the old style bands.

Tasting

Location: This review was made indoor in a cigar lounge.

Wrapper: Milk chocolate, oily smooth with tiny veins.

Construction: Firm even feel.

Cold draw: Light dry hay note with a touch of citrus.

1st third:
Starts of with a light cedar note, a touch of medium roasted coffee and a finisher of milk chocolate of the creamy variety.
There is also a smooth creamy nougat taste.

2nd third:
Keeps the same creamy notes but with a citrus under tone which is quite subtle but perfect contribution to give an interesting twist.

The burn: Burns sharp, amazing white stable and firm ash.

Smoke: Smooth creamy voluminous smoke, white and cool.

3rd third:
The coffee notes emerge and are more promoted now than in the beginning. Still very enjoyable and smooth. Keeps the wonderful flavors from previous parts, all the way till the very end.

Conclusion:
Such a wonderful cigar, very rare to come across a cigar this well balanced between parts. Medium in bodied and power wise.

Result: In my book this is a 96 point cigar.

/Cigarmaster André

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Bespoke Cigars Basilica C No.1

Post from CigarInspector.com

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View full post on Cigar Reviews and Ratings at Cigar Inspector

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13
Feb

Origin : Dominican Rep & Nicaragua
Format : Cañonazo
Size : 52 x 6″
Hand-Made
Price : ~17€ (20$)

Bought at Mellgrens Fine Tobacco, in Sweden.
Aged in my humidor for 3 years, so this cigar have the old style bands.

Tasting

Location: This review was made indoor in a cigar lounge.

Wrapper: Milk chocolate, oily smooth with tiny veins.

Construction: Firm even feel.

Cold draw: Light dry hay note with a touch of citrus.

1st third:
Starts of with a light cedar note, a touch of medium roasted coffee and a finisher of milk chocolate of the creamy variety.
There is also a smooth creamy nougat taste.

2nd third:
Keeps the same creamy notes but with a citrus under tone which is quite subtle but perfect contribution to give an interesting twist.

The burn: Burns sharp, amazing white stable and firm ash.

Smoke: Smooth creamy voluminous smoke, white and cool.

3rd third:
The coffee notes emerge and are more promoted now than in the beginning. Still very enjoyable and smooth. Keeps the wonderful flavors from previous parts, all the way till the very end.

Conclusion:
Such a wonderful cigar, very rare to come across a cigar this well balanced between parts. Medium in bodied and power wise.

Result: In my book this is a 96 point cigar.

/Cigarmaster André

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Bespoke Cigars Basilica C No.1

Post from CigarInspector.com

CigarStash.com – the ultimate cigars shopping tool!

View full post on Cigar Reviews and Ratings at Cigar Inspector

leave a comment
13
Feb

Origin : Dominican Rep & Nicaragua
Format : Cañonazo
Size : 52 x 6″
Hand-Made
Price : ~17€ (20$)

Bought at Mellgrens Fine Tobacco, in Sweden.
Aged in my humidor for 3 years, so this cigar have the old style bands.

Tasting

Location: This review was made indoor in a cigar lounge.

Wrapper: Milk chocolate, oily smooth with tiny veins.

Construction: Firm even feel.

Cold draw: Light dry hay note with a touch of citrus.

1st third:
Starts of with a light cedar note, a touch of medium roasted coffee and a finisher of milk chocolate of the creamy variety.
There is also a smooth creamy nougat taste.

2nd third:
Keeps the same creamy notes but with a citrus under tone which is quite subtle but perfect contribution to give an interesting twist.

The burn: Burns sharp, amazing white stable and firm ash.

Smoke: Smooth creamy voluminous smoke, white and cool.

3rd third:
The coffee notes emerge and are more promoted now than in the beginning. Still very enjoyable and smooth. Keeps the wonderful flavors from previous parts, all the way till the very end.

Conclusion:
Such a wonderful cigar, very rare to come across a cigar this well balanced between parts. Medium in bodied and power wise.

Result: In my book this is a 96 point cigar.

/Cigarmaster André

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Bespoke Cigars Basilica C No.1

Post from CigarInspector.com

CigarStash.com – the ultimate cigars shopping tool!

View full post on Cigar Reviews and Ratings at Cigar Inspector

leave a comment
09
Feb

Origin : CubaH. Upmann
Format : Robusto
Size : 124 x 50 ring gauge
Hand-Made
Strength : Light to Medium
Price : ~ € 13 / $ 15 each
More info about purchasing H. Upmann cigars…

H. Upmann cigars are classified by Habanos S.A. as light to medium strength and as a global brand in their portfolio.
The brand was first introduced in 1844.
The Anejados concept was introduced first in 2015 with the Romeo Y Julieta Piramides Anejados. Since then Cuba has released few cigar with a double band mentioning the concept name: Anejados. All these cigars have been aged in Cuba for 5 years or more, allowing the blend to be rounded and mellower when released.
Se far I haven’t had a very impressive cigar coming out of this new range from Habanos S.A.
Let’s see what the H Upmann Robusto tells us…

Draw : 5 out of 6 stars
Burn : 4 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 4.5 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 4 out of 6 stars
Strength : 3 out of 6 stars

Tasting

The cigar starts quite strong for an H Upmann. The brand characteristic develops creamy texture and light to medium strength. The beginning brings some spiciness in the back f the tongue. The draw is perfect but the cigar sometimes shows signs of weak burn even though the ash quickly reveal a great construction by standing long.
The draw is sometimes too easy. I have always liked a bit of resistance to my cigars and do not enjoy a fast burning cigar so much.
The strength decreases on the second part of the cigar turning light to medium and a slight creaminess finally appears after the bitter and vegetal first part.
The vegetal part also linked to fresh cigars sometimes is present until half way but do not bother me much as the balance is very enjoyable. Not at all a typical H Upmann flavour profile.

Past half way the cigar really opens up and wonderful flavours come up. I can read on my tasting notes “SO GOOD”. Creaminess, sweetness, lots of nuts, and roasted almonds appears. Allowing a round feeling yet very complex. It is a nice journey as the cigar evolves a lot even though it isn’t one of these big format.

Until the end, the intensity is high, the strength balanced and the flavours very rich. It reminds me of the 2005 Magnum 46 in packs of 3 we could still find not long ago in some cigar shops.

The last third is quite impressive. No bitterness, high acidity allowing the flavours to linger for long on the palate. Very interesting intensity. Stronger than expected but great nutty flavours and creamy structure.

Conclusion

Probably the best anejados cigar from Habanos. Very promising cigar, great size and nice complexity. It should get rounder and rounder over the years.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – H Upmann Robusto Anejados

Post from CigarInspector.com

CigarStash.com – the ultimate cigars shopping tool!

View full post on Cigar Reviews and Ratings at Cigar Inspector

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