Today began with the General Cigar booth. The trip took two hours. There is a lot to see. Starting with Macanudo, the company is releasing another Estate Reserve. What makes this cigar unique, aside from its limitation of only 1800 boxes per size, is that it goes back to Macanudo’s roots in Jamaica. The cigar features a Connecticut Shade wrapper over a Mexican binder, but the fillers are from Jamaica. Macanudo was originally made in Jamaica and used local tobacco in the blend. This one harkens back to that time. Coming in three sizes, a 5” x 50 Robusto for $16, a 7” x 50 Churchill at $17 and a 6” x 57 Belicoso for $18.
Dunhill’s Signed Range got a facelift and the company has released its Dunhill 1907 a couple of months ago.
Rick of the Jungle
CAO has been more ambitious. Rick Rodriguez has been playing with a unique tobacco. The tobacco is called Braganca and comes from deep within the Amazon jungle. The crop is organically grown by the tribes who live in the jungle. Of course it is organic, they have no other chemicals or tools at their disposal. The tobacco is harvested once every three years and then takes six months to cure. The tobacco itself is unique, having had a small sample of it a couple of years ago I can say by itself I can see why the locals probably use it for religious and medicinal uses. Ricky says in the blend the tobacco is earthy and nutty and a pleasantly dry finish. Because of the low yield of the crop and it’s harvesting every three years, the Amazon Basin will be a limited production. In addition to the Braganca, the blend uses Nicaraguan binder and filler with an Ecuadoran Sumatran wrapper. There is one size 6” x 52 and will cost $9.25 per stick. The band on the cigar is also made out of tobacco.
The tobacco for Colombia is grown by a family of farmers in a remote mountainous section of the country. It is derived from an original Cuban seed, but that was back in the 1820s so the tobacco has changed a bit since then. Ica Mazinga, as the strain is known, has a toasty nutty flavor and adds to this medium bodied cigar. It comes in four sizes ranging from 5” x 50 to 6” x 60 and priced between $6 -$7.75.
La Gloria Cubana has its final Rival Twin package. This is a friendly rivalry between La Gloria Cubana’s Dominican factory and the Honduran factory. It comes in a unique double box, which is held together by magnets. It is pretty cool. The Dominican blend uses Ecuadoran wrapper and binder with Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers. The Honduras version uses a Honduran wrapper over an Indonesian binder and Honduran, Mexican and Colombian fillers. These cigars measure 8” x 52 and cost $9.50.
La Gloria also is back with its Trunk Show, for this year there are only 500 boxes of each blend. The Liga YG 23 (from Yuri Guillen) uses a Connecticut wrapper over Dominican binder and Dominican, Brazilian and Nicaraguan fillers. Jhonys Diaz has his Liga JD-05 and it uses an Ecuadoran Wrapper and Binder with Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. And Michael Giannini has his MG-08 using Ecuadoran wrapper over Connecticut Habano binder with Honduran, Colombian and Nicaraguan fillers. Each cigar is 7.25” x 54 and will retail for $9.95.
Back to the Future
Speaking of Michael Giannini (the creative director of General and head of Foundry Tobacco Company), he is back at it again. His newest creation is the Worm Hole, which takes smokers from 1964 to 2014 to 2064. For the 1964, Giannini plays off of the New York World’s Fair booth General Cigar had. It was the one that produced smoke rings and was a look into the future ( from 1964’s viewpoint) . There are two sizes in the 64 series—Expect and The Unexpected. The 2014 series is Worm and Hole and the 2064 series is Hell-i-EN and Hal-ion, As usual Giannini does not talk about the blends because he wants people to experience it without any preconceived notions. But he says for the 2064 series he expects it to be using tobacco from Mars. He thinks we will grow it there one day. These Foundry cigars run just below and above $8.
The Compounds series has three new additions, Dubnium, Lithium and Cobalt. These run under $7.
Another limited production is the Rare Air. This is an interesting product in that General is using some very old seeds. The seeds were found many years ago in an old warehouse. They were from the 1960s and maybe even earlier. Over the past few years, the company has been regenerating these seeds. The first seed that gave the company the idea was a Habano seed grown in Connecticut. Under the supervision of then president Daniel Nunez the company developed the old seed back into a viable crop. From that germination, the company has been taking other seeds as part of the Mao Project where it is bringing these other old seeds back to life. Giannini is taking these small batches of tobacco and putting them into the Rare Air. These are truly rare tobaccos and the price for these cigars is $9.45.
Foundry also is releasing a value prices line called Chillin Moose. It comes in three sizes – Corona, Robusto and Gigante—and runs between $3.25 and $4.