The Show Begins
The 82nd annual International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association trade show is underway in Las Vegas. There were seminars held Saturday along with a welcoming cocktail party. Sunday had the retailer breakfast where the group was introduced to the organization’s new CEO Mark Pursell and was told not to panic about the FDA. California Congressman Jeff Denham said this year that Congress might change control and if it does, that could be the best thing for the retailers as a way to stop the FDA.
SPAIN and SHORT
At the Quesada cigar booth this year, the family was showing off its 40th anniversary cigars. They actually were unveiled at this year’s Pro Cigar. While the limited editions of this cigar were quickly snatched up and are sold out (well, we still have some), the plan is for the blend to continue as part of Quesada’s core line in the Toro Real at 6” x 65, a Toro at 6“ x 54 and a Robusto at 5” x 52. They will retail from just under $9 to $10. The new packaging for the Oktoberfest is clean and nice—it was done so consumers can differentiate between the different year vintages because, since each year is a limited release and the blend slightly changes year to year, the old packaging did not show the release year. Oktoberfest comes in 6 sizes ranging from the Uber at 6” x 65 to the Krone at 5” x 43. Prices run from $7.25 to $9.50.
The biggest news was that the wildly popular and very limited Quesada España is now being offered to U.S. retailers. The cigar was developed for the Spanish market and is a fantastic blend. A handful of stores across the country did have some, but now more accounts will be opened. The Españas come in three sizes, a Robusto, Short Robusto and the magnificent corona with prices hitting $7.25 to $8.50.
The newest thing from Quesada is a brand new petit smoke called the Quesada Petits. This is a 4” x 25 (yup really narrow) short smoke. It uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over Dominican tobaccos and unlike many other petits it is handmade and uses long filler. This little stick packs a punch. Priced at $11 for a 10-pack, it is a good value for either cold winter nights, or even for the blistering Vegas heat.
From Drew Estate, there are extensions to ACID, Kentucky Fire Cured, Herrera Esteli and the MUWAT lines. One of the company’s most popular ACID cigars is the Blondie and now it is coming in a maduro version. The company has changed out the traditional Connecticut Shade wrapper with one from San Andres, fermented to a dark maduro color. The company says it will make the Blondie a little bolder.
Speaking of Mexican wrappers, the Herrera line is getting Norteño, which translates to northerner. Willy Herrera has been working on this blend for over a year. He had some samples at last year’s show, but he was not satisfied with the blend as we have noted before. The new cigar is a maduro using the Mexican San Andres wrapper over a spicy Honduran binder. The fillers come from Esteli and Jalapa in Nicaragua. There will be six sizes: Coronita at 4” x 46, Corona Extra at 4.75” x 48, Belicoso Fino at 5” x 50, Robusto Grande at 5.5” x 54, Toro at 6” x 50 and the Lonsdale Deluxe at 6.5” x 44. The prices range from $9 to $12.
The Kentucky Fire Cured line, which debuted last year, is adding three sizes to its portfolio. Delfinas is a 6” x 26; Kyotos is 5.5” x 34 and the Hamhock is a 3.75” x 56.
And the MUWAT line is getting Nightcrawler, which is a 4.5” x 50 robusto, but it is based on the stronger Baitfish blend. MUWAT also got a facelift for its packaging.