JR Cigar’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

January 1, 2021

In 1971, Lew Rothman opened a small tobacco shop in New York City. Using his father’s initials, the founder eventually grew J&R Tobacco from its humble little storefront to become the hottest online cigar retailer. For 50 years, we have provided our customers with the highest quality products at the best possible price. This year, we are celebrating not just our storied past, but our bright future.

JR Cigar will be instituting a large and celebrated campaign for all of 2021. This celebration acknowledges and thanks our loyal and dedicated customers, employees, and manufacturing partners. This year is not just about us, but about everyone involved in making us the company, we are today.

JR's 50th Anniversary

We’re rolling out several new projects to make 2021 our best year yet. We’ve teamed up with several of our top manufacturers to bring in exclusive brands, limited editions, and private-label cigars. These projects celebrate not just our 50 years in business but showcase the craftsmanship and ingenuity of our partners. You can expect releases from esteemed companies such as Altadis U.S.A., Rocky Patel, Crowned Heads, Aganorsa, Alec & Bradley, and several more.

JR Cigar will also introduce limited-edition accessories. From humidors to cutters and ashtrays, these items will be one-of-a-kind and made of the highest quality. Engagement with our customers has always been important to us. We’re offering several promotions and sweepstakes in appreciation of our customers’ support over the years.

Yes, 2020 was a difficult year, but as always, we are looking to the future.  We are excited to have everyone join us in our 50th Anniversary celebration – and to 50 more years of success!

The History of JR Cigar Part I

For nearly 50 years, JR Cigar has been at the center of the cigar marketplace. With a store that stems from very humble beginnings, find out all you need to know about the growth and history of JR Cigar.

JR History

The Beginning

JR Cigar, named after Lew Rothman’s father Jack Rothman, officially opened its door for business on March 10, 1971, on 6th Avenue and 46th in NYC.

As Lew Rothman stated, the first customer in the door bought a pack of Tijuana Smalls Aromatic (a tipped little cigar in a pack of 10) for what he recalls as a whopping 29 cents.

During the balance of the week, customers would come and go asking about the price of cigars such as Te-Amo, Bering, and about 30 other brand inquiries. No matter what price Lew told them, they said they could get them cheaper somewhere else.

He got educated about market prices pretty fast, and so at the start of week number two, JR went from a full-price retailer to a cut-rate operation, which is the term everyone uses for the high-volume discount stores of the day.

He accomplished this task by purchasing all kinds of factory seconds and overruns and loading them up from the floor to the ceiling. Within six months, JR Cigar was a box office business, selling these cigars for the very best prices in the city.

At this point, Lew needed more than just the cheap second’s formula, so he started buying Miami-made cigars that no one outside of the Latin community in New York had ever heard of, including the now-famous Padron cigars.

Later down the road, fate took a giant turn for the better when Lew came up with a brilliant idea of making two giant signs that covered the store’s entire windows. The signs said, “BUSINESS STINKS SALE.”

One of the most popular New York columnists was Earl Wilson, who must have seen the signs and written about it in his column. All the TV stations picked up on the business stinks story, and JR Cigar became famous overnight.

Finally, in 1971, a Texas businessman who frequented the store when he was in the city asked if we could mail his cigars back to his home state. Lew agreed, and are now thriving mail-order business was born.   This is the red-letter day in our company’s history.

The 1970s

In late 1974, just five countries made handmade premium cigars. The countries were Spain (the Canary Islands), Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica, and Nicaragua.

Our biggest selling brands at the time were as follows:

There were many other lesser-known brands on the market trying to emulate the taste of these enormously popular cigars, so we decided to copy them all with just one brand called the JR Alternative.

These highly respected cigars changed the face of the company from when the line was launched in early 1975. Sold in affordable bundles of 20, and made in the same or similar factories as their original counterparts, the JR Alternative remains one of our most popular brands today.

Thanks solely to the huge JR Alternative line, this tiny little store added three more employees just to handle the enormous sales of these value-priced premium cigars.

The years 1976, 1977, and 1978 became one of the biggest growth spurts in the company’s history when Excalibur, JR Ultimate, and the Santa Clara cigar brands were produced.  Today, the JR Ultimate, available in every conceivable size, shape, and wrapper color is widely considered one the best Honduran cigars ever made.

Equally important was the fact that we became direct importers of cigars and got into the business of buying large Job Lots (close-outs of cigars from failing or cash-starved companies, or cigars that the public refused to buy at their original prices).

By the end of 1977, JR had become a major player in the cigar industry and had started to become a wholesale supplier to other stores as well.

By the end of 1978, people began writing stories about our left and right. The New York Times did a feature-length story about us followed by Consumer Reports, then a slew of travel books and “where to buy books” picked upon us and in a very short time. There was virtually no periodical that didn’t have JR listed as the best place on the planet to buy cigars.

The 1980s

All through the 1980s, our company grew in leaps and bounds with three stores in Manhattan, soon followed by Detroit, Washington DC, and two franchises in Philadelphia and Tel Aviv, Israel; culminating with a location in Dallas, Texas.

During this period, our home office moved to Tuxedo, New York, and was manned by four employees that handled all the mail order calls.

Our catalog operation grew exponentially. Smokers in all 50 states looked forward to receiving and reading our humorously written catalogs that were rife with Rothman’s side-splitting sense of humor.

In 1987, our home office moved to Fairfield, NJ. This was a huge facility that became home to our huge fully humidified warehouse, mail-order operation, and a cigar outlet that featured cigars, perfume, and various other items that would appeal to more than just cigar shoppers.

The 1990s

In 1991, due to prohibitive taxes on the sale of cigars, we ceased shipping cigars out of our NJ location and set up shop in Selma, N.C.

This location included a giant warehouse and a super-store that featured not only cigars but just about anything you can think of, from can openers to canoes.

Selma became the gateway for snowbirds traveling from the east coast states to sunny Florida. Yet another super-store followed this in Statesville, 90 miles east of the Selma.

This location was strategically located to serve the locals, as well as” snowbirds” traveling to the sunshine state from Canada and the Midwest.

Then came the cigar boom that started in 1993. Thanks largely impart to the magazine Cigar Aficionado, premium cigars became associated with the luxury lifestyle championed by the Baby Boomers; then 30- or 40-somethings.

All this spelled good news for JR Cigar, which by then ranked as one of the largest distributors and retailers of premium and mass-market cigars in the world.

Yet, according to Rothman, major manufacturers, who increased their production by 50 percent or more, still could not meet the distribution demands of a swelling market. This created a situation in which there were 80 million cigars on backorder.

By 1994, the scarcity of premium cigars caused a horde of start-up companies. Over 150 small manufacturers of inferior cigars sprang up to meet the new need to provide smokers with poorly aged or inferior tobacco, thus inundating the American market with lower-quality cigars.

These “Don Nobodies” sold for as much as the better-quality cigars. In addition, the massive increase in cigar smoking drove up prices by as much as 20 percent per year.

In a bold, risky move, Lew Rothman decided that he would only sell cigars to our established customers and refused to meet the supply and demand created by smokers looking to start what they called this hot new fad.

Then, in the late 1990s, the situation reversed. By 1997 the major manufacturers had caught up with production demands and these overpriced “Don Nobodies’ cigars were being sold by yours truly for drastically reduced prices.

With no competitors of its scope or scale, JR Cigar experienced greater than the combined growth of its closest four or five competitors.

Due to this tremendous growth, we outgrew our Fairfield NJ location and moved our home operation to Whippany New Jersey.

This giant building in the heart of Morris County became home to our mail-order operation, executive offices, a giant cigar Store, men’s shop, and perfume outlet. Alongside this, it was home to the gorgeous Montecristo lounge that featured a lush and luxurious lounge, wine shop, bar, and a restaurant.

In 1998 the company formed a subsidiary, JR Tobacco of Burlington, Inc., which opened a new 28,000 square-foot JR Outlet Center in North Carolina. This served as a distribution point and shipping facility for the company’s retail and wholesale accounts.

The fully humidified warehouse officially became the world’s largest Humidor. The outlet also included a super-store that featured cigars, shirts, jeans, fishing rods, designer fragrances, and more.

After opening the new Burlington outlet, the company leased approximately 45 billboards on the interstate highway from Virginia right up to the front of the store.

During this time, the Big Apple became a renaissance era for JR Cigar, which now featured two new beautiful stores. The first was a gorgeous two-story location located on the corner of ritzy 5th Avenue and 46th street.

In March 1998, the company opened a 10,000-square-foot, upscale cigar humidor, and bar in the heart of New York’s financial district. This was located in the New York Cocoa Exchange, a building steeped in history and is known for its gorgeous architecture and luxurious decor.

To be continued…

The History of JR Cigars Part II

In the last installment of the History of JR Cigars, we ended in 1998, discussing our new stores in NYC  located on the corner of 5th Avenue and 46th Street.

We also focused on our 10,000-square-foot cigar humidor and bar in the heart of New York’s financial district. These gorgeous stores set the groundwork for more great things to come.

At JR Cigars, the growth has never stopped, and in this article, we’ll take a look at the fascinating history of JR Cigars from 2000 to 2020.


Due to the tremendous growth of our mail-order business, we created two mail-order facilities to handle the sheer volume of calls. One was located in our Whippany NJ headquarters, and the other was a satellite operation found next door to our large Burlington facility.

As mentioned in part one, Burlington is a 28,000-square-foot JR Outlet Center in North Carolina that also serves as a shipping facility for its retail and wholesale accounts. The center is a fully humidified cigar store, along with a superstore that features, shirts, jeans, household items, designer fragrances, and more.

With a huge emphasis on premium cigars, this superstore model also included locations in Selma and Statesville that helped make JR Cigar famous throughout the state of North Carolina. Strategically located, these three superstores became an enormously popular pit stop for snowbirds from Canada and the Northeast as they headed to the sunshine state of Florida.

Our retail presence throughout the rest of the country was amplified by our stunning Paramus and Whippany stores modeled after a turn-of-the-century cigar store in the Midwest.

To create a nostalgic aura, these NJ super stores featured antique showcases, yellowish room lighting of the era, and a wooden floor from a 100-year-old cigar factory in the Dominican Republic.

Additionally, many cigar boxes and bundles were prominently displayed on vintage cigar rolling machines used in this same factory. In fact, our Paramus and Whippany stores were featured in many major industry periodicals.

These pieces praised the stunning early Americana cigar store design that sat well with modern and cozy accommodations. The stores included plush seating, a full-service wine shop, and a restaurant along with then-revolutionary flat-screen TVs.

Our smaller yet equally impressive locations in Detroit and Washington DC primarily sold cigars, cigar accessories, and other tobacco-related products. The stores quickly received a complete remodeling and achieved record-breaking sales.


Unfortunately, the tragic events of 9/11 forced us to close our Wall Street Court store located just a few blocks away from the World Trade Center. Our elegant Fifth Avenue store became our only presence in New York City. Its stunning turn-of-the-century décor, inspired by our Paramus and Whippany locations, along with unbeatable prices, kept business booming throughout this turbulent time.

All the while, thanks to the thriving new era of social media, many of our customers began buying their cigars online directly from our website. This new demand caused our Burlington location to become our sole mail-order operation.

Our fully staffed state-of-the-art call center in Burlington remains a highly popular choice for smokers who would rather speak to one of our highly knowledgeable sales associates when placing an order from JR Cigars.

This new age of social media also helped our retail business grow immensely throughout the next two years. We created websites for every store in our chain and featured special events, guest vendor visits,  and affordable cigar deals specific to each location.

History of JR Cigars



In 2003, one of the biggest event events in JR Cigars history took place. Our privately-owned company was purchased by the huge tobacco conglomerate, Altadis USA.

Altadis USA, a division of Imperial Tobacco, was founded in 1918 and is home to famous brands such as:

Along with these highly regarded and top-selling brands, Altadis was also responsible for some of the most notable machine-made cigars on the market.

This acquisition put JR Cigars in a most enviable position. Not only were we the sole distributors for these highly sought after Altadis produced cigars, but we were also part of the manufacturing process, thus giving us a lion’s share of the profits and huge buying clout.


Late in 2014, our store on the corner of 5th Avenue and 46th street closed its doors for good, but this lack of presence in New York was short-lived, as we soon acquired two beautiful Cigar Inn locations at 1016 Second Ave and 334 East 73rd Street.

For many years the Cigar Inn stores served as a hot spot for the locals, along with celebrities, sports stars, politicians, and anyone else that was visiting the Big Apple and wanted to relax or enjoy a good cigar in a cozy lounge environment.

As stated in a press release by the former owners, the Fakih family said the following:

We have painstakingly built this business with passion and pride over many years, and we were very particular about who we selected to take this to the next level. We believe the new team is the right people to do this.

JR Cigars 50th Celebration


During this extended growth period, all our JR Cigars stores, including Cigar Inn, became known as Casa de Montecristo. These premier cigar stores focused their efforts on selling cigars and everything tobacco-related in the comfort of a modern and fully equipped cigar lounge atmosphere.

During this transitional period, the Statesville store closed in late 2014. It was replaced by the stunning new Casa de Montecristo lounge in Mooresville, North Carolina, which officially opened its doors in the spring of 2015.

Alongside the largest selection of premium cigars on the planet, the 5,700 square foot Casa de Montecristo lounge in Mooresville features a smoking lounge with two outdoor patios, 16 big screen HD TVs, a full bar complete with hand-crafted cocktails, and a huge selection of exclusive wine and craft beers.


The latest chapter in “The History of JR Cigars” began in April 2020 when Tabacalera USA acquired us. The transaction included half of Cuba’s Habanos SA, Tabacalera USA, Casa de Montecristo, JR Cigars, and some of the most famous cigar brands, including the above-mentioned Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo cigar lines.

Today, Casa de Montecristo, under the leadership of Tabacalera,  features 29 gorgeous shops across the USA. Casa de Montecristo’s mission is to be the premium cigar-lounge destination for you and your fellow cigar lovers.

In addition to these gorgeous locations, our ever-growing website and mail-order operation continue to offer smokers the opportunity to purchase their favorite cigars, humidors, pipes, accessories, and everything else tobacco-related from the comfort of their own homes.

Most importantly, we want to thank all our loyal JR Cigar customers for helping us achieve these monumental goals and for making our 50th Anniversary such a special milestone event.

Needless to say, we couldn’t have done it without you! We look forward to 50 more years of supplying you with all your smoking needs, including offering the fastest, freshest, and best services and prices on the web!

Romeo y Julieta Edicion Limitada JR 50th

For the inaugural release marking our 50th Anniversary year, JR Cigar is teaming up with another legendary name in the cigar industry – Altadis U.S.A. – to bring its customers Romeo y Julieta Edicion Limitada JR 50th, a special edition of the legendary Romeo y Julieta brand.

Once a popular and high-end part of the legendary Romeo portfolio, the Edicion Limitada is coming back to the market in a spectacular way.

“We are incredibly fortunate to work with JR Cigar on this momentous project,” said Rafael Nodal, Head of Product Capability for Altadis U.S.A. “From its complex blend to its packaging and even the band, Romeo y Julieta Edicion Limitada JR 50th is the perfect cigar to launch this year-long celebration. We are looking forward to many more years of working with the JR team,” Nodal said.

Romeo y Julieta Edicion Limitada JR 50th

The Romeo y Julieta Edicion Limitada JR 50th is handcrafted in the Dominican Republic at Tabacalera de Garcia and rolled with a wide variety of aged tobaccos from four different countries. It starts with Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos for a nutty and zesty core. The binder is a rich and flavorful Connecticut Broadleaf, while the finishing touch is an exquisite Criollo Mexicano wrapper.

The result of this blend is a complex and bold smoke that offers flavor transitions with each puff. Notes of pepper and spice combine with rich chocolate notes to create a complex, yet smooth and refined smoking experience.

This is a limited run project, so make sure to pick up your box before they are all gone!

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Crowned Heads Mother Church

As the celebration of our 50th Anniversary continues, JR Cigar is partnering with the iconic manufacturer Crowned Heads to bring a special limited release project to both companies’ loyal customers.  Mother Church is a cigar crafted to celebrate our golden anniversary and to pay homage to Crowned Heads’ roots in Nashville, Tennessee.

The cigar takes its name from the famed Ryman Auditorium®, Nashville’s legendary music venue. Formerly known as the Grand Ole Opry® House, the Ryman has played host to several of the most legendary musical acts of the last 100 years, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and the Foo Fighters. Due to its origins as The Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892, the venue has long been known as Mother Church by Nashville natives.

“When we were approached by JR to create a 50th Anniversary release, we wanted to do something that really spoke to Nashville and our ties to this great city,” said Crowned Heads co-founder Jon Huber. “The Ryman Auditorium, or Mother Church as we know it in Nashville, is an iconic part of the city’s history and is also something I’ve wanted to spotlight since we began Crowned Heads 10 years ago. The celebration of JR Cigar and their 50th anniversary is the perfect opportunity to bring this vision to fruition.”

Handcrafted in Nicaragua at Tabacalera Pichardo, the same factory responsible for Crowned Heads Mil Dias and Juarez lines, the Mother Church is rolled with a three-nation blend, ensuring complexity at every level. The filler is made with aged tobacco from three of the main growing regions of Nicaragua. For the binder, the team went with a bold, rich, and sweet Connecticut broadleaf. The wrapper is a flawless Ecuadorian Corojo 99 leaf.

At the first draw, touches of pepper, richness, and leather become apparent. What makes this blend truly enjoyable is the tobacco-like sweetness that grows with each puff. The slight hints of spice combined with the sweetness and inherent rich flavors from the binder make this an incredibly smooth and complex smoke that changes flavor throughout.

Offered in a unique box designed to resemble the stained glass windows and church-like features of the Ryman Auditorium, Mother Church by Crowned Heads is available in a 10-count quantity and in one size: 7 X 48 Churchill ($12.90 per cigar). Only 500 boxes were made, so pick up yours while you can!

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JFR Lunatic JR 50th Anniversary


For the next major release celebrating its 50th Anniversary, JR Cigar is collaborating with legendary manufacturer Aganorsa – the result is a spin on the Aganorsa Lunatic.

Widely known for its intense flavor and bigger ring gauge, this Limited Release Aganorsa Lunatic will be offered in an exclusive, smaller size, the 46 X 6 Toro.

“This is a tremendous celebration for JR Cigar and we are so proud to be a part of it,” says Terence Reilly, VP of Sales and Marketing for Aganorsa. “The Lunatic has always been one of our most popular lines and to bring in the smaller vitola is really going to give everyone an amazing smoking experience.”

The Aganorsa Lunatic JR 50th is hand-rolled in Nicaragua at Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A., Aganorsa’s main facility. The filler and binder are constructed of the legendary, sweet, and smooth Aganorsa tobacco, grown on Aganorsa’s own farms in Nicaragua. The wrapper is a silky-smooth Ecuadorian Habano leaf. The cigar also features a fringed foot, exposing portions of the binder and filler on the end.

JFR Lunatic JR 50th Anniversary

This blend is well-known to adult smokers who enjoy a Nicaraguan cigar with notes of pepper, leather, and tobacco sweetness prominent throughout. What makes this particular release special, however, is the thinner ring gauge. While the traditional Lunatic is known for its larger ring format, this thinner vitola enhances the flavor tremendously while reducing the strength slightly.

Offered in a 10-count box, The Aganorsa Lunatic JR 50th is available in one size: 46 X 6 Toro. Only 250 boxes were made for this project.

Priced at $9 per cigar & $81 per box.  Available now, only at JR Cigars.

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Davidoff JR 50th Anniversary

JR Cigar’s 50th Anniversary celebration continues with another exclusive project from one of the most legendary brands in the industry – Davidoff. The two companies are collaborating on an exclusive cigar to celebrate this exciting milestone with style.

“It is an honor to work on this project with a company as iconic as Davidoff,” says Nick Libretti, brand manager for JR Cigar. “The blend is extraordinary, leaning more towards a modern Davidoff blend with its complexity, yet it still has that signature smoothness and perfect construction.”

The Davidoff JR 50th is hand-rolled in the Dominican Republic at the Davidoff cigar factory, where all Davidoff cigars are made. The blend uses aged Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos for the filler, followed by a rich Negro San Andrés binder from Mexico. The finishing touch is an exquisite Ecuadorian wrapper, dark brown in color and rich in flavor.


This exclusive cigar is brimming with complex and intriguing flavors, including notes of spice and sweetness, with touches of oak throughout. It is a medium-full blend offering a combination of great flavor and a smooth, rich aroma.

Offered in a 10-count pack, the Davidoff JR 50th is available in one size: 52 X 6 Toro. Only 350 of these packs are being made for this very limited project.

Pick Up Yours Today at JR Cigars

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Aging Room JR 50th Anniversary

JR Cigar is adding another high-end offering to its 50th Anniversary lineup. Working closely with Rafael Nodal, Head of Product Capability at Tabacalera USA and famed Nicaraguan grower AJ Fernandez, JR Cigar is releasing a new vitola of the already legendary Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua.

A Nicaraguan puro, the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua is a stunning smoke with deep, rich flavors and outstanding construction. It was blended by Rafael Nodal and AJ Fernandez, using tobaccos grown on AJ’s farms throughout Nicaragua. It uses aged Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos, followed by a flawless Nicaraguan Sumatra wrapper.

Named the 2019 #1 Cigar of the Year by Cigar Aficionado Magazine, the Quattro Nicaragua was previously only available in a box-pressed format.  The JR 50th Anniversary edition is a custom-made Parejo (rounded) torpedo version.


“The Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua has been one of my absolute favorite blends I have developed with AJ Fernandez,” says Nodal.  “The Quattro line has always been box-pressed, but I asked AJ to make a small number of round cigars that I could enjoy and share with close friends. The resulting cigar turned out to provide an exceptional new experience for an already exceptional blend. I could not think of a more special cigar to use for JR’s 50th Anniversary Quattro Nicaragua than the 2019 Cigar of the Year in this very rare format.”

Offered in a 10-count box, the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua JR 50th is available in one size: 52 X 6 rounded Torpedo. This vitola is a limited edition, with less than 1,000 boxes produced.

Buy yours today at JR Cigars.

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JR Ultimate 50th Anniversary

With the 50th Anniversary celebration of JR Cigars continuing throughout the year, our team has partnered with legendary blender AJ Fernandez to release a brand new version of one of their oldest and most beloved house brands.

The JR Ultimate 50th Anniversary was crafted to pay homage to the Ultimate line, a series of exclusive cigars that dates back almost 40 years.  While the original JR Ultimate is considered a higher-end budget line, this new release updates and elevates the brand for a modern cigar smoker.


The original JR Ultimate was very much in line with the big cigar brands of the time.  IT used a primarily Honduran blend, was offered in several different sizes and strengths, and was packaged in traditional small cedar boxes.  For the new Ultimate, we wanted to make a house blend that represents the customer’s ever-changing preferences and palates.  We introduced a newer, more upscale box design and along with a much more complex and nuanced blend.

Handcrafted In Nicaragua at the famed Tabacalera AJ Fernandez, The Ultimate 50th is rolled with aged Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers along with a rich San Andres binder and flavorful Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper.  Notes of coffee and earth combined with a hint of spice to bring you that classic ultimate flavor, but with a more refined profile and aroma.

Offered in a 10-count box, the JR Ultimate 50th Anniversary is available in one size: 54 X 6 toro. This is a limited-run cigar and will not be manufactured outside of this original release.

Priced at $9.99 per cigar; $99.95 per box, this cigar will be available exclusively at www.JRCigars.com.

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Alec & Bradley Wagyu A5+

As our 50th Anniversary Celebration marches on, JR Cigar is adding another top-notch manufacturer to their list of collaborators. For this project, JR has teamed with Alec and Bradley Rubin, the namesakes of Alec Bradley Cigars, and the founders of Alec & Bradley.

The Alec & Bradley Wagyu A5 is a unique, limited edition cigar blended and created by the Rubin brothers. It takes its name from the Japanese beef that has become world-renowned for its flavor, visual appearance, and high price tag.

“We wanted to create a cigar that evoked the characteristics of Wagyu beef: luxury, flavor, and rarity and that’s exactly what you get,” says Bradley Rubin.  Alec Rubin adds, “We also wanted to create a rich and meaty blend that would pair well with Wagyu beef and create a similar flavor profile. I think we nailed it.”


Handcrafted in Honduras at the iconic Raices Cubanas factory, the Alec & Bradley Wagyu A5 uses aged long filler from Nicaragua, Colombia, and Honduras to achieve a rich and meaty core. The Honduran Habano binder adds in touches of spice, while the Mexican San Andrés wrapper brings it home with notes of dark chocolate, dark fruit, and a touch of sweetness.

Offered in a 10-count box, the Alec & Bradley Wagyu A5 is available in one size: 52 X 6 Toro. Just 500 boxes have been made.

Priced at $12.00 per cigar; $109.95. per box, this cigar will be available July 19  exclusively at www.JRCigars.com.

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JR 50th Anniversary Cigar Humidor


To celebrate our 50th Anniversary, JR Cigar is releasing a limited-edition humidor designed by renowned accessory designer Nick Nanavichit and his team at Nsolo Consulting Group.

Nsolo previously designed the Davidoff Winston Churchill Wooden Ashtray set as well as several other prominent boxes and accessories.

“The entire year-long 50th Anniversary campaign has been such a fun project for us – and this humidor has really got the JR Team excited,”  says Nick Libretti, Brand Manager for JR Cigar.  “While our cigar releases are at the forefront, we wanted to create something commemorative and special for our customers. This humidor not only celebrates our past but also showcases our bright future,” he says.

The 100-count humidor is crafted with cedarwood for the entire interior, and its handle, feet, and hinges are zinc metal covered in gold foil. The JR 50th anniversary logo is also adorned with gold foil and, inside, the 50th logo is branded into the wood and tray. The humidor also includes a space for Boveda packs.

Each of the just 50 limited edition humidors measures 16.4” W x 9.6” L x 7.17” H and carries its own production number.

Priced at $399.95, this humidor is available now, exclusively at www.JRCigars.com.

Comment/question from Mark Smith: Is the handle “gold plated” or is it “covered in gold foil?”  The press release says both. I believe there is a difference.

Suggest cutting, as I did, the last reference in the third-to-last sentence.

Gold foil is incredibly thin and is laid on something lacquered.

Gold plating is a manufacturing process, I think, and it implies something quite different.

JR 50th Anniversary Cigar Humidor Commemorative Edition 75-Count Humidor 3HUJR50


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Foundation JR 50th Anniversary

The list of 50th Anniversary collaborators for JR Cigar continues to grow. Now the company is joining forces with industry icon Nick Melillo and his team at Foundation Cigars for the release of a new version of Foundation’s first cigar — El Güegüense.

El Güegüense Spanish for “The Wise Man,” is the name of a Nicaraguan dramatic theater piece from the 16th Century. It is one of the oldest indigenous works in the Western Hemisphere. Melillo chose the name in honor of his love of Nicaragua and its people. In 2020, Foundation released a 5th Anniversary edition of the El Güegüense with a slightly tweaked blend – and JR Cigar’s 50th Collector’s Edition is based on that special blend.

“It is an incredible honor to work with JR Cigar on this project and to bring a touch of Foundation Cigars to the 50th Celebration,” Melillo said.. “El Güegüense was our first release and will always hold a special place in my heart and seeing as how we just released a special 5th-anniversary edition, I thought it would be perfect to turn this tweaked blend into something special for JR Cigar.”

Handcrafted in Nicaragua at the TABSA factory, the El Güegüense JR 50th uses aged Corojo ‘99 and Criollo ‘99 filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. The binder is a special Mexican San Andrés leaf that is cloaked in a flawless Corojo ‘99 wrapper from the Jalapa region of Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan tobaccos provide that signature tobacco sweetness while also adding touches of spice and richness from the San Andrés Binder.

This cigar is offered in a custom 10-count box with a beautiful art piece on the inside cover. The artwork was designed by Melillo and Foundation Art Director Alex Garcia. Available in one size: 6 ¼ X 46 Lonsdale, just 500 boxes have been made.

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Oliva Melanio JR 50th Anniversary

BURLINGTON, N.C. – One of the highest-rated and beloved cigars in the industry will be joining the JR Cigar 50th Anniversary Series with its first-ever rounded size for the U.S.

The Oliva Serie V Melanio, a specially tweaked version of the Oliva Serie V was first introduced in 2012. Since then, it has been one of the most consistently ranked cigars in the industry, garnering several 90+ ratings and a Cigar Aficionado #1 Cigar of the Year award in 2014. Up to now, all Melanio releases in the U.S. have been in the box-pressed format.

For this special Anniversary Series, Oliva has brought a rounded, parejo vitola to the American market for the first time. “Oliva is honored to be a part of the 50th-anniversary celebration of JR Cigar,” says Cory Bappert, CEO of Oliva Cigars. “We felt it was fitting to do a special size from our most prestigious line to commemorate such a historic occasion.”

The Oliva Serie V Melanio JR 50th is hand rolled at Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A. It uses aged Nicaraguan tobaccos for both the filler and binder. This is followed by a rich and flavorful Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. Notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and cedar combine for a rich yet refined smoking experience.

The cigar is rolled into a rounded 6X50 Toro, the first rounded Melanio ever released in the U.S. These magnificent cigars are packaged in boxes of 10. Notably, this is a limited-run project.

Priced at $15.00 per cigar; $127.50 per box, this cigar will be available on September 15 exclusively at www.JRCigars.com.

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Rocky Patel ALR Second Edition JR 50th Anniversary

BURLINGTON, N.C. – Rocky Patel has now joined the long list of collaborators for JR Cigar’s ongoing 50thAnniversary Series. For this project, Rocky and the JR team looked to one of his most popular and highest-rated cigars and have brought it back on a limited basis.

Rocky Patel’s ALR line, which stands for Aged, Limited and Rare, was a great addition to the Rocky Patel portfolio.  The follow-up release, the ALR Second Edition, is one of the most sought-after cigars in Rocky’s portfolio and the inspiration for our collaboration with Rocky. To add a huge exclamation point to this success story, the JR team is taking the most popular size of this already limited line and is offering it in a special, customized 10-count box.

“Fifty years in this industry is a historic achievement,” says Rocky Patel. “The ALR Second Edition is one of our most sought after and critically acclaimed cigars, so I thought it would be the perfect addition to JR’s celebration series.”

The Rocky Patel ALR Second Edition JR 50th is hand-rolled at Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A., also known as the TaviCusa factory. It uses aged Nicaraguan tobaccos from both Estelí and Jalapa for the filler and a stout Nicaraguan leaf for the binder. The wrapper is an exquisite Mexican leaf from the famed San Andrés Valley.

What makes the ALR line unique is that after the cigars are rolled, they are left to age for an additional 2 years. This allows the different tobaccos to comingle further, creating an even smoother and more flavorful experience. Hints of cocoa, cedar, and tobacco sweetness are noticeable throughout as the complexity increases with each puff.

The cigar is rolled into a box-pressed 6 ½ X 52 Toro, and packaged in custom boxes of 10, opposed to the boxes of 20 with its original release. Only 500 boxes have been made.

Priced at $14.70 per cigar; $132.50 per box, this cigar will be available on October 5 exclusively at www.JRCigars.com.

For more information, contact 800-572-4427 or visit jrcigars.com.

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Herrera Estelí By Drew Estate JR 50th Anniversary

BURLINGTON, N.C. – JR Cigar is teaming up with another iconic cigar manufacturer to continue its year-long, 50th-anniversary celebration.

Drew Estate, one of the largest manufacturers of premium cigars in the world, is the latest company to partner with JR Cigar by producing a custom blend made specifically for this project. The Herrera Estelí by Drew Estate JR 50th was blended by Willy Herrera, Drew Estate’s master blender for the last several years.

“Fifty years is an unbelievable achievement and one we are proud to be a part of,” Herrera says. “We knew we had to do something unique and truly special to stand out and we definitely accomplished that.”

The Herrera Estelí by Drew Estate JR 50th is hand-rolled at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in the heart of Estelí, Nicaragua.  It uses aged Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos for the filler, along with a hearty Honduran binder and a zesty Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.

The blend makes this a unique offering from Drew Estate.  Its use of Honduran tobaccos for the filler and the binder is something not typically seen in Drew Estate’s normal lineup.  This combination of aged tobaccos gives the cigar a rich and earthy center along with hints of pepper, leather, and a touch of dark fruit notes from the wrapper. It is a medium-full body but smooth and complex throughout.

The cigar is rolled into a 48 X 7 Churchill and is packaged in custom boxes of 10. Only 500 boxes have been made.

Priced at $13.25 per cigar; $119.95 per box, this cigar will be available October 26th exclusively at www.JRCigars.com.

For more information, contact 800-572-4427 or visit jrcigars.com.

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Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Jr 50th Anniversary Cigar

BURLINGTON, N.C. – JR Cigar is set to release the final cigar in its year-long 50th Anniversary collection. For this project, JR Cigar is honoring the company’s own history and the people who made it happen by teaming up with legendary blender and former JR Cigar Executive Consultant Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. Due to his status as one of the most in-demand cigar makers and his long history with JR Cigar, Steve was a natural choice to join this celebrated campaign.

For the Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Limited Edition “EM” Maduro, Steve also combines the past and the future. The “EM” part of the cigar name is a nod to Ed McVey, former buyer for JR Cigar and a legend himself. For the future part of this equation, Steve sees this blend as a potential national release.

“This is a prototype of a Mi Querida Liga we’re developing as a possible addition to our brand portfolio,” Steve says. “Our current code name for the project is “MQ Black” as it is intended to be ringed with black bands.” “It is only fitting that this cigar first is used to celebrate JR Cigar’s 50th Anniversary as its inspiration was the Maduro cigars that Ed McVey, the longtime cigar buyer, and I smoked during our tenure over two decades ago at JR.”

The Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Limited Edition “EM” Maduro is hand-rolled in Nicaragua at the storied NACSA facility. NACSA has a long history with both JR Cigar and Steve, as that is where all his Mi Querida and Umbagog lines are made. With a blend consisting of aged fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, the cigar is bound with a San Andrés Negro binder and finished off with a stunning Connecticut Broadleaf No.1 Dark wrapper.

The crafted blend is reminiscent of the style of the heavy broadleaf cigars that Steve enjoyed during his tenure at JR Cigar. Steve himself describes the blend as “bold, full-flavored, rich and decadent!”

Available only in a 7.25 x 54 vitola, a size preferred by both Steve and Ed, these bold, rich cigars are packed in custom boxes of 10.  Just 500 boxes have been made.

Priced at  $149.50 per box, or $14.95 per single, this cigar will be available December 1st, exclusively at www.JRCigars.com.

For more information, contact (800) 572-4427 or visit jrcigars.com

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JR 50th Anniversary Cigar Sampler

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15 responses to “JR Cigar’s 50th Anniversary Celebration”

  1. Steve Martin says:

    I wish everyone at JR Cigar a wonderful, fruitful and healthful 2021 (50 YEARS!!!!)! What an achievement. My Grandfather shopped with you guys in New York back in the 70’s, and my Dad smoked so many JR Alternatives over the years, he said he could have built a literal house of cigars if he stored up every one he smoked.

    I’ve now been shopping with JR since 1999. I’ve been to the NC location before, but used to shop at the JR in Southfield, Michigan regularly; as in every weekend. Some of my favorite cigars have always been the JR Ultimate Cabinet series. I believe they were about $55.00 for a cedar cabinet full back in the early 2000’s. How times have changed. I’m glad the cigars have not!

    Here’s to another 50 years in the business, and much success through the unforseen changes that will surely continue to challenge our ability to savor in our love of the leaf!

    Happy New Year, and a VERY Happy 50th!!

    Always a friend to JR ~

    Steve Martin
    Mount Clemens, MI 48043

  2. Harry S Gaylord says:

    Enjoy my relationship with JR Cigars. Great company and professional employees. Always willing to help on my requests.,thanks

  3. Robert L Rosekrans Sr says:

    Long Ashes for another 50 !! Hey

  4. Michael Russo says:

    Congratulations JR A half A Century is quite accomplishment. Good Job and keep on Trucking.

  5. Charles Dilworth says:

    Happy fifty years to jrs cigars and happy new year.

  6. Greg Mathis says:

    Literally just got into smoking cigars in December for something different to do. Purchase cigars for my son for Christmas and he left me some. Well, that was a mistake. Lol. I have ordered several different brands from different distributors and so far as I can see, I’ve received the best deals so far from JR cigars. Started building my own humidor today, I guess this will be my new hobby. Can’t wait to see some of these juicy deals, I’ve been smoking the milder cigars along with trying some of the flavored ones. Thank you for your prompt service and wonderful products! Any tips or hints for a new cigar smoker is greatly appreciated. Best of luck and happy New year!

  7. Great company. I have been a customer for over 30 years . Employees always helpful and curious..Congrads on the 50 years !!!! Keep on smokin !!!!

  8. Richard N Shimaitis says:

    Congrats on 50 yrs I’ve only been with you for around 40 though! I use to love going thru the catalog and read the comments Lew would use. Now I guess it’s on video. Well times changes but JR and their cigars and service just keep getting better

  9. Daniel Faille says:

    Congrats great job, keep up the great work you all are doing.

  10. I started buying cigars back in 1994 from Thompson’s and then switched to Two Guys our New Hampshire. In early 2000’s I switched and started buying cigars from Cigar International up until a couple of years ago, when I began my relationship with JR Cigars. Now there is no looking back, love the selection the prices and the professional service I receive from JR Cigars. Bar none the best cigar company I have ever dealt with and look forward to dealing with for the rest of my life. Congrats on 50 years and here is to another 50!

  11. Edward says:

    Newish to cigar smoking & pipe. Waa blessed to find 50yrs anniversary with 50 cigars for $50. Just ordered and anxiously awaiting my delivery from JR. My own celebration is box opening on my black beard sailing “pirate bar boat,… CONGRATULATIONS & thank you for caring for us faithful cigar enthusiasts.

  12. Paul Dunn says:

    Congratulations on fifty amazing years . JR saved the cigar industry in the 1980s . I have been a JR customer since the early 1980s
    In addition, my compliments to Nick Libretti, he is a great
    representative for the company and will often discuss new brands I had not considered .
    Best Regards,

  13. Lew Rothman says:

    Oh Boy….. this story is really making me feel old !

  14. Rick says:

    My father worked with Lew back in the 70 and 80’s. Amazing history.

  15. Tracy Phillips says:

    I love history. Thank you!

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