JRCigars blog

A Great Old Cigar Brand Has Returned!

April 21, 2015 · By · No Comments

So while sitting back with an astounding maduro Robusto, that was rich, sweet and loaded with zesty notes of sweet spice and cocoa, (more about that later), I began thinking about how many new  premium cigars crafted by up and coming stogy rock stars have hit the scene in just this past year alone. That would be a bad thing if all these new sticks were crap, but these new young guns are cranking out some real quality products. Some might say that we are in the midst of a new Renaissance in the tobacco industry. Skeptics would disagree, claiming that the market is over-saturated. Just follow any internet cigar group and watch this endless battle rage on. At one point, Padron was a new company, and so was Arturo Fuente and Drew Estate, just to name a few. New brands provide energy into the market, a breath of fresh air, and they keep things new and exciting. In addition, it keeps the older established companies on their toes so they can never rest on their Laurels, (Or Hardy’s for that matter)! Best of all, it boosts the economy, both in the countries of origin, and right here in the States.

Therefore, I say, (for what it’s worth) keep bringing on the goodies; you just can’t have too many great cigars to choose from!

Speaking of new cigars, we have a real top-quality gem that is making a lot of (good) noise in the industry.

The Beginning:

The Congress Cigar Company and its leading brand, La Palina, had its beginnings when Samuel Paley emigrated from Ukraine in the late 1800s.

Arriving in Chicago, Sam started his career in a local cigar factory as a lector. That person reads either fiction or popular current event stories to the rollers to break up the monotony, and to keep them from slapping a moist wrapper leaf on a co-worker's head for sipping his espresso too loudly.

His interest in the tobacco industry steadily grew, and Sam devoted his personal time to studying cigars, the nuances of their blending and the tradition of their manufacture.  His employer eventually recognized his diligence, and Sam was promoted to roller and then blender.

In 1896, Sam opened a cigar shop of his own in Chicago with an adjacent factory that he named Congress Cigar Company.  Their first product was La Palina, in honor of his wife Goldie Drell Paley.  Sam was a turn-of-the-century master artisan and would sit in the window every day rolling cigars.

His dedication and skill made the brand a household name and it shared a spot among the best smokes of the day. Sadly, when Sam retired in 1926, his beloved La Palina retired with him.

Today:

Bill Paley, a third generation cigar maker, learned an important lesson about quality from his grandfather’s proud history with La Palina and Congress Cigar.  Those values would guide the Paley’s for the next three generations and would take Bill Paley back to his roots, and the resurrection of this once famous brand.

This iteration isn’t just some run-of-the-mill remake of an old brand looking to make a quick buck, Paley set out to create some edgy modern nuances to super-charge the classic original recipe.

La Palina cigars are available in two incredibly tasty varieties!

La Palina Classic

La Palina Classic cigars are medium-to-full-bodied, earthy, smooth, and brimming with a perfectly balanced combination of sweet and spicy goodness, thanks to its mouthwatering blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan long fillers, a silky Ecuadorian binder, and a deep and oily Brazilian Habano seed wrapper.


La Palina Black Label

This amazing premium handmade is wearing a lovely seamless Brazilian Habano wrapper that is black as coal, and glistening with oil. Underneath reside some of the finest aged Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers held together by a bold and zesty Ecuadorian binder.

Being a huge maduro maven, I chose the La Palina Black Label Robusto to smoke while writing this blog. If you will kindly revert to the very beginning of this story, I believe I suitably described its magnificent flavor… I’ll bet you guys were going crazy trying to figure out what I was smoking!   No? … Oh, well!

Anyway, whether you smoke the Classic, Black Label, or both, rest assured, you are in for a very special treat!

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No CommentsTags: cigar industry · cigar news · La Palina · new cigars

So Why Vape?

April 20, 2015 · By · No Comments

Yes, JR has joined the vaping revolution. We even have a whole (growing by the week) section of top-quality E-Cigs, juices and accessories.

In the past decade, the electronic cigarettes and e-liquid industry has grown exponentially. Each year the market triples; more and more people make the switch to vaping as an alternative to smoking. No ash, no tar, no second hand smoke, and no smell are just a few of the obvious benefits of vaping. As you read on, you will find out why these basic reasons to start vaping are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg!

Today, I consider myself an avid vaper, but I didn’t start this popular hobby to quit smoking. Quite the contrary, I simply, got tired of burning holes in my car seat from smoldering cigar ash falling between my legs while commuting to and from the office.  Therefore, until I got work where an ashtray was readily available, I started buying those little disposable gas station gizmos to give me a pseudo tobacco fix, and to end my frequent trips to Manny, Moe, and Jack to buy those overpriced car upholstery repair kits.

Yep, it was that simple! However, I soon realized that this shit tastes “pretty damn” good, and I slowly began taking this newfound hobby to higher levels of expertise to capture the ultimate in taste. Heck, everyone starts out with that first drugstore dog-rocket before fully appreciating a great premium stick.

I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but my collection of high-tech vaping gear and liquids has grown to compulsive proportions. In fact, there were times that I have chosen greasy fast food over a top-quality restaurant to allocate more funds for a fancy device, or several bottles of premium e-liquid … This is also one of the many reasons that I am divorced, and never re-married!

Some claim that electronic cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking. On the other side of the spectrum, so-called experts claim that the long-term effects of vaping are unknown. Then there are the advocates of the hobby that swear switching from stinkies (cigarettes) to vaping has given them cleaner lungs and more energy.

Personally, I have never smoked cigarettes, (only cigars and pipes). I do vape every day.  Sadly, at the ripe old age of 60, I find myself out of breath just reaching for my toothbrush.  I firmly believe that is because I sleep only 4 hours a night, I’m older than dirt, and haven’t had a vegetable since 2006.  Therefore, until I get back to my old healthy ways, the jury is out for me on the invigorating benefits of vaping … Or anything else for that matter!

However, I digress …

E-cigarettes are devices that contain a nicotine-based liquid that is vaporized, slightly inhaled, and then blown out of your pie-hole. Some fully inhale this juice, but vaping is similar to smoking a cigar or pipe where the best and most fulfilling taste remains on your palate, not your lungs.  So why inhale, it just defeats the purpose of vaping?

These new E-Cig devices come in various forms of high-tech complexity, that allow you to control the amount of wattage, voltage and even build your own coils.  For the sake of time, I will cover all of that stuff later.

Whether you are a novice, or highly committed to the latest technology, some basics to the hobby apply to everyone.

Now for some …Vaping 101:

The Juice

The main components of your standard e-juices are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol, and then a multitude of  flavorings are added, along with varied amounts of nicotine ranging from 0% to 24% or above. The result is some amazing concoctions that are unique, aromatic, and delicious!

The Device or Mod

This selection is almost endless, models range from standard pens to high-end, multi-adjustable devices, many of which that all allow for upgrade, and there is always the perfect mod for everyone’s budget and level of expertise.

Inside the device is a battery, (some are built in, and some you have to buy separately) a heating element of some sort, and a cartridge, tank or atomizer that you put your liquid into. These liquid delivery systems come in many shapes and sizes, and hold varied quantities of juice. There is also a huge segment of hobbyists who like to drip. Instead of using the conventional method of vaping through a tank, they prefer specially designed atomizers in which you consistently add a few drops of liquid at a time until you get dry hits. Then the same process is repeated. Purists feel they get a cleaner taste using this method.  Once again, I’ll cover that aspect of the hobby when I begin my highly informative series of blogs on this popular topic.

Now that you have gotten the very bare basics of vaping, you are probably wondering why JR Cigars, a tobacco shop, is committed to selling all this stuff.

Do we want you to quit smoking cigars?  … Hell, No!  … Please, just calm down, take a puff of your stogy, and I’ll tell you why!

Aside from our desire to capture a new market for those who only vape, we also think that this hobby adds another very enjoyable, and tasty alternative to just smoking cigars and pipes.

With so many delicious top-of-the-line juices and devices on the market, many that look as elegant as an imported smoking pipe, we think it’s the perfect marriage!

For yours truly, vaping has certainly not distracted me from my love of the leaf.  If anything, I appreciate cigar and pipe smoking more.  Because I have added a completely new dimension of palate pleasing flavors to thoroughly enjoy, along with a neat collection of cool looking gadgets to enjoy them in!

Even for the most hardcore traditional smokers who are skeptical about this unique hobby, I recommend that all of you try vaping at least one time.   Heck, just like me, you may end up loving it!

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No CommentsTags: e-cigarettes · vapes

JR Mooresville Grand Opening: The Beginning of a New Era!

April 17, 2015 · By · No Comments

On March 20, 2015, we celebrated the official grand opening of our new JR Cigar store in Mooresville, North Carolina. While it was already open for business, this was the real-deal fancy ribbon-cutting ceremony—quite the momentous occasion considering it was our first grand opening in more than 15 years! In attendance were JR CEO Rob Norris, members of the Mooresville Chamber of Commerce, JR Mooresville general manager Joanna Wilkinson, executives from the Altadis USA sales team, and all of the store managers from our other JR locations.

The beautiful Mooresville JR Cigar location opened its doors to a huge crowd amounting to an estimated 1,000 people visiting the store over the festive grand-opening weekend.

For those not familiar with this area, Mooresville, NC, is located on picturesque Lake Norman just a few miles north of Charlotte along Interstate 77. Known as “Race City USA,” it is the home to many of NASCAR’s most prominent teams as well as some of the nation’s top businesses…now including us!

JR Cigar Mooresville is 5,714 square feet of stogie heaven, and certainly one of the most modern and beautiful tobacco shops on the planet. Home to 650 brands (and growing), with everything from affordable bundled cigars to marque and boutique brands, our new store also features the Fine & Rare room, a stunning area that houses some real treats and hard-to-find cigars that we have spent years collecting.

Our new store model will soon include a craft-beer bar in order to fuse two passions that create the perfect marriage, especially in North Carolina where the craft-beer industry is alive and booming.

Joining us in the festivities on Friday were Matt Booth of the enormously popular Room 101 cigar brand, Alec Bradley Cigars founder Alan Rubin, representatives from Arturo FuenteDavidoffAvo, and Camacho, and the legendary Larry Palombo of Altadis USA. (Throughout his 44 years in the cigar and tobacco industries, Larry has traveled the world many times over, learning almost all there is to know about the plant. Palombo’s long journey through the world of tobacco has made him one of the premium-cigar world’s most respected individuals.) And what would a JR event be without a little homegrown talent? Well, our own Jake Billings from JR’s Selma, NC, retail store was rolling cigars all day long. Let me tell ya, if you were lucky enough have seen Jake in action, you were probably amazed; this young man can roll with the best of them!

Saturday ushered in another wave of industry rock stars that included Sam Leccia from Leccia Tobacco, Rocky Patel, Rafael Nodal, Drew EstateCAO, and Foundry. Saying that a fun time was had by all would be an understatement—heck, just read some of the reviews:

“Great shop, had a great time at the opening!”

“I thoroughly enjoy this new facility...an awesome experience...it is a very relaxing atmosphere... great team of cigar specialists...”

“What a ‘GRAND’ grand opening! Wow, I found myself a new home!”

 “I move to Mooresville in June and this will be one of my first stops once I am moved in.”

Per CEO Rob Norris, “The store is everything we are looking to achieve with the JR Cigar brand over the coming years. We are looking to provide consumers with a beautiful location to purchase a great selection of cigars for any palate, and then take the time to enjoy them in our lounge, private rooms, or two outdoor patio areas with fire pits. We have spent a lot of time in cigars stores over the past few years and we have, I believe, pulled together the best of best that is out there, as well as a few touches that are new to the industry.”

We are all proud to say that this is just the beginning; our Mooresville, NC, location features the new and future look and feel of our retail-store brand. Throughout the country, JR is poised to set a new industry standard on luxury, comfort, and a state-of-the-art cigar-buying experience. So stay tuned…because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

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No CommentsTags: Cigar Stores · North Carolina · cigar life · cigar news · JR Cigar

Variety Is the Spice Of Life: The JR Premium Cigar Sampler Blog!

March 25, 2015 · By · No Comments

It happens all of the time—a smoker buys a box of premium cigars because a friend recommended them, or because he read a review, listened to a salesperson, or, in the worst-case scenario, liked the picture of the Corona-smoking elephant on the box. Beginners and seasoned herfers alike agree that it takes time to find your perfect brand. Early in my career, when I donned the now-defunct green JR apron and hustled stogies all day, many of our regular customers, several of whom had been smoking since the Garfield administration, still couldn’t find a stinkin’ cigar that they liked!

Sadly, sometimes a cigar that you enjoyed for years suddenly becomes unsmokable due to various reasons (perhaps your medication has made your go-to stogie taste like olive loaf?). Every so often, the quality of a once-reliable stick goes down the crapper. Or, after many years of romancing Ol’ Reliable, you simply just got sick of it. These, my frustrated friends, are good reasons to look into ordering a premium-cigar sampler pack to jump-start your taste buds.

Cigar samplers are sold in packs of various sizes and, most of the time, these packs are sorted by type, country of origin, flavor, or wrapper color, and offered in numerous ways, including gift sets, wood boxes, plastic zipper bags, and, on rare occasions, wooden travel humidors. If a manufacturer is heavily promoting a product, you’ll probably also get some kind of free swag, such as an ashtraycutterlighter, and/or other stuff that you really don’t need, but are probably thrilled to get; heck, free is always good! Be forewarned though: if you need a new toaster oven or pair of pajamas, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

If you are buying cigars for a friend, or you want to upgrade Uncle Benny, whose cheap stinkers smell like the Elephant Pavilion at the Bronx Zoo on a hot day, you may want to take some time to find out the general type of cigar that the recipient likes. Once you target someone’s strength preference, you’ll find that the following very popular JR samplers are excellent examples of gift presentation. (What? Did you think I was going to write a whole blog without plugging our stuff? Too bad, I got bills to pay!)


Altadis 10-Cigar Dominican Sampler (Mild to Medium Assortment)
https://www.jrcigars.com/item/cigar-samplers/altadis-10-cigar-dominican-sampler/aldjr10



Medium Money-Saver Sampler (Medium Bodied Assortment)
https://www.jrcigars.com/item/cigar-samplers/medium-money-saver-sampler/mmmsmp



Octet of Nica-Goodness (Full Bodied Assortment)
https://www.jrcigars.com/item/cigar-samplers/octet-of-nica-goodness-sampler/ongsmp


Let us say, for example, that not one living soul has a clue what Murray the barber smokes, and thus, the above list is unhelpful. Then just take a guess and get him a well-known, top-quality sampler featuring premium cigars that every smoker has heard of like H.UpmannMacanudoMontecristo, etc. However, you may want to push forward and keep up the detective work; maybe some friend or family member has overheard Uncle Benny praising a cigar brand other than the dog-rockets he buys at the same gas station where he gets his sushi! It’s not worth the effort, you say? Then just stop reading this blog, and get the son of a bitch an ugly tie!

I’m sorry, but I have no tolerance for laziness and disdain from shoppers buying cigars as presents. You see, we aficionados love cigars as much as life itself; like the tasting of a fine wine, smoking a cigar is an occasion unto itself. We inspect the cigar with all of our senses. How does it feel? How does it smell? How does it taste? Starting from one little seed, the well-aged cigar that sits in our collective mouth has made a journey that has taken it halfway around the world…and, still, many regard it as simply a smelly bad habit? Bastards.

On the retail side of the biz, yours truly witnessed thousands of spouses, family members, and friends stumble into our store, often holding their noses, (yes, I’ve seen this many times) and buy the first inexpensive smoke they see without any thoughts of pleasing the poor cigar lover on the receiving end. Sadly, this is just a nuisance purchase to them. Meanwhile we cigar smokers actually take the time to buy the folks on our lists something special without passing judgment. And if you’ve ever tried to negotiate a fragrance department during the holiday season without collapsing from the pungently complex aromas of a French whorehouse, you will know what I’m talking about. (Sorry for the rant, for the billionth time, I digress!)

Once a person has gone through one or more premium sampler packs, he or she will have a better idea of which cigars to purchase in the future. These packs make ideal Christmas, Chanukah, birthday, Kwanzaa, Passover, and “Congratulations on being discharged from the mental hospital!” gifts, appreciated by novice, experienced, and psychologically unstable smokers alike.

Many times, finding that perfect cigar never completely happens. And, after all, who says you have to stick with one brand? Does anyone eat pickled herring every single night for dinner? (Okay, maybe that was a bad example, but you know what I mean.) The discovery of new brands, sizes, shapes, and wrapper colors is what makes this wonderful hobby so enjoyable! Here at good old JR Cigar, we always have tons of diverse samplers available. And, other than constantly buying single after single, is there a better, more fun, and more affordable way to discover the fascinating world of premium handmade cigars? You can bet your ash there ain’t!

So “sample up” today and have some fun!

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No CommentsTags: Samplers

More USELESS Ramblings and … A GREAT NEW CIGAR, HERE AT JR !

March 19, 2015 · By · No Comments

To say we are currently in a major cigar renaissance would be an understatement. It seems that a new premium offering is hitting the shelves every Tuesday (sarcasm)! Now that would be a bad thing if they were all a bunch of dog rockets but, damn, just about every new brand lately has been a winner. The only tough part about this new boutique invasion is trying to decide which one to smoke. In addition, this new generation of cigarmakers always seems to have a soulful and esoteric story behind their latest creation. For example:

 “Juan Shapiro Cigars is the story of one man’s journey through the murky streets of Memphis where his love of death-metal music, Twinkies, and the Dalai Lama gave him the vision to create a cigar like no other!”

 Oy vey! It sure was a lot easier buying cigars in the old days when elderly Cuban-born, guayabera-clad cigarmakers with hands dyed brown by the leaf that they rolled just created a blend because it tasted good, end of story!

 But don’t go by me; I’m just a crotchety old fart who is bitter because he gave away two houses and now resides in a one-bedroom apartment with two neurotic dogs, and is always losing his reading glasses. In fact, it’s good that the industry is filled with glamour these days and, yes, these new young guns with a poignant story behind their sticks are really cranking out some good product! Perhaps old Sigmund was wrong; maybe a cigar is not just a cigar anymore. Who cares what he thought anyway? Freudian theory revolves around the notion that the unconscious mind’s governing behavior is directly related to donuts and penises, that sick bastard!

 Now that I wasted 10 minutes of your life that you will never get back, I’m going to tell you why I wrote this farkakte blog. So, if anyone is still there, sit back on your favorite recliner or toilet seat (or reclining toilet seat) and read on; I promise it gets better!

 General Cigar Company is proud to present a legendary marque’s first new release in years: the Punch Signature, a cigar that pays homage to the brand’s famous 175-year history while presenting a bold new look and feel especially created for the modern smoker.

 Let me tell ya, this cigar is simply stunning to look at. A band that features retro turn-of-the-century artwork sits on top of a chocolate-brown Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper that is just shimmering with oil. Grown between two volcanic mountains in the fertile Los Rios Provence of Ecuador, these tobaccos deliver a slow burn, unique taste profile, and wonderful aroma. For those looking for a smoke that is truly one of a kind, this cigar’s exclusive leaf is a first in the industry, and has never appeared on any other!

 Under the hood, specially aged Nicaraguan and Dominican long fillers complete the blend and stay true to the medium-to-full-bodied Punch experience.

 Beyond the aesthetics and amazing build quality, this puppy is jam-packed with flavor! In order to enjoy all of its Honduran goodness for this review, I smoked the 6 x 60 Punch Signature Gigante.

 Upon lighting this beast, my palate was served a blast of spice, which soon gave way to an unparalleled complexity highlighted by leather, cedar, cinnamon, and spice notes, plus the added bonus of a lingering butterscotch taste on the tongue that was lip-smackin’ good. Much to my delight, these flavors stayed true right down to my final puff. 

 So, where can you buy the fabulous Punch Signature? Duh, JR Cigar, of course! Do you really think I would to send you to the competition? If I did, I would lose this job and at 60 years old, the best I could hope for would be a thankless position greeting odd-looking people at the local Wally Mart (or maybe a male stripper at my Aunt Sadie’s nursing home, but I’d probably hurt my back sliding down the pole. However, as usual I digress).

 Order yourself a box of the new full-bodied Punch Signature Honduran cigars today—you can thank us later! In fact, they are so darn tasty that I’m going to smoke another one just as soon as the cramps from my breakfast burrito wear off.

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No CommentsTags: Punch

L'Atelier: Surrogates

March 13, 2015 · By · 1 Comment

It is a rare occurrence in this industry when you meet someone with not only a limitless knowledge of tobacco, but also the creativity and innovation to make his cigars completely unique. This is the case of legendary Pete Johnson,  who began working with Pepin Garcia in crafting his famed Tatuaje line way back in 2003. Tatuaje cigars have received universal acclaim not only because they are outstanding smokes, but be also because of the ingenuity and distinct look to the brand:  modern and cool, yet sleek and simple.

When Pete felt he had reached his limit with the Tatuaje line, he looked to expand his portfolio and, in 2012, he created L’Atelier Imports, a line of high quality and limited quantity.  Like all of his previous endeavors, the L’Atelier has achieved great success and critical acclaim.  This brings us to his most recent addition to the L’Atelier line; The Surrogates.  Wishing to create a series of powerful cigars that were limited but also affordable, Pete ensured that each cigar under the Surrogate name offered a unique flavor profile, shape, and name. The Bone Crusher and Skull Breaker are powerful robustos with Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers and subtle notes of coffee and earth.  The Tramp Stamp is a medium- bodied robusto with a covered foot and an Ecuadorian Habano Seed Oscuro wrapper.  The Crystal Baller is a Toro with a Habano Seed wrapper, giving it a sweet and spicy taste.  The Satin Glove is the only Churchill size and uses a dark Mexican San Andreas wrapper.  

So far, the most popular two sizes have been the 6x60 Animal Cracker and its little brother, the cigarillo sized Cracker Crumbs.  Both bear Habano Oscuro wrappers, making them dark and rich with blasts of pepper, coffee, and nutmeg.  The Cracker Crumbs has taken the cigar world by storm and its popularity is still climbing; it takes a true innovator to create a cigarillo size that has become this popular.  All of these cigars are quite limited and they are currently available at Jrcigars.com.  Better Hurry!!

 

 

 

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1 CommentTags: Surrogates

RIP Father

March 06, 2015 · By · No Comments

Father Theodore Hesburgh was maybe best known for running Notre Dame University. But he also for a time oversaw the Civil Rights Commission, the International Federation of Catholic Universities and several U.S. and Vatican delegations.  He passed away last week.  More than that though, Father Hesburgh smoked cigars for most of his 97 years and rarely had to buy them.

“Just when I think I’m getting low,” he told The Observer in 2013, “someone will come in out of nowhere and say, ‘hey, by the way, I was in Central America and I picked up something for you,’ and they come up with a box of cigars.”

Junior Tommy Schneeman said the president emeritus was smoking the first time he met him.

“He was over 90, and it was like, alright, interesting,” Schneeman said. “[He] never had any health problems, which is like a miracle in itself.

“… He was like, in his gravelly voice, ‘they’ve been trying to get me to quit smoking in here forever, but I told ‘em, if you don’t let me smoke in here, you’re going to have to take my name off the building.’”

So Hesburgh kept smoking cigars — and people kept sending them — until his death Thursday.

As a memorial,  candles were put in front of the Notre Dame library named for him…in one of the holders, though, there was a cigar.  Very appropriate.

And with that my part of this blog comes to an end.  For the past 3 and a half years it has been my privilege to blog about the happenings in the cigar industry.  Now it will be someone else’s turn.  Until later.  Thanks for the read.

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No CommentsTags: cigar life

Nebraska/Kentucky

March 05, 2015 · By · No Comments

Nebraska

We’ve kept you informed about the efforts in Nebraska to once again allow cigar smoking.  It is now officially legal again for the state’s cigar bars.  Governor Pete Ricketts signed the emergency bill late last week that reinstates the exemption to the smoking ban for cigar lounges.  The Governor took the whole 5 days he had to either sign or veto the bill but in the end he signed it and it is now law.

Kentucky

The other side was pushing for a smoking ban in Kentucky, but it appears they lost.  I know the CRA was working hard on the legislature.

House Bill 145 passed the House on Feb. 13 by a 51-46 vote. But that was the last vote on the bill.

Supporters of the bill complain that leaders of the Senate's Republican majority delivered the deadly blow two weeks ago by referring the bill not to Adams' Health and Welfare Committee but to the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee.

That committee is chaired by Sen. Albert Robinson, R-London, who opposes a smoking ban. Robinson has not called the bill for a hearing and said Monday he would not comment on it until his committee meets on Thursday.

Let’s hope this holds it would be a victory for us.

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No CommentsTags: cigar laws

Habanos

March 04, 2015 · By · No Comments

The Habanos festival is over in Havana…it is not like Pro Cigar, instead it is the Habanos version of the IPCPR trade show.  They roll out new products and show off their stuff to the worldwide wholesalers and retailers.  With all the talk about the possible normalization of relations with Cuba (personally I am not sure it will happen) Habanos S.A.—the maker of Cuban cigars—predicted that once the embargo is lifted, it will immediately take 25-30 percent of the U.S. premium cigar market.  Eventually it says it would end up with 70 percent of the U.S. premium market.  No doubt the inclusion of Cuban cigars after being a forbidden fruit would increase cigar popularity.

“It would add to the mystique of the cigars that we’re making,” said Eric Newman, president of J.C. Newman Cigar Co., one of the largest American cigar companies.

Of greater concern to many American cigar companies are smoking regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. Under the rules, cigar companies would be required to receive government approval before introducing new product lines and issue new health warnings.

Newman suggested the smoking regulations could shutter his company.

“We can deal with smoking bans, we can deal with the Cuban embargo, we can deal with high taxes — but we’re really concerned about the regulations from the FDA that could wipe us out of business,” Newman said.

But the interesting thing is while the Administration wants to open up Cuba and its biggest import is cigars, at the same time the FDA is trying to crack down on cigars and that would include the Cubans as well.   But there could be time to stop the FDA.  Last week, cigar makers were walking the halls of Congress to try to get support for HB 662 and S.441 which would keep the FDA out of our humidors.  There was some success in that the Senate bill now has 12 sponsors and the House version is up to 52.  We need more.  You need to write to your Congressional delegation and get them to pay attention before it is too late.  It’s easy to do it…just go here.

Then there is the whole issue of trademarks. Altadis owns Montecristo, H. Upmann and Romeo y Julieta, among others both in the U.S. and the Habanos versions.  No problem there.  But General Cigar owns Partagas, La Gloria Cubana, Punch and maybe Cohiba for the U.S. but not overseas.  I say maybe for Cohiba because just recently the Supreme Court declined to hear a case on the Cohiba trademark.  Cubatabaco was suing General for the rights over the Cohiba name and the last court ruling gave Cuba the win.  General was hoping for SCOTUS intervention but that will not happen. The case now goes to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trial and appeal board.

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No CommentsTags: cigar industry · cigar news · cigar shows · Cuban cigars · FDA

Davidoff Moves

March 03, 2015 · By · No Comments

In talking with Davidoff CEO Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard at Pro Cigar, he noted the success of the Davidoff Nicaragua, saying it has been the company’s biggest success since its Cuban days.  He said that the interesting thing about the Davidoff Nicaragua is that it is not cannibalizing other Davidoffs in that 70 percent of the smokers are new to the brand.

Perhaps because of this success, the company announced it is buying over 370 acres of farmland in Honduras and Nicaragua. The land is in Condega, Nicaragua and the Jamastran Valley of Honduras.  The company says it will allow them to continue to get top quality tobacco while allowing it the opportunity to experiment with new and existing seeds.

Davidoff also bought land by its box factory in Danli in order to build a new cigar factory there.  The plot is about 450,000 square feet for the new factory and the factory itself in the first phase will have 185,000 square feet, allowing for a 60 percent increase in production for Camacho, Room 101 and Baccarat.

And on the retail side, Davidoff continues to make moves opening flagship stores… the latest one comes in the company’s U.S. hometown of Tampa.  It will be a 5,000 square foot store that includes a nice lounge and the biggest Davidoff store in the world.  According to CEO Hans-Kristian every Davidoff store will have a lounge because he foresees a time when the only place you will be able to smoke a cigar is in a cigar store.

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