Archives for : March2015

Jaxsin Cigar Co. Saints of Havana

Jaxsin Cigar Co.- Saints of Havana

SOH cigar

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Dominican

Size: Toro 6×52

Price: $7.00

Acquired: Samples courtesy of Jaxsin Cigar Co.

A couple weeks ago we got some samples in of the Saints of Havana stick from our good friend Bryan Jackson, owner of Jaxsin Cigar Co.. Saints of Havana is one of the newest blends to be developed by Jaxsin Cigar Co. in partnership with Nashville country rock band, Saints of Havana. The name of the band comes as a tribute to the birthplace and father of two of the band members, Rey and Cesar Gutierrez-Montecristo. Partnering with Aaron Shea, the band was complete. Now they just needed a cigar, which is where Bryan stepped in.

Looks: The main band on the Saints of Havana stick is black, silver, and red in color. The centerpiece of the band appears to be a chess piece or the turret of a castle with a cross on it. On both sides of the centerpiece are silver wings. The band reads, “Saints of Havana” and “Caribe Select.” There is also “SOH” on each side.  At the foot of the cigar there is a plain silver band.

SOH band

The cigar itself has a light to light medium colored Connecticut wrapper from Ecuador. The wrapper leaf shows some medium sized veins running mostly vertically through it.

Pre-Light: I detected notes of hay and cedar.

Flavor: A few puffs into the Jaxsin Saints of Havana cigar, I am greeted by notes of cocoa, hazelnut, and the slightest bit of white pepper on the tip of the tongue all while being surrounded with a pleasant creaminess.

-About a quarter of the way in and there is a rich smokiness that is becoming ever more present along with an increase in the white pepper notes.

-At the half, the pepper has definitely become stronger on the tongue and the back of the throat. The nuttiness, as well as the deep rich smokiness, has increased becoming some of the predominant flavors. The creaminess has decreased slightly and there is the slightest bit of a leather note present.

-Three fourths of the way through and along with the other flavors that cocoa note has become more present again.

-This cigar finishes strong in the flavor department with most to all of the aforementioned flavor notes being present.

Strength: Mild to Light Medium

Burn: Almost perfect, it did require one small touch up at the beginning, but I was smoking outside and a slight breeze was present.

Buy it?  Yes. I tend to look at this part of the review and genuinely ask myself if it is something I would smoke again. I smoked all of the samples Bryan sent me, so that should tell you something. In my opinion, Connecticut cigars are some of the hardest to pull off well when it comes to flavor. I can count on one hand the Connecticut sticks that I call my go to Connecticuts. That being said, I think I can see the Saints of Havana being added to that list.

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General Cigar Celebrates an Icon with Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150

General Cigar Celebrates an Icon with Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150


General Cigar Company will debut Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150, the first and only cigar to feature a proprietary Habano Shade wrapper tobacco, the first ever grown in Esteli.


Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150 is a 6” x 54 box-pressed offering handcrafted in Honduras. The blend features a classic Ecuadoran binder and a spicy combination of Nicaraguan filler leaves representing the best of the country’s tobacco growing regions. The cigar is a study in contrasts, with a hearty, well-oiled leaf that burns to a strong, yet sweet smoke for an unparalleled taste experience.

To celebrate the heritage brand’s 150th anniversary, General Cigar is releasing just 4,000 boxes of this commemorative cigar. In a nod to the future of the brand, the cigars will be housed in a sleek, 15-count box bearing a modern interpretation of the Hoyo de Monterrey logo.

The suggested retail price per cigar is $7.99, with a box price of $119.85. Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150 will be available at retail beginning on April 1, 2015, while supplies last.




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Drew Estate Announces Updated Liga Privada Papas Fritas Packaging

Drew Estate Announces Updated Liga Privada Papas Fritas Packaging

DE Papas Fritas open box

Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today that they would begin offering their Liga Privada Papas Fritas cigar in a newly designed 50-count box. These new boxes will replace the 4-count tins / 28-count boxes that the Papas Fritas line is currently offered in and will, as a result, reduce the single cigar retail price to $5.25 MSRP from it’s current price of $6.40.

When reached for comment, Drew Estate President Michael Cellucci stated that, “Papas Fritas has been a good choice for any Liga Privada fan looking for a short smoke. We needed something for fans of Papas Fritas who already had plenty of tins and wanted a better value, so now we’re offering the cigar with no tin. The tins will now become a collector’s item and the Papas Fritas will be a little more budget friendly. It’s a win-win.”

The Papas Fritas is part of Drew Estate’s Liga Privada Unico Serie, which features unique blends within the Liga Privada brand family. The Papas Fritas utilizes a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper, Brazilian Mata Fina binder, and Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos. The small 4.5” x 44 cigar sports Drew Estate’s signature fantail and is the perfect choice for cigar smokers who are looking for a short escape.

Look for the new packaging to begin shipping to Drew Diplomat Retailer Program accounts nationwide beginning in the next few weeks. Retailers who participate in the Drew Diplomat Retailer Program [DDRP] are given priority allocations on new cigar releases, limited editions, and commemorative cigars and products. DDRP retailers are also granted access to Drew Estate’s boutique brands, including Liga Privada and Herrera Estelí. In addition, DDRP retailers receive seasonal releases and receive priority incentives for in-store events and promotions.

Please email with any questions. About Drew Estate, Inc.

Founded in New York City in 1996, Drew Estate has become one of the fastest growing tobacco companies in the world. Under their mantra “The Rebirth of Cigars”TM, Drew Estate has led The “Boutique Cigar” movement by innovating new elements to the tobacco industry with their unique tobaccos and blending styles that have attracted new and traditional cigar enthusiasts. In their Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, the Nicaraguan headquarters, Drew Estate produces a variety of brands such as ACID, Herrera Estelí, Kentucky Fired Cured, Liga Privada, MUWAT, Natural by Drew Estate, Nica Rustica, Nirvana, Tabak Especial, UnderCrown, and Java by Drew Estate.

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For Immediate Release March 24, 2015

Richmond, VA–General Cigar Company Inc. announced that teams of special agents from the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco (“ABT”) conducted a series of raids and arrests throughout Florida relating to the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit versions of the Company’s COHIBA®, Macanudo® and Partagas® cigar brands.

Since February 28th, ABT has seized counterfeit cigars with an estimated retail value in excess of $100,000. In addition to the banded counterfeit cigars, ABT has also seized tens of thousands of counterfeit cigar bands and boxes. Given the large volume of counterfeit materials seized, ABT has not yet completed a precise calculation of the total retail dollar value, but the Company expects the amount could reach the high six figures or greater. ABT has also arrested numerous individuals, charging them with felony forgery or counterfeiting of private labels and related offenses under Florida law.

The events leading up to the recent seizures and arrests began more than a year ago when, at General Cigar’s request, the Tampa office of ABT commenced an investigation into certain entities and individuals suspected of involvement in the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit cigars. As the facts developed, special agents in other ABT offices commenced investigations of counterfeiters located throughout Florida. These investigations which remain ongoing have led to numerous seizures and arrests in cities and towns throughout the state, including Clearwater, Davenport, Fort Myers, Hollywood, Lutz, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Tampa and Weeki Wachee.

The largest of the recent seizures involved Island Cigars Corp, a licensed cigar distributor and retailer. Raids conducted at Island Cigars Corp’s Weeki Wachee headquarters and Oldsmar retail store resulted in the seizure of tens of thousands of counterfeit cigars and related materials, including cigar bands and cigar boxes. ABT also seized the company’s business records, computers and printers. Rolando Gruart, president of Island Cigars and Constanza Sanchez, secretary and treasurer of the company, were both arrested during raids that took place in late February.

Dan Carr, president of General Cigar said, “We remain fully committed to anti-counterfeiting initiatives that protect consumers and greatly appreciate the efforts of the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco and its special agents. The Company will continue to vigorously defend our trademarks and support criminal investigations and prosecutions relating to the distribution or sale of counterfeit versions of our cigars.”

About General Cigar Company
General Cigar Company manufactures and markets premium, handcrafted cigars of the finest quality. The company’s artisans produce Macanudo, Cohiba, La Gloria Cubana®, Punch®, CAO®, Partagas, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading brands in its Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. The company also manufactures and distributes Dunhill cigars and Dunhill pipe tobacco. Based in Virginia, General Cigar sells through tobacconists nationwide and exports select products to 62 countries. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends. General Cigar recently launched Foundry Tobacco Company, an innovation platform created to bring excitement to the premium cigar category. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2014, General Cigar Company acquired the Torano Family Cigar business and brought the Leccia Tobacco Company brands into the company. For more information, please visit

® Macanudo, Cohiba, Partagas, La Gloria Cubana, Punch, CAO, Hoyo de Monterrey, Excalibur and Club Macanudo are registered trademarks of General Cigar Company.

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Leaf by Oscar Connecticut

Leaf by Oscar Connecticut

 Leaf by Oscar Connecticut side by side

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder: Honduran

Filler: Honduran

Size: 6×60

Price: $10.40

Acquired: Purchased at The Smokey Cigar-Hendersonville, TN


The Leaf by Oscar cigar line is a collaboration between Island Jim, owner of the Leaf and Bean in Pittsburgh and cigar maker Oscar Valladares.  Story has it that while in central America before leaving the factory Jim decided to take a cigar with him for the road.  Not having anything to put it in, he wrapped it in a tobacco leaf.

Looks: This is one of the coolest packaging designs that I have ever seen. Instead of using a cellophane wrapper to protect the cigar, they wrap the finished cigar in a tobacco leaf and roll the ends. It almost felt like I was opening up a present on Christmas morning. The anticipation to see what the cigar looks like inside builds as you remove the outer band/label and begin to unravel the ends of the tobacco leaf. Once removed, you discover a beautiful cigar complete with band.

The cigar has a very light colored Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper leaf with a slight sheen to it. The wrapper of this cigar did show a lot of small. The cigar is finished off at the top with a triple cap. The band of the cigar is brown in color with black trim and lettering. The band reads, “LEAF by Oscar.”

On to the meat and potatoes of the review:

Flavor: After first lighting the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut I noticed some light wood notes along with a pleasant nuttiness, there were also some very faint hints of leather detected. These flavors were predominant throughout the first quarter of the cigar and were joined around the quarter mark by a slight saltiness that was detected on the sides of the tongue.

At the half I really started to notice the flavors picking up. The light wood notes from earlier started to transform into strong wood notes. The nuttiness increased in strength as well and in my opinion became the dominant flavor in this stick.

At the three quarter mark the cigar has remained consistent with strong wood and nut flavors and has also picked up a pepper note.

The cigar finishes strong in flavor with the wood, nut, and pepper flavors. The pepper flavor has increased, but has not been a dominant flavor, keeping this stick very mild but full of flavor.

Strength: Mild

Burn: Upon first lighting the Leaf by Oscar I noticed that the draw was a little loose. I attributed some of this to it being a 60 ring gauge cigar and it had a lot of filler leaf. The loose draw basically fixed itself by the time I was about ten minutes into the cigar. The cigar burned even throughout creating plumes of white smoke.

Buy it again? You bet. I think the packaging and marketing around this cigar is awesome and I cannot believe that no one had thought of it sooner. The flavor profile of the Connecticut stick is great with full flavor but yet a mild strength making this a great first stick of the day for me.

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Eric Piras pic 

(Miami, Florida) March 17, 2015— Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars & Azan Tobacco Group proudly announces its partnership with Eric Piras. Roberto Pelayo Duran continues to make aggressive moves to further expand Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars.

Eric Piras has a high public profile, significant management experience in the tobacco trade and a strong global expertise in sales and marketing for premium cigars. Based in Hong Kong, Eric has almost 20 years’ experience in the cigar industry in Asia-Pacific, and is one of the highest profiles in this sector. Prior to him partnering with Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars & Azan Tobacco Group, Eric Piras, a French national, joined Altadis (later acquired by Imperial Tobacco Group) in 1999. He then travelled the globe setting up, and strengthening distribution channels for the world’s number one cigar maker.

Prior to joining Altadis, Eric was the Regional Director for the Pacific Cigar Company, Habanos S.A.’s exclusive distributor in Asia-Pacific and Canada. It was during this era that Eric and Roberto Pelayo Duran struck up a lifelong friendship that culminated in them working together, again under the Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar & Azan Tobacco Group umbrella.

Roberto Pelayo Duran said,” I am thrilled to have Eric Piras on our team. His Global network is enormous and diverse. I am very confident that with Eric on board we will be able to expand Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars & Azan Tobacco Group brands into new markets around the World.”

Roberto P. Duran began his life’s work in his homeland of Havana, Cuba where tobacco grabbed a hold of him, and never let go. Supervising the production of cigar manufacturing in Cuba was only the beginning as he later went on to assemble and manage distribution of all Cuban cigar brands for Asia at The Pacific Cigar Company Ltd. The creation of Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars has given Roberto the platform to introduce a brand of cigars that offer the same quality, construction, and detail which he exceeded from those he supervised while in Cuba. Roberto P. Duran’s brands include Azan Cigars, Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa.

For more information about Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars & Azan Tobacco Group, please visit

Roberto duran companies pic

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viva republica culebra

MIAMI, FL – Viva Republica™ is pleased to announce the release of its Limited Edition Culebra.  The Company has produced one thousand (1,000) coffins each containing a traditional three-piece culebra. The Culebra is comprised of three unique blends, featuring that of the Company’s Rapture, Rapture Maduro and Guerrilla Warfare brands.

The three cigars each feature a length of 5.75,” in a 39-ring gauge. Inside the five-packs include a production memo. This identifies the three pieces by wrapper, shade and discloses the blend breakdown for each cigar.

“I’ve always been intrigued by and have enjoyed culebras and wanted to use creating one as an opportunity to feature three of our core lines,” said Jason Holly, owner of Viva Republica.

The official launch will be held during the DC Tweet Up on Saturday, March 14 at Tobaccology in Manassas, VA from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

This limited run carries a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price of $18, exclusive of any applicable taxes and tariffs. The coffins will ship to authorized Viva Republica retailers in five-pack units.

“Pricing was always a consideration. These are time-consuming to produce. But I wanted to keep value pricing so [more] people would try a culebra,” said Holly. I think their typical cost could be a bit of a consumer barrier.”

Viva Republica is exclusively distributed in the United States by Miami Cigar & Co.

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Punch Rare Corojo El Diablo

Punch Rare Corojo

Punch Rare Corojo pic

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf

Filler: Dominican, Honduran, Nicaraguan

Size: El Diablo 6 ½ x 66

Price: $8.25

Acquired: Samples courtesy of Punch Cigars

The Punch Rare Corojo line is a cigar that has been around for some years and has once again been reintroduced for 2015. The 2015 version will be available in 20 count boxes (except for the Rare Lapiz which will only be available in 10 count boxes). Price ranges from $3.99-$8.25. The Punch Rare Corojo will be available in eight sizes:

Champion: 4 1/2 x 60

Double Corona: 6 3/4 x 48

El Doble: 6 x 60

Magnum: 5 1/4 x 54

Pita: 6 1/8 x 50

Rothschild: 4 1/2 x 50

El Diablo: 6 1/2 x 66

Rare Lapiz: 6 3/4 x 56 (Limited Edition for 2015)

Looks: This cigar is a beast! It’s huge, 6 ½ x 66 box pressed. I guess I can see where they got the name El Diablo for this size. The Punch Rare Corojo has two bands, the first being the standard Punch band that is red, white, and gold and reads, “PUNCH” on top and “Imported” on the bottom. The second band sits right under the first and reads “ Rare Corojo” in white over a red band that is trimmed in gold. The cigar has a dark brown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper leaf that has an almost suede like finish to it. The veining of the wrapper leaf is minimal and it is finished on top with a nice triple cap.

Taste: The first flavors that greet you on the Punch Rare Corojo are that of oak wood and nuts followed by the slightest bit of cocoa. There is a definite creaminess that is present on the back end that will stay present throughout the smoke. A quarter of the way into this cigar the wood and nutty flavors are still predominant but the cocoa flavor has also increased quite a bit and is starting to be joined by a slight saltiness and hints of leather. By about the half, the dominant flavors are still that of wood, nuts, and cocoa. The leather notes have found a definite place amongst this cigar and compliment the creaminess nicely. These flavors remain pretty consistent throughout the remainder of the smoke.

Strength: Medium.

Burn: Did require a couple small touch ups to keep the burn even, however on a cigar of this size that does not bother me all that much. I will note that I was smoking outside and wind could definitely have had an effect on it.

So, should you try it? Sure. To be completely honest the large size is not what I typically go for in a cigar. I personally would be more likely to smoke the smaller sizes. However, if you are a big ring gauge person, this is a great stick for you. The flavor is great and it definitely gives you quite a bit of smoking time!

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Punch Signature Debuts at Retail

Punch Signature Debuts at Retail


General Cigar is pleased to announce that Punch Signature has started shipping to cigar retailers across the country. Product will be available for purchase this week.

Punch Signature is a four-cigar collection, handcrafted in Honduras. It includes these frontmarks: Robusto (5” x 54, SRP per cigar is $6.79); Gigante (6” x 60, SRP per cigar is $7.39);

Rothschild (4.5” x 50, SRP per cigar is $5.39) and Torpedo (5.75” x 52, SRP per cigar is $6.99).

To create Punch Signature, Master Blender Agustin Garcia and his team kept true to the original Punch blend by using tobaccos from the same countries of origin.  Agustin Garcia said, “Punch Signature is inspired by Punch original blend. Think of it as a brother who has a lot of fire in him, but also respects tradition and the family name.”

Development of the Punch Signature blend began in 2012. Agustin and his team found a small batch of Ecuadoran tobacco they wanted to use, but had to ensure that they would have enough to make Punch Signature a full-time addition to Punch. They worked with a grower to cultivate a special Ecuadoran Corojo wrapper exclusively for this cigar. The wrapper is related to the original Cuban Corojo seed. The tobacco was aged, sorted and prepared for launch three years later.

The wrapper has abundant natural oil which makes the leaf silky, gives it elasticity and imparts a hint of cocoa with an earthy spice.

The binder is made from a proprietary Connecticut Habano leaf.

The blend composition is a story all its own. The leaves are from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua and are of the same variety as the original Punch blend. Unique to Punch Signature is that some of the filler leaves are very aged, and others are less so. The aged leaves bring flavor and balance, and the newer leaves deliver more strength. It’s all about incredible, balanced flavor.

For more information about Punch Signature, please visit


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