The cigar world doesn’t have days off and neither does Cigar Public. Everyone’s busy and it’s impossible to keep up on everything all the time, so as each weekend comes to a close we’ll be bringing you a few highlights worth checking out!
As recently as this week, reports have been coming out from third-party analytics companies, big and small, projecting the future of the tobacco industry. Some of these reports cost of thousands of dollars to download and read, not to mention the likely millions of dollars in time and effort it took to research and compile everything. Every report, and I do mean all, deemed the industry to be a growing one and for its overall earnings to rise as well. Numbers released today out of Scandanavian Tobacco Group shows a decline of 14.6% in their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization – referred to as EBITDA – for the 2nd fiscal quarter of 2022. Their own forecasting predicts an overall dip in sales of as much as 2% for the entire year.
With behemoth Davidoff expanding operations abroad and STG already having spent $20,000,000 on recent warehouse updates and planning to expand it’s Cigars International retail and office footprint in Bethlehem, PA, the news of this decline gives one pause at the state of the industry. It may have more to do with improvable supply chain and other internal issues than with any precipitous decline in demand, but STG’s outlook isn’t a sunny one. Time will tell, and we’ll be keeping an eye on it all right along with you. Below you’ll find the most recent updates on this news from MarketScreener via the EIN Tobacco Newswire, along with local reporting of the recent approval for Cigar International’s proposed 3-story complex.
Looking every bit as Squatch-like as frame 352 of the Patterson–Gimlin film, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust founder Steve Saka appeared at Federal Cigar’s 100th Anniversary celebration in Epphing, New Hampshire this weekend. The ultimately successful event almost never happened at all, and it’s kind of a wild story. Saka had recently posted on FB how excited he was about having just received the boxes of cigars he’d blended special for Federal’s event. What nobody had told him, or the public…at any point throughout the process…including anyone from the cigar shop the cigars were created for….was that the event had been cancelled due to permitting issues.
Understandably disappointed, Saka shared that these shop collaborations don’t make Dunbarton any money. He does them for the marketing value, love of the craft and respect for the community that enjoys the end result. Refusing to sell the completed cigars to someone else, he wrote “just so we are all clear, I would never sell cigars with someone else’s name on them to another Retailer. I would just lose another $20k, but you can be damn sure I am going to turn it into a spectacle like filming a bonfire of the 200 boxes ablaze when all we needed was a simple courtesy phone call to alert us there was a problem.” A bonfire would not be erected and Saka eventually worked with Federal to make a scaled down event happen. Dunbarton donated $1000 to charity and Federal’s manager sat dutifully in a dunk tank all day, submerged repeatedly by attendee after attendee.
We’re seeing a softer, more sentimental side of Saka these days – but nobody need worry about his signature snark having gone anywhere. The bright change in demeanor should not be perceived as giving in to the social media hivemind or anything so utterly un-Saka, he just seems really excited about educating cigar smokers who are even more eager to learn than in previous years…and we’ll happily engage with as much of it as he’s willing to continue to share!
In an exciting update, the Cigar Clowns shared that the Ron is coming back! Well, not exactly. The Not The Ron is a 6×52, whereas the OG Ron which was 6×50. A collaboration with the Clowns and AJ Fernandez, the original Ron has become a hot commodity for those who missed out on the original drop. Praised repeatedly for its numerous transitions and evolving aromas, current and eventual fans are hoping that those unique characteristics live on in the Not The Ron – available at Limited Cigar Association shops on September 2nd.
As much work as it takes to release one highly anticipated blend, the Clowns are also releasing The Recession cigar at an exclusive event hosted by @barclayrexcigarlounge in lower Manhattan. Founding contributor Frank Curto has a piece coming out this week detailing both releases!
Kafie 1901 Cigars just shipped out one of the last batches of legacy cigars in existence to have been made at Tabacalera G.Kafie in Honduras. It’s a happy milestone for the cigar maker and for the industry. Seeing the last treasures from past accomplishments making their way into the world clears the path for new ones and marks the beginning of the next era for Kafie’s blends, all of which are being made in partnership with the oldest factory in all of cigars – La Aurora.
On what is absolutely on my top 5 list of most underrated cigar IG accounts, Skip Martin frequently and casually drops loud sirens + flashing lights level RoMa Craft Tobac updates in between Dad life and delicious looking foodie photos. Last week saw the tease of a new cigar in development, the Intemperance Volstead 1920 and this weekend brought even more to look forward to. Updating his feed this weekend, Skip shared “Intemperance Volstead blending samples and a 2017 @firestonewalker Velvet Merkin before I head to the Dominican Republic tomorrow to kick off #Quinquagenario production at TLA.”
Whispered about as far back as 2020, the cigar’s name – Quinquagenario – is Italian for quinquagenarian, a person who has reached their 50s. Originally targeted for release in tandem with Martin’s 50th birthday, there is still no official timeline for when they may be made available to the public. I have not yet confirmed, but believe Martin’s birthday came and went last month. For anyone who isn’t already familiar, TLA is Tabacalera La Alianza S.A….Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.’s factory in the Dominican Republic. A seasoned industry veteran and a maverick boutique rockstar, working together. Try to tell me this isn’t the most amazing time to be a fan of cigars and cigar culture. Safe travels Skip!
August is a big month for birthdays…actually, it’s the biggest month for birthdays – at least according to records maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigar Public founder Brian Desind celebrates his birthday on Monday and the industry just spent the weekend sending birthday love to Sébastien Decoppet. Ahead of his birthday, Sébastien spent a few minutes on the phone sharing exciting news about what’s going on now and what’s coming next for Cavalier Geneve – you can read about it all here.
I was elated seeing HVC post video this weekend of what is happening inside Fábrica de Tabacos HVC S.A. de Reinier Lorenzo, Reinier’s new factory. The new Seleccion No. 1 is the first run of cigars ever produced at the new HVC HQ. Those cigars and and the upcoming Black Friday 2022s are just the beginning of HVC’s adventure in their new home and I can’t think of a better way to have kicked off this next phase of their growth and evolution. Keep an eye on HVC in the next few weeks, Reinier makes no little plans!
As we first reported at the beginning of July, Foundation Cigars is releasing a core line – Olmec. In a series of IG posts, some of them unavailable for viewing if not signed in to the platform, Foundation shared that Olmec will be shipping to shops in September. Foundation Master Blender Nicholas Melillo adds, “I have admired the Olmec civilization since I first traveled to San Andrès to purchase tobacco back in 2006. This brand is unique on every level, from the blend to the packaging, and is a great addition to our portfolio.” Foundation doesn’t do anything halfway, so there is a great deal of anticipation for this release. As soon as they hit shops, we’ll let you know!
Erik Espinosa, Jr. posted this weekend about the highly anticipated Warhead VIII dropping this week. The 8th iteration of the La Bomba limited editions is a 6 x 60, box pressed Gordo. The Warhead VIII is an all-Nicaraguan puro with filler, binder, and broadleaf wrapper all from Nicaragua. “This is the release that I am asked about every year, there are so many customers that can’t wait for it launch so they can add it to their collection, I am truly amazed at its success year in and year out”, says Erik Espinosa.
Dapper Cigar Co. is the official cigar of the Concorso Italiano taking place in California this weekend. According to Dapper, Concorso Italiano is “the world’s largest luxury and exotic Italian Car show. This is truly a multi-faceted luxury lifestyle event celebrating all things Italian; fashion, food, wine, art, and products.” Concorso Italiano, famous for the diverse and significant collection of exhibited Italian cars, is centered on as many as 1,000 Italian & exotic automobiles, Italian motorcycles. Attendees are also able to take advantage of the outdoor cigar lounge operated by Hydeaway Cigar Club, Dapper’s retail partner.
There was definitely some other buzz this weekend, especially as it relates to Peruvian tobacco and pH levels – but I’ll be having fun with that during the week. In the interim, here’s one last piece of weekend cigar fan reading. Since our inception, Cigar Public has been proud to cover J.C. Newman every few weeks. I always say they operate like a 127-year old start-up company, wildly agile for a company of its size and age and always lifting up others for the benefit of the wider industry. It’s always nice seeing good people get the spotlight they deserve. As established as their family’s story is and as far as their market share already reaches, there are many new enthusiasts coming into the cigar community who may not know the Newman’s vibrant history.
You can read a nice profile on J.C. Newman’s past, present and future that some other publication posted this weekend 😉 A little amazing that it took them so long to showcase, once again, such important figures. So much of the old guard navigates this industry with a famine mentality, that’s not how we operate. PLEASE go read other cigar news in addition to ours, always learn as much as you can…you may just find that there’s enough cigars and words for everyone to enjoy, and that you can like one thing without that meaning you dislike another. You may also find that Cigar Public is proof that it’s ok to be excited about cigars and talk about them in exciting ways. Congratulations to J.C. Newman, the gold standard for open arms and open minds in service of ensuring the longevity of the entire industry!
Keep on sending in your favorite cigar related news stories, posts and videos!