It is always a great privilege to present your weekly cigar news roundup…and what a week it was! New cigars have been announced, previously revealed cigars have begun making their way to shops, renowned cigar makers are embarking on new adventures, there really is never a dull moment in this industry – so let’s get into it!
Black Star Line Cigars and Impact Force have to come to an agreement for Impact Force to handle sales in 23 states. Black Star Line founder Aric Bey shares that “we are very pleased about this collaboration because we needed help handling the growth of the company. Right now it is just Cliff Nelson (VP of sales) and I. Adding these additional sales reps from Impact Force will give us more coverage in different areas and will make sure lounges have a rep to contact if they need our product. This addition of the sales team and distribution through Illusione is helping us to become a bigger and stronger company.” All current production cigars in Black Star Line Cigars portfolio will be available through Impact Force, including the recently released Robusto vitolas for War Witch and Dark War Witch. All Black Star Line Cigars are currently rolled by Aganorsa Leaf in Esteli.
For the first time in over half a decade, Aganorsa Leaf is adding a new size to the original JFR brand portfolio: Mi Favorito. Measuring 5 x 70 and featuring a thick pigtail, Mi Favorito will be crafted in both the Corojo and Maduro expressions of the blend. “In a market that for many years now has been trending toward what’s new and flashy, JFR remains our most popular brand despite debuting nearly 20 years ago: a testament to the quality of the blend and the value it provides,” states Terence Reilly, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Aganorsa. “We felt a new size was long overdue and so we selected a squat, corpulent vitola that fits perfectly amongst the other sizes of the line.” Packed in Boxes of 28, JFR Mi Favorito’s suggested retail price will be $8.30 (Corojo) and $8.70 (Maduro). Boxes will begin shipping to retailers in October.
Luciano Meirelles and Tiago Splitter have announced that Ace Prime Cigars will rebrand as Luciano Cigars and launch an independent US distribution. While their previous distribution collaboration is coming to an end in a more public way than some would have expected, the result remains the same: Luciano will now be completely vertically-integrated. D’Hatuey Tabacos S.A. – known as Tabacalera Pichardo – will be also rebranded as Luciano Cigar Factory. Luciano Cigars’ primary offerings will include all their existing lines, including Fiat Lux, Maria Lucia, the new Mas Igneus, and Pichardo. Luciano shares that more brands will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Having blended some of the industry’s most-awarded cigars under many brand names for the past several years, Luciano Meirelles’ decision to lead this next chapter reflects a desire to offer the customer increased value and proximity to the cigar maker, while ensuring a consistency of vision, values and execution in the end product,” the partners offer. You don’t want to miss Luciano’s appearance this Wednesday on The Great Lakes Smoke Show. Excitement is already building quickly among cigar heads, and industry luminaries have been happy to express their support for this new, more focused endeavor:
“Luciano is among those in the vanguard of our industry carrying this torch to consumers, retailers, fellow brand owners, manufacturers and growers. We need more like him, and I’m excited to see how he and the broader industry benefit from his move into this next level with Luciano Cigars.”
RoMa Craft Tobac
“I commend Luciano for taking this great step. It would be an honor and privilege to eventually connect our two tobacco families. I look forward to blending beautiful cigars together with one of my dearest friends.”
West Tampa Tobacco Company
“Luciano is building a company of growers, producers and artisans with a highly creative approach. The Luciano Cigars transformation is something to keep your eye on and I wish him mad success!”
“Luciano has made a huge contribution to this industry, with his ideas, creativity and innovation for the future of cigars. I told him once to take care of our future, and now I can only await with anticipation for what’s to come from Luciano Cigars”
“Before one can be judged on his success, one must be judged on his values and principles. Luciano is a special soul, one that has his heart in the right place and sees into the horizon. It is a certainty that with these values, principles and energy, he will pave the way for many generations to come.”
Planned perfectly to coincide with the launch of their highly anticipated Ladrillos Enviro-Pack, Favilli hosted a celebration in their beautiful and storied Favilli mansion. For the first time anywhere in the world, guests were invited to experience this exciting new blend for themselves. I’ve never wanted to be nearer to Nicaragua more than when we received our own invite. To be in the presence of the very tiles that inspired the cigars being smoked must have been a surreal experience. These rich, box-pressed 5×52 Nicaraguan Puro cigars feature a special Nicaraguan Habano Oscurro wrapper. Even if you can’t make it to the mansion, you can still enjoy the Ladrillos – the six count packages are available to reserve now and will begin shipping next week! If you aren’t familiar with this project, check out our recent coverage.
Meerapfel announced their first Master Blend – Richard – earlier this year, and their second – Meir – just last week. As you read this, the very limited number of this year’s remaining Richard cigars are making their way out into the world! Starting with Dubai, the Richard will then arrive at partnered retailers in the United States and internationally in early October. Only 613 of each vitola will be made available each yer year, and only through allocation and waiting lists with a small number of specially selected premium cigar flagships around the globe.
The Chosen One V2 from Privada Regional Group The Scruffy Herf Nerders was released this week and the response has been really positive. The original V1 was a run of 700 and sold out way faster than anyone anticipated. To meet the demand that has been building since the first run became unavailable, 4200 cigars have been distributed this time around. Building on what they learned during the first launch, the Herf Nerders have partnered with brick & mortars who were able to sell The Chosen One exclusively for a few days before they went live Privada’s site. The shops that participated in this pre-sale are Oak Glen Tobacconist, Wooden Indian Tobacco, and Mardo Cigars.
This is a very rare cigar that cannot be blended again, as these represent the last of the materials needed. The wrapper is a 3 year aged Corojo 99 from Jalapa, the binder is aged Criollo 98 and the filler is a mix of 5 tobaccos from Jamastran in Honduras. The cigars have a year and half of age on them. The Privada Regionals are an amazing way for cigar lovers to get real world education in the craft at whatever level they desire. Herf Nerder Sevdet Alusevski is all in and perfectly represents how the Regional program takes shape around each individual’s interests and goals. So fascinated in the nuances a cigar can present its smoker with, Sev has started learning how to roll and blend so that he can understand as much as possible about the characteristics of the raw materials at the foundation of our favorite cigars.
For the Herf Nerders, community comes first and everything decisions is made in service of that mission. Suran Wijayawardana, the other half of the Scruffy duo, and Sev are ever present staples on live streams and chat threads that span the full breadth of the industry. The momentum they’ve built is due in large part to the fact that many of us already know, love, and trust their palates and personalities from the myriad interactions theyve shared with so many.
It’s impossible to look at the success the Herf Nerders have worked so hard to achieve and not immediately think of the Cigar Clowns. When asked about the comparison Suran showed a level of awareness and humility that can often take a lifetime and a lot of lessons to obtain if they’re ever acquired at all, “the Cigars Clowns are close friends and mentors to us. Our goal is to keep this fun and share our expressions with our fellow POTL’s. We are also now looking at custom blending with various factories direct which could provide us the opportunity to do an LCA drop. That would be a dream. However for enough allocation for the LCA network that keeps growing, we would have to look at a 15,000 to 20,000 release. IF we can blend a cigar that is LCA worthy and with the support we have gotten from the community, it is definitely not out of the question.”
The Scruffy Herf Nerders are going about everything in a really measured way and are clearly much more focused on the quality than on how quick they can get cigars out the door. For us as consumers, that can only mean good things. If you haven’t gotten your own The Chosen One’s yet, you may want to use the force and get some before they’re gone forever. Keep paying attention to what they’re doing, especially as October approaches…
Wishing you another great weekend full of your favorite cigars and your favorite people. Keep on sending in your favorite cigar related news stories, posts and videos!