THE SCOOP WITH COOP – EPISODE 322

Foundation Cigar Company’s Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No. 142 Heads to Retailers

The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No. 142., a cigar by Nicholas Melillo and Foundation Cigar Company that was showcased at the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, is now making its way to retailers.
There’s a new blend under The Tabernacle brand and its called Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No. 142. The name comes from the fact that the cigar uses a hybrid Habano seed grown in Melillo’s home state of Connecticut. According to Melillo, the resulting leaf from this hybrid seed required three years of fermentation at Tabacalera Fernandez (where production is handled), but the wait was worth it.
In addition to the Habano wrapper, the Tabernacle Havana Seed CT No. 142 features a San Andres binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Honduras. It is available in four sizes: Corona (5 1/4 x 46), Robusto (5 x 50), Toro: (6 x 52 ), and Double Corona (7 x 54). The cigars are packaged in 24-count boxes.

Fuente Fuente OpusX Serie Heaven and Earth to Feature Purple Rain, BBMF, and Taurus the Bull

Numerous retailers are reporting they are slated to receive a set of rare vintage Fuente Fuente OpusX known as “Heaven and Earth”. The series consists of three separate releases, each packaged in Prometheus humidors, with a portion of the sales being donated to the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation.
First up is the Fuente Fuente OpusX Serie Heaven and Earth Forbidden X Purple Rain. It’s a long thin torpedo that’s a Dominican puro. The cigar sells for $45.00 SRP. It’s presented in a ten-count box that doubles as a humidor. A total of 300 boxes have been produced.
Next up is the return of the BBMF size with the Fuente Fuente OpusX Serie Heaven and Earth BBMF. It’s a giant Diadema featuring the ForbiddenX 2013 vintage banding on it. This Dominican puro is packaged in ten-count boxes that also double as humidors. Pricing is set at $75.00 per cigar. There is also a total production of 300 boxes allocated.
Finally the Taurus the Bull size returns with the Fuente Fuente OpusX Serie Heaven and Earth Taurus the Bull. This is a Gordo that also features the ForbiddenX 2013 vintage banding on it. Like the other Heaven and Earth releases, this Dominican puro is packaged in ten-count boxes that double as humidors. Pricing is set at $60.00 per cigar with a total allocation of 300 boxes.

The Oscar Habano Winter Edition Hits Stores

Oscar Valladares Tobacco & Company has shipped a fourth size of its popular “The Oscar” Habano line. This one is a 5 1/4 x 44 Corona size known as the The Oscar Winter Edition.
According to to the company, this will be a seasonal release available during the winter months only. The corona size is designed to be a shorter smoke for those who smoke outdoors during the colder winter months in the U.S.
Like the previous installments, The Oscar Habano Winter Edition is packaged in 11-count boxes shaped like cigar molds. Each cigar is placed inside a sleeve made from a candela wrapper.
The blend features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Honduran binder, and a combination of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaco in the filler.

José R Oliva Named Florida Speaker of the House

As expected, Oliva Cigar Company José R. Oliva has been named the Speaker of the House for the State of Florida for 2019-2020. He succeeds current Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran (R-Land O’Lakes, Florida).
Hailing from Miami Lakes, Florida, Oliva was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives back in 2011 in a special election. Oliva’s designation as Speaker is not a surprise as for several years he has been in the line of succession (something that is also designated in advance) for the job. In 2017, he was officially named Florida Speaker of the House Designee meaning he would succeed Corcoran if his party (Republican) held a majority in the State. Cororcan is stepping down due to term limits.
Last year, the Oliva family sold Oliva Cigar Company to J. Cortès, a company based in Belgium. Following the sale, Oliva has remained as the Oliva brand’s CEO, but has continued to focus on his burgeoning political career.
Meanwhile, another industry member also has joined a state legislative house. Almost ignored by the industry has been IPCPR member and retailer Todd Johnson’s election to the North Carolina State Senate.

Crowned Heads Headley Grange Black Lab LE 2018 Announced

Crowned Heads has announced a new limited edition extension under its Headley Grange brand known as the Headley Grange Black Lab Limited Edition 2018.
Made at Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza, the Black Lab utilizes the original Crowned Heads Headley Grange blend. It then incorporates a Connecticut Habano Maduro wrapper. The cigar is then box pressed and utilizes a closed foot. Black Lab is the first Crowned Heads cigar to feature the closed foot. The cigar is available in one size – a 6 x 52 box pressed Toro.
Connecticut Habano Maduro is a wrapper that Crowned Heads has used before – namely on its Four Kicks Maduro. The remainder of the Black Lab blend utilizes Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and filler.
The cigars are available in 12-count boxes.  A total of 1,500 boxes (18,000 cigars) have been produced.

Two Releases for Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2018

As has become the norm, Oliva has done its annual release of the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial with little fanfare. This year will see two releases, one familiar one from recent years, and one returning for the first time in five years.
For the fifth consecutive year, the 6 x 60 Double Toro size is being released as a part of the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial. The Double Toro size was first introduced in 2014 and has been a staple of the line since then.  Also returning to the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial for 2018 is the 5 x 54 Double Robusto. The Double Robusto made its only appearance in the series in 2013.
As has been the case since 2010, the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2018 consists of a San Andres Maduro over Nicaraguan binder and filler. Both the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2018 Double Toro and Double Robusto are presented in ten-count boxes.

THE SCOOP WITH COOP – EPISODE 321

José R Oliva Named Florida Speaker of the House

As expected, Oliva Cigar Company José R. Oliva has been named the Speaker of the House for the State of Florida for 2019-2020. He succeeds current Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran (R-Land O’Lakes, Florida).
Hailing from Miami Lakes, Florida, Oliva was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives back in 2011 in a special election. Oliva’s designation as Speaker is not a surprise as for several years he has been in the line of succession (something that is also designated in advance) for the job. In 2017, he was officially named Florida Speaker of the House Designee meaning he would succeed Corcoran if his party (Republican) held a majority in the State. Cororcan is stepping down due to term limits.
Last year, the Oliva family sold Oliva Cigar Company to J. Cortès, a company based in Belgium. Following the sale, Oliva has remained as the Oliva brand’s CEO, but has continued to focus on his burgeoning political career.
Meanwhile, another industry member also has joined a state legislative house. Almost ignored by the industry has been IPCPR member and retailer Todd Johnson’s election to the North Carolina State Senate.

Crowned Heads Headley Grange Black Lab LE 2018 Announced

Crowned Heads has announced a new limited edition extension under its Headley Grange brand known as the Headley Grange Black Lab Limited Edition 2018.
Made at Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza, the Black Lab utilizes the original Crowned Heads Headley Grange blend. It then incorporates a Connecticut Habano Maduro wrapper. The cigar is then box pressed and utilizes a closed foot. Black Lab is the first Crowned Heads cigar to feature the closed foot. The cigar is available in one size – a 6 x 52 box pressed Toro.
Connecticut Habano Maduro is a wrapper that Crowned Heads has used before – namely on its Four Kicks Maduro. The remainder of the Black Lab blend utilizes Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and filler.
The cigars are available in 12-count boxes.  A total of 1,500 boxes (18,000 cigars) have been produced.

Two Releases for Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2018

As has become the norm, Oliva has done its annual release of the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial with little fanfare. This year will see two releases, one familiar one from recent years, and one returning for the first time in five years.
For the fifth consecutive year, the 6 x 60 Double Toro size is being released as a part of the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial. The Double Toro size was first introduced in 2014 and has been a staple of the line since then.  Also returning to the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial for 2018 is the 5 x 54 Double Robusto. The Double Robusto made its only appearance in the series in 2013.
As has been the case since 2010, the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2018 consists of a San Andres Maduro over Nicaraguan binder and filler. Both the Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial 2018 Double Toro and Double Robusto are presented in ten-count boxes.

THE SCOOP WITH COOP – EPISODE 320

FDA Calls for Ban on Flavored Cigars

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced a series of reforms designed to take steps to curb underage smoking. As a part of the program, the agency is calling for a sweeping ban on flavored tobacco, flavored e-cigarettes, and the use of menthol in tobacco products.  This ban includes flavored cigars. The announcement was made via a press release today.
The move on flavored cigars is not a surprise. Last month when the FDA published its Unified Agenda, it listed that it was considering a ban on flavored cigars. The FDA now plans on prioritizing this proposed rule.
While liquids used in ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery System) were a target, this time banning flavors in premium cigars was explicitly called out.  In a statement released by FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb: “Finally, to ensure that we’re taking a comprehensive approach, we must evaluate our regulatory approach to flavored cigars. Flavors are added to cigars and other tobacco products for various reasons, such as reducing the harshness, bitterness and astringency of tobacco products during inhalation and to soothe irritation during use. Research shows that, compared to adults (25 or older) who smoke cigars, a higher proportion of youth who smoke cigars use flavored cigars.” The FDA contends eliminating flavors from cigars would prevent initiation by younger people.
Gottlieb made several points in regards to flavored cigars:

  • He believes flavored cigars should no longer be subject to the extended compliance date for premarket authorization — regardless of the location in which the products are sold.
  • In addition, Gottlieb is calling for those flavored cigars that are grandfathered to be removed. Accordingly, the FDA intends to propose a product standard that would ban flavors in all cigars.
  • In July, the comment period for ANPRM on flavors in tobacco products closed. The FDA has expedited review and analysis of these comments, and intends to proceed with developing a proposed regulation. As included in the most recent Unified Agenda, the FDA intends to prioritize the issuance of this proposed rule.

Gottlieb also stated that he has the full support of his boss, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
Flavored tobacco was the focus of one of three ANPRMs that included reducing nicotine levels, and how or if premium cigars should be regulated. In particular premium cigars were mentioned as a part of the ANPRM on flavored tobacco.
The FDA also said it would crack down on marketing ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery System) products and liquids marketed to minors. They specifically mention using children’s cartoon or animated characters or names of products favored by kids like brands of candy and soda. There is reason to believe this will extend to all tobacco products. Ironically one cigar company rebranded one of its products today using marketing similar to a popular soda.
The FDA has not mentioned a timetable for enforcement of the planned regulation, but it is expected to set off a long industry battle challenging this decision.
Gottlieb’s full statement can be read here.

Quesada Cigars Completes Revamping Fonseca Brand

At the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, Quesada Cigars showcased a revamped look for its original Fonseca Classic brand. Today the company has announced it has revamped the other four lines under the brand. The new look will be presented at a launch event scheduled to be held in New York City at the Nat Sherman Townhouse on Wednesday, November 28th.
The changes will affect the Fonseca Vintage, Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo, Fonseca Cubano Limitado, and Fonseca Nicaragua. Each of these lines will now feature the red, white, and wood designed style box introduced when Fonseca Classic was revamped this past summer. In addition, all of the Fonseca cigars will now have the red and white Fonseca logo band. In addition, a secondary band will be added to each line (with the exception of the Fonseca Classic which will remain with a single band).
While the blends remain the same, one big change is coming to the Fonseca Cubano Limitado line. Previously this was a box-pressed offering under the Fonseca brand. It is now be shifted to a parejo offering and like the other lines continue to use the same tobaccos.
“With Fonseca we have managed to offer cigar enthusiasts all types of smokes in one brand. From a medium but flavorful smoke such as the Fonseca Classic to a more intense and full-bodied smoke in the Fonseca Nicaragua. Now was the time to redesign the brand, and we have managed to do so with something that cannot be missed, a solid red lid with the iconic Fonseca Logo on it,” said Manuel “Manolo” Quesada, President of Quesada Cigars in a press release.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved with this brand over the years, and now we are prouder to reintroduce it to the market with a fresher look. From a brand image perspective, it was very important to identify Fonseca with this new and unified packaging,” added Fruela Roces, CEO of Quesada Cigars.
“For over 44 years we at Quesada Cigars have carried this amazing brand in our portfolio, and now we are proudly bringing to customers a more attractive and modern look. An eye-catching packaging that for sure will call the attention in every humidor or lounge that it sits in and; of course, a great cigar that will satisfy all smoker’s palates,” commented Senior Brand Director and Manolo’s daughter, Raquel Quesada.
The company says pricing will remain the same through the end of the year. The new presentation will be available to retailers immediately following the November 28 launch.

Gran Habano Brings Back Los Tres Reyes Magos

Gran Habano has announced the return of its limited edition culebra set, Los Tres Magos. It’s a a culebra package that includes three of Gran Habano’s most popular blends.
The name Los Tres Reyes Magos stands for “The Three Wise Men”. Each culebra contains three 7 x 32 panatela cigars tied together and will include one cigar from the Gran Habano #1 (Connecticut Shade blend) blend, one cigar from the Gran Habano #3 (Nicaraguan Habano wrapped blend), and one cigar from the Gran Habano #5 (Nicaraguan Corojo wrapped blend).
Each culebra is packaged in an individual coffin. Boxes will be available containing ten coffins. Each box has a suggested retail price of $140.00