Some of our favorite DE blends will soon be available as quick smokes in nicely portable tin packs. Starting in late summer, blends like Joya Red and Black, Undercrown and more will be ready for those grab-and-go occasions. While we don't like to think of the end of summer in July, these will be perfect in fall and winter for a quick, 10 or 15 minute cigar break on the cooler days that are hopefully still many months away. Here's the full release from DE:
For years, Quai D'Orsay was considered a "beginner's" cigar...kinda like a Cuban Macanudo. Supposedly very light in flavor, bland and uninteresting. Nothing could have been further from the truth. We especially loved the Imperiales (Churchill) that we reviewed here but unfortunately by then it was discontinued. In fact, all sizes were discontinued except the corona.
Not that you'd know it by checking the Habanos website. Despite the fact that a reblended, repackaged and revamped Quai D'Orsay was announced early this year, the website still shows the old brand in its circa-2013 or so glory. Check out the screen grab below:
Keep your eyes peeled: if you see a deal that's too good to be true on certain Drew Estate cigar brands, it could be because they're stolen---but you might be able to help catch the thieves.
Jonathan Drew's kinda sorta offshoot of the Drew Estate cigar company sent out a press release announcing their leadership team and kinda sorta hinting at things to come.
While it appears booze is still their main business for the time being, the press release notes that "John Drew Brands is an authentic lifestyle company, initially focused on the alcohol beverage category." The key word there is initially. Which, to us, suggests they'll be expanding into other areas, though what those might be are unclear.
Drew Estate has been highly successful at the "lifestyle" hustle, ingraining their brand into the daily lives of their most ardent fans by offering experience-oriented events and apparel. So it stands to reason that John Drew Brands could evolve into other beverages, foods or even clothing, jewelry...you name it. (We delved into Patagonia's expansion into the food business and reviewed their buffalo jerky here.)
Still. any big moves seem pretty far off since the team announced in the press release appear singularly focused on alcohol.
Cohiba is probably the most counterfeited cigar in the world, and no wonder. The high price means big profits for peddlers of fakes. The even more expensive Cohiba Behike is the latest target of counterfeiters, but Habanos SA is helping cigar lovers fight back with a revised hologram on the band that's more difficult to reproduce than the original design.
"Since it was launched in 2010, the Behike bands bear the Cohiba Indian head in an embossed holographic paper, including an exclusive security hologram in each one of them," said Habanos SA in a news announcement. "This new band design established a new technological trend in the way the bands of Cohiba would look in the future."
New hologram offers increased protection
"Now in 2014 the Behike band incorporates a new hologram design with increased security measures which permit a better traceability of each band and cigar." The hologram, pictured above, will appear on all three sizes–BKK 52, BKK 54 AND BHK 56.
Habanos SA noted that the old and new designs will coexist in the marketplace for a short time until the the old stock sells out and is fully replaced with cigars bearing the new band.
Tips: Protect yourself from fakes
As always, we recommend purchasing cigars, regardless of country of origin, from established and reputable retailers only.
By taking advantage of the latest anti-counterfeiting resources like this new hologram band, and purchasing only from authorized retailers, you can ensure that you're always getting an authentic, quality product.
Our thanks go out to Habanos and all cigar manufacturers who help protect consumers from fakes.
The sun has set on yet another of our favorite cigars. Ashton has quietly discontinued its excellent Seleccion Del Sol line.
No formal announcement was made. Existing stocks simply sold out and were not replenished.
Though the cigar is still listed on Ashton's website, it is no longer available at Holt's online store (Ashton's parent company) or any of the popular online vendors we checked.
Like the other cigars in the brand, these were made by the Garcias at My Father Cigars in Esteli. They featured one of the first wrapper leaves grown at the Garcia family's own farm. According to Ashton, Jamie Garcia hand selected the leaf used for production.
Back in November, La Flor Dominicana quietly axed the Coronado line. It was probably the right decision since no one but me seemed to care. But it's a sad end for what I believe is the finest cigar they've ever produced -- a cigar most people, even diehard cigar buffs, have even tried.
Hard to believe really, since it was named the #2 in Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 ranking in 2006, shortly after its introduction. The cigar itself has always been superb. Rich and chewy with hearty tobacco and rock candy notes and a hint of the characteristic LFD leatheriness, it is a powerhouse of flavor yet restrained in comparison with the company's other lines.
Perhaps that was the problem. LFD has cult following among those who like their cigars dark, thick and strong. There's nothing subtle about the Ligero series, that's for sure. I recently smoked the latest Small Batch, the No. 5, and found it positively tiring by the midpoint, like eating a steak sandwich on a steak bun. The Coronado was a different, far more refined animal. Perhaps too refined.
If viewed from a marketing perspective however, the demise makes sense. The cigar wears a relatively light-colored wrapper, yet it's quite rich and full bodied. Even while smoking it, the experience is a lot like a Cohiba Behike: all finesse on the palate, but a powerful punch in the gut. Guys who like strong cigars were likely to pass on them thinking they were mild, and the people who picked them up expecting an easygoing smoke probably regretted it.
Then there's the band. Its basically unidentifiable, even as a La Flor. It gets lost in every cigar store humidor I've seen. It may have stood a chance if only La Flor fans knew it was a La Flor. The best solution would probably have been to replace the single large band with two, the classic "LFD" band on top a and a second band with "Coronado" on the bottom, much like Davidoff does so elegantly with the Millennium Series.
I have high hopes La Flor will repackage it, rebrand it and bring it back. Until then, all I have is my remaining stock of Double Coronas and Lanceros. Since they must now be special occasion cigars, I rang in the New Year with a DC from 2010 production and found it to be typically wonderful.
The key with these is to dry box them for a few days prior to smoking. Otherwise, the wrappers burn about as well as a Nomex racing driver's suit. You want them to crackle just so slightly when gently pinched. And the whole cigar is better when kept at a lower humidity level, like 65 or 67% max. Aging certainly benefits these, tempering a degree of boldness.
Under ideal conditions, a Coronado Double Corona is a thing of beauty. Rich but not overpowering, flavorful but complex, a cigar that evolves nicely as it burns. I guess at this point we may as well tag this post as a vintage cigar review since Coronado is now officially in the history books.
*Note that the recommendation below to smoke these now refers to the 2010 production sample tasted here. Recent production cigars benefit from one to three years of aging.