Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 14 July 2006

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Top25Cigars Day Two update from the 2006 RTDA show.

Antano 1970 Perfecto

SAG Imports, most famous for their Antano and Fonseca lines have introduced 3 new shapes into the widely popular Antano 1970 line.  Many folks have already seen the Magnum 660 released a few months ago, but also new is a 6 1/8 x 58 Perfecto, and a 7 1/2 x 38 Lancero.  New from Fonseca will be the Fonseca Cubano Limitado.  Another full bodied cigar destined for market. The Cubano Limitada has a Honduran Cuban Seed wrapper with Nicaraguan and Dominican Cuban seed filler.

Torano Cigars is releasing their Noventa "90" line of cigars.  The Noventa is a celebration of the family's 90 year tradition as tobacco growers and cigar producers. A Nicaraguan puro with 5 year aged tobaccos the Noventa will come in three sizes.  6 1/2 x 46 Tubos have been added to the Exodus 1959 and Casa Torano lines.

The Ashton booth was huge as always and busy as always.  All the talk revolved around the "Where the heck are the ESG's", the long awaited companion to the VSG line.  You'll be happy to know that not a sole in the booth wanted to touch the subject with a ten foot pole.  Each year for the next 5 years Ashton is introducing one new size to the ESG line.  In the debut year of 2005  the 6.75 x 49 Churchill was introduced (granted it is 2006 and we still have not seen this cigar).  For 2006 a 5.25 x 52 robusto will be released.

Michael and Al Argenti have resurfaced and now operate Cuban Imports. The company is collaborating with tobacco giant Altadis to exclusively distribute 3 new frontmarks including H. Upmann SignaturePor Larrangaga Cuban Grade, and a new brand named Exile. All 3 brands sport updated packaging including the individual cigar wrappers.

Los Blancos Sumatra Cigars

The cigars distributed by Cuban Imports will be manufactured in Honduras and have blends unique to that factory.  The cigars from the Honduran factory were blended to have a little more kick said company owner, Michael Argenti. We hope the cigars taste as good as they look and look forward to reviewing them in the future.

Los Blancos is an interesting company that is re-emerging on the cigar scene.  Run by the Blanco family, a family who have all served in the military in Afghanistan and Iraq, and include a history of leaving Cuba due to the Castro regime, there philosophy seems right on.  The Los Blancos Premiere Selection will have four families including Sumatra, Maduro, Connecticut Shade and Criollo.

We talked to Enrique Diez at Puros Indios which is focusing on promoting the new lines introduced at last years show. Products in the pipeline include tubed versions of both Puros Indios and Cuba Aliados, a line of small cigars, and a retail store in Miami that carries a full line of cigar brands, has a cigar lounge, and serves beverages.

Palio, the cigar cutter to top all cigar cutters was represented well at the RTDA.  This used to be secret gem is now out and has the retailers clamoring to have them in their shops.  If you are a follower of the online cigar scene, you've likely seen the support these cutters have in the community.  Look for them to be arriving at your favorite tobacconist soon.

La Flor Dominicana Mysterio

It took us five years, but we finally did it; we were able to catch up with Litto Gomez, the owner of La Flor Dominicana. Gomez's cigars have gained a loyal following and have scored recent success in the cigar ratings wars.

Litto took the time to show us his latest releases. The Coronado (crown in Spanish) is a full bodied smoke made from the most flavorful leaves on the tobacco plants and comes in 3 large format shapes. Following in the footsteps of the Factory Press I, the Factory Press II is available as a beautiful box pressed toro size with a dark corojo wrapper. Next is the Mysteria, which is probably the most stunning figurado we saw at the show. Tapered at both ends, the foot and the cap are wrapped in maduro while the main shaft of the cigar is wrapped with a beautiful Nicaraguan Connecticut shade wrapper. We hope we won't have to wait so long before we talk with Litto again.

To commemorate his father's birthday, Ernesto Padilla of Padilla Cigars will release the Signature 1932 this fall. The Nicaraguan puro will come in 6 shapes, be more full bodied than the Miami 8/11 line and come packaged in a beautiful humidor. Also of note is that the cigar will be made by Pepin Garcia who is on a roll of his own.  Padilla cigars continues to be successful by providing great cigars and fantastic customer service from their hands on leader, Ernesto Padilla.

Busy as always, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars has released their Java "Latte' line to complement the original Java.  The biggest announcement from the RP is the "Vintage Connecticut 1999" addition to the already successful Vintage 1992 and 1990 lines.  A 4 x 48 perfecto will join all three Vintage lines as well.

Jaime Garcia, Jose "Pepin" Garcia and Rob Shibata

We were finally able to talk to the folks at Pepin Garcia's booth (aka El Rey de Los Habanos) Mike Villaplana and Jaime Garcia gave us the run down on the products and company. Pepin has recently opened a factory in Nicaragua to meet the demand for his cigars that his Miami facility could not.

The Nicaragua factory makes the 6 shape Tatuaje Havana VI line, the lower priced 4 shape Tatuaje Serie P which has a mixed filler of the same blend as its long filler big brother and the Nuevitas Jibaro line, which has 2 figurado shapes and is the strongest of the 3 brands. The Miami factory still produces the original Tatuaje line in 15 shapes and the Cabaiguan in 4 shapes.  The Nicaragua factory also makes cigars for other companies such as Padilla Cigars.  We sampled the Don Pepin Garcia Delicias, and walked away with a  potential "best of show" cigar.  We look forward to getting to know Pepin and his cigars better.

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