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Written by Puff Staff

Wednesday, 28 July 2004

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clubs and organizationsindustry updates
rtda 2004special events
Our last live update from the 2004 RTDA show. Thank goodness, as I'm not sure we could handle Vegas much longer! Here's the RTDA Day Three update.  We've just about worn out our taste buds by this time, not to mention our feet and livers...

La Flor Dominicana

La Flor Dominicana is announcing the "Litto Gomez", a Dominican puro using all estate grown tobacco.  This is a trend that is becoming more and more popular.

Caribe Imported Cigars

Caribe is releasing a  new Baccarat Dominican cigar.  Out of all their lines, which includes Camacho, Rob and I were surprised to find out that Baccarat Havana Selection is their top selling line.  Caribe is among the cigar companies releasing a small cigar sold in tins.

Altadis

As usual cigar giant Altadis has a lot on their plate.  New brands include the Trinidad maduro, a box pressed Juan Lopez, Maria Guerrero, and Royal Jamaica Gold.  Interesting to note that all are priced in the $4 - $6 dollar range, except for the Trinidads.  We're seeing this as the price point most manufacturers are trying to hit with their new cigars.  A rumor floating around the show was that Altadis plans on opening their own retail outlets under the JR Cigar name.  Strictly a rumor at this point, but we could vision the retailers revolting.

U.S. Tobacco

U.S. Tobacco, recently awarded to General Cigar in a lawsuit didn't have a lot of new cigars to offer, save for some new shapes in the Helix brand.  Their reps seemed a bit resigned to the fact that they would be eliminated soon after the show in favor of the General Cigar sales force.

La Perla Habana

A upcoming star, La Perla was glowing over their recent rating of the Black Pearl Toro Rojo in CA.  We had the chance to share one with owner Doug Wood, and nearly fell out of our seats when we realized CA had gotten one right!  This cigar was definitely one of the stars of the show.

Davidoff

We would love to tell you what is going on in the Davidoff camp, but sadly, neither Rob or I packed our tux, so we could not enter their booth.

Ghurka

Speaking of Davidoff, we met Roy MacLaren at Ghurka/Beach Group.  Roy is a veteran of the cigar industry having spent a long time with Davidoff before going to Ghurka.   New cigars from Ghurka include the K. Hansotia Symphony, a mild cigar with a Connecticut wrap.  Ghurka seems to be a company on the fast track in the industry.

General Cigar

At General Cigar we met Sherwin Seltzer, the VP of Special Sales and Trade Development.  Sherwin has forgotten more about the cigar industry than we'll ever know.  A wily veteran, Sherwin shared his 20 plus year history in the industry.  New cigars from general include Diablo, Excalibur Royal Sterling, a slightly spicier Excalibur, and the Partagas Cifuentes blend.

Victor Sinclair

The re-emergence of Victor Sinclair continues under the direction of President Bill Rhodes.  Victor Sinclair has added a Connecticut wrapped "Bamboo" to their Bohemian line. The Series 55 line has added a Cameroon wrapped "Yellow" line, and the VS Primeros.

Torano Cigars

We had the unexpected pleasure of running into Charlie Torano.  We followed him to the Torano booth to get an update on where they

were taking their cigars.  The biggest splash is Casa Torano, a family blend that has been passed on from generation to generation.  Charlie also told us that they would begin shipping their cigars with Humidipaks in them, to assure freshness.  We did get a couple samples of the Casa Torano and look forwarding to reporting on them in our complete summary of the show.

That's it for our live updates from Vegas and the 2004 RTDA.  Stay tuned in the next couple weeks for our complete synopsis of the show with reviews and thoughts on all the new cigars along with the different trends and directions from the industry.

Thanks for reading!

Paul Shoberg
Rob Shibata




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