Tuesday, May 23, 2017 — Wynwood, FL - John Drew Brands announces its Leadership Team: CEO Jonathan Drew, President Nancy Berkowitz, National Sales Manager Steve Chernoff, and National Director of Brand Development Frank Moreno. In addition, John Drew Brands will partner with and be supported by Joey Reichenbach and Sam Morales, the Creative Director and Director of Marketing at Drew Estate, respectively. Founded in 2015, John Drew Brands is an authentic lifestyle company, initially focused on the alcohol beverage category. Jonathan Drew is a proven pioneer in the cigar industry accredited with attaining third in overall market share in the United States, as well as creating the largest premium cigar factory in the world.
Chairman of John Drew Brands, Jonathan Drew is the recognizable and provocative personality known for disrupting the premium cigar world. Drew will continue as President of Drew Estate, reporting to CEO of Drew Estate Glenn C. Wolfson while he simultaneously assumes the role of Chief Executive Officer of John Drew Brands. From the Wynwood Safehouse "I am uber amped to welcome Nancy, Steve, and Frank to the John Drew Brands Family. I am beyond thankful for the support that Drew Estate will be providing John Drew Brands and am excited to continue the journey with Joey and Sam. This is a company that is in a break-out moment with game changing platforms and innovations."
John Drew Brands President, Nancy Berkowitz has more than 35+ years of experience in the beverage alcohol industry. She is a proven leader and has successfully launched brands and companies with a focus on wine and spirits, as well as software and services. Nancy has held senior positions in sales management and marketing for such companies as Gallo Wine, United Liquors, Renfield Importers, Marie Brizard USA, Ste. Michelle Estates and Dimensional Insight. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance from Boston University and an MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Miami. "It is a pleasure to be a part of the John Drew Brands team, creating new and exciting products and opportunities in the beverage alcohol industry."
National Sales Manager, Steve Chernoff began his career at Continental Distributing in Chicago in 1981 and has over 35 years of experience in all facets of the industry. He has worked in sales and in marketing management at major distributors. Steve spent 4 years working for the Phar-mor drugstore chain as a Regional Beverage Manager covering 8 states and 3 years as the Corporate Purchasing Manager for the Lettuce Entertain You Restaurant Company. Additionally, Steve served as the Marketing Director at Distinctive Wines in Chicago. Over the past 9 years, he has owned and managed various national brokerage companies for wines and spirits.
National Director of Brand Development, Frank Moreno is a ten year marketing veteran in the Beverage Alcohol and Hospitality industries, focusing on experiential event creation, product development, and key marketing initatives. Frank also has consulted for top companies, creating and implementing market and consumer activations. Frank is an active member of the USBG, spirits & cocktail fanatic, spirits historian and founder of two major spirits-focused events.
Director of Marketing of Drew Estate, Sam Morales contributes significant expertise and value to John Drew Brands, specializing in consumer engagement, digital marketing, advertising, experiential marketing, and brand strategy.
Creative Director of Drew Estate, Joey Reichenbach contributes significant expertise and value to John Drew Brands, specializing in creative direction, merchandising, packaging, advertising and product development.
ABOUT JOHN DREW BRANDS
Founded in 2015, John Drew Brands is an authentic lifestyle company, initially focused on the alcohol beverage category. Headquartered in Wynwood, Florida, the intitial brands, Dove Tale Rum, Brixton Mash Destroyer, John Drew Rye had their market introduction at WSWA 2016, with formal launch planned for August 2017.
May 23, 2017
May 21, 2017
Andres Maturen, brand manager of Cohiba said, “With Cohiba Blue, we present collection that speaks to the ethos of the Cohiba brand. Made with a curated selection of tobaccos, handcrafted by renowned artisans, and created for all those who seek the indulgence of a fine cigar, Cohiba Blue symbolizes a life well lived.”
The Cohiba blending team created a velvety, medium-bodied cigar with a rich, complex taste and enticing aroma. To achieve the desired flavor, they began with a silky, rosado-hued Honduran Olancho San Agustin (OSA) wrapper and took a unique approach by selecting Honduran OSA for the binder as well. The layered wrapper-binder deepens the smoking experience and imparts subtle, earthy notes. The blend consists of Honduran Jamastran, Nicaraguan Ometepe and Dominican Piloto Cubano to provide hints of cocoa and caramel, with a light touch of sweetness. The unique, three-country blend represents the world’s most revered tobacco growing regions and delivers a sophisticated, memorable smoke.
The cigars are protected hand-painted bright blue wooden boxes, each containing 20 flawlessly handcrafted cigars.
Churchill (7.5 X 50); SRP per cigar is $10.99
Robusto (5.5 X 50); SRP per cigar is $9.99 REVIEWED TODAY
Rothschild (4.5 X 50); SRP per cigar $8.99
Toro (6 X 54); SRP per cigar is $10.49
The cigar is a bit longer than a typical robusto. At 5 1/2 inches you will get a longer smoking experience. The cigar looks nice and the blue Cohiba band is quite a departure from the normal Cohiba band. The cigar has a nice feel in the hand.
The test draw after cutting the minimum from the cap was a bit firm but I could work with it. The initial flavors were quite varied; cedar, boysenberry, dry wood, brown sugar, buttery cream, cinnamon, and black coffee. There was black pepper rated at a 7 1/2.
1 1/2 inches in (25 minutes) the boysenberry notes are gone. There are now buttery, sweet cedar notes with brown sugar and the black coffee notes are much more elevated. The cigar is medium bodied, at best. The finish is a lightly sweet cream with nice lingering black pepper. The cigar settled down into a nice, sweet cigar.
Just past the midpoint (47 minutes) there is still a lot of sweetness in the cigar. The sweet cedar is still accompanied by the brown sugar and some buttery notes. There are still a lot of black coffee notes. At times I got some subtle raw nut flavors also. The finish is unchanged in flavor but the sweetness is somewhat elevated. The pepper remains very good on both ends. The cigar is a low grade medium to full bodied at this point.
The cigar ended (1 hour 15 minutes) with a loss of the buttery notes. It happened in the final third. The sweet cedar with brown sugar was still going strong. The black coffee continued to increase all the way to the end. There were more of the raw nut flavors also. The cigar ended at medium to full bodied. The finish was unchanged. This was a solid cigar with lots of sweetness. It had nothing that was exceptional but it was a very good, sweet, solid cigar. These are on shelves now with a good price point and should be on your must-try list.
You can purchase the new Cohiba Blue cigars HERE.
May 20, 2017
Video review HERE.
San Isidro gets it's name from a street in Havana where Alberto Yarini, an infamous Cuban gangster, was killed in 1910.
The blend is an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, a binder from the Jalapa region of Nicaragua and fillers from Estelí. The blend is offered in a single 6 x 52 box-pressed size.
The cigar debuted at the 2016 IPCPR.
The cigar is very dark and box pressed. It has a dense feel in the hand.
The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were a tangy, sweet orange citrus with sprinkles of cinnamon, dark chocolate, and espresso. There was black pepper rated at an 8. The flavors remind me of a chocolate covered orange candy.
One inch in (14 minutes) I noticed some light cream notes in the mix. The dark chocolate has little to no sweetness. All the sweetness comes from the citrus notes. The cinnamon adds a nice touch. The chocolate and espresso notes are the lead flavors with the citrus and cinnamon following far behind, and the cream notes even further. The finish has aspects of the dark chocolate and cream with some nice lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium to full bodied at this early stage.
At the midpoint (36 minutes) the cigar has not made any changes except it is now full bodied. The finish is also unchanged. The flavor intensities are also unchanged with the dark chocolate and espresso leading the way. The citrus, cinnamon, and cream are quite a bit behind.
The cigar lasted 1 hour 20 minutes. Smoke this cigar slowly to get the best flavors. The dark chocolate and espresso notes continued to dominate. In the final third the citrus notes were almost indistinguishable. You could still taste the cinnamon but the cream notes were gone. While I tend to like dark noted cigars I also want a significant amount of sweetness and this cigar fell short. I still enjoyed the cigar as it is but if it had 50% more of the orange citrus and cinnamon notes it would have scored much higher. If you like dark noted cigars with light sweetness this is a good cigar for you.
May 16, 2017
The iconic H. Upmann brand is re-imagined in conjunction with AJ Fernandez. This dynamic collaboration has produced a medium to full bodied cigar with a rich tasting blend and nutty aroma. The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper yields a unique sweetness, while the Corojo 99, Criollo 98 and Piloto Cubano Dominicano filler provides tastes of charred wood, leather, spices and subtle notes of cedar.
May 03, 2017
May 1, 2017 -- General Cigar announced today that the company has appointed Sean Williams as a full-time brand ambassador for Cohiba. Williams is former owner of El Primer Mundo Cigar Company, a boutique collection of highly-rated cigars made in the Dominican Republic.
“We have brought Sean on board as part of the continued expansion of our experiential platforms,” said General Cigar President Régis Broersma. “Our focus is on deepening retailer and consumer engagement around this pivotal brand in our portfolio. With Sean, we are gaining a passionate cigar maker who is also a connoisseur of the finer things in life. We are confident he will make great strides in further aligning Cohiba with luxury lifestyle activations.”
Sean will bring the Cohiba brand to life at in-store events held at premier cigar shops across the U.S, and will activate the brand at an array of luxury venues across the country. He begins his new role today. Sean joins the company’s expanding team of brand ambassadors featuring Rick Rodriguez (CAO), Jack Toraño (Toraño) and Justin Andrews (Foundry Tobacco Company).
Sean will report to Gus Martinez, director of marketing, and will be based in Atlanta.
As his first order of business, Sean will spend several weeks at General Cigar Dominicana, working closely with the artisans who handcraft Cohiba to become fully immersed in the brand.
Prior to joining General Cigar, Sean founded El Primer Mundo Cigar Company in 2006 and successfully grew his brand internationally with distribution in the U.S., Southeast Asia, Australia and Russia. His commitment to creating superior cigars has resulted in numerous 90+ ratings spanning the cigar industry’s most respected publications.
About General Cigar
General Cigar Co. is a leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. The company is owned by Scandinavian Tobacco Group. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo®, Cohiba®, La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, CAO®, Punch®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends and has a dedicated R&D practice that develops new varieties of tobacco and revitalizes vintage seeds. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2010, General Cigar entered into a joint venture agreement with Plasencia Group to expand its leaf growing and processing expertise and increase its access to tobacco. Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists in the U.S. and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, visit www.cigarworld.com.
May 02, 2017
FAMOUS SMOKE SHOP LAUNCHES NEW VINDICATOR CIGAR SERIES Collaboration with Altadis U.S.A Revamps Vindicator with Exclusive New Lineup
Easton, PA -- Famous Smoke Shop, the largest American-owned distributor of discounted premium cigars online, has announced the release of the all-new Vindicator cigar lineup. This new premium cigar is debuting exclusively at Famous Smoke Shop, and is their latest collaboration with Altadis U.S.A.
It’s a bold new step for the brand, as the original Vindicator - a single offering, rolled with hardy ligero fillers – will be rebranded as ‘Vindicator Classic.’
These new and highly anticipated new line is produced at Altadis’ Flor de Copan factory in Honduras, a landmark in the cigarmaking industry that produces several H. Upmann, Romeo, and Saint Luis Rey cigars. Famous is taking an ethereal turn with the blends, naming them Dark Lord, Chimera, Hydra, and Wraith.
Tim Person, Key Account Manager & Premium Expert at Altadis USA, said, “We’re thrilled to launch this exclusive cigar lineup with Famous Smoke Shop. The Vindicator lineup comes from one of the finest factories in Honduras – and the quality shows.”
Each cigar is features a three-nation blend of rich Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Mexican long fillers, with a spicy Criollo 98 vintage binder. And while each blend smokes medium in body and strength, there’s no limit on the variety of flavors from the various wrapper tobaccos chosen to star in this cast:
Chimera, named after the multi-headed creature from Greek mythology, features a dark and sweet natural Mexican Sumatra wrapper;
Hydra, is the name that graces the label of the version sporting a creamy Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.
Dark Lord brings sweet and complex flavors to the lineup with a medium bodied vintage Habano 2000 wrapper, while
Wraith rounds out the pack by adding ghostly sweetness and a bold shot of pepper via its San Andreas Morron wrapper.
Designed to be an affordable addition to a cigar smoker’s lineup, each of these premiums are packaged in Famous Smoke’s exclusive vacuum-seal humidor jars – an eco-friendly packaging choice that is easy to maintain, keeps cigars fresh, are reusable, and make traveling with cigars much simpler.
Fred Lunt, writer and reviewer for Cigar Advisor Magazine, recapped the Dark Lord on Cigar Advisor’s Facebook Live program: “I’ve been looking forward to this release since my first sample. They’re smooth, sweet, and peppery with amazing flavor.” The Vindicator Series is available in three vitolas, Robusto, Toro, and Churchill – and offered in 20-count humidor jars, singles and five-packs.
Chimera (Mexican Sumatra) Dark Lord (Habano 2000) Hydra (Ecuadorian Connecticut) Wraith (San Andreas Morron)
Churchill 7 x 52 -- $4.55 /cigar SRP
Toro 5x 60 -- $4.35 /cigar SRP
Robusto 5x54 -- $4.15 /cigar SRP
2 robustos of each size.
About Famous Smoke Shop
Famous Smoke Shop is the nation’s #1 discount retailer of premium cigars online, offering one of the largest selections of handmade cigars, machine-made cigars, cigar humidors and accessories. Famous offers the web’s lowest prices on a wide selection of cigar brands including Acid, Davidoff, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, Ashton, Padron, Oliva and Perdomo cigars, and many more. Famous offers their customers the best prices on all premium cigars as well as friendly and knowledgeable customer service.
April 30, 2017
Cubariqueño Cigar Company National Protocol Themis Release Announced as well as a Probable Cause Line Extension.
Cubariqueño Cigar Company is proud to announce that it is releasing its third blend, Protocol Themis, at the 2017 International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailer trade show in Las Vegas. "We are super excited to announce the Protocol Themis,” stated Bill Ives, managing partner of Cubariqueño Cigar Company. “These cigars will launch at the 2017 IPCPR trade show with a soft launch on May 13th at our 2 year anniversary party located at Berkeley Humidor, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.”
The name, Themis, stays true to the company’s law enforcement motif, with partners Bill Ives and Juan Cancel both as law enforcement officers. But it also pays tribute to William Agathis, a managing partner with Greek decent. Protocol Themis pays homage to the Lady of Justice symbol. Themis, from ancient Greek mythology, was the Titan goddess of divine law and order – the traditional rules of conduct, first established by the gods.The cigar was the brain child of Agathis as he worked closely with Hector Alfonso Sr. to create what he feels is an amazing blend. Production will remain at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. Themis will be available in two offerings, a round 5 x 52 Robusto and a 6 x 52 Toro, also rounded. Themis is elegantly wrapped in a stunning Equdorian Connecticut leaf. Its all-Nicaraguan filler is enveloped by a Nicaraguan binder. “We are classifying Themis as a medium-strength cigar with full flavor,” explained Agathis. The robusto will retail for $9.69 and the Toro will have a M.S.R.P. of $9.89. Both vitolas will be available in boxes of 10.
Also being introduced at this year’s trade show will be a line extension to the Protocol Probable Cause. The highly anticipated Protocol Probable Cause Lancero will make its official national debut this summer in Las Vegas at the IPCPR trade show.
"The Probable Cause Lancero will stand in at 7 ½ x 38 and will be box pressed. It will be available in 10-count boxes. The price of the Lancero will M.S.R.P. at $10.50. The Protocol Probable Cause Lancero is being introduced as a regular production,” said Juan Cancel.
Cubariqueño Cigar Co. will be celebrating its two-year anniversary with a special event at Berkeley Humidor on May 13th. The Protocol Themis and Berkeley Humidors special event cigar, Guadalupe, will be made available for purchase for our loyal customers at this event prior to the 2017 IPCPR trade show,” stated William Agathis. Guadalupe was a special blend that was created by Cubariqueño Cigar Co. for a limited store exclusive, packaged in soft packs of 10. The Guadalupe is 6 x 52 boxpress cigar. We have not made the blend public on this offering. The Probable Cause Lancero will make an appearance at the May 13th event also. 100 special event soft packs of 10 will be made available for purchase to those attending the event which will also be attended by Erik Espinosa, owner of Espinosa Cigars and La Zona Cigar Factory in Nicaragua.
Casta Cigars uses two types of tobacco, both extremely rare and chosen for its excellency. Our main batch comes from a small farm in Brazil and is aged for 10 years. Our exclusive leaf is verifiable 1942 Pre-Embargo Cuban Picadura Seco Volado tobacco, originally hidden then forgotten in Lancaster, PA for over 50 years. All blends are finished with a Brazilian Vigoroso Maduro wrapper. Formed in the traditional Cuban style and inspected for perfection, every time.
Casta Cigars has always operated under the idea of quality over quantity. All of our blends are 100% hand rolled and produced in limited amounts per batch. This assures a level of excellency rarely seen in the overwhelming world of mass produced cigars. We like to think of ourselves as a micro-roll, offering world class tobacco in limited release at reasonable prices.
All of our blends were artistically created by J. Castañon using the finest tobacco possible. J. Castañon's legacy first began in Cuba rolling at the legendary Cohiba Cigar Factory. His journey continued in the USA by rolling cigars at the country's oldest cigar shop, Demuth's Tobacco Shop in Lancaster, PA. Today, J. Castañon continues to develop wonderful new blends from the Dominican Republic.
The Fusion is a 30/70% split of 10 year Brazilian & 75 year old Cuban filler. Brazilian wrapper with Indonesian binder.
The cigar has an average feel in the hand for a cigar of this size.
The test draw after cutting the flat cap was good. The initial flavors were dry cedar, a touch of cream, and raw almonds. There was black pepper rated at a 7 1/2 and it is especially good when you retro hale.
1 1/2 inches in (23 minutes) the front end flavors are light and not very sweet. The dry cedar is now a bitter strawberry. There is a touch of cream and a sprinkling of raw almonds. The finish is a combination of cream and raw almonds with a touch of lingering black pepper. The cigar is mild bodied at this point.
A little past the midpoint (40 minutes) there is now black coffee at the base. There is a bit of sweetness in the strawberry and the bitterness has toned down. There are some light brown sugar notes now. The sweetness remains at a low level in the cigar. The coffee notes are very noticeable. The raw almonds and cream are quite subtle. The cigar is still mild bodied. The finish is unchanged.
The cigar ended (1 hour) with a minor elevation of sweetness in the strawberry notes, as well as the brown sugar. This has been a subtle cigar as far as any sweetness goes. The black coffee was pretty decent in amount. You have nice flavors but they are so very subtle in sweetness. If you are a mild cigar lover and have an interest in 75 year old Cuban tobacco you may want to give these a try.
April 29, 2017
(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Serino Cigar Company has announced it has entered the premium cigar market segment. The company has announced it is releasing four blends under its Serino Royale line. The company will be partnering with a familiar name in the cigar industry, Omar González Alemán of La Corona Cigars S.A. to produce the cigars. Plans are to officially launch Serino Royale at the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show this July in Las Vegas.
Serino is run by Tony Serino, who serves as President of APS Distributors and Serino Cigar Company. The launch of Serino Royale is a culmination of a 20 year effort. Originally Serino and his team were involved with importing and selling “daily smoke” bundles cigars. By learning and building relationships, he soon was involved with producing premium boxed cigars.
In a press release, the company explained why they selected González, “To justify the investment and production of a super premium blend requires a partner that not only has the blending talent but also total control of the production from sowing the seeds to banding and boxing the blends. We have finally found that partner which offers us vertical integration.”
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Conenecticut
Binder: Jalapa, Nicaragua
Filler: Jalapa, Nicaragua; Esteli, Nicaragua
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Corona SA)
Churchill: 7 x 50
Toro: 6 x 52
Gordo: 6 x 60
Torpedo: 6 1/8 x 52 REVIEWED TODAY
The cigar is beautiful to look at with the double bands; one main band and one at the foot. The bands are classy and the paper stock is very thick. The cigar has a dense feel in the hand.
After taking only a quarter inch off the torpedo cap the test draw was very good. The initial flavors were a very sweet pink grapefruit, brown sugar, and cream. There was black pepper which I rated at an 8.
About 1 1/2 inches in (28 minutes) there are black coffee notes emerging at the base. The cream is starting to taste thicker and more like a white chocolate. The pink grapefruit and brown sugar are still quite nice. The finish is a thick cream with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is mild to medium in strength.
At, or just past the midpoint (52 minutes) the flavor notes are still intact but now there is a touch of butter on the white chocolate; not a massive amount but it is noticeable. The pepper remains very good and there is still black coffee at the base. The finish is still a thick, sweet cream and now there is the addition of sunflower seeds. The lingering black pepper remains good. The cigar is still mild to medium bodied.
The cigar ended (1 hour 18 minutes) with the flavors much like they were throughout the entire cigar except there are some of the sunflower seed notes filtering over to the front end. The finish was unchanged. I really enjoyed the pink grapefruit notes. They combined very nicely with the brown sugar and white chocolate. When the white chocolate got some buttery notes it made it very nice. Even though the cigar was mild to medium for the most part it was very tasty. In the final couple inches it reached medium bodied. This is a Connecticut that you must try. Smoke it with a clean palate and you should get the same flavors. I had a red delicious apple prior to doing the review, just as I do before most reviews. Try it, it really works. Put this cigar on your must try list.
April 26, 2017
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 — Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today that the Kentucky Fire Cured Swamp Thang & Swamp Rat will start shipping in April 2017. Kentucky Fire Cured Swamp Thang and Swamp Rat were formally introduced at IPCPR 2016 and soft released at the 2016 Kentucky Barn Smoker.
This thing should not be, and it's a deeply disturbing yet pleasing smoke. Deep in the swamps it is lurking, waiting to be discovered. By pairing this deliciously sweet candela wrapper with the smoky & tasty Kentucky Fire Cured tobaccos, an eerie mystery has been revealed for a unique and powerful experience.
From his Wynwood safehouse, Jonathan Drew stated “We continue to demonstrate our leadership in the Fire Cured Tobacco segment, making history as the first company to blend Candela and Kentucky Fire Cured Tobaccos in the premium segment. It is sure not to be like any other Candela cigar you have ever smoked.”
Pairing the smokiness of Fire Cured Tobacco with the sweetness of Candela wrapper, Kentucky Fire Cured Swamp creates a uniquely balanced, complex and savory cigar; perfect for fans of both Fire Cured and Candela tobaccos.
The release includes three sizes: Swamp Thang Toro (6 x 52), Swamp Thang Robusto (5 x 54), and Swamp Rat (6 x 46). The new sizes will be available in soft pack 10 count bundles similar to the current Kentucky Fire Cured lines, as a refill to the new display trays, which will only be available to retailers. Swamp Thang and Swamp Rat are Drew Estate’s first foray into Candela wrapped cigars.