Hello Cigar Fans! I want to start out by thanking everyone who attended our St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital benefit. Thanks to youyour support it was a huge success!. I also need to extend a big thank you to April Mclaughlin and Flux Salon for their participation and for doing such a great job on my hair cut! That’s not the only thing going on at the Cigar Box recently, just last week we had Mike Rosales, co-owner and founder of RoMa Craft Tobac, in our store for an event. RoMa Craft makes high quality boutique cigars out of the finest selection of Nicaraguan tobaccos. Bold in flavor and flawless in construction, RoMa Craft is an absolute must have.
If the FDA rulings go through, all of our favorite cigar brands are going to take a hit, and the people who will be most affected are the smaller boutique brands who may not be able to handle the financial burdens imposed by these regulations. By definition a boutique brand produces less than 500,000 cigars a year. For comparison the La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate Factory in Nicaragua can produce 94,000 cigars in a single day! This is why Dr. Gaby Kafie of Kafie 1901 Cigars felt that these smaller brands needed their own voice in the fight, thus the Boutique Cigar Association of America (BCAA) was founded. The BCAA’s advisory board is comprised of representatives from all aspects of the industry including brand owners, factory owners, retailers, an attorney and an importer. The goal of the BCAA is to work along side the CAA (Cigar Association of America), CRA (Cigar Rights of America) and IPCPR (International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers) to push back against the FDA Rulings and ensure that these smaller companies particular needs are recognized in the on-going fight.
Founded in 1844, H. Upmann is one of the oldest cigar companies in the Industry. Steeped in over 150 years of tradition, this brand represents classic cigar artistry. While its tradition holds the respect of long time smokers, the brand felt the need to reach out to an emerging new generation of smokers. To do this they brought in A.J. Fernandez, the man behind such favorites as Deisel and Man O’War, to blend their newest cigar. Since its establishment, A.J. has turned his factory, Tabacalera Ferndandes in Esteli, Nicaragua, from a small decrepit building with only 6 rollers into one of the largest in Nicaragua with the ability to produce over 9 million cigars a year. The result of this collaboration is the H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez. The presentation on this cigar is some of the best I’ve seen in a while. Coming in a light brown box with teal accents each cigar is double banded with the primary band being the H. Upmann logo in teal and cream and the secondary band reading A.J. Fernandez. The simplicity gives off the classic look of old while the bright colors add a refreshing modern tinge. You will find Nicaragua printed underneath the Upmann logo, but this is a little misleading. The cigar is produced in Nicaragua and contains Nicarguan tobaccos in the binder and filler, but the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Grown Sumatra wrapper. The rest of the blend consists of Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 in the binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican filler. Upon first light I was hit with a strong dose of black pepper on the back of my tongue and in the retro-hale. The peppery beginning recedes almost immediately as the cigar opens up to include notes of cream and lightly sweet cedar. As we transition into the second third the wood gives way to more earthy tones. The final third sees a slight increase in strength and a slight reemergence of pepper. Throughout this smoke the burn was razor-sharp and the strength remained a consistent medium with a slight increase near the end. If you are looking for a stereotypical Nicaraguan cigar, full of earth and spice, this is not it. But if you disregard its label this cigar offers a wide variety of well-balanced flavors that I think any and all cigar smokers will enjoy. This stick is easily one of my favorite releases of 2017!
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