IPCPR Trade Show 2008 Preview: Cigars to Watch
I'm really looking forward to this year's show because some great-tasting new cigars, several of which have already reached cigar store shelves, will get to soak-up the trade show spotlight and be judged by the buyers. There are way too many new cigars to cover in this column, so look for my reports from the show in the days ahead. In the meantime, here are more than a few to whet your appetite.
Alec Bradley Cigars
Certainly one cigar that a lot of show attendees will be barking for like seals is Alec Bradley Cigars' new Tempus cigars selection. Already in many B&M cigar stores, Tempus is one hot cigar. This full-flavored Honduran, Nicaraguan and Indonesian blend stars a rare, 7-year-aged Honduran wrapper, and has already received mind-bending scores including a "94" from Cigar Insider for the Churchill-sized Centuria, and more recently, a "91" from Cigar Snob magazine for the Robusto-sized "Terra Nova." (Check out my blog on the Tempus "Genesis." [http://cigaradvisor.blogspot.com/2008/06/my-weekend-cigar-tempus-genesis-and-nub.html])
Among the recent newcomers, Arganese cigars has become a highly-respected premium brand. (Check out the great SMOKE magazine interview with Gene Arganese). Speaking of strong, they'll be debuting their new CL3 and ML3 cigar lines in Corojo Ligero and Maduro Ligero respectively, which they call "the only cigar in the world to the third power!" One review I read on the CL3 indicated it as a real powerhouse, and the ML3 also to be quite potent, yet sweeter with strong earthy flavors, laced with espresso and dark chocolate. Though I prefer my cigars more medium-to-full, I can't wait to sample these. Hey, someone's gotta do it.
One of the cigars I'm looking forward to smoking from CAO cigars is their new CAO LX2 ("Ligero times two"). The LX2 is a dark, spicy, full-bodied cigar that combines a Nicaraguan wrapper and Honduran binder with a core of two diverse ligero filler tobaccos - Dominican and Nicaraguan. If it's consistent with past CAO new releases, it should be exquisitely smooth, flavorful, and have some very cool packaging to match.
Cusano cigars will be showcasing their revamped Cuvée cigars, as well as officially introducing their new Habano LXI Sun Grown and '59 Rare Cameroon. I smoked Robusto samples of the LXI and 59 Cameroon, which were quite impressive, so I'm looking forward to test-driving some of the larger sizes, like the 5¾” x 58 double perfecto "preferido" shapes.
Davidoff of Geneva has already introduced their new Reserva 12 Limited Edition 2008, but I was unable to get my hands on a sample. Rolled in a flawless Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper, the 5½" x 52 Robusto Extra cigar is blended with five filler leaves, some of which have been aged for 12 years, and is described as "strong and complex" with an impressive aroma. (I'll have to have a talk with my friend and Davidoff cigars sales rep., Tom Smith, when I get to the show about that sample. ;-)
Drew Estate Cigars
Drew Estate Cigars (known best for their ACID cigars, is introducing Tabak Especiale, a new coffee-infused cigar that will take the place of the Kahlúa cigars they used to make for General Cigar. Offered in Connecticut and Maduro wrappers, Jonathan Drew calls the latter, "The quintessential infused cigar. "Heavy and rich, with a lot of mocha to it." Also look for Chateau Real Maduro, a dark, medium-bodied cigar that will complement the original Chateau Real cigars in the U.S. Connecticut Shade version introduced in Las Vegas two years ago. "It's got some meat without being overpowering," say's Jonathan. "A good afternoon cigar."
Espinosa/Ortega, the folks who brought you the awesome 601 selections, will be spotlighting their new full-bodied Cubao cigars line. Like the 601 cigars, Cubao was created by Don Pepin Garcia with a full-bodied, spicy and complex Nicaraguan blend.
George Rico, whose Gran Habano cigars and 3 Siglos cigars have put him and his father, Guillermo on the radar screens of premium cigar smokers will be debuting his new G.A.R. cigars. I recently wrote a blog about an unbanded G.A.R. cigar preview sample that George gave me. G.A.R. is a full-flavored Honduran blend that I found to be creamy, earthy and woody laced with sweet tobacco flavors. I can't wait to sample the finished product at the show.
La Aurora Cigars
Tabacalera La Aurora will be reintroducing (sort-of) their Leon Jimenes 300 cigars selection. The cigars, which boast an exquisite African Cameroon wrapper, debuted in 2006, but La Aurora cigars president, José Blanco felt the cigars still needed more time. So now, two years later, they're fully aged, and should be quite extraordinary.
La Flor Dominicana Cigars
La Flor Dominicana cigars will be showcasing a new five-cigar box presentation called the Los Perfectos Sampler. The cigars are all rolled to 5 ¾" x 54 perfecto shapes. Two of the cigars are unbanded, and although we can assume they will contain some of Litto Gomez's prized Dominican leaf, he's keeping the blend a secret for now.
Finally, there is the recently released nub cigars, created by Sam Leccia and manufactured by Oliva cigars. I've already sampled the 460 Connecticut. I though it was quite nice, but I'm more curious to see how the show attendees react to this innovative new concept in premium cigar design.
Perdomo cigars will be introducing their new Perdomo Patriarch® cigars line. Made in honor of Nick Perdomo's late father, Nick Sr., Patriarch® boasts a rich, robust and complex-tasting blend of all-Nicaraguan tobaccos from Esteli, Condega and Jalapa. The cigar will be offered in six traditional shapes in both Nicaraguan Corojo and Maduro wrappers.
Another cigar that will be debuting in the Perdomo booth is the Perdomo 10 Year Anniversary cigars selection. Created to celebrate "the next generation" of their La Tradicion Perdomo Reserve cigars line, the blend boasts a beautiful Cuban seed wrapper. According to a company announcement, the smoke is "a symphony of complex flavors including almonds, coffee and cocoa on a smooth, silky finish."
Remember the Perdomo2® ("Perdomo Squared") selection? Well they're back. Debuting at this year's show with an all-new blend is the new Perdomo2®, a box-pressed, medium to full-bodied cigar that will be presented in boxes of 40 cigars.
Reyes Family cigars
Reyes Family cigars, the family who brought you Puros Indios cigars and Cuba Aliados cigars, has already released two new lines, Premier Maduro and Classic Natural (both Ecuadorian Sumatra seed wrappers), which are available only at retail cigar stores. I've already smoked samples of each, and they've all been wonderful. Both versions offered a creamy smooth smoke and had a nice balance of flavors with that signature Reyes Family earthiness.
So, until my plane touches down at McCarran International, that's all for now.
Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.Show all Gary Korb's Articles