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IPCPR 2015 Notes and Dispatches:

Pinar del Rio

Fresh-Rolled Cigar First Thing in the Morning!

To open Monday morning’s 'work' at the IPCPR show, I called at Pinar del Rio (PDR), a company whose retail home-base is Don Leoncio Cigars, located on the world famous Canal Street in New Orleans. I was greeted by a couple folks, including owner and tabaquero Abe Flores.

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PDR’s new developments this year include some line extensions to their Flores y Rodriguez brand. The first of these is the Connecticut Valley Reserve, and it's some pretty! The cigars are double-wrapped, with the outer leaf being a Connecticut broadleaf maduro (with anywhere from 5 to 7 years of age on it). Beneath that, there’s either a Nicaraguan Jalapa or Ecuadorian Habano. These lines will come in four vitolas - a perfecto, belicoso and two Parejo sizes.

To the Gran Reserva brand, Abe has added a new offering with an Ecuadoran sungrown wrapper leaf. Look for these to ship to your local tobacconist in November.

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IPCPR 2015 Notes and Dispatches:

Global Marketing and Distribution

Corporate Culture hits the Cigar World

Maybe that is a harsh assessment. As I’m walking down one of the main aisles crossing the show floor, I see a guy at an exhibit, and I get flagged down with, "HEY, TOMMY!" I’m thinking, yes, I recognize you, but I have to let the wheels spin a bit. I say hello to longtime CW member and staunch Dallas crew denizen, Trey Harris, better known on this site as live2fish. Jefslat, Frau Evil and I have all spoken to him at different times. We had last seen Trey at the previous RTDA show (before the organization renamed itself to IPCPR), which took place in 2007 in Houston. At that time, Trey was making the rounds with cigar writer extrodinaire and CW member Mowee, Frank Seltzer.

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes:

Las Cumbres Tabaco

Señorial and the new Viking Invasion

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Understatement. Excellence. Consistency. Character. Quality. Craftsmanship. I admire these traits in people. Many in this world hope to aspire to these, and long to be honored by such compliments and admiration. A good friend of mine in the cigar business embodies these characteristics, and seeks to encourage them in his contemporaries as well. He has certainly instilled them in me as a cigar tyro. Sadly, my friend Mr. Frank Santos of Puros Indios no longer attends the IPCPR.

However, we have another similar friend in this business, one Mr. José Blanco. I realize that some of my few followers who read this will question my objectivity, because of my fawning. It has to be said, though. I apologize to Mr. Santos for using his name, and equally express some modicum of remorse to Mr. Blanco for using someone else’s thoughts to express my own in a piece dedicated to him and his wife, Emma Viktorsson.

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes

J. Fuego Cigar Co.Cigar Development by… EVERYONE

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Aimlessly wandering the show floor with assignments yet to complete, I was beckoned by the 'beach shack' that was the J. Fuego Cigar Company booth. Upon my asking, “What do you have new this year?”, the company's various representatives swelled about the beach/fishing shack motif that comprised their exhibit. “Jesus loves to fish….”  And it did make for a slightly different setting than most of the others.

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes

Marrero Cigars

Is Costa Rica really unfashionable?

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Over the years, as Cigar Weekly member David 'Yogi' Dean will testify, we make IPCPR 'show friends' or 'show peeps'. These are people we run into as we walk the show floor or people the retailers may do business with on a regular basis, people we have met or hosted at parties or simply extremely nice folks that take time with each other. One constant theme in my dispatches concerns these people I mention again and again. Many folks involved in this business have long memories, and will remember each other even after years of absence. One such individual is a person - let’s call him Mr. A. - who hails from here in New Orleans. The two of us have maintained some bits of contact via e-mail or other social media over the years.

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IPCPR 2015 Notes and Dispatches

Kuuts Cigars - An introduction to a new (to me) company

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Right in the thick of the show, was a neat, clean, not-so-busy exhibit. It was too big and well-appointed to be that way. I finally got the time to visit and sit for a moment. Kuuts’ territory manager Edward Miranda sat with me and told me a little about their company. Kuuts is four years old, now, which means they were not in existence when I last covered the IPCPR show.  Their manufacturing company is in Danli, Honduras, a good place to be, as many cigar cognoscenti well know.  Their parent company is Spanish Tabak, a larger, continental concern in business for fifteen years, now.

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes:

IPCPR 2015: Notes, Dispatches and Cigar Reviews

Good men and women of CigarWeekly.com, especially you manufacturers, I do apologize. I’m very sorry.

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Due to the weekend scheduling of the trade show this year, my time on the floor there was limited. I feel as if I missed way more than I probably did, and wandered aimlessly a little too much. That’s not a good thing for you guys, because only a few of you will get full treatment. Of course, that's also two days during which you didn't have to bother with ol' Tommy, either. And that can't but be a good thing.

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes:

Arandoza Cigars

DEFCON BEWARE

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Social media led me to a manufacturer I hadn’t learned of, before. I saw tweets and such about Arandoza and a booth number. So, they’re at the show, wait, I’ve seen them in passing their area. I begin to interact with them and ask if I can stop by tomorrow? Of course, yes, they mostly say yes, I doubt any would reject.  When I get there, they’re right across from D’Crossier and Espinosa and I learn from Robert Arango that his cigars are made at La Zona, Eric Espinosa’s factory in Nicaragua.

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes:

IPCPR 2015: Notes, Dispatches and Cigar Reviews

Taking a cigar vacation? What a wonderful concept, sounds great to me; taking a vacation FROM cigars? Bad idea, it is.

Not going to the IPCPR, except for every fifth year or so, severely impacts one’s continuing involvement and overall 'in the know' about goings-on within the cigar business. TOO MUCH cigar content on social media will also overload one’s brain and ability to truly understand just what is really happening.

Take as an example a cigar and company called Crux. Has anyone other than the Haugen family heard of them? Well, it seems many have, at least if you go by the company's sales! The Crux brand started out based in a family retail shop, Tobacco Grove in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Sarah Haugen told Cigar Weekly that they came to the IPCPR for the first time last year (2014) with five lines. Then, she turned me over to her brother Casey, who was willing to share the family secrets.

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes:

July 21, 2015
New Orleans, Louisiana

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There has NEVER been a better time to be a cigar smoker! It’s true, I believe it! 

Despite cigar and tobacco smoking bans being enacted across the United States and Canada, despite some bureaucratic, Executive Branch attempts to 'regulate' cigars and the cigar business (Food and Drug Administration) and even Congress' current dallying with severe limitations, and despite varying, often prohibitive and punitive taxes (especially to our north), now is a great time to be a smoker. Why is that? Certainly, there were times past when the availability of places to enjoy cigars was ubiquitous, and smoking indoors was, itself, not a problem.

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Cigar Weekly at the IPCPR in New Orleans

Many thanks to Cigar Weekly's forums members Brenda (Frau Evil) and Jeff (jefslat) for providing their impressions of some of the highlights (and not-so-high moments, too) of the IPCPR in New Orleans!

The 10 best things about the first day of the IPCPR in New Orleans

Free stuff: 

Not even counting the free sample cigars flowing from some of the booths, SWAG was everywhere. The goods ranged from free luggage tags and lanyards (courtesy Nat Sherman Cigars) to free T-shirts, torch lighters and laptop bags (from Nino Vasquez at APS Distributors).

Best taste: 

Cigar & Spirits Magazine sponsored the Lounge, with comfortable chairs for a smoke, and various companies pouring liquor to sample. 35 Maple Street Spirits had the best tasting sips with their Bib & Tucker Bourbon that matched well with a spicy cigar.

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