IPCPR 2015 Coverage – Day 1

IPCPR 2015 Coverage – Day 1

It’s another hot and muggy day here in New Orleans to kick off the IPCPR. How people lived here before air conditioning is something that I will never quite understand. Maybe that’s why this place used to be inhabited by pirates, because no one in their right mind would chase them here. Anyhow, on to the real reason I am supposed to be posting about…

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On arriving on the show floor for the first real day of the IPCPR, I did my best to get a lay of the land. The Convention Center here is huge, and although the IPCPR is only occupying a few of the halls, it is still a significant amount of space. There’s everything from the giant Drew Estate booth to the comfortably large Sindicato to the medium sized Caldwell booth all the way down to the smaller MBombay setup. Each trying to compete for a little of the various retailers’ time and shelf space.

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My first stop of the day was Espinosa, and while staring off the day with a Larañja, learned all about the new product lines and extensions. The most exciting piece of information was obviously that our No. 2 Cigar of 2014, the Espinosa Larañja will be adding a box pressed vitola call the Caixa that will retail for $11.50 and in 10 count boxes. The Murcielago line is being reintroduced in three sizes: Noir (5” x52) $8.50, La Lune (6 1/2” x 54) $8.95 and Nocturne (5 1/2” x 56) $9.50. The original Murcielago, released in 2009, was really the cigar that began the crazy for Mexican San Andres wrappers, so I’m triller at the launch of a new Murcielago. One of my favorite everyday cigars, the Espinosa Habano is getting a new classier look and a slight tweeking of the blend to keep it in line with Espinosa’s other offerings. I’ve been assured that the price is still roughly in the range of the original. Finally, a new regular production line called the Espinosa Especial featuring a Mexican Capa Negra wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler will ship to retailers new month. The Espinosa Especial comes in a No. 1 (6 1/2” x 48) $8.75, No. 4 (5” x 52) $8.25 and No. 5 (6” x 54) $8.95.

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The little known European company, Global Marketing & Distribution (GMD) is at their second IPCPR trade show and has some of the more interesting new boutique cigars that I’ve tried so far this trip. They’re using three different factories to produce six brands and fourteen lines in two countries. I had the opportunity to try their Heritage Nicaragua (made at Tabacalera de Oliva in Nicaragua), and I was quite impressed by the cigar. It was one of the best cigars that I smoked all day. Their Dominican Cigars are all made at KFB, and I’m really looking forward to trying their Euforia. This is the company you’ve never heard of, but whose cigars you really need to try and get your hands on. In depth reviews on these great cigars will come soon.

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I got the chance to see my buddy Mel Shah from Bombay Tobak, and smoke the MBombay Corojo Oscuro with him. It’s a phenomenal cigar, and I highly recommend looking for it at your local shop. The new packaging for the MBombay cigars is very nice, and I like the idea of the tins. The MBombay Mora is one of my favorite cigars.

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Just by sheer happenstance, I wandered by the AJ Fernandez booth just in time to talk to AJ himself, and had a chance to smoke the new Enclave. Medium-full to full, with a mix of pepper and cinnamon, this is one of the better cigars of the show. You can expect to see it on the shelves of your local brick and mortar retailer at a reasonable price. The Enclave will come in a Robusto (5” x 52), Toro (6” x 52), Figurado (6 1/2” x 52) and Churchill (7” x 52).

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A had the opportunity to talk to some great little known cigar manufacturers today. Companies like Swinger, HVC, Hiram & Solomon, Leaf by Oscar, Debonair, Acme and AKA were all on the list today of people to meet and places to see.

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After a very long day, I walked the mile to Belle’s Diner where the Southern Draw Cigars party was going on. The ship was out of this world, and if you ever visit there you have to try an Abita Rootbeer. Robert Holt and his wonderful wife hosted a very nice low key party, that was exactly what was needed after a day of walking around that show. The Southern Draw Kudzu is one of my favorite cigars right now, and I almost always have at least one on me at all times. We’ll have some good Southern Draw coverage coming up soon.

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