What’s New for 2016?
Alex Bradley Black Market
By Eric Piras
This year, the beginning of the Western calendar almost coincides with the start of the Chinese year. Somehow the monkey (the animal of the new Chinese year) seems to inspire cigar makers more than the other Chinese zodiac animals…
An auspicious choice to start this new year is the Davidoff Chinese Year of the Monkey 2016 Limited Edition: this 10-cigar box of Special Toro with Ecuadorian Habano Rojiza wrapper comes in a handcrafted bamboo wooden box. This special edition’s ash should not rest in just any ashtray, but rather in the Davidoff Year of the Monkey 2016 Limited Edition ashtray made in Limoges porcelain, featuring a rich gold and red pattern evoking the many red envelopes exchanged during Chinese New Year.
In the same festive spirit, look no further than Siglo Monkey Humidor with a charming calligraphy design resembling a monkey holding a peach. Made to store 75 cigars and in a limited edition of 200 pieces, each humidor is serial numbered, with mother of pearl inlaid on each piece by a small team of workers, followed by the painting of the monkey calligraphy and 15 layers of piano lacquer.
To complement the monkey humidor, a colorful Siglo Monkey Ashtray made with bone china is also available.
Perfect for fans of everything that shines, Daniel Marshall Golden Torpedo, one of the most expensive cigars in the world, is now available in the Asia region. Endorsed by celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Douglas, and Sylvester Stallone to name a few, these cigars are wrapped with up to 25 individual 24K gold leaves. They can be purchased separately or as a set of Five Golden Torpedo in their individual wooden box, held in a beautiful Daniel Marshall travel humidor. Available from Pacific Cigar retail outlets in Hong Kong and Macau at US$250 a stick, they are a striking and exuberant way to start the year.
Not a monkey homage but a nice anniversary, Davidoff has launched Davidoff Pipe Tobacco Limited Edition 45 Years, a pipe tobacco crafted by DAN Tobacco’s master blender Andreas Mund, incorporating the finest exotic tobaccos from Brazil, Cyprus, Malawi, and Turkey. Davidoff created its first pipe tobacco 45 years ago and only 6,000 tins of this anniversary edition will be available globally. And how better to enjoy it than with the Pipe Limited Edition 45 Years? Pipe aficionados should not waste time, as only 45 pieces will be available.
Davidoff has been particularly creative with its limited editions and we can guess that the new Davidoff Golf Limited Scorecard Edition 2016 will soon become a favorite amongst golf players. The pack contains five cigars: four cigars to be shared with the players on the course and one to reward the winner. The four cigars feature an exclusive “Golf” second ring while the last one has a distinctive gold second ring, the trophy of the winner. This edition will be available throughout the year and a new Golf cigar will be released every year.
Davidoff’s inspiration with Winston Churchill knows no limit and their latest Davidoff Winston Churchill Limited Edition 2016 is sure to get aficionados talking, as this limited edition of Grand Toros celebrates some of the great man’s finest sayings: each cigar carries a famous Churchillian quote on its second ring. Hurry, as only 6,000 boxes of 10 cigars have been crafted.
Following the concept introduced a year ago, Habanos is soon launching two new assortments of their Añejados line: Partagás Coronas Gordas Añejados (46 ring gauge x 143mm long) and Hoyo de Monterrey Hermosos No.4 Añejados (48 ring gauge x 127mm long). Both references are not present in the standard portfolio and are launched as Edición Especial in limited quantities. The Habanos Añejados are commercialized in their original boxes, which had no label during the 5 to 8 years aging process and have been dressed with the corresponding labellings of each brand only for their release. At the bottom of each box is the date of the original rolling.
Such puros need a perfect cut: the really cool Siglo Dragon Swivel Cutter with three punching sizes gives a clean and sharp punch to cigars of 42 to 56-ring gauge. Available in three colors, they also make beautiful and unusual gifts.
And to continue on stylish Siglo accessories, they are stepping into the edgy territory of tattoos with Siglo Tattoo Cigar Case. Designed by Joey Pang from Hong Kong’s worldwide famous Tattoo Temple boasting a five-year waiting list, these cigar cases are impeccably crafted in soft leather and come in five designs: Dragon, Smoke Dragon, Tiger, Skull, and Traditional Painting.
Keeping within the Chinese inspirations, Lotus Vertigo lighters present some quirky Cantonese designs. If you’d rather be a little more traditional with your lighters, head to The Wall of Cigar in Macau, where you can find the Lotus Vertigo and the Lotus Black Label Tornado table lighter as well as the newest Adorini humidors which can contain up to 150 cigars.
From Nicaragua, the Roberto Duran Limited Edition Salomon is a recently launched little gem. Each of these 3,000 cigars (packaged in boxes of 5) has been personally rolled by Santos Cárdenas, one of the most widely recognized Cuban cigar rollers of all times. Santos has been rolling cigars since 1960 and has worked for Por Larrañaga, H. Upmann and Partagas factories in Cuba. Each box of this limited edition has been signed by Santos and is a cigar to treasure.
From the same maker, the Azan Maduro Natural Supremo is a new addition to their Maduro limited edition line. Azan Maduro is Azan’s strongest blend, with a wrapper that is naturally dark and oily while maintaining the sweetness of the Corojo. The 5 x 58 Supremo is great to smoke now, yet also has a strong aging potential.
Very well known in the European markets and registering a strong expansion in the US, Flor de Selva and Cumpay are at last being made available to aficionados in Hong Kong and Macau. Retailing in the 11 Pacific Cigar stores in Hong Kong is their Duo Robusto Flor de Selva & Cumpay. Doubtless the cigar brands that are the most connected to a woman, Flor de Selva and Cumpay are respectively crafted in Honduras and Nicaragua and are part of the Maya Selva Cigars collection. The success of these outstanding cigars is a fitting tribute to the values that are Maya Selva’s hallmark: stringent quality requirements, respect for the land and its communities.
Flor de Selva Special 20 Years Edition Lanceros has been created and launched to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the brand last June. However, it has proven to be such a success that Maya Selva has decided to add it to the permanent portfolio and extend the 20th anniversary blend to other vitolas which will be launched this year and will be available in Hong Kong from the Pacific Cigar outlets and later on in the rest of Asia.
In The Wall of Cigar, sole retailer of some renowned brands of cigars that are not available or in very limited quantity elsewhere in Asia, can be found Alec Bradley Fine & Rare 2015, a new release in limited quantity from Honduras. Only 2,000 boxes of 10 cigars have been made, a blend of 10 different tobacco leaves, rolled by their best master roller.
New releases of the same maker will soon follow with Alec Bradley Post Embargo, a sublime Perfecto celebrating the new ties between Cuba and the USA, an addition to the famed Black Market line which continues to earn ratings of “90” and above…
Later in the year, they will also receive Padrón Dámaso: named after Jose Padrón’s grandfather who was the first Padrón to arrive in Cuba sometime in the late 1800’s from the Canary Islands. The Dámaso line has a mild flavor profile for those who seek the quality, complexity and consistency of Padrón. The Wall has the largest selection of Padrón available in Asia, with more than 40 references. Padrón is highly sought-after and their limited production is not always easy to find outside the USA and Europe.
Still on Padrón: if you’re one of the lucky owners of their 50th Anniversary Humidor, you can now contact your retailer to purchase the yearly refill of cigars.
The Wall Events will see aficionados flocking to this venue in Macau, a never-ending source of interesting finds, for an opportunity to participate monthly in “Slow Smoking Competitions” or “Blind Tasting Sessions”.
Their members will also receive weekly emails with very attractive discounts up to 40%, each deal being valid for a few days only.
And since more players are entering Asia and eyeing the Chinese market in particular, with its potential for strong development, we cannot avoid mentioning the recently established China Cigar & Pipe Retail Association. The association aims to regulate the Chinese cigar and pipe market, make effective use of the resources of the national cigar industry, channel the effort of individuals and groups to aid government departments in developing Chinese cigar, establish systematic retail network, coordinate with governmental departments on behalf of members to increase their operating space, and promote the overall advancement and image of China’s cigar retailing. It is a vast task but one that may certainly change the current landscape.
The financial and property markets go through highs and lows, we have our anxieties about life and the direction the world is heading to, but at least we know one thing’s for sure: cigar makers never cease their efforts to provide us with the best means of forgetting all these worries for a while and just enjoy the simple pleasure of a good smoke!