Georgetown Tobacco Caucus
The Georgetown Tobacco Caucus is only available at Georgetown Tobacco, and was blended in 2009 when David Berkebile visited Rocky Patel’s factory in Danli, Honduras. The blend was designed to complement the flavor of the Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper leaf, which is David’s favorite. The result is a rich and satisfying smoke that avoids the extremes of strength and taste which have become common in today’s cigar market. The medium body and subtle flavor make the Caucus accessible to a wide variety of cigar enthusiasts, who have made this the most popular brand in our store. Provided to us by Cigar Man for Life, these sticks have been with us for a while and are a few that we both enjoy. Probably the best cigar I’ve had produced by Rocky Patel since the RP 15th Anniversary in 2010. Tonight’s cigar is 6” x 52 and sells for about $7.
- Over the past couple weeks, a few large scale acquisitions have come to pass in the tobacco world. The one of most interest to cigar folks is Altria (parent of Philip Morris) picking up Nat Sherman. While most of listeners of this show know Nat Sherman as a cigar company, cigarette production is a major component of their business – but they do hold a number of premium brands. Future plans for these premium cigar brands (made for them by Plasencia and Quesada) are yet to be announced.
- Dunhill cigars and pipe tobacco….gone, or will be soon.
- It’s THAT time of year again. Manufacturers are beginning to announce the “if/when” of price increases. So far, I’ve seen bits coming down from Perdomo, AJ Fernandez, and JC Newman…but personally I expect there to be many more over the next 4-6 weeks.
- Terry Johnson (TL Johnson Cigars) has merged with Black Patch Cigars of Kentucky. To my recollection, we’ve only talked once in memory about Black Patch and the “Kenbano” tobacco they grow in Kentucky to showcase in their blends. Tabacalera TLJ will produce Black Patch cigars going forward, and presumably the Kenbano will be coming down for those purposes.
- Since our last show, Matt Booth has announced he’s retiring from the cigar industry – along with his Room101 brands, which he owns. His attention will turn to focus on his lucrative jewelry business. His contract with Oettinger Davidoff expired Jan 1st, and he has opted not to renew. It’s still possible that the brands could return to production, but no plans have been announced at the moment.
- The IPCPR tradeshow was somewhat “booted” from the former venue, the Sands/Venetian complex. It’s been widely speculated that a bigger group wanted the venue for the assigned dates, and with the convention hall holding the power to cancel, they opted to do so. IPCPR has quickly adjusted and rescheduled for July 10-14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The move de-couples hotel arrangements from the convention site, but presumably won’t offer much more interference except being a bit off the strip.
- So, the FDA has extended the deadline for manufacturers to submit ingredient lists for cigars from Feb 15 until Aug 8, 2017. That’s the news from the FDA, but after looking over the requirements I can’t help but wonder about a couple things. First, for any premium cigar made with no chemicals besides potable water and tobacco, there are only 4 requested pieces of information: tobacco type, variety, curing method, and any recombinant DNA technology used in creating the varietal. Even for these cigars – containing nothing aside from water and tobacco – I have questions. First, the “type” of tobacco must be listed by weight. Exactly how much does ½ leaf – cut by human hands from variably sized leaves – weigh? I wonder with what precision the FDA expects this to be? Secondly, I wonder how many manufacturers *truly* know how the tobacco they used has been genetically engineered? I’ve spoken with some in the past who simply don’t. They buy tobacco. They know where it was grown, who grew it, and many other details – but they may not know it intimately on an agronomical basis.
I also wonder – for those who use something other than water – if they know enough detail about their process to accurately submit the application. Bethune, the “secret sauce” used by more makers than would admit, often contains wine, rum, tobacco, water…and various other ingredients passed along sparingly like it’s the Colonel’s original recipe. I am willing to bet many can’t answer the questions regarding chemical reactions and other properties imbued by the Bethune. I have no idea how stringently this will be enforced, nor even if it can be without FDA personnel on the ground in factories throughout cigar country (a la food inspectors). I’m anxious to see how third-party cigar companies meet this; I have a gut feeling many don’t know their cigars on a level to complete this and will have to rely on information from their partner manufacturers (and/or agronomists from *their* sources). Small manufacturers (under $5million/yr) will have an additional 6 months to comply, so we’ll see in a year or so….
What Else We’ve Been Smoking
- Craig –
- HR Blue – Oh my goodness gracious
- Cattle Baron!
- Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado
- pipe tobacco – Escudo Navy Deluxe
- Fuente Fuente Opus X 20th Anniversary pre-release from CFC.
- Quesada Keg – both Nicaraguan and Dominican versions.