Herrera Esteli Norteño Coronita
Welcome to Episode 108! I apologize for the late posting this week, but it’s been a hectic one. Episode 108 features the Herrera Esteli Norteño, in the 4″ x 46 Coronita. From the Drew Estate website:
This full bodied, Maduro expression is the first blend released from the Drew Estate factory since Herrera was named Master Blender in June, 2014. The “Norteño” showcases extensively aged tobaccos from the Estelí and Jalapa growing regions of Nicaragua, coupled with a spicy Honduran binder and a rich, bold Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper. The “Norteño by Willy Herrera” will be available in the following six vitolas at select Herrera Estelí retailers nationwide. 4×46 Coronita, 4.75×48 Corona Extra, 5×50 Belicoso Fino, 5.5×54 Robusto Grande, 6×50 Toro, and 6.5×44 Lonsdale Deluxe.
Drew Estate has announced some changes to the existing Papas Fritas packaging. The cigar remains the same, but instead of the familiar metal tins you’ll start seeing them in 50-ct boxes. This will reduce the single stick price from $6.40 to $5.25. The blend (CT broadleaf over Brazilian Mata Fina binder over cut Nicaraguan fillers) will remain the same. The new packaging will begin to arrive on retailers’ shelves in the next few weeks.
The price increases are rolling in now, with Oliva this week and Padron next week. Oliva is going up by about 2.5-5% on average; Padron goes into effect April 1st, with about a $.20/cigar increase. Rocky Patel is also raising some prices April 1st – but not an across-the-board increase. Some lines; up to 5%.
Last week we talked a bit about Crowned Heads’ “Single Action”; this week, we have a bit more news about this year’s Angel’s Anvil. It will be coming down the pike in June. The 2015 edition will be a 6×52 toro, running about $10.50 at retail. Total production will be about 20,000 cigars – which will only be available at TAA member retailers. The line is made by EPC, and carries an EC Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan binder & fillers.
One other TAA exclusive is being produced with a twist this year. LFD will be presenting 3 different blends to the TAA membership at their 47th annual meeting this year. Retailers can place orders for their favorite of the three….and only the most-ordered blend will be produced/shipped! Other orders will be canceled. I like it. It’s a fun twist, although I’m interested to see if the retailers who want a nixed blend get a bit upset.
Espinosa/La Zona fans have something new to look forward to: the Espinosa Especial. This new line from Erik is due out in April, and brings 3 vitolas – the 6.5×48 “No. 1,” 5×52 “No. 4,” and 6×54 “No. 5.” (What happened to numbers 2 & 3?). It will feature a Mexican Capa Negra wrapper and Nicaraguan binder/filler.
In addition to the already unique focus on small batch production, Viaje is mixing it up again. They are partnering with (yet) another cigar factory for some of their lines. Pinar del Rio in the DR will be producing some of their lines. One new introduction, the Viaje Collaboration 2015, will be the first major batch created in the partnership, but PDR will assume production for some existing marques as well.
In a story that reached local to me, the Florida ABT has seized upwards of $100k in counterfeit cigars and tens of thousands of counterfeit boxes & bands – mostly Cohiba. One of the main culprits in the operation was Island Cigars, based out of Oldsmar, FL and Weekiwachee, FL (just a few miles from my house).
What Else We’ve Been Smoking
Partagas Serie D Especial Edicion Limitada 2010 – *breather* – A great cigar. Half because it was a great cigar and half because it was a great gift. Not overly “EL-ish” from the dominant wrapper flavor, filled with brown sugar, earth, pepper and citrus. This was a delightful full bodied and medium to strong cigar. Yum
2010 Montecristo #2 – I’m never sure what to expect with Mc#2s. This was a stronger cigar with less tang than the 2000 vintage sticks we smoked last year on the show. I got only moderate cocoa & sweet coffee flavors that are the hallmark of this classic cigar. Marred with the highest expectations, this cigar often seems to fall short. This was an enjoyable experience but inconsistency of expected blend integrity took away from the singularity of its tasty experience.
7-20-4 Londres (5×42): Nicaraguan, Honduran, Mexican and Colombian, long-fillers, Costa Rican binder, and Brazilian Mata Fina wrappers (!) I’ve enjoyed these for a couple years on occasion. They’re a “workhorse” smoke for me – they don’t really ever stand my world on its head, but they never fail to provide an enjoyable experience. Solid woodsy core with some modest spice, decorated with an intermittent sweetness.
Punch Signature (4.5×50): I had a Rothschild in this new line, and it might be the best Punch I’ve had since the Grand Cru maduro #2 (my favorite). EC corojo wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and Nica/DR fillers. Bright spice, some cedar at times. Was a bit more potent in terms of strength than I expected. Not overpowering, but brought the “oomph” with it…
Next episode (109) we will be featuring EP Carrillo Dark Rituals. So come by Half Ashed Friday night at 9:30pm EST and hang out with us in the chatroom during the show. If you would like to contact us in the meantime, you can reach us via the Contact Page or the following emails:[email protected] or [email protected] Please feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions you’d like answered, comments to make…or even compliments and complaints. We love to get your emails! Also, remember you can always go back and listen to previous episodes, which can be found in the Half Ashed Archive. You can download this week’s audio directly below (right-click “Download” and save), find us on iTunes, or subscribe with any podcast app at our RSS Feed. Video, as always, will be available at the Half Ashed YouTube Channel.
P.S. – If you have unbanded suggestions or contributions, you can get those [email protected] This email address goes directly to my wife, so you can simply suggest an unbanded cigar for her to source, or send me an email [email protected] if you have something you’d like to send in. I will provide an address to send them. Thanks!