Exactus (website: http://www.exactuscigar.com/ )
Exactus (Tabacalera El Artista) was a completely new name to me, although they have apparently been around since 1956. I spoke with Ram Rodriguez (President) and Orlando Alvarez (Sales Manager), and got a bit of backstory on the company. They have a 950 acre farm, and supply whole leaf tobacco to some big names within the industry. They have now endeavored to produce their own finished cigars as well, acting as grower, manufacturer, and US distributor. In the past, much of these efforts have been directed at produced custom made house brand cigars for various retailers and supply houses. The main thrust of their new growth is in their own brand – Exactus. Exactus is available in three blends – the Habano (Wrapper: Ecuador Habano, Binder/Filler: PA, Criollo ’98), Maduro (Wrapper: DR 3-yr maduro, Binder/Filler: PA, “Wine Fermented”), and Clasico (Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut, Binder/Filler: Piloto Cubano, Criollo). They can be had in five vitolas – Toro, Churchill, Torpedo, Robusto, and Coloso (6″X60). I have samples of each that I will report back on once they have rested from my extended travels after the show.
One other interesting item that I picked up on at Exactus is a hybrid leaf they have begun to grow on a small 5-acre plot in Tamboril, DR. The folks at the booth simply referred to it as “T13,” and they believe it shows great promise. The five acres used in its development are planned to expand to 300 acres be year-end 2014. Other details were more guarded, since it is still in development and under negotiation for an exclusivity agreement, but Orlando did give me a sample to try. This is probably what intrigued me most at the booth, and I will report back on this in the coming days as well.