Swedish Match Launches General Snus in Two Major U.S. Markets

Swedish Match North America has begun selling and distributing Swedish-made smokeless tobacco products in both Washington, D.C. and New York City.

"General is one of our most successful snus products abroad and we believe that its continued appreciation by tobacco consumers in the U.S. will help in reducing the risks associated with cigarette smoking," said Lennart Freeman, president of Swedish Match North America. "Scientific studies have shown that products such as General are a safer alternative to smoking and our goal is to provide consumers with ready access to this and our other high quality tobacco products."

Swedish snus is a smokeless tobacco product that is offered either loose or in a pouch. The product is discreet and spitless because it is placed in the upper lip and gum, notes Swedish Match.

General, which is refrigerated and stored in specialized chillers, is currently on sale at J.R. Cigars in New York City and W. Curtis Draper in downtown Washington, D.C.

Swedish Match North America, Inc., Richmond, VA, Tel: (804) 287-3267, Fax: (804) 287-3208.

Andron's Passion Flavored Cigarettes

Specialty cigarette importer and distributor G.A. Andron has introduced a new line of luxury, flavored cigarettes - Andron's Passion - produced exclusively for the Long Island-based company.

These top-quality, smooth tasting Virginia-blend cigarettes are offered in four subtle tastes - Vanilla, Honey, Cherry, and Coffee. Manufactured in the Netherlands, Andron's Passion cigarettes are packaged in sophisticated clam-shell packs to appeal to discerning smokers.

G.A. Andron & Co., Inc., Deer Park, N.Y., Tel: (631) 243-4200, Toll-free: (800) 221-1634 or (800) 592-9665.

Felipe Gregorio Takes Fat Boys on the Road

Philip Wynne, president of Felipe Gregorio, Inc., and company vice president of national sales Micky Pegg launched their 'Fat Boy Road Show' in January, bringing their novel new line of full-bodied Fat Boy premium cigars to retailers.

The 3 1/2 x 55 Fat Boys cigars were originally designed to provide a sample of three existing Felipe Gregorio lines so retailers and smokers could choose their favorites before buying them in full sizes. The cigars have ample girth to provide a lot of flavorful smoke, but just enough length to evaluate the cigars.

"But, shortly after their introduction," says Wynne, "orders started coming in for repeat sales... many more than just for samples. We learned smokers liked being able to get a full, rich smoke in just a few minutes."

The medium-to-full bodied Felipe Gregorio has a sun-grown wrapper, while the medium-bodied Felipe II has a shade-grown - both are Nicaraguan-grown Havana 92 varieties. Both cigars are made in Felipe Gregorio's new factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The medium-bodied Felipe Dominican, made in Santiago, Dominican Republic, has a shade-grown Ecuadorian-grown Havana 92 wrapper. All retail at $4 for a box of 20, at keystone.

Wynne and Pegg are supporting retailers who request their visit in advance. "Each shop sends out invitations to their customers before the event," says Wynne. "We will be giving out door prices as well as sampling the cigars. The market is telling us it wants this cigar, and we're bringing it to others to try." Retailers can contact the factory to arrange Fat Boy sampling visits.

Felipe Gregorio, Inc., Alexandria, Va., Toll-free: (800) 336-1181, Fax: (703) 519-7323, Web: www.felipegregorio.com

'Red' is Theme for Updated Toraņo Nicaragua Selection

A new blend of top-grade Nicaraguan tobaccos, coupled with a complete presentation makeover, revives Toraņo Cigar's venerable Nicaragua Selection long-filler handmade cigar line.

"The Nicaragua Selection has been in the Toraņo portfolio since 1995," says Charlie Toraņo, company vice president of the fourth-generation Cuban family-owned tobacco and cigar company. "It was a top-rated cigar but, we enjoyed such success with later lines, we put our priorities into building their market dominance, and devoted little energy to this fine cigar."

Toraņo has made three significant changes in the Nicaragua Selection. "The attention-getting red color of the existing bands now appears on the boxes and labels," says Toraņo. "The result is a conspicuous product, easy to spot in the humidor." The cigar has also been upgraded with an Ecuadorian-grown Sumatra wrapper and a stronger 100% Nicaraguan filler, and finished cigars are now box pressed.

The relaunched Nicaragua Selection line is competitively priced, with suggested retail prices ranging from $2.97 to $3.97, at keystone. Six sizes are available: Petit Corona (5 x 42), Robusto (5 x 50), Double Corona (6 1/4 x 50), Churchill (7 x 48), Torpedo (6 1/4 x 52), and Perfecto (5 3/4 x 50). The cigars are made at Toraņo's Latin Cigars de Nicaragua facility in Esteli.

Toraņo says the company is undertaking an aggressive nationwide sampling campaign, working through retailers.

Toraņo Cigars, Miami, Fla., Tel: (305) 661-9121, Fax: (305) 661-9083, Web: www.torano.com.

Kelner Seconds are Now "Special Blends by Alec Bradley"

Alec Bradley Cigar Company has introduced Special Blends by Alec Bradley, formerly the popular Dominican-made Kelner Seconds. The repositioned premium cigar line features new packaging.

Alec Bradley has been importing and selling these cigars in the U.S. since 2000 as part of its sales and manufacturing agreement with Hendrik Kelner, who also makes Alec Bradley's Occidental Reserve and Havana Sun Grown brands.

These mild- to medium-bodied cigars still feature the same blend of Dominican tobaccos, but are now finished with a higher grade Connecticut wrapper "so they don't have the cosmetic flaws usually found with seconds," says Alan Rubin, Alec Bradley's president. The cigars have been well aged, having been in storage for extended periods.

At present, Special Blends are available in eight sizes: 4 x 41, 6 x 41 (Belicoso), 5 x 50, 6 x 46, 5 3/4 x 52 (Torpedo), 6 1/2 x 50, 7 1/2 x 50, and 8 x 48. Suggested retail pricing, at keystone, ranges from $1.50 to $2.60.

Retailers can expect to build greater consumer loyalty to the repositioned brand. "Banded and branded cigars have an identity that encourages the building of brand loyalty, more so than anonymous cigars," notes Rubin. The cigars are banded and packaged in bundles of 25 and bulks of 100, with a distinctive graphic frontmark on each bundle.

Alec Bradley Cigar Co., Plantation, Fla, Tel: (954) 321-5991, Fax: (954) 321-9968, Web: www.alecbradley.com.

Perdomo Adds Roller Cards to Perdomo Fresco

Tabacalera Perdomo S.A. is now including Fresco Roller cards with its Perdomo Fresco premium cigar brand. Each Cuban wheel of Perdomo Fresco now contains a card featuring the roller who crafted the cigars - similar in content and appearance to a sports trading card. On the front of each card is the name and image of the cigar roller, and on the back their vital statistics, a short biography, and the 'rolled on' date the cigars were hand crafted.

"I wanted to create an entirely new dimension of intimacy between our cigar rollers and our customers," says Nick Perdomo, Jr., president and chief executive of Tabacalera Perdomo, S.A. "How many cigar smokers know the name or background of the person who created their cigar? Or when it was made?"

Perdomo Fresco is a house blend made popular at the Perdomo 'El Monstro' factory in Esteli by a group of cigar rollers known collectively as 'Las Olas' (the waves). The cigars feature a complex, deeply fermented blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican Cuban-seed tobaccos finished with a Jalapa-grown Corojo '99 wrapper from the tobacco plant's fifth and sixth primings that lends a "rich, silky smooth quality to this flavorful, medium-bodied smoke," says Perdomo. Three classic sizes are offered: Robusto (5 x 50), Churchill (7 x 50) and Torpedo (6 1/2 x 54) and are packaged in a Cuban wheel of 50 cigars.

The brand originally started as a Perdomo in-store promotion of providing cigar buyers with fresh-rolled cigars directly from the tabaquero's table.

Tabacalera Perdomo, S.A., Miami Lakes, Fla., Tel: (305) 627-6700, Fax: (305) 627-6414, Web: www.perdomocigars.net.

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