April 1999
Volume 26
Number 2


Aristoff Introduces "Master of the Universe"
Superpremium Styled After Classic Cigars of the '20s

Aristoff recently announced the introduction of the "Master of the Universe" cigar. As one might expect from the lofty moniker, the Master of the Universe is targeted towards the highest segment of the premium cigar category, designed to epitomize and celebrate success.

Styled after the classic cigars of the Roaring '20s, the Master has a unique contouring, where the greatest diameter is found in the middle, and each end tapers off in exact proportions. The band appears in the middle to highlight the sophisticated shape, which measures 6 3/4 x 38-56-38

Commented Lou Silver of Tracktown Smokeshop in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, "The Master of the Universe is one of the best in our humidor. It is a cigar to be savored and enjoyed for those special occasions."

Handmade in San Pedro de Marcoris, Dominican Republic, the Master is presented in luxurious Connecticut Shade wrapper with a special blend of Aristoff tobacco.

The Tobacconist's Brand
Aristoff superpremium cigars, made by Aristoff Tabacalera in the Dominican Republic, have gained dealer recognition as "The Tobacconist's Brand," thanks to an ambitious program to clarify the company's sales mission.

Aristoff, headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, is incorporating that slogan into all of its advertising, as well as in trade show promotions and dealer communications.

"Aristoff cigars are available only to traditional smoke shops,"affirms David Schwartz, Aristoff's director of marketing communications. "We will not betray them by selling to alternate outlets that undercut tobacconists: national catalogs, Internet retailers, drug or liquor stores, convenience stores, and other mass marketers."

Aristoff is selective in appointing tobacconists, who are responding enthusiastically to the company's policy of selling to traditional smoke shops.

"It's only smart business to create a loyal dealer base of smoke shops that are here for the long run, like we are," notes Schwartz. "Why should tobacconists support a brand that the customer can buy anywhere? Selling Aristoff cigars ensures repeat business, because smokers cannot find them at alternative or discount outlets."

Established tobacco shops agree. "I took on the line...because they are committed to their customers, "says Ralph C. "The Colonel" Rumbo of The Humidor, San Antonio, Texas. "Their profit margin is tops. Customers come to see me - a true tobacconist - for their Aristoff cigars."

Curt Diebel, of Diebel's Sportsman Gallery, Kansas City, Mo. says, "Aristoff is a great cigar that's sold only through tobacconists. This is the reason it's on our shelves."

Aristoff, 200 North Victory Boulevard, Burbank, CA 91502, Tel: (818) 955-9862, Fax: (818) 845-8680

Tabacalera Revs up Saint Luis Rey
After nearly disappearing from retailers' shelves last year, Saint Luis Rey, a 50-year old Cuban brand that had also been manufactured by Hollco-Rohr in Honduras, is set to once again hit store shelves in full force this spring.

Shortages of the strong, full-flavored tobaccos used to roll Saint Luis Rey forced severe production cutbacks during the boom. With Spanish tobacco giant Tabacalera's purchase of American distributor Hollco-Rohr, the company assumed control of the brand, and begin

Benjamin Menendez, Tabacalera's director of cigar operations in Central American and the Caribbean, told Smokeshop that the new version will feature a Havana 2000 wrapper, and the blend will still deliver a robust smoke, like the original. "Saint Luis Rey will be the strongest cigar that Tabacalera makes," said Menendez. All four original sizes will be offered - torpedo, churchill, lonsdale, and Series A. In addition, a Havana 2000 maduro version will also be introduced later this year.

Havatampa, Inc., 3901 Riga Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33601, Tel: (800) 247-6653.

General's Partagas Diablo Promo a Hit
General Cigar Co. had no intention of making money on its newest Partagas, despite the cigar's considerable pedigree. The Partagas Diablo, a short, torpedo-shaped limited edition cigar, was instead given away as a promotion to retail customers who spent $30 or more on other General products, including Macanudo, Partagas, Punch, and Hoyo de Monterrey. Made at General's facility in Santiago, Dominican Republic, the Diablo featured a dark Cameroon wrapper. Its success as a promotion has had many retailers guessing that General will also offer up other limited edition promotional cigars from Punch, Macanudo, and Hoyo de Monterrey.

Macanudo Unveils New Offerings
Smokers of Macanudo, the number one selling premium cigar in the country, will be pleased to know that there are four new Macanudo sizes coming out of the General Cigar production facility in time for Father's Day. The Macanudo Trump,

8-9-8, and Duke of Wellington all debuted on April 1st. The Trump measures 6 1/2 x 45 and retails for about $5 apiece. The 8-9-8 measures 7 x 45 and sells for $5.85 apiece, while the Duke of Wellington, measuring 8 1/2 x 47, is packed in boxes of 13, and sells for a suggested retail price of $6/25 each. All three are packaged in Macanudo's distinctive, handmade mahogany boxes.

Coming in May is the Majesty, a triangulo that will be available as both a Macanudo and Macanudo Robust. It measures 6 x 54 and offers the flavor and complexity of a big cigar, with the comfort of a smaller end for the mouth. The Majesty will retail for a suggested $7.50.

"As the newer cigar consumers gain sophistication," commented Steve Raye, marketing director at General Cigar, "they continue to experiment with shapes and to seek quality. We want to keep their interest and capture their allegiance with cigars that meet their desires and expectations."

Macanudo also added a seventh size to its Robust lineup. The Macanudo Robust Lords, at 4 3/4 x 49, is a classic robusto with a full, deep flavor. It debuted in March.

Bits & Pieces

  • Davidoff of Geneva plans to add two additional shapes to the Avo Domaine line: a churchill and a short figurado, due out by summer.

  • La Flor Dominicana has added four additional shapes to its Dominicana 2000 Series: No. 4 (6 x 47), No. 5 (5 x 50), Stallion (6 x 46 perfecto), and a limited-availability A size (9 1/4 x 47).

  • Cupido Cigar Co. will introduce a new addition to its signature Cupido line of Nicaraguan cigars: Toro Negro, a dark maduro, due to ship by July.

  • Miami Cigar & Co., (800) 643-7209, has been named the exclusive U.S. distributor of Cruz Real premium, handmade Mexican cigars by its maker, Tabacos y Puros de San Andres S.A. de C.V.

  • Cigars by Santa Clara N.A., Inc., has added The Prive Seleccionne to its Bolivar line, handmade in the Dominican Republic. The line extension replaces the Connecticut shade wrapper of the standard line with a dark, oily wrapper.

  • SMOKESHOP - April 99