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Jamaica’s Alvarez Lopez Hits U.S.
Robert Gore, of Royal Jamaican fame, has released what he is calling the first full-bodied, Cuban-style cigar from Jamaica, the Alvarez Lopez line.

One of the few new cigars from Jamaica to be introduced in the past 40 years, Alvarez Lopez combines Jamaican filler with full-bodied Nicaraguan and Dominican Ligeros and a Nicaraguan Habana2000 wrapper. Gore says the last time cigars of this nature were made in Jamaica was during the late 1890s, when Cuban exiles staying in Jamaica produced their customarily strong cigars. The cigars will be distributed by Cigars by Santa Clara.

“Although not powerful Habano-style cigars, they are heavier bodied than the Jamaican brands presently on the market,” says Lew Rothman, president, Cigars by Santa Clara.

Priced from $3.75 to $5.25 per cigar, Alvarez Lopez comes in six sizes: Lord Nelson (7 x 47), Delmonicos (6 3/4 x 42), Buckingham (6 1/2 x 50), Corona (5 3/4 x 42), H.M.S Pinafore (5 5/8 x 38), and M.J.R. Robusto (5 x 50). The cigars are cellophane wrapped, and packed in vintage-style, dressed boxes containing 20 cigars each. Cigars are held individually in two interior trays.

Cigars by Santa Clara, 2589 Eric Lane, Burlington, NC 27215; Tel.: (800) 547-6060.

La Escepción, Old Cuban Brand, Returns
An old-time Cuban masterpiece, La Escepción, has returned to the marketplace. Made by Villazon and Co.’s Honduran factory, Honduras American Tobacco S.A., for Cigars by Santa Clara, La Escepción has hit the market with a limited reserve of 150,000 cigars available in three sizes (50,000 per size).

The cigars feature Nicaraguan and Honduran Cuban-seed long filler finished with an Ecuadorian-grown Sumatra wrapper. The initial series is available in three sizes: Dalias (6 1/4 x 48), Monterreys (7 x 48), and Especiales (7 1/4 x 54), with suggested retail prices of $4, $5, and $6 respectively. The second series - scheduled for Christmas 2000 release - will feature an identical blend but will be box pressed. Additional sizes are planned for subsequent series.

Box packaging features Dutch-printed reproductions of the original Cuban La Escepción engravings, 20 cigars to a box.

Cigars by Santa Clara, 2589 Eric Lane, Burlington, NC 27215; Tel.: (800) 547-6060.4653.

Montecristo’s New Peruvian Square Pressed Debuts
Altadis USA has released its long-delayed Montecristo box-pressed, targeted to smokers looking for the heavy-bodied “hit” associated with the Montecristos coming out of Havana.

Produced by Menendez & Garcia in the Dominican Republic, the new Montecristos are solidly square-pressed and wrapped English Market Selection wrappers from Jalapa, Nicaragua. The filler is identical to the regular Montecristo line, with the exception of Peruvian ligero added for extra strength. Three sizes are offered: Especial No. 2 (5 x 40), Fer de Lance (5 x 44), and Buena Fortuna (5 x 47), priced at $5.25, $5.50, and $6.00 respectively and packed in boxes of 20.

Altadis USA, 5900 North Andrews Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309-2369; Tel.: (954) 772-9000.

H. Upmann Now in Havana2000;
New Lord of Jamaica Introduced

The former Consolidated Cigar Corp., now Altadis USA, has released the Lord of Jamaica line, and extended the Habana2000 wrapper to a line extension of the H. Upmann label. Produced in the Dominican Republic, the H. Upmann 2000 maintains the traditional taste and construction of the legendary brand, while featuring a Nicaraguan-grown Habana2000 wrapper. The full-bodied cigar is completed with a Dominican binder and Dominican filler. There are five sizes: Perfection A (91/4 x 47), Habano #2 (7 x 52), Corona Larga (63/4 x 44), Torbusto (51/2 x 60), and Grand Robusto (51/4 x 52).

Lord of Jamaica cigars, produced at Altadis’ Maypen, Jamaica plant under the direction of Robert Gore, feature a unique blend of spicy Jamaican, Dominican, and Brazilian fillers with a Mexican binder and a Connecticut-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador. Lord of Jamaica comes in five sizes: Prime Minister (8 x 50), Chancellor (7 x 50), Pyramid (6 x 50), Tory (6 x 50), and Rothchild (51/4 x 50). Two sizes - the Chancellor and the Tory - are also available in maduro wrapper.

Altadis USA, 5900 North Andrews Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309-2369; Tel.: (954) 772-9000.

Estavan Cruz Introduces Dominican Edition
Estavan Cruz has introduced a Dominican edition vintage cigar to the market. Produced under the supervision of Bent Ahm at UST, the Dominican series promises the characteristic full-bodied strength and flavor in six sizes: corona Gigante (7 x 54), Belicoso Torpedo (6 x 54), Robusto (5 x 50), Poncho (5 1/2 x 52), Lonsdale (6 1/2 x 44), and Churchill (6 7/8 x 48).

All sizes are available in two wrapper styles; a Sumatra wrapper grown in Ecuador or a Connecticut broadleaf maduro. The cigar is made with a blend of Nicaraguan, Brazilian, and Dominican filler and a U.S.-grown binder leaf.

Company president Steve Sacks and Tom Sullivan of Alliance Cigar, Inc., have joined forces and are embarking on an extensive promotion campaign focusing on tastings and in-store events.

Alliance Cigar, Inc., 137 Greenwood Ave., Bethel, CT 06801; Tel.: (203) 748-8137; Fax: (203) 748-8264.

Price is Right for Santa Clara’s Plasencia Cigar Relaunch
Nestor Plasencia, a top Nicaraguan and Honduran tobacco producer and cigar manufacturer, has re-launched his Plasencia cigars in conjunction with Cigars by Santa Clara, the sole distributor.

The brand, which was pulled from the marketplace last year, remains the same in terms of quality and construction, but is now positioned at half of its former price. All six sizes of the cigar - Belicoso (61/4 x 54), Corona (53/4 x 44), Lonsdale (61/2 x 44), Prominente (71/2 x 50), Robusto (43/4 x 52), and Magnum (6 x 50) - range between $2.50 and $3.00. Plasencia is packed 25 cigars to a box.

The cigar is described as medium- to full-bodied, made with natural long filler Cuban-seed Honduran and Nicaraguan filler leaf, Honduran and Nicaraguan binder all grown exclusively on Plasencia’s own farms, finished with a Connecticut shade wrapper.

Cigars by Santa Clara, 2589 Eric Lane, Burlington, NC 27215; Tel.: (800) 547-6060.

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