Cigars of The Century Humidor Promo
General Cigar and Villazon are wrapping up the year - and the century - in style with a promotional package designed to impact revenue. The Cigars of the Century are a mix of Villazon’s four top-of-the-line cigars: Macanudo Baron, Partagas Almirante, Punch Deluxe Windsor, and Hoyo Excalibur #3 Maduro - 20 cigars in all - packaged together in it’s own humidor.

Selling tips include holiday gifts, holiday and year 2000 parties, a starter humidor for new smokers, or a backup humidor for a second location. A merchandising counter card designed to increase interest is available; suggested retail $140.

Villazon & Co., Inc., 25 Park Way, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, Tel: (201) 934- 9440, Fax: (201) 934-5545

Baccarat Adds Casino Selection
Ihe venerable Baccarat line of premium cigars, hand rolled in Danlí, Honduras by Tobacco Rancho Jamastran, has added the Casino Selection. Featuring a Cameroon wrapper and Honduran-grown filler and binder leaf, the line is offered in five shapes: lonsdale (7 x 44), belicosos (6 x 54), robusto (5 x 50), toro (6 x 50), and corona (5 1/2 x 42).

Caribe Imported Cigar Co., 2201 S.W. 1st St., Miami, FL 33135, Tel: (800) 367-0782, Fax: (800) 264-8567.

Universal Cigar Ships Long-Delayed X XO
Universal Cigar Co., manufacturer of Hoja Cubana Cigars, has begun to release the long awaited XXO line, a series that was originally slated for release last year. The XXO maduro will be released first, with the natural line being re- released next year.

The new cigars will carry two names, Tony Borhani of Bahia cigars, and Hoja Cubana, which produces the Hoja Yellowband, Hoja 1965, and Perfecto Serie lines. The XXO line will retail between $6.00 and $9.00, and comes in four sizes: Serie R, Epicure, Short Belicoso, and Belicoso Fino. Shipments will first arrive at limited West Coast accounts and then move to the East Coast.

The XXO natural line never made it to retailers last year because the first shipment was seized buy U.S. Customs, which thought the cigars were of Cuban origin due to their labeling. According to Universal Cigar Co., the cigars were destroyed due to improper storage, while a subsequent shipment was damaged as a result of hurricane Mitch.

Universal Cigar Company, 245 East Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91502, Tel: (818) 557-8705

Fuente & Newman adds A. Fuente Coffee
Fuente & Newman is now distributing coffee and coffee-related products bearing the Fuente name, including A. Fuente Estate Coffee and A. Fuente Family Blend. The coffee, the idea for which was dreamed up by Smoke Rings, features the familiar Fuente artwork, which cigar lovers will recognize right away.

“We’re very excited about this fine new line,” stated Eric Newman, president of Fuente & Newman Premium Cigars. “It is a natural extension of our cigar and accessories business. The products fit the cigar lover’s lifestyle and represent another profit opportunity for our customers.”

Fuente announced it will donate proceeds from the coffee to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Fuente & Newman, P.O. Box 76219, Tampa, FL 33605, Tel: (800) 477-1884, Fax: (813) 247-2135.

Perique Cigars Branching Out
Vintage Perique cigars were introduced to the southeastern U.S. in December of 1997. As production increases, the rest of the country is finding out for themselves what the south is saying about Vintage Perique cigars.

Manufactured by Big River Trading Company, Perique has a short but colorful history. Originally grown by Native Americans in south Louisiana, Perique tobacco has traditionally been used in pipe blends to add flavor and body. Aided by the expertise of Santiago Cigar Co.’s Elie Haddad, Big River has now made Perique tobacco available in a cigar.

Big River Trading Company, 6101 Bellaire Drive, New Orleans, LA 70124, Tel: (504) 486-6561, Fax: (504) 486-3837.

Smoke Rings to Distribute Pheasant
Smoke Rings, the Pittsburgh-based cigar accessories company, has become the first outside national distributor for Pheasant leather cigar accessories. Owned by Niche Resources, Pheasant is a popular maker of leather cigar accessories, which are known for their durability, quality, and fine craftsmanship.

Commented Smoke Rings president Tom Smith, “The Pheasant brand is well- known to our customers, and we’re proud to add such a fine name line to our growing stable of products.”

Smoke Rings, 2419 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, Tel: (800) 261-0160.

Cupido Turns Black Bull Loose
Since 1996, Cupido Cigars has introduced just one new superpremium cigar at each year’s RTDA convention. The company again unveiled an all-new cigar for RTDA 1999, but breaks precedent, with two new innovations.

The new Toro Negro (Black Bull) is Cupido’s first maduro cigar, as well as its first puro - made entirely of Nicaraguan tobacco. Like all three previous cigar releases, it comes in only one size - 5 1/2 x 52, in this case. “Our new Toro Negro cigar continues in the Cupido tradition,” says marketing director Yossi Kviatkovsky. “It has a super-smooth, creamy taste, and the great finish that characterizes Cupido cigars.”

The cigar’s filler is a blend of Cuban-seed, extra-select long-leaf tobacco from Nicaragua’s Esteli and Jalapa Valleys. It is from the 1996 cutting, and combines rich ligero, as well as viso and seco tobaccos. The binder is also Nicaraguan.

The wrapper is Nicara-guan-grown Habana 2000, the new strain of Cuban-seed leaf. “This is the first time we have used anything other than an Indonesian wrapper,” notes Kviatkovsky, “because this leaf is the first we feel is true to what a maduro cigar should be. We ferment the wrapper not just once, but twice, to give it an extra level of refinement.”

The wrapper’s rich maduro complexion is achieved naturally, rather than by steaming, cooking, or artificially colored. “It has a naturally sweet taste all the way past the band - another Cupido hallmark - without turning acidic or bitter,” says Kviatkovsky.

The limited crop has capped production of the Toro Negro to 49,000 boxes of 24 cigars each. Each all-Spanish cedar box is numbered to maintain traceability for quality assurance, and to enhance collectibility by cigar lovers. Suggested retail for the Toro Negro is $195 per box, with dealer pricing set at $97.50. Cupido will provide dealer support with extensive advertising and the inventive in-store promotions for which it is known.

Cupido Cigars, 3554 Business Park Dr., Suite E, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, Tel: (888) CUPIDO1, Fax: (714) 435-0118.

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