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December,
2004

TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND INDUSTRY PROMOTIONS

Arango Cigar Named Exclusive U.S. Importer of Dean Swift Fancy British Dry Snuff

Arango Cigar Co. is now the exclusive importer and distributor for Dean Swift Snuff, a broad line of fancy British dry (nasal) snuff. Although this snuff is manufactured in England, it is blended exclusively for sale in the U.S., where it is a top-selling brand.

"Dry snuff is enjoying a renaissance in America," reports Michael Gold, Arango's president. "With so many restrictions on public smoking, those who enjoy snuff are free to indulge anywhere and at any time, without bothering others. Unlike oral snuff, which is placed in the cheek, dry snuff has no chemical additives and is classified as the least harmful form of tobacco usage."

Dean Swift Snuff combines a mildly refreshing lift from stress, and 15-20 minutes of aroma from the flavoring. In the manufacturing process, only select tobaccos are blended and flavored with natural essences and oils, using old secret British recipes and grinding techniques.

Dean Swift Snuff is available in twelve distinctive flavors, which adds to the novelty of using snuff. Dr. Johnson, the top seller, is a "penetrating mixture of camphor and menthol;" Bezoar Fine Grind, "a heady blend of menthol and eucalyptus," is the second-most popular blend. Dean Swift also offers several fruit flavors, with Strawberry and Raspberry being the best sellers,.

Dean Swift Snuff comes in 1/6-ounce round tins, and has a suggested retail price of $2.80 per tin, at keystone. Retailers can buy 18-count boxes of 1/6-ounce tins for $25.20.

Arango Cigar Company, Northbrook, Ill., Toll-free: (800) 222-4427.


CAO Goes Italian for its Latest Premium Cigar

Italy has been widely heralded as the producer of some of the world's finest wines and olive oils, but it has been largely overlooked as a source of premium cigar tobacco. That may change with the release of the CAO Italia, the latest innovative cigar line from CAO that debuted at the RTDA Trade Show in July.

The cigar uses Habano seed brought to Italy from Cuba over 40 years ago and grown exclusively for CAO in the country's southern Benevento region located between Rome and Naples. According to the company, this Italian Habano tobacco, in a filler blend with Nicaraguan and Peruvian tobaccos, lends a unique earthy-sweetness to the cigar's full-bodied flavor profile. With a wrapper and binder of Honduran-grown Habano seed, the CAO Italia is available in three Italian-themed frontmarks: Ciao (5 x 56), Gondola (61/4 x 54 torpedo), and Piazza (6 x 60).

CAO International. Inc., Nashville, Tenn, Tel: (800) 237-8226, Web: www.caointernational.com.


Redesigned Rave Cigarettes now All Natural, U.S.-Made

Rave is a competitively priced MSA cigarette now made in the USA with a new premium, all-natural, domestically-grown tobacco blend. Rave cigarettes deliver a superior tasting, high quality cigarette, while maintaining a low price to both the retailer and the consumer. Rave is available in Full Flavor, Lights, and Menthol versions in either kings or 100mm. Ultra Lights are also available, in 100mm size only.

As demand continues to increase for a reasonably-priced, high-quality cigarette, Rave sales have grown significantly, maintaining its place as a major contender in the value-priced cigarette market. To help increase awareness to the consumer, tobacco retailers will be supplied with a variety of point-of-sale materials such as posters, displays and danglers.

Lignum-2, Inc., San Leonardo, Calif., Toll-free: (800) LIGNUM-2.


Excalibur Adds Royal Sterling Line

Royal Sterling is a new, limited edition of the Excalibur brand featuring a lightly-colored, shade-grown Honduran Claro wrapper. As with English Claro, the wrapper is selected from a limited supply of light-colored tobacco leaves from the first primings, in this case from Honduras rather than Connecticut. The filler is a blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican tobacco bound with a Connecticut Broadleaf binder leaf.

Medium-to-full in body, Excalibur Royal Sterling is described as balanced, with a complex, spicy and rich taste, and earthy aroma characteristic of the Excalibur brand.

Three frontmarks are offered: Nobilis (5 x 50), suggested retail $5.35 per cigar, or $214 for a box of 40 cigars; Fidelis (61/8 x 48), $5.80 per cigar or $116 per 20-count box; and Fortis (71/4 x 54), $6.35 each or $127 per 20-count box.

The cigars are presented in sturdy black wooden boxes featuring the Excalibur logo on a silver medallion on the lid, accented with a gleaming silver Excalibur sword and polished silver grommets.

General Cigar Co. Inc., New York, N.Y., Toll-free: (800) 273-8044, Tel: (212) 448-3800, Web: www.cigarworld.com.


Cusano Corojo 1997 Debuts

Cusano Cigars has introduced Cusano Corojo 1997, the follow-up to their Cusano Corojo 1996 line of cigars that incorporated genuine Cuban-seed corojo wrappers. After the final priming of the 1996 harvest, the finest seeds were hand selected and used for the 1997 crop. According to the company, the wrapper tonality, or range of color, is much tighter than the '96 crop. Cusano has packaged the new Corojo in traditional closed top boxes, changing the logo slightly to set it apart from Corojo '96, but retaining the hallmark orange color for the Corojo 1997 boxes.

A Mexican Sumatra binder has been added in place of the Connecticut which accompanied the '96 wrapper. The Sumatra is intended to complement the 1997's sharper flavor, and to add a spicier finish than the '96. Cusano Corojo 1997 is available in Robusto (retail price $3.39), Corona ($3.51). Toro ($3.77), Churchill ($4.16), and Torpedo ($4.16). As with all Cusano premium cigars, the Corojo 1997 is certified by ProCigar, a Dominican Republic-based quality control organization.

Cusano Cigars, Bradenton, Fla., Tel: (941) 360-8200, Web: www.cusanocigars.com.


Handmade Spirit of Cuba Bundles Priced to Challenge Domestic Brands

Alec Bradley Cigar Company has released a new line of Spirit of Cuba bundled premium cigars. The original handmade, all-tobacco Spirit of Cuba line has been expanded into three wrappers and strengths: a mild-to-medium Natural, a medium-to-full Habano, and a full-to-bold Corojo. Depending on whether Honduran or Nicaraguan wrapper is used, filler tobaccos from Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, or Mexico comprise the blend. Like the boxed line, two popular sizes are available: 7 x 48 Churchill and 5 x 50 Robusto, at only $1.24 and $1.32 suggested retail, respectively.

The new line is presented in brightly colored bundles rather than boxes. "By removing the box cost," says company president Alan Rubin, the new bundled cigar line "offers smokers of machine-made domestic brands the unmatched satisfaction of well-balanced, handmade, all-tobacco premium cigars for only a few pennies more." The entire Spirit of Cuba line has been positioned with premium cigar smokers as an affordable, "three-cigar-a-day" brand. "Give these smokers this choice," says Rubin, "and a natural conversion takes place. We've found they move up to these higher quality handmade cigars on a regular basis."

A new display with artwork on its front face mirrors the bundles' contemporary graphic design. Descriptive information on the display also guides smokers as they "graduate" from the milder Natural to the two stronger choices. A retailer program offers the display, stocked with two bundles of each of the sizes and wrapper selections - "one up, one back" - or 12 bundles in all (300 cigars), for a retailer cost under $175, less than 60 cents a cigar.

Alec Bradley Cigar Co., Dania, Fla., Toll-free: (888) 426-4397, Web: www.alecbradley.com.


Compay Honors Cuban Guitar Legend

Compay, a new premium cigar from Tabacalera Perdomo, is a tribute to Cuba's legendary guitarist Compay Segundo. One of the most respected musicians of the pre-revolution era, Segundo worked as a cigar roller in Havana following Fidel Castro's rise to power. Returning to music in the late 1980s, he and his band, the Buena Vista Social Club, attracted worldwide acclaim in 1998 before Compay passed away in 2002 at the age of 95.

Available in either a maduro or Cameroon wrapper, Compay is a blend of vintage Nicaraguan tobaccos in four classic sizes: Buena (41/2 x 52 robusto); Vista (6 x 50 toro); Social (7 x 48 Churchill) and Club (51/2 x 54 torpedo). The cigar bands feature the customized seven strings of the armónico, an instrument invented by Segundo in the 1920s. Compay is packaged in 'heirloom styled' Spanish cedar boxes of 20 cigars. The suggested retail price ranges from $4.25 to $5.00 per cigar.

Tabacalera Perdomo, S.A, Miami Lakes, Fla., Toll-free: (888) 642-5797, Web: www.perdomocigars.com


SMOKESHOP - December, 2004