Archive for June, 2013

Camacho Party, A Win or Two and Some Scary Happenings by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013


Camacho Launch Party


It was a hot and steamy night, but that didn’t stop Camacho from holding their national re-launch of their cigars outside in Dallas last Thursday hosted by Matt Booth of Room 101 and Mike Ditka.


According to Dylan Austin, Camacho’s marketing guy, the company started the process about 18 months ago as it looked to the brand globally.  As Austin puts it, “We looked at the D-N-A of the brand to see what the brand stood for and if we were still hitting the mark.  We hired a great firm out of Connecticut to help rebuild it. totally re-design the packaging while the factory we worked on tweaking the blends.”

A lot of the feedback came from smokers and retailers who felt the Corojo was not as strong as it used to be. Aystin says the cigar is the same, just other blends have gotten stronger. The new Corojo uses a 5th priming wrapper that
was used only on the Diploma and the filler has three primings instead of the old blend with two which Austin says “gives it more complexity and the overall intensity

Camacho Corojo New Look

has been dialed up.”  He compares the new Corojo to the best years of the old blend.  The Triple Maduro and Connecticut just have new boxes and bands the blends were not changed, but the price of the Triple Maduro will be dropping about 30%.  The Diploma was completely overhauled and it was always about big and bold.  Since the new Corojo has a lot of that flavor, Camacho ramped up the Diploma by adding a Ecuador Habano wrapper and had three different fillers – two ligeros, Honduran  and a Dominican Navarrete and Criollo filler.  The new Criollo line is the old Havana blend line with a new name and it uses some Dominican Piloto Cubano filler.


Camacho dropped the 10th anniversary line, the SLR and the Coyolar.  The reason for dropping the Coyloar was that the company sold the farm, which supplied the tobacco.

She enjoys a cigar


About 400 people attended the party,  and it was complete with booze, food and some smokin’ hot models, who actually DID smoke cigars.which featured Mike Ditka prominently.  Da Coach not only has his own cigar line from Camacho, the newest of which is the Throwback—a limited edition cigar which Ditka says has a lot of strength and he likes it.  Ditka also had his wines for sampling and some of his beef.  Da Coach is a busy guy. O’d show you a picture of Ditka, but she is better looking.


The new Camachos will debut at next month’s trtade show and wil start showing up in stores in August.


A Smoking Ban Reversal

The town council of Casper, Wyoming, voted last week to change its smoking ban and sometime this week, it will be legal to once again light up in bars and private clubs.


“Most people in this town will not even notice the changes,” said Councilman Keith Goodenough, who voted in favor of the change.

Goodenough and fellow council members who supported weakening the ordinance said the ban affected only a few bars and private clubs in Casper. A number of those businesses requested the council reconsider the public smoking ban after experiencing competition from establishments in neighboring communities.


Nice to see some cities getting it.  But the fight is not over because the anti’s are trying for a referendum to force the total ban back.  They have the $$ so I am certain they will get the signatures they need.


100+ Supporters

Meanwhile, the Cigar Rights of America continues to gather support for the bills to keep the F-D-A out of cigar humidors.  The addition of two more Senators to SB 772 brings the total on that bill to 10 co-sponsors.  One of the pick-ups is Dean Heller from Nevada.  Dion Giolito, owner of Illusione and FUMARE in Reno says:

“We are very pleased to have Senator Heller join the entire delegation from the State of Nevada in the U.S. House in a voice of unison telling the FDA that they should not regulate premium cigars. Without this legislation, FDA regulations would threaten the livelihood of thousands of cigar shop owners and employees throughout America, jeopardizing the very existence of this industry as we know it.”


Heller is the Junior Senator from Nevada, the Senior Senator is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who controls the agenda.  Over on the House side, the legislation has 102 co-sponsors for HB 792.  More work needs to be done and you need to let your Congressmen and Senators know you want the F-D-A away from cigars.


Previews of the Possible Future


IF the F-D-A gets to regulate cigars, you can bet this will happen here.  First in Australia, now in Ireland the health officials are decreeing that all cigars  come in plain packaging with gruesome photos and health warnings on them.  Why?  For the children of course.


Minister for Health James Reilly claims the move, so far only witnessed in Australia, is necessary to staunch the lure of smoking to teens, who are thought to start smoking younger in Ireland than most European countries. But Ireland’s few luxury tobacco shops say that when Montecristos and the like are shorn of their gold leafed boxes their market will be extinguished forever.


In Australia, some cigar shops are moving offshore to avoid the draconian packaging rules.  Many are fighting it legally going to the World Trade Organization.


David McGrane, managing director of the 132 year-old James Fox cigar shop on Dublin’s Grafton Street, asserts that the sweeping reach of the Irish government’s new initiative is quite clouded as to the realities of the specialized cigar trade. “Cigars do not appeal to young people by their appearance, taste or pricing structure. Our typical customer is over 30, would buy one or two cigars at a time for special occasions, and doesn’t smoke cigarettes,” he told the Sunday (UK) Times on June 16.


This could happen here…and worse.  Join the fight with the CRA.

Davidoff Goes All In, Camacho Goes Bold and Smoking = Jobs by Frank Seltzer

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Davidoff is expanding its core business—that is cigars.  Last week,  the Oettinger Davidoff Group released its 2012 results (basically its cigar brands grew at about 5 percent).  But the company is now changing its strategy.  Previously, Davidoff was a branded house, meaning it focused on the Davidoff label.  The company under the leadership of Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard it is becoming “a house of brands” which will include Davidoff, of course, but also the Camacho and Zino Platinum flagship brands along with AVO and Griffin.  The company also will continue to expand its stores and is seeing large growth potential in Asia.

Camacho goes Bold


With its launch by Christian Eiroa in 2000, the Camacho label has been known for its full body.  The original Corojo was one of the first stronger cigars in the market.  Since that time, others have joined in the higher strength league and Camacho has added several other lines which provide flavors to all taste profiles.  In 2007, Eiroa’s marketing director Dylan Austin convinced Christian to re-do the packaging for the lines while it rolled out the Triple Maduro.  The next year, Christian and his family sold Camacho to Davidoff.  Dylan Austin stayed with the brand and once again re-launching it.


The official debut of  “Camacho The Bold Standard” is this Thursday at a big party in Dallas (how convenient for me).  The event will be hosted by legendary coach Mike Ditka (who has his own cigar called the Throwback being made by Camacho), Room 101’s Matt Booth and screenwriter Rob Weiss (HBO’s Entourage).  One of the most visible changes is new bigger bands, which now run lengthwise, and the Camacho logo now has a scorpion on it.  The boxes also are changed with a more modern look. According to Austin, the idea is to create a bolder brand identity.


As part of the move, Camacho is slimming down its portfolio  to six blends and re-blending four of the lines or as they call it an upgrade.  The original Corojo is one of the blends that will be upgraded along with the Diploma line.  According to Austin,  “We kept what was great, like our Authentic Corojo, and made it better. For our famed Corojo, a top-grade fifth priming wrapper is now standard – it’s back to knock your socks off level.”


The former Havana blend is now going to be called what it is Criollo for its wrapper and under the new formulation it will have Dominican Piloto Cubano in the filler. The Triple Maduro and Connecticut will not change except for the bands and boxes.


The Dallas party on Thursday is the official release, although the new blends will not really go on sale until the industry trade show in the middle of next month.  Camacho expects the cigars to be in stores nationwide around the beginning of August.




Want Jobs? Allow Smoking.

That is the message Las Vegas mogul Sheldon Adelson is sending to Spain.  It makes sense since you may recall the story on Revel Casino in Atlantic City, which was proud of its non smoking policy.  That policy stayed until Revel hit bankruptcy and THEN decided to allow smoking.  Adelson is now working on a new project in Spain for gamblers.


Adelson is proposing a development called Eurovegas on the outskirts of Madrid.

Eurovegas would become one of Europe’s biggest construction sites, creating tens of thousands of jobs in a country where the unemployment rate is expected to hit 28% by the end of this year. But Adelson wants gamblers to be allowed to smoke inside the complex – something that is against Spanish health laws.

According to The Guardian, the anti-smoking laws came from the previous socialist government in Spain and now with a new conservative Prime Minister Adelson thinks the time is ripe to change the law to allow smoking in the casinos.  Adelson met with the Spanish Prime Minister to make his case.  The development would cost upwards of 9 billion dollars and when complete could create nearly a quarter million jobs.  It will be interesting to see what Spain does.

Glendale Nixes Smoking


The California city of Glendale has decided to reach into private homes and ban smoking.  The council voted last month to ban smoking in condos and apartments.  The catch is that the law is for new construction.  It means for now, they cannot ban it in existing buildings.  But there is another side to this…


One of the biggest problems with Glendale’s smoking rules has been enforcement. Police or code enforcement officials can’t cite a smoker if they don’t catch them in the act. City officials said giving private citizens the right to sue smokers for breaking the rules is another tool to add more teeth to the smoking restrictions.

If found guilty, violators could be fined $250 for every day they violate the law, according to a city report, although they would first have to violate the law twice and receive a written notice before being sued. The smoker could also have to pay for the costs of the lawsuit if found guilty.


Gee wonder if the ACLU would defend the smokers?




H. Upmann Legacy

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

This site hasn’t had video content in quite some time. Until Ed and I are able to get together next week, an old friend and I jumped on Skype to review the H. Upmann Legacy. This cigar has had mixed reviews, and Jay himself has had mixed experiences with it. We cover that in the video.


I should warn you, this video runs quite long, at 26 minutes. A side rant was sparked, and I had to record it. You have been warned!

Joys of Blogging, New Cigars and Science Doesn’t Matter by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

You may have noticed a lack of posts recently.  It was not for trying but instead word press decided to be uncooperative.  For about two weeks, none of us could get in.  Oh there were brief moments when it teased us and gae us some hope, but then it went right back to being ornery.  You probably noticed it as well when the freaking blog wouldn’t even load.  Ain’t computers great?


La Gloria Nicaragua

Meanwhile, last time I posted,  I mentioned the release of La Gloria Cubana’s newest and first Nicaraguan cigar, the Serie R Black.  Well I wasn’t sure when they were coming out and guess what?  They are already here.  Actualy have been for a couple of weeks. You know where you can find them.


New Casa de Garcia

Casa de Garcia is a value brand that comes out of Altadis USA.  It is a premium cigar with a not so premium price.  The cigar actually was developed about 3 years ago in response to the SCHIP and state taxes.  The goal was to make a tasty smoke at a great value.  The result was the Casa de Garcia blends.  The newest one if the Nicaraguan blend which uses a dark Nicaraguan wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Broadleaf, Nicaraguan and Columbian fillers.  The cigars come in 4 sizes: Corona at 44 x 5.5”; Robusto at  50 x 4.75” ; Toro at 50 x 5.5” and Churchill at 50 x 6.5”.  The retail price is under $2 per cigar.  Of course you can get them for less.

Chapter Two

We are starting to get close to the annual industry trade show and word about new cigars are beginning to circulate.  Nestor Miranda of Miami Cigar is adding to his Casa Miranda line with Chapter 2.  The cigar is being made by the Garcia family at My Father Cigars in Esteli.

The cigar is being billed as a medium bodied one and follows the original Casa Miranda which is made at El Titan de Bronze in Miami.  Chapter 2 used a dark Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper  with a   Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Brazil,  Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.  It will come in 4 sizes, 4.5” x 50 Robusto for $6.35, a 6” x 46 Corona Gorda for $7, a 5.5” x 54 Toro for $7.60 and a 6” x 60 Gran Toro for 8 bucks.  The cigars will debut at the trade show next month.


Starbucks no Smokes

Many people actually like Starbucks coffee.  I never have to me it is bitter.  But different tastes….for years, where it has been permitted, smokers could order their lattes and then go outside to have a cigar or cigarette.  Now that had ended.  Starbucks has decided that local laws are not enough and the company has banned smoking around their facilities starting last weekend.

 The Seattle-based chain says it will start banning smoking within 25 feet of its stores, beginning [last] Saturday, where permitted by its leases. Starbucks spokeswoman Jaime Lynn Riley says the intent is to expand the indoor no-smoking policy to the outdoor seating areas.

“If there were any concerns, we would hope to resolve it amicably.” Riley said, referring to a customer who might be smoking within the restricted area.

 Right because as we know non smokers are rational people.


Science Begone

Ok, we really know smoke Nazis are morons.  And the whole anti-smoking movement is based upon a credo that any kind of smoking is evil.  So you really had to know this was coming as stupid and illogical as it is..

In France, they are going to ban using electronic cigarettes and cigars in public places. Ok you COULD make an argument that smoking in public is bad (you’d be wrong to a great extent but you could make that argument).  But how in the hell can you say that e-cigs or e-cigars (yes there are e-cigars…I have tried one and it was terrible but fun to annoy some people) that do not burn nor contain tobacco are a problem???

The government says more study is needed on the health effects of the electronic devices.  (They will try to find something,)  But here is the real reason according to health minister Marisol Touraine:

Another worry they cite is that the electronic alternative will increase the general temptation to smoke, including enticing those who have quit to start again, or that smokers may use them alongside rather than instead of regular cigarettes.

“This is no ordinary product because it encourages mimicking and could promote taking up smoking,” said Touraine, who announced her plans at a news conference.

 According to Dr. Michael Siegel, ideology trumps science.  He quotes an article that says the Italian health ministry is recommending a ban on the e-cigs as well after France made its decision.  They cited Touraine’s comment that “Smoking an e-cigarette is smoking.”

Dr. Siegel lost it.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

 The truth is: “Smoking an e-cigarette is a step towards quitting smoking.”

 This is the bare fact that so few in the anti-smoking movement seem to appreciate.

 The importance of this story is that it illustrates precisely what is wrong with today’s anti-smoking movement. Instead of being driven by science, as it was in the past, it is now being driven by ideology. This ideology is so skewed that using a non-tobacco device resembling a pen that vaporizes a solution of nicotine and propylene glycol without any combustion or smoke production is considered equivalent to cigarette smoking.

 The upshot of this is that the anti-smoking movement is doing everything in its power to protect cigarette sales from the threat of e-cigarettes. Even the cigarette companies are hoping to shift some of the cigarette market toward e-cigarettes. Not so with the anti-smoking groups. And that’s a tragedy.


You know it is bad when a tobacco control advocate like Dr. Siegel thinks the anti’s are nuts.



Congratulations Zman!

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

All of us folks at JR would like to take a moment to congratulate Tommy (Zman) Zarzecki on his new position as the official spokesman for Famous Smoke Shop.

We wish you good luck… And like you always say …. Just keep it real! 

Famous Zman

One of many from the archives…

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

JRCigar Zman


Now I’ve got to say that one of the things that gets my heart throbbing is the arrival of new cigars at my place of premium tobacco purchase. And nothing gets me giddier than our very own site, JR, as there is an absolute plethora of new brands, new blends, and smiling, happy faces… especially mine!





JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

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