For no matter motive, I’ve had actual hassle falling asleep right here in Germany, and Thursday evening—or Friday morning—was horrid. I ended up arriving on the commerce present as soon as once more at midday, two hours after it began.
A lot of my evening was spent coping with the ACE Prime/Topped Heads distribution breakdown, one thing that I feel you may be studying extra about sooner or later. As soon as inside, I attempted to be as productive in the course of the subsequent six hours as I may, however there simply wasn’t sufficient time to meet up with numerous folks in addition to attempt to discover details about some new merchandise.
I walked by the Habanos SA—err, 5ta Avenida—sales space and noticed a few of the newer Cuban cigars, most of which have been introduced however few of which I’ve seen in particular person. In order for you extra details about the newest from Cuba, Brooks Whittington was there final week and noticed much more new gadgets than I did.
One factor that stood out was the H.Upmann Magnum 52 field, the third Habanos SA launch to have a good time the Chinese language New 12 months and the zodiac calendar. I feel the field is probably the most fascinating of the trio, and I would actually prefer to attempt to the cigar, although I do not know how lengthy it’s going to take earlier than that occurs. I’ve heard plenty of rumors concerning the present provide points in Cuba, a few of which I discover extra plausible than others. Regardless of the case really is, the problems are actual and the provision points aren’t going to be solved within the speedy future. The speak of the commerce present—at the least amongst the premium cigar folks—is undoubtedly the problem with Cuban provides.
For the general public I’ve spoken with, that is nice information because it’s boosted worldwide gross sales of non-Cuban cigars. One fascinating factor right here in Germany is that 5ta Avenida, the German distributor of Cuban cigars that’s collectively owned by Villiger and Habanos SA, is now distributing VegaFina in Germany. Beforehand, VegaFina—a cousin of the Altadis USA portfolio—was offered straight by Villiger. I wonder if this will probably be one thing that occurs in different international locations as I am positive most of the Cuban cigar distributors would really like to have the ability to promote some cigars, even when they don’t seem to be from Havana.
The opposite factor that turned obvious to me is that the cigar accent market is wholesome. Daniel Marshall, the Los Angeles-based humidor maker, mentioned his gross sales had been very robust. Alex Goldman of High quality Importers Buying and selling Co. advised me that from a few of the least costly gadgets within the portfolio (Palió lighters) to the costliest (tower humidors) are doing nice, as is loads in between. Scott Vines of Tor Imports, the brand new distributor of Lotus equipment in Europe, advised me the preliminary gross sales have been incredible. These had been all unprompted remarks inside a interval of about six hours. That mentioned, if you’re going to purchase a lighter from Tor Imports, it needs to be the Torjet, which sadly continues to be not supplied within the US
So far as probably the most fascinating new cigar launch I noticed on Friday, it was fairly straightforward to find out. Cigar Specialist Worldwide, a Singapore-based distributor, launched the Aura by EP Carrillo. It is a 12-count field of 12 completely different 6 1/8 x 52 torpedoes, every a unique mix. Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. blended every cigar to signify one of many 12 symbols of the Chinese language zodiac calendar. Inside every field—which additionally features a humidifier—is a gaggle of playing cards detailing every mix and why it was chosen for every image.
It is primarily for the Asian market and could have an MSRP of $1,000 per field in China.
I ended my commerce present day at JC Newman’s blissful hour occasion, which was held on the firm’s sales space and featured a bar and a few nice cheese together with different meals. There have been additionally cigars and reside music, although given it was 6 pm and I hadn’t had meals all day, I used to be rather more within the cheese.
Shortly after venturing again to my lodge, I headed to the Vandermarliere Cigar Household get together, which is historically held on the finish of Day 2. This yr, it moved to a bigger venue, which I appreciated greater than the earlier greenhouse venue. I have been coming to this get together for many of my journeys to Dortmund and it is unbelievable to see how giant it is grown. It finally ends up being the unofficial get together of the second day of the commerce present with dozens of different cigar firms represented.
As has historically been the case since again when this was the J. Cortès get together—Vandermarliere is the father or mother firm—this included a dance routine; this yr’s dance was set to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Cannot Maintain Us” and was completed on a correct stage, although the identical dance is finished every day within the firm’s sales space. As all the time, Fred Vandermarliere participated within the dance—one thing I think about few cigar firm homeowners would ever dare do, notably in entrance of their staff and friends.
One notable addition to this yr’s get together was an introduction of the brand new Cuba Aliados traces that Oliva Cigar Co.—additionally owned by Vandermarliere—launched earlier this yr. For this, Vandermarliere introduced Perez-Carrillo Jr. and Vivi Eiroa of JRE Tobacco Co. on stage to speak about Cuba Aliados and the model’s late founder, Rolando Reyes. Each EP Carrillo and JRE Tobacco Co. are producing Cuba Aliados manufacturers for Oliva. It was nice to listen to each of them speak about Reyes, a person I by no means met however somebody who is commonly talked about by the older era of cigarmakers. One fascinating observe, due to European legal guidelines, the model is solely often known as “Aliados” as a result of the corporate can’t use the phrase “Cuba” in a tradename.
The Vandermarliere get together is an efficient reminder of one of many issues absent on the PCA Conference & Commerce Present. If the same factor occurred in Las Vegas, it might be a particularly standard occasion, simply because it rightfully is right here in Dortmund.