Last year, I wrote a two-part article for CigarAdvisor.com on the leading cigar makers of the Dominican Republic. Upon its completion, I realized that more than a few of them had one connection between them in common: they had all worked with Jochy Blanco in some capacity. Aging Room, Freyja, Kristoff, La Flor Dominicana, Matilde, Pinar del
Jim Colucci, the president and CEO of Sindicato Cigars, has been named the new chief operating officer (COO) and President of Gurkha Cigars. Colucci will now oversee Gurkha’s day-to-day operations while Gurkha will in return represent Sindicato Cigars.
I didn’t make it over to the Gurkha booth until day four, but to very little surprise, the company was still writing orders. I suppose that’s sort of the story of all the talk about attendance: if you are busy then it doesn’t matter.
As for the booth, there’s not much change: it’s a larger booth with plenty of tables, display areas and even a private
Manuel Quesada likes to tell the story about his first days of making cigars in the Dominican Republic, with the company’s sole assets being “$100, a chair and a phone.” It was 1974, and Manufactura de Tabacos S.A. (Matasa) was the only cigar factory in Santiago’s first free-trade zone.
Though none of their cigars are new for the show since they started shipping back in May, owner Emiliano Lagos took a moment to tell us about the two blends and what makes up these reasonably priced cigars, ranging from $6.40-$8.10 each.
If you haven’t heard of American Caribbean Cigars S.A., you’ve certainly heard of brands that have had cigars made there at some point or another, such as Toraño Family Cigar Co., Leccia and Gurkha.
The booth is shared among a few other brands that the company produces, showing off their cigars as well as the brands owned by ACC.
Other than moving around some of the display cases, Casa Turrent’s booth for this year’s IPCPR show was pretty much the same as last year. The company was showing off the Casa Turrent 1880 blend that was released late last year. That makes sense, as owner Alejandro Turrent told me that his goal for this year’s show was to concentrate onsupporting his existing products.
El Galan Cigars, known for its Semilla Cubana Habano and Reserva Especial cigar lines, is launching a new cigar next month called Vegas del Purial Gran Reserva. According to brand owner Felix Mesa, the cigar is named after the farm where his paternal grandparents, Felipe and Caridad Mesa, grew tobacco in the Cuban province of Las Villas.
Vegas del Purial is rolled with an Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan filler. The cigar comes in four sizes: Robusto, measuring 5 inches by 50 ring gauge ($8.90); Belicoso, at 5 1/2 inches by 52 ring ($9.20); Lancero, 7 by 38 ($9.80); and Super Toro, at 6 3/4 by 52 ($10.00).
Mesa says the cigar is a tribute not only to his grandparents and the Cuban farm, but also to his family’s continued tobacco legacy in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Vegas del Purial cigars are produced at El Galan Cigars S.A. in Nicaragua.
Felix Mesa started El Galan Cigars in 2013. He says he chose his company’s name to honor his grandfather.
“El Galan means gentleman,” Mesa told Cigar Aficionado. “The people around my grandfather would call him ‘El Galan’ in Cuba because he was always dressed very elegantly with a cigar in his left shirt pocket.”
Earlier this year, Arturo Fuente Cigars announced that Felix Mesa would be in charge of operations at a new Fuente-owned cigar factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. The factory is currently under construction.