Highlights of IPCPR 2009 – New Orleans

Four years ago, RTDA came to New Orleans and two week after the show, the mother of all storms hit us….Katrina. After 4 years and changing its name to IPCPR, it has come back bigger and better than ever with hundreds of vendors. Many cigar companies introduced a lot of new cigars and it seemed to be a lot more than I remember from 2005. Since I live so close to New Orleans, I stopped by for a couple of days with my Canon EOS 50D to try to cover as much of the show as possible. I was able to talk to most of the vendors and ask about the new cigars and their blends, sample some cigars and take home a few samples to review later for Nice Tight Ash. I took over 400 hundred pictures so I decided to post some of the highlights from the show. We will be reviewing some of these new blends in detail in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned.

One of the most exciting blends coming out of IPCPR is the Room 101 cigar which is a collaboration between Camacho Cigars and Room 101. I met up with Matt Booth of Room 101 and Dylan Austin at the Camacho booth and both said that the reaction the cigar is getting is very positive. The blend also looks amazing. The wrapper is an exclusive Semilla 101 which is made only for the Room 101 cigars. The binder is Honduran and filler is Honduran and Dominican which gives the cigar a medium body profile. Oliva introduced the Cain in both Habano and Maduro wrappers. Blended by Sam Leccia of Nub fame, the cigar is blended with straight ligero making it one of the strongest and flavorful cigars on the market. The reaction was huge as Oliva sold out of the Cain on the second day….5000 boxes! Sam Leccia was there custom rolling Nubs with some amazing designs. The newest edition to the Nub line was also showcased, the Nub Maduro. I haven’t had one of these yet and the Oliva reps, Josh and Ian, weren’t able to get me a sample due to the high demand for them during IPCPR. Jesus Fuego introduced his new 777 corojo. It has a Brazilian corojo wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and fillers blended to be a medium bodied smoke. I have one of these to sample for a review later and I’m excited to try it. I have yet to be disappointed with Jesus Fuego’s cigars. Dion Giolito of Illusione cigar introduced another great cigar to his fine line up: Nosotros. This cigar is blended with a Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 wrapper, Nicaraguan fillers, and Connecticut Habano binder. It’s made for Illusione by Drew Estates in Nicaragua.

Rocky Patel’s booth was slammed packed most of the show and for good reason. Rocky makes some of the best cigar out there. Following his epic Decade release and seasonal blends, Rocky introduced two new blends: Patel Bros and 1961. Tim Wong of Rocky Patel cigars said the Patel Bros was a slight reblend of the 2008 Winter series. The new reblend was a smoother and stronger blend from the Winter blend. This blend is a collaboration between Rocky and his brother, Nish, that has a dark broadleaf wrapper from Lancaster Co, Pennsylvania. The 1961 is a cigar that celebrates Rocky’s birth year and is medium-full bodied cigar. It has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Honduran binder and Nicaraguan fillers and is also the first cigar from Rocky’s new factory in Nicaragua call Tabacalera Villa Cuba. Another change was the packaging for the Vintage 1992 cigar. Tim Wong explained that retailers and customers were getting the 1990 and 1992 confused with each other, so to better separate them, they changed the package on the 1992 to black and gold. Both are also now available in tubos. CAO was drawing huge crowds with their two custom Sucker Punch Sally bikes, one built for the America line and one built for a new cigar called the La Traviata. This cigar is a throwback to an old Cuban line and is a full bodied cigar. It has a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Cameroon binder and two types of ligero fillers: one from the Pueblo Nuevo farm in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. This cigar was announce on my birthday as well so it also has that going for it. The best part is that price point of this cigar is an average of about $5.25! Also released by CAO was the CAO Gold Vintage. I don’t have the blend information yet, but watch for it in an upcoming review by the NTA crew.

Another favorite of mine, Alec Bradley, introduced a lot of new stuff during the show. First and foremost was the new Prensado line. These sold very fast according to Alan Rubin, President of Alec Bradley cigars. Releasing in September 2009, the Prensado is rolled in Honduras using Trojes wrapper from Honduras, binder from Nicaragua and filler from Trojes, Honduras and Nicaragua. Alec Bradley also introduced a new size from their hugely popular Tempus line. They added the Magnus which is a 6 x 58 ring gauge cigar. That should appease you monster cigars smokers out there. Another new addition to the Alec Bradley line is the SCR or Select Cabinet Reserve. This one has garnered much fan fare. All reports have been very positive. It was the first to have a special wrapper from Trojes, Honduras using criollo ’98. It creates a very smooth and complex blend. It Alec Bradley also introduced the Family Blend which only comes in the robusto size. This blend was blended for three fathers of the Alec Bradley family to honor them. This cigar actually was a private blend within Alec Bradley, but, by the requests of consumers and retailers, Alec Bradley has released this blend to the public. The last new blend Alec Bradley release is the Vice Press. Originally in the Maxx line up, this massive cigar was relabeled as its own brand and comes in two other massive sizes. It’s available in 5 x 64, 6 x 62 and 7 x 60. I had the 6 x 62 while at the show talking with Alan Rubin and I have to say this was a great smoke. Medium bodies FULL of flavor and produced a ton of smoke. It has Costa Rican tobacco in the blend which I’m a sucker for. It has a Nicaraguan wrapper, Costa Rican and Columbian binder and filler from Nicaragua, Mexico and Honduras. Alec Bradley introduced a new lighter called the Hendrix. It’s a well built lighter with a good size fuel reservoir. It’s a single flame that is really ergonomic and the price is very good retailing around $40.

Espinosa y Ortega (EO) introduced two new cigars as well. The first is the Cubao Maduro. It’s a stronger more flavorful version of the Cubao. It was hugely popular as they were completely out of them by the second day! The other cigar was the Murcielago. Murcielago is Spanish for bat and, like a bat, this sucker flew. These were also completely gone by the second day. This cigar has a Mexican Maduro wrapper from the San Andres valley in Veracruz, San Andres binder and Nicaraguan filler. Don Pepin Garcia’s booth was another one that was buzzing. They released a couple new cigars. One of the most anticipated was the My Father Le Bijou 1922. These cigars come in beautiful white boxes sporting a Habano Oscuro-Oscuro wrapper with the binder and filler from Nicaragua. This blend was created to honor Don Pepin Garcia’s father. Another new release is the My Father in cedros. It’s the same blend as the original My Father, just wrapped in cedar sleeves. Arganese release two new cigars that I think our readers will find of interest. First is the S-THIS. These are Gene Argenese’s way of getting back at the government for the SCHIP tax. These cigars come in five packs. What’s special about them is that they can be broken in two for a total of 10 cigars….but taxed as 5. Pretty interesting. Also, they developed a double wrap figurado that comes in a 10 count cigar caddy. Each cigar caddy is individually numbered and is limited to 300 total.

General Cigar had a lot of new releases. Being a Punch guy, the most exciting to me was the new Punch Upper Cut. It’s a medium bodied, fuller flavored release of the Punch line. Originally and offspring of the Punch Election promotion, this blend was created after a lot of feedback from testers. It uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and filler from the Ometepe region grown exclusively for General Cigars. Another new release is the La Escepcion. I know what you’re saying, yes, this is the cigar the JR Cigars sells, but it has been pulled back into the main General line with a new blend. It features a proprietary blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos for General Cigar using a binder from Ometepe and a Honduran Habano Talanga wrapper. General Cigars also release two new cigars for the La Gloria Cubana Serie R line. The first is the Serie R No. 3. This cigar is the same blend as the other, but it’s a 4 ½ x 56. Also, they introduced the Serie R Crystale. This new Serie R is 6 x 54 and comes in a glass tube. Macanudo also introduced a new size to their popular 1968 line: Trompeta. This new size is a 5 x 40/50/60. It’s like a torpedo that keeps flaring open to the end like a trumpet. This cigar was showcased near the Playboy Playmate models for Macanudo so I somehow overlooked getting a sample and pictures of this new shape. Lastly, they introduced a new value line cigar called Brioso. This cigar uses a Honduran Jamastran wrapper, Connecticut Habano binder and Dominican seco and ligero filler with Nicaraguan and Mexican tobacco. This price point for this cigar is only $3.50. Joya De Nicaragua also introduced a new cigar called the Antano Dark Corojo. This is supposed to be their most powerful release yet. Completely blended with locally grown tobacco, this cigar is considered extra-full and is targeted at seasoned cigar connoisseurs. Drew Estates release a new cigar to their Liga Privada line call the Liga Privada T52. These are similar to the Liga Privada No. 9, but are blended to be stronger and have a stalk-cut Habano wrapper.

JC Newman also debuted several new releases. One of the most anticipated with the Brick House cigar. This cigar sports a Nicaraguan Havana Subido wrapper made just for this cigar with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. JC Newman is sending me samples to review and I’m looking forward to trying this new release. They also added 3 new releases to heralded Diamond Crown series. The Diamond Crown Maduro series added a new size, #3 which is 6 ½ x 54. Another addition is the Diamond Crown Julius Caeser. This cigar comes in a commemorative box of 20 using a Havana Seed Ecuadorian wrapper with Dominican binder and filler. It will be available in 4 sizes: 4 ¾ x 52, 6 x 52, 7 ¼ x 52 and 6 ½ x 52 pyramid. Lastly, they have team up with the NFL’s Gridiron Great charity to produce a special cigar. It’s a Diamond Crown torpedo that has an aged Cameroon wrapper with Dominican binder and filler. It comes in a 7 x 48 ring gauge. Another interesting cigar I found while at IPCPR is the Casa Gomez from Casa Gomez cigars. Benny Gomez from Casa Gomez is one of the original greats of the cigar world. He has an amazing story of his background in cigars and how he got into cigars. The cigar uses an Ecuadorian wrapper, Honduran binder and Dominican filler for a medium bodied smoke. Their torpedo is named the Benjamin so I know I’m just going to have to buy a box of those. Jameson cigar also introduced a new cigar called the Declaration made in the Dominican Republic. I don’t have the full blend information, but I will have it by the time we put up the review. Tatuaje also introduced two new cigars. The first is the Drac that will come out during Halloween. It’s in the same line as the Frank, but this cigar is…you guessed it…a torpedo. The other is the La Verite series. I don’t have any blend information yet, but each box features art by Paul Hernandez. La Verite in French means The Truth. Tatuaje also released their original label is black tubos. They look really stunning. Lastly, I found a pretty cool cigar gadget called the Cigar Stub. It is a small device with a claw at the end to put your cigar in to nub it. It folds down to the size of a Nub cigar and is perfect for the pocket. The arm the claw is on is moveable so you can even use it as a cigar stand.

All in all, this was a great IPCPR even with the oppressive State of Louisiana taxing everyone like its 1775. The show is returning again next year to New Orleans and I can’t wait. Going to these shows remind me how great cigar people are. It’s like we are one large family…one CRAZY family, but family never the less. Everyone is just great and treat everyone well. Makes me proud to be a brother of the leaf.

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Guys, thanks so much for this roundup. It sounds like it was a great event to go to. Personally, I am looking the most forward to CAO’s La Traviata in no small part due to the name being so close to my own! :-)

Nice highlights! I cant wait to try a bunch of these new sticks, just sux we have to wait for some of them ;)


Song cuts off abruptly doesnt it…lol


Free software. What do you expect? ;-)

[…] samples to review and I’m looking forward to trying this new release. … Excerpt from: Highlights of IPCPR 2009 – New Orleans Share and […]

Great article Ben! Great pictures, also several stately gentelman in the photos! Im putting in for vaction so we can go back to IPCPR!

Nice IPCPR summary, Ben…sounds and looks like you had a blast! I NEED to go to the show someday soon, I’d be awestruck I’m sure. :D

Nicely done, Ben.
Who’s the band? Love that Celtic music.

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