By now in our series of questions from the brand panel at IPCPR, we’ve gotten out of the business of the FDA and regulatory overreach and moved on more to the content you expect to see out of some annual IPCPR talks. And after getting past that initial legal talk, our brand panel opened up more to talking to us. For the rest of our questions, our full panel of interviews took the time to respond.
Every year, trends in blending emerge. Cigar makers are in competition for the same tobacco in the same countries and, while each brand spends its own time and energy developing their unique blend profiles, cigars tend to get released with similar elements, so we asked:
What blend trends do you see emerging currently? Do you have a favorite wrapper or filler leaf right now?
- Robert Caldwell, Owner, Caldwell Cigar Co noted that Ecuadoran Habano seems to be popping up in everyone’s lineup lately. He added that Ecuador is producing some of the best wrapper leaf on the market today.
- Michael Herklots, VP Retail & Brand Development, Nat Sherman and perennial gentlemen’s gentleman spoke to the market as being saturated with stronger cigars with larger ring gauges and there seems to be a natural flow into mellower, more elegant, classic blends and pushed their Metropolitan Habana as a standalone Nicaraguan puro in the Nat Sherman lineup.
- Christian Eiroa, Founder, CLE Cigars cautioned that, while Ecuadoran Habano has been on a great run, he was primarily concerned that continued regulatory overreach would stifle blending innovation.
- José Blanco, Founder and Owner, Las Cumbres Tabaco – Señorial cigars thinks the 2016 hot leaf is Mexican San Andreas Broadleaf
- George Sosa, VP of Sales, Alec Bradley talked about how cigar makers are doing great things with leaf out of Brazil and Panama, but echoed the sentiment that Mexican tobacco is really coming into its own with a hearty maduro wrapper.
- Pedro Gomez, Factory Spokesman, Drew Estate still leans on Drew Estate’s successes with medium to fuller bodied cigar and sees big things out of Maduro wrappers from Connecticut, Brazil and San Andreas, Mexico.
Stay tuned for the next article in our IPCPR series: Of your own blends, current or new, which one is the most exciting for you to get in the hands of the consumer?