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The Rise of Nicaraguan Cigars

padron cigars Gotham CigarsIf you have been one of the many who focuses your attention on Dominican cigar companies, it is time to broaden your horizons. Despite political upheavals in Nicaragua, the country is poised to become the next great leader in fine cigar production as Americans shift form Dominican products to those of great Nicaraguan cigar houses.

The Troubled History of Nicaraguan Cigar Makers

The political history of Nicaragua has made many investors fearful of becoming involved in the companies that produce admittedly fine cigars from this nation. The changes in power could cause many growers and cigar makers to move to Honduras or even the Dominican Republic, given the right set of circumstances.  Ironically, this is one reason the DR has become the go-to location for fine cigars; the former Sandanista coup forced many of the cigar makers out of the country.  However, it is unlikely that such a sudden revolution would occur again or that any company would be forced to quickly relocate.

The fact remains that the soil, climate and willing labor force in the country has made it too attractive for any serious cigar company to ignore.  Nicaragua is poised to become the next big thing in cigars for those who want great smokes and low prices.

Nicaraguan Cigars The Next Great Smoke?

While cigar production accounts for only $50 million in revenue for this Central American country, the four factories that produce these great cigars are rising in importance as Americans discover them.  The top companies include:

  • Padrón.  This company needs little introduction to cigar aficionados as it has been in business for many years, producing incredible cigars such as the 80th Anniversary edition.  This company includes great flavors such as dark chocolate in its cigar production, producing truly flavorful smokes that have given it a reputation as innovative.
  • Tabacalera Oliva Tabolisa.  The Oliva family has released many great cigars, but one of the best is the Master Blend line that features rich, robust tones that set it apart from many blander offerings by bigger companies.
  • Tabacos Puros de Nicaragua.  This company has survived the ups and downs of Nicaragua’s political situation and has been producing quality cigars since the 1970s.  These rich, satisfying cigars are reminiscent of Cubans with their bold flavor and deep tones.
  • Tabacalera Cubana. Tabacalera Cubana is the “new kid on the block,” but experienced growers and rollers give this company an edge when it comes to producing the wonderful cigars they are growing famous for.  The owner and his son worked in Cuba’s Las Vilas area, and claim that Nicaraguan tobacco approaches the fine quality of Cuban.
  • Drew Estate.  Eclectic and original, Drew Estate’s blending and unique sizes have created a cult following.  Drew Estate is also noted for valuing Nicaraguan cigar makers and tobacco enough to place a factor there, giving solidity and appeal to this market.
  • Alec Bradley.  Like other cigar makers, Alec Bradley has given credence to Nicaraguan tobacco with its Nico Puro, the first cigar made by this notable firm from all Nicaraguan tobacco.

Nicaragua is making its mark with quality tobacco, inventive rollers and increasingly high-end output.  If you have not tried a Nicaraguan cigar, do yourself a favor and enjoy one today.  You will be pleasantly surprised how great this country’s products are!

A History of Acid Cigars and Drew Estate

The story behind Acid Cigars

Despite their name, acid cigars do not contain any hallucinogenic substances. “Acid” is actually an acronym for Arielle Chester Industrial Design. This term describes the uniquely colorful label rather than the cigar itself. In fact, the artist Scott Chester inspired Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel-founders of the Drew Estate cigar company-to develop the acid line of cigars. The dominant hue of each label is designed to convey information about the flavor and aroma. For a relatively recent start-up, Drew Estate’s sales and reputation among serious cigar smokers and sellers has soared. This ascendency is largely due to its line of acid cigars.

Drew Estate began its journey to the top in New York City’s World Trade Center in 1995. Drew and Samel-college fraternity brothers turned business partners-opened a modest kiosk in the WTC’s retail mall. Selling cigars that were rolled elsewhere in Manhattan, the pair then developed their own brand. In an effort to reach out to retailers and distributors, they attended a 1998 trade show in Orlando and promptly earned accolades for their brand from industry authorities, including Cigar Aficionado magazine. Their success was reversed, however, by a Central American hurricane that devastated tobacco crops. Without an inventory, the future of Drew Estate looked bleak.

Both Drew and Samel knew they needed their own production source, so Drew took borrowed capital and moved to Nicaragua to establish a factory. In spite of local suspicion, Drew labored diligently to make the new facility operational. The idea of acid cigars was conceived during this period. The widespread availability of herbs and other botanicals in Central and South America made the plan even more viable. While Samel continued to manage U.S. operations from New York, Drew began earning the grudging recognition of the Nicaraguan tobacco farmers because of his work ethic and willingness to innovate. Today, the facility occupies 96,000 square feet. Unlike strictly functional cigar factories, the Drew Estate plant is known for its ornamental architecture and ubiquitous paintings and prints.

Acid cigars are easily credited with the success of Drew Estate. Infused with a variety of botanicals, herbs, oils, and wines, the acids, as they are called, possess appealing flavors. But Drew Estate is quick to reject the word “flavored” when it comes to acid cigars. As they see it, flavoring is an industrial application unrelated to the creation of the acids. Flavoring is fast and cheap. By contrast, acid cigars take time to manufacture and are composed of only the highest quality ingredients. The actual infusion process, however, is a patented secret held tightly within the walls of Drew Estate. They do reveal, though, the fact that the rolled cigars are encased in plastic and stored in a cool room. This binds the infused flavors to the tobacco.

Acids are categorized by color-coded lines

Acid cigars are categorized by color-coded lines. Blue line cigars are considered the most traditional of the acid brand. The Acid Blondie, for example, has a subtly sweet taste that calls honey and cream to mind. The Kuba Kuba is known for its tantalizing aroma, though it is sharper in flavor than the Blondie. Among the blue line, the Kong Cameroon is the most robust in flavor, infused with red wine, herbs, and essential oils. The Krush is a miniature version of the Blondie, but not lacking in terms of flavor or scent. The blues come in distinctive shapes; most are smoked in about 20 minutes.

The red line of acid cigars tends toward more intensity. Smokers of the Acid Liquid detect roasting cashews amidst the other spices and plants infused in the cigar. They also report a toasty burn that makes for an enjoyable smoke. Characterized by a torpedo shape, the Nasty does not live up to its name. The good news is that it lives the name down, emitting scents of cocoa beans and rose petals, according to a recent favorable review. Like the blue line, the reds have their own Krush version of mini-cigars. These are infused with the same components as the Liquid.

For a mellower experience, Drew Estate offers the gold line of acid cigars. The Acid Atom Maduro is the only acid cigar where the tobacco itself eclipses the herbal additives in terms of taste and aroma. Earthiness, on the other hand, contains white pepper to enhance the flavor and smell. This may be the reason that Earthiness is considered the fullest bodied of the acids. Cold Infusion Tea is akin to a scented candle, giving the smoker a whiff of freshly cut pine and homemade peach cobbler. Again, Drew Estate offers smaller Krush versions of this smooth line.

The purple line is all about aroma, though taste is still an important factor. The Roam has a pleasant creamy flavor, but is dominated by a floral scent. Roses and sweet spices mark the aroma of Extra Ordinary Larry, which is the most botanically dense of all the acid cigars. If a shorter smoke is desired, the C-Note is available as a cigarillo with no reduction in flavor or distinctive smell. All four lines provide variety in taste and smell by formulating numerous infusion combinations. In so doing, the widest range of cigar smokers are satisfied.

Such popularity is evident when sales are tabulated. Acid cigars rank as top sellers among many large cigar retailers that market acids to newbie smokers and veteran aficionados as a way to break the routine. Forty percent of Drew Estate’s 30-million dollar income is attributed to the sale of acid cigars. Ordering their supplies from the factory in Esteli, Nicaragua months in advance, online retailers like Gotham Cigars recognize the careful and lengthy process required to obtain these quality cigars. Because the makers of acid cigars value their retail partners, Gotham and other sellers can buy and sell acids at discounted prices.

Retailers and Manufacturers

The significance of the relationship between cigar retailers and cigar manufacturers cannot be understated. In the interest of passing on the savings, sellers must be able to fetch a fairly cheap price when obtaining their inventories. Before risking markdowns at the wholesale level, on the other hand, cigar makers must have confidence that the retailer can move the product. Globally, cigar sales rose by nine percent in 2011, the U.S. being the largest market. This is good news, but manufacturers do not view all retailers as equal. Established sales and marketing operations with proven track records will always have the advantage when negotiating prices.

For over 10 years, Gotham Cigars has been moving acid cigars at competitive prices and with superior customer service. Fast and secure shipping are combined with an ordering process that ensures privacy and security. Special offers are available regularly. In addition to acid cigars, Gotham has an expansive inventory of handmade, machine-made, and filtered cigars, as well as cigarillos, cigar tins, and humidors. Gift certificates are available on request. Combining high-end products with cheap prices, Gotham Cigars is a one-stop shopping site for cigar lovers. Visit this retailer at www.gothamcigars.com.