Ecstacy Erbal Cigarettes

Ancient Warrior - a New, "More Affordable" Premium Cigar Offering by K. Hansotia & Co.

Beach Cigar Group has gone nationwide with a campaign of cigar events to debut their latest premium cigar, Ancient Warrior by K. Hansotia & Co. The new medium-bodied brand will be featured at the 2005 RTDA trade show.

"Since January, we have sponsored over 60 cigar events across the United States," says company president Kaizad Hansotia. "We would have done more, but the retailer response was so positive, we had to make sure we did not run out of product."

Ancient Warrior is more affordable than Beach Cigar Group's Gurkha line, making it more accessible to fine cigar lovers. The new line is available in four shapes: 4 1/2 x 52 Robusto ($5.80 suggested retail), 7 x 50 Churchill ($6.50), 6 x 54 Torpedo ($6.90), and 6 x 60 Emperor ($7.80).

"The cigar has a beautiful dark, silky Brazilian wrapper," says Hansotia, "which is combined with a Costa Rican binder, and Dominican filler." It is a medium-bodied cigar, with a "pleasant but not overpowering spiciness."

Beach Cigar Group, Miami, Fla., Tel: (305) 593-2254, Fax: (305) 593-2256, Web: www.gurkhacigars.com.

Ashton Releases Nicaraguan Savoy Maduro

With imports of cigars up 13 percent in 2004, and Nicaraguan cigar imports showing a 53 percent increase over 2003, Ashton Distributors - the exclusive distributors of Ashton, Peterson, and La Aroma de Cuba Cigars as well as Ashton Humidors and Peterson pipes - has released the new Savoy Maduro.

Like its predecessor, the existing Savoy Natural, the Savoy Maduro is handmade in Nicaragua and is priced to appeal to cigar smokers who are looking for high quality at an affordable price. Described as medium-bodied, Savoy Maduros are available in boxes of 25 cigars, in six traditional sizes, with a suggested retail price of $1.60 to $2.10 per cigar.

Ashton Distributors, Inc., Philadelphia, Penn., Toll-free: (800) 327-4866, Fax: (215) 676-9085, Web: www.ashtoncigar.com.

Rouseco Rolls Out New Little Cigars

Rouseco, Inc., makers of Golden Harvest tobacco products, has announced the debut of Golden Harvest Premium Little Cigars. Blended with eight generations of experience, the cigars offer superior quality and flavor for the cost-conscious smoker.

The line is available in five blends: Full-flavor, Light, Menthol, Vanilla, and Cherry.

Rouseco, Inc. will provide free point-of-sale materials to support the brand, including counter merchandisers, signs, shelf talkers, and other profit-generating items for retailers.

Rouseco, Inc., Kinston, N.C., Toll-free: (888) 372-8622, Fax: (866) 337-7667, Web: www.rousecoinc.com.

Punch Rare Corojo 2005 Release Ships with New Large Gauge Frontmark

The Punch Rare Corojo limited edition cigar returned to retail channels in June, and will continue to ship while supplies last. This year's release also features the debut of a specially-packaged, one-time-only frontmark called El Doble.

El Doble is the first new Rare Corojo frontmark in two years. Measuring 6 x 60, the large-ring frontmark will only be available as part of a special Punch Rare Corojo sampler display. It is offered nationally at a suggested retail price of $7.50 per cigar.

General Cigar's Villazon & Co. unit reintroduced Punch Rare Corojo in 2001 after a shortage of wrapper leaves caused the product to disappear for several years. Since then, the company has continued to cultivate small amounts of the reddish-brown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper used Punch Rare Corojo. Like recent editions, the 2005 release blends Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican filler tobaccos and a Connecticut broadleaf binder.

General Cigar Co., Inc., New York, N.Y., Toll-free: (800) 273-8044, Tel: (212) 448-3800, Web: www.cigarworld.com.

Full-Flavored Virtuoso from Carlos Toraņo

Carlos Toraņo Virtuoso, which has been absent from the U.S. market for several years, will return with an all-new blend, described by company president and fourth-generation Toraņo family business head Charlie Toraņo as "the most full-bodied and full-flavored cigar to bear our name." Retailers get their first look at the new cigar at the 2005 Retail Tobacco Dealers of America (RTDA) trade show in New Orleans.

"Our family offers the full spectrum of mild-to-medium bodied cigars, with an equally broad palette of flavors to suit many tastes," says Toraņo. "Now, we have added this cigar - the most powerful in our line - to satisfy seasoned smokers." The cigar, according to the company, is "not for the faint of heart." Virtuoso was originally launched in 1995 as a medium-bodied cigar.

Carlos Toraņo Virtuoso will be available in four shapes: Robusto (4 3/4 x 52), Churchill (7 x 50), Toro (5 1/2 x 56), and Torpedo (6 1/2 x 54). Presentation is in newly-designed boxes of 25. Retail prices had not been announced at press time, but cigars are scheduled to be available in July.

Toraņo Cigars, Miami, Fla., Toll-free: (800) 7-CIGARS, Fax: (305) 661-9083, Web: www.torano.com.

Puros Indios Split Boxes Frees Up Shelf Space

Puros Indios Cigars, Inc. has developed a simple solution to tobacco retailers' most common dilemma of too many cigar boxes, and not enough display space: split boxes.

Beginning with the company's flagship Puros Indios brand, each 20-count box of cigars will present 10 cigars each in colorado claro (natural) and double maduro wrappers, separated by a cedar divider. The box art remains the same, but the company adds stickers to the front facing of each box, identifying the left- and right-hand wrapper selections. Puros Indios will continue to sell full boxes for retailer inventory.

"We think retailers will be pleased and grateful when they see the additional shelf space our unique 'split-box' concept gives them," reports director of marketing Carlos Diez. "We have cut the display requirements for our products in half, without changing the size of the box. This is a dramatic improvement."

At present, six of the most popular Puros Indios brand cigars are being changed: Toro, Rothschild, Piramide #3, #1 Especial, #2 Especial, and #4 Especial. Retailers will see the packaging idea extended to all of Puros Indios's cigars.

Puros Indios Cigars, Inc., Miami, Fla., Toll-free: (800) 99-CIGAR, Fax: (305) 649-5154, Web: www.purosindioscigars.com.

Skoal Pouches to Add Apple Blend

U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company will roll out Skoal Apple Blend Pouches, the latest in a line of uniquely flavored pouch introductions from Skoal. The new pouches will be available at retail beginning September 12.

The decision to offer Skoal Apple Blend Pouches - which combine rich, premium tobacco with the crisp flavor of apples - builds off of the momentum of last year's successful launch of Skoal Long Cut Apple Blend and the expanding interest in pouch products. Apple is the fourth flavor in the Skoal Pouches line, following the introduction of Skoal Wintergreen Pouches in 2002, Skoal Berry Blend Pouches in 2003, and Skoal Mint Pouches last year.

"Skoal continues to be the innovator - in both flavors and forms - in the moist smokeless tobacco segment," said Dan Butler, executive vice president and general manager at U.S. Smokeless. Consumers who prefer apple flavor now have the option of either long cut or pouches, notes Butler - a benefit when the use of traditional moist snuff is not convenient, "such as in the workplace."

The launch will be supported by direct mail, adult sampling, and point-of-sale. Eye-catching 15-can pre-pack retail displays will offer $1.00 off per can to drive both awareness and trial.

U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., Greenwich, Conn., Tel: (203) 661-1100, Fax: (203) 622-3626.

Zino Platinum Scepter Now in Tubos

Two of the most popular shapes in the Zino Platinum Scepter Series line of premium cigars are now available in Tubos.

The Zino Platinum Grand Master Tubo - a 5 1/2 x 52 robusto - and the Zino Platinum Chubby Tubo - a 41 5/16 x 54 small perfecto - will be packaged in aluminum tubes with cedar wood inserts. While closed, these tubes will maintain the cigars in perfect condition for several weeks. Scepter Series Tubos offer a blend of specially processed, four-to-five-year-aged filler tobacco from the Dominican Republic and Peru; a Connecticut-grown binder; and a reddish-brown, Ecuador-grown Connecticut seed wrapper.

The successful follow-up to the exclusive Zino Platinum Crown Series line, the Scepter Series was created to focus on smaller shapes and sizes that allow smokers to experience bold, rich flavors without time constraints and without the more aggressive strength of the larger Crown series. Zino Platinum Grand Master Tubos are sold in 20-count boxes for $266 or $13.30 per cigar; Chubby Tubos, also sold in 20-count boxes, are $276 or $13.80 per cigar.

The Scepter Series Tubos are being launched in conjunction with a nationwide promotion, with 500 retailers participating. Under the program, consumers can redeem 15 cigar bands in order to receive a Zino Platinum Scepter Series knife with built-in cigar cutter.

Davidoff of Geneva, Inc., Stamford, Conn., Toll-free: (800) 232-8436.

CAO debuts "flavours" Sampler

CAO Cigars has released the "flavours by CAO" sampler package, featuring one petit corona cigar from each of the company's popular 'flavours by CAO' cigar lines. The sampler contains six "flavours by CAO" cigars, including Gold Honey, Bella Vanilla, moontrance, EarthNectar, Eileen's Dream, and KarmaSutraSplash.

"What has driven the popularity of CAO flavours," explains CAO vice president Tim Ozgener, "is the high degree of quality and consistency that is found in every CAO flavours cigar." The CAO flavours line features fine quality wrappers, including Cameroon and Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut shade, and mild filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, combined with 100% all-natural flavor extracts. "The result is a premium cigar where the earthy taste of the tobaccos is subtly enhanced by accents of exotic flavors," says Ozgener. Suggested retail price for the sampler is $14.95.

CAO International, Inc., Nashville, Tenn. Tel: (615) 352-0587, Fax: (615) 353-0610, Web: www.caocigars.com.

Continued on next page...

NATO Tobacco Show