Welcome to the first installment of Highlight Cigar’s SmokeCenter. The intention is to use SC as an observation post from which to review all things new and interesting in the cigar media space.
During “slow news” weeks, the SC editorial committee (of 1) will provide tips about storage or collecting, point out good purchasing opportunities or simply wax philosophical about the cigar industry and lifestyle.
As always, our only goal is to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of the hobby and we hope these SmokeCenter posts further that objective. So without any further introductions… let’s get on with the HLC SmokeCenter Edicion Inaugural!
Four Kicks Line Extension Announced on Stogie411
Four Kicks of all sizes are being set afire at HLC world headquarters lately. So it was interesting to check out Jon Huber’s recent interview on Stogie411. During the discussion, Huber divulged some Four Kicks production numbers, explained how tobacco availability impacted the flow of FCs to retail and announced a line extension! The new Four Kicks size will be a big-ring 5.5” x 56. The gordo has yet to be named and should be ready for IPCPR in August.
Notes taken during multiple HLC Four Kicks tastings describe flavor notes that vary more than usual for sticks of similar size acquired separately. Huber’s explanation of the differences between the initial 30,000 2011 FCs and the 2012 batch (including the Seleccion #5) shed light on the fluctuations we noticed. Our Four Kicks samplings produced steady levels of quality and enjoyment, but flavor differences seemed too broad to be explained by age alone. Huber’s account of the FC blend’s evolution clears this up for those that may have had similar experiences. Kudos to Jon for providing the info/transparency about the cigar productions and blend management process.
Huber also spoke about the Crowned Heads upcoming Headley Grange line. The HG pre-release feedback floating about the inter-webs looks quite positive, so you might want to get all the latest details by checking out the full interview at Stogie411.com.
What is this Stogie411 we speak of? It’s a video blog/podcast hosted by Mike Williams (Mikesstogies.com) and Mike Forry of StogieReview fame. Over their first 30+ episodes, Mike and Mike have amassed an incredible list of guests including Huber, Pete Johnson, Matt Booth, Eddie Ortega, Jose Blanco and many others. Episodes are archived to help you find shows with your favorite cigar celebs.
The Return of La Aurora’s Cien Anos!
There’s a very interesting La Aurora ad in the latest issue of Cigar Aficionado. Apparently, a re-release of the brand’s definitive Cien Anos blend is imminent. Here’s a pic from our Instagram feed:
We reached out to Miami Cigar for more information and received this quote from VP Jason Wood; “The Cien Anos continues to be one of the most sought after cigars from La Aurora. We are very excited to once again bring this cigar to market.”
Expect more details in the coming weeks, potentially before the August IPCPR show.
Our next One-Timers edition is set to include a vintage Cien Anos Belicoso review and some details about the cigar’s history. So check back in if you’d like to learn more about the past, present and future of this iconic cigar.
Pete Johnson’s L’Atelier
Recently, CigarAficionado.com and Cigar Insider both published information about Pete Johnson’s new cigar company L’Atelier. Various digital media outlets were soon ablaze with speculation and opinion. Pete himself joined the conversation on BOTL.org, expressing particular excitement about the L’Atelier’s value-priced and limited, bundled lines.
L’Atelier will launch with two bundled and two premium lines. The company will be run out of Miami by a group of Johnson friends/associates including Pete’s brother K.C. Reportedly, Pete will oversee L’Atelier activities with the new team taking care of day-to-day business.
L’Atelier’s eponymous premium release is an extremely interesting (and aesthetically similar) take on Cohiba’s Behike. Check out the pic here in the CigarAficionado.com article to see for yourself. The line shares sizes and other presentation elements with the famous ultra-premium Behike. Tatuaje released a pigtailed 54rg Cabaiguan Guapos identical to the BHK54 long before the Behike debuted. So PJ has some history with this particular format.
Check out CigarBrief.com and CA/CI for more details. It appears CigarBrief.com first posted about L’Atelier back in May. Judging by how far ahead CigarBrief was of this news, it might be worth adding their site to your cigar blog watch list.
Padron, Instagram & The Social Cigar Community
In the social space, the growth of the cigar community on Instagram has been fun to watch. For the photographically inclined, it’s easy to spend more time (and make more connections) on Instagram than on Twitter. Enthusiasts and industry pros often can convey more by sharing their cigar experiences via images as opposed to character-restricted posts written in cryptic tweet-speak.
Twitter an extremely useful, but noisy tool that has some limitations. Platforms built for easy photo sharing don’t replace Twitter, but they can provide a rich experience, often as Twitter accouterments.
Padron’s Instagram feed is our current favorite among manufactures and brand owners. Matt Booth also does a great job participating in the community. Padron, Booth and other socially engaged industry leaders are using Instagram and other platforms the right way; to connect with (and provide original content to) the community, as opposed to broadcasting marketing messages or ignoring social media altogether.
Manufacturers are just a small part of the social Cigar stream. If you haven’t started using Twitter, Instagram and other platforms to connect with B&M’s, bloggers and enthusiasts, then jump in! The water is fine.
Building a strong community is important for us lovers of the leaf. We must be informed, unified and vocal about the many legislative and regulatory attacks on our lifestyle and personal freedoms.
What’s On Deck
That’s it for this first edition of SmokeCenter. Thanks to everyone that’s been visiting the blog and participating in the HLC social feeds. Keep an eye on our Twitter and Instagram accounts for updates including a new One-Timer post (MUWAT, Cien Anos & more) as well as our review of the Four Kicks Seleccion #5, all coming soon!