Short and wide cigars became all the rage during the Cigar Boom, and the robusto, at five inches long and 50 ring gauge replaced the 42-ring corona as the default size of choice for many American smokers.
With more and more restrictions placed on where people can smoke, the need for even shorter cigars has become apparent and now the Oliva Cigar Co. has taken the concept to its logical extreme with the introduction of its new Nub brand.
Oliva's Ovi Guerra explains that the Nub line "is a concept that seeks to deliver only that most enjoyable part of the cigar. The idea for the Nubs came from the theory that a cigar finds its 'sweet spot' at the 3 1/2- 4 inch point. All 'nub' cigars must exist within this window. The result is a range of smokes that have the same amount of tobacco as any Churchill or even Presidente. Unbelievably, they also smoke as long."
So what are these cigars? Extremely fat and extremely short, offered in three styles and six sizes, ranging from 3 5/8 inches on the short end to four inches, with ring gauge from 54 up to 66! There are three different blends, all using Nicaraguan-grown binders and fillers, but with a choice of Cameroon (white label), Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut (beige label) or Nicaraguan-grown Habano (brown label) wrappers.
Whose idea was this? The Nub line was developed by Jose Oliva and former Oliva sales representative Sam Leccia, who has sold Oliva cigars in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania since 2004. The concept was developed in mid-2007, and while it initially met some internal resistance, it is being produced and is now shipping to stores.
You'll probably be able to see the Nub line for yourself at a smokeshop near you, as an aggressive schedule of 54 events has been created for stores in 23 states. The tour started on April 1 and runs through September 13, with a supercharged Mini Cooper S convertible – a "nub" of a car – to be present at all events and given away to one Nub smoker at the end of the schedule.
All sizes are made in Nicaragua and offered in boxes of 24 and retail pricing (not including local sales and tobacco taxes) ranges from $4.00 for the 358, up to $6.50 for the 466 Habano. Need we say to take extra care when lighting these cigars, especially with a torch!
The newest Gurkha blend is the Signature 1887. Made in Honduras, it's offered in just one shape, a 6 1/2-inch by 55-ring toro, but in two styles. The 1887 Red uses an aged Connecticut Shade wrapper while the 1887 Black has a Nicaraguan-grown wrapper, but both blends such a common, Dominican-grown binder. The filler is the same for both styles, but is unique in itself, using powerful Peruvian tobaccos and East Indian leaf, heretofore mostly unknown for use in cigars. Gurkha chief Kaizad Hansotia uses the Indian filler as a tribute to his own heritage: "My father founded a watch-manufacturing company in India in 1950," he recalled.
These are flavorful cigars, but aren’t expected to overpower most smokers. They will be – as is typical for the Gurkha line – a treat for the eye, packaged in chests of 48 cigars each in either a red lacquer or black lacquer finish, depending on the style.
"We launched the line with 300 boxes of each," said Hansotia, "which were sold out in four days. We plan to produce 1,500 more boxes of each in 2008, although we expect shortages as we expect customer demand will exceed supply." With a total of just 172,800 cigars made in total, it’s not likely the brand will last long, especially at respectable retail prices of $8.00 each for the 1887 Reds and $8.33 for the 1887 Blacks.
Nick Perdomo thanks you for smoking his cigars. Now, if you're a citizen of District 1 of Miami Lakes, Florida, he wants your vote! Perdomo is running for a four-year term for Seat 1 on the Town Council of Miami Lakes, an incorporated city of a little over 24,000 located northwest of Miami and just north of Hialeah, Florida in Miami-Dade County. True to its name, it actually has 23 lakes in it. He filed his candidature papers in late February.
"I'm for maximum efficiency and more accountability," he told Miami Herald reporter Laura Morales. "I'll protect the interests of the people the way I protect my business."
Perdomo is one of the success stories of the Cigar Boom, although his family's background – in Cuba – stretches back many years. He was a full-time air traffic controller in the 1990s when he took up cigar making and debuted at a long-ago trade show in Las Vegas called the International Cigar Expo with a single booth and a one-page price list for "Nick's Cigar Company."
Little more than ten years later, his Tabacalera Perdomo sells millions of cigars
per year and has its headquarters in Miami Lakes and a well-known factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. He not only survived the Cigar Boom, but has thrived thanks to a knack for being in tune with consumer desires, brilliant packaging . . . and the cigars aren’t bad, either.
It's a rather bold move for Perdomo, and he's hardly alone on the ballot. According to the Herald, "Dentist David Bennett, ice cream distributor Peter Diaz and family law attorney Cesar Mestre, Jr. also want to occupy Seat 1." The Town Council generally meets monthly and the Council members serve without compensation; a professional Town Manager is the key administrator who oversees municipal operations. The general election in Miami Lakes is scheduled for October 7 with a run-off (if needed) on October 14.