United Kingdom-based company Regius Cigars has been selling premium cigars for just four years. Only in the past two years, though, has the company begun penetrating the U.S. marketplace. But Regius is growing steadily, exhibiting youthful confidence in its ability to develop a strong following with its core line and expand into new territories with experimental ideas. Earlier this year, the company's first American-only offering, Exclusivo U.S.A., debuted at tobacconist Casa de Montecristo in Chicago.
"I wanted to make a cigar line that incorporated traditional flavors with the modern and inventive sizes that the American market demands," Regius CEO Akhil Kapacee told Cigar Aficionado.
Exclusivo U.S.A is rolled at the Plasencia Factory in Nicaragua and distributed by Quesada Cigars. The blend features a Nicaraguan wrapper grown in the Jalapa Valley, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan filler that includes Ometepe tobacco. Depending on the size, each cigar in the line features a slightly different flavor profile to complement its shape. The Nicaraguan puros are available in four sizes—Pressed Perfecto, 6 1/2 inches by 54 ring gauge; Fat Perfecto, 5 3/4 by 60 (photo below); Toro Extra, 6 1/2 by 56 and Lancero Extra, 7 1/2 by 42—with each size priced at $12.95.
The Exclusivo U.S.A. is a departure from the Regius Black Label line, known for its traditional sizes and balanced flavor profiles. "The Regius core line has done very well in the two years we have been in the U.S. market, especially for a line that is not typically American," said Kapacee. "No dark wrappers, spicy flavors and no ‘big' ring gauges." The Regius Black Label Grandido scored 91 points in the June 2013 issue of Cigar Aficionado, while the Black Label Corona was rated slightly lower at 87 points in the August 2013 issue.
Yet, Kapecee would prove he wasn't done inventing, and had more styles and blends to reveal. After the successful introduction of the Black Label and Seleccion Orchant Limited Edition into the U.S., Kapacee devised and released a White Label follow-up—a blend specifically designed with the American palate in mind. The line of cigars, Kapecee said, offers a hint of spice and slightly fuller body.
And while the Regius White Label marked a studied progression towards the tastes of the American consumer, it is only with the release of Regius Exclusivo U.S.A. that Kapacee believes he has truly captured an American style and aesthetic.
"The U.S. market is very different from the U.K. market as I realized, both in terms of the flavors of the cigars consumers typically smoke and the sizes to which they are accustomed," Kapacee said. "The main differences in terms of the blends, for me, generally, is that American-style cigars start off spicier and mellow out, whereas traditional cigars generally start milder and then build up. This American style of blending a cigar is more modern."
Kapacee also takes into account the appeal of size, not only larger ring gauges, but unique structures and shapes. "The idea was to maintain a traditional flavor profile in the more unique sizes I have found in the States."
Due to the early success of the American launch, Regius plans to introduce a Robusto and Toro size to Exclusivo U.S.A. in November.
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