This is shaping up to be quite a year for cigar anniversaries.
While anniversary cigars seem to be an annual ritual in the cigar industry, the year 2014 has anniversaries quite unlike any other year in memory. Company after company is celebrating a landmark occasion.
Ernesto Perez-Carrillo's EPC Cigar Co. is turning five, La Flor Dominicana is celebrating 20 years of making creative smokes and Miami Cigar & Co. has been distributing cigars for 25 years. Quesada Cigars (known for most of its long history as MATASA) has turned the big 4-0, and so has a smaller Cuban brand named Quai d'Orsay, created in 1974 for the French cigar market.
Padrón Cigars is celebrating a golden anniversary, turning 50 years old in September. (See the story in the new Cigar Aficionado, on newsstands now, for the remarkable tale of success of the Padróns.) The Sosas are also commemorating 50 years of their family working in the cigar business.
The parties aren't limited to those who make or market cigars. Georgetown Tobacco, a landmark shop in Washington D.C., is turning 50, as well. In New Haven, Connecticut, the Owl Shop's Joe Lentine has been behind that counter for 50 years, if you can believe it.
Most of these anniversaries mean special smokes crafted just for the occasion. EPC has a cigar coming out called Five Year Anniversary. La Flor has a celebratory smoke for its 20th that will come in a porcelain beer stein reminiscent of an Oktoberfest celebration.
Miami Cigar has a commemorative humidor filled with cigars from factories in two different countries, the Dominican Republic's La Aurora and My Father Cigars in Nicaragua. Sosa is releasing a 50th anniversary smoke, made by the Fuentes, and Padrón is crafting not one but two 50th anniversary cigars (including one in a humidor) to mark their special birthday.
Some of the cigars are already on the market, and have been rated by Cigar Aficionado magazine or Cigar Insider. The 40th anniversary Quai d'Orsay, a Belicoso Royal Regional Edition for the French market, scored 92 points in the August Cigar Aficionado. The Quesada 40th Anniversary Salomon Press (an eye-catching smoke formed in a shape somewhat reminiscent of a kayak paddle) scored 90 points in our October issue.
Champagne makers, get ready for a boost in sales. There's a lot of celebrating going on.