A Virginia family company known for cigarettes and tobacco plantations now has a premium cigar. Cornelius & Anthony, the premium cigar subsidiary of S&M Brands Inc., will be debuting its new Miami-made Cornelius brand this month. Cornelius is the first brand to be commercially launched by Cornelius & Anthony, and is owned by Stephen Bailey, a fifth-generation progeny of the Bailey family which has grown tobacco in Virginia for the last 150 years.
Named after Bailey's great-great grandfather, the Cornelius brand is made at the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami and comes in three sizes: Toro, 6 inches by 50 ring gauge; Robusto, 5 by 50; and Corona Gorda, 5 1/2 by 46. Its all-Nicaraguan filler is rolled in an Ecuadoran binder and Ecuador Habano wrapper. They will be available this month and are set to retail for $12 to $15.
If Cornelius & Anthony sounds familiar, it's because the company had a display booth at last year's IPCPR trade show in New Orleans, showcasing its Meridian brand, which was made in the Dominican Republic. Those Meridians, however, never made it to market. The brand has been reblended and will be released this summer with new art and new packaging.
A longtime premium cigar smoker, Stephen Bailey is president of S&M Brands, best known for its Bailey, Tahoe and Riverside brands of cigarettes as well as its portfolio of other machine-made tobacco products, which includes little cigars. The family grows and brokers its tobacco under the company name Golden Leaf Tobacco, also located in Virginia, however none of its tobacco is used for the Cornelius cigar line.
See an upcoming issue of Cigar Insider for a vertical tasting of the new Cornelius brand.
This article first appeared in the February 2, 2016 issue of Cigar Insider.