In May 2014, Mel Shah, owner of Fame Lounge—a cigar, wine and beer bar in Palm Springs, California—founded cigar company Bombay Tobak with the intent of nationally distributing his house cigar brands. Now Shah has six MBombay cigar lines sold around the country. Two of his lines, MBombay Kēsara and MBombay Mōra, recently underwent a major expansion, gaining five vitolas each and receiving new packaging in a can. Shah will be bringing the new and improved collections to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show next month in New Orleans.
"I wanted to expand the lines with the traditional Cuban sizes," Shah said in a conversation with Cigar Insider.
Kēsara and Mōra, which both featured three vitolas, now have eight frontmarks each. Although there are no plans currently to update the packaging of the existing vitolas, the new sizes of Kēsara and Mōra ship in ornate, cedar-lined cans, rather than wooden boxes.
"Cuban cigar tradition has always been a fascination for me," Shah said. "I was inspired by the Cuban style of using glass jars. H. Upmann Noellas used to come in glass jars until they were discontinued...and years ago there was a Cuban Montecristo limited edition that came in a porcelain jar."
Shah also explained what he believes is the practical benefit to using cans: "I've always had an issue with cigar boxes—the cigars never taste the same way they do in the factory. There's more authenticity to the product when it's packed airtight. It locks in the flavor and aroma of the cigar factory."
Both lines received the same five sizes: No. 4, 5 1/10 inches by 44 ring gauge; 585, 5 by 58; Salomon, 6 by 58; Torpedo No. 2, 6 by 52; and "A", a lengthy 9 by 47. Prices for the new sizes range from $11.00 to $17.39.
The Kēsara blend features an Ecuadoran wrapper and binder, along with fillers from Peru and the Dominican Republic. Mōra combines a Dominican wrapper, Ecuadoran binder and fillers from Peru, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador. All of Bombay Tobak's cigars are rolled at the Tabacos de Costa Rica cigar factory in Costa Rica.
MBombay cigars tend to catch the eye with unusually large and intricate bands. Most cigars wear an oversized band that can cover up to half the cigar (depending on the size). The bands were designed to resemble the detailed weavings of classic Persian rugs.
This story first appeared in the May 19, 2015 issue of Cigar Insider.