New York tobacconists are under the yoke of a draconian new tobacco tax—75 percent of the wholesale cost of a cigar, one of the highest taxes on cigars in the United States—so Alan Rubin of Alec Bradley Cigar Co. is coming out with a cigar just for New York cigar shops.
"It's a cigar we're only going to sell at New York retailers," said Rubin. Although he was born and raised in Florida, his mother is from Queens and his father is from Canarsie and Brighton Beach. "With New York getting hammered [by taxes] as much as it is, it's good timing."
Alec Bradley New York is wrapped in Criollo '98 wrapper and binder, both grown in Trojes, Honduras, with a filler blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos. They are being rolled at the Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L. factory in Honduras, a factory that consistently creates cigars that score well in Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider. (The factory rolled four of our Top 25 Cigars of 2009.) The smokes, artfully presented with art deco-style bands featuring the Empire State Building, will come in five sizes, each retailing for $11.00 to $13.50, a price that includes the New York tax. There will be cigars measuring 5 1/4 inches by 52 ($11.00); 6 by 54 ($12.75); 7 by 50 ($12.75); a 6 by 58 ($13.50) and a 6 1/8 by 54 torpedo ($13.00). They will only be sold by cigar shops in New York State.
A sixth size, measuring 6 by 52, will be smoked next week at a special sneak peek dinner at the Cigar Inn on Second Avenue, home of the Cigar Aficionado lounge. The shape will be exclusive to the Cigar Inn.
Alec Bradley is releasing 1,000 boxes of Alec Bradley New York cigars in 2010.
This cigar is not the first to carry the name of the Empire State. Te-Amo has a version called Te-Amo New York, New York, a Mexican puro that is still sold in some outlets featuring a white band with a black silhouette of the New York city skyline.
Look for more information on the cigar launch in our editors' blogs next week.