A Jamaican cigar brand from the past is making a comeback. General Cigar has relaunched Temple Hall Estates as part of its Foundry Heritage Series. The Heritage Series seeks to enliven storied cigar brands from the past—such as the non-Cuban versions of Bolivar, Ramon Allones and Temple Hall Estates, a brand previously made in Jamaica. The new line, which should be arriving to retailers now, has been resurrected with new tobacco blends and retooled packaging.
"Temple Hall Estates rounds out the Foundry Tobacco Company portfolio by offering a mild, smooth-smoking cigar not previously represented in the FTC Heritage Series," said Justin Andrews, sales manager for Foundry, in a statement.
Rolled at General Cigar Dominicana in the Dominican Republic, the new Temple Hall Estates wears an American-grown, Connecticut Shade wrapper over a Mexican San Andrés binder and filler tobacco consisting of Mexican San Andrés leaf coupled with Piloto Cubano grown in Mao, the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Piloto Cubano is proprietary to General, and three primings of the special leaf (volado, seco and ligero) can be found in the new blend.
The cigar has launched in four vitolas, each named after its size dimensions: 5 1/2x49 ($6.99); 6x50 ($7.49); 5 1/4x54 ($7.99); and 7 1/2x49 ($8.49).
First rolled in Kingston, Jamaica, Temple Hall Estates cigars were named after the Temple Hall Cigar Factory, a cigar rolling facility once run by the famed cigarmaker Ramón Cifuentes Toriello. It was Cifuentes who led the Cuban Partagás cigar brand to commercial success before Fidel Castro seized the nation's factories, prompting Cifuentes to flee the communist country.
Cifuentes landed in the United States and went to work for General Cigar Co. where he was eventually put in charge of cigarmaking operations in Jamaica, and later, in the Dominican Republic. General acquired the Temple Hall factory in 1969, a facility that would be in charge of making brands like Macanudo, Cifuentes and Dunhill and even Nat Sherman at one time. Temple Hall eventually shuttered in 2000 and General moved most of its production to the Dominican Republic.
"Temple Hall Estates pays homage to the factory in Jamaica and the people who shared Ramón Cifuentes' love for the art of cigar making," Andrews said. "This new line is made in Santiago, [in the] Dominican Republic, according to the techniques set forth at Temple Hall by Ramón."
It should be noted that the Temple Hall Estates Heritage Series is a different cigar than the Temple Hall brand found for sale online. The cigars ship in 20-count boxes.