What was once a European exclusive is now on its way to the U.S. The VegaFina VF 1998 is named after the year of the brand’s creation and composed of tobaccos from five different countries that brand owner Tabacalera USA says have been aged for at least four years. The smoke should reach U.S. shops in September.
A popular brand in Europe due to its competitive price point (they sell for nearly half the price of comparably sized Cuban cigars in Germany), VegaFina hasn’t made quite the same inroads here in the U.S., but Rafael Nodal, head of product capability for Tabacalera USA, is confident that this particular VegaFina will appeal to U.S. smokers the same way it appealed to European cigar fans.
The VF 1998 blend consists of Dominican, Nicaraguan and Colombian filler held together by an Indonesian binder under a dark, Ecuador Havana wrapper. It comes in three sizes that get progressively larger: VF 50, measuring 4 1/2 inches by 50 ring gauge; VF 52, at 5 by 52; and VF 54, at 6 by 54. They are packed in 10-count boxes and have suggested retail prices ranging from $8.60 to $9.60.
Intended to be a medium-bodied smoke, VF 1998 is made in the Dominican Republic at the Tabacalera de Garcia factory in La Romana, which also produces non-Cuban versions of popular handmade cigars such as Montecristo, H. Upmann and Romeo y Julieta.
Tabacalera USA is the parent company of distributor Altadis U.S.A., both of which are currently owned by Imperial Brands PLC, but will be divested once Imperial’s sale of its premium cigar division is complete.