As perfect an accessory to February’s Super Bowl LIV (at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL, by the way) as we could find, La Flor Dominicana has unveiled its 2020 Special Football Edition, with distribution only to dedicated retailers in the Sunshine Sate. The company has been doing this clever bit of marketing since 2015, and pulls out all the stops for this over the top piece of loveliness. Measuring 6.5 inches and with a 58 ring gauge (just as last year’s was), the 2020 edition is distinguished in its parejo shape (straight sides and rounded head). With an Ecuador Habano wrapper and binder and filler from the Dominican Republic, it’s complex without being strident, with dimensions that will get noticed in a crowd.

And in case size doesn’t float your visual boat, behold the detailed football pattern near the foot, made from Ecuador Habano maduro tobacco. Available in 10 count boxes at $17 per cigar.

High Hurdles
The “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act,” which passed a House of Representatives subcommittee in November, has the potential to be one of the most sweeping regulatory efforts on the tobacco industry since warning labels were first applied to cigarette packages in 1965. The bill, sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D NJ), would ban flavored tobacco products entirely, including flavored e cigarettes, cigars, and menthol cigarettes, as well as Internet and catalog sales of all tobacco products, though an exemption has been proposed for premium cigars defined in the legislation as having a retail price of no less than $12.

H.R. 2339 would also establish a national minimum purchase age of 21. “Though [the exemption] is significant progress towards saving America’s premium cigar industry, we still have more work to do,” explained J.C. Newman Cigar Co. General Counsel, Drew Newman, in a statement. “A minimum price of $12 per cigar is problematic, particularly since the price of premium cigars varies greatly due to different state tax rates. Additionally, FDA’s own data shows that fewer than 25 percent of premium cigars are sold for more than $10.”

Gardian Spread

The bill must pass the full House and Senate and be signed by the President prior to becoming law, and support from the latter two is highly questionable.

Dippity Do?
Like most unfamiliar behaviors, at first glance, the sight of a well suited gent in a cigar club dipping his Macanudo into a snifter of fi ne rum might seem a bit of a fun flourish…perhaps one to be emulated. Here’s why it’s a bad idea. A tactic that dates back centuries, the application of booze to tobacco proliferated in the prehumidor era its purpose simply to add moisture. If the intent was (and is) to instill flavor, however, not only is that more than a little bit of an insult to the care taken by the cigar maker to impart distinctive flavors, but it’s also a failure. Burned alcohol does not retain much flavor, and can quickly ruin the smoke entirely…never mind the risks inherent in lighting a fuel soaked item close to the face!

So no cigar dipping, kids, but rum and smoke in tandem remains a dance as old as the discovery of the New World, and a fresh example of the latter aims to span shores in an entirely new way. Equiano is a blend of molasses rums from Barbados based Foursquare Rum Distillery and the Mauritius based Gray’s Distillery. Described as an “east and west” collaboration, it is 100% natural, with no added sugar, spices, or colors, and is said to be the first rum containing liquid from two distilleries on two different continents. It is named after Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian born writer, abolitionist, traveler, and freedom fighter, and is a tribute in part to his journey from Africa to the Caribbean and then to the United Kingdom. It’s bottled at 86 proof and retails for $64, with a percentage of profits donated to an equality focused charity.