|Photo Credt: theLuj.com
LUJ Cigars will be heading into their first IPCPR Trade Show, and they plan on doing it with a bang. The luxury small batch cigar maker is planning on introducing for new cigars at this year’s trade show. These offerings include the new Serengeti, Kuro Utsukushi, and LUJ Classic lines as well as line extensions to the company’s flagship LUJ Morpheus Anniversary #4 line.
LUJ Cigars was founded by Luj Morpheus. Morpheus credits Tom Selleck and Joe Pantoliano for introducing him to cigars and sums up how this happened:
“Been smoking cigars for 20 years, Thanks to Tom Selleck and Joe Pantoliano, They introduced me to the lifestyle while I was working as doorman at the Swissotel, Chicago. Joey, was filming ‘Baby’s Day out’ and Tom had just concluded a movie about father and son drama… I had met him 2 years earlier, Summer Job at the Hotel Intercontinental and he would go out every evening, for a walk on Michigan avenue, with a cigar in one hand and his wife on the other… He would come back and chat with ‘Double O’ the doorman for about an hour and then off to bed he went. He offered me my first stick of cigar that summer…and somehow, it felt like, the tobacco found me because it had been looking for me for so long… How could it be? Never mind that my maternal grandmother was a maker and purveyor of SNUFF (Nastiest stuff I ever stole in my life). She used the stuff on her tongue 3 to 4 times a day (thinking back, I know she must have been high as a kite cos that snuff was strong and the tongue as a depository had to be direct access to the brain). Well, my cousin and I stole a sachet once and needless to say, at age 12, we were sick as well as stoned for 2 days..we stuck it up our noses. So, when my mother found that I smoked cigars, she summed it up as the Mitochondrial DNA showing it’s ass and that I couldn’t help it, So she never bothered to offer any advice. Grandma died at 92, So WTF?”
Morpheus makes his cigars out of the Dominican Republic and takes a lot of pride in what he does. He explains some of his philosophy:
“My cigars are not blended by any Master neither did I acquire the help of a 90 year old blender from “the forbidden island”… My cigars are my own creations… I met Julio Vilchez on one of my trips to Santo Domingo, and 3 years later, we had formed a relationship that would turn out to be quite exciting and daring. We would go shopping for tobacco in Santiago, and of course he would whine about the cost of what i picked out, but then it’s my wallet…but in the end, we would both be happy. I am happy because, I am able to experiment with different tobaccos in different parts of the anatomy of a cigar, and trust me when I say this, My chemistry degree finally came in useful… I made notes, pages and pages… These notes would eventually become the source of inspiration and the foundation of the recipes of my Cigars.”
The company does not disclosed their blends. Being a small batch company, the company’s blends are built on finite supplies of tobacco. Once tobacco supplies become exhausted, the company makes not only adjustments to its blends, but to its branding. Sean Young, Chief Operating Officer for LUJ Cigars explained to Cigar Coop:
“We sell the blend, not the band. Once a tobacco runs its course, we adjust the blend and tweak the name. The Morpheus and Serengeti are both examples of that. Both original blends lasted 3-4 years, and have been tweaked, changed, and re-released this year.”
The company’s plans for the 2015 IPCPR include:
LUJ Morpheus Anniversary #4
The LUJ Morpheus Anniversary #4 is an example where the blend was tweaked and the name was adjusted. It is a line offered in a natural and maduro wrapper offering. A new Robusto 5 x 54 is being introduced to both offerings in the line. This will join the Box Pressed, Belicoso, Petit Corona, and Lancero sizes offered in both lines. This will bring the total facings in this line to 10 (5 in the natural and 5 in the maduro offerings).
The LUJ Morpheus Toro will be offered in 20 count boxes and will be priced at $10.38 (Natural) and $10.84 (Maduro).
While the company does not disclose tobacco notes, Young provided some feedback on the tasting notes:
LUJ Morpheus #4 Natural: “This has a golden brown wrapper with solid construction and an absolutely perfect draw. The smoke is smooth, sweet and creamy to the palate. The aroma is pleasant with intervals of floral and nutty qualities, and of course, this complex medium bodied cigar is full of exciting flavors. Guaranteed to be nothing short of exceptional.”
LUJ Morpheus #4 Maduro: “This beautiful Cigar has a gorgeous wrapper; rich, dark, slightly veiny with a bright sheen from the essential oils and sugars (evidence of the fermentation) making the cigar extremely attractive. It is a complex and very delicious medium bodied cigar that starts out with a slight spice and fruity notes and finishes with a sweet woody taste. Quite rich and enjoyable.”
This is a new line being introduced by LUJ Cigars. This will replace the current DemiLuj offering. There will be eight facings split among two offerings – one containing what is a “light” wrapper offering and the other described as a “dark” wrapper offering. While the company does not disclose blend information, they do say this is the only blend to use a Connecticut wrapper. It is one of the company’s more value based offerings priced between $7.00 to $10.00 MSRP.
The LUJ Classic Light and Dark will be offered in a Toro, Robusto, Petit Corona, and Gigante. It will be offered in display trays for retailers. Young described tasting notes for each of these offerings:
LUJ Classic Dark: “This is the cigar you want to call a Maduro, but we refer to as DARK. As you proceed, the glory of this composition comes to you in a contradiction of ways, starting out creamy, yet bold… Yes, creamy but bold. The boldness opens up to leather notes with hints of nuts and then comes that lovely cedar aroma which keeps you in awe as you finish..”
LUJ Classic Light: “ Delightfully creamy in texture and loaded with the three major profiles most sought after in a mild to medium cigar. The complex profile starts out sweet and leathery, then progresses with hints of Vanilla bean and finishes of with a fruity bouquet. Absolutely delicious. “
Serengeti is targeted to be released on June 1, 2015. The cigar will be offered in five sizes: Toro, Robusto, Lancero, Petit Corona, and Perfecto. The cigars will be offered in 20 count boxes and be priced between $10.60 and $15.00.
Young describes this cigar as follows:
“Blended for that after-dinner palate. Profound spiciness begin at the light off, gradually turning into mouth watering creamy smoke with that subtle fruity hint in the blue smoke. This blend leaves you. The Serengeti’s intense flavor and aroma is unrelenting.”
Kuro Utsukushi—– AKA-“ The Kuro”
This is a cigar that Morpheus has been working on for two years. This is a cigar that is being geared to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast
This will be the brand’s most premium offering. It will be released in three sizes: Toro, Perfecto, and the “00” (pronounced double ohh and measuring at 7 x 48). Each cigar will ship in an individual coffin. The coffins will be packaged 5 per “Krate”. The Krates will be offered to the the LujNation platinum accounts. Production will be limited to 400 Krates in 2015. Pricing will be $24.00 to $30.00 per vitola.
Young described this cigar to us as:
“Powerful, yet refined; spicy, yet sweet; balanced and beautiful.Much like a fine wine or meal, you must try it for yourself. The experience is not having someone tell you what you should be tasting, but to take that journey yourself with no prior muddying of the waters”