At the beginning of 2021, Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) announced it would be dividing its portfolio of premium cigar brands. As a result, several brands moved into a new subsidiary known as Forged Cigar Company while other brands will remain under the existing General Cigar Company umbrella. Five key five brands going to Forged included: Diesel, La Gloria Cubana, Partagas, Bolivar, and Chillin’ Moose. The idea behind this was to better support the brick-and-mortar channel. Forged is also going to market with its own dedicated sales team and features its own independent and customized marketing. Going into 2022, Forged continued to expand its portfolio. If you look at the “Summer of ’22” period perhaps no company made bigger strides in growing its portfolio, and making it more interesting, than Forged Cigar Company.
One interesting thing is Forged benefited from the Room101 acquisition by STG – namely the Room101 would become a part of Forged’s offerings. This included the existing offerings as well as the new offerings for the Trade Show. Interesting enough, Room101 was committed to going to the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show and kept that commitment. At the same time, the opportunity was used to showcase several projects Booth had been working on with STG as a whole outside of Room101. Plus there was STG staff supporting Room101. There was plenty of activity outside Room101. Both La Gloria and Diesel each added a regular production and a limited edition line. Plus there is an all-new flavored offering.
Turning our attention to Room101, the acquisition of Room101 immediately put three releases planned for the PCA Trade Show into the release queue for Forged Cigar Company. This is included three Nicaraguan puros: Room 101 13th Anniversary, Room101 Farce Nicaragua, and Room101 Big Payback Nicaragua. The 13th Anniversary has already made it to stores.
Prior to the acquisition Matt Booth worked with STG on some rebranding for a couple of projects. One was the rebranding of Sancho Panza, a project for the General Cigar side of the house. The other was for a small STG brand that was dormant called Los Statos Deluxe. Both Sancho Panza and Los Statos Deluxe have roots as Cuban brands. In the case of Los Statos Deluxe, it hasn’t been produced in Cuba since before the Cuban Revolution. In this case, Los Status Deluxe was given a new look and a new blend. Los Status Deluxe features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over a Nicaragua binder and a combination of proprietary Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. The cigars are available in three sizes: Robusto, Toro, Gigante, and Churchill. Each is presented in 20-count boxes. Shortly after the PCA Trade Sho, it shipped to retailers.
The past 18 months have seen a major push for the La Gloria Cubana brand. There were two Summer of ’22 releases. The first was a new regular production line known as La Gloria Cubana Serie S. The “S” stands for San Andres and that’s exactly what La Gloria Cubana Series S brings to the table. The blend features a San Andres wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and a combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. It’s being released in three sizes that keep to the brand’s reputation for large ring gauge: Robusto Gordo (5 1/2 x 56), Gigante (6 x 60), and Presidente (7 x 56). Each is presented in 24-count cabinet boxes. Production comes from the El Credito Cigar Factory, a factory within the General Cigar Dominicana factory located in Santiago, Dominican Republic. This cigar has begun to arrive at retailers.
There also was a limited edition cigar called La Gloria Cubana Society. Similar to General Cigar’s Punch The People’s Champ. This was a project done with crowdsourcing input from the La Gloria Cubana Society, a social-media community for La Gloria Cubana. Members of the La Gloria Cubana Society were consulted on the profile, packaging and size of the cigar in a collaborative process that spanned almost a year. The Gloria Cubana Society cigar is a Honduran puro with an Olancho San Agustin wrapper, Jamastran binder, and fillers from Jamastra and La Estrada. It comes in one size – a 6 1/4 x 54 box-pressed Toro. It is presented in ten-count boxes with a total of 2,500 boxes produced. Production comes from the El Credito Cigar Factory, a standalone galera located within General Cigar Dominicana in the Dominican Republic. This cigar has also shipped to retailers.
If you were a fan of Diesel’s 2021 TAA Cigar, the Diesel Disciple, then there is good news – this cigar is returning. This time its coming back as a regular production offering. Except for some tweaks to the packaging, this is the same cigar as the TAA release. The blend is highlighted by a Mexican San Andres wrapper over an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder and Nicaraguan Habano fillers. The cigar comes in one vitola – a 7 x 38 lancero. Production comes out of Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. This cigar has began to hit the stores.
Meanwhile, if you are fan of Diesel’s Sunday Gravy Series, Grappa is the fifth installment hit the store shelves. Grappa is an Italian-made spirit made from the skins, seeds and stems left over from winemaking. Diesel Sunday Gravy Grappa is the latest creation by AJ Fernandez and Justin Andrews. The blend features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and Honduran filler. The cigar comes in one size – a 5 x 56 Robusto Gordo packed in ten-count boxes. Each cigar is priced at $4.99. Production is handled at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez in Estelí, Nicaragua. According to Forged, there will only be one more installment of the Sunday Gravy Series.
Finally, right after Labor Day, Forged Cigar announced a new flavored cigar line known as FLVR. Given the FDA’s intent to ban flavoreds, some may question why come out with a flavored cigar line. At the same time, STG certainly has the resources to invest here – even if the line meets a demise due to the FDA. There are five different blends: Ski Chalet, Fist Bump, Space Ranger, Yacht Rock, and Unicorn Tears. Each feature 1970s retro-style packaging. Each of the five blends come in a Corona size. Pricing is set at $4.99. These cigars should hit retail shelves in October.
- Forged Cigar Company Releases Los Statos Deluxe
- La Gloria Cubana Serie S Announced
- La Gloria Cubana Society Cigar Coming in August
- Diesel Disciple Goes Regular Production
- Diesel Sunday Gravy Grappa Announced
- Forged Cigar Company to Release FLVR
Photo Credits: Scandinavian Tobacco Group, except where noted