So, this weekend is “Inter-Tabac” – the International Trade Fair for Tobacco Products and Tobacco Accessories (whew – that’s a mouthful!) – to be held in Dortmund, Germany (ze Germans are komming!!!!) starting today through until Sunday, September 19 to 21, 2014…
Almost 400 exhibitors from the tobacco industries from 50 countries. One hell of a gathering. Habanos S.A. and Fifth Avenue Trading (the H S.A. distributor in Germany) will be taking a prime position there. The various webpages talk about the new Por Larranaga Picadores (2014 new release that started to show up around the world a week or two ago) being there front and center.
I have two things to say on this…
First – I can’t wait to get my ass down to Havana yet again this upcoming November for the Encuentros Partagas (“Friends of Partagas” Festival typically occuring the 3rd week of November each year, and the smaller red-headed step-child to the Habanos Festival). That way, I can hand pick through a nice box or two of these new PL Picadores. I haven’t been overly keen on any new releases in current years. The last ones I really honed in on was the RA Extras EL 2011 (love those!), and then the Trinidad Robustos T release (and we all unfortunately remember what happened to these – while wonderful, priced wrong, underloved by H S.A., and then murdered silently and swiftly much to our chagrin). But, anyways, the reminder of these PL Picadores hitting the market has definitely whetted my appetite.
Secondly (and more importantly and relating to the Inter-Tabac fair) – methinks, mehopes, and mewishes that we’ll see some news releases over this weekend or early next week regarding the eagerly anticipated Ramon Allones 898 RE 2014 Germany. With Fifth Avenue obviously being at this event, and them as the regional distributor spearheading the RE releases for their region, this is one RE that when announced last year connoisseurs worldwide piqued up with interest.
The RA 898’s where loved, but unfortunately in the shadows, and thus fell the axe of H S.A. discontinuations. I’ve honestly never had one that I can remember – I don’t remember trying one of these back in the late 90’s when I first got into cigars, and they were all but discontined and gone (save for private sales with expensive premiums attached) when I got seriously back into cigars in early 2005 and started building my personal aging stock again.
But I, like many others, am a huge fan of Ramon Allones as a marca, and find the blend’s core flavour profile (astutely referred to by many as unsweetened “stewed”-cherries, or Christmas cake / plum cake) really meshes well with my taste buds. As I said earlier, that RA Extras EL release really checked all the right boxes for me. As much as some may dislike the Edicion Limitada program of recent years (which I do agree with overall), every once in a while the stars align. With the RA blend, more so when paired with an EL release.
So, many of us, with fandom of the RA blend and the reverence of the now-discontinued 898’s both in the back of our minds, have been looking forward to seeing this RA 898 RE Germany since Fifth Avenue and others confirmed them as being the 2014 release. All we’ve known for a year or so now is that they’re supposed to be a throwback to the same RA 898 blend, a classic “dalias” format again, that they’ll likely sport the “vintage” green-and-white RA band like what was on the RA Extras, and that there’s apparently to be 2000 boxes made with 25 cigars each.
With 2014 almost done now (not surprising timeline given H S.A.’s past timeline kerfluffles), and given that it’s a German release, with many in the industry in Germany this weekend for the Inter-Tabac trade fair, it just makes for great PR. I’ve got no doubt that Fifth Avenue was likely planning and pushing for it. We’ll have to give it some time to see if H S.A. was able to deliver, and we might hopefully have some further details and photos after this weekend, all the better to whet our appetite before they hit the market.