Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NHC Surrogates

NHC Surrogates has been in the works this year, but I haven't leaked much info about it until recently. I somehow managed to walk the floors of the trade show and keep quiet about it. But they are coming sooner than expected, which is great - so it's time.

Have you ever wished that you could get more of a special stick that you purchased as a limited release because you are down to your last few, and you are torn between smoking them and saving them? What about the times when funds are low, and you can't manage to pick up a special stick before they are gone? Well, that's the dilemma that spawned the idea for Surrogates.

I wanted to create a brand for NHC that would bring new customers and service our loyal customers. Looking at our business over the last 4 years, it was obvious that our clients demanded something special. One thing that was missing was constant availability. What would the cigar geek do if something was available that was as special as a limited run stick, rivaling it's quality and flavor, but was available all the time? Would he smoke it? What if the price point was more in line with the 'everyday sticks' that he smoked? Would it lessen it's value? Would it's availability lessen the expectation or it's perceived value? Maybe it would simply be smoked and thoroughly enjoyed! YES - that's what I got into this business for in the first place!

Well, welcome to the Experiment! Surrogates was created to solve the problem of choosing whether to save or smoke that special vitola. The answer, is BOTH. Why not save them, age them AND smoke them!

So I searched and found what I was looking for. Utilizing a new source, we finalized a blend that answered some other requests that we had been hearing - full bodied and full of flavor , yet balanced. Larger ring gauge but not too big. I'm a big fan of small ring gauges, but I also reach for those 52's and 54's when I want power. So, the first Surrogates offerings were born to fill that niche. Power.

Bone Crusher is a 5 1/4 x 54 vitola that packs a crushing punch. Skull Breaker is 5 1/4 x 52 in a belicoso shape that happens to be one of my favorite sizes. Both are the same blend, with a Broadleaf wrapper and retail will be $7.50/stick in boxes of 20, with a box price of $135.

First mission accomplished. Sourced a powerful, balanced stick at an amazing price point and made it's availability ongoing!

We stamped the bottom of the boxes "Made in Central America - for those who can't get enough". Everyone wants to know where, by who, etc. But this has become part of the Experiment. Smoke it and decide if you like it. Skip the hype and preconceived expectations. There are more. I think everyone will be more than pleasantly surprised.

Our customers have come to trust my smoking preferences, as everything we sell revolves around whether or not it's something I personally want to smoke. There are MANY great cigars out there that aren't in my wheel house. But if you are like me, and like what NHC has offered in the past - then Surrogates is for you because it's based on what I like in a cigar.

These first two offerings are answering what I like in strength, namely a balance between strength and flavor. Maybe the next vitola will be what I appreciate in another profile, such as refreshing and complex. It won't be another size of this blend. But it will be a Surrogate for another part of your smoking rotation.

Keep your eyes peeled - they are on the way!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

NHC SL Repackaging

We just received a lot of empty 20 count boxes from the factory - the same kind used to package the NHC SL Capas last month. We will use them to repackage some of the 40 count NHC SL boxes into 20 count boxes of NHC SL Natural or Reservas. Products are online now!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Update on NHC Seleccion Limitada by Tatuaje

NHC Seleccion Limitada by Tatuaje

So here's the scoop on the NHC SL project. We recently used the rest of the NHC bands we had printed for the project to produce a small run (70 boxes) of NHC Capa Especial using the wonderful Sumatra wrapper at the My Father Cigars factory. They sold out extremely fast and now everyone is asking 'Will there be more?'.

I hope that we can get bands made again and produce all 3 versions of the NHC SL again, in 20 count boxes - but that is probably going to be on hold until we sell through more of the original NHC SL Natural and Reserva.

Having a year and a half of age on them now, these sticks are smoking phenomenally. I continue to smoke them daily even with all of the new arrivals entering into my daily rotations. Many of you have them in your humidor, and I think a lot of people are holding on to them as they were a limited release by Tatuaje, etc. But, at the price point they are at, I continue to convince folks that they are meant to be smoked as well as aged. Given the blend, these sticks age extremely well.

I am smoking a Reserva right now and had a Natural this morning. Both show characteristics that were hidden a year ago. The Broadleaf wrapper has backed off and accents the blend in a completely different way than before and the Habano wrapper does the same.

So, smoke them! Tell your friends about them and get them smoking them in their daily rotation. They are all 10% off right now so you can get them for box discount in any combination, which makes them $7.10 a stick in samplers or half boxes.

When we get to a stock level that makes sense to order again, I will approach Pete and ask in the nicest way if we can make more of all 3 wrappers, and get them boxed in 20 count boxes. I think he will respond positively, as I know that he too, loves this size.

So get to work and help spread the word! Smoke some awesome, aged sticks now so we can continue the project soon.