MARKETING/DESIGN/CONSUMER TRENDS/INSPIRATIONS Cognac & Brandy News for Consumers & Industry Experts
“…Each (cigar) is filled with a bottle of Louis VIII cognac, with a 12-year-old binder and 15-year-old wrapper. A binder is the tobacco leaf used to contain the tobacco inside the cigar. The wrapper wraps around the binder and forms the outside of the cigar….”
He took an occasional puff from his cigar and chatted with two store regulars Harry Axelson and Harry Shapiro, who also nursed cigars of their own.
“The cigars take three to four years to make, and each cigar is touched by 300 to 400 hands,” he said. That comes from a time consuming process of hand-making each cigar — beginning with planting tobacco seeds and ending when they are finally hand rolled in Honduras. The cigars are packaged in a large wooden box, carved to look like a book. The package even comes with a lock and key.
“It’s for a special occasion,” said Pla. “It’s not something you smoke every day.”
Maas said only 70 boxes of HMR cigars were made this year, and wealthy aficionados tend to the collect them. Pla has been in business at his store, 2260 U.S. 41 E., for about a year. When he learned that the rare cigars would be available to his store, he said he sent out an e-mail to every client he had.
That e-mail lured both of the clients willing to splurge, he said proudly. Though it was good to get these two large purchases back to back, Pla said, business has actually been pretty steady since he opened. While many Naples businesses are just squeaking by in the off-season months, Pla seemed relaxed behind the counter of his store last week — having sold an enviable $32,000 of merchandise in two sales.
As for $800 cigars, Pla doesn’t expect those to go up in smoke too quickly. “They’ll keep that box for years,” he said.