The latest cigar with a Honduran-grown Cameroon-seed wrapper is off to stores.
Earlier today, CLE Cigar Co. began shipping the new CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17, a four-size line that was announced in March. When it was originally announced there with few details—at the time there was no information about the blend or name—and as a single cigar that could only be purchased by stores who are members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA). There still remains a single size reserved for TAA members, but last month, the company announced three additional sizes that can be sold at all stores.
The CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 TAA exclusive release is the unique 11/18 vitola, a perfecto that measures 6 x 48/54/48. It has an MSRP of 17.86 per cigar and is sold in boxes of 25 cigars.
As for the other three sizes, they are:
- CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 50×5 (5 x 50) — $15.86 (Box of 25, $396.50)
- CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 54×6 (6 x 54) — $16.86 (Box of 25, $421.50)
- CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 60×6 (6 x 60) — $17.86 (Box of 25, $446.50)
CLE Cigar Co. has declined to disclose the rest of the blend. All four vitolas began shipping today.
The TAA is a fairly small group of some of the country’s top tobacconists, about 80 retailers as well as 40 or so manufacturers. The association gathers annually to discuss issues facing the industry and retailers, as well as to have its annual trade show, a unique event that works on a group buying format in order to secure exclusive deals for these generally high-volume merchants.
During the convention, the organization hosts two distinct selling events. One is known as the Dream Machine, an optional event where manufacturers offer the entire group of retailers tiered specials and discounts. The more the group collectively agrees to buy, the better the discounts and deals are for every retailer involved. In addition, the week includes a more traditional trade show which oftentimes sees some of the most aggressive discounts of the year.
This year’s convention was held virtually in March, though an in-person event is scheduled for October.
For consumers, the TAA is most known for its Exclusive Series Program. Participating manufacturers produce exclusive cigars that are only sold to the group. A portion of sales is donated back to the TAA.
This year, a total of 13 different companies announced TAA ESP releases, around half of them have shipped to stores: