UPCOMING CIGARS STORE AND GALA SEASON EVENTS

UPCOMING CIGARS STORE AND GALA SEASON EVENTS

Mark your calendars! Track season starts Friday, July 20 and James & Sons Tobacconists – the “Exclusive Cigar Vendor” of Saratoga Race Course – has a full calendar of cigar events scheduled.  Events offer special savings on featured brands and provide attendees the opportunity to learn more from brand representatives about the farming, blending, manufacturing and tasting notes, enabling every customer to find just the right cigar for their smoking preference. We’ll also be selling cigars at some of the finest local fundraiser galas of the season.

Store Events (360 Broadway, Saratoga Springs unless otherwise noted)

  • Camacho – Friday, July 20
  • Abel Exposito – Saturday, July 21
  • United – Friday, August 10
  • Nat Sherman – Friday, August 17
  • Ashton – Friday, August 24
  • Ashton – Saturday, August 25 at James & Sons Saratoga Race Course store
  • Ventura – Friday, August 31

Fundraiser Events

  • Saturday, July 21 – “The White Party” Gala for Saratoga Bridges at Saratoga National Golf Club (details)
  • Saturday, July 21 – Ballet Gala at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (details)
  • Tuesday, July 31 – Second Chance Sports Gala at National Museum of Dance (details)

We look forward to seeing you.

Blind Review of Ashton Symmetry

Blind Review of Ashton Symmetry

The Ashton Symmetry series was painstakingly perfected over a four-year period by master blender Carlos Fuente Jr., producer of the Arturo Fuente and OpusX brands.  Like all Ashton cigars, the production of the Symmetry series is overseen by the Fuente family at its factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The Ashton Symmetry series was released in October 2014, the first addition to the Ashton portfolio in nearly a decade and the first to use Nicaraguan tobacco. 

The Symmetry series features a dark, silky Habano-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador, a Dominican binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers.  The largest in the Ashton Symmetry series is the Prestige, a Churchill-sized cigar measuring 6¾” with a ring gauge of 49.  The Prestige is very well constructed with a smooth wrapper.  To the feel, the cigar is consistently just right, lacking any soft, spongy or overly-packed hard regions on the stick.  Before lighting, the wrapper smells of Spanish cedar and leather.

The Ashton Symmetry Prestige offers a medium flavor profile that is initially woody, leathery and a touch creamy, with some walnut in the background.  An inch into the smoke, the woody flavor remains with earthiness and a touch of roasted coffee.  Mid-way through, it has an earthy, mineral-like taste with some grassiness that leaves.  The taste finishes earthy and nutty, reminiscent of an autumn day with the smell of fallen crisp, dried tree leaves.

The cigar consistently burns evenly, without requiring any relighting or touching up.  The light gray ash drops off about every half inch.  The draw is perfect, producing a medium amount of smoke. 

The Ashton Symmetry series has consistently scored remarkably well on Cigar Aficionado’s 100-point scale.  The Robusto (5”x 50) scored “94” and was ranked in the magazine’s Top 10 Cigars of 2015, the Belicoso (5¼”x52) scored “93”, the Prism (5⅝”x 46) scored “86”, the Sublime (6”x 52) scored “90”, and the Prestige, the cigar reviewed above, scored “93” points.

In addition to the Symmetry Series, James & Sons Tobacconists currently stocks the Ashton Classic, Ashton Cabinet Selection, Ashton Virgin Sun Grown (VSG), and Ashton small cigars in pocket-size boxes.  Ashton’s other brands include San Cristobal and La Aroma De Cuba, both of which are available from James & Sons Tobacconists.

The review portion was a blind tasting completed without any information on the cigar, its tobaccos, or manufacturer.  The cigar was intentionally smoked slowly (two or three draws per minute) to avoid the burn getting overly hot and negatively affecting the taste and only water was consumed while smoking.

Stay on top of the latest James & Sons Tobacconists specials, events, and reviews by following us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. Learn more about affordable James & Son’s cigar club memberships offering year-round 24-hour access to our private English and Cuban smoking lounges, personalized Spanish cedar humidor lockers, invitations to members-only events, and other benefits.

UNITED CIGARS EVENT JUNE 22nd

UNITED CIGARS EVENT JUNE 22nd

FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018
6:00 pm to Close


$10 gets you two cigars to sample (a $20 value).

A representative from United Cigars will be here to introduce customers to their line of fine hand-rolled stogies.

Great deals on all United Cigars, including $10 off of boxes and an additional 10% off of United purchases.
Special deals of $5 off are also available for all purchases of the popular Cigar Dog® apparel.

United Cigars brands include: ATABEY, Bandolero, Byron, Fleur de la Reine, Jose Dominquez, and La Gianna.

ATABEY cigars are produced in limited quantities by the “Selected Tobacco” factory in Costa Rica. The leaves of these cigars have many origins and are from caribbean and central America countries. These luxury cigars only can be bought in a few stores around the world which are certified by the manufacturer. We're proud to sell them at James & Sons Tobacconists.

BANDOLERO cigars are impeccably made with a consistent draw and even burn. They are spicy medium- to full-bodied smokes that deliver notes of cedar, leather, and citrus. The origin of the tobaccos used for Bandolero cigars are a tightly-held secret.

BYRON cigars are available in very limited quantities and are produced in a small factory in Costa Rica. Byron cigars sit in an aging room for period of 1 year (well beyond the usual average of 60 days), allowing the oils in the leaves to blend and form a more sophisticated, mature flavor. After aging, they are packaged in untra-luxurious porcelain jars, super elaborate humidors and state-of-the-art cigar humitubes.

FLEUR DE LA REINE cigars are both rich and bold. The blend consists of Honduran and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos surrounded by a Dominican binder. There are two wrappers available; Ecuadorian Sumatra is highlighted in Natural and it’s U.S.A. Connecticut Broadleaf in the Maduro version.

JOSE DOMINGUEZ Signature Series cigars uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over Dominican and Pennsylvania broadleaf tobaccos, while the maduro has a core of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos, wrapped in a Mexican San Andrés leaf. Manufactured at Magia Cubana factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

LA GIANNA Havana Natural offers a blend of Honduran tobacco’s making up all the filler and binder but surrounded by a golden U.S.A. Connecticut shade-grown wrapper. The Maduro is a "ramped up "version of the original blend that is complex and sweet with a ton of flavor.

Enjoy Cigars and Drinks at 9 Maple Ave. Event

Enjoy Cigars and Drinks at 9 Maple Ave. Event

James & Sons Tobacconists will be selling cigars for your INDOOR smoking pleasure at 9 Maple Ave's Angel's Share Sampling Society event on Tuesday, June 5th starting at 7:00 pm. Enjoy a fine cigar while sampling a great selection of drinks. This is one of the two annual Angel's Share gatherings where you can legally enjoy a fine cigar in the bar. We hope to see you there!

The Irish Whiskey: Kinahan's Blended

The Single Malt Scotch: Lismore 18 Year Old

The Bourbon: Five Feathers Pure Rye Malt Whiskey

The Cocktail: Whiskey Smash - Made with High Proof Rye, Simple Syrup, Fresh Mint and shaken in a Low Ball.

The Music: Something that grooves!

It’s $35 for all four of these gems, which comes along with a knowledgeable break down of the distillery, the nose, and the flavors. Come join us!

Join Us and Aganorsa Cigars in Supporting Out of the Pits Dog Rescue

Join Us and Aganorsa Cigars in Supporting Out of the Pits Dog Rescue

Join James & Sons Tobacconists for an

AGANORSA LEAF CIGARS EVENT

Friday, May 25th, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
360 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, New York

Event Specials on Aganorsa Leaf Cigars
Buy 4 and get 1 free; Buy 10 get 3 free; Buy a box get 5 free and a cutter.

Aganorsa Leaf cigar brands include Guardian of the Farm, JFR, Lunatic, and Miami.

DRAWING

When purchasing Aganorsa Leaf cigars now through May 25th, you will also be entered for our drawing to win prizes for the event: 

WIN an entire box of Guardian of the Farm Apollo cigars
(Rated Cigar Aficionado’s No. 8 Cigar of the Year)
Other prizes include a $50 store gift card and James & Sons swag

James & Sons Tobacconists and Aganorsa Leaf Cigars Team Up to Benefit Out of the Pits Dog Rescue

For every Aganorsa Leaf cigar purchased May 1st-25th, $1 will be donated to Out of the Pits dog rescue.

James & Sons Tobacconists Sign Five-Year Contract with NYRA to Become "Exclusive Cigar Vendor" for Belmont Stakes and Saratoga Meet

James & Sons Tobacconists Sign Five-Year Contract with NYRA to Become "Exclusive Cigar Vendor" for Belmont Stakes and Saratoga Meet

Proud to Continue the Tradition of Cigars as a Social Aspect of Thoroughbred Racing

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Just about everywhere you look at the Belmont Stakes and Saratoga Race Course, you’ll find a diverse population – men and women, adults young and old – of horse racing fans enjoying smoking cigars.  That’s why James & Sons Tobacconists of Saratoga Springs, New York is proud to announce that it has signed a five-year partnership with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) – operators of the three largest thoroughbred horse racing tracks in New York State – to serve as the “Exclusive Cigar Vendor” for the Belmont Stakes and the entire race meet at historic Saratoga Race Course.  James & Sons Tobacconists is honored to be providing the premium cigars that have a long tradition of being part of the social experience in thoroughbred horse racing at Belmont and Saratoga race courses. 

For the second consecutive year, James & Sons Tobacconists will be the exclusive cigar vendor on site for the Belmont Stakes Racing Day which will take place on June 9, 2018, at renowned Belmont Park, located in Elmont, New York, just 15 miles from New York City.  The Belmont Stakes is the third leg and “final jewel” of thoroughbred horse racing’s prestigious Triple Crown (following the Kentucky Derby on May 5th and Preakness Stakes on May 19th).  The track gates open at 8:30 am, with the main attraction, the Belmont Stakes, scheduled for approximately 6:30 pm, providing plenty of time for a share of the nearly 70,000 horse racing fans in attendance to puff on their favorite stogies while taking in the event.

In addition to the Belmont Stakes, James & Sons Tobacconists is the exclusive cigar vendor at historic Saratoga Race Course for the entire six-week racing meet, running from Friday, July 20th through Labor Day, Monday, September 3rd.  Steeped in tradition dating back to 1863, the picturesque Saratoga Race Course is home to the oldest thoroughbred racing meet in the country positioned across the street from the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.  Located in the Eastern region of upstate New York, the track draws more than 1.1 million attendees each summer.  Several of the most important races in North America, including the Travers Stakes, known as “The Mid-Summer Derby”, take place at Saratoga Race Course each year.

Since the Belmont and Saratoga tracks were first opened, cigars have remained a social part of the horse racing experience, adding to the pageantry of the sport’s social experience.  As part of its agreement with NYRA, James & Sons Tobacconists will be selling cigars from an elegant newly-constructed permanent store with a television to view the races. 

Unlike most sporting venues, NYRA has fully embraced cigar smoking at its race courses.  At Saratoga, everywhere outside of the buildings is cigar friendly, including the seating and walking area on the mat next to the track and clubhouse, the paddock-viewing area, and the large picnic area containing approximately 850 tables.

The James & Sons Tobacconists track store at the Saratoga Race Course – which first opened for the 2017 meet – sold a wide variety of approximately two dozen different cigars each day.  The biggest-selling brands at the track include 7-20-4, Alec Bradley, Ashton, Avo, Camacho, Davidoff, Arturo Fuente, Kristoff, My Father, Nat Sherman, Padrón, Perdomo, Rocky Patel, and the highly-sought-after James & Sons hand-rolled cigars. 

The store’s exclusive cigar blender and roller, Franklin Pichardo, can be found most weekends during the Saratoga meet at the James & Sons Tobacconists track store with a crowd around his rolling table watching as he constructs their house blend of cigars.  The cigars, exclusive to James & Sons Tobacconists, are blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos rolled with Connecticut, maduro, and barber-pole style wrappers in multiple vitolas, including coronas, toros, torpedos, Churchills, and salamones, among others.  Franklin learned the craft as a teenager at the Fuente factory in Tamboril, Santiago on the Dominican Republic.  Working there for 15 years, Franklin was the exclusively roller of the Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfexcion No. 2.  After the racing day is over, he continues to attract a crowd of onlookers in the evenings while rolling outside of the James & Sons Tobacconists store on bustling Broadway, where track goers are finishing their days at the restaurants and shops.

Throughout the horse racing meet at the James & Sons Tobacconists store on historic Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs, customers from all aspects of the horse racing industry – owners, trainers, jockeys, stewards, stable workers, veterinarians, members of the media, and handicappers – come through our door to select sticks from our humidor’s finely-curated selection of premium cigars to smoke at the track that day.  Many of the customers are handicappers who can be found in the store’s plush leather chairs marking up their racing forms while watching the TVG horse racing network.  (In each of the last two racing seasons, TVG has broadcast live from the store during the Saratoga meet.)  For many horse racing fans and those in the racing industry, smoking cigars in one of James & Sons Tobacconists’ four clubby lounges – including two that are available 24 hours a day exclusively to our cigar club members – is an integral part of their daily Saratoga experience.

James & Sons Tobacconists is a successful decade-old cigar merchant located in an architecturally-significant Victorian era building.  Saratoga Springs is a thriving year-round destination with an exciting, culturally sophisticated vibe and one of the greatest main streets in America according to Travel & Leisure Magazine.

James & Sons Tobacconists has an excellent reputation in Upstate New York that is growing to a wider audience thanks in part to its new track stores at Belmont and Saratoga race courses.

DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING YETI MERCH AT OUR CAMACHO CIGARS EVENT ON FRIDAY, APRIL 27th

DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING YETI MERCH AT OUR CAMACHO CIGARS EVENT ON FRIDAY, APRIL 27th

Purchase Two or More Camacho Cigars Now Through Friday to Double Your Chances of Winning YETI Coolers, Tumblers and Camacho Cigars

Everyone buying two or more Camacho Cigars at James & Sons Tobacconists between now at Friday, April 27th will receive double the amount of tickets for our drawing giving away YETI merchandise and Camacho cigars totaling nearly $900.

James & Sons will host a Camacho Cigars event on Friday, April 27th that will include special deals on Camacho cigars and a drawing giving away a YETI Tundra 45 hard cooler ($350 retail), YETI Hopper 20 soft cooler ($250 retail), YETI tumblers, and Camacho cigar packs.

Exclusively this week, you will double your chances of winning YETI merchandise by buying Camacho cigars:

Buy 2 Camacho Cigars, Get TWO Tickets for YETI merchandise drawing
Buy 4 Camacho Cigars, Get SIX Tickets for YETI merchandise drawing
But 10 Camacho Cigars, Get SIXTEEN Tickets for YETI merchandise drawing
Buy 20 Camacho cigars, Get FORTY Tickets for YETI merchandise drawing

Cigar Master Franklin Pichardo Rolling at Derby Party, Saturday, May 5th

Cigar Master Franklin Pichardo Rolling at Derby Party, Saturday, May 5th

New Stock of Premium Cigars Blended and Rolled Exclusively for James & Sons Tobacconists

Among the finely-curated selection of premium cigars available in its Spanish-cedar-lined walk-in humidor, James & Sons Tobacconists is proud to offer an exclusive line of house cigars, blended and rolled by cigar master Franklin Pichardo. James & Sons Tobacconists just reloaded its stock of premium house cigars blended and rolled exclusively for its Saratoga store and now is a good time to stock up or give them a try. 

Franklin has been producing our exclusive house cigars for years. They're made of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos rolled with Connecticut, maduro, and barber-pole style wrappers in multiple vitolas, including coronas, toros, torpedos, Churchills, and salamones, among others.

And with Spring finally arriving, horse racing begins to have a greater impact in the community, with the Oklahoma training track open, the harness track running, increased media attention on Triple Crown races, and several local Kentucky Derby parties taking place on Saturday, May 5th.

We're happy to announce that our exclusive cigar master Franklin Pichardo will be in town rolling cigars on Saturday, May 5th at the James & Sons table at Saratoga National Golf Club Kentucky Derby Party. James & Sons will have nice selection of premium cigars for attendees to enjoy as well as Franklin's freshly-rolled cigars.

During track season, Franklin can be found most weekends at the James & Sons Tobacconists track store at historic Saratoga Race Course with a crowd around his rolling table watching as he constructs our fine cigars. Franklin will likely be smoking one of the cigars he rolled or an exclusive Arturo Fuente cigar.

Franklin learned the cigar craft as a teenager at the Fuente factory in Tamboril, Santiago on the Dominican Republic. Working there for 15 years, Franklin was the exclusively roller of the Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfexcion No. 2.

After his day is over at the track, Franklin continues to attract a crowd of onlookers in the evenings while rolling outside of the James & Sons Tobacconists store on bustling Broadway, where track goers are finishing their days at the restaurants and shops.

Stop in to James & Sons to load up on our exclusive house cigars rolled by Franklin, join us at the Saratoga National Golf Club Kentucky Derby Party, and be sure to visit our track store at the Saratoga Race Course during the racing meet.

NEW YORK CIGAR TAX HIKE DEFEATED IN STATE BUDGET

NEW YORK CIGAR TAX HIKE DEFEATED IN STATE BUDGET

Final NYS Budget Excludes Gov. Cuomo's Proposed 160% Tax Hike on Cigars

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Thanks to the grassroots efforts of cigar enthusiasts, tobacconist, small businesses, and trade associations across the state, the final state budget bills being adopted by the New York State Legislature and to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo does not include a tax hike on cigars

In January, Gov. Cuomo proposed an executive budget with $1.1 billion in new taxes and fees, including raising the state excise tax on cigars from 28.5 percent to a whopping 75 percent, a stunning increase of 160 percent.  Representatives of New York’s cigar trade associations promptly jumped into action by working the halls of The State Capitol to kill the plan.  The State Assembly proceeded to pass a one-house budget bill supporting the tax hike, while the Senate adopted one opposing it.  The one-house bills identified priorities for legislative leaders in negotiating a final state budget.

Like many small businesses and tobacconists across the state, James & Sons Tobacconists had grave concerns about the significant spike it would have had on cigar prices – creating a massive black market in the same way that the state’s cigarette tax hike has – and forcing many tobacconists and small businesses across the state to close.

On February 28th, James & Sons Tobacconists owner James Kommer’s New York Post article “New York is Begging for a Black Market Cigar Industry” was published, the first media attention on the issue.  It made its way around social media and was featured on the Empire Report (New York’s version of Drudge Report).  Publications like Cigar Aficionado, Tobacco Business Magazine, and tv and radio media followed suit with stories on Cuomo’s harmful cigar tax hike. 

Thanks in part to the increased media attention, a grassroots coalition of cigar enthusiasts, tobacconists, small businesses, and trade associations (New York Association of Convenience Stores, New York Tobacconists Association, International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers, and Cigar Rights of America) were able to generate a wave of New Yorkers contacting their state legislators to urge them to oppose Gov. Cuomo’s harmful cigar tax hike

Our voice was heard in the halls of The State Capitol in Albany and we prevailed!  Victories like these are far and few between in deep blue northeastern states like New York.  Thank you to everyone who took action to save our small businesses and spare cigar enthusiasts from this draconian tax hike.

This statewide win comes on the heels of our successful local efforts to defeat a proposal in Saratoga County, where James & Sons Tobacconists is located, that would have prevented tax-paying residents aged 18 to 20, including a large number who serve in the military, from purchasing cigars.

MEDIA STORIES ON CUOMO’S CIGAR TAX HIKE

New York is Begging for a Black Market Cigar Industry, by James Kommer, New York Post (Feb. 27)

Cigar Prices Could Rise Under State Budget, WGRZ Buffalo Channel 2 (Feb. 28)

Cigar Prices Could Go Up Under State Budget, WHEC Rochester Channel 10 (Mar. 1)

New York Tobacco Retailers Fear Consequences of Proposed Tax Hike, Tobacco Business Magazine (March 5)

New York Looks At Raising Cigar Taxes, Cigar Aficionado (March 6)

New York Cigar Voters – Say No To Premium Cigar Tax Increase By Governor Cuomo, Cigar Rights of America (March 7)

Score YETI Merch When Buying Camacho Cigars at James & Sons

Score YETI Merch When Buying Camacho Cigars at James & Sons

Everyone buying two or more Camacho Cigars at James & Sons Tobacconists between now at Friday, April 27th will be eligible to win YETI merchandise totaling nearly $900.

A raffle drawing will be held at James & Sons every Friday in April to select someone who will win a YETI tumbler and a 4 pack of Camacho cigars ($70 retail per set).  

James & Sons will host a Camacho Cigars event on Friday, April 27th that will include special deals on Camacho cigars and a raffle drawing for a YETI tumbler set as well as a YETI Tundra 45 hard cooler ($350 retail) and a YETI Hopper 20 soft cooler ($250 retail).

You can enter the raffle drawing to win YETI merchandise by buying Camacho cigars:

  • Buy 2 Camacho Cigars, Get 1 Raffle Tickets for YETI merchandise
  • Buy 4 Camacho Cigars, Get 3 Raffle Tickets for YETI merchandise
  • But 10 Camacho Cigars, Get 8 Raffle Tickets for YETI merchandise
  • Buy 20 Camacho cigars, Get 20 Raffle Tickets for YETI merchandise
     

UPDATE ON NYS CIGAR TAX HIKE: ASSEMBLY SUPPORTS CUOMO'S PLAN, RAISING THE STAKES. TAKE ACTION NOW!

UPDATE ON NYS CIGAR TAX HIKE: ASSEMBLY SUPPORTS CUOMO'S PLAN, RAISING THE STAKES. TAKE ACTION NOW!

Following NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposing a massive 160 percent cigar tax hike in his 2018-19 Executive Budget, the NYS Assembly and Senate passed their own one-house budget plans yesterday. The one-house bills identify priorities for negotiations on a final budget due by April 1st.

The Assembly’s budget resolution supports Cuomo’s massive cigar tax hike while the Senate opposes it. As budget negotiations intensify, this should NOT give comfort to cigar smokers and small businesses. The three sides will have to negotiate a final budget which may end up hiking cigar taxes.

Gov. Cuomo’s cigar tax hike would cause a dramatic spike in cigar prices and likely cause the closure of several tobacconists and small businesses across the state.

TAKE ACTION NOW TO DEFEAT CUOMO’S MASSIVE CIGAR TAX HIKE. NYS SENATORS NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Please take action by contacting your NYS Senator to encourage them to oppose the cigar tax change in Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget. Here are three easy steps:

1. EMAIL YOUR SENATOR USING THIS ONLINE TOOL:  https://account.votility.com/enterprise/IPCPR/ec/461…

2. CALL YOUR SENATOR:  Dial 518-455-2800 for the senate operator. Tell them you want to contact your senator and give them your five-digit zip code to be connected to your senator’s office.

Suggestion for What to Say: “Hi, I'm (name) from (town). I'm calling to urge the Senator to OPPOSE Gov. Cuomo’s budget plan to change the state’s cigar tax (Part U of SB 9509 and AB 9509), which would hike state cigar taxes, harm several small businesses.”

3. SHARE THESE FACEBOOK AND TWITTER POSTS WITH YOUR FRIENDS

ACT NOW TO STOP GOV. CUOMO'S MASSIVE CIGAR TAX HIKE

ACT NOW TO STOP GOV. CUOMO'S MASSIVE CIGAR TAX HIKE

As NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature work towards negotiating a final 2018-19 state budget -- due by April 1st -- a massive 160% cigar tax hike is being considered. The plan would cause a permanent spike in the price of cigars, force consumers to the black market (purchases online, out-of-state, and from Native American retailers), and likely force many small businesses across the state to close. As a cigar consumer, you have the power to speak out to stop it from becoming law. 

ACT NOW TO STOP THE CUOMO CIGAR TAX HIKE BY CONTACTING YOUR STATE SENATOR BY CLICKING HERE.

Tell your NYS Senator you OPPOSE the cigar tax hike proposed in Cuomo's Executive Budget.

More details on the plan may be found in James & Sons Tobacconists owner James Kommer's recent New York Post article here.

Win the Ultimate Sports Fan Experience!

Win the Ultimate Sports Fan Experience!

ANNOUNCING AN EVENING OF MIRACLES: 
MIRACLE ON ICE FANTASY CAMP
with the 1980 U.S.A. Olympic Hockey Team

Sunday, March 25, 2018
Lake Placid, New York

With each purchase of a box of cigars at James & Sons Tobacconists completed by Tuesday, March 20th, you become eligible to win the ultimate hockey experience for you and your guest with the 1980 USA Hockey Team members.

The package includes:
- Meet and greet with the team
- Team-signed USA ’80 hockey jersey presentation at Herb Brooks Arena
- Cocktail reception and dinner at the Olympic Sports Complex
- Lake Placid bobsled experience ride
- Evening mingle in the hospitality suite at High Peaks Resort
- Overnight lodging

WINNER WILL BE SELECTED FROM A DRAWING HELD AT THE STORE ON TUESDAY, MARCH 20 AT 7:00 PM. 
WINNER MUST BE IN ATTENDANCE TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE.

James Kommer's New York Post Article on Gov. Cuomo's Massive 160% Cigar Tax Hike Plan

James Kommer's New York Post Article on Gov. Cuomo's Massive 160% Cigar Tax Hike Plan

NEW YORK IS BEGGING FOR A BLACK-MARKET CIGAR INDUSTRY
By James Kommer, New York Post, February 27, 2018

In an attempt to close New York state’s $4.4 billion budget deficit, Gov. Cuomo proposed a package of $1 billion in tax hikes and fee increases as part of his 2018-2019 Executive Budget unveiled in January.

Among the list of “revenue raisers” is a proposal to change the formula for the way state excise taxes on cigars are calculated. The new rules would make the cigar taxes based on invoice costs instead of manufacturing costs, beginning on Sept. 1. If passed, this would raise state cigar taxes from the industry standard of 28.5 percent to 75 percent.

What would this mean for the consumer? A cigar currently on the shelf for $8 would increase to nearly $11 due to the tax hike.

Cuomo’s proposal comes just five months after Mayor de Blasio signed a tax hike into law prohibiting cigars from being sold for less than $8 per stick and added a 10 percent tax. The impact? What were once less expensive cigars selling for $5 now cost $8. And a cigar with a suggested retail price of $9.50 now costs nearly $14 before sales tax.

Should Cuomo’s proposal become law, it would likely bring about the closure of some small businesses and cost jobs. That’s why the New York Association of Convenience Stores is opposing the tax hike. According to its president, Jim Calvin, the hike “would backfire by driving customers of licensed, tax-collecting convenience stores to tax-free cigar outlets in search of cheaper prices, costing us business.”

State tax hikes on tobacco products in the past have shown one thing: raising taxes actually decreases state revenue. State collections from tobacco sales dropped from $1.5 billion to $1.2 billion over the last five years as tobacco taxes have jumped and smokers, especially cigarette smokers, have increasingly purchased from out-of-state shops.

Despite this fact, Cuomo’s budget estimates the latest cigar tax hike would generate an additional $23 million in revenue annually, showing that the proposal is nothing more than part of a desperate attempt at plugging the state’s deficit that has grown on his watch.

New York’s high taxes and limited enforcement have driven consumers to purchase their cigars and tobacco products from tax-free Native American, Internet and border-state retailers. And yet, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, despite New York’s highest-in-the-nation cigarette taxes, it still has the ninth-highest adult smoking rate.

Simply put, New York can’t afford to enforce the laws already on the books and its anti-smoking tax policies are costing the state (and city) billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Cuomo’s new cigar tax hike would further harm small businesses and put more people out of work.

James Kommer is owner of James & Sons Tobacconists in Saratoga Springs.

Saturday Whiskey and Bonfires Event at Saratoga Winery

Saturday Whiskey and Bonfires Event at Saratoga Winery

An Event Supporting the Saratoga WarHorse Foundation

Saturday, February 24th, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

The Saratoga Winery

462 Route 29 West, Saratoga Springs, New York

  • Cigars from James & Sons Tobacconists
  • Whiskey from Upstate Distillery
  • Smoked BBQ Menu
  • Live Music by Patrick Sharrow
  • Bonfires
  • Saratoga WarHorse Raffles
  • Free Admission

10 percent of bar sales will be donated to Saratoga WarHorse

 

Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art Cigars One of the Best Recent Releases Available

Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art Cigars One of the Best Recent Releases Available

Six years after Alec Bradley’s classic Prensado Churchill received Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year, the Prensado has made a return with the new Lost Art series.  If you enjoyed the original Prensado, you’ll enjoy the new one.  According to Alan Rubin, owner of Alec Bradley, Prensado Lost Art was created to compliment the original Prensado line, with a “natural succession” through introducing “unique variations that still live up to their original namesake.” 

Prensado Lost Art is produced in Honduras at the well-regarded Raices Cubanas factory, which has produced other brands such as 7-20-4, Illusione, Viaje, La Palina, Padilla, and Casa Fernandez.  Lost Art is produced in five vitolas, all of which are box pressed, including Robusto (5”x 52), Gran Toro (6¼” x 52), Churchill (7”x 50), Torpedo (6½” x 52), and Double T (6”x 60).  For this vertical tasting, the Churchill, Gran Toro, and Robusto vitolas were sampled.

The tobaccos used for the Prensado Lost Art include a flawless, smooth, oily Honduran Corojo wrapper, double binders using Nicaragua and Honduras tobaccos, and fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras. The constructed is immaculate, with double caps, tight seams that are virtually invisible, and some occasional small veins that have been rolled flat.  To the touch, the cigars feel just right, with a bit of spongy give when pressed between two fingers.  When smoked, they have a medium draw that provide a good amount of smoke.

Churchill

The Prensado Lost Art Churchill initially offers earthy notes and flavors of toasted bread, a touch of citrus, salt, and spicy pepper, leaving a dry, medium finish on the palate.  About an inch and a half into the cigar, the flavors became less earthy and more rich, rounded, and complex, with notes of cream, charred cedar, and toasted walnuts.  Midway into the cigar, it becomes more refined and remains complex, with notes of cedar and spicy pepper in the front and a long finish (you can taste the cigar in the mouth long after exhaling).  For the final third , the strength and flavor complexity intensifies, with a lovely touch of mustiness (like that found in some Davidoff and Avo cigars) and vanilla in the background.

This Churchill was an impressive start to the vertical tasting.  According to Matthias Clark’s Fine Tobacco NYC Blog the Prensado Lost Art Churchill, “is full of charisma and is, dare I say it, a bit of a show off. The flavors come and go, playing off of each other wonderfully, making this a worthy follow up to the original Prensado line.”  I concur.

Gran Toro

The Gran Toro initially offers rich, complex smoke containing flavors of cocoa, cappuccino, and a touch of cedar and hazelnut in the background.  The cigar is medium bodied and finish is medium in length.  The flavors remain well balanced and complex in the middle third of the cigar, with more prominent notes of cedar and an exquisite sweet creaminess.  The last third is nutty, with some somewhat harsh notes that appear in the background on a few draws (the only shortcoming of any of the Lost Art cigars tasted).

Robusto

The Robusto started off with an impressive, complex blend of flavors, including black pepper, cedar, bittersweet chocolate, and espresso.  It’s the richest of the three cigars sampled.  The flavors and body are medium-to-full and have a short finish.  The second third of the cigar become more creamy and nutty, with the spiciness moving to the background with a touch of wood.  The smoke is smooth and quite enjoyable.  Woody notes stand out in the final third, with creamy and nutty notes in the background.

All three of the vitolas sampled burned quite well, with either a sharp edge or slightly wavy (never varying by much more than a quarter-inch).  The cigars did not require any relighting or touching up.  The ashes were flaky and light whitish-gray color that fell off after about an inch.

Cigar Aficionado's recent tasting of four of the vitolas in the Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art series awarded the cigars an average of 90 points and the Churchill size received a score of 93 points from the Fine Tobacco NYC Blog.

Overall, the Prensado Lost Art Churchill, Gran Toro and Robusto are damn good cigars worthy of being deemed natural successors of the original classic Prensado.  They’re easily some of the best recent releases on the market and worth every cent.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Proposes Massive Cigar Tax Hike

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Proposes Massive Cigar Tax Hike

Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a massive annual statewide $23 million tax hike on cigars as part of his proposed Executive Budget released in January.  This would be accomplished by changing the way state cigar taxes are calculated, which would result in a 160 percent tax hike (raising the current tax rate of 28.5 percent to 75 percent).

One analyst recently estimated that a cigar currently on the shelf for $7.00 would increase to $9.50 due to the tax hike.  And for a box of 20 of these cigars, the increased taxes would add an additional $50 to the price.  For more expensive cigars, the increase would be even greater.  Should the proposal become law, it would likely bring about the closure of some small businesses and lost jobs. 

In an attempt to close New York State’s $4.4 billion deficit, Gov. Cuomo proposed a package of $1 billion in tax hikes.  Despite Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan responded to the proposed package of tax hikes with a bold “No”, Republicans have failed kill similar cigar tax hikes in the past.  

Historically, when New York finds itself in financial deficits, it has turned to cigar tax hikes. In 2009, the state hiked taxes on cigars from 37 percent of the wholesale price to 46 percent. The following year, cigar taxes went up again to become the highest in the nation.  In addition to the tobacco tax, cigars are subject to a 4 percent state sales tax.  

Stay tuned to see how Gov. Cuomo’s proposed cigar tax hike plays out in the budget negotiations this year.  Republicans hold a narrow majority in the State Senate, which the Democrats will try to take away in the November elections this year. 

Gov. Cuomo is also up for re-election this year.

Hidden Gem: Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro Rothschild

Hidden Gem: Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro Rothschild

There is a wide range of great cigars for every palate in the humidor at James & Sons Tobacconists, with many of the boutique and limited edition cigars selling quite well. There are also several exquisite sticks that are sometimes overlooked for one reason or another. On our Facebook page, we’ve been trying to highlight some of these hidden gems (including bargain-priced cigars) that don’t quite fly off the shelves, but we consider having been overlooked due to their high quality. That’s the case with the Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro Rothschild, which is masterfully crafted, delicious, and inexpensive (costing less than $10).

The Extra Oscuro (“blackish” or “dark” in Spanish) is a bold, full-flavored cigar crafted with a pitch-black U.S.A. Connecticut-grown Havana-seed Oscuro wrapper, La Vega Especial binder from the Dominican Republic, and a powerful blend of Ligero fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. 

Oscuro wrapper leaves are typically taken from the top priming or uppermost part of the tobacco plant. Oscuro provides a smaller, thicker and spicier leaf than traditional Connecticut Broadleaf. These leaves are sometimes also called the corona (“crown”) or medio tiempo (“half time,” meaning they’ve been left on the plant 50 percent longer). The extended exposure to sunlight causes the leaves to begin curing on the plants, creating darker, richer, and more flavorful leaves prior to the typical fermentation process.

After being harvested, the dark Connecticut-grown Partagas Oscuro leaves are fermented for a shorter time and at lower temperatures than typical broadleaf tobacco. After fermentation and before manufacturing, the Oscuro leaves are aged in barrels, which cause them to become even darker, almost totally black. 

The cigar sampled for this review is a Rothschild size measuring 5¼” with a ring gauge of 50. It is constructed quite well, with a thick, oily, slightly veiny wrapper and tight seams (especially for the thickness of the leaf). To the pinch, it has uniform sponginess which provide just the right amount of draw when lit. 

The special process required for the Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro’s tobacco results in an equally rare and unique flavor profile that is similar to some of the powerful, distinctive full-flavored sticks produced by Don “Pepin” Garcia’s Nicaraguan factory for Pete Johnson’s L’telier Imports under the Surrogates brand (such as the Bone Crusher, Animal Cracker, Skull Breaker cigars, which are also available from James & Sons Tobacconists). Partagas’ 1845 Extra Oscuro compares well to fine boutique brand cigars, and, at such an affordable price, is quite noteworthy.

After lighting the cigar, you can tell that the it is complex yet smooth, offering a unique blend of well-balanced flavors, including rich notes of charred wood, robust espresso, a touch of pepper, sweet black licorice, and leather. Thanks to the Oscuro tobacco wrapper and Ligero fillers, the complex, full flavors and long finish on the palate are reminiscent of the way a peaty Talisker Scotch, smoky Lapsang Souchong black tea, or blue English stilton cheese awakens and delights the palate. The finish or aftertaste is just as pleasing as when it first touches your lips.

The cigar produces a good amount of aromatic smoke that is a pleasure to take in. It burns evenly without requiring any relighting and has a white flaky ash. 

If you’re looking for an affordable hidden gem in the humidor at James & Sons Tobacconists, the Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro Rothschild is one worth trying.

James & Sons Super Bowl Party

James & Sons Super Bowl Party

Sunday, February 4, 2018
Bravo Restaurant, 3246 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs
Doors open at 2 pm.  Food at 5 pm.  Kickoff at 6:30 pm.

Limited availability.  First come, first served.
Sign up and pay at James & Sons Tobacconists.
$40 in advance or $50 at the door.
Includes cigar, tortellini, braciole, chicken marsala, meatballs, dessert and coffee.  Cash bar. 
 

Cigars and Italian Dinner for Charity

Cigars and Italian Dinner for Charity

A benefit for the
Stand Up and Play Foundation
Capital District of NYS Chapter

Friday, December 16, 2017
6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
$50 per person

James & Sons Tobacconists
360 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, New York

RSVP to Christopher Zito at cmzito@gmail.com 

Stand Up and Play Foundation is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that is changing the lives of wheelchair users and amputees thanks to a remarkable piece of equipment – the Paramobile – that allows them to stand up and play sports. The foundation provides a unique combination of adaptive equipment and well-trained volunteers to give users a previously unimagined level of freedom and independence.  With your help, the Stand Up and Play Foundation Capital District Chapter will be able to provide local wheelchair users and amputees the opportunity to participate in sports, improve their health and well being, and simply have a good time.