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About ATGroom

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  1. LVMH makes some sense... European company, so probably less worried about US lawsuits than an American company would be, plenty of cash, mostly privately held, definitely see the potential of luxury brands in China and the middle east. They'd be more interested in owning Cohiba than they would in Quintero, though.
  2. Phoenecia always go pretty big, but if they're serious about the 450k, that is HUGE for a regional. For reference, here are the top 10 largest regional releases: 1 500,000 Serie D No.5 Edición Regional España 2017 2 250,000 Phoenicio 35 Edición Regional Líbano 2015 3 225,000 Phoenicio Edición Regional Líbano 2008 4 200,000 Maestros Edición Regional España 2007 5 200,000 Secretos Edición Regional España 2013 6 200,000 WIH 20 Edición Regional Líbano 2017 7 185,000 Short Bolivar Edición Regional Asia Pacifico 2008 8 185,000 Belicosos Extra Edición Regional Asia Pacifico 2008 9 150,000 Capitolio Edición Regional Francia 2018 10 150,000 Eshmoun Edición Regional Líbano 2012 Over the 200 regionals released so far, the average release size is 57,000. For the Phoenicio 40: -4 different coloured humidors of 40, 100 of each colour (100 x 40 x 4 = 16,000) -40 humidors of 40 (40 x 40 = 1,600) -the remainder in boxes of 20 (450k - 16k - 1.6k = 432,400 / 20 = 21,620 boxes) Lot of boxes to move. (an aside, complete speculation, but when I first saw the number on the Serie D No.5 my thought was "must be an error in the reporting", but eventually box pictures came out, and sure enough, the number plates said x/50000. It seemed like they actually produced most of them as well, I've seen numbers as high as 35,000/50,000. The cigars are basic, competitively priced cigars, fairly normal, approachable every day size, not a big ultra-premium hoopla like the Phoenicio. So my theory is that in an era of limited supply of most lines, the Serie D 5 was an effort by the Spanish to ensure they had stock of at least one good every day cigar for their market.)
  3. I've been wondering about the status of Belinda for a while, actually. Does anyone know if they're still available anywhere? As far as I can tell, I think they were discontinued around 2014. Be keen to hear about it if anyone has a more recent box date than that.
  4. ATGroom

    Bushido - Which one is real?

    The cigar pictured on CCW (no accent) is as real as possible - it was sent to me by a PCC exec in Hong Kong. My opinion on this is both real. They just had two different bands going for whatever reason (left overs, changed halfway through the batch, two machines etc). Would be very keen for you to smoke 'em and see though.
  5. Nice fakes, guys. Just thought I'd post this pic of the genuine article for comparison. My friend was given it free as a "bonus" when buying a few singles at a hotel shop in Cuba.🤔
  6. A few years ago me, @mftan, @bolivr and some of the Melbourne guys used to meet up and smoke once in a while at a few different bars. One afternoon we were at this rooftop bar which is done up like a garden party - it has lots of cane furniture, umbrellas, fake grass, plants, and all the staff wear tennis outfits. They sell a lot of Pimms cups. The layout is that there's an indoor area, then the main outdoor deck, and then a little area with two tables on another level above the main deck. Legally speaking it should be fine to smoke in all the outdoor areas. When we arrive we ask if we can smoke cigars, they say fine but put us up in the little area upstairs. We're alone there and for a while and everything is fine. Our smoke is blowing away, nobody is bothered. After maybe 15 minutes another group comes and sits on the second table in our area, and about 10 minutes after that the waiter comes and says that they are complaining so he'll move us downstairs. He moves us to the main deck, which is very crowded. The place is popular with the ladies kitchen tea sort of set, so its mostly women in summer dresses, big age range, lot of mothers with their adult daughters. Our new table is under the edge of a marquee that extends over half of the main deck, and our smoke is being caught by it and is blowing into the inside area. After perhaps 10 minutes a group next to us leaves and one of them hisses something at us as they go, and we can see her having a heated conversation with the waiter indoors on their way out. The waiter comes over to us and says we can still smoke, but that they complained so we should be a bit subtle about it. Perhaps 10 minutes after that the manager comes out and says we have to stop smoking or leave. We had fresh drinks, we were all halfway through nice cigars, they're the ones that moved us here etc so we argue for a while until people from the other tables start joining in yelling at us. When we do eventually leave the whole bar applauds. Suffice to say, these days we keep our smoking to private homes.
  7. Received this one today that I thought might be a fun discussion topic for the forum... what should I do?
  8. What's the story behind the Cohibas? There have been Cohiba As released from time to time - Dinner of the Century, 21st Century Humidor, 35th Anniversary Humidor, and they show up from time to time as 'diplomatic gifts' - but the bands on yours seem to be from 510 Anniversary Humidor and the 2003 Reserva Selection, neither of which had A size cigars.
  9. My interpretation is that a box of cigars is fine as cigars are exempt anyway, but bringing in a carton of cigarettes would not be.
  10. Most of you will have been aware about the legislation coming into effect in July that will ban the importation of tobacco without a permit, and I think like me most of you had probably assumed that would mean the end of private importing of cigars (and have been building a stockpile in response😉). Department of Home Affairs issued this notice yesterday:
  11. Do it via Kickstarter (or equivalent if they won't do tobacco). Once a month you throw up an oddball idea with a target of the minimum order. People place their orders and pay up front. If it doesn't hit the target then everybody gets their money back, we all move on. If it does then the order is placed and the cigars go into limited production. If it goes over the minimum... well, that's what gets ordered. Just needs an enterprising LCDH with the connections to make it happen. Bring on the Diplomatico No.6 Lanceros in 100s.
  12. Uday and Saddam banded cigars did the rounds pretty regularly around '03-'05 - this is the first time I've seen the Double Lanceros though. Mostly they were Esplendidos. Legitimacy, well, who can say, but the Saddams were well documented Cohiba fans and Cuba and pre-war Iraq were on friendly terms, so it seems likely that they could have gotten pretty much whatever they wanted. After the invasion their stash could have wound up pretty much anywhere. So at least the origin story seems a lot more plausible than say the King of Spain Lanceros. The band looks correct for the diplomatic vanity band and Cohiba band at least is correct for the era. One thing I will note - the sticker on the box the cigarette shop merchant is holding definitely doesn't say "Double Lanceros." Hard to make out, but looks like "Esplendidos" to me.
  13. ATGroom

    Simon Chase...

    I corresponded with him occasionally, and always found him funny, articulate, helpful and above all knowledgeable. He had often said that I should look him up for a smoke next time I was in London, and I always thought I'd get around to it someday. A great loss.
  14. ATGroom

    Jury Duty

    I was on a murder jury a few years ago. It was a proper whodunnit - two guys went on a week long drug bender, at the end of which their dealer ended up murdered in a very brutal way. The lead witness was one of the guys, who was saying that the accused did it. The defence's case was that the lead witness did it. It was scheduled to run for 12 days, but after 5 we were discharged when the lead witness mentioned off-hand that the accused had been in prison before, which the jury wasn't allowed to know as it might have prejudiced our verdict. Before the retrial could happen the accused changed his plea to guilty. I received my full salary from work while I was serving. I'm not sure what the law is strictly speaking, but I think in salaried full time jobs in Australia at least it is considered poor form to not pay people while they're serving. I also got a small amount from the courts - it was something like $40 a day for first week, then $75 a day for the second week, and $110 after that. Plus at the time I was working 60 hour weeks at work, whereas jury duty was 10am - 3pm with an hour for lunch and a lot of time sitting around drinking tea in the jury room. It felt like a vacation. I found the whole thing fascinating. We heard from fingerprint, DNA, coroner, and other expert witnesses, along with a whole cast of characters from a world of drugs and criminality that is very distant from my everyday life. So, all in all, I highly recommend jury duty. The typical experience may differ though.
  15. I don't think anyone really needed to be told this, but with the stuff announced so far, 2019 is the fattest year on record. Year Average Ring 2000 49.42 2001 48.71 2002 44.34 2003 46.88 2004 49.62 2005 47.84 2006 48.41 2007 47.00 2008 51.57 2009 49.78 2010 50.17 2011 51.07 2012 50.41 2013 50.60 2014 50.07 2015 51.48 2016 51.93 2017 49.00 2018 50.96 2019 52.69 *I'm excluding some stuff like the Habanos Selection, which is just five regular production cigars etc. 2017 is low because the Cohiba Shorts and two Montecristo Open Minis were released that year. Also I guess "average" here is a bit rubbish because it's counting a 58 ring cigar from a 1/50 $100k anniversary humidor the same as a new regular production, but hey, it's just for the yuks.😉

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