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Business group ITC recently opened its first dedicated retail store selling premium cigar brand ‘Armenteros’ in Delhi.ITC, which may have already introduced the hand-rolled cigars in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata last year, but in a bid to strengthen its presence in the premium tobacco segment it plans to open luxury stores under the ‘Cigar Republic’ brand in other key metros in future.
The exclusive deal is that these “Armenteros” cigars are being sourced from the Dominican Republic and will be manufactured at La Aurora, which is one of the oldest cigar companies in the world, run by the Leon Jimenes family of Santiago. Depending on the cigar sizes – Churchill, Torpedo, Corona, Petit Corona and Robusto, they will be available at prices ranging from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 10,000 (~$66 to $218) per pack.
The premium cigar category in India is growing at 20 per cent per annum, with increasing disposable incomes and exposure to global lifestyles, though the segment is still at a nascent stage, according to market estimates.
Apart from cigars and accessories, the store, which is located at ITC Maurya Hotel, will also have a library showcasing literature on cigars and other objects of interest to cigar connoisseurs.
Already, Delhi’s serious cigar smokers have the cigar lounge at the Oberoi in Gurgaon. ITC’s new lounge should give it some serious competition.