Italian cigars give a puff of dark chocolate

Tue Oct 7, 2008 11:50am EDT
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By Barbara Cornell

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Pack Italy's latest cigars in your pocket, and people might say you smell good enough to eat.

Toscanello Aroma Fondente, a half-sized conical cigar, has the color, taste and smell of dark chocolate. It is the latest product from Manifatture Sigaro Toscano, makers of the quintessential Italian cigars that gunslinger Clint Eastwood smoked in Sergio Leone's Westerns.

"It smells fantastic," said Andrea Braschi, owner of the Wengè buffet bar not far from San Siro stadium.

"It leaves a sweetness in your mouth," he said between experimental puffs. "It doesn't leave any bitterness."

The dark chocolate cigar has already added some sweetness to its maker's bottom line, capturing two percent of Italy's cigar market since its introduction in January.

The company expects that figure to double next year.

"We're very satisfied, because these are new consumers," said Pierfrancesco Saccotelli, Italy sales and marketing manager for Manifatture Sigaro Toscano. "It wasn't a question of cannibalizing from our other products."

The company controls 85 percent of Italy's cigar market and 40 percent of the combined cigar-cigarillo market.   Continued...