Tag Archives: cohiba

Villiger, General Cigar, and Drew Estate Cigars

Since I posted the contest Wednesday (go enter if you haven’t already!), I have a fee more cigars than normal to post about. Bear with me, it was a pretty good week!  We’ll start off with Villiger‘s newest release, the La Flor de Ynclan. A couple of months ago a package arrived at my door that weighed about 12 pounds and I thought “what the heck is in here?” It turned out to be a little box with three La Flor de Ynclan cigars in Churchill, torpedo and robusto sizes, and a bottle of Zaffra Rum, a very generous gift, many thank to the folks at Villiger and Creativas! Most of my loyal readers know that I don’t drink, so one of these days (and I should have done it while the weather was warmer!), I’ll have to have some people over and have them sample this rum and put out a spread of Villiger cigars. From the Villiger website:

 

The La Flor De Ynclan is a special cigar, diligently crafted by Heinrich Villiger and master blender Jose Matias Maragoto of ABAM Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic.

Heinrich Villiger, chairman of the board of Villiger Soehne AG, came across a young ambitious Cuban native 22 years ago in the Dominican Republic. That Cuban, Jose Matias Maragoto was an unknown cigar maker, who was beginning a new life in a new country. Fast forward two decades, the once untested Matias Maragoto is the overseer of all Villiger made product made in the DR. The Flor de Ynclan cigar, is the fruition of a bond between two different men from different backgrounds, over the love of tobacco.

The La Flor De Ynclan is a cigar that presents a distinct full-flavor experience, due to the extended aging of the tobacco. Choice Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobacco, along with a true Indonesian binder, wrapped in a beautiful Ecuadorian wrapper make the La Flor De Ynclan a cigar that has been worth the wait.

FlordeYnclan

 

I started with the Churchill, a beautiful 7″ x 48 (close enough), with the above-mentioned components. I thought this was a terrific cigar. It was solid medium, and had a quality that I though would suite the European market well. It was complex with some citrus sweetness and a twinge of spice. There have been some Villiger cigars that I really liked, some were so-so, but this one stands apart, I think. It was very tasty, worth a try. I am disappointed that they discontinued the Trill line (made at Tabacalera Palma), although the name is kinda dumb, the cigar is good. I bought a box while I had the chance.

 

BolivarMoving on, I found myself at The Wooden Indian Tobacconist once again where Sean Williams, the Cohiba Brand Ambassador, was appearing for a meet and greet with the lounge membership. I first met Sean at the 2011 IPCPR show, in his El Primer Mundo booth. Ironically, Willie Herrera was hanging out in the booth with him at the same time, so it was also when I met Willie. I got there early and bought some General Cigar Co. cigars that I hadn’t smoked before, as well as a couple of the newer Sean_CohibaBolivars that I’ve enjoyed in the past. The only Cohibas that they had in stock were the Macasar, and I had a couple of those in the humidor already (and they are really pricey!). I was in the mood for Broadleaf, so the Bolivar 652 Toro was the smoke of choice. I know, I know, the Bolivar has a Connecticut Habano Maduro wrapper, not Broadleaf, but it was as close as I was going to get, OK?  This was released at the 2015 IPCPR show, and was Michael Giannini’s project re-imagining the Bolivar (and Ramon Allones). I like the box design, but I can’t say I love the band, it could have been classier, not Rami_Generalthat my opinion counts. I wonder what Mr. Giannini is up to? The Bolivar cigar is great, to my palate. I dig the closed foot and pigtail cap on these and they are very well priced. Anyway, it was a great evening at the Wooden Indian. Dave and his staff are top-notch and it was nice catching up with Sean ( and Rami, the area sales rep, another cool dude).  One last thing about this cigar. It’s neither on the Cigarworld.com or the Foundry websites, the only info I have is from the General Cigar Co. press info from the show.

 

LigaPrivadaSerieUnico_AI slipped back and forth between General Cigar Co. and Drew Estate this week, but I was probably heavier on the DE. I had to smoke another of the Florida Sun Grown toros since I bought a few more at the Wooden Indian charity event, and it was pretty darned tasty. Friday I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to smoke, and decided to go big and smoke a Liga Privada Serie Unico “A” that came from the Connecticut Barn Smoker. I probably should have swapped it for one from the 2014 two count box, but I was too lazy.  An “A” is a traditional Cuban size, it’s 9″ x 47, two notable examples being the Cuban Montecristo and the Sancho Panza Sancho. I took a walk with this cigar and when I got home an hour later I was just hitting the 6″ mark.  It was delicious, but due to its length, was on the milder side for a Liga Privada. It’s a good cigar, no doubt, and actually burned faster than I would have thought, I was finished in a little over two hours. From what I can tell, this is more of a T52 blend as it has the Connecticut stalk cut Habano wrapper, so I guess I’m still looking to satisfy my Broadleaf desire. I’ll find something today. These are only available at events, and are probably considered something of a unicorn in the Liga Privada world. I loved it, I thought it was delicious, but if I had ponied up a bunch of $ on the secondary market I’d have felt a little let down.

 

AcidKubaCandelaSince the current contest features a Drew Estate Acid KubaKuba Candela, I was kinda challenged to smoke one. Fortunately, I had one, as well as a couple of the little Blondie Candelas. I could have wimped out and went with the Blondie and gotten it over with, but why not just go for the gusto?  The regular KubaKuba is just distasteful to me, can’t even stand the smell.  I smoked a Kuba Maduro once in Nicaragua after about eight cigars and it was enjoyable. I entered this with as open a mind as I could muster, and, to lend credence to that, I didn’t take a spare cigar on my walk. I was committed (or should be). Happy to report that I enjoyed the cigar. The Candela wrapper has some bitterness that counters the sweet floweryness of the infusion. If one doesn’t like Candela cigars, I don’t imagine this one is going to change that opinion, because the grassy candellaness (my made up word for the day) is apparent. But, like it’s siblings in the Acid line, it’s well made with quality tobaccos. If you like the Acid line, try this, it’s probably going to be interesting. If you like Candela wrapped cigars, try this. If you don’t like either Candela or infused, I don’t know what to tell you…maybe this one would be a good change of pace, open your mind!

 

I was going to add one more cigar in here, but it’s getting long, I’ll circle back to that cigar. It was good and came highly recommended, I want to smoke another one and pay a little more attention to it before writing about it. Also, I bought a ticket to a Meet and Greet with Ernesto Carillo at the CigarCigars King of Prussia Mall store (smoke while your wife shops!) on Wednesday, October 11 which seems like a good deal, $25 for three cigars, booze and hors d’oeuvres and the chance to talk to a legend in the cigar business. Interestingly, this is a General Cigar event, featuring the new La Gloria Cubana Colleccion Reserva.

 

That’s all for now, until the next time, when we’ll select a contest winner,

 

CigarCraig

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Cohiba News, Cohiba Blue, Sancho Panza and a Cigar Quiz

I mentioned the Cohiba Blue in a recent post, and received some samples to try on Monday. I broke my usual rule to let thing sit, because General Cigar Co. made the announcement today that they have hired a new brand manager to represent the Cohiba brand, Sean Wand that person is none other than my friend Sean Williams of El Primer Mundo fame. I recall hearing him interviewed on a recent Smooth Draws show and he mentioned something big in the works, along with talking about his brand and the fact that he had partnered in a factory to produce El Primer Mundo and Larceny (an offshoot project he did a couple of years ago with Eddie Ortega). Sean’s El Primer Mundo brand pre-dated the FDA predicate date, I want to say, off the top of my head, he debuted the brand in 2006. here is part of General Cigar Co.s press release, in case you missed it on other sites:

GENERAL CIGAR APPOINTS COHIBA BRAND AMBASSADOR

May 1, 2017 — General Cigar announced today that the company has appointed Sean Williams as a full-time brand ambassador for Cohiba. Williams is former owner of El Primer Mundo Cigar Company, a boutique collection of highly-rated cigars made in the Dominican Republic.

“We have brought Sean on board as part of the continued expansion of our experiential platforms,” said General Cigar President Régis Broersma. “Our focus is on deepening retailer and consumer engagement around this pivotal brand in our portfolio. With Sean, we are gaining a passionate cigar maker who is also a connoisseur of the finer things in life. We are confident he will make great strides in further aligning Cohiba with luxury lifestyle activations.”

Sean will bring the Cohiba brand to life at in-store events held at premier cigar shops across the U.S, and will activate the brand at an array of luxury venues across the country. He begins his new role today. Sean joins the company’s expanding team of brand ambassadors featuring Rick Rodriguez (CAO), Jack Toraño (Toraño) and Justin Andrews (Foundry Tobacco Company).

Sean will report to Gus Martinez, director of marketing, and will be based in Atlanta.

As his first order of business, Sean will spend several weeks at General Cigar Dominicana, working closely with the artisans who handcraft Cohiba to become fully immersed in the brand.

Prior to joining General Cigar, Sean founded El Primer Mundo Cigar Company in 2006 and successfully grew his brand internationally with distribution in the U.S., Southeast Asia, Australia and Russia. His commitment to creating superior cigars has resulted in numerous 90+ ratings spanning the cigar industry’s most respected publications.

 

I first met Sean at the 2011 IPCPR show, and have been a fan since. I look forward to seeing him at an event in the near future, if you are going to CI’s Cigar Fest this weekend look him up and tell him I said hello (as well as Rick Rodriguez and Jack Toraño)!

 

Cohiba_Blue_RobustoI mentioned that I broke my rule about letting samples sit for a while before smoking by lighting up a new Cohiba Blue in the 5½” x 50 Robusto size. This new Cohiba uses the Honduran OSA (Olancho San Augustin) wrapper, which we saw on the CAO OSA Sol, and more recently on the Partagas Heritage. The binder is also the OSA and there’s Honduran Jamastran, Nicaraguan Ometepe and Dominican Piloto Cubana in the filler. This cigar smoked well for the first two-thirds, then it got funky and needs some more humidor time. It had a sweet leathery kind of flavor that has promise with some more time to settle. I thought it was a nice smoke, and I will revisit this in a few weeks.

 

SanchoPanza_TripleAnejo_RobustoMonday night I smoked a Sancho Panza Triple Añejo that I had bought last year at a shop I visited called Jacoubs in Ridley Park, PA. I’m used to Sancho Panza being a very reasonably priced good smoke, and smoked a bunch of the Extra Fuerte back about 15 years ago. This one was $9, bujt it had a deliciously dark wrapper, and the make-up sounded like something I’d like.  It has a high-priming Nicaraguan Jalapa Sun Grown wrapper and Ecuadorian Sumatra, US Broadleaf, and Brazilian Arapiraca long-fillers. I’m thinking if this had been a little dryer it would have burned better and given me a better experience, but who’d have thought it would be any different from the many, many cigars smoked from the same humidor? Once again, I could see where this would be a great cigar, the flavor I got was good, but it was too much trouble and burned on the steamy side.  I though maybe my palate was shop, but a Rosalones 460 I smoked last night was a treat! I probably won’t buy another at $9, but the better priced Sancho Panza Double Maduro and Extra Fuerte are keepers.

Quiz

Our friends at Best Cigar Prices are at it again with another quiz! This one was a real challenge, I took it and only scored 80%, I’m embarrassed to say. Two of the ones I got wrong were careless mistakes. Take it and let us know in the comments how you fared!

https://www.bestcigarprices.com/blog/cigar-history-quiz/

That’s all for now. I should have had this done an hour ago but some connectivity problems gave me some fits.  It’s all good now, so until the next time,

CigarCraig

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Punch, CAO, La Gloria, Macanudo Goodies Contest Winner

I smoked a handful of great cigars since we spoke last, but I just enjoyed most of them without giving them much thought. I did pick up a handy new gadget that I heard about on KMA Talk Radio last week, called the Poke and Smoke. it’s a handy tool on a key ring that has poke and smoketwo little prongs you can impale your cigar with and smoke it without burning your fingers. It was an impulse buy, and resembles the little handles one pokes into the ends of your corn on the cob to hold it with, and I’ve used it twice now and it works fine. I did notice that it stinks the next day, so I suppose I’ll have to keep tabs on that.  Anyway, I bought a couple and the winner of the contest may find one in with the goodies from General Cigar Co. courtesy of your’s truly.  Before we get to the winner, here’s a little news from General Cigar Co. about their new Cohiba release:

COHIBA BLUE

The world’s finest tobaccos create the most enduring experiences. Cohiba Blue is indeed the cigar for all who desire to live the good life.

Cohiba has always been synonymous with luxury smoking experiences. The brand’s latest collection, Cohiba Blue, takes this to an entirely different level by introducing the notion of inclusive luxury.

Andres Maturen, brand manager of Cohiba said, “With Cohiba Blue, we present collection that speaks to the ethos of the Cohiba brand. Made with a curated selection of tobaccos, handcrafted by renowned artisans, and created for all those who seek the indulgence of a fine cigar, Cohiba Blue symbolizes a life well lived.”

cohibablue_open_left_hrThe Cohiba blending team created a velvety, medium-bodied cigar with a rich, complex taste and enticing aroma. To achieve the desired flavor, they began with a silky, rosado-hued Honduran Olancho San Agustin (OSA) wrapper and took a unique approach by selecting Honduran OSA for the binder as well. The layered wrapper-binder deepens the smoking experience and imparts subtle, earthy notes. The blend consists of Honduran Jamastran, Nicaraguan Ometepe and Dominican Piloto Cubano to provide hints of cocoa and caramel, with a light touch of sweetness. The unique, three-country blend represents the world’s most revered tobacco growing regions and delivers a sophisticated, memorable smoke.

The cigars are protected hand-painted bright blue wooden boxes, each containing 20 flawlessly handcrafted cigars.

Churchill (7.5 X 50); SRP per cigar is $10.99

Robusto (5.5 X 50); SRP per cigar is $9.99

Rothschild (4.5 X 50); SRP per cigar $8.99

Toro (6 X 54); SRP per cigar is $10.49

 

ContestMore on the Cohiba Blue in the coming weeks, but you want to know who won the goodies!  The random number generator spit out the number 23, which corresponds with Olie. It turns out Olie is a very long time reader, and a guy I met face to face at a herf in Reno back in 2009, and had “known” for years before that on the old alt.smokers.cigars Usenet group! Congrats Ted, er…Olie, please send your address so I can get this stuff out your way!

 

That’s all for now, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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An Asylum and a La Gloria Cubana from Famous, Along With Some Other Cigars

The problem with taking Wednesdays off is that I have to decide which of the cigars I’ve smoked during the week to talk about on Sunday.  The reason I skipped my midweek post was that I had a Prime Living magazine article deadline, and I wanted to get that taken care of.  I have a calendar of the due dates for the rest f the year, let’s see if I can use that to plan ahead so I’m not waiting until the last minute every time!  I think it’s been about two years that I’ve been writing the Cigar Notes feature in Prime Living, it’s still crazy to me when I see my name in the byline.  I did smoke some really interesting cigar this week, I’m going to touch on these four briefly.

 

First off I smoked a Swag SoBe  Lavish, which is a robusto from Boutique Blends. This was part of the Cigar Authority Care Package and I smoked it while listening to the show in podcast form. This cigar really surprised me in that it had  distinctive flavor, I want to say it was like a green tea maybe, and I tasted it for hours after I was done. I’ll be looking for more of these. Yesterday I took a long walk with what I believe to 4 cigarshave been a Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sun Grown Churchill, I didn’t take any measurements, but I swear it was larger at the foot than the head. I know it wasn’t a torpedo because Perdomo torps are pretty distinctive in their pointyness. For you cigar walkers, this size is good for five miles. Very tasty, but I prefer the Maduro in this line.  The Cohiba Luxury Edition is a stupidly expensive cigar, I can’t imagine dropping $38 on one cigar, but it was an exceptional example of cigar making and blending, and it was very good. This was the subject of my Prime Living piece, so you’ll have to wait until the May/June issue drops to read more about this. Finally, and these were in no particular order  by the way, there was one day this week that I was in the mood for an Epic Maduro, so I grabbed a Double Corona, which is really a gordo, for my evening walk. This line is rising to the top of my go-to list, and it takes quite a bit of will power not to just grab one the few of these I have on hand every day.  These are frickin delicious and Dean Parsons is a really cool dude. There were others, but these were the ones I had some thoughts on off the top of my head.

 

Asylum_Lobotomy_ToroA couple of weeks back I received some cigars from Famous Smoke Shop, cigars that are made exclusively for them.  One of them was the Asylum Lobotomy in the toro size. Thank goodness they didn’t send the 770, that’s too darned large for winter smoking, shivering knocks the ash everywhere! These are a value priced take on the Asylum line, with a Maduro Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. This is a really nice cigar for under $5 if you like a strong, bold flavored cigar that has enough changes to keep things interesting. The burn on the samples I smoked was pretty good, I had to touch up a few times, but aging will certainly fix this. I imagine these will age well too, although they are good pretty much off the truck.  These come in the toro, 770 Double Toro (6×60) and a 4×44 “corona”, so there’s something for everyone.  I half expected this to be a lot stronger than it was given the name.

 

LaGloriaCubana_SerieRF_NoThe other new offering in Famous’ exclusives line is from La Gloria Cubana.  This is a take on the Serie R line, called the La Gloria Cubana Serie RF (I’m guessing the “F” is for Famous…ya think?). As much as I love just about all things La Gloria Cubana, I haven’t had the greatest experiences with the regular Serie R line. These were really one of the first large ring gauge cigars back in the early 2000s, and I really wanted to like them, but they always came up short for me. I love the Serie R Esteli, and to a lesser extent the  Serie R Black (I find the Brick and Mortar exclusive Esteli a bit richer than the catalog/internet exclusive Black). So I went into the Serie RF with a cautious optimism.  I smoked the No. 13, which is a 5½x54 robusto. The blend is a Ecuador Habano wrapper, Connecticut Havano binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers.  I need to smoke some more of these, because I really enjoyed the crap put of the one I smoked. It was smooth, sweet and full of flavor. These are a priced in the mid $8 range, but worth it, in my opinion.

 

That’s all I can manage this morning. It’s supposed to be a beautiful day, so I need to get something done around here,  including getting a nice, long cigar walk in.  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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Padilla, Byron, Cohiba, Norteño, Gurkha and BG Meyers Cigars

Padila_ReservaCorojo_RobustoI hope everyone out there who celebrates it had a peaceful and nutritious Thanksgiving! Ours was small, with a delicious dinner followed by a good cigar. Lets remember how fortunate we are this time of year and consider that there are those who don’t have great cigars or even a good meal. Throwing a little something to your local food bank now and then won’t hurt.  That’s enough of the public service announcement portion of the blog post, what did I smoke this week?  Last week I mentioned the new Reserva line from Padilla, so I  lit up the Padilla Reserva Corojo 99 robusto this week, since Criollo is generally not one of my favorite wrappers I saved it for last.  The Corojo was another really nice cigar, with a unique flavor in the background, not unlike its San Andrés sibling. I’m looking forward to trying the Criollo 98 version now.  As I am prone to do, I feel the need to criticize the Padilla website. It’s just white, literally nothing there, and has been for a couple of weeks.

 

Byron_Serei SigloXIX_GrandPoemasWednesday I decided to celebrate the end of the holiday shortened week with a Byron Serie Siglo XIX Grand Poemas, a 6″ x 56 toro, with undisclosed filler, wrapper and binder. These are made in Costa Rica (Same factory as MBombay and Vegas de Santiago I believe), under the watchful eye of Nelson Alphonso. Some of come in cool Humiditubes, like the Atabay line from the same company, but this was a sample/gift from David Garofalo, who distributes the company’s cigars. I can see why smokers like Dave, who likes milder cigars, loves these and puts them at the top of their all-time favorite lists. It’s absolutely perfectly constructed, in every way. Burn is straight as an arrow, draw is ideal, and it’s got a very pleasing flavor in the medium bodied range. Obviously every detail was attended to in the making of these cigars, and the quality shows, and it should since it’s not a cheap date. Personally, there are quite a few cigars I consider expensive that I’d buy two or three of before buying one of these, but it’s a special cigar, for sure, and I’m very glad for the opportunity to have smoked them. There are three series in this line, the XIX, XX and XXI, and the significance is that the XXI (19) is how they imagine the cigar was blended in the 1800s, when the Byron brand originated, with the XX symbolizing the 1900s and the XXI the 2000s. Who’s to argue?

 

Cohiba_SigloIIIAfter a delicious and satisfying Turkey dinner on Thursday, I was rummaging through one of the humidors when I came across a Cohiba Siglo III in a yellow cardboard box which was a gift from a friend several years ago. It seemed like the right time to smoke this, and I haven’t smoked a great many Cuban Cohibas in the past.  I had no idea the age of this cigar prior to it being in my possession, which can be an issue with Cuban cigars, but I considered the source, and figured it was ready to go. 20 years ago Cuban cigars were considered very strong, but I think they are more on  the mild side now. Back in 1999 I went to a cigar breakfast in Vegas where Bolivar Belicosos Finos were the featured cigar kind of as an irony, as that cigar was one of the strongest cigars out there at the time.  This Cohiba reminded me of the Byron in a way, it was mild, subtle and sophisticated. The cigar was a nice size too, 6.10″ x 42 and burned well. I think it was a great way to end the day.  I am certainly thankful that one of the harder decisions I have to make is what cigar to smoke.

 

Norteno_EdicionLimitada2015After dabbling in the mild, subtle and complex end of the cigar pool for a few days I wanted to switch gears and go for a cigar I knew would be a heavy, rich, uncomplicated flavor factory.  The Norteño Edicion Limitada from Drew Estate practically jumped into my hand.  This is a Churchill sized cigar with an oval-shaped box press, measuring 7″ x 48, with a San Andrés wrapper, Honduran binder and fillers from Jalapa and Esteli. This is one of those cigars I mentioned above that I’d buy two of over one Byron, just because it has the sweet, cocoa, espresso flavor I really like in a cigar. This is another winning blend from Willie Herrera, pretty limited and exclusive, and $14 too, it’s definitely worth a try.

 

Gurkha_RoyalChallengeMaduro_ToroYesterday I tuned into the afternoon Flyers vs. Rangers game on my tablet and say in my back porch and smoked a cigar while I watch the second and third periods. A Gurkha Royal Challenge Maduro Toro caught my eye, the colors in the band were what did it, and the dark, oily wrapper. I would have liked a little more resistance in the draw on this one, it was very open, and I worried that this would overheat the cigar and ruin it, so I was careful not to overdraw.  I started out with a little bit of a bitter flavor, not the sweetness that the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper would normally have. It was almost dirty tasting at the start, sometimes I like that. I was initially regretting my choice, but after an inch or so it settled into a pretty tasty smoke that got me midway into the third period, which allowed me to watch the dramatic conclusion on the larger screen (tablet battery was about to die anyway). This was from that orange boxed sampler from the IPCPR show (gave one away here), and was the only true 6″ x 50 toro in the bunch.  There were some things I liked about this cigar, but there were also things I didn’t.  The game turned out great though, the Flyers have had trouble scoring goals and winning in Madison Square Garden, and didn’t have either of those problems yesterday.

 

BG Meyer_StandardIssue_ToroI finished the day off with a  BG Meyers Standard Issue toro, which was in The Cigar Authority Care Package. This was 2 Guys Smokeshop/The Cigar Authority’s Cigar of the Year last year, and I have to say that I kinda get why. I smoked it while listening to the show, I got one right for a change!  It seems like I either forget I have the cigar, don’t pay attention to which cigar is on the show, or something. I think I still have one cigar from each of the last two care packages leftover because of my lack of focus (to be fair, one wa a Tortuga Cedros No.5, and I have a bunch of them and have smoked them before).  Anyway, the BG Meyer is from Camacho, in their Board of the Bold series with Mat Booth, that football guy (Mike Ditka), and this one which is fronted by Rob Weiss, who created the TV show “Entourage”.  It didn’t burn as well as the other cigar I smoked this week, but it wasn’t crazy bad, just needed a couple touch-ups.  It was meaty, savory and pretty darned good. Camacho did some pretty good things last year, and this line might well be one of them. Again, not unlike the Room 101 line, finding a website to reference was impossible. You’d think the folks at Davidoff would understand that.

 

Enough from me, have a great Sunday and I’ll be back later.  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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