product reviews

July 2014 Newsletter


July 31, 2014

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Kurt's Corner
We are back from Las Vegas, and the IPCPR Trade Show
was a tremendous success! Our team works hard all year
to create the newest and most cutting edge cigar
accessories, and this year was no exception. The latest
XIKAR innovations were inspired by beauty and power, from
the heights of mountaintops, to the depths of the ocean.
You will be prepared to take on cigars bigger than you've 
ever imagined
, and will never again find yourself without a
cutter on hand
. Of course, all products exemplify 
superior form, feel and function, the Essence of XIKAR!

The industry received our new accessories with adulation
at the IPCPR Convention, and we look forward to getting them into your hands. This newsletter will introduce you to some of the new XIKAR innovations, and we will continue to feature a new product every month through the end of the year. 

 I want to thank you all for your loyalty to XIKAR as we progress with our commitment to revolutionary product development. I am certain that you will be impressed not only with the new releases, but the future introduction of creative concepts as XIKAR continues to serve you... for life!


Kurt Van Keppel

May 2014 Newsletter


May 21, 2014

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Kurt's Corner
On April 10, 2014 my iPad was stolen, along with
other “personal effects” (my briefcase and suitcase),
from my vehicle in Houston.  Theft is a crime that deprives
us of our property, and to some degree our liberty (having
to go shopping for clothes and sundries instead of calling
on customers), and ultimately of our enjoyment or prosperity
in life.  Our criminal laws are very clear on this matter –
theft is a prosecutable crime.  I have been very
impressed with the Harris County Sheriff’s
department’s handling of the matter – I may even get my
iPad back!
Our Constitution’s laws are also very clear on the matter of theft: Article V. states “(No person shall) be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”  On July 8, 2014, you may be the victim of a crime.  You may be deprived of your liberty and ultimately your property by the FDA, who will on that date decide how to regulate your enjoyment of cigars.  Unfortunately, when the perpetrator and the prosecutor are the same, the handling of the matter is much less impressive.  You will not get due process of law from a regulatory agency whose purpose is to eradicate your access to a legal product!
I know some smokers who are complacent on this and other smoking issues.  They say, “I don’t mind warning labels”.  “Won’t regulation of production protect us?”  Don’t be fooled – you already have the choice, the liberty to smoke or not to smoke, to choose between brands, and try new products, to congregate with others of similar tastes.  Through regulation, the FDA will create a burden on manufacturers that will effectively eliminate new items, killing small manufacturers and also small retailers.  This will be a theft, a death by decree. 
But we have a chance!  You do have a voice – the FDA has given us a sliver of hope by suggesting that they may choose to not regulate premium cigars.   We now have 48 days left in the “comment period”.  Your comments will count!  Go NOW to the 
CRA website. Review the situation, click the link, make your comment.  Our passion for cigars, our business, our industry depends on YOU!


Kurt Van Keppel

August 2012 Newsletter

August 2012

Read more below about a chance to win $1,000 in cigars/merchandise in our first
XIKAR FOR LIFE Fantasy Football League! 
Kurt's Corner
Labor Day Message

     I like to say that a 'cigar makes a plumber and a president friends!'  That's because we have the relaxing enjoyment of a cigar in common - something to share and compare.  We all have something else in common - a job, which after food, shelter and security, may be our highest need, according to a new book by Gallup's CEO, Jim Clifton, called The Coming Jobs War.

     Clifton points to Gallup polling data to back his premise that the addition of good new jobs within the world's economic powers will be the battleground for economic gain vs. marginalization.  He suggests that Small Business, because of its capacity for entrepreneurship (and intrepreneurship) drives job growth worldwide.  (And, did you know that Small Business includes every cigar outlet, distributor and creator in the entire premium cigar industry?!) In sum, Clifton argues that through persistent pursuit of innovation, entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs will guarantee our future economic viability.

     And within entre(intra)preneurship, persistence pays off.  Of course I love Clifton's quote of Calvin Coolidge, "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence...talent will not...genius will alone will not...Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

     However, persistence alone won't suffice today.  That's because all business has a partner - the government, who can impede or foment business growth. Business needs our government's help, through proper regulation and taxation.  We also need our government to stand aside to allow this economic engine to rev to its maximum potential.

     So, on this Labor Day, relax with a good cigar and celebrate your job. Then celebrate your cigar, by joining the CRA to protect it from over-regulation and taxation.  Finally, protect your company, or the one you work for - and write your local, state and federal Congressman! Tell him to vote against excess regulation and taxation that hurts small business.

Kurt Van Keppel
President & Founder
New Vitara, double flame lighter!
     Love our Element lighter? Then you have to check out our new double jet flame lighter, the Vitara. With a unique slide-action trigger, it features a built-in side 7mm punch, an oversized fuel adjustment wheel and an easy-view fuel window. Its body is slightly smaller than the Element and comes in 5 finishes including our new Pearl and G2 (gunmetal on gunmetal). 


New Habano² added to the HC Series!

      The Habano² is the fourth blend added to the HC Series collection of cigars produced by XIKAR. The Habano2 is a medium to full body cigar made utilizing Sumatran, Nicaraguan and Honduran tobacco, all pulled together with a rich Habano2000 wrapper. It’s a rich, thick, deep, cigar with the flavor of roasted almonds, hints of spices, wood and nutmeg.  Additionally, this cigar is box-pressed which provides a fresh look and comfortable feel for a more enjoyable smoke.  This new blend will be offered in Robusto, Toro, Belicoso and Grande sizes.
      This new cigar blend was born from the travels and life experiences of XIKAR founders Kurt Van Keppel and Scott Almsberger.  As a part of building XIKAR, they have visited many countries and made many friends in the tobacco industry.  Among these journeys and friends they find treasures, and sometimes that treasure is planted not buried in the ground.  This Habano² is one of those treasures which they have brought back to share with the XIKAR Nation.
      “We are always hunting for treasures that we can share with our consumers,” said Kurt Van Keppel, XIKAR Founder and CEO.  He added “think of this as a souvenir that’s a lot more enjoyable than a T-shirt!” 

XIKAR U: How to Light with a Torch Flame

    Sit down with XIKAR President and Co-Founder Kurt Van Keppel as he demonstrates how to properly light a cigar with a torch flame. Watch Video

Featured Product: 744 Cigar Cut Knife
    Part knife, part cutter, all precision. A pocket knife, money clip and cigar cutter all in one! This unique knife is made with a long lasting AUS-8 stainless blade. The 744 Cigar Cut Knife very sharp and handy for the moment you forgot your cigar cutter.

Cigar Cutter- 48 ring gauge
Clip- Stainless
Lock- Frame lock

Upcoming XIKAR Events

     There are a lot of great events across the country this summer for you to check out. Here are a few coming up from our XIKAR retailers.  
8/21 City Place Cigars in Lynchburg, VA
Havana Connections in Richmond, VA
8/23 Tobaccology in Manassa, VA
8/23 Heroes and Legacies in Lubbock, TX
Outman Cigar and Martini Bar in Greenville, SC
8/24 Don’s Cigars in Phoenix, AZ
8/30 Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston, TX
8/31 Havana Alley in Galveston, TX

9/6 Fidel’s in Kansas City, MO
9/6 Top Shelf Cigar & Tobacoo Shoppe in Martinez, GA
9/7 La Casa del Tobacco in Atlanta, GA
9/14 Peaceful Henry in Blufton, SC
9/14 Absolute Tobacco in Katy, TX
9/15 Outlaw Cigar South in Overland Park, KS

9/15 Club Humidor’s CIGARS and PARS Golf Tournament in San Antonio, TX
9/17 Cigars and Fine Spirits in Auburn, AL
9/20 Smoke Ring Cigars in Webster, TX
9/21 Humidour Cigar Shop in Cockeysville, MD
9/22 Gala and Fundraiser in Bethlehem, PA
9/22 R and R Cigars in Tuscaloosa, AL
9/22 Briar Shoppe in Houston, TX
9/28 Draper’s Little Puff in Washington DC
9/29 WiseAsh Cigars in Smyrna, GA
9/29 Monte’s Big Smoke in Albuquerque, NM

Tips for Lighting a Cigar

     Some basics do's and dont's of lighting a cigar from Tobacconist University if you are new to the hobby.
- Remove the cellophane and any cedar or ribbons around the foot of the cigar
- Cut the cigar properly
- If using a match, allow the sulfur/chemicals to burn off the match head before taking the flame to the tobacco.
- Hold the flame slightly off of the tobacco. Flame = 1/8 of an inch, Torch = ½ inch.
- Rotate the cigar to evenly light the foot.
- Puff on the cigar in order to draw the flame to the foot.
- Light or char the outside of the wrapper.
- Use a candle to light the cigar.
- Light the head. (Really?! Cut and draw from the head and light the foot.)
- Lick the cigar: that is disgusting to watch and unnecessary if the cigar is properly humidified. The habit of licking a cigar was popular in the early 1900’s when proper humidity was more uncommon: low humidity may cause a wrapper to unravel. This habit is especially unsanitary for someone who’s cutter you may by using. 

XIKAR releases New Products at IPCPR!
     We are proud to introduce our newest product innovations that were released at the 80th Annual IPCPR Trade Show. XIKAR drives innovation through our  focus on form, feel and function, all at a fair price. Read more here

Will you make the CUT?


     That’s right XIKAR Nation, you’re not dreaming-- XIKAR is going to have its first XIKAR FOR LIFE Fantasy Football league this season! This league will be run by our Chief Strategy Officer, Tim Webster, a 20 year veteran of Fantasy Football and determined to take home the title. And of course, XIKAR account manager Mike Stous will be assisting him as his assistant GM, Waterboy, Cigar Fetcher, etc.
     To be a part of our exclusive 12 team league, you must apply by sending your clever team name and verifiable profile of your Fantasy Football street-cred to by Thursday August 30th 11:59 p.m. CST. The brave teams that make the cut will be notified and announced across our social media on Friday, August 31st. (Note: Only those with thick skin should apply as mockery, banter and trash talking will be taking place with no mercy.)
The final winner of the XIKAR FOR LIFE league will win bragging rights, a spot in the XIKAR FOR LIFE Hall of Fame, a virtual high five and a mere $1,000 in cigars and merchandise. The first loser (2nd place) will win $500, while the 3rd place team receives $250. For the other 9 teams… well, better luck next year. 

Brief Overview of the X4L League

The league will be run on the ESPN Fantasy Football online software. Here are some highlights of the league rules/setup:
- Points per reception league
- 6 points for all Touchdowns
- Rosters include 16 players with no restrictions as to make up by position
- Starters will include: 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, 1 tight end, 1 flex (WR or TE), 1 kicker, 1 defense/special teams
- The draft will be held September 4th or 5th online. If you are unable to attend the draft, your team will be auto-selected by the ESPN software.
Once you have been selected as a member, we will give you access to the league on ESPN to get familiar with all of the rules/details. 


XIKAR Product Reviews
Habano² by Tiny Tim 
After cutting the cap, the test draw was effortless. Sometimes with box pressed cigars the draw can be tight but this cigar had a great draw.

Read full review

Watch the review

Habano² by Halfwheel
XIKAR says that the cigar was born as the result of the travels and life experiences of co-founders Kurt Van Keppel and Scott Almsberger.

Read full review

Habano² by The Cigar Crook
This beautiful box pressed cigar had a smooth dark chocolate wrapper with no tooth and nearly invisible veins.

Read full review

Habano² by Seth's Humidor
As I begin the cigar, it starts off at a solid medium body level, and it is producing tons of smoke.

Read full review

Habano² by Scott Smyth
Initial lighting taste- A woody mineral taste with spice.

Read full review
Habano² by The Cigar Inspector
On all three samples, both the draw and the burn were as close to perfection as you can get.

Read full review
Habano² by The Ash Report
The initial taste is a woodsy spice with hints of nutmeg at the back of the pallet.

Read full review

EX Lighter, Xi3 Carbon Fiber Cutter & Habano Colorado by The Smoking Greek
Read the reviews

Tech Lighter by The Cigar Crook

Watch the review
Dog Days of Summer Winner: Hope you’re staying cool in these dog days of summer and we enjoyed all of the entries in our dog picture contest! Congratulations to the winner of a Stratosphere lighter and Ashtray Can, Jeremy Bloom and Charlie! He had the best picture of his canine friend incorporating XIKAR!

Here are a couple other great entries...
     He could... go... all... the... way! Send us a picture showing your team pride to Whether it’s a tailgate party or body paint, always remember, it doesn’t hurt to incorporate XIKAR into your entry (hint, hint). Our favorite entry will receive a 5ct Travel Humidor and an Xi1 in one of your team’s colors. All entries must be submitted by September 19th 11:59 p.m. CST. The winner will be announced September 20th in our next newsletter and on Facebook/Twitter.
Are you connected? Get your daily dose of XIKAR on our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blog. Be sure to check out our new Facebook tabs, "Kurt's Corner" and "Smoking with Scott" to get the latest news and innovations straight from XIKAR's two founders. 

May 2012 Newsletter

Kurt's Corner
Dear XIKAR Customers and Friends:

     Happy Memorial Day XIKAR Nation! This month, we salute all of the men and women of the US Armed Forces. Whether retired, stateside, or abroad, nothing can fully express our gratitude to all of you brave men and women. 
To show our appreciation and support of the troops, XIKAR sends out care packages to US troops all across the world. Our care packages consist of cutters, punches, lighters, travel cases, etc. that are donated from our retailers and sent overseas at no cost. We ask nothing in return from the troops but to use the XIKAR products proudly and send us a picture enjoying our products if possible. As if it wasn’t enough that they defend our freedom, some soldiers have sent us unnecessary but extremely honorable gifts as a thank you. These gifts mean the world to XIKAR and are displayed in our corporate office as a daily reminder of how blessed we are to live in this great nation.
      One of our XIKAR For Life Hall of Fame inductees, Capt. Dan “Dozer” Dwyer honored me with an unbelievable gift this past month. He presented me with an American flag that was proudly flown onboard of the U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet Aircraft 104. This aircraft launched off the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN77) and flew into the skies over Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom for 6.7 hours. This flag represents every sailor, soldier, airman and marine who has defended our great nation and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. XIKAR is absolutely honored to receive Capt. Dwyer’s gift and many others over the years. 
      Help XIKAR in supporting our troops by donating to The Fisher House Foundation. Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House Foundation donates "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. 
Have a wonderful month XIKAR Nation and God Bless the USA!
Kurt Van Keppel
President & Founder

April 2012 Newsletter

XIKAR April 2012
Kurt's CornerKurtsCorner

Dear XIKAR Customers and Friends:
        Autism affects one out of every 88 children and continues to increase.  More children this year will be diagnosed with Autism than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined.  Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases. These shocking statistics show that autism is an epidemic and needs continual awareness and support. April is Autism Awareness month so what better time to spread the word of how to help.

        Autism Awareness  holds a special place in my heart as my best friend from college has an autistic son that is now 20 years old. I have seen first hand the difficulties and challenges she has had to endure and continues to face with this disorder. Her situation sparked a fire in me years ago to do all I can to help raise awareness.

        XIKAR has been teaming up with En Fuego Tobacco Shop in Rockwell, TX to host an Annual Golf Tournament benefiting Autism. This annual tournament is held to raise awareness and funding for nonPareil ("no two are alike") Institute in Plano, TX. This is a nonprofit corporation that is dedicated to providing technical training to students who have been diagnosed with autism. The programs are technology based and prepare individuals for the possibility to enter into employment at some point in their future. They learn teamwork, create a sense of community, and achieve fulfilled lives. En Fuego Tobacco Shop's Annual Golf Tournament raised over $24,000 for the nonPareil institute last year. "Though, there are still many questions not answered about this disability, our partnership with nonPareil has helped make great strides in taking kids that the world has written off and turning them into contributing members of society," Lee Moore, owner of En Fuego Tobacco Shop said.


       Your support is needed NOW. Join in the fight to help support, autism education, awareness, advocacy, research and most importantly, enable us to assist children and families living with autism. Check out Autism Speaks or Autism Society to get involved.





Kurt Van Keppel

President & Founder

XIKAR, Inc. 

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