Cigar Cafe Radio Garrett Calhoun | Camacho Barrel Aged
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Garrett Calhoun, Southeast sales representative for Davidoff Geneva, joins the Cigar Café Radio guys. Garrett says his all-time favorite Davidoff is the Davidoff Aniversario No.3. You can pick up notes of vanilla and earthiness from the Camacho Barrel Aged. Garrett reveals only one of the leaves from the Camacho American Barrel Aged cigar is actually aged in a barrel. It is smooth and balanced and comes in three sizes. It’s a popular cigar and Garrett says they can’t seem to make it fast enough. They also expect the AVO Syncro Nicaragua to be big as there have been lots of buzz about it.

Listen to the podcast here:

Cigar Cafe Radio Garrett Calhoun | Davidoff | Camacho Barrel Aged

This is Lane Oden, I’m joined by Sean Kavanaugh and Harris Saunders. We’ve got a couple of extras here with us. Garrett Calhoun from Davidoff is hanging out with us. We’ll be talking to him. We have a non-participant in the room too. I have to decide whether to engage him later. How is it going with you guys? 

Good. How are you all? 

I’m good. I’m liking the studio audience capacity one. That’s good stuff. We’re growing.

I’m doing well. It’s all about football for me. I’ve got a son that’s involved in youth football. I’m coaching. Lane and I have talked many times. College football is right around the corner. My wife hates this time of year, but I love it.

I’m married. My wife graduated from the University of Alabama, so I get football at home.

That’s pretty freaking cool because she hates it. I shouldn’t say that. She likes to watch my son, but the sport, I think the fanaticism escapes her. 

I still think when you’re coaching, you need to work a cigar to being your thing.

I think he tried and got shot down.

Here’s what I did. I’ll tell you a great story. Right before the football season, my son was in Lacrosse. One of the fathers on the team knew I was a cigar guy, so he brought some punches out to the field and he goes, “Do you want one?” I’m like, “Hell yes, I want one. I’ll take it.” We’re on this humongous field and we lit up and in about five minutes later we had a parent and a coach go, “Can you guys walk over to the parking lot? It’s blowing in our kids’ direction.” I knew it was coming, so we went out in the parking lot and had our smoke and we were done.

That happened to me at a beer festival before. A girl walks up in my face and it tells me how rude it is that I’m smoking a cigar outside of a beer fest. We’re outside. 

Sometimes I think some people have had bad experiences though because not everybody is respectful as we are. Some people throw their butts out or make sure that they blow smoke or they try to get in to that crowd and fire up a cigar in the middle of the crowd with no accounts and respect and all that. People are guilty of that, but I think the more respectful people are the more than we may get some of those rights and those things back where we can actually do it and we’re not looked at as outcasts.

I think that’s a great point. It’s one thing for everybody to keep in mind that if you have the opportunity to walk away. That’s probably a good decision.

Just be respectful in the first place. Represent the industry.

Cigar Cafe Radio Garrett Calhoun | Camacho Barrel Aged
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Camacho Barrel Aged: I don’t think people look at cigar smokers the same way as they look at cigarette smokers for sure.

I will say that I don’t think people look at cigar smokers the same way as they look at cigarette smokers for sure. Most guys are like, “I wish I had one.” The women are like, “Sometimes I like the smell, sometimes I don’t.” I don’t think it’s near as frowned upon as cigarette smoking.

I definitely get more positive feedback in general and public. If I’m out smoking at some outdoor event someone is invariably going to walk up and say, “That smells pretty good. What is that?” As long as I’m not saying something black and mild. As long as I’m not saying it’s a Macanudo, I’m pretty good.

You get away with those Black & Milds that you smoke outdoor for sure. It had a very nice aroma.

We’ve got the Davidoff Rep on. What are you guys smoking right now? What’s going on?

We’re smoking the Escurio. I had one couple of three weeks ago. How many of them have you had?

I think this is my third or fourth one. I smoke one with a friend and it was a fantastic experience. It was a perfect cigar. It was great. I’m excited to try the new size. I don’t think I’ve smoke this size yet.

I’m smoking a Macanudo. I’m smoking my personal favorite cigar in the Davidoff portfolio. The Davidoff Aniversario No. 3. I fired it up before we started here, not knowing that we were all going to try to wear matching outfits and smoke matching cigars. I’m the outcast right now. 

You wouldn’t believe Harris and I share.

You guys are all in suspenders then with no t-shirt?

What is it? We’re tied.

Nice. I’m an Oregon fan. I don’t know any better.

Are you an Oregon fan? 

Yes. I am an Oregon guy.

No kidding. Are you from there? 

I’m from Chicago. Joey Harrington back in my high school that early college years when they posted him up in the Times Square with the Joey Heisman, and I was like, “What is this?” Growing up in Illinois, it’s not 95 with Darnell in Northwestern, but besides that, it’s not a huge college city. It’s a small town. I was like, “Their mascot is the Fighting Ducks?” They’re not that good. They have sponsorship money from Nike. The white guy was from Heisman. I’m like, “That’s my new team.” Twenty years later, they’d been playing well the last five, six years. It was a far cry from barely making it to the bowl when I started jumping on a bandwagon.

Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in Libertyville, North Suburbs. I went to college in Evanston. It’s about 30, 40 minutes from downtown. How about yourself?

I grew up in the city. Then we moved to the south suburbs. I currently live in New Lennox, which is about twenty miles from south of the city. I went to Mount Carmel High School in Chicago. The Caravan, yes. My dad and I are big fans. We go to the games that we can. If my son’s not playing on the same day.

Their football program is still strong as it always has been.

They won back to back state titles in 2012 and 2013. They made it to the semifinals. I think they’re ranked number two this year. The first game is this weekend at Soldier Field.

What class are they? Are they 6A?

No, they were 8A.

They’ve expanded. I’ve been gone ten years.

The reason being is they’ve done the multiplier stuff because of the Catholic schools.

I grew up right down from regular Carmel, not Mount Carmel in Mundelein, so a Catholic school.

How long have you been working for Davidoff?

I started with Davidoff in 2005. I added some retail tobacco experience working for Ken and Julie Neumann’s Cigars & More in Libertyville, Illinois. Ken and Julie are real big people in the industry so they gave me my start. I ran our store old Chicago Smoke Shop downtown, of LaSalle right down from the exchange and then jumped on and got interviewed at 2005 with Davidoff. I was lucky enough to get asked to be on board and then relocated from Chicago down to Nashville, Tennessee to take over at that time what was a six-state territory.

How fun. I watch Harris from afar and go, “This is a pretty decent life. You’ll probably be, ‘Sean are you shitting me? The margins aren’t good enough. We don’t sell enough cigars.’ I get it.” It certainly is a pleasant pastime for me.

I think the interaction is what’s key in any business. You have the right people. You’re not always going to deal with everybody that’s going to be like you and it’s going to be best friends to hang out with the business, but you can do the x’s and o’s behind it. It makes it worthwhile when you see smiling faces or other people come in and get a new interaction with somebody who shows up at an event. Shows up at a dinner or something, it’s cool and think Harris and besides the people that have to work underneath him, which he’s got a place and do his job, the regular interaction, like I have on a sales thing I think is very positive. It makes the day go by fast and also makes it all worthwhile.

What I love to do when I’m in a humidor at a cigar shop, I like to steer the people away from the Macanudos. Seriously, I do. 

You’re never going to be a sponsor.

I got plenty of other products besides Macanudo. 

I want to go, “Come on. Seriously, you’re going to buy a Cohiba too while you’re at it?”

They got to start somewhere though to be fair on that. If a guy is veteran smoker and he smokes other things besides Macanudo, then yes, I agree with you. You got to start people somewhere and you can’t start it with somebody who’s new in the business on something that’s going to blow their face off.

There’s a time and place for everything. The main thing is getting them in and then getting them graduated quickly. Let’s go through eighth grade in a couple of weeks. Let’s get you smoking some good product.

Harris had me on the teat right away. 

You’re spoiled.

He tapped a vein. The first couple were free. I was in.

I love it. Feeding the baby bird. I like it.

Sean has come a long way since the show started. He started out mostly on infused cigars, some of the Javas and Acids and now he’s smoking everything from Davidoff’s to T52s to Ashton VSG.

You are my rule of thumb. Good job, congrats.

Honestly, you described it perfectly. I started with a Java Latte Drew Estate and it was a great smoke and I thought that that would be the only thing that I would smoke. Then a friend of mine gave me and Ashton sampler. The first thing I had out of that Ashton sampler was the VSG, which would blow your face off. I came on the next show and I went, “Holy shit. I had the cigar of my life. This was awesome. Screw the infusion ones. I want this.”

That’s a great story though. It’s a good thing to have something like that. I think a lot of us remember our early cigars and most of us, if we tried to go back to them right now, we probably go green or get sick because of you all graduate into it. I do want to bring up one point. You said you like to do what you’d like to do when you go the humidor. What I like to do when I go on a humidor is pick up any random cigar with cellophane on it and smell the cellophane to get the true flavor of the cigar. I’m kidding.

I was throwing you for a loop.

That’s bullshit. That’s like selling me an elevator pass to a one floor building.

Cigar Cafe Radio Garrett Calhoun | Camacho Barrel Aged
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Camacho Barrel Aged: When I have a bad smoke I seriously feel like the company personally offended me.

Harris, I wanted to tell you that when I have a bad smoke I seriously feel like the company personally offended me. I had two bad ones in a row and I had to do something about it. I had the El Centurion, which I know you just got back from the show. I don’t think it’s even out yet by My Father and I hated it passionately. Have you had one? Have you tried it?

Was it the new one? The H-2K Connecticut?


I have not smoked that one yet.

I have. I was not disappointed by any means for what they’ve done and I love a lot of My Father stuff. It just seemed like it was missing stuff on half the way through for me, but I always do it three strikes and you’re out policy. I smoke at different times a day and whatever else. If you’re having problems with construction or burn or any of that stuff, that’s completely different, but I felt like it was missing something in the middle and usually his stuff grows to a crescendo where it’s fantastic. It gets better every puff. I only smoked one so that’s why I’m not either way on it, but it didn’t blow my socks off like I was hoping. 

I think part of the problem too is that they come out with so many fantastic things that if something’s not fantastic. It doesn’t live up to that expectation.

You’re right. It could be because I had such good ones. The Crema No. 3 was amazing.

Flor de La Santillas, think you’d like that one a lot.

When I light up My Father, I expect something good and then when it wasn’t I’m like, “That sucks.” We’ve talked about this, our profiles are different maybe someone likes sucking on a piece of charcoal for 25, 30 minutes. I personally do not. Do you think that was a little harsh?

You’re just being honest. Every palate’s different. There are ones I hate.

Your palette is going to continue to evolve from what I’m picking up from what we’ve talked about. Maybe six months from now that cigar is up your alley or maybe it’s even taste like gasoline not charcoal, who knows?

One of them that I did want to talk to you about, Harris and Lane, we were having a phone call and then I got pulled away from the phone call. You sent me a Camacho Barrel Aged.

Yes. I figured you’d like that.

Can I please order five more?

I was wondering where you’re going with that one. Garrett, this is not because you’re on. I’m telling you from the first eighth of an inch, I turned to my wife and I go, “Holy Shit is this a good cigar.” She’s like, “What’s good about it?” I can’t describe. There’s vanilla. It’s so good. I can smoke this every day. 

Before the vanilla kicked in, there was a nice earthiness to it. It reminded me of the early Davidoff Winston Churchill’s that I was like, “There’s like grass or something in there.”

That’s Garett’s favorite cigar.

That’s my favorite cigar we’ve ever made.

What, the Winston Churchill? 

The original Winston Churchill. I’ve been with the company ten years and that’s my favorite release, non-limited edition that we’ve ever come up with. It has since been discontinued and we still have some available for purchase, but the new stuff’s out and it’s good, but it’s not my favorite thing ever.

The Barrel Aged is one of my new favorites. This is not like anything else.

It is so different and the cool thing is everybody gets something different out of it because they actually have a different mindset going in, because when you hear American Barrel Aged, you see the stuff that’s out there where you have maker’s mark that has a cigar, which is a flavored cigar. Obviously, Acid is doing things that are infused. Then Drew Estate also has stuff that’s fire-cured. When you see American Barrel Aged, what is it exactly? Which do you think it is? Is it going to be one of those three? To be honest it’s none of them. We’re taking one of the tobaccos that are in there, only one, aging them in Bourbon barrels for five months. It has the Nicaragua seed filler. It adds a different complexity to it. I don’t think you’re going to smoke all three sizes in my opinion, because they all offer different nuances and different flavors, but it’s not fire-cured. It’s not flavored. It’s not infused. It’s just aged.

The vanilla did come out up front in that stick. It took a minute for me to say, “There’s the bourbon. It was there about halfway through, but at first I was this is a nice, medium plus, earthy, balanced cigar. What size did you smoke, you guys spend? You all smoked the same size?

I think I smoke six by six.

I think I smoked the toro.

I think they’re all different and we’ll try to make something happen on a side note and put some stuff together. Especially with Harris hosting this big three-day event that’s coming in. If I can’t do anything before then I’ll make sure you guys all have samplers to try all three. Someone in every night for three nights to see if you can find any differences and if they’re subtle for you or there are some extremes because I’ve heard some stuff from A to Z. Usually when you’re looking at a product, it’s more I would say G to P, so to go A to Z, it could be a good thing because you’re encompassing a lot of different people from the industry.

Thank you, Garrett. I definitely need three different sizes of Barrel Aged. Thank you very much.

That’s not a problem.

I was a little nervous when we planned this Camacho Barrel Aged tour event, and that wasn’t out yet and Garret was like, “You have to wonder about $8,000 worth of it at costs.” I don’t know about that for one cigar. Then it came out. It’s like, “I think it actually will make sense, but most of the time it will not make sense.” Everybody’s excited.

I agree. When people say three-day event, that doesn’t make sense to most sales reps. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense as much reach as many retailers. I think bringing the circus into town is going to be exciting.

Garrett, I have to tell you that I have gone to three different cigar shops that do sell Camacho there and none of them have it yet. I was shocked.

What’s shops, if you don’t mind me asking? We can put them on blast if we want to or I can put my sales rep on blast either way.

I can do that. You’ve got US 30 tobacco. It’s in New Lenox. Then we’ve got Totally Tobacco Inc in Mokena, Illinois. One other one, I think that’s Tobacco For Less in New Lenox.

Cigar Cafe Radio Garrett Calhoun | Camacho Barrel Aged
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Camacho Barrel Aged: It’s hard to take other people off of making other products in the factory to focus on the new launch. We want to keep everything even and not cannibalize any sales.

To be fair, it doesn’t mean that they haven’t ordered it. We physically launched the product. It may be fair that it’s a first in, first out as far as I ordered it. They might be struggling and wanting to know where the heck the product they ordered two months ago was as well just to be fair to them, but that’s how big this product is and how well we’re doing with it and with such a large portfolio. It’s hard to take other people off of making other products in the factory to focus on the new launch. We want to keep everything even and not cannibalize any sales.

That’s nice to hear though, when you’re not quite sure how people are going to take the blend and then you get it in people’s hands and you knock it right out of the park and that’s cool to know.

We’ve been very lucky with it and like Garrett said, he was apprehensive about doing the event. He knew I was going to put them on the calendar anyway. We’re going to have to suck it up. The nice thing with all the social media hype, all the marketing money behind and everything else and launching the product. I told everybody that if this product is half as good as we’re marketing it, we’d have a winner on our hands. I think it’s as good if not even better than 100%. That sets up.

Harris, what are you doing? Explain the event. I don’t know what you guys are doing.

Garret, why don’t you tell us a little bit about it.

We started with a Camacho Torch It Up tour featuring the board of the bowl, which is Mike Ditka, the famous coach in Chicago and obviously New Orleans, Dallas, and so on. Matt Booth, creator and founder of Room 101 and Rob Weiss who is a Hollywood actor, producer of Entourage, Ballers, a couple of shows like that. We created a board of the bowl and we packed this truck up and the barbecue grill and a motorcycle. We went around 80 stores and Harris was one of them to give out a custom Harley and promoted the brand. They’ve amped it up and we’re only doing 25 stores, but we’re doing what’s coming out to be a three-day circus. We’ll be out here and we’ll have models out here. We have games and some stuff to be played to earn tickets to win prizes and also to qualify to win a Yoder Smoker. We’re giving away a $5,000 credit for your own custom smoker. It’s obviously big here in the south. People love growing out. A custom piece with your favorite college football team or your family crest or whatever on it is cool, but we’ll have corn hole out here. We’ll have adult Jenga. We have a high strike. It’s like a carnival.

We’re going to all have to get in a little bit better shape. What do you think, Lane?

Not if we want to win. The cool thing too is down here we’re doing a bourbon pairing and a bourbon taste. That’s going to be involved for the people that come through. We’re also going to be taken our custom smoker that with the Camacho logo on it and firing up the ribs. People can come in, it’s very interactive. They get random tickets for coming in, spending money on tickets for doing the photo booth, for participating in games and activities. Those things can be cashed in for prizes that we give away rocks, glasses, grill sets, custom ashtrays and even cigars. It’s going to be a three-day fun little festival or the first two days. More in-store trainings and that kind of stuff. We’ll finish up with a huge party in the parking lot with the tenants and the smokers. Just go and have a good time.

Lane, Harris, and I have talked about how important it is for employees in these cigar shops to be well-versed on what they have in their humidor. I have to tell you that of the cigar shops around me, only Benny’s who has their own humidor and you probably know.

I know, Benny as well.

They’re the only cigar place that I’ve been into that’s close by that has a guy in there that knows what he’s talking about. The more the guy knows, the more they’re able to sell. Of course anyone could say, “Just go to Acid and buy some Kuba Kuba,” but again most of them don’t have well-educated cigar guys in the store.

You got to have that. I think you can train anybody but if they’re not willing to learn or they don’t have the desire to, in a place like Benny’s you’ve got somebody specific that’s doing that. You could have a guy who knows the spirit side of it and then you ask him a cigar question, he doesn’t know anything. It’s about giving the possibility to educate. I know Harris is very involved with talking to the reps, including myself and my other cohorts. “If you have a new product, we have time to sit down.” Luckily, I had that much turnover. It’s about growing the education with the guys. Once you teach them and they can understand what’s going on, everything falls into place.

Part of it is recognizing the opportunity that you have some of these retail tobacco and stuff because you’re not the first guest that we’ve had on the show that said, “That’s how I got started in the industry.” You’re repping this major Dominican brand package. If they decide that they want to get into it and they want to learn the cigar side of the business, there isn’t a limit to how far they can progress. Harris was already done stuff, he’s already went through guys that have left to work in the sales field with quality companies like Oliva and so forth. Other guys that we have interviewed from any sales rep jobs of guys who have left to open their own store and that kind of stuff. Good, bad, indifferent. Opportunities have presented themselves for people who wanted to grow and the means presented itself. Good for them. 

That’s the key. That’s what we look for. At least they’re interested in learning. We have a lot of guys that when they started they were like, “I don’t know anything about cigars.” That’s almost better, we want you to have the desire so we can teach you everything.

These guys have also on trips. There are a lot of companies. I know Harris has been on a trip with us to Davidoff, an exclusive appoint a merchant, but there’s many other companies out there. Camacho is going to start doing it again next year at Camp Camacho. I’m excited about that. There are other companies that offer trips for general managers, employees, that kind of stuff. I know Jason’s been to a couple places down in Honduras and Gary’s been to Honduras. Harris has been to Dominican and I think Honduras and Nicaragua. Those opportunities, we can talk those in the face and read sales sheets to people or talk like we’re talking now and everybody gets different things and that’s a great way to learn and open up your brain to not how you feel about a cigar. Until you go, that is the biggest learning experience of all regardless of broken English or not.

It’s amazing to see the process, how much manual labor goes into making a cigar from the fields to the factories, the curing barns and rolling. It’s truly amazing to see the whole process and it’s hard to comprehend until you get down there and actually see it in person.

That is cool. I know that Lane and I have talked about. I know we’ve got Garrett and I know you probably smoke a ton of your own cigars but I usually have three, four, five a week. What are some of the ones you love right now? What are some of the cigars that knock out of the park a little bit?

I’ll just stick with one that’s newer, that’s part of our portfolio. Then I’ll tell you about some other brands that I like because I do smoke everything. I consider myself a cigar guy or cigar aficionado first and then sales rep second because I want most of them. I won’t say every company out there, but I want most of the companies to be successful and do that because it drives the industry fantastically. We have our AVO Syncro Nicaragua that started shipping this week in the markets. I think it was the best release we have at the show. I mean no offense to Davidoff Escurio or the American Barrel Aged or anything else. I think it’s a fantastic cigar. It’s the first box press that we’ve created in AVO line outside of TAA exclusive, which luckily Harris was actually part of that and got to have that cigar. It’s a mix. It’s got Dominican flavor still because we’re doing a tribute to AVO, but it actually does have a mix of Nicaraguan and Peruvian tobacco in it. For whatever reason, it was blended basically to my specifications without me having to do anything with the blending part of it. That cigar is coming to the market.

We’ve had people coming in everyday asking when’s it going to be here. When will it be? I don’t even know how they know about it.

I’ve got two texts from people that are my friends that I’ve met through the cigar business saying, “Who’s the first store that’s going to get it in Knoxville? When’s Biloxi getting it?” I think it’s funny that those guys are hyped up about it, but I smoke a lot of Padrón. Padrón’s probably my favorite outside of Davidoff. I was thoroughly disappointed though. I’m going to go the opposite on their Connecticut, whatever their calling it. Their Padrón White Label. I smoked one before the show, during the show and one after and it’s disappointing. I’m going back to El Centurion. Maybe the bar’s too high for me as well. I just didn’t care for it. I do know before I had a couple of good releases that came out.

La Nox is just fantastic. I smoked that cigar, I like it a lot and actually a couple of my friends that work in the retail business, like you guys brought up, Harris may have his own blend one day. These guys have created a couple blends, Dissident Cigar, they are based in Wichita, Kansas. They came out with a cigar that’s going to be a limited production called Home. It was very different from everything else that they’ve released, the two previous releases. It has so much flavor. I’m hyped up on that. Luckily, I got a bunch of samples from them at the show, but I smoked them all and then I realized I don’t have any more so I might need to go to Wichita to get some more, but that was a cool release.

What factory are they making those in?

Cigar Cafe Radio Garrett Calhoun | Camacho Barrel Aged
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Camacho Barrel Aged: Some of the major players and some of the boutique guys that like to do private label stuff are taking it to a whole other level.

It’s undisclosed what they’ve done. From what I know, their plan is to work with many different manufacturers, including Davidoff in the long run, but they’re trying to spread it out. I think that they’re doing some things without throwing anybody out there. They’re definitely working on stuff from the Dominican, Nicaragua and Honduras. Some of the major players and some of the boutique guys that like to do private label stuff, they’re taking it to a whole another level. There are some cool things out there. Let me ask you guys, the rest of us in this room, anything else from the show or anything you’ve smoked recently that has hit a point that I should try, if I haven’t already?

I smoked a CLE Signature Series Primera Liga de Miami. It was just a home run for me. I was happy with it. This was beyond great. It was built medium to full-bodied. I got fuller bodied flavors out of it, but as far as strength goes, it wasn’t anything that knocked on my ass or anything. It’s a nice smoke, it would have paired well before scotch, it was smoky like scotch. It was super dense but very smokable and that was the cigar that I had sort of by accident. I probably had it for six or eight months and because it didn’t have a label on that, I didn’t know what it was. We actually talked about it on the show and worked out what it was. I think it was one day that I was working from home. I don’t know, but I ended up on my patio, lit it up.

I had a Gurkha Platinum Series. Which one was that, Harris, is the one that I had from the show?

It was a Cellar Reserve Platinum and it’s not out yet. It was a pre-release. 

That one was awesome.

It’s like the third or the fourth Cellar Reserve? 

I think it’s a third.

It is the fourth, and it’s the last one and that will complete the Cellar Reserve. 

I have the natural Maduro, but I thought there was a third one.

It’s the eighteen-year Robertson reddish box.

They did a nice job with that. I can go on air and say I am not a big fan of Gurkha in general. It’s probably my least favorite company for many reasons, I hadn’t smoked the eighteen that Harris mentioned, but the first two I was pleasantly surprised. I have purchased some, they did that right and I think a lot of retailers are back on the Gurkha train, if not for the whole line specifically for that and I applaud them for that. Because it’s about time that they did what they used to do when they started and got back to the roots by making something that’s quality and pricing it correctly and price protecting it for that means. I enjoyed it, especially with the White Label. I’m guilty of buying it, but don’t tell anybody.

As far as Gurkha goes, people will love to hate it. There aren’t a lot of people who are like, “They’re okay.”

They do have a lot of fans out there. I agree with Garrett, the Cellar Reserve series has been a big success for them and for us in the stores too. I’m a big fan of those. What I’ve tried lately that was a big surprise to me. I don’t know why I didn’t have huge expectations for it, but the Leaf By Oscar. I really love the Sumatra blend and then the toro size and they make it into Connecticut, Maduro, Sumatra, and Corojo blend. We can’t even keep them in the stores. We sell out in every week, but even outside of that, it’s fantastic.

I think a lot of people will look at it as a novelty. We have a tobacco leaf wrapped around the cigar, “Let me try that once.” I smoked all four, and there’s not a bad one in there and I prefer the Corojo myself personally, but I’m more of an expert in Corojo because of dealing with what I’m dealing with Camacho. I know that wrapper leaf fairly well. When another company can do something that the company I represent does very well on the magnitude that we do with this, they get major props. I agree with that. Have you smoked that?

It’s amazing. Every customer I talk to, they tell the same story that Garrett just told like, “I thought it was a gimmick. I’ll try it once.” When they smoke it, “I love that cigar.” They come back and buy five and every same story every time. 

I’m still in love with that Kristoff Corojo Limitada. I love that cigar. I have one. Harris, I believe you sent me one. I have it in the humidor, I think.

Do you have them? 

We don’t, I think that was a sample one. We will be getting them soon, but that was a pre-released.

Because I’m here to shop too. I’ve got to get some cigars, I’m going to get a Perdomo Champagne Noir and a Java Mint for my wife. 

Rather than spending $30 a stick on Cohiba Siglos and Montecristo No. 2, we’ll stick our own cigars.

No doubt, be prepared. I get to go on a trip to California as well. Which is by the way, the easiest place to smoke cigars is the state of California. Did you guys know this?

You’re with me. I’m joking. It’d be interesting to have four cigar guys going out for a baseball brewery road trip to figure out where and when we’re actually going to be able to enjoy and partake in any smokes with our live agents.

Where are you headed in California? 

We’re going to go do a four-day road trip. We’re going to go Dodgers Stadium, Petco in San Diego, Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Corona del Mar, the horse tracks down outside of San Diego. Then we’ve got 23 breweries on the docket within those three cities.

Cigar Cafe Radio Garrett Calhoun | Camacho Barrel Aged
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Camacho Barrel Aged: There’s nothing that’s better than being able to know what you’ve lived through and watching family members be able to do that.

Garrett, you’re single, aren’t you?

I have a girlfriend that I live with, but she met me doing what I’m doing, so she knows that if there’s an opportunity for me to go do something, I’m going to go do it.

I’ve known Garrett for a while now and one thing I love about Garret is that he has a die-hard team in every sport that exists literally. You’re like the ultimate sports fan.

They always say fan is short for fanatic and I’m definitely a fanatic when it comes to that. I’ll go to many events every year, whether it be regular games, playoff games. I did the Triple Crown this year. I was lucky enough to see that. I’ve done Super bowls, NCA Championship games, Stanley Cup Championships, World Series. If there’s something going on and my teams anywhere involved in it, I went to the National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl, I’ll be there. I didn’t like the result of one of those two games, but it is what it is and to be able to be playing and say that I went to the first big BCS Championship game was something that I’ll be able to tell my kids. They’ll ask me, “How did the team do?” and then I’ll change the subject.

Did you go to the Super bowl? 

No, two years ago.

My sporting events were back in high school and college when I went to University of Iowa, so I got to see them in the ’92 Rose Bowl and I went to the very first Catholics versus Convicts, Notre Dame Miami game, which was awesome.

That’s the kind of stuff that you remember though. That’s amazing.

Obviously, I went with the principal and the assistant principal from Carmel with my father. I got offered $1,000 a ticket back in 1988. You can imagine. Finally we said, “We’re here with two priests. We’re not going to sell the tickets. I’ll get expelled from high school.” It was cool and you’re right. That is something that you’ll remember. My son is a huge sports fan and I’m unfortunately not in a position to take him to those games. I wish I was, but I hopefully will get to see something of historic in nature. To go to a Hawks playoff game was ridiculous. It’s $1,000 to go.

That price still boggles my mind. I figured right now before I end up with the family position and I become like most of the rest of us here with kids in that position where you’ve got to pick and choose your battles without the expense of everything else. I’ll live it up now. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve only bought my first house at 34 years old because I was spending the money living the experiences that I wanted to live.

I hear people all the time and it’s lucky because I know that’s going to end one day, but family and friends and people through Facebook and social media that have families and stuff that I always invite them, “I wish I could go. My daughter’s got a recital. My son’s got a game.” We live vicariously through you via social media and I try to put it to another level for these people that can’t do it because I know I’m going to get married eventually and I’m going to have a family eventually. I’m going to have somebody else that I’m going to have to find to do the same things.

Can I tell you something though, Garrett? I’ll tell you a real quick story before we wrap it up because I’ve got to go pick up the kids, obviously. I wrestled in college. I had a pretty good career. I played football at Carmel for my final two years. Of their thirteen state titles, I’ve been at probably ten of them. My son plays football. He’s a pretty good football player. In his first year of tackle football, they won the Super Bowl. We were ten and one. We have a good organization, I think he’s 33 in four years, so he’s had a nice run. One of my greatest sports moments ever was on his ninth birthday. They lost seven to six to a team in the fifth week of the season. They beat them in the semifinals with 23 seconds left on the five-yard line, fourth and five on the five-yard line.

They couldn’t get a first down and they scored on the fourth down play and he turned to me. It was his birthday, so he turned to me on the sidelines with his hands up in the air crying. He looked at me and he mouthed, “We won.” It was the finest sports moment of my life. I turned to my dad who goes to every single practice and I said, “Dad, I finally know what you felt.” No Super Bowl could ever come close to that.

I agree. You’ve got to wrestle. I played some sports in college as well and going and watching your favorite team do that is amazing. You’re participating in something, especially at a great school like Iowa for wrestling, you got some of the best guys I’ve come through there doing that. Being able to participate, that’s even more amazing, but there’s nothing that’s better than being able to know what you’ve lived through and watching family members be able to do that. Whether especially your own kids, but brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, anybody else that you were able to see that growing up where you’ve lived while they’re growing up. That trumps anything right there and I’m glad you share that. That’s awesome.

I want to tell you that that wasn’t bragging. I never thought that it would feel like that. I didn’t know that it would be that profound. 

I appreciate you sharing that because that’s something that makes me smile. I got the goose bumps and almost teary in the eye because somebody is passionate about something. As all of us are about the industry that we’re talking about, the cigar industry. It makes it worth living. What’s that saying? If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. We all work our asses off so that might be a little bit of bullshit, but I get the sentiment in it and it does exist.

I want to tell you what a pleasure it was to meet you and have this.

Thank you and a side note, if Harris will have me back, we’re doing a bit of a Davidoff Escurio Night Dinner that we’re doing. If you don’t have another guest or you don’t have something else set up, I’d be glad to come back. We can talk about how Oregon and their transfer quarterback Bert Adams did against Michigan state when it’s number six, versus number five. Either I’m going to talk shit the whole time or I’m going to be very quiet.

I can talk shit, fine. 

There you go. There we go, then we’re good. I think NFL is going to be real interesting. I think NCA is going to be interesting and do a little bit of sports talk when that stuff gets going. I look forward to that. How old is your son by the way now?

He is eleven going to be twelve.

Seventh grade.

He’s on older sixth grader.

I was up late August, so same type of thing, I was a little younger than everybody else. He’s got a couple more years with this team that he’s playing with them, right?

He is. He’s the only sixth grade full-time starter for the JV team, which is a sixth and seventh grade team together.

I hope when he’s done and he’s getting ready to go rock it up in high school that they’re 55 and three and you got some more things to celebrate.

I appreciate that very much and I hope so too. Again, I tell them all the time to savor these moments. This is not how normal football goes. To your point, I don’t know that I won more than three games in a season until I got to Carmel, and then when eight, one, nine, zero, eleven and three and fourteen and zero. I didn’t get to feel that he gets to feel that at eight, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve. It’s pretty neat.

You’re coaching him, so you’re part of that too from top to bottom. You have more at stake for yourself and when that stuff happens and I hear about this success as the season goes, let me know because I’ll make sure you got some victories, cigars and smoke in the parking lot.

I appreciate that very much. Thank you, Garrett. Nice meeting you. At that point. Maybe the ladies will smoke. They’re winning. If those job was out. Let’s do it. 

Garrett, thanks for being on the show. 

I enjoyed it very much

See you guys. 



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