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It’s interesting how different two cigar sizes can taste within the same blend, like the Nat Sherman Timeless 660 and 556 as well as with the Camacho Barrel Aged cigars. The Tatuaje SNS member sticks are unreleased secret blends. Members of the Saints and Sinners Club receive a special box of cigar every year. The Jericho Hill by Crowned Heads has a Mexican San Andres wrapper. It burns great but a little loose. It was made in the My Father factory but doesn’t have the characteristic of the My Father branded cigars. A lot of companies are releasing limited editions, but they’re just doing it for the sake of doing it; there’s not anything special. The AVO limited edition are special ones though. They’re using tobacco that didn’t have enough to make a full production line yet has special tobaccos.

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Cigar Cafe Radio Tatuaje SNS | La Antiguedad TAA | Opus X | AVO

What’s up guys?

Not too much. Just another day in the cigar shop. Getting ready for a big Perdomo event in one of the stores.

What’s going on with Perdomo?

It’s their standard event. Chris Harper, our rep and National Director of Sales come in and do special guests with purchase. Sometimes it’s travel humidors, cigar lighters, cigar cutters. They rotate through a bunch of different things that are nice. It’s fun. People come and hang out and get excuse to get people out, smoke cigar, hanging out.

What’s one of their big cigars that they’re trying to push right now? I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that it’s following the big show. Is there something that they’re trying to get out there to the people?

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Tatuaje SNS: The Perdomo Double Aged 12 Yr Connecticut Maduro age one of the leaves in a bourbon barrel which gives it a nice taste.

Perdomo has released quite a few special editions, limited production cigars. The one that just released is called the Perdomo 12 Year Barrel-Aged that comes out once a year. They do it in a Connecticut Maduro in Sun Grown Wrapper and they release about four months apart. We just get the Connecticuts in for the second time. This is the second year we’ve had those. They may be featuring those. It’s a nice, mild to medium Connecticut Wrapper cigar. The age one of the leaves in a Bourbon Barrel, so it gives it a nice taste.

How is it compared to the other Barrel Aged that we’ve talked about in the past? Is it similar?

It’s totally different to me than like the Camacho American Barrel Aged. The Camacho one is much stronger, has a much more pronounced bourbon flavor, but vanilla. The Perdomo one, it’s a little subtler.

What are you smoking? We were comparing cigars. What’s going on?

I’m smoking the 2015 Tatuaje Saints and Sinners. I’ve got something maybe a four and a half inch longer something like that. It’s a little bit shorter than that Corona or something.

This is a Corona. On the band it says Member SNS, Member Exclusive number two.

I have the number four.

These are unreleased secret blends. From what I’ve seen on the internet, I haven’t found any blend information. They haven’t told me anything. If you’re a member of the Saints and Sinners Forum that’s owned by Tatuaje Cigars and Pete Johnson, I think they have 666 members. If you join every year they give you a special box of cigar. I just came in.

What are you getting out there? Mine’s not really a powerhouse. It’s medium bodied, but it’s got a lot of prominent spice on it.

It looks like they’re different. Yours is darker than mine. Mine I don’t pick up any spice. It’s just smooth medium to full body with a lot of complex flavors. It’s a nice smooth cigar.

Is this like the Chipotle secret menu or the In-and-Out Burger secret menu. You don’t know what you’re getting, you’ve got to be part of the club?

Yes, there are no reviews of these cigars online at all.

They only make exactly the number of cigars as there are members of the forum. It’s basically a big cigar forum. They would have made 666 or whatever the number is of each one of these cigars. I think each box has four or five of each size in it.

Only members get access to those?

Yes. It’s part of the membership. The way it works is once a year they open up membership for a week for existing members and then I think there’s about a week for non-members to join if there are any spots left, but they cap it. It’s like a hard cap at that 666 or whatever. I’ve been on it for a couple of years and those guys have been on it for five years. It’s a little exclusive group.

You’ve got to let me know when that opens up or I’ve got to hit up Pete Johnson on Twitter to find out because I want to.

Harris is a member of the Tatuaje Club.

It’s a lot of people who are in to Tatuaje and things they make. They send you a swag pack too like a shirt, lighter, cutter and they give you a cool medallion.

It’s good stuff to hear. Does he open it up? Does he say, “It’s open membership from January 1 to January 15th?” Is that how it works?

He’ll open it up for a limited window of time. It’s after everybody who’s a member from the year before has a shot of joining. You can keep your place but there’s always a number that open up. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

I’m going to work on that. I have to be part of that.

Hopefully our listeners forget about this. 

Don’t listen to this.

Tune this portion out because I want to be involved. I want to be in the know-club, the Tatuaje Club. I It was a pretty good cigar week for me. 

You had a box in, didn’t you?

I did. I had a really nice care package sent to me. I’d like to talk a little bit about it. Number one, I want to give a shout out to Garrett Calhoun for giving me the Davidoff Escurio in three different sizes. I can’t wait to try them out. I have not yet. I was talking to Lane a little bit about this. I feel how a hoarder would feel when I get these high-end cigars. I’m like, “Shit, I don’t want to smoke them. I might just want to look at them.” I’ll open up the humidor and just look at them and go, “Fuck. I’ve got these great cigars in here.” I ended up smoking the cheaper ones that I have and not the good ones. Do you find that happens or Lane you’re like, “No way, I smoked I shit out of them things?”

Sometimes what I like to do is I like to buy at least two of the same cigar at a time and I’ll smoke one and I’ll keep it. Right now, my humidor is getting a little thin at home. I’ve got four or five that are sitting at home and I’ve got a couple of Perdomos. Then I’ve got some cheap stuff on the top layer. If somebody comes over and isn’t a cigar smoker, I’ve got something that I’ll smoke. I’m in need of a restock. I know that’s not the case for you.

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Tatuaje SNS: The AVO sampler pack are all limited edition from 2001 to 2014.

No, here’s what happened. I’ll tell you how this all started. I did smoke the Avo Heritage. Thank you. A friend of mine said, “Smoke the classic,” I did. I loved it. I started reading more about the Avo Cigars and the origin of it. Then I started looking at the highest rated cigars in 2014. All of a sudden, a pattern came out and there were ten Avos on there from these greatest hits sampler pack. They had the 2001, the 2004, the 2007, 2008 and 2009. They all coincide with usually the birthday of Uvezian.

I’m like, “What is the sampler pack? I haven’t seen it.” I started looking it up and lo and behold, Harris has one in stock. He was kind enough to be very gentle with me. He gave me a fun caressing when it comes to the price of the sampler. I feel like I was handled quite gently. I’ve got the Davidoff and I’ve got the Avo sampler pack. I have fourteen cigars. All limited edition from 2001 to 2014. I’m jacked about smoking them. I’ve been staring at them for the last three days going, “Which one should I smoke first?” I think what I’m probably going to do is smoke the least rate. The one that’s not a ’94.

Then work your way up?

I think so. What do you think about that idea? 

I think that’s probably a pretty solid plan. Out of everything that’s in that box, probably my favorite is going to be the ’80. The only one that really touches the ’80 is these years.

The 2015?

Yes, which is not in that box. You have to buy that one.

It’s funny that you say that. The ’80 is not the highest rated overall online if you go read about it. It’s funny how you have your different tastes. Maybe I’ll try that one first. You seem to like that one the best. You’ve threatened thievery.

I have probably smoked two or three boxes of that ’80 in the past. They have a lot of them in stock back with the current lineup. They are $15 and I was young and unmarried. I probably bought two a week for a good long time.

Those were fun days, weren’t they? I remember fondly on those days. What would you say what’s your favorite one? You find that one to be your favorite as well?

Avo sampler? It’s a tough call. So many different good ones.

To be clear, I don’t think I had one earlier than the ’78 or ’79. I think that was the first one I run into smoking.

I’m trying to make ’88 now so that was ten years ago. That’s a while ago. I like the one. I can’t remember which year it is, but it was the Trompeta.

That is 2012 La Trompeta.

I like that one. They made it look a little bit like a trumpet that has little buttons on it.

It’s got different colored tobacco on the wrapper and little buttons.

The one after the Trompeta was really good too. I would say that the ’88 is better and this year is better, but it’s negligible.

This is the first limited edition cigars that I’ve had so I’m excited to smoke them. I want to see what they’re all about. I want to see how different they are. Avo seems to be resonating with me. I’m in that mood.

I think the good thing about the Avo limited editions is they’re using tobacco that didn’t have enough to make a full production line, special tobaccos. It seems like it’s a little bit of a problem right now with a lot of other companies releasing limited editions, but it’s not anything special. They’re doing it for the sake of doing it. The Avo limited edition I feel are special ones.

Lane, you showed me something.

I do have a very limited edition ten of cigars. There are three of them at this ten. It is the Arturo Fuente, a Chateau de la Fuente, Rare Estate Reserve, OpusX Perfecxion.

For people that don’t know, Harris owns a chain of cigar stores and he’s got the regular guy, humidor. Then the HMFIC humidor or the guys that like the special fucker humidor.

Any normal day, you getting all that sampler pack would make you King Ding-A-Ling of cigars. Even though I’ve got three, I still went.

If we’re measuring packers, that’s a big one. Those are pricey cigars. I have never smoked an OpusX and I’m going to. I think what I’m going to do is buy a couple for my vacation that I’ve talked to you and that’s a vacation cigar. Have you smoked them, Lane? Have you smoked OpusX before?

I have never smoked an OpusX. That’s how we got started talking about it. You said, “They’re probably coming in September, October.” Did they come in? Yes. Are they still here? Yes.

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Tatuaje SNS: OpusX from Arturo Fuente were one of the original limited edition cigars.

OpusX from Arturo Fuente, they were one of the original limited-edition cigars. The first release was in the early ’90s. It was the first all-Dominican cigar, Dominican Puro. Before that, no one thought that you could make an all-Dominican cigar with no other tobaccos in it. To me they’re super strong but they’re so smooth. They have always been one of my favorites. I think they’re fantastic.

There is a possibility that one time I smoke half of an OpusX. Several years ago, my wife and I went down to the beach with her dad. This was before he passed away. He got something at the cigar shop down there. It was a Fuente and it was wrapped in cedar. It may very well have been an OpusX, but I’ll tell you what we did with it. Because he only bought one, we ended up taking a big, heavy ring gauge cutter and they got cut in half. If I only smoked half of them, it was probably not the intended experience.

I usually smoke cigars around 9:00 at night. It’s getting dark, it’s dark out. I don’t put the lights on in the garage. I have a chair, I sit and I smoke for an hour and then I’m done. You gave me the Kristoff Sumatra. It’s got a shaggy foot on there. Is that how you would describe it? 

Right. It’s not clean cut.

I clipped the wrong end. I couldn’t see. It was dark and I didn’t have a light. I couldn’t tell which side was the end. I started smoking the front of the cigar and what happened was I’m like, “Shit.” I clipped off the front of it far enough and smoked about maybe a minute or two before I was like, “This sucks.” I ruined the whole fricking thing. I ruined that cigar and I’m pissed off about it, but what are you going to do?

I wonder what that would have been like if you smoked the whole thing backward. Never tried that.

I don’t think I have either.

Let’s start a new trend. The backward cigar.

It will be like crisscross cigar smoking.

I’m excited about trying the OpusX cigar. I have a lot of fond memories with those cigars when I was at Auburn. One of my buddies we were going camping and he came back from Birmingham with some cigars and he’s like, “I’ve got these cigars called OpusX.” We all smoked cigars but we had tried that one. We went camping, it was the perfect setting. We smoked it. All of five or six of us, we were blown away about it like, “This is our favorite cigar of all time.” Ever since then, almost every year those same guys, we would get together once a year when we smoke an OpusX and cookout and do that. We’ve been doing it for a long time now.

You’ve told me so much about yourself. You’re in college ripping off OpusX’s with your friends. We were smoking fricking Black & Milds when we were in college.

The backstory is that my father was a little bit in the cigar business back then. When I would go home, I would bring a bunch of cigars back. He didn’t have OpusX. My friend went to another store in Birmingham and brought those back. It’s funny that even then we were getting into cigars.

I had a guy at football practice say, “I smoked a great cigar.” I’m like, “What was it?” He goes, “Have you ever heard of an ACID Blondie?” I said, “Yes, I have. It’s been nice talking to you.” I wanted to pat him on the back.

Sean, I actually want to talk to you about something. I had that Nat Sherman Timeless, your recommendation. Do you remember which size you smoked?

It was probably a Robusto.

Was it the Nicaraguan?

Which one did you send me? I think it was like a five-inch.

You’ve got the 556?

Yeah, I think so, the Nicaraguan. 

I started out with the 660, the Nicaraguan box pressed. I picked up the 556 and it was a testament to how different two cigars from the same line in different as can be. I know that we’ve had people on the show before and talked about how he tweaks his blends so that the flavor profile is as close from size to size as can be. I thought that the 556 tastes completely different from the 660. The flavor profile still centered around the sweet, nutty, natural tobacco flavor. The 660 had a rich espresso that hung around throughout the cigar. I felt the 556 had a sweet cocoa flavor instead and had a little bit of a light spice present throughout the cigar too. It was still solid medium, that barely medium plus, very well-balanced but it tastes completely different from the other one.

I have real problems keeping that lit.

I have trouble keeping the 556 lit.

It was a wonderful cigar. I think I may have smoked it on the same day because you said that you were smoking. I’m like, “I’ve got one in here. I might as well go for it.” It was wonderful but I had a ton of tunneling issues and I had a tough time keeping it lit.

For me, I wanted to blame it because I was at the beach, it was windy, it was humid. There are some tropical weather blowing in. I want to assume that’s a problem that I ran into. My burn is uneven, had some tunneling going on. It was like working a part-time job to keep it lit, but you’re still enjoying the smoke at almost of the knob, past the band. After getting sorted with the two different flavors out of the 660 and the 556, I actually want to try the rest of the sizes of the Nicaraguan maybe before moving on to the Dominican.

The one that’s not boxed-pressed, is it a Connecticut broadly for a Camacho wrapper?

I have to look it up. 

I’ve got to tell you that I’ve smelled the two different sizes of the Camacho Barrel Aged and they have different profiles as well. Past the first third, you’re still going to get that vanilla, barely type, that smooth volumes of smoke but they start off different for sure. We’re talking about different sizes that’s why I’m looking forward to smoking the Escurios in different sizes to see if I can get a different profile in them.

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Tatuaje SNS: A lot of times, you have a certain size you gravitate towards for whatever reason, but a lot of people don’t give different sizes a chance.

I think that’s a good thing for people to remember that I forget that too. A lot of times you have a certain size you gravitate towards for whatever reason, big one, small one and middle size. A lot of people don’t give different sizes a chance. There is a lot of times a big difference. You might love one and not so much that other size. 

We had Eric with the Escurio Nights and you guys were smoking the Avo Domaine 50. You were talking about flipping the torpedo at different points to get even different flavors on that.

It’s amazing how many variables affect what it tastes like, what way you cut the cigar with a punch or a V-cut or a regular cutter size, shape.

By the way, I’m going to be the first to go on record to say the punch is freaking stupid.

I’ve got a XIKAR V-Cutter. I have long been a fan of v-cuts, but it’s probably only my second favorite cutter. I’ve got that Double Guillotine and it has made me a better cutter with any Double Guillotine cutter that I put my hands now. 

The blades on those are so sharp, but nice cutters.

If anything ever goes wrong with it, I can literally bring it back here and they’ll hand me another one.

Which one did you send me? Because that’s an awesome cutter too.

You had XIKAR Xi2. It’s the ones that composite AVS plastic but with the nice steel blades.

I have the Xi2 for a while. I’ve got the Xi1 now and I think I like it a little bit better. It’s the same two drop shape though.

The one has the titanium metal body.

Here’s the thing, once you get past the shitbag cutters, they do fine. It’s like driving like a Fiero and then running in a vent, “What the hell was I doing for the last ten years of my life?” Having a nice cutter like that is huge, so much more precise. You can whack one cap off right to the nuts.

Do you have a V-cutter, Sean?

I do not have a V-cutter.

If you decide you want to get one and you don’t spend the $40 or $50 on the XIKAR, the Wolf V-Cutter is better than all of the $5 ones that you’re going to find at cigar shops and stuff like that. They were about $10 or $15.

Do you like the V-cut? I hear that you get a lot more flavor profile, however there’s tar buildup as well.

There’s a little bit of tar buildup. I don’t run into any problems with that. Any build up that I do get is offset by the fact that I’m never getting anything in my teeth. If I cut too deep with a Double Guillotine, it starts to come unraveled. The V-Cutter takes care of that ever happening.

Harris, you and I were talking about something that I think every cigar smoker should learn how to do and it’s the retrohale. When I told my brother-in-law about it, my sister laughed like, “Is this some kind of swish it around in your mouth like wine and spit it out?” It is and it’s one of the finer points of smoking a cigar. I read about it and learned how to do it. I think that all cigar smokers should do it because you’re missing out on a major portion of the flavor of the cigar if you don’t learn how to do it. Harris, you want to explain it because I’ve got a couple tips that people can do to get to actually get some retrohale if they’re having a tough time?

Sean and I were talking about this. Sam has a unique way of retrohaling.  I was like, “I haven’t heard anybody explain it.” Maybe I’ve missed people talking about it. Tell us a little bit about the way you were talking to me about it.

I believe that Patrick Vivalo, he’ll exhale half the smoke and then run the other half through his nose. Although I’ve done that before, that can hurt a bit. What I was doing is I would take most of the exhale out and run maybe the back third or quarter through my nasal passages, to get a little bit of that retrohale. What I found is that if you exhale down and you blow downward, you’re taking your jaw, you’re pushing it back a little bit and you’re blowing it down, you’ll open up your nasal passages in the back and you can feel them open.

As you exhale, you’re going to get a little retrohale in your nose and it makes a lot of difference. I don’t know if I want to do a video of it because I think I’ll look like an asshole. What I can say is that if you’re going to exhale the smoke down, you’re blowing it down and you’re moving your jaw back and touch and you’re opening up your nasal passages. Try it because it does work. You will get a retrohale. Not like if you’re blowing out half the exhale, but you’ll definitely get it. It’s not painful either.

One of the things I’ve noticed with the retrohale and everything is that whatever flavor you’re picking up with it, it gets very heavily influenced by whatever it is you’re drinking. If you’re drinking soda or bourbon or beer, it impacts what you did on a retrohale way more than if you’re drinking water.

Unfortunately, I can’t add anything to that.

You can’t test that but that’s definitely one of the things. You can try it with a soda. 

It’s weird how all that does make a big difference.

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Tatuaje SNS: Jericho Hill by Crowned Heads is a mover and a shaker in the cigar world.

I used to think when I first started doing it that all retrohales were the same because the first couple of cigars I had, I think they were Alec Bradleys. I was starting to test it out. I was smoking a Black Market and a coil. Although those two are very different, they are spicy. I thought retrohale is to get that spice out. That is not true. They’re very different. I’ve had retrohales that are cedar in wood. The Escurio has got a weird retrohale and I won’t even talk about it if someone hasn’t tasted it. It’s a very strange thing. It’s definitely something I think if you are a cigar smoker and you are truly into the hobby, you need to do it. Would you guys agree?

Yes, I think that’s how you get the max flavor out on the cigar and the full range.

For me, I do it like what you were describing where I blow about half of it out of my mouth and the rest of it through my nose. At the end of it, I’ll actually come back and do a little bit of a French inhale where I inhale that last little gasp of it through my nose, and it will even bring a little bit more flavor around.

I’m telling you’re getting a little brave there.

I’m not telling anybody to inhale the draw off a cigar, that is a bad idea. That last little breath, that’s what I’m talking about.

I have one cigar I want to talk about that I had that I think is worth mentioning. We have not talked about this line very much, although it’s a mover and a shaker in the cigar world. It’s by Crowned Heads and it’s called the Jericho Hill. You gave me a La Imperiosa, which was the first Crowned Head that I have ever smoked and I didn’t love it. It was okay. I knew that there were so much positive vibes out of Crowned Head that I wanted to smoke another and you sent me the Jericho Hill. I decided to bring it to the football pep rally and I wasn’t sure if I’d have a chance to smoke it there because obviously you’re around a bunch of kids.

Because so many parents were boozing like crazy, I figured, “When in Rome, do what the Romans do.” I decided to have my own advice. I stepped away from everybody and I lit up the Jericho Hill. I’m going to tell you something, what a great cigar. I can’t say enough about it. First of all, it’s a beautiful cigar. It’s got Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper, a toothy feel on the wrapper. It’s got a neat grip to it, burned wonderfully. I will say that the only complaint that I have is that it was a little loose on the draw, but honestly that could have been my fault. It was really dark, so I don’t know where I cut that son of a bitch but it didn’t unravel. I’m assuming I kept some of the cap on it.

I’m impressed you can cut cigars in the dark without looking at them.

It’s a gift I would say. The Jericho Hill is manufactured by the My Father factory in Nicaragua and it tastes nothing like any My Father cigar that I’ve smoked. When I know that there’s a cigar being made in another factory, I always assume that it’s going to have maybe some similar notes and this did not. I don’t know what you guys think of the Jericho Hill. I thought it was an exquisite cigar. I thought it was great. Worth far more than the price.

I like the Jericho Hill blend. It’s one that I don’t know why in the stores hasn’t ever gotten a lot of attention or been that popular. Everybody who’s ever tried that has liked it.

I did a little research on that. We talked about that. Do you know that that’s the third bestselling cigar in 2014 in Venice? I thought it was odd. Maybe it’s a regional thing. You sell a ton of Perdomos. That’s a big brand there.  That’s what I’m going to try is the Champagne.

Speaking of Alabama, we need to switch gears with football a little bit. You’ve got a big game coming up. Notre Dame’s playing Clemson, right? 

Yes, they are.

What are your gut feelings on that?

I think they’re going to put up a good fight and I think Clemson is going to nip them in the ass.

Notre Dame is strict of schedule so good this year though. Even if Clemson comes up on top, I think as long as they put some fire into it, I think they can survive and still have a shot at the playoffs.

I circled the Georgia Tech, the Clemson and the USC game on the schedule. I feel like one of them is going to trip them up. Maybe I’m wrong. They remind me a lot of Ohio State, the injuries but the talent level is very good. Maybe they’ve covered the stock with enough talent that they can weather some of these injuries. I don’t think so. I’m hopeful of it.

Thank goodness Albert is going to break with San Jose State. I think they might be able to win that one.

Hopefully they can work on that a little bit as coordinators want them to.

I think it’s the year of the running back. I think that there are so many good backs in colleges. The quarterbacks have not done much for me. There is no one that I love.

Alabama has a batch one in Athens.

That’s going to be a big one. 

It’s the running backs obviously George got a Nick Chow. I think between Venice, they might have a slight edge. I hope they are front and maybe put an end to make Chow flipping up ridiculous numbers.

Did anyone ever see Oregon getting a foot put up in their ass like Utah put up?

I don’t even enjoy watching that game.

That was a beating. Funny thing is that I didn’t know that Utah was going to be a top 25 team before the season. I thought that they would be Michigan. No one knew. They have waxed people.

They did to Oregon what Oregon does to teams every week. I was laying in bed at the beach, not paying attention and Utah scores and they already had bought four touchdowns. I haven’t rolled over and I hear Utah touch down again. What is going on?

Apparently, the transfer quarterback is no replacement for Marcus Mariota. You understand how important he was when you see how ineffective they are right now on offense. They’re not very good.

He’s gone through the same thing. It was a couple of years ago when Kevin got drafted in the NFL and they’re still rebuilding from that.

We covered a ton of ground. It was good to talk to you. I’m looking forward to smoking some good ones. Maybe I’ll get over my cigar hoarding and pick up one of those Avos. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you.

Talk to you later.

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