Cigar smoking time is always a good break from the normal stuff. The Sir Don which was made in the 80s is earthy and nutty and has a sweetness on the smoke. The Java Red from Rocky Patel is box-pressed with a nice chocolaty dark wrapper, like smoking a chocolate bar but not overpowering. With the IPCPR coming up, we start seeing some of the new releases, one of which that people have been talking about is the Davidoff Gusto. It’s Toro size with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and in the same price range as their other special releases, which is $30 to $35. A lot of the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper or Ecuadorian Sumatra Connecticut wrapper has been seen in a lot of blends and unexpected places lately, like on Foundry’s Time Flies and Drew Estate’s Liga Privada Unico Series.
Listen to the podcast here:
Chocolaty Java Red Box-Pressed from Rocky Patel | New Releases | Ecuadorian Sumatra And Ecuadorian Habano Wrapper
I’m Lane. I’m hanging out here at Cigars & More 280 with Harris. What’s up man?
Been a little while.
It has been. I feel we both had things going on and hope Sean has had things going on and we finally said, “These meetings are killing us. Let’s do this one.”
Hopefully, we’re getting back on track now.
The two of us are here now.
It’s our cigar smoking time. It’s always a good break from the normal stuff.
It’s a break I could use. It’s been a long week. It’s when the option to take a break in the middle of the day and smoke a cigar comes up, I like to be able to take that option.
It’s always a good choice. What are you smoking today?
This is apparently something from the way back. The band on this says Sir Don and all I can find out about this cigar on the internet is that they made them in the 80s and this may or may not be something ridiculous like 26 years old, which is cool. Apparently it’s a Sir Don Caribbean Tobacco Company it’s who makes it and there’s not really distinguishing blend name or anything on it. I saw something about tobaccos from the Subal Valley. I saw something about some Dominican War tobacco.
It has a wrapper from Connecticut, Connecticut. According to the one review of the review we could find on the internet.
It is not completely bland if itis26 years old. It’s earthy, nutty and with your smoke drifting over this, I keep getting the sweetness on it. Wait, that doesn’t fit. This is different. What are you smoking today?
I decided to pick up something out of my normal cigar smoking. The Java, still fairly new release, the Java Red from Rocky Patel, made in the Drew Estate factory. It’s really nice. It’s like smoking a chocolate bar. It’s got a little sweetness to it, but not overpowering. I’m normally not a huge fan of super sweet cigars, but it’s a good change of pace far.
I’ve had a couple of those, the IPCPR grab bag and everything last year. I probably liked that better than the Latte or Maduro. It’s right there with that Java Mint. If I’m going to smoke something infused, this is different enough that I get the appeal for it.
The sweetness, it seems they backed the sweetness down a little bit.
It’s got that nice chocolaty dark wrapper and everything.
It looks a chocolate bar.
It does. Box pressed.
It’s nice. It’s funny. We’re trying to figure out where the cigar that Lane is smoking came from. It was in the locker, but we’re not sure how it got there. It’s mystery.
What new do we have come into the shop right now? I smoked the Hit & Run from Caldwell. Any word on when we get The T.?
I don’t know what the holdup is. Production has been slow to get those out, but we should see those soon. Trying to think of what else. This is a slow time of year for new releases. IPCPR is coming up, so probably, start seeing some of the new releases. It seems like the last few years the companies like to get them out before the IPCPR, trying to beat everybody in the punch, I guess.
Jose Blanco has been promoting Ernesto Perez-Carillo was rolling out there on course. Jose’s been procedurally excited about that. We talk about his cigars as being master blended in complex smokes and stuff. He says that this one is a little more than that he’s been involved with.
Is that one that they brought over from their small batch releases that they do once a year? They do some of those as experimental blends.
I know it has been two years in the making, but I’m not sure if it’s one of them that’s come over from this small batch blends or if this is an entirely new blend. I’m looking forward to getting to smoke one just because I dig what Jose does, the blending anyway. It’ll be interesting to see in his new gig how much of that translates into what piece he’s doing.
That will be interesting and another release that some people have been talking about around the store is the Davidoff Gusto. They’re doing a series out of the vaults, some special releases. It’s not something we were able to get in the store here. It’s mainly available at their corporate stores and then some of their partner stores, maybe by Davidoff and some other stores, but lucky we’ve been talking about that. It’s Toro size with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. It sounded interesting. It’s in the same price range as their other special releases,$30, $35 price range.
I’m seeing a lot lately, whether it’s the Ecuadorian Habano or Ecuadorian sun-grown or Connecticut wrapper. I’ve seen a lot of that in blends lately and it comes up in unexpected places. Caldwell uses some of the Foundry Time Flies as an Ecuadorian wrapper. That’s one of the cigars that we did review on.
I like those. Those are an unexpected cigar that we really like. They came in, we tried like, “What are these?” and then it looks silly.
It’s definitely one of those full bodied smokes that if somebody comes in and says, “I smoke this Liga Privada.” I’m looking for something full bodied that I want to spend more than $10 on it. That upfront pepper blast that you get in that, it’s filler binder or Nicaraguan, but then it’s got that Ecuadorian wrapper. It’s got a nice burst of pepper right up front. If that’s where you want to hang out in that black pepper spice, cocoa, espresso Nicaraguans space.” The cigar look silly, but it is a hit. It’s great.
I was looking at some other new ones that come in. An interesting one is the Daniel Marshall Gold Leaf.
I’ve seen the cigar. Dre walked up and he says, “Lane, show me this $300 cigar.” “What are you even talking about? There is not a $300 cigar. What are you even talking about?” That’s exactly where my mind initially went. It’s not a Gurkha. I was like, “What is this?” He’s 7.5 feet tall, so he reaches up on the top shelf and pulls the box down. We looked at him and it was ridiculous. I need for you to confirm this because I don’t know that I should believe it. I am told that you literally light the gold on fire when you smoke it?
That is one of the most unique things about it is that if you don’t take the gold outer wrapping off. It’s 24 carat gold leaf. It sits seven leafs, I don’t know what that means, but there’s real gold in it. That’s why it’s so expensive. When it burns, it’s not that it burns inside of it, but it burns where the gold is on top. It’s pretty cool. There are some cool pictures and videos on the Internet about it. I’m going to have to post a couple.
From what I hear, you have sold more than zero of these.
The only reason we got them in, we had several guys that wanted them and we got him in and sure enough, we’re on box number two of them. There are five in a box and it comes in a nice Daniel Marshall humidor, the humidor by itself is a $400 humidor.
I didn’t know there were only five in the box, so we opened up one of them to take a look at. I didn’t even recognize that there were only five in the entire box. Somebody bought three?
Yes, someone who’s had a party. I’m showing you a picture of this right now because it is cool. It’s like the ash burns gold.
f you have too much money, you can smoke an actual gold-plated cigar. Is it amazing? Have you smoked one?
No, I haven’t. Even at whatever our discounted price still hard to swallow.
I need a long rewards points.
It’s so unique though. They did a good job with it because people see it and they’re like, “That really is pretty awesome.”
Guys come in here and all they want to smoke is$100 Davidoff Royal Release. That’s all they smoke. They turn their nose up at the guys like us that are smoking stuff that’s between $10 and $20 anyway.
There definitely are people out there looking for that type of thing. Honestly, I never thought people would buy the $100 Davidoff’s and they have been a steady seller.
I can think of one guy at the top of my head that he’ll come in and he’ll buy five of them and he’ll light one on fire standing at the bar.
I guess it makes sense. The next one we need though is the Davidoff Oro and they are $500, and they come one per box. Maybe we’ll have that one.
That’s if you find a way to tell your wife that, “I’m buying a box of cigars, but it’s $500.”Do you get the box discount on the $500 cigar or is it just price as?
I think it probably should. It looks Alec Bradley is about to release a new cigar also.
They haven’t released anything in a year and a half since before IPCPR 2016?
They had a few line extensions like Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli. There are account of little variations, they’re full blown.
This is a new blend completely?
Medium or medium plus I’d guess.
Ten count boxes, that’s interesting. It’s going to be one of their mildest blends. According to the owner, he felt like all their cigars were medium or more and so they wanted to do something more targeted at the mild guys. Interesting. There’s a little bit of a trend with that. The milder Connecticut cigars in a $6 price range. A lot of the companies have been trying to hit that, it seems like. The Catch 22 from Rocky Patel.
Perdomo Champagne, Oliva Connecticut Reserve those are the more mild Connecticut smokes you can find in size. They start at around $6. Connecticut Reserve gets more expensive. Caldwell Blind Man’s Bluff is more expensive but still in that mix, in that same profile of flavors.
Now they’re again off topic, Casper Johnson from L’Atelier Imports, he is leaving the cigar industry entirely. He’s going back to the music industry. Apparently he was more involved with that before. He is not related to Pete. He has the same last name.
Is there any buzz about IPCPR?
I have not heard anything yet, like zero.
They changed the dates, didn’t they?
Did they? Compared to last, I think it’s July range which is earlier than last. We have to look that up.
Registration will open in March.
That is early because normally it is my wife’s birthday is first week of August and normally I always miss it because of IPCPR, which she’s always very excited about that. It’s earlier than in the past.
They’ve stretched it over a weekend again this year. Last it was Sunday through Thursday.
Which was odd because that was an emergency reschedule. They get booted from the Venetian Complex.
It’s back at the West Gate, which we know it will be this, but I don’t think we know where it’s going to be next.
They have not announced that. I think it will stay there. I don’t think they’ll get back in to the other, which is unfortunate because it’s the last one since other. Although I have heard the place to say is SOS.
You get to take the monorail to the conference center instead.
I’m confused by the monorail, because you and I we got on the monorail last and it went two stops and then it ended. We couldn’t figure out why.
It’s like we’re down at the MGM Grand.
Mandalay Bay. Really far away.
We’re done at the very end of the strip and we’re like, “Look, the monorail’s here.”We don’t even have to call an Uber to go back.
I couldn’t figure out, but then you’re driving and you see the monorail again.
Maybe they have multiple monorails.
The whole monorail system in Vegas has been a debacle. It probably costs a gazillion dollars and it’s never really worked out. The TAA is pushed back this. Due to the hurricanes coming through, they had to push it back to the end of April. Back in the Dominican Republic it wasn’t good, St. Martin and an entire island got blown away. It’s going to be interesting to see how that goes because that’s a big change.
I’m ten weeks out from the Bahamas. Going to stay in the Exuma House Highlands, go see the swimming pigs, taking a jet ski tour to the swimming pigs and we could go tandem on a jet ski or we can just get two jet skis. Getting two jet skis sounds like a lot of fun.
That’s a personal trip or work trip?
We didn’t go anywhere like that last year. This year is our first time prior our last time to stay at Sandals. Because what we’ve figured out is the Sandals brand, we end up paying a premium for all the things that we’ve come to expect from all of our inclusives. Like to get drink service on the beach at the resort where we’re going, you have to get a bottle ready and that’s something that we’ve become accustomed to and club in a lot of rooms and other places. I get that all the tipping is basically included in the price and everything it’s saying it is, but it’s not a little bit more expensive.
I figure to get you all inclusive, you still end up paying a premium for it.
We’re in some Sandals groups on Facebook and stuff like that. I don’t imagine that we will continue to visit Sandals after this. They happen to be the only all-inclusive game there. This is probably the least expensive Sandal that I’ve seen anywhere. We had talked about going to Sandals in Saint Lucia because they’re not only all-inclusive game in Saint Lucia but they are probably the least expensive. It will be twice what we’re paying to go in the Bahamas. We fly from Birmingham to Atlanta and we fly from Atlanta straight to Georgetown in Great Exuma. It’s like a 30-minute flight to Atlanta on a three-hour flight to the Bahamas. Our flights were more expensive than we thought they would be, so we got first class. If we’re already paying too much for the flights, it was negligible to upgrade to first class.
Sometimes it works out that way where you already had and it’s just.
It was only a couple $100 more. How many more times are we going to fly first class? Hopefully we don’t like it too much.
I’ve never done that. Never flown first class. Big Foot, who manages our Patton Creek store, he just got back from Rocky Patel’s Honduras trip. He’s a big guy and so he got upgraded to first class. It was the same deal. It was a little more than do it, so he’s giving a hard time about that. He’s flying now on first class.
Did he go down on this trip?
I don’t think so. One of the reps from Georgia Retailers were there.
I still haven’t talked to Big Foot. I may go to see him on Saturday or something like that.
Preview is that, I told him, I was like, “You need to learn a lesson from this,” that he ate food from a street vendor on the actual street in Honduras that is definitely a third world country, and it did not treat him very nice. He was concerned he might not be able to fly.
Between our last couple of podcasts, there’s a new place in town down to Five Points that has a Hot Lane Challenge. I’m pretty sure I found the limits of my hot food and willingness. Having the Ghost Pepper, I’ve eaten the Carolina Reaper. I’ve got Carolina Reapers that I’m getting ready to grow at home, but there’s this place called These Tamales and they have a Three Hot Lane Challenge they call it the I Can’t Breathe Challenge. Three good sized meaty drum hot wings dredged in this sauce that they make, there’s no capsaicin extract. It says 1.6 million Scoville and believe them. I’m the first person at that location to have completed the challenge and it was not a great day. I paced around up front, left the restaurant for a second in the middle of it. This is all on video and I haven’t shown it. I think I showed my wife the video and I don’t get to show anyone else. I threw two of them.
Think you were going to have a heart attack?
I got through two of them and thought I was going to die, and then as I’m getting ready to give up, the guy tells me, “All you got to do is tap the table three times.” He gets to talk a lot of trash about it, I just walked back to the table. I had solid eight to ten hours of regret afterwards.
Had many people eaten all three?
No, apparently at that location, no one else had.
Did they take your picture and put it on the wall?
Yes, he said that most people don’t make it through one wing. He said out of the couple thousand people that have tried it at their original location, less than 50 have succeeded.
This is in Birmingham?
The Newtown is their original spot and the new one is at Five Points near Black Market Bar and Grill is and the stairs that go down, but behind it, across from the fountain. It’s there. The Magnolia side of Five Points. It is probably the hottest thing I’ve ever eaten.. I’ve convinced a couple other guys. I have promoted this to a couple of other guys and they decided they needed to try it and I’m not aware that they have actually gone to do it yet. One of them made the extra hot wings, so they weren’t hot at all. He wishes that they had something in between extra hot and I can’t breathe so you can get a gauge for just how hot it was, and it’s hot. It only peaks for ten minutes. The mouth burn is very intense. It’s a slow burn. Doesn’t kick in until you’re in the second lane, that piece for ten minutes and you’re done.
After you finished eating them, while you’re eating them, you can’t touch your drink, which water’s not going to help you anyway. You can’t touch your drink. You can’t wipe your hands on your shirt, you can’t touch a napkin, and you have to hang out for five minutes afterwards before they let you wash your hands. You can lick the salt off your fingers all day, and I did for the first couple of them but by the time I got to the third one I did not want to introduce any more hot sauce into my body. I had to wait five minutes with sticky, saucy hands and I got this citrus oil foaming soap that they make you wash your hands with so you don’t kill yourself when you rub your face later.
I made that mistake before, after eating something like that where you think you’ve washed it off and you touch your eye and then all of a sudden, your eye feels like it’s on fire.
What I’ve learned in the Super Hot Game is you can even develop a tolerance for that. I put a habanero in the omelet one morning, and then didn’t think anything of it and rubbed a contact or something later on in the day. It burned for a second, but then I was like, “No, it’s going to be fine.”
Your whole body has a tolerance.
It irritated me, but then I was like, “No, just a habanero. It’s good.”I know we had talked about going on. Was it Honduras or Nicaragua trip? It’s Honduras, CLE, wasn’t it?
Then that fell through. Is that something you’re still looking at trying to figure out this year? Is some cigar factory tour for you to do?
A couple hasn’t worked out so they’re nearing the end of the season to maybe something to do for you in. I’m going to Tampa, see the J.C. Newman factory down there and visit with them a little bit. That’s just quick trip down there. I’d like to, I haven’t been on the Cigar Safari with Drew Estate. That’s another one would like to try that one. Esteban Carreras, I think they are doing it at Nicaragua.
Scott’s about to go to Cuba. He’s got four weeks for this trip, maybe less than that. He’s going to get go to Rio and he’s not just going to Havana.
He’s going with another customer of ours who organizes those trips and they’ve been doing them for probably ten years now. Take medical supplies and some other humanitarian trip, but while they’re down there they have all access to several of the cigar factories. They go to the zoo and they get to hold baby tigers, but crazy stuff like that, that you could never do here. Everyone I’ve ever talked to who has gone with this guy who organizes it and has loved it. Five star and from what I hear, you can go on an all-out five star trip down there for a very reasonable price.
He told me to bring couple of hundred bucks and he would come back with a cigar sampler for me.
Last year, some of the guys who went on that trip loaded up their suitcases with twenty plus boxes and they got caught by customs, they confiscated every one of them. I think you can bring back around 100 or if you’re in that ballpark, they won’t hassle you illegal but if you have500 cigars like they did.
Somebody else is talking the other day, one of the guys that came in the back. He and his fiancée are going to Bonaire for a scuba trip and he was what’s all the Cubans and stuff to look for. There just aren’t many of them.
The hard part is always people ask that and I say if I were you I’d only buy them from Habanos SA store or maybe the Duty Free store in the airport because outside of that, highly likely you’re buying counterfeit.
If the box has a glass top, good stuff.
We’re seeing many people bring those in and you don’t have the heart to tell him that they’re not real. You don’t want to burst their bubble. It’d be interesting to see the next few years if they do lift embargo. We’re going backwards on that right now. I don’t think that will happen any time soon.
Scott is telling me that there are Raul is about set down? They’re going to have some election.
He has to be close to 90 or in his 90s?
Didn’t stay in power nearly as long as his brother.
I was looking at the Encore information from EPC. They’re starting to ship. He may have already said that, “Today’s the day.”It’s a good-looking cigar. Nicaraguan Puro, two-year aged, use the tercios bundles of tobacco held together by royal palm leaves and rope. Don’t know what that means. How’s that cigar?
It’s surprisingly good. It really is twenty plus years old and it’s held on to a lot of labor but I’m not quite two-thirds, but being on lonsdale is pretty good size, it’s long but getting some pepper out of it now. If I’m thinking twenty year old cigar, even some of the nuttiness and stuff that came out first. There’s more going on in it than I expected. Didn’t you say when these were released they were a $1.60 a piece?
Originally, it’s26 years ago. If you think of 26 years ago, it was 1982? Probably the average price of a premium cigar was in the $3 or $4 range, at the most. That was probably a normal price range.
My granddad has asked me because he used to smoke cigars. He’s asked me on one occasion, “I wonder what cigar costs anymore?” He’s like, “You used to get them for a quarter a piece,” and I was like, “This one was $16, this one’s $8.”
What in the world? Back then, you didn’t have all the special releases. You had real basic selection. When you talk to the guys who’d been smoking for 30 plus years in and talk about how back then you had five or six brands that was about it. You didn’t have many non-Cuban options.
Then you had this Fuente and that Fuente.
In the early ‘80s, Padron was only making, I want to say cheap bundle cigars. They’ve come along way. Are you going fill out of March Madness bracket?
I don’t know. I haven’t yet. I’ve outlived the delay that I can put on filling one out. I don’t know who I would put in my final four. I think Bama stands at least an okay chance to make it through to make it through round one.
They’ve been playing well lately.
They’re playing Virginia Tech. They’ve been inconsistent. They’ve had some big wins and they’ve had some ugly losses. I like how in the last four days before the bracket selection, they went from being a last four into being a number nine seat. I’m not sure how they can sit back and say, “You’re somewhere between teams 64 and 68. Suddenly you’re now team 36 in the mix,” but they’re nine seed. Their plan an agency that’s at least that’s as good of a chance to win as anybody has being an underdog.
It’ll be interesting to see it all happens. I watched it a little bit. I’m not that into any of this. I keep up with Auburn.
I’ve already started prepping my wife that I might be staying late on Sundays for a couple weeks, till all this is through.
The Indians get a little restless over there.
Auburn ended up being a number four seat even though they bombed in the SCC Tournament.
They’ve got 23, 24 wins, something like that?
Yes, they’ve had a great season, but they ended. They lost twice, at least to Alabama. They had some bad losses, too, in there but they’re playing Charleston.
Charleston’s on thirteen seed.
It’s the best season Auburn’s had in a while.
I would much rather Bama be nine seed than be like 15 seed because being 15 seed there’s always the expectation that you’re going to pull that first round upset. I’m happy to be here. I didn’t think you we’re going to be. We missed out two years ago. We pretty much miss out on it every year, so it’s an honor just to be nominated.
It’s true. It’s unexpected. I always like seeing who upsets who. There’s always a few crazy upsets.
Who’s the bracket master? The big days going to be. Someone’s going in the game they’re not supposed to. They’re probably going to show in their next game.
What else is going on in the cigar world?
Not much, just trying to kick out a review every week. Going through my top ten or twelve recommendations. People ask the same set of questions, looking for something mild and looking for something medium bodied, I’m looking for something full bodied. Come out with where am I going to steer somebody in the humidor who’s asking this set of questions? They’re not always new cigars. Not that some of them won’t be. Not that some of them aren’t cigars that I’ve already done reviews on. The T52 and The First 20 Years are probably medium and full bodied sticks that I’ve done reviews on before that probably make it into the recommendations list, but the Time Flies is what I’m working on now, I’ve done the Oliva Connecticut Reserve. I’ve done Steve Saka’s Mi Querida. Whether you’re looking to get started into smoking, whether you’re looking to find something different from what you normally smoke, or looking for something that is specific price point. Because everything’s been under $10.
What might I suggest that you might like based on what you are able to tell me about where you are as a cigar smoker is the intent of that. It’s not so much a marketing thing as it is trying to be practical about steering people in direction of cigars that they’ll have a high probability of liking and coming back for more.
There are 34 cigars that I call start the day off, cup of coffee type cigars that if somebody says, “I want something mild,” I’m going to point them to these 34 cigars and say, “You really can’t go wrong with any of these.”You got $6 or $9 here. You’ve got $6 or $7 over here. You’ve got $10 over here and then you’re going to be good with any of these but this is how those sticks differ from each other. Because there are all kinds of natural tobacco. This is a little more complex, this is creamy and being able to give an education to the person who’s asking the question and now I can give the education to people who aren’t yet asking the question.
That’s great to have that information out there.
The only Oliva Connecticut Reserve is not a new stick line. It doesn’t line up with a lot of other stuff that will even does, but I do think in the modern world it’s a hit and I feel I can back that up with what the cigar tastes like to tell you why it stands out in a crowd of a bunch of cigars that mostly taste like hay.
I look forward to reading those. This Java Red Robusta has really finished up nice. The first inch and a half was pretty sweet, little sweet, not overbearing, but nice sweetness and now the lack of rest of it mellowed out into more of a regular cigar. I enjoyed it.
I wasn’t sure if some of the pepper on this that I was getting wasn’t actually coming from that.
The airflow is going in your direction.
This one is also really mellowed out at this point. I’ve got an inch and a half of smokable cigar left and it’s really mellowed out. It’s what you think of when you think of mild bodied Dominican smoke.
That’s 26 years old. That wraps it up.
It’s good to be back. It’s been two months since the last time we sat down and recorded.
We had a few episodes. We’re caught up now pretty close there. A little while, but thanks Sean. Wherever you are.
We’ll get him back on. I know we still owe it, showed us Jose Blanco, so we’ll try and get him on again. Good hanging out.
I’ll see you next time.
- Java Red
- Drew Estate
- Hit & Run
- The T.
- Jose Blanco
- Ernesto Perez-Carillo
- Davidoff Gusto
- Foundry Time Flies
- Liga Privada
- Gold Leaf
- Royal Release
- Alec Bradley
- Black Market Esteli
- Catch 22
- Perdomo Champagne
- Oliva Connecticut Reserve
- Casper Johnson
- L’Atelier Imports
- Patton Creek
- Georgia Retailers
- J.C. Newman
- Cigar Safari
- Esteban Carreras
- The First 20 Years
- Mi Querida