CCP Brewfest | Camacho American Barrel Aged
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The Camacho American Barrel Aged pre-release cigars is out and it’s a special new release. Davidoff owns Camacho and they’ve been working on this blend for about two years where they finish off tobacco that has been aged for six years inside of a bourbon barrel for another five months. The idea is to smooth it out and give it a really nice finish. It’s been a huge project and it’s different because there are not too many things out there like it that are aged that long. It tastes like a smooth well-aged cigar, but you don’t get that oakiness and that vanilla and caramel that you usually get in bourbon. Another smooth cigar to note is the Vivalo. It’s a great medium to full body with quality build and the perfect draw.

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Cigar Café Radio Brewfest | Blazers | Camacho American Barrel Aged

We’re bringing you this show to talk a little bit of stuff about what’s going on in Birmingham. We’re calling this The Blazers Brewfest Barrel Podcast. We’re looking at some local events that are going on, local sports news and the Camacho Barrel-Aged cigars. We like to talk about some of the finer things in life. We enjoy those things with our close friends and family and whoever you like to spend with. How’s it going, Harris?

I’m good. I’m smoking the Camacho American Barrel-Aged cigars and I’m enjoying that one.

Which size are you smoking?

I am smoking the Toro. It’s a 6 x 50 ring gauge.

I’m smoking the Gordo, which I feel like is a fat joke.

It’s a big cigar.

It’s a big cigar and we’re talking upfront. We’re guesstimating this is probably an hour-and-a-half to two-hour cigar.

It will be worth it.

Give us a little bit about that cigar. What’s it all about? Tell me how it’s made.

Davidoff owns Camacho and they’ve been working on this blend for about two years where they’re taking tobacco that has been aged for six years and then they finished it off for five months inside of a bourbon barrel. The idea is that the Corojo tobacco smooths it out and gives it a nice finish. It’s been a huge project. It’s different. Not too many things out there like it that are aged that long and it’s a special release.

CCP Brewfest | Camacho American Barrel Aged
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Camacho American Barrel Aged: Davidoff owns Camacho and they’ve been working on this blend for about two years.

It’s not a particular infusion of that bourbons flavor. It definitely smooths it out, but you don’t get that oakiness, vanilla and caramel that you usually get in bourbon. It tastes like a smooth well-aged cigar.

One of the interesting things about it, too, is that the blend is constructed almost entirely of American grown tobacco. It has a broadleaf Maduro wrapper, binder and filler and then they put Maduro filler from Pennsylvania and then one leaf of six-year-old bourbon barrel aged Corojo tobacco in there. This is a very unique blend.

What kind of price point is that going to be?

They’re going be in the $10 to $12 range before any state taxes, depending on state cigar taxes.

Is it particularly strong? Is it giving you nicotine sweats or anything like that?

Mine isn’t yet. I’m not getting anything that makes me believe that it’s going to. It’s probably medium to medium plus. It produces a lot of smoke. The burn is very even. The construction, it’s firm without being dense. Almost toothy.

When do you see it going into production? When can we expect it?

They’re planning to launch it in July at the IPCPR, Big Retailer Trade Show that we have every year. They’re also doing a nationwide tour. They have this big mobile cigar trailer that’s nice. It has tasting stations and they’re taking it on a tour between June and December. Right at the end of October they’ll be coming to visit. They’re making it a big deal going around promoting it all over the country.

I got a care package from Harris. It was a nice one. I happen to smoke a few cigars out of the care package and the one that stood out to me was the Vivalo. I was impressed by the quality of the build and the burn. The draw was perfect. It was a great medium to full bodied smooth cigar. I emailed Pat to tell him what a great, enjoyable smoke it was. I enjoyed it.

Harris, what’s the story on Patrick? Wasn’t he supposed to be in Birmingham?

He was. Unfortunately, he was in town and he ended up scheduling a cigar event in Atlanta so he’s not going to be around for the Magic City Brewfest.

That was why I was asking you to find that if we needed to get him another ticket. I don’t know if that’s going on. I’m probably going to try and sneak a couple of cigars in with me and see if I can get away with lighting them up. They have been cigar-friendly at times in the past. Some of the patrons of some parts have been less than cigar friendly, if I get the opportunity, I’ll probably light one up.

I always loved the story of a guy who came through the ranks. He’s been doing it for over fifteen years. He gets a great opportunity with Rocky Patel, goes off on his own and creates a great product. I’m impressed with the product. I hope he does well. I certainly think he will if he gets the cigars in people’s hands. It’s going to be a new brand. He’s a one-man show. I know you smoked one, Lane?

Everybody here in the store did.

Were you all as equally impressed as I was?

It was a great cigar. He said it was the same product that he was making when his line was still owned by Rocky Patel. He’s been granted the opportunity to branch out on his own and take that product with him. It’s a line that he feels he’s tested it.

I liked it, too. We’re selective on new brands, new cigars we bring into our stores here and that’s one we’re bringing in. We should have those in stock so I that would be a good new one for us.

I got one that should be taken off the list. I did not like the Nomad S-307. I was not impressed. I didn’t like it. Lane, have you tried that before?

I haven’t. What didn’t you like about it?

It was a harsh cigar. We talked about some of the fuller flavored cigars, even if they’re a little harsh at the start, I’m looking for them to mellow out. I’m talking heavy wood, real spicy. I’m looking for them to smooth out and the Nomad never did that for me. It stayed pretty rough the whole time. Construction was fine. It’s definitely a premium cigar. There’s no question about it. The box pressing was perfect. The draw was great, but it was a harsh smoke. I’ve had full-flavored cigars and this one just didn’t sit well with me.

It’s disappointing to hear because Fred Rewey, the owner of Nomad Cigars, and we were talking on Twitter. Sean was willing to sponsor your trampoline smoking cigar, jumping at same time thing we were talking about. He was all about it.

I didn’t like the Liga Privada No. 9, which would get me crucified if I told enough people that. I’m going to give both of those cigars another shot. I’m sure that both of you have come across the cigars that you’ve smoked the first time and went, “Not for me,” and then smoked it again and went “It grew on me a little bit.”

The No. 9 is not one of those cigars. The No. 9 for me, it’s a good cigar but I like other Liga Privadas a whole lot better.

That brings up a good point that everybody’s palate is a little bit different, and certain cigars appeal to some people and don’t to other people. Those things that a lot of times once I like plain or strong, you guys may not like.

CCP Brewfest | Camacho American Barrel Aged
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Camacho American Barrel Aged: Everybody’s palate is a little bit different, and certain cigars appeal to some people and don’t to other people.

You certainly spot on with the No. 9, although I think you’d like the No. 9. By what I’ve smoked you thought I would take to the T52 better and you were right, I did. I didn’t know that before I smoke them. It wasn’t like I was predisposed. I have friends that the number nine is all they smoke. That’s where they buy boxes of and smoke all the time.

Have they smoked the T52?

I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I did go on Facebook and tell a buddy of mine, “The No. 9, I know you love them and you buy boxes of them, but I liked the T52 much better. For me, it’s not even close”. He was like, “The No. 9 is my favorite.” He didn’t say, “I’ve had that one as well,” so I’m not sure.

A lot of people haven’t tried T52 because they’re generally are in such short supply. They make far fewer T52 than the No. 9.

As I’ve been reading more and more about cigars, there are ones that you keep in the humidor and you don’t smoke them as soon as you get them. The two Ligas I have I’m not going to take them out for awhile. I’m going to use it for a special occasion. I know the T52s a fairly rare cigar. It’s not like you get hundreds and hundreds of boxes of them when you get them in.

Harris, you have had boxes of the Flying Pigs come in and be sold out the same day, haven’t you?

The Flying Pig is part of the Unico Series from a Liga Privada and most of those when they come in are gone within a day or two, the UF-13, the Dirty Rats, LP40s.

I have the UF-13. I haven’t smoked that yet either. I’m saving that for an occasion.

The UF-13 is absolutely as good as the T52.

I’ve been told. It’s like now I’m starting to hoard them. My kids are like, “Come outside.” I’m like, “All right, I’ll come outside.” I wanted to have a cigar and I’ve been sitting on some Ashton’s that I’m slumming it by having an Ashton. I had an Ashton 898. I’m sitting on the ones that I love. I get to that point where I don’t want to smoke them because I want to have them there. It’s a weird thing. It’s buying a video game and not playing it. I will give a shout out that Ashton was very good. I’ve had some very good Ashton’s. They’re well made. That’s a very light smoke. Very consistent. No transitions from each third at all. It was very light to medium.

The Classic line from Ashton is always one of the best smooth, milder Dominican cigars out there. It’s always a great one.

Back to this Camacho Barrel-Aged. Now that I’m an inch and a half or so into it, I am starting to get some of that vanilla sweetness that is probably a result of the bourbon barrel aging. I am starting to taste them on my lips a little bit and on my palate.

It’s very faint, but very good. I like the cigar. It’s a great new blend and very unique to me. I don’t know if I smoked anything like this in last year or two.

Would that can be considered an infusion type of thing? Would that be their answer to a flavor-infused cigar? I don’t know how they would consider that.

They would not call it infused. It’s borderline. Essentially, they are infusing it with bourbon barrel flavor. It’s probably the most similar to the Dragon’s Milk from Asylum because that’s also a bourbon barrel–aged cigar and these are the only two blends that anyone has tried to do that with.

I wonder if you won’t see a lot more of that. It’s no different from making different flavored bourbons or aging them in different barrels to get some more flavor out of them. You may see a lot of that.

Especially if Davidoff is doing it. They’re one of the big market leaders, so you’ll see other people experimenting with variation to that.

I almost feel like pairing this with rocks or neat of Four Roses or something would be a little bit overkill, but a Maker’s and Coke or something like that might work well with it.

Something sweet?

The little hint of sweetness in this could work well with a fairly sweet mixer.

That or maybe even coffee. I’d love coffee with that thing.

I got a text message. I don’t know if you and I get text messages from the same people, but I got pictures from the biggest freaking cigar warehouse I have ever seen in my life.

That was me.

That place is insane.

It’s called JR Cigars and it’s in Whippany, New Jersey. They report to be the world’s largest cigar store. They have these three huge commercial humidifiers and they’ve got to have some major air conditioning operation in there too. I imagine that there’s probably some dehumidification in there as well. One of my friends was around New York for a business trip. He started sending me pictures and I forwarded them onto you guys.

CCP Brewfest | Camacho American Barrel Aged
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Camacho American Barrel Aged: JR Cigars in Whippany, New Jersey is reported to be the world’s largest cigar store.

When I first saw it, I thought someone was sending me a picture of a fireworks warehouse.

That place was colossal. It looks like a Costco of cigars. I loved how they had like the premium Humidors along the walls and then just massive floor tables of bundles.

I’ve got my humidor at about 67%. Is that okay?

I like 67% to about 70. You’re in the good range.

I can’t seem to get it over that.

You’re good at that. As long as you squeeze the cigar a little bit and they give a little bit, you’re fine, but you got about 65% and below. They’ll dry out over time.

When’s your Brewfest? Are you guys both going?

I’m going to the Saturday session. It’s a two-day event. It’s put on by a local craft beer advocacy group called Free the Hops. It’s an annual event. This year there are I believe nineteen local Alabama-based breweries. Sixty plus breweries from elsewhere, whether that’s domestic or foreign. I think there are five cider makers that are represented and there’s a local bar called the J. Clyde and they have a table as well and I’m not sure what they’re bringing. If they’re bringing in additional beers that aren’t included in those makers, but my dad’s coming into town, he’s going to go with me. I know a number of friends are going. Are you going Harris?

I’m still trying to work it out. Hopefully, I’ll make it out there Saturday.

Are you trying to get clearance from the tower?

Yes.

I know how that feels. I’ve been thinking about this lately a lot. You guys know I no longer drink, but I do like NA beers. I’ve been looking for someone, I know it’s probably a difficult process, to make some good nonalcoholic beers, like a Weiss or Hefeweizen, something like that to bring it to market. There’d be a huge market for it.

Like a craft beer version of that?

I don’t know why they don’t do it. There’s plenty of people that don’t drink but still love beer.

My wife has a cousin and we we’re at the beach. He’s in law enforcement and he had a drink and didn’t feel he could drive afterward, not because he felt like he was of reduced capacity but because that’s a rule he set for himself. If he were able to have a non-alcoholic craft beer that he enjoyed as much, he might not be put in that dilemma.

Even O’Douls Amber, which is I know you guys are like, “Here we go.” That’s not a bad NA beer. There’s no doubt that the alcohol smooths the flavor out, but I can’t help to think that there’s not a company out there that can do it, that can make some good craft, because I miss my Blue Moon.

I’ve got a cousin who’s got his own brew. He participated in the competition sponsored by Straight to Ale in Huntsville, Alabama and came in third place. He was four or five votes behind winning.

You think that there’s a possibility he may be able to do something that’s NA?

I’m going to talk to him about seeing if he can do a nonalcoholic. We’ll see if it comes more close to Blue Moon.

I want to give a special shout out to one other one that you gave me, and it was Tatuaje Verocu. It’s a nice smoke, very nice. I texted you the day that I smoked it and was gushing. It was very nice. I’m going to give them a special shout out because I enjoyed it. Is that in production now? Do you have that stuff in stock?

Yes, that is a regular production one that’s fairly available but very good. Medium to full body Nicaraguan blend from Tatuaje.

Is that another boutique cigar company that’s on the upswing? Is that an off brand of a big one? Tell me a little bit about it.

The Tatuaje was started by Pete Johnson about ten or eleven years ago. He’s based in Los Angeles and he’s an edgy guy trying to do things a little bit different. He has My Father’s Cigars in Nicaragua, owned by Don Pepin making all of his cigars. There he is close with the family. They were one of the bigger manufacturers out there. He’s making good small batch, high-quality Nicaraguan cigars.

CCP Brewfest | Camacho American Barrel Aged
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Camacho American Barrel Aged: The Tatuaje was started by Pete Johnson about ten or eleven years ago. He’s making really good small batch, high-quality Nicaraguan cigars.

Have you had one, Lane?

I’ve had a number of Tatuajes. I’ve had the TAA 2013 and 2014 several times. I’ve got a friend and the TAA 2013 is probably his favorite cigar that exists.

The TAA is the group that we’re part of. It’s called Tobacconists Association of America and they do limited run releases for that group once a year. Tatuaje does special release every year and every year it has sold out for us. We’ll sell a couple of hundred boxes of it in a month and they’re record sales. The 2013 is one of the most sought-after blends because you just can’t find it anywhere. I don’t think they still exist anywhere unless someone’s holding onto and saving them. It’s a small batch. It’s 2,500 boxes at a time.

Alabama, Birmingham back in the football scene. What’s up?

After several months of all the municipalities passing resolutions in support of the football program and some private boosters raising a ridiculous sum of money, the last number I saw was $17.2 million. The university president decided it was time to eat some crow and announced that steps were being taken to bring UAB football, bowling, and rifle teams all back. Those were all the programs that he had canceled in December.

How big is Birmingham population-wise?

Metro area around 1.2 million or so.

It’s a significant metro area.

The city of Birmingham itself, 300,000 or something like that. If you count all the suburbs and everything that feed off of the industry in Birmingham, it’s a little over a million.

Technically, UAB should be able to support a football team?

Birmingham is still directly between Alabama and Auburn. Tuscaloosa is about 45 minutes away. Auburn’s a little over an hour away, so Birmingham is distracted. It’s one of those things that hoI don’t think anybody cared at all about UAB football until they got rid of it, so it’d be interesting to see if long term people will actually support it.

I’ve always known UAB as a basketball school. I followed the NCAA Tournament and they’ve always been competitive in it. Football, I didn’t start paying attention to it either until they got rid of it, until I read a lot about the kids that were leaving and the recruits and stuff which sucked for them. Kids are ready for a full ride and now they’re left with nothing. I was sympathetic to them.

A lot of reason for the local support has been the head coach, Bill Clark. He was in his first-year and took them to being bowl eligible for the first time. I don’t even know when in his first season as head coach and he’s coming back. That’s a big plus.

I saw a stat the other day that said UAB had the largest fan increase attendance-wise at games year over year of any school in the country. They increased their attendance the most.

The Free UAB hashtag on Twitter is trending nationally and has been for months and months. They’re not just in support of the football program, they’re also in support of undergraduate programs at the university and trying to make UAB its own organization outside of the University of Alabama system.

You know what’s funny is that college football in Illinois sucks so bad that Northern Illinois is the number one college football school in Illinois.

That’s the Fighting Illinois if I’m not mistaken?

No, that’s the Huskies. They’re the best college football team in Illinois and it’s funny because they’ve had a good six or seven years run of nice teams.

They’ve had some big upsets.

Jordan Lynch was sixth and third in Heisman voting for two years. They had big teams and it’s funny because of how bad Northwestern and Illinois have been, they’ve gone through a renaissance. They’re redoing their stadium. They’ve built some nice stuff in DeKalb. They’ve built buildings and sports complexes. It’s neat to see how two institutions dropping the ball has let a mid-major into the big time.

Now that we have to playoff system, that becomes real a little more every year. I would like to see the playoff branch out to at least eight teams. I would just about a guarantee that there would be a dark horse in an eighteen playoff.

There’s no doubt. I said the same thing. I’ve talked about it on another podcast that I’m on with Ted Sundquist. We both agree that that eight teams would allow a dark horse to get in there and play one of the big boys to see if they’re good enough to win. They would allow a Boise State or someone like that to come in. Boise State’s won enough big games in the last ten years to deserve a shot if they’re undefeated.

UAB is not out of the woods yet. One of the stipulations that Ray Watts has put on it is that these private boosters need to come up with another $13,000,000. He wants to allocate that to new facilities, so assumption is that we’re looking at a new stadium and probably upgraded practice facilities. They don’t have any assistant coaches at this point. All of them went to go work somewhere else. Fifty-six scholarships, football players transferred out when the football program was disbanded, so they’re going to need the petition of the NCAA to allow for more than 25 scholarships to be passed out. They’re going to need their fans to continue to support the program on a regular basis rather than just when they believe the program is on the line. They’re being given the opportunity to rescue it and that’s probably a good thing for the city of Birmingham.

It’s another event that the citizens of Birmingham can go see. It makes you a destination spot. When I went to Sioux Falls and obviously North Dakota is a huge draw in North Dakota and South Dakota football is huge there, too. It gives them something to do, a place to go and an event to see.

Harris, did you bring any cigars that you want to suggest to our readers?

A mild cigar, the Ashton Classic is one that I was going to recommend. It’s always one of the best smooth, milder Dominican cigars. I highly recommend trying that one. if you’re looking for something in the medium, the full-body range, Winston Churchill by Davidoff. They have repackaged and rebranded that cigar and just a fantastic higher-end medium-to-full-body Dominican blend. The last one, the one we’ve been talking about a lot today is the Camacho Barrel-Aged. I highly recommend keeping an eye out for that. That’s one of my new favorites. A very unique cigar and I enjoyed that blend.

The one cigar that as we talk that this Camacho makes me think of is it’s another boutique cigar and it’s also made it here in the States I believe, Padilla Miami. I haven’t had one in years, but it’s a great medium-body boutique cigar. Are those still available?

Padilla has been going through a lot of changes, changing up blends, changing up factories and things like that. I’m not sure. I don’t think that one is available right now. You can still find it. I don’t think they’re producing it, but not quite sure on that one.

The Alec Bradley Black Market is one hell of a cigar. Not a lot of transition from third to third, but an awesome smoke. It’s a sweet, creamy, smooth cigar, beautifully presented, got a great label. It’s packaged well, and I love that one. That was great. Thank you for sending me that one as well.

Harris, thanks for having me in the shop and Sean, thanks for hanging out with us.

It’s always my pleasure. We’ll see you next time.

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