What complements a truly fantastic cigar? Take for example Fratello Bianco by Omar de Frias which has a Mexican San Andres Negro wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and a blend of Nicaraguan, Pennsylvanian and Peruvian fillers. What about GTO’s spicy initial hit, Gulf Shores, and the near-religious experience of celebrating Eiroa Cigar’s The First 20 Years? Cigar smoking is off to a great start. Just imagine full body and complex cinnamon notes on the retrohale.
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Fratello Bianco, Eiroa The First 20 Years, GTO, And Gulf Shores
I thought I was going to see you out there with nipple clamps and get real creepy with your love of the new first The First 20-Year Eiroa cigar.
Why does everybody want pictures of my nipples? It’s not that great.
What made that cigar so damn good to you?
Part of it was probably the fact that I was laid back and at the beach, but it was not the first cigar I had smoked that day. Earlier in the day, I’d smoked the box-pressed My Father Le Bijou, the Cigar of the Year last year, and it was legitimately better than when I smoke the Toro. It was a good cigar, but three, four hours later, I lit up that First 20 Years and I’m sitting out in the sand. I’ve got a little beach chair folded out. I’ve got some Appleton Rum over next to my chair and I just laid back, feet next to the water, waiting for the sun to go down. It was the third one of those cigars that I’ve smoked and they’ve all been good. Something struck me with this one. It’s full-bodied. It’s complex. The flavor profile shakes up a little bit, not a whole lot, but the flavor becomes more present at any given time. It’s lots of espresso and lots of cocoa.
They’re all there at the beginning, but they change. Which one comes to the forefront?
Especially on the retrohale, you get this little cinnamon sweetness on it and the aroma is very much like if you’re smoking an Opus or Padron Anniversary Series. One of the reviews that I read, even likened it to, if you took off that shiny gold band on the First 20 Year. It looks like a Padron 1926 Maduro. I totally get that. It’s roughly the same ring gauge. It’s the same color, it smells pretty like the Padron does. If you take all of that then you recognize that this flagship cigar is only $13, if I were to go and buy a Padron 1926 at the beach, it’s going to cost me at least $21 or $22. At that point, I can literally smoke two of this Eiroa for the same price that I can smoke one Padron.
The T52 is $25 at the beach?
There was $16, $17 each?
Probably $20, $25.
I haven’t bought a Liga. I smoked my first First 20 Years on December 3rd here on the show. They had shipped two and a half, three weeks earlier than that, something like November 16th. I got one pretty quick. It was the first box that came in. I don’t even think they’d been put inventory yet when I got one. I have paid for everyone that I’ve smoked. I haven’t gotten any samples from Jason or anything like that. I have enjoyed everyone that I smoked, and I have not bought a Liga since before November 16th and that’s weird for me.
That’s saying quite a bit.
That’s a lot of the comparisons I’ve heard from other people, too, is Liga or Padron Anniversary or some of these really well-known, established special cigars is going to be competing with those.
Gary, the shop manager here, said that he’s recommended the First 20 Years to some guys that are hardcore Nicaraguan fans and they haven’t enjoyed it, but I don’t get that at all with the prevalence of the cocoa and the coffee.
Which is a Nicaraguan trait.
The cinnamon is a curve ball.
It’s not bad.
The cinnamon is so faint on that stick. It’s mostly in the retrohale. There’s this faint sweetness and that’s all that it is. I don’t see how somebody who says that they liked that Nicaraguan profile wouldn’t it like a First 20 Years, but taste is subjective and there’re going to be people who either don’t like full-bodied or don’t like the sweetness on it and not everybody’s going to agree with me. What are you busting out?
I’m smoking the Fratello Bianco. The 6.5 x 44 size. They call it the Roman Numeral I.
You’ve either reviewed or smoked that on the show before, haven’t you?
I feel like I have a few months ago. It’s a different size. I really liked this size. That 6.5 x 44 is probably my favorite size of any cigar. Right around that 44 ring gauges, to me, get really great flavors out of most cigars in that size.
It doesn’t burn too hot.
I’m a big fan of Fratello. Omar de Frias, the owner, he works for NASA. He started Fratello on the side and now he’s finally gone full-time with it. It’s off to a good start. That’s a Mexican San Andres wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and then Nicaraguan, Pennsylvania and Peruvian fillers. It’s a unique blend, the Peruvian. I would say medium to full-body. Pretty smooth. It has a little bit of bite to it. Not a bad way, but just a little.
I’ve seen some Fratello cigars. Did he changed a little bit of a marketing and labeling on some of them lately?
I know when he released the Bianco, which shipped last fall, he did update it a little bit.
I see it like a wraparound that says “Fratello” that is wrapped around. That’s new, right? That’s a new band?
He has updated a little bit since his initial release. His first release was in 2013 and he’s still producing that blend, too. He’s off to a good start. $8.75 cigars and right in that mid price range.
I like that price range. That’s good. Lane, how about you? What do you got now?
I’m smoking a GTO now, the Doble Capa Barber Pole Torpedo. It has two wrappers. It’s a Dominican Puro. The tobacco, it’s made with his first generation Cuban seed from the Cibao Valley in Dominican Republic. The two wrappers, it looks like it’s a Dominican Maduro and then a US Connecticut shade broadleaf. The construction is really good. A little soft, just barely at the foot. That’s the only thing that I noticed patting it down before I lit up. It’s nutty, a little bit of pepper spice on it. It’s not a cigar that I would normally go to, but I was looking for the new Alec Bradley Barber Pole when I came in and this caught my eye and it’s really good. I have read that it’s going to get creamier as it smokes. I’m probably starting the third of it right now. I’m hoping to see it mellow out a little bit towards the end.
I’ve had that cigar.
What’d you think?
I liked it. I’ve had two Barber Poles. I had the Ogre and that one. I did like the Ogre a little bit better than that, but you’re right. It had a spicy initial hit. I thought the Barber Pole construction was unique. I felt like there were times I was smoking it where I got some different flavors between puffs. It was neat. I liked both of them, but that was a great cigar. GTO usually makes a pretty nice car.
GTO is the only cigar company that’s owned by a local Alabama resident. Oscar Rodriguez is a military physician in Montgomery, about an hour South of Birmingham. We started out with his cigars. We’re one of his first accounts and for a long time, he was in Montgomery in Birmingham. Those are where he had stores.
He would show up just on Tuesday.
He’d be here once a week promoting his cigars. He’s really started to build it up. Now, if you look him up on Twitter or Facebook, wherever, he’s all over the country. He’s got stores in almost every state now.
He enjoys the fact that he’s a doctor and a cigar maker. If you run into him, wherever he is that day, he’ll ask you what you like to smoke and everything and he’ll pick something out of his lineup that fits what you like and then he’ll say, “Take two and call me in the morning.”
That’s his catch line?
He’s from the Dominican Republic. His family used to do a lot of cultivation and wrapping of larger Dominican factory cigars. A big part of how he got started is that he would run into reps at cigar shows and stuff and they would swear that they grew their own tobacco and roll their own cigars when in fact it was his family and they would tell him all of this to his face.
Did he say bullshit on them?
I don’t know that he ever actually called bullshit on them, but he sure does now. He likes to talk some trash.
A friend of my dad’s gave him this. It’s called the Uptown Classic and it’s a Folio. It’s premium leather and if you open it up, you see it’s got all my stuff in here and then it’s got two cigar holders and then a place for my cutter right here and then also another place for my lighter. Where did I get one of those and how much is it? That is a shut up and take my money purchase.
People make fun of me sometimes. They’re like, “Is that your man set?” I tell them, “No. It’s my cigar holder,” and almost every single person goes, “Okay.” They’re like whelping dogs. I’m like, “That’s right mother fucker. That’s just right. It’s my cigar holder, bitch.” They’re all like, “Alright, that’s cool.” I’m like, “I tried to find this to see if I could point you guys in the right direction, but I can’t find a single one.
I’ve never seen one of those. It’s called the Uptown Classic Series 200, but it’s got a little wrist holder so you can hold it, too.
It’s a cigar clutch.
I’ve used it a bunch of times and it’s great.
Black Leather Brennan Uptown Classic Series Cigar Travel Case Wallet Bi-fold. $80 bucks on eBay. Brennan International is the name of the company.
I’m going to find one of these. The one that I found on eBay that’s sold for $80 is done, but I’ll locate another one these.
It’s really cool. I never showed you guys this, but it’s pretty neat. I’m telling you, beach time, that thing is going down to the beach with me. I’m going to have one early morning cigar and then one sunset cigar.
Does it have a waterproof compartment for my iPhone so that if I drop it in the hot tub?
I don’t think that these were made prior to smartphones. I think they’re a little older.
More like from the ‘90s probably, the cigar boom days.
I feel like I need one of those for meetings. I go in, I open it up, I write down all my notes and everything, and then as the meeting’s about to close, I’ll just pull the cigar and I cut her out.
That’s big pimping stuff. That’s big dog stuff. They’re like, “What happened?” You’re like, “That’s what I’m talking about.”
“Who is this asshole with a bank coming in with clutch?”
Do you have smoke in here?
As I’m going through my vacation lineup of cigars, I’m thinking that there’s some ones in there that I smoked enough of and I need some new shit. I think I got to strike the Gurkha off of there. I don’t know if I should have an Undercrown Shade on my vacation. Maybe as a morning cigar.
That’s what I did. I smoked Le Bijou the first morning. What did I smoke the other morning? This is why I have Instagram so I could remember what it was I smoked. I started off the next day with the Kristoff Cameroon and then I went up to the Nica Puro Rosado. I’ll totally smoke a bloody Mary or a rum and coke cigar before noon and then something a little fuller after lunch.
Are you in the same ways, that you’ll have a Connecticut shade in the daytime or go to something a little heavier after dinner?
That’s pretty common to lean towards that. With great coffee or just it’s a little lighter in the morning, maybe in the evening after dinner. I’ve had a big meal, light up a stronger one or something like that.
Because I don’t eat anymore, I’m on a starvation diet, it’s tough for me to smoke. I have to eat. I have to eat before, because I’m serious, I’ll pass out.
Before you smoke?
I’m the same way. I just got to have something.
Especially if it’s a fuller bodied cigar, you got to eat. Some of the lighter ones, I can skip breakfast.
What other ones would you have me go on? I got the Liga in there. I’m going to come by the shop on the way to Gulf Shores. I’m going to come there probably between ten and eleven I’m going to stop there, I’m going to take my bundle and I’m going to go on my merry way. I’m going to say hello. Give everyone some hugs and kisses and out.
What day of the week is that going to be?
I believe it’s going to be Thursday morning. It’s four minutes from my office.
Come and buy. The kids are going to be in the car. I’m sure they’re not going to get out. They’re going to be like, “Come, let’s go to the beach.” I can’t go five minutes from you guys and not say hello. That’s silly.
That’d be really weird to see you in person since we’ve not ever all three meet in person.
You’ll see that I’m not just a handsome man, but I’m powerful, too.
Especially as you continue to get more spelt every week. By this time, six more weeks?
I should be in the 250 to 245 or somewhere around there.
That’s bordering on man-braid.
I’ll tell you what. I’ve come to this conclusion. I’ve been in and in shape most of my life, out of shape, maybe ten years, but even in the out of shape times, I’m never completely not working out. This has been the toughest run I’ve had to lose it. I got to tell you guys, I am working out like an asshole and I am not eating. I’m hungry all day. I could eat this desk right now.
It’s probably got enough fiber that it wouldn’t count for anything in it.
It sucks. I told my wife, I go, “This blows.” The realization of it is that in order for me to maintain 230, 225, I’m going to have to eat like this my whole life.
The only challenge is maintaining.
As you lose weight, your cardio loses its effectiveness because you have to work out longer or harder to burn the same number of calories.
No doubt about it. You’re right. I go Clif bar in the morning, apple at an eleven, protein shake at 12:00, little bowl of SkinnyPop at three, and then a shake for dinner. I don’t even eat dinner anymore. I’m like a fucking rabbit. I see liquid.
You don’t want to hear that my wife and me are cooking fettuccine and meatballs.
I’m so crabby about it, it doesn’t even matter. It’s like I’m crabby all the time about it. You telling me that it’s like, “I get it.” It sucks. Either that, or I accept the fact I’m a fat ass. That’s the choice I have. I told my wife, I go, “Either I’m a fat pig or I’m hungry all the time.” My commitment to excellence is to try not to be a pig.
You know what will make you less hungry, smoking more cigars.
I like to cigar-proof this room or something.
Nicotine, it does keep you from being hungry. You’re right.
You probably could put a little a fan in there and create some negative pressure.
If they smelled it in this house, there’ll be hell to pay.
Speaking of the nicotine, I was talking to my wife about some of the premium cigarette brands out there and stuff like the Dunhill, the American Spirits and everything and told her how you had been to some of their cigarette factories and everything and how it was almost like going to a cigar factory.
I went on the Nat Sherman cigarette factory tour in North Carolina and they have a blender for their cigarettes. Just like a cigar blender. They said that their additive-free so they said that the only way they can keep their cigarettes consistent from year to year is by blending. The tobacco will be a little different each year and they’ll tweak the blends. They said all it is tobacco in a tube with a filter on it. It was pretty interesting. No chemicals, nothing, all grown in the US. It’s only $10 a pack.
That was what I was telling Harris. Back when I still smoke cigarettes and everything, every once in a while I’ll go out and get a box of Dun Hill’s or something because it was a special treat. They’re good cigarettes. I don’t know if there are any better for you than bad cigarettes but they taste good. Back when cigarettes were $2 to $2.50 a pack, it is still five or six bucks for a box of Dun Hills. I bet they’re $10 a pack now.
Every bit of it.
You don’t sell any cigarette.
We do sell those. I’d have to say, the cigarette factory tours is not nearly as fun as the cigar factory tour.
Great to have the call. I love it. Will get this bad boy up and I’m going to jump off. You guys have a good weekend. I’ll talk to you soon.