CCP 046 | Don Emilio
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Oscar Rodriguez from GTO Cigars fires up the Don Emilio, a special edition cigar and one of their best-selling brands. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Oscar is the owner of the only Alabama-based cigar company and is a long-time lover of cigars. His grandfather started the company over 80 years ago. They were originally in the wine business but that didn’t do well. The grapes were a little bit too sweet for their family’s strict guidelines, so they decided to go with tobacco. Don Emilio is a very special cigar. Every part of the cigar is hand-assembled and every leaf has been aged five years. The blend was originated by his father. This cigar is actually a collaboration since they wanted to blend one special cigar together. Smoking the cigar is a journey. Once you light it, it takes you through a whole sequence of at least five different flavors. At the end, it gives you that complexity that has no aftertaste.

Listen to the podcast here:

Cigar Cafe Radio Oscar Rodriguez Interview GTO Cigars | GTO Don Emilio

We’re hanging out here in Birmingham in Cigars & More hanging out with Harris. Sean had to go to the doctor. We got a special guest. We got Oscar Rodriguez from GTO Cigars based in Montgomery, Alabama. You’re our local guy. How are you doing, Oscar?

I’m doing good. Happy to be here.

Thanks for joining us. Oscar is the only cigar-owner, cigar company based in Alabama, right?

Indeed, we are.

It’s an actual full blown cigar company.

Yes.

One of our bestselling brands and we’re about to fire up his best of the best special edition cigar, The Don Emilio. Tell us a little bit about how you got into the cigar business.

I wasn’t brought in it. I was born in it. My grandfather started the company 86 years ago. We’ve been farming in the Dominican Republic ever since he got there. I got to fly back and forth every month, so I lose my barrier. When he got there, they were already growing tobacco. He set out too. We were originally in the wine business because it’s what my family does in Spain where we are producers looking for another way of cultivating that fine grape for their wines. They didn’t do too well. The grapes were a little bit too sweet for our family’s strict guidelines, so he decided to go with tobacco.

You have a lot of faith in the weather, don’t you? You got wines and cigars.

We are into farming. We are 80% growers and 20% cigar roller. In the past, my grandfather, two of his brothers after about being fifteen years in the Dominican, they went to Cuba. We believe we have the titles to some of our lands which were taken by the Cuban government, but I’m not worried about getting those back. We used to grow in Cuba too. I probably tell them it was the seed that we brought from Dominican that they grew there. Is it first generation Cuba seed? No, it is first generation Dominican seed. It has always been.

Where in the Dominican Republic are you?

We’re in Santiago, which is the second major city. Our farms are about an hour and a half and more north. We’re in a valley called the Valley Del Cibao. In Spanish, Valle Del Cibao. It is considered pretty much the best growing region for tobacco in the world.

Did you grow up in the Dominican Republic?

I was born there, raised on the farm. My grandfather noticed that I didn’t like getting dirty. I didn’t like messing with tobacco because it’s oily and I used to like to dress up with my white shirts and khaki pants and getting dirty wasn’t my thing. My grandfather noticed that, but I did have a special sense of taste, because he would give me different leaves to smoke and we smoke it and what we call pachuche, which is the leaf itself. We roll it in our hands and just ignite it. He would tell me, “What does that taste to you?” When I told him, he was like, “That’s on point,” and then he would show me more of what to look for. We grow six different varieties of tobacco on our farm. Everything is harvested and aged two years for the most part. There’s some special leaf that we grow that we do not sell to other companies. We have 400 acres. A lot of it goes to premium producers of cigars, but we keep two or three that are special to us, original seed, and that is the testament of the flavor that’s in our cigars today. I call them secret. I don’t sell it, so you can’t get it.

What can you tell us about this Don Emilio? It’s a cool-looking cigar.

Don Emilio is a very special cigar for us. Every part of that cigar is hand-assembled. Just as cigars are handmade, but we actually stack the filler and it’s done by our oldest cousins and uncles. We build a cigar vertically before we begin to construct it. Every leaf here has been aged five years. The blend was originated by my father. He was in charge of the Connecticut crops. Every time we will come up here to monitor the harvest in Connecticut, I would stay here and go to school for six months. I’ll stay for a semester here and a semester back home, which gives me my New York accent and I’m working on my Alabama one. Going back and forth, me and him worked together, we wanted to blend one special cigar together.

CCP 046 | Don Emilio
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Don Emilio: Don Emilio is a very special cigar for us. Every part of that cigar is hand-assembled.

Then my father fell ill and passed away in January, so in honor of all the work he’s done for our family, I wanted to finish his cigar. It took me about an additional two more months to complete it because I’m very particular when I blend the cigar. I’ve been blending cigarettes for 36 years. For me, the cigar is a journey. Once you light it, it should take you through a whole sequence of different flavors. It’ll capture all kinds of ideas and thoughts as you smoke it. You’re going to taste at least five different things in any one of my smoke. At the end, if you notice, your exhale will always be very clean. There is no aftertaste, and that’s something that I work on and thrive, to give you that complexity that has no aftertaste, not like a tinge on my palate. I enjoy good quality libations. I love good bourbon; I love a good scotch. If I pay $100 for a drink, I want to taste it. I don’t want it to wash my mouth out.

Sean’s usually on the show, but he had to run and long finishes bother him. I don’t know how many GTO’s he has smoked before, but that’s even something that in the fuller-bodied, like the Pain Killer, I’ve noticed that too, that it doesn’t hang out. It’s something that my wife was still hanging out with me after I smoked one.

I’ve always said if you smoked us, you can wake up the next day and you will not have dragon breath. You won’t have to scrape your tongue. You can let the cigar rest. It’ll go out today, you could relight it tomorrow and it will not be harsh. It’s just a testament of using quality Dominican tobacco. We only use A-cut, our best cut, our best prime. Anything under A for us, we sell that.

Your family started out cultivating and rolling cigars for other premium brands and stuff. Where did the GTO brand originate for you? When did you decide, “We want to go out and start doing things on our own?”

It wasn’t a popular idea with my family, because there’s about 356 family members incorporated right now. My grandfather was a breeder. He had 64 kids. He was good at what he did. When he passed away, I found out that I was the one that inherited the whole company and I didn’t know what to do with it. My mission in life was I’m a physician by day, I do trauma and emergency medicine, and all I had to do is blend. I usually get a couple of hundreds of cigars which I always passed on at the Air Force base to the guys I hang out with. We smoke them and we test them and blend away, but I decided when he passed away that I’m going to cut out making cigars for other people. I wanted to keep something that’s true and very traditional. I believe in family values. That’s my core morals. I want to give people a product that is 100% quality, perfect Dominican every single time. I don’t want anything that’s not the best that comes out of Dominican. I don’t import any leaf.

Are all of your cigars Dominican puros?

Every single part. I don’t bring in tobacco from other countries. Our farms are not a problem, because I’m going to grow it. The only leaf I do import is Connecticut, and I bring it in from good ole USA. It’s the best to me in flavor. It defines the blends that come with the Connecticut. I call that series The Gold. The Gold Series is a beautiful series. A lot of wood texture, Graham cracker in the far, and then a beautiful cedar finish with a nice creaminess. It’s my rendition of my favorite cigar in the world. The Partagas Lusitania, which is a splendid smoke for those that have the opportunity to smoke that cigar pre-embargo. My grandfather had about ten boxes in his vault. Not being able to find that cigar led me to making The Gold, and today it comes in a Churchill and Robusto.

What year did you start GTO as a brand?

GTO started in 2010. This is our first store. Cigars & More gave us the opportunity to bring in our first two boxes. I started out with medium. Traditionally, Dominicans are great medium-bodied cigars, it’s what we prefer. We love medium-bodied smokes. At that moment though, cigar lovers were a little bit already moving on and they were already at full body, and I wasn’t there yet, because I didn’t even dare smoke that as a blender. Blenders don’t normally go for intensity. We have to preserve our palate, so we try to keep it on the medium side so we’ll be able to taste.

I thought it will let you get flavors, some of the sweeter notes, the creaminess. You’re not battling with a cocoa bitterness or the acidity from espresso or coffee notes.

That’s one reason they have done so well. They are very good and very smokeable cigars, not over-powering.

They are certainly complex enough to keep the experienced cigar smoker interested in them, but there’s something that you can hand off to one of your friends that says, “I want to try a cigar. What would be a good first cigar for me?” They’re palatable. They’re approachable. I don’t think I’ve had a GTO that I didn’t feel like I could give. I had a buddy on the show fairly early on who had never smoked a cigar before, and instantly it was a good cigar for him.

It definitely has a broad appeal. Back in 2010, being the first store here, in the early days we see Oscar all the time. You come up and promote the cigars all the time and now you’re big and you’re everywhere, so we don’t get to see you quite as often. You’re all around the country. You are pretty much everywhere now.

The first time that I met Oscar, it was one of those days he has wandered into this shop and I didn’t know what I was coming into smoke and he asked what I liked, and he said, “This is my Pain Killer. It sounds like something that’ll be interesting to you. I’m a doctor during the day, so I tell people to take two and call me in the morning.”

It’s a nice twist. I’ve got guys that don’t pick it up because they think it’s going to be one of those palate destroyers, but it’s a nice smoke, a lot of complexity, a lot of earth, a lot of coffee, a nice cocoa in the background, and a beautiful cayenne pepper that caresses the palate on the rear. I enjoy smoking the Pain Killer. It’s really nice.

You should write cigar reviews too.

When I first lit this up, it has a nice sweetness at the beginning. What is that? Is that natural?

It’s natural. That Maduro as it ages gets better. It’s beautiful. We did it in a Doble Capa. I love making things that guys don’t want to do. It’s harder to make. Doble Capa requires a very skilled torcedor.

It’s a good lit and makes people want to pick it up.

CCP 046 | Don Emilio
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Don Emilio: The cigar is a journey. Once you light it, it should take you through a whole sequence of different flavors.

The line is beautiful. The two wrappers, they’re both fully intact, but they blend well together. I’m definitely interested to see what happens here in another inch on the flavor.

When you finish that Connecticut part, which has just given the Maduro that sweetness and that creaminess, it’s going to switch. That makes the journey even better. Now, you’ve put on your seatbelt, and you say, “This is nice. It’s going to be nice.” It’s going to finish even better. It’s a fantastic smoke. When you had asked me though why I named it GTO, when I started, I was looking for a name and I looked everywhere, because you want to come up with a nice name. My wife was hell bent on me calling it her name. Her name is Rose, and I was like, “Sweetie, nobody wants to smoke a Rose.” This isn’t going to fly.

I was sitting in my garage and I looked over to the right and I have two of my favorite cars parked. Those never see the sun. I have two GTOs, a‘65 and a 1971. They were original, and I looked down and said, “That is a legendary classic. Our cigars are the same. I’m going to call it GTO.” My wife said, “Are you crazy? Why don’t you name it after me?” The acronym is nice. You could use it any way. I use it. GTO is great tasting, obviously. It’s whatever you like. I’ve heard other people use different renditions of what they believe it is.

You say you like bourbons and you pair that with cigars. What kind of bourbon do you drink?

I like single barrel stuff. I’m not a fanatic of any one. Every week I buy a different bottle. I will say that my favorite family is by the Wellers. Anything they make seems to raise brow from me. As always, fantastic, rich and good flavors. I dig them, I love Knob Creek single barrel. I just it all. I’ll do one bottle and then I make my notes because I like to remember what did it do for me and then that will spark me to pick up another bottle of the same type.

You keep a bourbon journal?

Yeah. For scotch, my favorite is the Balvenie DoubleWood.

I had a bottle of DoubleWood. I’m from Huntsville. It’s an hour and a half north of here. I bought a bottle and I couldn’t drink it every day, but I had a bottle of it. I took it up to my best man’s house and left it there. I could come back six months later and nobody touched it because nobody knew what it was. Finally, I came back up and it was all gone and I said, “You drank the rest of the scotch.”

My favorite price-wise is Monkey Shoulder. That’s pretty good scotch. It’s $30.

As far as bourbons go, I’m a big Four Roses fan. They have a really stellar bourbon at a good price point. Even their single barrel is pretty affordable.

I do like that. That’s the same thing I’d like to do with the cigars. I’ll give you that quality but at a good price.

What’s in the works? Are you working on any new blends coming out soon? Don’t you want to try to get anything out before August 8th?

I’m going to put out one more. Our line is pretty extensive. We do fourteen phasings right now, but I want to bring back my Corona. I have finished that blend for that Corona, that I believe is going to be something else. Let’s leave it at that. We’re going to call it quimbombó which is an African-Cuban term for a favorite food that I happen to like. Quimbombó is okra. I know a lot of people don’t like okra, but I love the name when you’re smoking it.

We’re in Birmingham. Everyone loves okra.

It’s going to coming out in June. It’s going to come out in a special box. It’s going to be a black and white edition. You’ll have twelve Maduros and twelve Corojos in that box. Classic Corona size, six inch. It will be a 44. It’s going to be nice. I have a couple of test samples of those. We’re going to smoke those after.

Speaking of the FDA, you said that you got started in 2010. What is your strategy at this point? Are you working with any other brands to introduce litigation as things began to unfold? What are you looking to do?

I’m not worried at all. I believe this is a bunch of hype. It’s real in paper, but nothing’s come through. We’ve been making cigars for a long time, and I ran a company but we were selling cigars in ‘94, ‘95, and ’96. The worst-case scenario, we’ll go back to our original name, which was Don Emilio back then. We’ll put the new cigars formerly known as GTO. We can still play in this field, so I’m not worried at all. It’s unfair. If you pay attention to everything that they put out, you’ll go crazy. Just enjoy. Drink today, smoke today and live today.

It’s all you can do. So much of it is out of our control anyway. If it’s going to be bad, it’s going to be bad, but hopefully we’ll get some loopholes or exemptions in there that allow everybody to continue.

That’s how I feel. Remain optimistic. You got to be. There is no way around it right now.

So much out it right now is so vague. The things they have released, there’s not a lot of detail around those regulations, so I guess we’ll be finding out a lot about that in the next year.

Especially as some of the newer brands begin to make their initial applications and see where that process lands.

Will they process them in a timely manner and all that.

I’m a little surprised. It’s taken us this long to get you on the show.

It’s because he is travelling all over the world selling his cigars.

You have Skype. We’re thrilled to have you in the show, but we can have you on when you’re out traveling, if you can sit down for an hour and smoke a cigar with us. Any Thursday is good.

Next time, we’ll definitely. I am technically challenged, so I’m still very rustic. I like seeing people. I like touching.

It’s nice that you can be here in person.

CCP 046 | Don Emilio
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Don Emilio: I want to give people a product that is 100% quality, perfect Dominican every single time.

We like it when we have guest on the show anyway, because it takes some of the pressure to perform off of us. Usually somebody comes in from a cigar maker, they have things that they want to talk about, whether it’s a new release or some current events like the FDA right now. We let them take the reins and tell us what they want to talk about.

The other thing that I think it something that’s cool is, we released our brand new staple, our Doble Capa Torpedo. We’re the first company to ever release that cigar in a box-pressed version. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it’s awesome to smoke too. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try the new Doble Capa Torpedo box press, it’s available here.

No one has ever made that?

Nobody. When I launched the first barber pole, very few companies wanted to do that because you lose a lot of tobacco when you make that. A lot of companies don’t want to waste that money, but we got crazy skills. We released the Fat Bottomed Girl. That is delicious.

It’s a lot of fun, especially when you get to that bulb in the middle of it and it takes off.

I learned a valuable lesson when those came in. I don’t know what this means, and I Googled it real fast on my phone.

You seem to have a good niche in creating things that are a little bit different. That’s one reason you do well, is they are a little bit different than what else is out there. The Hypnotic has been a big seller for us. Your blends have a lightly sweet wrapper. We can barely keep those in. It has a different look to it. The box looks like it would hypnotize you.

You stare at it long enough, the sequence, what it does to you, it tells you is, “Buy a box.”I love that cigar. It’s good because when people smoke some weird stuff, it takes over the whole room and it ruins the experience for all the other ones and for the rest of the guys that are smoking their tobacco, because the other ones take over.

It’s a great entry-level cigar too. It’s pretty mild. Mild to medium, but that sweetness, it’s sweet at first and then mellows out fairly mild and people seem to love that.

Connecticut is all that. The Maduro version will deliver a little bit of nut, a little bit of spice. Even for that avid smoker, that is a great breakfast cigar with a cup of coffee. That cigar has saved me because I don’t use sugar anymore. The sweetener we put on it is a naturally-based sweetener. It comes from sugar cane and we do it ourselves. It’s not going to hurt you in any way. There are no chemicals. We are a chemical-free business completely. We don’t even put chemicals in our soil. We use chicken and cattle poop, and that’s what we put. We have 400 head, they make plenty of poop, and I got 50 chicken coops, 5,000 chickens per coop. If you love chicken, we could fry them up for you.

You have 50 coops of 5,000 chickens? How many chickens is that? That’s a lot of chickens.

They turn over every 45 days. If you’re not into chicken farming, then I recommend you get a coop. It works. You could sell the poop and enjoy the chicken.

I have been trying to convince my wife to get us some residential chicken coops. She was like, “What do you to talk to me about?” “There are articles in the paper. It’s a normal thing. Mountain Brook allows it.”She’s like, “No, absolutely no.” She’s afraid that she’ll have to be in charge of the chickens. That’s probably true.

Every Saturday, there’s a farmer’s market here. It’s open from April to December. We’ll go there and I’ll pick up that morning eggs and they’re great.

I lived in California for a little while in the middle of nowhere in a little ranch town. All of our eggs, we had a chicken coop and cows and horses and every day, I go down there and get the eggs.

That’s good stuff. There’s nothing like that. If you eat a live chicken that you saw, it tastes different.

I started getting into hunting a couple of years ago, and it all started out because I was smoking turkeys for Thanksgiving every year. I was like, “It’d be cool if I could go turkey hunting. I could be responsible for the bird from killing it to processing it and then brining it and putting it on the smoker and everything. If I could see it from the beginning.”

You’ve got to chase a chicken because sometimes they get away from you. If you got away from me, I’ll let it go.

You know that saying why the chicken crosses the road?

If you are chasing them with a big old knife, they’re going to run. I did like this when it’s switched up. There’s definitely an immediate hit of spice as soon as you burn past the Connecticut and then to the Maduro.

I’m crossing into the Maduro section. How are these rolled? Is it all Maduro and then wrapped over the Maduro as the other wrappers?

It’s first a figurado over Maduro. Once we put it together, we’ll let it rest. It’s already a five-year aged tobacco. We’re going to let it rest once it sits for about one or two weeks, and then we’ll come back with a Connecticut and wrap the Connecticut on the outside. That’s done by one of our oldest master rollers, my cousin, Rogelio. He’ll finish that up. We’re only making 500 boxes a year. We were right into the next 200, and pretty much we’re already sold out.

Once people try these in our stores, they’ve been going quick. They’re your most expensive cigar around $12 to $13 range and people don’t bat an eyelid. It’s one of their favorite cigars that we have. It’s great response too.

We’re humbled and we appreciate it. Honestly, we do this hard work for other people’s enjoyment. We want people to enjoy quality Dominican at a great price.

I’m not seeing any other companies producing different varieties of cigars that are all Dominican. Some companies have one Dominican Puro, but that makes you very unique.

CCP 046 | Don Emilio
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Don Emilio: Blenders don’t normally go for intensity. We have to preserve our palate, so we try to keep it on the medium side so we’ll be able to taste.

It costs too much, a good Dominican. That’s why they stay up in the upper $18, $19, $20 range. It’s expensive. The only reason why this isn’t a $20 smoke because you own it from the bottom up. I touched it first, I got it first and I have no salesforce.

You’re out there hitting the road, selling them yourself.

I do it all myself to keep the price down so that cats can buy it cheap. If I save money, I’d like to pass that onto the customers too because that’s what I’m all about.

We had a show one day where we smoked GTO cigars and somebody on Twitter hit me up and said, “Where can I get a box?” and they were in Canada. They’re shipping there. Are you in all 50 states now?

No. We’re still missing about twelve. I have a list, but it’s a good thing to have. I stopped accepting new stores. I wanted to keep it limited. Towards the end of the year, I’m going to allow another 50 accounts more and then that’s it. Those that got in, got in, and then there will be no way in.

That will make it even more exclusive.

We love exclusivity. If you’re in a place where you can’t find GTO, without a doubt, no problem, call Cigars &More over here in Birmingham. This is my store up here. They have everything I make. They full stock it.

It’s nice that you are close by because you keep track of it for us. We’ll call you and tell you we’re low on everything and you bring it right up. We don’t get that kind of service from any other.

I come through and honestly, when they come through every two or three weeks, I personally hand-touch every single cigar, the ones that are selling, I like to rearrange them and make sure that everything is nice and they look right.

Oscar, you always show up in different car. What’s your favorite car you have right now? You got all kinds of cool cars.

It depends on my mood. I have a car for every state. Every time I go to Chattanooga I like to drive my Jag. For me, the Jag is the Chattanooga, Nashville car. When I’m chilling up here, I’m in my E500. I love that car. It’s amazing. It was tuned by Brabus and I can’t go fast enough. I smoked the crap out of my cigars. They’re like, “This car smells like leather.” I said, “Come smell mine, it smells like tobacco. You could buy that thing. If you can’t find it, I’ll just blow some smoke in yours.” It’s awesome.

If you were going to smoke a cigar other than one of yours, what would you smoke?

I seldom smoke outside of our line and it’s never been to insult. Some people tell me, “You need to know what the other guys are doing.” I said, “No.”Honestly, for 86 years, it’s never actually bothered us. We know what we do. When you make a cigar whether it’s flagged or not, the bones of our cigars are the best from Dominican. This is not a fried bologna sandwich. A lot of companies that are out there, when they try to start up in the Dominican, they don’t have a lot of money so they can afford only bits of Dominican. It’s cheaper to buy a Nicaraguan or Honduran pieces or even Costa Rican or Jamaican. You hear these concoctions, it’s not that somebody came up with an amazing blend. It’s what they could afford. When you put it together, sometimes you get lucky. You said, “It does taste good.” I call that a fried bologna sandwich because I tell guys all the time, “There’s a difference between prime rib.” If you have a prime rib sandwich and you put it next to a fried bologna sandwich, I don’t care how much you love fried bologna. A prime rib sandwich is amazing and you won’t veer off of that. Unless you taste it, you’re like, “How am I going to go back to this?”

I like fried bologna.

For my birthday, I would smoke a Padron. I believe that those guys envelop every bit of what our family tradition is. Another great maker, in my opinion, Perdomo. Everything Nick does is amazing. I love his family structure. There’s a lot of love, respect and we’re the same way. I’ll pick up one or two of his. My favorite is the Patriarch Nick. You could bring it back if you ever want to bring the Patriarch back. I love that one. I don’t know why it disappeared. That is a fantastic smoke. Some of Oliva’s stuff I like. They’re amazing too. Christian, Azabache. I got to smoke that, and I thought that was pretty damn good. I tell people to stick with family. Family businesses, we worry about what we’re doing. We’re not worried about what watch we’re wearing, how we look. We’re not into the money thing. We’re into quality tobacco all the time. That’s our game, producing good stuff.

That’s my thing with people telling me, “What should I smoke?” I don’t push myself, and I tell them to look for a family brand, because families care. Third-party companies, they’re in to make a buck, and they’re going to look for your buck. If you love all the fancy stuff or funny looking things, if you’re going to smoke a t-shirt, if you’re going to smoke all the things that we give you, have at it. We don’t waste time with that stuff. We’d rather give you a good quality cigar, something that you’re going to remember and you’re going to put in your mouth and enjoy. I hope that that burns a little thing in people’s minds. Stick with family and tradition. You can’t go wrong. No matter where it comes from, I believe it’s going to be good.

The family companies are the ones who are focused on that quality and improving.

We’re not worried about, “Are we going to be here next year? Is our blend going to run out by the end of the year?” because the guy who was making it for us can’t find that tobacco again or he doesn’t even know where he got it the first time. We don’t have that problem because we grow that tobacco the same way every day, all the time, and it’s been the same one for 86 years. When you smoke with me again in 40 years, you are two old guys, that Pain Killer is going to be the Pain Killer. My grandfather died at 103, and I’m 47 now. I fully intend on doing another 50 riding on my grandfather’s mule, which is still alive, and enjoying the countryside, messing with tobacco and having that good people that enjoy this passion that we all love and we think is the best thing in the world.

That is one thing that I’ve always noticed from you is that the passion comes out. You’re doing this because you love the work. You love the product, and that’s always been very apparent in your lines.

You are always super excited about it. You do a good job in getting everyone else excited about it too.

I try my hardest to get guys to look at me. If you see me at a store, don’t walk by me, shake my hand. Give me some love.

If you ever see Oscar in the store, he won’t let you walk by. I don’t know if anyone’s ever walked out without a GTO cigar when Oscar is around. You’ll get them to try it no matter what.

CCP 046 | Don Emilio
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Don Emilio: We do this hard work for other people’s enjoyment. We want people to enjoy quality Dominican at a great price.

I bought it for other people.“I’ll pay for it. Smoke this thing.” I’m not telling you to switch. I’m telling you, “Here’s one more that you can add to your repertoire of fantastic smokes. It’s going to be awesome. I promise you.” Each one got to be good, because every part of it is good. There’s no mystery to this. It’s good stuff.

Jason Robnett would tell you that you’re selling yourself short by calling it good. He’s all about way more superlative additives when describing cigars.

On another note, you always have cool watches. What do you have on?

I switched to Invicta. Invicta seems to be a good line of watches. The Invicta keeps great time, but I they have sucky service. Eyal Lalo, if you are hearing this, stop growing and start fixing people’s watches. This watch is eight years old.

Does it have the meter on it for how wound up it is?

Yeah. It’s right here. They call it the power grids. In Invicta, you could spend $100, you could spend $20,000.

I didn’t realize they made watches that expensive.

They were out before Rolex. They were out in the early 1800s. They’re still Swiss. They’re a Swiss-made company. They use some Japanese movement in their lower costs, but even the cheap ones at $100 you could dive twenty feet.

I got the Japanese movement right there in a Seiko.

Seiko is good stuff too. I own a couple of Seiko’s.

I’ve got a Hamilton, I’ve got a couple of Seiko’s, I’ve got a Tissot now. Somehow, I accidentally became a watch snob. Their Seiko is a 5. It’s on a nato strap. It’s my gem watch. It stays on the winder unless I’m going for a run or something.

Those are good.

They make Seiko 5’s now that have hacking movements that you can pull the crown out in the handle stop. A lot of times those were the entry level movements in the Seiko 5 lines, but they’re getting to where this is a 4R36 in here, and you can get this movement in the Seiko 5 now.

Oscar, we appreciate you joining us.

I’m elated. I’m happy to be here. To me, coming to Cigars & More and being on a show is awesome. I love being a part of this family. We’re going to make this even better. I’m looking forward to all the great stuff we’re going to do.

Sounds good to me and we’re looking forward to it too.

Thanks for hanging out with us. We appreciate your time.

Thank you so much.

We’ll see you next time. Hopefully, you will be a regular now.

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About Dr. Oscar Rodriguez

CCP 046 | Don Emilio
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Dr. Oscar Rodriguez was a long time lover of cigars growing up in the Dominican Republic. It is party of the culture to smoke cigars from a young age, it was a tradition his family was active in. He has chose to pursue this tradition with passion and create GTO Dominican Cigar and GTO Tabacalera Dominicana. A cigar smoker since he was in his early 20’s, Oscar has a keen talent for blending very tasty cigars that adhere to his family’s rich Dominican Republic tobacco growing and cigar manufacturing roots and traditions. What most people like most about the personable cigar maker, who now splits his time between the Dominican Republic and traveling throughout the Southeastern United States, is that he is most approachable and enjoys talking with fellow cigar smokers at events, shops and lounges. There is nothing he loves more than sharing a smoke with his patrons & clientele.

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