708 Cigars are making 96 ring-gauge cigars which are some of the better ones you’ll probably ever smoke
d. They’re smooth, real flavorful, and very cool. New releases are speeding up. Everyone who possibly has a blend or a brand that is ready to launch are launching now, because they have to get it out in the market before that date. Anything before August 9th has two to three years to go through the FDA review process, and anything after has to go through the process on the front end and can’t be on the market. The Cuban hotels are 100% booked 365 days a year. Many people going there now. They want to go before it’s completely Americanized. Tourism will change everything so people are trying to go see it before it’s gone
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Cigar Cafe Radio Wakesurfing | IPCPR | 708 Cigars | San Lotano
Harris, I owe you a little bit of an apology and I didn’t even realize it until night.
What did he do?
He and I had a show back around Memorial Day and he talked about going into Lake Logan Martin, which is 45 minutes an hour from here. It’s a popular place. He and his family take his boat out and he starts talking about what they do. I thought I was bonding with him when he started talking about wake surfing and I asked him if he had a hydrofoil. It was not until last night that I realized that I had completely glossed over the awesomeness that is wake surfing. I assumed that wake surfing was like wake boarding and knee boarding and everything where you get towed behind the boat. You’re standing up on a surfboard, whatever. I saw it on TV. That’s how it starts.
You’ve got to have someone get you out of the water, but then you make your way closer to the boat.
They get you up to speed and you get ten feet behind the boat and then you drop the ski rope, and you literally serve on a never ending wave.
Behind the boat. I’ve seen it. I’ve been on a boat with someone doing it. It’s pretty impressive.
I’d never seen it before and I don’t remember if it was on the Travel channel or some news commercial or what, but I was sitting at home the other night and I was like, “Holy Shit. That is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” I’m sorry for cutting you off and not letting you tell that story and going, “Do you have a hydrofoil?” I didn’t know.
I do think hydrofoils are awesome. I’ve never tried one. They look incredible. The problem is they cost a fortune, so I’ve never tried one of those. Whereas wake surfing costs a boat, a rope, and a surf board.
It’s not just a boat. They’re $70,000 boats. That’s a fortune to me. They have to dig pretty hard to get that weight up enough where someone can follow behind you. I don’t think you just buy a glass drawn, freaking efficient ski and wake behind it. I don’t think so anyway.
The new boats are pretty incredible. Ours is an older one. You can modify some of the older boats to do it, but they don’t do it nearly as well as the new ones that have all the surf systems. It’s truly amazing what all they are putting on the new boats. They can be $150,000. It’s crazy.
It freaked me out a little bit when I saw it. I know this is an irrational fear, but I thought, “What if you fall in?” They were really close behind the boat. It just freaks me out. What if you fell into it? It’s not for me, but I like to watch it.
A lot of people like it because it’s pretty low impact. It’s not like wakeboarding where you get dragged along and you get pretty tired when you finish. Surfing, you’re not. It’s more laid back.
Getting back to the smoke stuff, what are you guys having today?
I’m actually not smoking right now. I have a cigar that just got passed to me. At least my plan was this week that I wasn’t going to smoke because I’m trying to let things reboot before the trade show next week.
You’re resting your chemistry?
That’s probably a good idea.
Yes. That’s the idea. If I give my taste buds a break, maybe it’ll be more worthwhile.
I’m with you on that. I’ve slowed down this week, too. I had that UFC 200 party, which was sponsored by708Cigars right here in beautiful Matteson, Illinois. I killed myself on it. I had sweats. It’s the first hand-rolled cigar that I’ve ever had. It was bad-ass. By the way, they were making 96 ring-gauge cigars.
That’s a fat stick.
I told them, “I’m not putting that thing in my mouth.”
If you do, no one’s taking pictures.
I’m not warming up for prison. I got to tell you, they were really good. Some of the better ones I’ve probably ever smoked, real smooth, real flavorful, and very cool. The UFC Party wasn’t great. I was not super thrilled with the fight and the card. I liked some of the guys that were on it, but it was okay.
Is that the one that Conor McGregor dropped out of?
Yes. They had the Aldo and Frankie Edgar fight on. The winner of that fight is going to fight McGregor next. Aldo did win but he didn’t win in an impressive fashion. When I looked at those two guys fighting, they both landed some punches on each other. I thought to myself, “If anyone of them lets Conor McGregor hit them with one of those, they’re going to sleep.” They just don’t have the same power. That was a stand up fight. There was no wrestling involved, so that plays into Conor McGregor’s game. I just don’t think there’s any small guys like that that can handle him. Him going up to 170 is nuts, but at that little guy game, that 145-pound weight, I don’t see it happening. There was a great fight and Brock Lesnar came back out of retirement which is a lot of fun to see. I don’t know if you guys have ever seen him, he is a freak. He’s 265 pounds and he’s got 7% body fat. He’s a monster. He is part of the WWE. He was a champion in UFC and then dropped out because he had diverticulitis and went back to WWE. This was his return after five years of not fighting in UFC and he beat a good guy.
265 and 7% body fat, that’s like me but made out of fillet instead of rib eye.
His trap started his ears. He’s just jacked. Everyone’s like, “He’s on steroids.” You’ve got to understand, he was a two-time national champion at Minnesota, a heavyweight champ. He was jacked up in college. This isn’t a new body for him.
That smells great. I wasn’t going to light one. Now I’m sitting here thinking about it.
Screw the taste buds.
What are you smoking?
You can have one in a week. It’s a smoke bomb, too. It’s probably a 7X 58 box press. It’s the My Father lounge exclusive. They did these for about six or seven of their My Father lounges around the country. This one is from Cutters Cigars in Atlanta. We have a My Father lounge here. We traded a box of our lounge cigar for a box of theirs. Theirs is much bigger. Ours is more of a 6 X 50Toro size. This one’s very big.
I have yours that I still haven’t smoked yet. I’m saving it for a special occasion. Maybe that’s going to be on our little RV trip. I’m pretty jacked about it. I know that it’s really good.
You’ll definitely like it. It’s got a little bit of spice to it, medium to medium plus so far.
That’s where I’m hanging out lately. I’ve stepped back from a lot of the fuller-bodied stuff and come back to a lot of medium bodies. It’s not on purpose, it just worked out that way. The Syncro I smoked the other day, it had been months since I’d had an AVO Syncro. There were flavors in that, probably because I’ve given my taste buds a break. I don’t think I’d noticed before. I don’t think I ever would have picked up the Raison and stuff like that. It would’ve been some of the less dominant flavors that are in that, that just hang out in my palate zone anyway. That was a great cigar that I haven’t smoked in a while.
I bought a San Lotano Connecticut. I bought a Brick House, which I’ve never smoked before. I bought a leaf Corojo, which I can’t wait for. It’s one of my favorite. I bought an Undercrown Shade. I was expecting a little more from the San Lotano Connecticut, but it was not a shade like the Oliva, or not the Connecticut like those or the Drew Estate. It was okay. I’m not super happy with it, but it was fine. Do you carry them there?
We don’t right now. We did a long time ago. We always sold a lot of those. I’m trying to remember which one. It wasn’t the Connecticut, but the Oval. That was a popular one for us, San Lotano Oval.
Are you seeing new releases slow down or is it speeding up? What’s going on?
Definitely speeding up. Everyone is trying to beat the August 9th cutoff date. Anything before August 9th has two to three years to go through the FDA review process. Anything after August 9th has to go through the process on the front end. It can’t be on the market. Everyone who possibly has a blend or a brand that is ready to launch, they’re launching now, because they have to get it out in the market before that date.
What are you hearing about it? Are there any lawsuits that are going to drag this on further or is it a stall? What’s the update on that?
Several of the vape and e-liquid companies have filed lawsuits. They’re up to six or seven different ones, and several have been combined. A few cigar companies have filed lawsuits. IPCPR, CRA, and CIA trade associations for the cigar industry plan to file before the trade show. I guess that means they will be filing the cigar industry lawsuit. No progress on any of the lawsuits yet though, but they’re starting to be filed.
That’s going to probably give a stay of execution past that August 9th date.
That’s the hope for sure, that they are able to get an injunction that would put it on hold until it’s litigated, and then that gets dragged out for five or six years. It may not change it but it would push it five or six years down the line.
I’m glad they’re doing it. It would give people a chance to make some money. I believe that the Cuban market is going to open up, and it is going to be a mess for them. Why would they want to do that? Do you know that Cuban hotels are 100% booked 365 days a year?
I’m sure there are so many people going there now, all the tourists.
They’re opening up flights.
Not only that. They just opened up the first American hotel, Sheraton and one other in Cuba. There are two American hotels, and there are plans on adding another 30,000 rooms in the next five years or something.
Most people I talked to, they’re trying to go now because they want to go before it’s completely Americanized. All the tourism will change everything, so people are trying to go see it before it’s gone. Five years from now, it will look like everywhere else probably.
There’s going to be people making a ton of money there. That place is still pretty hard line. but if they allow capitalism there, that place will explode. There’s going to be some very wealthy people there.
They are starting to loosen up some things, but I still think it will be whenever Raul Castro dies, that probably really opens up more.
What are you smoking now since he twisted your arm and you decided to have one?
I’m smoking the same smoke and it’s colossal. It’s 6.5 X 60 box pressed. It is formidable.
It is a good-sized smoke. We talked about the Le Bijou and Cigar of the Year. I did not think that. I thought it was good, but there are other My Fathers that I certainly prefer to that. What would you say that lounge cigar is? Where would you say it leans towards taste-wise?
I would say a little less full than Le Bijou.
I agree with that. It’s turned down. The profile is so close to the same.
It’s a lot similar taste and flavors, but not as spicy.
It’s not nearly as much spice, but it’s in the same ballpark.
I guess we can make this announcement. One of our friends has jumped ships. We wish him well.
He’s already started. He keeps posting on Facebook, “I moved to New Orleans.”
He worked for Altadis before CLE.
He’s now working in New Orleans. We’re sorry to see him go.
He’s not covering Alabama anymore.
No. I know it’s his playground, but I’m sure he’ll do well. We wish him well. He’s a good guy sometimes.
I’m sure he will be back on the show at some point. What’s new? What’s on the prep list for the IPCPR? What’s on the agenda? Any big dinners that you guys are going to go to? To tell me a little bit about it.
We know for sure at this point that we’re going to the Davidoff Yamasa event, the Golden Band Awards for Davidoff. They’re doing a Yamasa tasting. That’s their new smoke. It’s black tie. I had to find places that have tuxes in Vegas. It’s way less expensive to find a tux in Vegas than I thought it might be, but that makes sense because there’s probably plenty of options. It’s like a third of the price of renting a tux in Birmingham. Less the shirt, we’re talking $45.
There are black tie events every night of the week there.
They’ll bring it to your hotel.
That’s awesome. JC Newman is doing a Diamond Crown Black launch party. We’ll probably go to that. It’s a big launch of their new line within the Diamond Crown family. Did you ever get those? I think he was going to send you a sample.
He did not. I had to hard reset my phone because it was getting a little wonky, and I lost his contact info. Maybe afterwards I’ll get his number and I’ll bug him.
I’ll ship it over to you.
I’m sure he had mentioned he really wanted to make sure you got those to try. There’s a ton of other events each night.
Did you get the invite from Garrett about that rooftop party on Old Vegas?
Yes. We’re one of the store sponsors for that party. It’s on the rooftop at Binion’s Horseshoe. They’re doing the last four or five years, Garrett Calhoun, our Davidoff rep, has organized this rooftop party. It’s not a huge party. We’ll have a few hundred people there. It’s just an unofficial kickoff to the IPCPR because normally there’s nothing going on that night. A lot of the cigar companies have their company dinners and things like that that retailers don’t go to. They changed it up a little bit this year and they have seven or eight retail store sponsors. We’re doing that. They’re doing a cover charge that is 100% donated to IPCPR and CRA for their lobbying efforts. They’ve opened it up to whoever wants to come this year. It used to be invite-only, but now it’s whoever. It should be a fun one, too.
For the entry fee to get any cigars or anything like that? Are they all for sale there? How does it work?
No. They’ve tried to keep it where it wasn’t sponsored by a cigar company that is just an independent event. People bring their own cigars, but there are always a few manufacturers that show up. I heard that Steve Saka would be there with Sobremesa and his new cigars. I think he’ll be there handing out some of his to try. You probably have a few other guys doing that.
Sobremesa is my favorite Spanish word now. That relaxing after-dinner and everything, it doesn’t translate directly into English. I live for whatever Sobremesa actually is.
Do you have them in the shop yet?
Not yet. We will be getting them. They’re not here yet. They’re making them in batches. We have not gotten our batch yet.
I had one of the samples you gave me. That’s one of them I need to revisit. It didn’t blow me away the first time around.
They’re pricy, too. They’re in the $10 to $15 range. There’s a lot of competition in that range. If you start getting the $12 to $15, you can buy a lot of great cigars at that price point. There’s a lot of competition there.
You know what else I bought? I bought a Zino.
That looks like Grand Master.
It looked good. I’ve never had this particular one before, so I’ll probably give it a whirl this weekend sometimes.
You’ll like it. It’s on the mild to medium side.
My palate’s changed. I cannot smoke really full-bodied cigars right now. They’re not doing it for me.
Have you smoked a No.9 since I had my change of thought on it?
I have not.
I feel like my world has been turned upside down with that.
You have to do nine or ten of them to get there. I don’t know if I’m willing to spend $200 to figure it out. I don’t know. What is it that everybody likes about it? Yeah, Graham Cracker. There it is. I just smoked it and got an inch and a half into it and was like, “It tastes like S’mores.” At that point, I started Google-ing reviews on it and everything. I searched for No.9 Graham Cracker and it came right up.
I have not smoked a T-52 lately, so I can’t say that my full-flavored, full-bodied cigar choices have changed, because I think I’d be okay with that. I’ve had a couple of them.You know as well as I do that when you have one of those fuller-bodied cigars, it’s after a big meal or it’s after lunch or dinner, and I just don’t have big meals anymore. Every time I smoke them, I’d feel a little messed up. I just feel like shit. I probably won’t smoke them for awhile.
Speaking of new cigars, you have a big shipment on the way to you. I was packing it up. I could barely fit it all in a box. It was huge and all the stuff in there. I found some other things to throw in there, too, random things. I’ve lost track of which was for you and which was for your basket. There may be some extra things there. They are separated in there.
We have the NLYFA Golf Outing. It’s our New Lenox Youth Football Association Golf Outing on August. It’s a day before our season opener. A ton of companies donate gift baskets. One of our head coaches is a national brand manager for Budweiser. He works for the rep that reps Budweiser, which is Lake Shore Beverage. He gets a ton of Budweiser stuff and we put baskets together. Guys that own companies have Sox tickets and Cubs tickets and all that stuff. The head coach, the defensive coordinator, which is me, and the offensive coordinator, we decided to pitch in our money and do a basket of cigars. I put together a basket. When you pitch in money to buy a basket and you will also throw $30 to $40 in there to try to win it, you know it’s a damn good basket.
You picked mainly things you would want to see in there. It was a great variety.
I did. I put in some ACIDs because I figured I have to be kind to some. I put in some lighter smokes, some shades. I did a one or two heavier. I did a couple of Ligas, maybe one or two of them. I also am putting in three hand-rolled Habano wrappers from 708, and then two Maduros.
That is a huge basket.
You’re darn right it is. It’s probably like a $400 basket. I’m going to try to win that son of a bitch.
You’ll also get some good bids on that, especially if you have a few cigars there.
There are. I think my dad’s going to go. He’s going to try to beat me out of it. I’m excited about having it though, because if someone’s going to get real lucky, I hope it’s me. What’s got some buzz right now before the IPCPR that everyone’s really jacked up about, other than the Davidoff, which you already mentioned?
That new Davidoff has a Yamasa wrapper on it, which I believe is the same wrapper that was on the Puro d’ Oro Davidoff that they’re discontinuing. Most people think it’s going to become a better version of the Puro d’ Oro. The Puro D’ Oro is a great cigar. It will be interesting to see. We haven’t tried it yet, but they’re doing a big push at the show. They’re going to give one to every person who comes to the show to try. There’s a couple of new Macanudo’s coming out, Inspirado Black and Inspirado Orange. General Cigar is coming out with several cigars in the $6 to $7 range. That’s their target range of, I would say nothing incredible, but good solid cigars. They have several new things.
Since I’ve reignited my love of cigars, I have not smoked a Macanudo since?
I think we’ve only smoked one. I think it was an Inspirado, I don’t remember which one. Orange, maybe.
They rebranded Toraño’s. General Cigar owns Toraño now, so in the last few months they re-released that. There’s a couple of limited editions from Macanudo coming out that are with special tobacco and more expensive price range. There’s going to be so many new things. I have heard that certain companies are going to have ten, fifteen new blends.
Anything from Drew Estate?
I haven’t heard anything yet from them. They’ve been quiet so far. I’m sure they’re going to have several new infused and non-infused cigars.
You briefly mentioned that college football is coming back. I’m jacked up about football season. How you feeling about your Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn?
SEC media days are in Birmingham this week for their annual big press conferences. They do one with each head coach. Sometimes they have some of the players there. I haven’t been hearing much about it.
I hear you guys have a transfer as a running that’s really showing out.
He’s supposed to be the big star. Hopefully we can find a quarterback. That would be good. There’s been a lot of drama with Finebaum and Nick Saban. They’ve been going at each other.
Not just Nick Saban. There has been drama with Finebaum and Hugh Freeze.
I think he’s just trying to generate conflict. He’s always controversial.
I don’t know. Free season rank number one, I’ll believe any high after September 17. That’s the Ole Miss game. We’ve lost to them two years in a row. Let’s see if we can stop that skid.
Ole Miss is not the Ole Miss of the last three years though. They got some good players, but LaQuan’s gone. They lost some players.
I want for somebody to put hands on Chad Kelly. Yeah. I’m really interested. In case anyone didn’t know this, I hate Michigan Wolverines. It is an unhealthy hatred for them. They’re going to be really good this year. They’ve got an outside shot of, of making the playoffs.
I think they will be good. They’ve had a couple of years to recover now,
Har-ber has a good coach, whether you like it or not.
I have two football weekends in October that I’m not going to be in town for them. October 8th, my Dad wants to go to Arkansas. My uncle has a friend who’s a trout guide so we’re going on a fly fishing trip. Then the next weekend is the wedding in the Keys. We’re actually flying into Dominican Republic the day of the Alabama Tennessee game.
Wow. That’s tough for you.
I’ll be there before noon and odds are we’ll be at nighttime game for Bama, Tennessee, but yeah, I will not be in the United States for that game.
That’s pretty nuts. When was the last time that happened?
We saw Bama play somebody and it was a big game last year from Mexico. It’s not uncommon, but for it to be Bama, Tennessee, that’s a little weird. Have you ever been to a Big 10 game?
You guys ought to make it. Iowa started it last year. It’s called Wrestling on the Grid Iron and they have a wrestling meet. Last year it was with Oklahoma State. It’s at 10:00 AM. They broke the record by three times. They have 50,000 people to come see a wrestling meet. Then they played Minnesota that night at like 6 PM or 7 PM. It is a mess of a day. If you want to marathon that day, go to the wrestling meet in the morning, tailgate, come back at night. They offer it like you can buy both tickets. It was a zoo and a ton of fun. That may be one of those weekends you have to dedicate to coming up to the mid-west to see something.
That doesn’t sound like it would suck. When we tailgate down here, it is on all day commitment. My wife and I tailgated in Alabama in the reserve section for seven or eight years from sometime which she always coached all the way up until a couple years ago. Bam has been pretty good for the last few of those years. It wears me out to show up for a Saturday tailgate for a night game. We have to be unloaded and off of Ninth Avenue by 7:00 AM. Then we have to set up our tents and set up our food and everything. The game doesn’t start until 6 PM or 6:30 PM. The game’s over with commercials and stuff. If you’re talking about CVS, you’re talking about 10:30 PM.
That is a commitment.
They don’t open 9th avenue backup for two hours and they shut off the power at 1:00 AM. Then we still have to drive home through traffic, so it is a commitment.
That’s too much for me. Here’s what had happened when I was in the city. I’d get a hotel room in downtown. We’d walk our ass the mile and a half to the stadium, connect, and tailgate with the wrestling families and stuff, and then we’d go back. I would never make that commitment with my own vehicle and my own tents and stuff. That’s too much.
I have a wheeled cart for my Yeti Cooler. I could make that mile and a half walk now. Carrying that thing a mile and a half is not fun. I carry it to the beach back and forth, but my wife said, “We need a car. We need something with tires and it needs to be able to hold your Yeti loaded up with a day’s worth of ice and drinks.” We got some car that carry 75 pounds, all steel framed and everything. All it does is convince us not to go inside when it hits lunchtime and stuff like that. We just stay out on the beach all day now.
By the way, Yeti must be an Alabama brand because it is not here. I’m sure I could find it here, but it’s not popular here. In Alabama, I saw Yeti stickers everywhere.
Are you taking the weekend?
There is no real igloo.
It’s really grown here in the last year or two, it seems like. Now you see it everywhere.
I saw bumper stickers and car window stickers.
No, not going on my car.
I’m just saying I did see it and I’m like, “What’s Yeti in it?” When I was in Alabama, I saw that it was a cooler brand and I’m like, “We don’t see it up here.” Again, I’m sure if I looked it up I could find a place to get them, but it must be a very regional brand right now.
With mine, I’ve got the 20 size and all of those twenty quarts or twenty pounds of ice or something like that is what they call it. It’s called the roadie. I literally just about always leave it in my car. The day before we go to the grocery store, I’ll stick some ice in it, just whatever’s in the bin in the freezer and pre-cool it. Then I’ll dump that out the day I go, and I’ve got a brick of fake ice that sits down in it and it’s like five degrees. It keeps the cooler real cold for three or four days. If I go to the farmer’s market or the grocery store or something like that, I can go stick all my cold stuff in it and shut it and we don’t have to go straight home.
For beach trips, same drill. Just load it up with drinks and snacks and whatever we want. The bigger they are, the longer they go. Mine, being the little one, it’ll hold ice for two or three days.
That’s not like your normal plastic Igloo man.
It’s why they cost twenty times as much as a normal cooler. It is incredible how long, even the cups. They’ll keep things hot or cold for twelve hours.
One of my friends got me one of those for Christmas this past year. They’ve got me a little ten ounce. They call them ramblers. It’s a stainless steel double-walled tumbler. He got me the ten-ounce one and I thought, “That’s nice for whiskey and stuff. The ice takes forever to melt. It doesn’t water down your drink.” Before we went to the beach one time this year, my wife and I got a couple of the twenty-ounce ones and they have lids. I don’t drink out of anything else. We used to go through solo cups at home because we already load up the dishwasher with all sorts of stuff. That used to be what I drink out of. Now I just throw a bunch of ice and, be it water or tea or whatever it is that I’m drinking, it stays cold for forever. I can put ice water in it at night and then wake up the next morning and still have ice in the cup.
That’s insane. It’s amazing.
Like I told you guys, I bought a 27-foot travel trailer. I’m going to have to invest in one. It’s got a fridge in it. If anyone from Yeti is listening and you want to sponsor me with a 35 or a 45 instead of the 20 that I’ve got now, I would be totally happy with that.
We’ll mention Yeti all time.
Did you say Yeti?
Guys, it was good to talk to you. I need to fly. The next time we talk it’s going to be before football practice starts. I’m going to be wound pretty tight.
It’s also the day before I fly off to Vegas.
Have a great time. We’ll probably talk before then. I’m excited about our season coming up. It’s football time. It’s a great time to enjoy your friends and have a smoke and I certainly will be hanging out with brothers of the leaf.
Take care, guys.
- My Father
- Cutters Cigars
- AVO Syncro
- Brick House
- Drew Estate
- Le Bijou
- CLE Cigars
- General Cigar
- Davidoff Yamasa
- Diamond Crown
- 708 Cigars
- San Lotano Connecticut
- Undercrown Shade
- San Lotano Oval
- Diamond Crown Black
- Binion’s Horseshoe
- Grand Master
- Puro d’ Oro Davidoff
- Inspirado Black
- Inspirado Orange