CCP 58 | Sobremesa
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The Sobremesa by Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tabacco and Trust has a complexity that is a welcome change for cigar connoisseurs. Unlike other brands that throw a lot of stuff at you 90 miles per hour, this cigar tones things down but still keeps its intensity, making it a balanced and enjoyable smoke. This is also one of the new favorites of Jay Gaydon from Cigars & More 280. It’s loose translation of “over the table” fits well with the experience of it. Jay is also very active in the online cigar forums space where he finds support groups, friends and family for Brick and Mortar cigar shops. Jay shares his weekend smokes like Opus X and Sobremesa Cervantez Fino.

Listen to the podcast here:

Sobremesa | Mi Querida | Jay Gaydon Guest | Cigar Cafe Radio

I’m Lane. I’m hanging out at the shop with Harris. What’s going on?

I’m firing up the Las Mareas from Crowned Heads. I’m excited to try this one. I haven’t tried it out yet.

I enjoyed that one. That’s a great smoke.

We have a special guest with us Jay Gaydon regular at Cigars & More. Jay, you’re into all the trendy blends and things. What have you been trying lately?

I try my best to get a hold of all the new releases that come out. I’m a huge fan of Dunbarton, Steve Saka. This year, over the course of many cigars that I’ve tried, the Sobremesa is my number one smoke. It’s very well-rounded, very complex medium body, full of flavor.

That’s the one that we talked about lately.

I smoked one in the Dominican Republic. I tagged Steve Saka on the post on Instagram. I’ve been a big fan of what he’s been doing with Dunbarton Tobacco &Trust, the Sobremesa, the Mi Querida that you’re smoking. The complexity is a welcome change. There’s been a lot of powerhouse smokes out there that throw a lot of flavor at you all at 90 miles an hour. I like how he has toned things down a little bit and you get some intensity, but the complexity and the balance is all there. It makes for an enjoyable smoke.

CCP 56 | Sobremesa
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Sobremesa: The Sobremesa and Mi Querida, the complexity is a welcome change.

 

What did that one is he focused more on the binder than he did the wrapper. He put a double binder on the Sobremesa. That’s what pulls out a lot of the flavor.

What are you smoking?

I’m refusing to come back to America so I just grabbed a Davidoff Special Series Short Perfecto off the shelf here. I was looking for Puro d’Oro, but this one will do.

It’s the Davidoff event that finished off what we had here. I’m smoking Las Mareas from Crowned Heads, one of their new releases. This is the first one I’ve tried. It’s off to a good start.

I did get to practice a lot of my Spanish pronunciation. We kept reading all these reviews about the resort that we stayed at and everything. People were like, “The language barrier is awful.” You can’t talk to these people and everything.” I was like, “I can say taco. I can say si, no, por favor, gracias, and I can point at things.” I took two years of Spanish in high school. It’s been about twenty years ago. I was like, “We’re going to give this a shot,” and I learned that if you have about a Sesame Street level of Spanish comprehension, you can get around in the Dominican Republic and not starve.

I did look at the cigar shop at the resort. They had a couple relatively authentic looking boxes of Cohiba refills. They had some Ashton smokes. They had some La Aurora. The cigar selection was better than I anticipated it being and then they have all the local stuff that no one has ever heard of.

That’s one place I would definitely love to visit.

We went to a new resort. It opened up in September. We didn’t know what to expect. We had stayed with that chain before in Mexico. We knew that we liked the brand, but the thing is it’s all new employees and everything. We didn’t know what to expect. Six weeks into it, we showed up after going to a wedding in Key West and it was beautiful. The beach was all natural. There were still sticks and seaweeds that get washed up on it every day, but it was very nice. We had a good time. It was basically five days, four nights that we were there. We got there as early as we possibly could and we left it as late as we possibly could. That frontend and backend day we’re both mostly full days.

What do you think about that one, Harris?

It’s pretty medium body. I’m trying to decide. It’s got some unique taste. It definitely tastes very Nicaraguan, along the lines of a lot of Crowned Head cigars, smooth medium but with a lot of flavor. I’m about half an inch in, maybe a little more.

I’ve barely lit this guy, being the Perfecto shape and everything. You light the tip and then it all unfolds and opens up. It’s somewhere probably south of a full medium body, but there’s a little easy sweetness on it, some natural tobacco. It’s welcoming me back to reality.

I personally love those in Perfectos.

That’s why when I saw the VSG Enchantment in the Dominican Republic, I was like, “I don’t know that I could find a box of it at home. I need to find out how they are,” so I tried to go buy a stick and they’re like, “No. You have to buy the box.” There goes that. They only sell them by the box. They pulled me in and they said, “How many do you want?” I said, “One.” They said, “No. You have to buy the package.”

It’s a box of 25.

22 or something like that.

I like that shape though. It’s a cool shape.

I love that cigar.

It’s like a big Short Story. It’s a giant Short Story.

We talked about having a rotating top five list of cigars, all-time that’s on my list. That VSG Enchantment is real close to being my perfect cigar. The size of it. I like the intensity that you get out of the VSG lines. I’ve smoked a lot of that cigar for a very long time. I don’t smoke them often anymore. If I see them, I’m probably going to get one, unless you tell me I have to buy them by the box. It’s going to take me six years to smoke them.

I have a hard time getting a full box of anything. I’m still in the habit of trying different things that having 25 of the same thing doesn’t appeal to me very much.

I’m pretty much the same way. I venture out way too much to stick with a single brand or a single size of that brand in a box purchase.

The only time I end up buying boxes are when there are events around here at the shop. Edgar Hoill comes through, I buy a box of his stuff. I bought a box of Nat Shermans one day after the show, and that’s because I love that timeless Nicaraguan. Those are probably my two most recent box purchases and I still have some of both of them.

Jay, you’re plugged into the forums and different social media in the cigar world. That’s one reason we definitely wanted to get you on and hear about what are you seeing on the forums and what are people are talking about or excited about. What’s going on in that world?

In that “world,” you get a lot of reviews on new and upcoming cigars, brands. They mainly focus on boutique brands. Those are real hot. A lot of your boutique brands are coming out with a lot of great stuff. Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t like that. That’s another setback.

What are some of the brands you are hearing a lot about?

HR is starting to make its way out, Hirochi Robaina. He is starting to get his stuff out. It’s a lot more noticeable now, a fantastic cigar. There’s a lot of rave over Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, and there’s a lot of rave over El Güegüense which is another fantastic smoke. You get a lot of Crowned Heads. We also get a lot of Opus lovers. We usually have the 20 Year.

CCP 56 | Sobremesa
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Sobremesa: VSG Enchantment is real close to being my perfect cigar.

It’s the cigar that never drops off in popularity. The 20 Year, that’s a good one to talk about too. That’s like the unicorn cigar. Everybody’s talking about it and nobody’s seen it.

Are you on the Bizarre Belief Facebook group and everything?

I am. I’m a member of probably twelve different groups. I’m an admin on another group called the Crimson Leaf.

This sounds like where I need to be.

They let me in somehow because of him.

I brought you. We’re not haters. It’s a group of champions.

That’s was pretty hurtful.

We do share a lot. I’m on Bizarre, Puros, Cigars of the World. There are so many, the Alliance. There’s a madman that comes here also that’s regular.

I have recently gotten sucked into the bizarre of The Leaf and see all these Powerball lotteries and everything for cool samplers and stuff like that. That would be awesome, $3.

There are a lot these groups that run Powerballs and Mega Balls. There’s one group that runs Fireball which is out of Illinois. You buy the slots and get these awesome samplers. There are options.

How long has that been around, the Powerball and Fireball, all that stuff?

Are you talking about in social media, as far as groups?

Just like with the cigar post in the Powerball.

I just started noticing the Powerballs and Mega Balls for about a year.

That’s what I was thinking. I don’t remember it before that. It’s got a great idea though.

It helps people out financially. It is gambling. You’re taking a chance on buying a $5 slot.

There had been a couple of them that I’ve looked at and seen the $70 buyout and gone. Those five cigars are worth $70. I would totally pay that for those.

Personally, I’ve won a few Powerballs and Mega Balls that I participated in.

Do you have a system or do you buy them wherever you go, because you’ve got numbered slots.

I don’t have a system. Whatever slots are open, I’ll take a guess.

Roll the dice.

That’s pretty much how I do it. They give you this slot and this slot. Sometimes, it depends on the price of the slot. I just bought one but I came out with a nice sampler of Opus which ended up costing me $20.

It’s a pretty good deal.

If you add it all up, it was probably about a good $75 to $80 in SRP, if not more. That one was a $30.

Do you have a favorite, if you had to pick one, of all the forums you’re part of? Is there one you like the most?

Honestly, I’m bias. I love my group, Crimson Leaf. There are a lot of Alabama fans in that group. There are some that are not Alabama fans.

There’s a good number that aren’t on there.

We’re not haters so we don’t bash, not too bad. Our group, we try to make it a family, not post stuff here and there. We try to get know one another. We have group meetings which we call herfs where we meet up here and there to hang out and talk, have a good time. Some of us have met up with our families. It’s non-cigar related. We try to keep it more on the friend and family basis.

I’ve got a group like that on Facebook too. One day, Patrick Vivalo was sitting around talking about it on the internet. He was like, “We need to have a brothers of the leaf culinary team Facebook group.” I was like, “Hold on.” I saw that you have members. We might have 30. For the most part, we post pictures of food. Everybody knows each other if you’re in the cigar world. We’ve got reps and cigar smokers. We added Harris the other day.

I got in.

That’s what you do, is you add Harris to your group to give us some street cred. There’s one guy in there who’s like, “If you post a picture of a cigar, we’re going to kick you out.” I posted a picture of a cigar in the Dominican Republic the other day and he is like, “He’s out.”

I’ve seen all things posted on there, people cooking up all kinds of great stuff.

It’s not just cooking either. There was a Jonathan Carney who posted some 44-ounce T-bone that he got at some restaurant.

Is it one of those, “If you could finish it, it’s free?”

I could take down a 44-ounce T-Bone.

That’s a lot of steak.

That’s a lot of calorie right there. There’s also another, probably the largest cigar group is the Cigar Cartel and I’m also a member of.

CCP 56 | Sobremesa
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Sobremesa: One of the main reasons to go to a particular Brick and Mortar is to also do business with that store.

How do these herfs work? Do you come in with a plan to all smoke something from one line or does everybody show up with what it is they want to smoke?

The way we like to do it is, and some groups are different, sometimes we’ll bring in swag for door prizes. Sometimes we’ll do like a drawing for a little sampler. One of the main reasons to go to a particular brick and mortar is to also do business with that store.

I like to hear you say that.

You don’t go into a cigar shop, take up their space, and smoke your own line of cigars or cigars you purchased from somewhere else. You want to do business with them. Brick and mortars are very important.

That’s something I’ve tried to do with other stores here in the area. Most of the cigars I get are here. This year most of the cigars I bought in Vegas, but most of them I get it here. I’ll go to a Rocky Patel event. If he or somebody is somewhere else here in town at the time, I’ll go and I’ll buy the “buy five get three free” or whatever special they’re doing. Every once in awhile somebody will be like, “Lane, we don’t see you around here anymore.” I’m just like, “I don’t buy that many cigars anymore,” and I feel bad coming in and using up their oxygen.

I was like, “I want to be respectful that you are running a business,” and they’re like, “Just come in.” Then I still show up and buy cigar.

I’m like that too, if I’m somewhere else. If I’m at another cigar shop, I always buy at least a cigar or two. I feel like that with any local business. If you go in there, you should support them.

That’s one of the main reasons for being that cigars shops and that is to bring them business as well. You’re allowing us to come in.

Come take over for a day.

They let us kick other people out. When other people come in, when other customers come in, they also see there’s a group here and it’s from something online on social media, and they say, “How can I be a part of that?”

Hopefully, that works out good for everybody. Since I’m surrounded by two Alabama fans, we probably have to talk about Alabama football at some point. What’s going on? What are the updates? Try to ignore it, Jay.

It’s getting hard not to talk some trash. We’re on a pretty good run. My hopes are getting out of control.

Mine too. Being number one puts you on the spot and makes you a target. Everybody wants to go after number one. Saban’s doing a great job. They’re all doing a great job with the program.

It’s amazing how many great players Alabama has. If somebody gets hurt or whatever, they can just slide the next person in there and don’t miss a beat. Gary had a funny quote. AL.com interviewed him for the Alabama-Tennessee game and they did a video on it. It’s up on there. He’s narrating and he was just doing it off the cuff. He’s talking about cigars and celebrating special occasions and he tied it into Alabama football and he’s like, “With Alabama football.” He said, “That’s pretty much every weekend.” That’s pretty funny. He came up with that. You’re making it difficult to be an Auburn fan right now.

I’ve been watching the Tennessee game. It was a lot of fun.

You would think that after ten years in a row that we would be tired of beating Tennessee. We are not.

Dan, are you an Alabama fan too?

No, Auburn.

Thank goodness. Me too.

You’re not alone.

Not alone. Gary’s in Alabama. He talks trash non-stop.

I try to wait until it’s time to talk trash. The real time to talk trash is if we keep A&M in check this weekend.

That will be a big one.

If Bama wins this game, it starts to smooth out a little bit. We got a week to heal, and then we go have the annual grudge match with, it’s not with Les Miles anymore, but we’ll see how Coach O does. LSU’s turned around the second half of this season since they let Les Miles go.

I’m surprised by that.

Me too.

I like Les Miles. I don’t know.

I was a little bit surprised. What I’m surprised about is the timing of it, when they let him go.

You’re opening the door for me. You know who is the maddest person in the Southeastern Conference that LSU fired Les Miles in the middle of the season? Jay Jacobs is pissed.

They are not looking bad.

They’ve improved. They got a little more on track.

The seat started out a little warm this season. It’s stabilized a little bit.

He gave up the play calling. They had been after him for a long time to do that. It seems like that made a difference.

You all had to buy this past weekend and you’re all playing Arkansas this weekend.

It will be a good match up.

You have any cigars in the lineup you’re thinking about smoking this weekend for the games, or anyone that you’re excited about that you got in the lineup?

CCP 56 | Sobremesa
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Sobremesa: The Anastasia was a very approachable, medium-bodied smoke, a little sweet.

I’ve smoked a lot of cigars for the last week.

That’s true. You probably have a few.

I may take it easy this weekend. I’ve sold all of Caldwell‘s new cigars which are not all power houses. The Anastasia was a very approachable, medium-bodied smoke, a little sweet. I’ve had the Midnight Express at the show and got it again over this week. The Savages was a fairly typical Caldwell. It was fuller-bodied.

It’s definitely a step up from Anastasia.

It was not nearly as full-bodied as the All Out Kings was. It’s in his wheelhouse of what you tend to expect from Caldwell.

I got an update on All Out Kings. They’re supposed to ship soon and they’ve pushed it back to March.

I was upset about that.

You were because you’re the one asking me. I kept telling you, “It’s coming,” and then all of a sudden it was not.

You have not had an All Out Kings?

I have not.

They’re going to be different.

From my understanding and from what I’m reading, it’s a totally different blend from his normal realm. I’m excited about trying that. I’ve had the Midnight Express. I’ve had the Anastasia, the Savages, all those are very good but the All Out Kings is what I’m really looking forward to.

It’s funny because what he did working with Drew Estate, Drew Estate, and I’ve said it a couple of times on the show at this point, took a step back in the power department on their releases this year. All of that power seemed to go into all of the Liga tobacco that went in to the All Out Kings cigar. It starts out with a really heavy T52 pepper spice. The spice mellows, but the flavor intensity goes to more of the profile that people think of when they think of the No. 9. There’s more leather, there’s a Graham cracker sweetness that’s hidden in it. Since I’ve found that Graham cracker in the No. 9, it’s like I’ve tasted everything now. “I’m smoking a Perdomo. It’s got some Graham cracker in it.” It’s like the best cigar tasting that I’ve ever found. I didn’t hate on the No. 9. I was like, “It’s a good cigar.” I was like, “It’s not my favorite cigar,” but I love Graham Cracker and as soon as I found that one day, I was like, “That’s Graham Cracker,” and it changed my life.

CCP 56 | Sobremesa
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Sobremesa: Since I’ve found that Graham Cracker in the No. 9, it’s like I’ve tasted everything now.

That’s a new one. I’ve not heard that one yet, Graham Cracker. I’ll see if I can try that one.

You have to eat a Graham cracker while smoking a cigar.

It is not the blueberry muffin. That’s not what we’re talking about here.

I was always making fun of some reviews that talked about blueberry muffins and things like that.

If you Google it, you can find cigar blueberry muffin and you will know, but the Graham cracker is real.

Maybe you’ll be known for that. We’re going to Google cigar Graham cracker and they will pop your face up.

That’s why I’m not writing it down. We should do a whole post about Lane’s Graham cracker cigars and then I’ll Google it.

If it’s not real, at least, put it in my wife’s head because I handed her a No. 9 one day.

Power of suggestion.

I was like, “Now, after you exhale, j on your palate, just give it a second,” and she was like, “That’s cool. I didn’t know you could taste the cigar there.” She had some good cigars at the beach too. She had an Insidious. She had an Undercrown Shade. She had a Java Latte and a Java Mint. Bigfoot told me that you all aren’t going to get any more Java Mints in, because they don’t go anywhere except to my wife.

We did get some at the Trussville store because I don’t know why everybody was asking for them and we hadn’t had them in a year.

You got anything that you’re planning on smoking for this weekend?

Honestly, I usually don’t make that decision until that day, but I’m leaning more towards when we win. I’m going to put it out there.

Do you have any possibilities? Do you have a few years that it could be?

Probably Opus?

Hard to go wrong with Opus.

It’s very hard to go wrong with Opus, probably Sobremesa. I’d try not to go through those on a regular basis.

Harris has all sold out of them right now.

CCP 56 | Sobremesa
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Sobremesa: My favorite size of the Sobremesa is the Cervantes Fino.

I did get word. They are shipping us our second shipment. We should be seeing something soon.

Is there a size of a Sobremesa that you particularly like?

I do. My favorite size of the Sobremesa is the Cervantes Fino.

I had the Short Churchill at the show and it was fantastic.

That’s my next favorite size. The Short Churchill, the Cervantes Fino.

That gets into why I’m smoking this too. The Short Perfectos and Short Robustos, that size is comfortable. I don’t have to make time to smoke this.

Another thing too is I’m not a big ring gauge person.

That’s pretty true for all of us.

I’ll smoke a Rocky Patel 2003 Cameroon Gordo every once in awhile. I’ve lined one up on an iPad before and I’m like, “That is one hefty game right there,” for the most part.

I’m tasting Graham cracker in this after you talked about it so much and put it in my head.

You’re probably seeing that quite a bit now, the review of Graham crackers.

Every other one will be Graham crackers.

For the Tennessee victory, I had an Opus X Fuente Fuente. That was during the game. That was for good luck. Afterwards, I chose an island cigar, Bolivar Double Corona, which is one of my favorites. I enjoyed that.

It would appear that after the game this past weekend, I smoked a Dirty Rat. The Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano was before the game and the Dirty Rat was after the game.

You mentioned that Bolivar made me think about the new news, the relaxing of the restrictions on what you can bring back cigar and rum-wise from any country outside the US, the Cuban goods. It was a pretty big change in policy.

It is now no longer $100 worth of Cuban cigars. It is 100 Cuban cigars for personal consumption. There’s been a lot of industry blowback on that. Michael Herklots has said a lot about it.

I’ve seen a lot of articles with him commenting.

He said, “We’re all fans of these regulations being eased, but they are being eased unequally.”

At the expense of the US-based manufacturers. A lot of those guys have been complaining about it. Right now, we are tightening the restrictions so much on all of the US-based cigar companies and then we’re bringing all these other ones that have no tax on anything.

There’s a lot of assumption that in spite of the new FDA regulations and stuff, that somehow there’s going to be a backdoor granted to these Cuban manufacturers after the fact.

That has been the huge fear.

They’re not being grandfathered in, they’re being grandchilded in.

I don’t fully understand what is possible and isn’t possible, but it does make you wonder. I assume that would be possible if they wanted to do that by executive order. Then everybody would lose their mind.

Marco Rubio is mad. We knew he was going to be mad when things started to loosen up.

Everybody has their fears with the restrictions. What’s it going to do to the actual cigar? Some say the quality is going to go down, the prices are going to go up, and not to mention, unfortunately, the rise of counterfeits.

Counterfeits would go. They’re already a big problem, but it would be on steroids because everybody would be wanting to try those. That’s the big news, that all the manufacturers especially are upset. They feel like they’re having the hammer dropped on them by bringing all these in.

Welcoming Cuba in with open arms at the same time. The problem is not so much that the right and left hand don’t know what they’re doing, it’s that they’re doing very different things.

Around the shops, we have My Father cigar event, the Number One Cigar of the Year event.

Is that for Le Bijou?

Yes. It’s all of their cigars that would be coming out. They’re featuring the Number One Cigar of the Year, Le Bijou 1922.

Which is a very good smoke as well, a good cigar.

CCP 56 | Sobremesa
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Sobremesa: We are tightening the restrictions so much on all of the US-based cigar companies and we’re bringing all these other ones that have no tax on anything.

It’s something that’s been around a long time. Everybody’s a little surprised they got Number One Cigar of the Year, but it’s a great cigar. The day after that, at one of the other stores, we have Jack Toraño coming in for the rebranding of the Toraño Cigars. The ones that people have been trying that we’ve gotten in have been flying out the doors, a good reasonably-priced cigar.

Toraño’s have done some restructuring on their blending as well though.

I don’t know what it is. The ones I’ve smoked definitely taste different than some of the past ones. You’re right. They’ve been using some blends that Toraño had that were unreleased, too. That have been good ones, and some of the new Vault stuff. After that, we’ve got Oscar Rodriguez from GTO coming, Dr. Rodriguez, the only Alabama-based cigar maker.

I was sad not to get to go up to the Cibao Valley when I was in the Dominican Republic. He and José Blanco were both like, “It’s a six-hour drive.” Six hours there, six hours back, plus the time to be at the factory. That would have been a lot of time not on the beach with all the Barcelo Imperial and Coke we could possibly put down.

Lane, your wife has to see the beach at least once a month or she’s not happy.

She does, give or take. This time the beaches were a little farther away, going into the Keys and then The Dominican Republic.The wedding was nice. I got such better pictures this year of the Keys than I did last year. After the trip last year, I’d switched all of my gear out and I made a different lens choice on the new body for a travel-type lens and it was an, “I was right.” The pictures were good so I felt justified in selling all of my Nikon gear and buying all of my Fuji gear because everyone gave me a look for it. I said, “I sold all my Nikon stuff.” He looks at me like, “Why?” As it happens, the decision didn’t have anything to do with what the Nikon gear wasn’t doing. It was because I chose the wrong lens one day. I got this little camera to make up for that and I loved it. I had to get another one.

I’ve heard rumors that I don’t know if they’re going to continue with his brand or not. They may not. Thanks for joining us, Jay.

Thank you for having me.

We appreciate you being a guest on the show, for giving us your insights.We always appreciate having guests. All you have to do is hang out here at Cigars & More. Harris will put you on air if you got good and strong opinions.

We’ve tried to recruit everyone. We get turned down a lot though.

You could ask Pat in here but all he’s going to talk about is Alabama football.

Next time we should get him. Pat knows more about Alabama football than any person I have met, an unbelievable amount about every player.

Once he starts, you can’t stop him.

He played for Arkansas for a little while?

Arkansas State.

My last breakfast at the Dominican Republic, I sat at a table next to Auburn fans.

Was that hard for you?

No.

It was probably hard for them. The guy at the table behind us sees him get up and everything. He says, “We’re evil too.” He is like, “You better watch out behind you.”

You can cheer for Auburn. That’s fine.

I guess until next time.

Thanks, Jay.

Thank you.

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