Lounge Lizards - a Cigar and Lifestyle Podcast

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Recorded at Ten86 Lounge in Hawthorne, New Jersey the lizards pair the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 1 with Lambay Irish Whiskey. The guys discuss the HDM line and its history, they read some listener email, they learn of serious changes to airline routes in and out of Havana and they share stories of Cuban ingenuity.

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Join the Lounge Lizards for a weekly discussion on all things cigars (both Cuban and non-Cuban), whiskey, food, travel, life and work. This is your formal invitation to join us in a relaxed discussion amongst friends and become a card-carrying Lounge Lizard yourself. This is not your typical cigar podcast. We’re a group of friends who love sharing cigars, whiskey and a good laugh.

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What is Lounge Lizards - a Cigar and Lifestyle Podcast?

Released every Tuesday, the LOUNGE LIZARDS podcast helps listeners navigate the experience of finding and enjoying premium cigars (both Cuban and non-Cuban) and quality spirits. Episodes are normally around 90 minutes long and feature a variety of different topics including food, travel, life, sports and work.

The podcast features seven members: Rooster, Poobah, Gizmo, Senator, Pagoda, Grinder and Bam Bam.​

This is not your typical cigar podcast. We’re a group of friends who love sharing cigars, whiskey and a good laugh.

Join us and become a card-carrying lounge lizard yourself! Email us at hello@loungelizardspod.com to join the conversation and be featured on an upcoming episode!

**Gizmo:** [00:00:00] Welcome to the Lounge Lizards podcast. It's so good to have you here. It's a leisure and lifestyle podcast founded on our love of premium cigars, as well as whiskey, travel, food, work, and whatever else we feel like getting into. My name is Gizmo. Tonight I'm joined by Rooster, Senator, Pagoda, Grinder, and Bam Bam, and our plan is to smoke a cigar, drink some whiskey, talk about life, and of course have some laughs.

So take this as your 103rd official invitation to join us. And become a card carrying lounge lizard. Plan to meet us here once a week. We're gonna smoke a Cuban cigar tonight, share our thoughts on it, and give you our formal lizard rating. We discuss the Hoyle line and its history, we read some listener email, we learn of serious changes to airline routes in and out of Havana, and we share stories of Cuban ingenuity, all among a variety of other things for the next 90 minutes.

So sit back, get your favorite drink, Light up a cigar and enjoy, as we pair Lambe Irish Whiskey with the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 1. A Gran Corona tonight from Cuba. [00:01:00] The Hoyo de Monterrey. Epicure number one. It's a 46 ring gauge cigar by five and five eighths inches. And boys. Tonight might be the night that Hoyo dies on this podcast.

**Bam Bam:** Well, let's be optimistic. .

**Senator:** Speak for yourself. It already has died for some of

**Gizmo:** us. I know. It has. Let's be optimistic. I like the size. I do 40. It's perfect. It's beautiful. Same size as the Magnum 46. It's a beautiful cigar. There's some other sizes. It's nicely made. Yeah, it looks really good. The wrapper's really nice.

Yeah, the wrapper's nice. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, this is an old friend, you know, from back in the

**Gizmo:** day. Yeah. For me, it was a better friend then than it is now. I don't reach for them very, very much, but, you know, obviously doing it on the podcast tonight, I'm optimistic. We did the Epicure special, right? No, we did the Epicure number two.

We didn't do the special. No. And we did the, uh, We did the, uh, the tacos. Oh, the escogidos. Yeah, escogidos. Which, that did not go well. Great cigar. Mine actually burned perfectly. And then actually, a little [00:02:00] secret for the listeners, we did actually start recording an episode with the Siri La Jolla Rios Seco.

And we had to abort the episode because it was, cigars were unsmokable. So we'll revisit that one in the future. But, maybe

**Bam Bam:** we'll release that on Halloween.

**Gizmo:** We have another good one coming up for Halloween. Alright boys, let's cut this thing. So we're getting on the cold draw on the wrapper. It's a really nice look at cigar.

I do love this size, you know, we've talked about this before, this Corona Gortis, as they call it in Cuba, is probably the cigar size that I appreciate, uh, the most in, in, you know, in less than six inch, uh, size. Um, I just love the Magnum 46, I reach for that so much, and this is that right in the same, Uh, family as far as, uh, the pitola.

**Bam Bam:** Nice cold draw. Mild.

**Gizmo:** Little bit of fruit. Mine's a little tight. Wide open here. Yeah, slightly tight, but not a little snug. Hey, mine's snug. [00:03:00] Had these for a while. What are you guys getting on the cold draw? I'm not really getting anything. Cold draw has some cedar. Like I said, I get

**Bam Bam:** a little bit of fruit.

It's nice and kind of creamy.

**Gizmo:** Simple. I get all cedar. Yeah, mine's all cedar. The foot smells very nice. It does smell good, the foot. Alright boys, let's light this thing. The Hoyo de Monterey. Epicure number one again, it's a 46 ring gauge Corona Gorda by five and five eighths inches long the third Hoya We've done on the podcast and we'll see how this does tonight box date on.

This is September 21 EGT September 21. So when did you get these? I've had these probably for about 2019 four months

**Bam Bam:** Do we know what

**Gizmo:** they're going for now? Yeah, these are about 25 a stick. Oh my

**Bam Bam:** goodness Well, that's expensive.

**Pagoda:** That's

**Gizmo:** Oh really good on the light. Oh very good. I'm [00:04:00] happy with that. Yeah,

**Bam Bam:** you know Early in my Cuban cigar career, these were in my life a lot early on with the Monty IIs and the D4s and P2s kind of all floating around together, but we all kind of ran away from these because of performance issues, right?

**Gizmo:** Yeah, which we've all had so many times with Hoyo. Yes. But yeah, I'm in the same boat, Bam. I mean, this is certainly Hoyo obviously is one of the big global brands. Everybody knows the name. Oh, yeah. There's obviously a non Cuban version of Hoyo de Monterey. Uh, and you know, this cigar in its size was actually, to your point, one of the first Corona Gordas I was smoking out of Cuba.

And then I moved fully over to the Magnum 46, which I think is a far superior cigar. Agreed. At least until tonight. We'll see. The start is nice.

**Pagoda:** Yeah. Great, great combustion.

**Bam Bam:** There's a nice little pungent... Profile there,

**Gizmo:** which is really nice. How would you describe the pungent? What would you, what would you say that is?

**Bam Bam:** Very slight barnyard, very slight. And, um, [00:05:00] almost like a, uh, you know, that little cheese curd type thing. Okay. I'm getting a little bit of that. I'm getting some

**Grinder:** youth. I like it.

**Senator:** I don't know, I'm surprised. This is better than I remember this cigar to start. Me too. I've only had, I think, one of these before.

And I remember it being just like straight cedar and earth. You've had more of these. No, no. One? Yeah, that'd be one. I mean, that'd be two. I've had plenty, but not, not this. Um, but this is more complex than I remember this starting. And there's even like a faint creaminess

**Gizmo:** about this. There is. There's definitely a creaminess here.

Yeah, yeah. That dairy component for me. It's like cream, cedar, maybe like a little berry. Yeah, some dried

**Bam Bam:** fruit for sure. And on the foot, very slight baking spice for me. Just very, very faint. The

**Gizmo:** foot really reminds me of Cohiba. Yeah, Senator? A little bit.

**Senator:** I agree with baking spice on the nose just

**Gizmo:** by the foot.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Off to a good start. [00:06:00] So this cigar was originally released before the 1960s.

**Bam Bam:** Oh, nothing. I'm just laughing at Pagoda Smoke and the smell on the

**Pagoda:** foot. I'm trying to, I can smell nothing.

**Senator:** Just put it further up your nose. He looks,

**Gizmo:** so when he,

**Bam Bam:** he looks perplexed when he's... You got,

**Grinder:** you got

**Pagoda:** COVID?

You got COVID? No, yeah, I did, yeah. No, do you have COVID now? No. You can't taste anything? No, I, I can't taste anything all the time, anyway.

**Bam Bam:** I just like to

**Pagoda:** look at her face. Too much spicy food. It's just that, uh, well, the hair in my nose, uh, getting lit up over here. All right.

**Bam Bam:** Nose clippers, man.

**Gizmo:** So the Epicure No.

1 was released before the 1960s. It comes in a variety of different, uh, package options. And a display box of a 15 aluminum two bows, the five cardboard packs of three, which came out in 2011. It comes in a slide lid box of 25 cigars, and it [00:07:00] used to come in a 50 count cabinet. Unfortunately, it does not anymore like so many Cuban cigars.

So the display box of 15 cigars and, uh, five cardboard packs of three, like I said, that was introduced in 2003. It was discontinued in 2011. And then it was, it reappeared. Uh, last year in 2022 for some unknown reason, as Cuban Cigar website calls it. So, I don't know if that, you know, uh, type of packaging still exists for this cigar.

The main option that you're going to get the Epi No. 1 in is the slide wood box of 25. What's cool too is the before 2005... It featured no bands on it. It was one of those cigars from Habanos that had absolutely no bands. And now, obviously, it has two bands. The classic, um, fifth version of the Hoyo band, which is really nice, actually.

And then a separate second band on it that says Epicure No. 1.

**Senator:** So just so I understand this correctly, before 05, [00:08:00] the Epi 1 had no bands, but the Epi 2, the Epi Especial, had bands.

**Gizmo:** I think so, yeah. I would love to know how they arrived at that. No, Epi 2 didn't have bands before 2005 either. Oh, okay. That would make more sense.

Yeah. Pretty wild.

**Rooster:** Is it true any of the, I think none

**Gizmo:** of the Hoyos I think you're right. I think you're right. The Depute, the Deux Marie. They did not have bands. Yeah, they didn't have bands. And obviously a lot of cigars have been released since that time. And they all do. One of the, one of the classic cigars though that did have a band, you know, just as old as this one, if not older, is the Hoyo Double Corona.

And that always had a band on it. Um, which comes in a 25 count trust box. And of course the 50. box of Slidewood cigars, you know, Slidewood box of cigars.

**Bam Bam:** That HTC, I

**Gizmo:** still love that cigar. We had some hit or miss moments. I know you have. We had a grand slam. We did. A couple times. I mean, our first

**Senator:** experience with it was great.

I'm glad everybody could have been there for that.

**Gizmo:** That was a great night. Did we tell that [00:09:00] story on the podcast? I think we did, but... That was the best cigar I've ever had in my life.

Alright, so let me tell

**Senator:** the story.

**Gizmo:** Started all that. That's true. So do get blamed because you're supposed to be the responsible one. I'm like these guys, it wasn't at my house. So you smoke

**Senator:** your, you smoked yours at your house and told us we should light it up. You zoomed in

**Gizmo:** on it actually. So these guys are at BU's house rooster's at his own home, and I had procured our first ever 50 count box for the group.

That was incredible about that. The Hoya double Corona 50 count box was split up back when you had global entry. I had global entry then cigar. You guys had smoked that cigar prior? No. No. That

**Senator:** was the first. Never. No. You told us how great it was and that's why we lit it up. Okay. Well the dinosaur

**Bam Bam:** corner has

**Gizmo:** that all

**Rooster:** That's not true, but I've had the double Coronas before.

**Gizmo:** Okay. But this, that was a first for us. Yeah, all of

**Pagoda:** us. This was right after the poker game.

**Gizmo:** Right. So these guys are a pubis house on his deck. [00:10:00] That was a great night. That was lighting up cigars and then rooster, you know, I asked him, I said, let's split this.

So let's smoke it together for the first time. And then I'm not able to make it. And I'm getting group texts blown up about how incredible the cigar is at like two in the morning. And uh, yeah, you were doing payroll that night. I am still resentful.

**Grinder:** I can't for the life of me. Remember why I didn't, why was I out of town?

Must've been out of town.

**Gizmo:** I don't know. I wasn't able to go. So this was during Covid? Yeah. It was a covid thing. It was, it was probably You weren't traveling late 20.

**Bam Bam:** It's a

**Gizmo:** while. It's been a while. They smoked a box of cigars that I got for all of them that was hard to find without me. You smoked all of them.

Yeah. In one night.

**Bam Bam:** Those things, those things are still very hard to find,

**Gizmo:** I think. Impossible. Yeah. That, I think those are harder to find right now than Luan. It's crazy. I mean, you know, they, they come in a variety of different packages, but they're, they're hard to get so, You still have, you still have some?

**Bam Bam:** I have six or seven left.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. I don't have any left. You guys. Yeah. You sold. Giz and I got rid of ours. Yeah. We got rid of them. I would have taken them. What was the issue? Was it plucked? [00:11:00] After that, after the first second, first or second cigar, I mean, they, the performance just really on the rest of them that we had, it just seemed like a very, and flavor wise, it just wasn't doing it for me.

**Senator:** My very last one I had was here at our lounge. I was sitting at the bar. And I just, it, it didn't burn. It was awful. It was so frustrating. I'm not sure what happened.

**Gizmo:** But people love those sticks, man. And they, uh, they're sought after, so. Yeah.

**Senator:** A Rod's buying them all up. Yeah. Is he? That's his favorite cigar.

That's what he smokes all the time. Yeah. Oh,

**Gizmo:** shit. Yeah. So, Hoyo de Monterrey was established in 1865 by Don Jose.

This is pretty cool. He's the owner. He was the owner of La Asepcion, which was a marca that preceded Hoyo, that now is used by Habanos for special releases. So there are some La Asepcion, uh, cigars that have been released in the last 15 or 20 years. Cool. Playing homage to that long history. Obviously it's not a regular production marca, but they use it for special stuff.

Uh, I think we [00:12:00] mentioned this on a previous episode. So I'll kind of gloss over it on one of the other Hoyo episodes we did, but the brand was very successful and completely fell off in the 1930s. For some reasons it changed hands several times and was a significant brand, even after the industry was taken over during the Cuban revolution.

And it still remains 1980s, nineties, obviously two thousands really, really took off again as a major global brand and anywhere that Cuban cigars are sold. You're always going to see this white Hoyo de Monterey band. Yep. Always. So, in the Epicure line, there are, uh, quite a few cigars, which we could talk about.

There's five or four, I believe. Uh, the Epicure No. 2, which we did on a previous episode, which came out in 1972, which is a Robusto, 50 by 4 and 7 eighths inches. That's a classic cigar. Yeah. People... You know, as far as Cuban Robustos go, people love the Epi 2. I recently got

**Bam Bam:** a box of those. Did ya? [00:13:00] Just to hold on to.

I like that cigar. I've always liked it. Never had a problem. Epi 1s I've had a lot of problems with.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, these just don't perform as well. Then there's the Epicura Especial, which is a Gordito. 50 ring gauge by five and a half inches that came out in 2008. And then finally they have a La Casa Del Habano exclusive release called the Epicure Deluxe, which is the same size as the Cohiba Magikos 52 ring gauge by four and a half inches, which comes in slide lid box of 10.

So yeah, they, um. Habanos puts a lot of emphasis on Hoyo de Monterrey. And, uh, you know, as we've talked about with, I would, I would put this brand kind of next to Romeo, not on that same level, but as far as how much volume they produce, how, you know, uh, famous the brand is, how. Many people reach for those cigars.

I just don't think they stack up. No. In performance. Let's, let's take flavor out of it. Let's just talk performance.


**Bam Bam:** [00:14:00] wouldn't put this above the Romeo

**Gizmo:** line? I would. I would put this above Romeo, but just slightly.

**Senator:** I think, to Gizmo's point, I view those two brands as quantity over quality. That's true.

Where I think like some of the other brands that we love, Partagas, Upman, I think it's quality over

**Gizmo:** quantity. 100 percent agree.

**Bam Bam:** Absolutely. Although, I have to say, this is really smoking elegantly tonight. It's creamy, it's sophisticated, it's delicious, I think. I agree. Yeah. It's really an elegant experience right now.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Half an inch in, this is one of the better epi ones that I've had ever. I mean, even on the light, I've had some real stinkers that on the light, you're like, this is not going to be good. The, the draw is a little tight. Yeah. Minus two.

**Bam Bam:** Well, that goes to the consistent inconsistency because mine's perfect.

Mine's perfect. And that's always been

**Grinder:** the

**Gizmo:** problem. And I think it also goes to this size too. The, I think there's just a lot of tobacco in these Cuban Corona Gordas. You know, the Magnum 46 sometimes suffers from tight draw. You know, we've talked about that before. A lot of them, honestly.

**Senator:** They [00:15:00] do. Half a box.

It is frustrating. I mean, I love that cigar, but truly, exactly half a box. You're, you just know going in, you're going to have to have a perfect draw on you to try to smoke it. Which one? The Mag 46.

**Gizmo:** The Mag 46. It's the same size as this. You know, I just think that there's a lot of tobacco, um, in this Vitola.

You know, it just, it just sets itself up for, um, potential dry issues.

**Pagoda:** Yeah, what I'm finding is the front of my palate has become very flavorful, but the back, I'm getting a little bit of, I guess, tobacco. What? I feel like it's a little harsh towards the, and I'm not sure why. My,

**Grinder:** my, um, finish is also pungent, I'd say.

**Rooster:** It has a little dry finish.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, that's a great way of putting it. Yeah,

**Gizmo:** I agree. The finishes right. So the question is, do you guys like that or no? I like

**Bam Bam:** it. No problem with this.

**Grinder:** I think, I think that was the youth that I was describing 'cause it felt a little

**Gizmo:** ammonia. Like [00:16:00] unbalanced or ammonia or something.

Yeah. Ammonia. E. Um, I don't taste the ammonia.

**Grinder:** I don't e I, but I, I think I was equating that 'cause they're kind of similar,

**Gizmo:** but

**Rooster:** that does have like a. Not a scent, but you kind of, you can tell when it's like an ammonia

**Grinder:** flavor that you taste it on, in the, in the mouth, you know, but this, you don't, you taste, this is good in the mouth.

Ammonia is distinct.

**Bam Bam:** You want to throw that

**Grinder:** cigar across the room.

**Gizmo:** But

**Rooster:** sometimes you just get it and then it goes away.

**Gizmo:** That's true. So.

**Pagoda:** You remember we were talking about it a very long time back, you should blow out, and oftentimes the ammonia goes out in the beginning.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, purge the cigar. I always do that, as I'm whiting the foot.

Um, of the cigar when I'm lighting it. The first thing I do before I, you know, put the cigar in my mouth and light it for real, you know, I toast the foot and then I purge the smoke out. Every cigar? Every cigar. I purge the smoke out and then I light it.

**Rooster:** But you, you don't have to do it in the beginning. You could do it when you're like halfway through, so you kind of...

**Gizmo:** I can always purge the cigar. I

**Bam Bam:** don't know about the [00:17:00] rest of you. I never do that.

**Grinder:** Yeah. Me neither.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Every time I light a cigar, I do it. Uh, interesting. When I toast it, I, I purge that and then I line it.

**Bam Bam:** Wow, you're a technician. That's

**Gizmo:** why they call me Gizmo. Yes, sir. He

**Grinder:** does come with extra instructions.

Yes, sir.

**Gizmo:** So Hoyo has a lot of cigars in its line. We only covered a few. Uh, they have the Coronations, which is, which is a petite Corona. They have the La Hoyo series, which features a few. The Dumer, which is a small Panatella. Very small, 30 ring gauge by three and seven eighths inches. They have the Palmas extra, which is a Corona 40 by five and a half.

Another La Jolla called the depute. It's a short Panatella. I like that. You like that cigar, right? Yeah. I think

**Rooster:** Senator, I gave him one very good

**Gizmo:** 2013. What's the Vitolas? It's a short Panatella. It's a 38 by four and three eighths. Okay, quick smoke. They also have a Petit Reto, which is a 50 ring gauge by four epicure Speciale.

As we mentioned, [00:18:00] Reto Extra 50 by five and a half. The Gordita, uh, they have some Casa del Banano exclusive releases. The Epicure Deluxe, which is a magico, we talked about that. The La Joa de San Juan, which is a robusto extra 54, little under six inches. The elegant. Tacos. That's the one we did. We did not do the Esto , the Allegis, which did not do well.

We'll go over the rating later. We had tacos, O C D H, uh, perfecto 47 ring gauge by six and a quarter. We did do that one on the podcast, the Rio Secco we just mentioned, which is an ASOS 56 ring gauge by five and a half. I could go on and on and on. Only Marco

**Rooster:** that doesn't have a pyramid.

**Gizmo:** That's true. Is that true?

What's funny though, you can get a hoyo pyramid in the selection. Pyramides sampler where they feature the six global brands they do make or they put a Hoyo band on whatever they have. That's probably what they do. Probably the most likely scenario. It's a quaba. [00:19:00] You can, it's a, you can get a sample, uh, and it's a pyramidi, you know, alongside the money too, and not a regular, not in the regular line, which is also the same for Hoyo or excuse me, for Upman.

With the Robusto in the selection Robusto, they do not have a regular production Robusto, um, the Royal Robusto, but that's not a, uh, that's not the same size. Um, but almost

**Rooster:** every marca has a Pyramid.

**Gizmo:** And a Robusto.

**Senator:** And a Robusto, I mean, both are ridiculous. The fact that Oyo doesn't ever, sorry, that Upman doesn't have Robusto is crazy to me.

It's another demerit.

**Gizmo:** And Hoyo doesn't have a pyramid. The Escagito, which a rooster mentioned is a La Casa del Habano, uh, exclusive release. It's a double Corona 49 ring gauge by seven and an eighth inch. So that's kind of in line with the Hoyo double Corona. They just put a second band on it. They have the souvenir deluxe, which is a petite Corona.

You guys would know this one. It comes in those five pack tins, uh, similar to the Partagus. The half Corona. Uh, no, the other Partagus, [00:20:00] um... Oh, the Capital. The Capital. Comes in a similar tin to that. And then finally, they have a Robusto coming, uh, in a Originalis Vitola, 54 ring gauge by 4 7⁸ inches, called the Epicure No.

3. Which they announced last year and is coming out probably in two or three years.

**Pagoda:** I'm so looking forward to that.

**Gizmo:** And, uh, I mean, they must have... Pagoda's on

**Grinder:** fire tonight. Someone get the fire extinguisher. His fire's

**Bam Bam:** smoldering. It's building. It's building.

**Gizmo:** They must have 50 or 100, uh, various Fatolas that have been canceled over the years.

And they also, you know, obviously there's a global brand, uh... Habanos uses this a lot for Odysseo and Limitanus, so that's a pretty common thing. So you see a lot of those out there, Grand Reservas, Reservas, etc. So that's the rundown of Pueblo de Monterrey. What do you guys think of the Epicure number one?

We're about an inch in. Yeah, I like it.

**Bam Bam:** I have no complaints.

**Gizmo:** It's not bad. [00:21:00] Yeah, I it.

It's not something that I'm excited about.

**Bam Bam:** It's not, it's not exciting, right? There isn't much there, but what you do get, it's pretty creamy and smooth. I was

**Grinder:** going to say the same, well, not the same exact thing, but a very similar thing. I was going to say, it's kind of boring, but I, but I, it's not boring enough for me to be like, this is trash.

I think this is a very good cigar. You can't throw it away. No, it's a, it's a good cigar, but I think maybe there's an expectation miss there or something. I don't know.

**Gizmo:** But I think for me, it just lacks absolute complexity. I just think that there is. Nothing from a flavor standpoint that's interesting beyond I'm smoking a decent cigar, you know, which I, for the money, for the competitors, even inside the Habanos catalog, like the Magnum 46 and others, you would, I expect more from.

The cigar. Is this a well acclaimed cigar? Yeah, people love the epicure one. Epi one, epi two, double corona. No, I know the epi two. Epi one is [00:22:00] two. It's hard to get right now. These cigars are not as easy. Yeah, around as they were. Epi two comes out a little bit more than these two, but you know, like even on FOH, they were, they had a conversation going about how epi ones have completely disappeared over the last year.

**Senator:** No, I think I kind of agree with what everybody has said. My expectations are very low for oil, so this has definitely exceeded them. I think, you know, Bamstead is a very pleasant smoke, um, smooth, creamy, very well constructed, great draw, things I never say about oil, so I'm actually very pleased because of that.

But I also don't think Gizmo's wrong in that it's not that interesting, it's not like there's... Even one particular pronounced flavor note I'm getting that I'm saying like, oh, wow, that that's really drawing me back to it. It's just that for this kind of mild style that it's delivering, there's nothing offensive.

And it's just, I think Grindr said like just interesting enough. That I'm happy with it, but it [00:23:00] probably, you know, would benefit from something a little more pronounced.

**Grinder:** I think this is a great cigar to be like, if you have those guests that we, this, the guest example. That's a great point. That's like, I want a Cuban cigar.

Like, you know, they're insistent about you. This is a good one to give because it's not like a throwaway, but it's kind of like a throwaway. The problem is it's 25.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. That's the problem. 20, 25 bucks. I think I

**Rooster:** would give them a D4 over this.

**Gizmo:** What? Well, yeah, the same price you must really like those guys and they're easier to get for is easier to

**Rooster:** guys.

They'll be a lot more satisfied with the d4

**Gizmo:** over this. Yeah. Yeah, that's true.

**Grinder:** If you want to treat your guests well, you give them a But I'm thinking you know

**Senator:** 25 I guess and that's that's a lot

**Gizmo:** for this so much They are now everything's going up there I think the thing

**Senator:** though grinder saying that I agree with is this is a good beginner cigar like a d4 could be Enjoyable to a beginner, but for someone truly new to cigars, it may have a little more flavor than they're probably ready for, where this [00:24:00] is so easygoing.

I mean, anybody who's interested in a cigar would probably be able to appreciate this. Yes, that's

**Grinder:** exactly right. Great points. I think my mom would

**Gizmo:** enjoy this cigar. I'm going to give this to my mother as her first cigar. Every mom's

**Grinder:** favorite cigar. Mom,

**Bam Bam:** you're number one.

**Gizmo:** Mom, you're number one. Well, that's how his mother's day like, son,

**Rooster:** you don't have the double Corona for me.

**Gizmo:** You don't

**Pagoda:** want to turn around. Okay. I better shut up.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. I just don't find there to be much interesting about it. Unfortunately, I think to, you know, everybody's point, I think it's performing fine. I think it tastes okay. It's just, uh, it's just boring. I have,

**Grinder:** uh, I think, I think it's a good time to have a, uh, something to maybe cleanse the palate.

A swig. Because this aftertaste is just laborious.

**Gizmo:** Let's try it. We got the, uh, It's a heavy lift. We got the Lambe Irish Whiskey, which, uh, Brought it in tonight [00:25:00] because it says it's finished in cognac casks, which, uh, we've done a run of a lot of cognacs on the pod, among many other things.

**Grinder:** I've had this sitting in ice for a little bit and it's, it's, it's dissolved.

The, the aroma on the nose, it's very fruity. Yeah, it's fruity.

**Bam Bam:** It's like, it is watermelon y. But similar to our cigar, for me, it's, it kind of lacks complexity and body. And it's

**Pagoda:** very light.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, it's drinkable, but... I'll be honest, I think that where this is as far as body goes, I think it matches perfectly with the cigar.

I agree, I was gonna say the same thing. I think anything more... We'd be saying it's overpowering, this mild cigar. It looks like a Japanese whiskey. It does, it's very light in color, that's a good point, Rooster. For the listener, I mean, as far as whiskey goes, even Irish whiskey. It's very yellow. It's very, yeah, it's very thin and it's not very viscous.

No cognac

**Bam Bam:** going on in there. No, no,

**Gizmo:** no, no, no. Maybe it was in there for like two [00:26:00] days. It reminds me of Dawin. Yeah. Yeah. Right. I gotta say I, I like the front of, I like the front of this. I like

**Pagoda:** it. Although, although less sweeter. Yeah. But, but fruitier, like

**Grinder:** Dawin is better than this. It's pretty,

**Gizmo:** I mean, I think it's pretty

**Grinder:** good.

It's not bad. It's an Irish, Irish or triple distilled. They're usually very light, you know? It looks like

**Pagoda:** flavored water.

**Gizmo:** That's because we gave you, uh, we gave you a seltzer with lemon. Fair

**Pagoda:** enough. It's tasting good.

**Grinder:** With this, with this sploosh of something else.

**Bam Bam:** How much is that bottle?

**Gizmo:** Do we know? I think it's about 40 bucks.

45 bucks. I saw on 40, 45.

**Bam Bam:** That's a lot of money for that. Sorry for me. Yeah,

**Gizmo:** is there anything? There's nothing that's cheaper.

**Bam Bam:** No, but there's other scotches I'd pay like ten more dollars and get a really nice experience.

**Gizmo:** So senator, do we know anything about lambe? What do you not a lot of history there? I know that

**Senator:** yeah, there's there's not much but there's some something that's interesting about their story It says a [00:27:00] lambe Irish whiskey company made its market debut in 2018 as an independent whiskey company based in Dublin The company, this is what's interesting, the company is born from a collaboration between Camu, the world's leading family owned cognac producer, and the Baring Families, uh, Trust of Lambay Island.

It was named after the island of Lambay in Ireland, a private wildlife sanctuary owned by the Baring Family since 1904. So, I mean, it's, it's, A product of very established brands and companies. I'm really surprised that a cognac company is making Irish whiskey. That's a little odd to me, but, um, I mean, it's very 2018.

I mean, they're, they're very new at this and I think it kind of shows this is a very, hence the performance level expression. It's

**Grinder:** definitely

**Pagoda:** better than the romper we tried. Did we do that? We didn't

**Gizmo:** do that on the pod.

**Pagoda:** Oh, we didn't. It was that bad that

**Gizmo:** day. So, on the, on the back of the bottle, Senator, it, it, and, and, I'm curious what you guys [00:28:00] think of these flavor notes.

I always love reading the flavor notes on these bottles, because I always think they're so far off. Features notes of malt, flora... Nope. Cracked almonds... Nope.

**Bam Bam:** And pepper. Uh, no.

**Gizmo:** So, to me, they're over four... What the heck? on the flavor notes. I don't get any of that... No. on this. And are you guys getting any of the cognac finish?

Not at all. Zero. To me, it's just very sweet and kind of fruity up front, but I don't, I, again, with the cigar, I don't mind that at all. This is

**Senator:** so sweet and light that this honestly reminds me of like, uh, um, like a, no, like a, like a clase azul tequila. and sweet.

**Grinder:** That's

**Bam Bam:** a very, that's a great

**Senator:** point. Yeah.

That's really what it reminds me of. Just light, sweet, easy drinking. That's clase azul tequila. And

**Bam Bam:** this would probably make good cocktails. You mix this with something. Like a

**Pagoda:** summer cocktail. Yeah,

**Senator:** exactly. Yeah, not anything that requires serious whiskey, but it is how they imagine making a Manhattan with this thing.

[00:29:00] No, I mean my god

**Pagoda:** In a way, I wouldn't qualify it as a whiskey, but hey

**Gizmo:** What is it? I'm not a whiskey. Tell me it

**Bam Bam:** doesn't

**Pagoda:** feel like

**Grinder:** a whiskey doesn't you know,

**Senator:** it really does I mean honestly to me this does not drink like 99% of

**Grinder:** whiskeys speaking of Manhattan. I agree. Speaking of

**Bam Bam:** Manhattan, sorry, I gotta cut right to this.

We need cocktails.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. On this podcast, we've actually, we actually put it up on the Instagram. I dunno if you guys saw it. We did. We put it up, um, asking the listeners for cocktail recommendations and requests. So we actually got quite a few, I got quite a few emails. Oh, let's do from folks. Yeah. So we we're, you know, we have to, we have to do some mixed drinks.

Nice. Uh, coming up on the pod. That's, that's exciting. We, we got a lot.

**Bam Bam:** Between Senator and Pagoda,

**Gizmo:** I think we're set here. And Puba with his bloodies. That's right. That's true. Bloody Marys. Yeah. What would

**Grinder:** you pair with a Bloody Mary?

**Senator:** I would probably pair

**Gizmo:** a Cuban. Oh yeah. Like I love, uh, yeah, D4, uh, anything Partagas I think really pairs well with the, the kind of little bit of, uh, spice, spice of, uh, you know,

**Grinder:** bloody.

[00:30:00] That's kind of a silly question because I like pretty much all the room pairs a bloody with something every Sunday morning.

**Gizmo:** Well,

**Grinder:** I have an answer

**Gizmo:** for you. You could do a Corona's Claro. Yeah, that could be interesting. I think anything Cuban goes well with that. And I think what's interesting about the flavor profile of Bloody Mary with the, between the, the acidity in the tomato combined with the spiciness, it, for some reason it really just works well, shockingly well, with Cuban cigars for me.

**Grinder:** Agreed. I haven't had a Bloody in a long time.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, I haven't had one in probably quite a few months. Me too. Yeah, we gotta get back to that.

**Pagoda:** Yeah, this summer I, I don't think, yeah, we've really indulged into

**Gizmo:** bloodies. The problem is we had to, we're back to work and life, you know, it's like all that stuff's getting in getting Yeah.

Everything's getting in the way of our, uh, and you know, imbibing

**Bam Bam:** extracurricular back to school night, coming up walking. You excited about [00:31:00] that Ben? Walking the

**Senator:** halls? We just need to ibi more discreetly. . Exactly. That's where the lizard sippy cup and the thermos coming in the thermos.

**Grinder:** Yeah. Oh yeah.

Absolutely. Oh, what a great moment. That was Puba describing the thermos at the soccer game.

**Gizmo:** It's crazy as he's not, you know, he's not rare in doing that. So I think all the parents that go to those games have some sort of, Oh yeah. I think

**Senator:** grinder and I are just a few years off of following right in his footsteps. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** The three of you can compare notes. So I have to make a note. I don't think I've ever gotten a correction as far as making an error on this podcast.

As I did with episode 98, we did the, uh, Qwaba. Qwaba Salamone. And I read a note, and I said it a few times, I think, that Qwaba's not designated for regional edition releases. And I think I got maybe 25. Between [00:32:00] Instagram, email, and everything else going you crazy, you know, there's, there's a regional, you got lit up.

I got lit up. We got lit up. This is good.

**Senator:** Gizmo sometimes needs accountability. Yeah, he does.

**Grinder:** Actually, more often than not. Bam Bam has been waiting for this moment.

**Gizmo:** I know he has. Every time I'm under the gun, Bam lights up like a Christmas tree. I

**Bam Bam:** do, I crack a smile. He

**Gizmo:** enjoys it too much. Like the Grinch.

So in fact, there was a Asia Pacifico, Odysseo and Reginald. That was announced in 2020 came out in mid 21. It's a perfecto taco size, very similar to the elegance, uh, from Hoya that we did on the podcast recently, 47 ring gauge by six and a quarter. So in fact, I was wrong. There is a co op, a regional wow.

So I'd like to duly apologize to the. Listeners for feeding them bad information. I'm not apologizing to you guys. No, but I'm apologizing. Oh, come on. You let us

**Senator:** down. Giz.

**Gizmo:** Do you guys [00:33:00] have a meeting about it? I couldn't sleep last

**Senator:** night. Just thinking about this.

**Grinder:** The first rule of accountability hour is you have to take accountability.

**Bam Bam:** That's right. Full accountability here. It's kind of cool though that there's merit because listeners are listening. That's exactly what I was going to say. It's awesome. Yeah. It's awesome.

**Gizmo:** We need more of that. The listeners are on it. Like now when I'm like prepping for an episode, like I'm like, shit, I better get this right.

Better be on

**Grinder:** point. Yeah. It's always so, it's always so fun to hear that people tune in to listen as they smoke a cigar on the patio and just be like, I'm going to hang out and listen to the pod. Yeah. It's amazing. It's so great to, it's so

**Gizmo:** fulfilling. And, and the, the feedback. That's coming in now is, is really just incredible.

So really incredible.

**Rooster:** Let me ask you guys a question. Have you ever listened to the pod for the second time or third time while you're smoking that cigar that we talk about on the

**Gizmo:** pod? That's a great

**Bam Bam:** question. Great

**Grinder:** question. No, no, actually,

**Bam Bam:** that's a

**Gizmo:** great question. See what I do, I don't think any of us should do [00:34:00] that by the time I think it would just enhance the whole experience.

I agree. I

**Grinder:** try to, I

**Pagoda:** try to hang it on my deck. We'll do that

**Senator:** now that you have the Sonos

**Pagoda:** set up. Yep. Thank you. By the way. Oh, it was so

**Bam Bam:** technological

**Gizmo:** assistance. Well, you got a Rover

**Senator:** TV. No, no, he, he, he bought the Sonos, the move that's for any listener out there. If you want like a great, portable outdoor speaker, the best one is the Sonos Move.

Um, I

**Gizmo:** the episode description, guys. You have one? Yeah. So, Rooster and I have Giz? I have a Bose little one, but I have Sonos everywhere. No, that doesn't

**Senator:** count. That doesn't count. Rooster and I have one. Be accountable, Giz. Now Pagoda has one. Be accountable. Um, but Pagoda had a we were at Pagoda's the other night, and um, He's like, Oh, I got the move.

I was like, great. And because he had this little speaker, the music, it was like hard to even hear. So I was like, bring it out of here. He's like, I tried setting this thing up so long. I couldn't, it just doesn't work. So I had to put my gizmo hat on and I got his Sono set up and now he's, you

**Pagoda:** know, I didn't get the tech [00:35:00] genes of being Indian.

Like, what the hell is that? That's true.

**Gizmo:** By the way, I sent him unsolicited the other day, because we were talking on the chat about exactly this. Unsolicited. I sent him three links. I said, here's the TV, here's the rover cart, and here's the TV cover. Order them immediately. Did you order them?

**Pagoda:** Not yet.

**Grinder:** Jesus.

Gizmo even

**Bam Bam:** filled the

**Gizmo:** cart for you. I did. Did I not? I sent him three links. I said, Bing, bang, boom. Ordered him. He did. He

**Pagoda:** did.

**Gizmo:** Bing, bang, boom.

**Pagoda:** Bing, bang, boom. No, he really did. And I, yeah, I think I should order him. I know

**Gizmo:** why he's not ordering it. Because it's winter coming.

**Rooster:** No, because he's like, you know, who's going to put that thing together?

**Senator:** We're going to put it together. The,

**Grinder:** uh, the Sonos move is I, I personally don't have one, but I've given it as a gift twice. And it's like, Everyone loves it.

**Senator:** It's game changing. By the way, they just came out with, I'm such a sucker for Sonos products, this is almost embarrassing to admit, they just came out with the Sonos Move 2, which has 24 hour battery life.

That's pretty good. [00:36:00] Dramatic improvement. That's pretty good. The current one I think is like 8 hours maybe, um, so I just ordered that.

**Pagoda:** Hey, why do you think I bought it? It was on sale. That's

**Grinder:** right. 'cause off .

**Bam Bam:** Okay, listen,

**Pagoda:** cool. There a lot of Indian in me from that perspective.

**Senator:** The other thing I like with Sonos, this is what makes it so easy to get in the rabbit hole with them.

They now have like an upgrade program where if you upgrade any existing product that they make a new version of, they'll give you 15% off the new product, give you

**Gizmo:** credit's. So cool. Yeah. That's percent off. Well that's great. I think gave 50, maybe I'd consider . I'll put that in the uh, episode description, the Sonos move.

Folks to check that out. So, you know, going back to the question that Rooster asked about listening to the pod. I mean, by the time I'm done editing the episode, I'm so sick of my own voice that I never go back and listen unless I need to, or, you know, it's, you know, pops up in the car and I'm checking something.

But the one thing I will say, though, is after I'm done, done editing, I often find myself, even if we have a cigar that's kind of mediocre. After editing and listening to it as [00:37:00] much as I do, I'm always thinking of the next day, I always want that specific cigar. Really? And I often light it. Oh. Yeah, I always go back and say, you know what, I remember that it happened on the Coaba Salamone episode.

You had one the day after? The day after, I was really craving the Salamone, because we, you know, had a nice experience with it. We did. You know, so I don't know, that's my experience with, with listening. But we don't have any of those. No, we don't.

**Bam Bam:** He doesn't share.

**Pagoda:** You know, talking about listeners, um, I ended up meeting, um, another listener at Carnegie the other day.

And, uh, it was great. Oh, Yannis on the Bucks. Yes. Oh, we did see Yannis, of course.

**Gizmo:** Yannis was there. He's not kidding. Yeah. Yeah, he was there. He's an avid listener and

**Senator:** loves our podcast,

**Rooster:** by the Knicks. Yes,

**Pagoda:** he's coming to the Knicks. The rumor starts here and he'll be a Knick. Uh, Sohamed Carnegie, and he is so bloody tall.

It's, you know, it's like, uh, You can keep looking [00:38:00] up. It's ridiculous. And a Hoyer

**Rooster:** double Corona looks like a petite

**Gizmo:** Corona.

**Bam Bam:** So he sent out a photo of Giannis. To me, he looked frail.

**Pagoda:** Really? Very lean. Thin. Very lean. He did look thin. Very lean.

**Grinder:** But on the court, he was

**Senator:** great. I mean, he's jacked. He's jacked.


**Gizmo:** on the Mediterranean, babe.

**Senator:** I mean, the crazy thing is if you look at photos, the pharmaceutical diet, you look at photos when he came in the league versus now, he was a stick. He literally looked like he hadn't, he was starved and didn't have food. I mean, it's crazy how much muscle this guy put on once he got into the NBA.

Yeah. He's an Adonis

**Gizmo:** that guy, man. Yeah. Katie could use some of that muscle. So you were saying he's the slim Reaper for a reason. So Pagoda, you were saying you met a listener. I want to hear this. Yeah,

**Pagoda:** so he's, uh, from Toronto and he was talking about how difficult it is to find a place to smoke there, but they still do have a reasonable cigar community and, um, they're not very happy with the way cigars are being sold in [00:39:00] Canada.

Now, I think we had mentioned this in one of the episodes before that they cover the label, but, uh, you know, like a very, uh, generic wrapper so that it's not really attractive to, uh, you know, the younger kids and so on and so forth. You can't smoke outdoors and you can't smoke anywhere. He says, even if you go buy cigars, you can't hide in your garage.

**Bam Bam:** Apparently

**Gizmo:** it's the worst. Yeah. And pray that your neighbors don't call the police. Exactly. Pray your neighbor doesn't

**Grinder:** smell. Trudeau's Canada. Yeah, exactly. Speaking

**Gizmo:** of, a cop shows up on a horse. It's like a reverse utopia.

**Senator:** Can you imagine we started recording the podcast at my place? We all lived in Canada in my garage.

We would have the police there like after episode

**Bam Bam:** 2. We're in the backyard window and it's pouring out. We're in the

**Gizmo:** backyard, seven of us peeing in a line. So anyways, Pagoda, sorry.

**Pagoda:** No, no. So what was great is, you know, once again, we keep reiterating, you know, how the cigar community is just an amazing community to be involved with and belong to really.

[00:40:00] Uh, you know, we started a conversation and he happened to listen to the episodes and with a buddy of his in a garage and he says, Oh, you're the group of guys that hang, hang out together and you talk about cigars. And he wasn't very into it, but his buddy was, but he, and so, you know, it's, it's interesting that People are trying cigars because, you know, we're sharing the knowledge, uh, which is great.

But having said that, I'll be in Toronto in a couple of weeks and he's invited me over to go and meet his buddy in his garage and we'll smoke there. He says, don't worry about it. I have a place for you to smoke cigars. Once again, you know, it's a, it's a wonderful being a part of this, uh, excellent community.

He'll be

**Bam Bam:** like, here, let's go in a

**Gizmo:** subseller. Yeah. He was like, uh, he was like, uh, Doomsday Bunker,

**Senator:** if you need to post bail, just

**Gizmo:** call one of us. I don't have any Canadian dollars, so I'm out now, but that's, that's amazing, man. You know, hearing from listeners, I mean, [00:41:00] even, you know, we had a pretty big discussion on that episode about. The ethics of going to Cuba and buying Cuban cigars. We, you know, we had a long discussion about that and we had a lot of listener feedback on kind of both sides of the issue, you know, kind of these internal debates that are happening.

Um, so, you know, we'd love hearing from listeners. Uh, so please definitely email us and. Obviously, tell us what you want us to smoke and drink, but also give us, you know, feedback. So what were the listeners saying? I'll give you one right now. So Carl wrote, I get the conflict one might have with purchasing Cubans.

It's interesting how opinions are shaped. China, for example, is widely accused of using child labor and modern day slavery. And the U. S. consumer, as a whole, hardly bats an eye. We funnel billions into the hands of tyrannical governments across the globe, and much of the population are oblivious participants.

Why should Cuba be any different?

**Grinder:** He's not wrong. No, he's not. Not

**Gizmo:** wrong. You know, it's, it's just, it's an interesting, you know, [00:42:00] thought and I always go back to every time I, you know, I get an email from someone, I always go back to, you know, what, what the, those individual moments that we have on the ground in Havana where we're able to help someone that defines it for me.

Agree. So yeah, we had a, we had a lot of good feedback on that. Tough times in Cuba right now. It is inflation through the roof. And now, did you guys hear by the way? JetBlue has completely stopped flying to Cuba, period. And United has stopped flying their direct flights from Newark. They had daily direct flights, which we took advantage of, obviously, from Newark to Havana every day, and back.

And now they've gotten rid of the direct flights. You have to now connect in Houston at their hub. To get to Havana. Oh my God. So there are now, between JetBlue leaving entirely, and EWR not having any flights from United, there are no New York airports that have direct flights to Havana at [00:43:00] all. We need to, we need to file

**Senator:** a lawsuit.

I'm sorry, this is like discriminatory against ivory cigar smoking. Cigar man in the world. I mean, this is ridiculous.

**Gizmo:** Lizard discrimination. I mean, instead of a four hour

**Rooster:** flight, it's gonna be a six, six and a half

**Gizmo:** hour flight. That's a disaster. With a stopover in Miami. Or Houston. Or Houston. And

**Pagoda:** you better hope you make it connected.

Flag can't take a cruise ship

**Grinder:** from

**Bam Bam:** Beon

**Gizmo:** to

**Senator:** Cuba. Good luck with that. There. They float over on a piece of driftwood. Let us know how that goes. . Yeah.

**Gizmo:** There's, there's no cruise

**Pagoda:** ships in the us. It's gonna be one of those gliders with a motor on it, right? Guys?

**Grinder:** Do we know? Do we know why? Uh,

**Gizmo:** I think it's a volume's a volume.

It's just a volume issue. Yeah. I mean, how many times, guys, you know, on our flights back and forth were empty, the plane is half full or less. You know, there's times where you have the entire road to yourself and that's the entire plane. Obviously, they're making a lot of money on baggage because people fly pretty heavy, you know, on bags.

But, you know, certainly not enough to warrant a daily route, which is odd to me. But I guess, like Grindr said, I mean, things have just gotten so bad economically in Cuba. That is just a [00:44:00] challenge.

**Rooster:** It's odd because JetBlue was only flying Saturday, like one day

**Gizmo:** a week. Mm hmm. Right. Well, that's from JFK. They did fly other, I think they probably flew from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, maybe.

Oh. You know, um, but they've completely stopped flying in and out of Havana, period. United was every day. But, you know, United's still flying into Havana. JetBlue is completely done, period. Their entire company, no more flights to Cuba, which is a big loss.

**Grinder:** Yeah. I mean, it's, it's. Tough time economically and then to have a drop in tourism that hurts even more, you know, it's not good.

And, you know, we were talking earlier, there was a, an article in the, in CNN about mercenary, Russian mercenary recruiters, basically lying to Cuban. Uh, to Cuban nationals to get them to sign up and, and fight for Russia and Ukraine. And they, they get over there and then they, they disappear. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** It's awful.

It's horrendous. And I think, you know, like you said, they, you know, Russia was lying to the [00:45:00] Cuban government about it and to the Cuban people that they were recruiting, you know, just completely telling lies to, you know, bolster their ranks with Cuban nationals who have no skin in the game here. Nope. For Russia or Ukraine.

And now they're fighting a war that. You know, thousands of miles away from home. Horrendous.

**Bam Bam:** It's infuriating,

**Grinder:** honestly. It makes you, again, realize that people will do desperate things when they're in desperate positions. Yeah. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** So boys, what do you think of the Epicure No. 1? About halfway through here?

It's all right. It's typical,

**Rooster:** uh, Hoyo DNA. Yeah, yeah, it's okay. You know, you get that cream, you get that cedar. But it's a little bit different than the Epi 2.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. I think the Epi 2 has an added layer of complexity and sweetness that is

**Bam Bam:** absent here. I get more coffee in the Epi 2 for me. Yeah. Than this. Um, and it's a bit richer.

Both, I like both though. I can't say that I hate them. [00:46:00]

**Gizmo:** I

**Senator:** have an odd construction complaint. The ash from my cigar is super flaky and is just like crumbling off at points, which I had ash like all over me. I was just wiping off something about how this was rolled. And I noticed it's funny because when I looked at the foot, it was, it looked wide open.

I thought this was going to have too open a draw. But then when I cut the cigar and we, we first lit it. Clearly down by like the head of the cigar, it's actually somehow densely packed. So I think it's just like so loosely rolled at points that the ash is just kind of crumbling off as it

**Gizmo:** burns. It's either that or you got

**Rooster:** the short

**Gizmo:** filler hoyo.

The scratch. Gizmo bought more fakes. I did. I bought some more fakes.

**Grinder:** I don't, I don't have any major complaints. I also don't have any many accolades. Um, it's right down the middle. I think the, um, I've had it touched up like two or three times. So far, but generally it's a good burn. I have I don't have flaky ash Yeah, it's just kind of [00:47:00]

**Gizmo:** it's indifferent.

It's typical

**Rooster:** hoyo inconsistencies

**Gizmo:** Draw issues and that's the problem with hoyo man. You you know, you do have those moments You know, like we talked with Rob, you have that one Hoyo cigar that just blows you away. And you think that you can chase this and find it again. And I think that maybe that's even more disappointing for me than Romeo, because I've never really had that experience with Romeo that now I chase that and look as a pot.

That's a possibility in one of those cigars for me. I've had that with Hoyo. I've had it in Epi too. I've had it even in epi one. I've had, I've had really good epi ones. This one started really good. How is your draw now? Did you take a draw to it? I took a little perfect draw to it. You know, as, as we were talking, I just tried to open up the foot a little bit, it was tight.

Um, nothing to like really write home about. It's not as uncommon as I would with a magnum 46. You know, I've had great epi too. I've grad, I've had great, uh. Double Corona, and I do chase that [00:48:00] sometimes. You know, when you reach for a cigar, it's like, is this the one? Is this the one that's gonna take me back to that promised land?

And this market just does not deliver that. Does not deliver consistent greatness.

**Bam Bam:** But when you get a good one, it's good. Yeah,

**Gizmo:** and I think Epi 2, as far as the Robusto goes, construction wise, I've not had many issues with that cigar. Neither have I. Agree. Yeah. Just flavor wise, they're hit or miss. Yep. But construction, they're fine.

Yep. But I think that's a cigar people really, really love. Yeah. It's just

**Senator:** sad. Cause it's just like that that's batting like a hundred, right? It's like one out of every 10, my experience has been, is really enjoyable and the other nine just suck. And at that point, it's like, just send it down to the minor leagues.

Like there, there's no reason that you should have a global brand that. They put so much effort and money into promoting that doesn't even half the time deliver a consistently good experience. Yeah. Even half would be a huge improvement. And the

**Pagoda:** pricing is [00:49:00] not,

**Grinder:** you know, expensive. I mean, I, I don't think they're, I don't think they're trying to strive for excellence here.

I think they're trying to strive for a brand that they know will sell. You know, so then it comes down to what we were talking about earlier. It's the volume. I think it has a place in their portfolio. And this is a money, this is a cash cow.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, this is definitely a volume product for them. But what's funny again is these have completely disappeared off the market.

You can't find epi, epi ones anywhere. You're down pretty far. I'm about, uh, a little over halfway. I'm a little

**Bam Bam:** ahead of you guys. Yeah, I kind of like how it's developing right now. It's getting a little bit richer. Just a

**Gizmo:** bit. The cream's still there for me. Same. I'm still getting the, you know, heavy cedar for sure.

But it's just, it, it, it's not, uh, rounded out by anything else. Yeah,

**Pagoda:** I like the way you said rounded out, because for me, I think a lot of the flavor is just in the front of my hole. Like in terms of the palate. It does have a short finish. And, uh, you know, [00:50:00] it really doesn't, it's not complex and it doesn't really fill your hole.

Yeah, it's, it's interesting though. It's not bad. And fortunately for me, the cigar is burning really well. Me too. King Lion's,

**Gizmo:** yeah. The other thing too, I gotta say, the retro hail for me is not very pleasant.

**Bam Bam:** I feel the opposite. I kind of enjoy the retro on this thing. You like it? Yeah.

**Grinder:** Grinder? I just did my first one.

Give me a couple minutes. I have the horseradish, uh, horseradish, uh oh, flavor

**Gizmo:** right now. So Pagoda mentioned, we were talking about traveling to Cuba. Do you guys remember, uh, remember that story we did in March of those two guys that built a homemade hang glider and took off from Havana and landed in Miami miraculously didn't die doing it.

You talk about desperation. Do you, do you have the

**Senator:** instructions for how they did this so we can get a direct flight on a hang glider from here? It's

**Gizmo:** powered by United. Powered by United. Alright, I'm out. Powered

**Grinder:** by United. So, [00:51:00] remind me what, how the hell did they do that?

**Gizmo:** So the, two guys, David Lopez Alfonso.

And Ismael Hernandez Chirino built a gas powered hang glider in Cuba and took off and landed in the, uh, in the United States. They were both members of the Cuban aviation club and they landed in Key West on March 25th, they mod, um, modified what they call a motorized Delta wing with an extra fuel tank.

It's quite literally like a, wow. A hang glider with wheels. That's, that's what the uh, that's what that

**Grinder:** little girl flew in to fly away

**Gizmo:** home with the geese. Looks like a lawnmower. It does, it is. A lawnmower with wings. It looks like a Briggs and Stratton motor on it. That is so dangerous.

**Bam Bam:** I mean, you're taking your life in your hands.

**Gizmo:** Talk about desperation, but the reason why I bring it up again. You're going over water, so. It's a glider,

**Grinder:** it's meant to. Shark infested water.

**Bam Bam:** That's

**Gizmo:** scary, man. [00:52:00] So they did this in March, and they waited, um, many months, obviously, now it's, it's October, but they got asylum. The United States granted them asylum, uh, in late July, and they were released in late August.

So now they are. Asylum, uh, they're working at the Padron factory. Where did they land? Do we know? Key West. You

**Pagoda:** know, they're going to make a movie out of this. It's the closest

**Gizmo:** point, I guess. 90 miles from Cuba.

**Grinder:** It's a great title for a movie. That is a great title. Immediately thought the same

**Gizmo:** thing. Pretty incredible though, isn't it?

I mean,

**Senator:** I have to say that's just the perfect example of like Cuban ingenuity. Like since our trip, I feel like a number of us probably do this. I'll just randomly here and there check like. Cuban news, basically like what's happening there. And there was a story I was just reading from this past week about, um, iPhone repairs in Cuba.

And it was this fascinating story. And especially because we actually met a guy who we, we joked, he's the Cuban gizmo, [00:53:00] uh, our friend, Nino, who literally like would repair like iPhones and stuff like this and be able to help folks set it up because obviously you have to use a VPN and stuff there. And the whole article was talking about how.

Some tourist came to Havana and had an iPhone, which granted Apple products are obviously not, you know, really sold or at all, um, uh, brought into Cuba, just tourists bringing them in, obviously handing them out. And, uh, some tourists was there and had an iPhone that they dropped in water. Stopped working completely.

Total water damage. Took it to some person in Cuba that repairs these phones. Doesn't have access to, you know, genuine Apple parts to do all this. Or tools. Or tools. Somehow repaired this phone, got it working perfectly. And this tourist, by the way, had tried to get the phone fixed in Europe first and they said, It's shot.

We can't do anything about it.

**Gizmo:** Which is common, by the way, sorry to interrupt, with Apple. If there's water damage, They don't want to touch it. Yeah. They, they leave you alone. They don't, they don't, they won't

**Senator:** touch it. So this is the crazy thing. Person [00:54:00] brings it to Havana, gets the phone working and fixed.

They go back home to, I forget, we're in Europe. They show the phone to whoever they tried to get it repaired by and said, um, you know, does the phone work well? What do you think about it? Uh, is there any signs of any problems the phone's had? And the person said there was literally not a single sign that the phone.

Ever had water damage. That's crazy. That's how like sophisticated the repair was. And it's like to be able to do that with so little resources, no genuine Apple products. I was just, I mean, there is something we've met these types of people. They're like, they do so much with so little and it's just remarkable.

**Gizmo:** You know, we're down there in Havana. You'll see Malacone riding like a scooter with like. A refrigerator on their back. , like they're driving a, like a delivery service driving a refrigerator from someplace in the van State. Can I just strap to their shoulders? Can I just

**Senator:** say, if Gizmo permanently moved to Havana, I could see him doing that.

Would do it. And that would be him. [00:55:00] I would do it. He'd have a, a broken TV

**Gizmo:** that he'd be taken back to his place to repair. Oh, I need

**Bam Bam:** motherboards. Lemme

**Gizmo:** get the motherboard outta by the way, I did that last week. , did I tell you this story? Yes you did. My parents, wait a minute, lemme go back to it. Sorry. I, I kind of picture him

**Rooster:** as the milkshake guy delivering

**Gizmo:** milkshakes.

**Bam Bam:** At 2 a. m.

**Grinder:** Inspector Gizmo. Milkshakes

**Senator:** at payroll at 2

**Gizmo:** a. m. I'm sorry. I was going to say, it's funny you guys are busting my balls about that because I actually did it last week. My parents had a 55 inch TV that was electrocuted by lightning in Florida. Brought it home. Drove it home with them and said, do you want it?

I ordered, uh, a new Powerboard on eBay for 25 bucks and now I've upgraded my rover in the garage to a 55 inch Dolby tv. That is cool for $25.

**Bam Bam:** I admire your ability to do that. 'cause I couldn't do it. It, I can't do that. It's so

**Gizmo:** easy. You may have it's mad respect.

**Pagoda:** You

**Gizmo:** may have Cuban blood you just don't know about.

It's true. I gotta do the 23 and me. I might have it in there. . How would you know what to order? Well, you know, you go on eBay, you find the [00:56:00] model number and you, you order the, the, the powerboard. That's a motherboard. There's three boards in the TV. There's a, there's like a control logic board. , there's a board that interfaces with, you know, sound, you know, audio, video in and out.

And then there's the power board,

But yeah, I, it, you know, keeping people are amazing. And to your point, that stuff's hard to do with those kind of electronics. I, I mean, if I had a broken iPhone, I'm not opening that phone. Mm-hmm. I, my,

**Grinder:** my iPhone, the lightning is like, The, the, where the port where the charger goes in, it doesn't work because it's clogged with gunk and shit and like fabric from my pocket and all this stuff.

So I, I literally, instead of getting it fixed, cause I had no patience for that, I just bought a bunch of those magnets.

**Gizmo:** The MagChase. So I'm like,

**Grinder:** I just changed the charger and that's, that's how I exist. Oh,

**Senator:** next, you should just go to Cuba. You can have

**Grinder:** it fixed in a heartbeat. Do you know how to open up an iPhone and clean

**Gizmo:** that [00:57:00] shit up?

You don't need to, I'll do it for you. Yeah, I've done it for my wife. She always does that. She throws it in her purse and there's always gunk and gum and shit in there. And compressed air. No, there's better tools. I have some stuff. Isopropyl alcohol with a toothpick. You can get it out. Do

**Bam Bam:** do do do. Do do do do.

Do do do do. Okay, you're on

**Gizmo:** point now. I'm on point. Accountability

**Grinder:** hour, you know,

**Gizmo:** I'll do it post the post pod, but yeah, the cute, the Cuban people genuinely are amazing, man. And, and, you know, it kind of ties up our discussion that we had on episode 98, the listener emails that we had about that discussion, going to Cuba, experiencing this, supporting those people to me, like.

There's a, you know, there is a difference in supporting the Cuban people in the ways that we're talking about and, and these interesting stories and amazing people that we meet and supporting the government. Those are two very different things. So I wonder how the gasoline situation is now. I think it's just getting worse and worse.

And the problem now with the gasoline shortage is you also have a hyperinflation [00:58:00] situation where, you know, the money has been inflated. You know what? Thousands of percent. Yeah, and then the

**Rooster:** Cuban government is telling the taxi drivers that you can't charge so much more, you have to keep it, and they're like, well, we might as well stay

**Gizmo:** home then.

It's not worth

**Grinder:** driving. The scary thing is that there's, in history, there's a pretty... Standard, well documented and, and reliable storyline for this and where it ends and it doesn't end pretty.

**Gizmo:** I mean, the problem, you know, situation when you can't get basic needs, when you can't get food, when you can't, you know, even for yourself, when you can't feed your kids.

You can't get gasoline to do the things you need to do to go to work. The public transportation's a mess. You know, it's this trickle down. And, and, and when your basic needs are not being met to your point grinder, that's not gonna be a pretty end. No. You know, it's, it's gonna be really, really tough.

Revolt could be in the air. Yeah, who knows. So what do you guys think about the Hoyo Epi One? I think Bam mentioned

**Senator:** [00:59:00] this, the, the second half of this I feel like does pick up a little bit in strength, which helps because it was too light to begin. So I'm enjoying it a bit more now, but there's still not pronounced flavor notes.

I'm not getting complexity, so not that much better.

**Grinder:** I think my second half has actually taken a, and Not a, not a good turn. Um, and not, again, it's, it's, everything is muted so far. It's not like a, it's not like a direct 90 degree left. It's just, you know, we had a fork in the road and we went the other way slightly.

It's, it's a little more bitter than, the aftertaste is stronger, more pronounced, more ashy. And, uh, the flavor hasn't picked up any much more, so.

**Pagoda:** Surprisingly, the drink is really helping the cigar. I don't know.

**Gizmo:** I actually, I actually don't mind the Irish whiskey. I really don't. I think it's pretty good. I

**Grinder:** think if you, if you, if you have, if you're trying to get into spirits and maybe scotch or...

Whatever, pick a spirit, tequila B, [01:00:00] you know, bourbon. Maybe a little too harsh or too too much. Try an Irish, because Irish is, they have, it's, they tend to be a lot smoother. They tend to be a little sweeter and, and it's all comes down to the way to distill. They distill it,

**Gizmo:** you know, what are some of

**Rooster:** the.

Like, well known or well regarded Irish

**Gizmo:** whiskeys. Red

**Pagoda:** Breast. Red Breast, of course. Red

**Grinder:** Breast is big. Obviously, Jameson. Powers. Powers is very popular. Powers is probably

**Gizmo:** more popular than Jameson. Did we do Powers? No. We've not done Powers, no. We did do, uh, the Red Breast. Red Breast. Who made,

**Senator:** is, uh, is Bushmills Irish?

Bushmills? Yes, it is.

**Grinder:** That's another one. So, the classic story is that Bushmills... is the Protestant, uh, Irish. And then Jameson is the, is the Catholic Irish. Because in Ireland, everything has to be bifurcated between the Protestants and the

**Gizmo:** Catholics. Pick a side. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** I like a Jameson from time to time.

**Gizmo:** We did, uh, by the way, we did Red Breast 12 on episode seven, which is almost a hundred episodes ago.

[01:01:00] We did not rate it. So maybe we should revisit that. Yeah. And give it a rating because we do like that.

**Grinder:** We should revisit Jameson. To Bam's point, because we've never done a Jameson. We don't

**Pagoda:** do that. Oh, we haven't? Do we do it as a shot? Or do we say it? No, no, no.

**Grinder:** Definitely not. Not a JMO. We're not doing a JMO.

Pagoda's not

**Bam Bam:** wrong. Yeah. When I'm on vacation and the kids are driving me crazy, I'm like, Ow! I go right to the bar. I need a couple of Jameson shots. He's not

**Grinder:** wrong. I think Jameson with a couple cubes is so like butterscotchy and caramelly and it just warms my mouth. That's nice. You know,

**Pagoda:** we could do, even do a car bomb actually.

With a little bit of Jameson and Bailey's and we throw it in Guinness. That is a

**Bam Bam:** car bomb. Oh wow, I've never

**Gizmo:** had that before. Listen, the listeners were asking for

**Senator:** cocktails. That's the St. Patrick's Day

**Grinder:** episode. You've never

**Bam Bam:** had a car bomb? I never even heard of it. It's,

**Grinder:** it's actually

**Bam Bam:** tastes like a milkshake.

**Pagoda:** And then you down it at a

**Senator:** shot. St. Patrick's day. This is what, like every Irish pub, you

**Grinder:** know, I'm

**Bam Bam:** very innocent. I'm very

**Gizmo:** innocent. Oh yeah. [01:02:00] Every listener who listens to this podcast knows that's not true. Yes, they do.

**Bam Bam:** It

**Grinder:** sounds delicious though. It's actually uh, somewhat offensive to the Irish No.

**Pagoda:** And you the whole Cobo thing.

Oh really? But you've gotta do it quick. You've gotta down it quick

**Senator:** curdle, and then it's disgusting. I think you gotta

**Grinder:** able to best So let it curdle

**Bam Bam:** my stomach. Okay, there

**Gizmo:** you go. So boys, tying up all of the discussions that we've had tonight, I think this is an interesting one, between traveling to Cuba, those challenges now.

The challenges of getting cigars, the challenges of the economics down there. Car bombings. Car,

**Bam Bam:** no. Hey.

**Gizmo:** The challenges of, uh, everything we talked about. We got a, uh, email from listener John. He said, Hello, Lizards. My father and I are planning a trip to Cuba in 2024. And we're wondering how risky it is to bring back cigars upon our return.

I've heard that things have tightened up quite a bit. With searches and confiscations [01:03:00] occurring on a regular basis. Do you guys have any issues entering the U S again after your most recent visit? Thanks for a great pod. So certainly I think for, for my perspective, you know, going to Cuba in the future, those flights changing from landing.

In other areas first, not New York, namely Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The amount of cigars I'm going to be bringing back is going to be significantly reduced. Right. Well, where's the listener from, does he mention? He doesn't mention that he is in the U. S.

**Bam Bam:** Putting aside the flight issue, with all of the instability that we've just talked about.

I'm asking everyone in the room, would you go back anytime soon until after some of this clears up? Really?

**Senator:** It's not going to get any better. It's only going to get worse. My take away hearing this is that we ought to go tomorrow. Yeah. While we can.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. And I also think that Do we? Do we go next week? I think the important thing for me is that You're ready.

Despite the [01:04:00] economic troubles, despite everything we talked about, I think that even, you know, with potential unrest or these uncertainties or these, these really difficult situations, The people are really, really happy when we're there and we're able to do well for them. You know, it's, it's a great experience for us and, and we're able to, you know, directly impact people.

And I think they're happy to have us there and I think they need all the tourism they can get. So for me, going to Cuba, I'm certainly that this changes nothing aside from the difficulties traveling.

**Senator:** Okay. I mean, I said after our first trip, when we went in, uh, March. I came home and I literally said to my wife every year for the rest of my life, I'm going there at least once a year.

It's true. It's like, you know, to Gizmo's point, you feel like we kind of made a commitment to those people, right? Like there's something about like going back, they cannot get this stuff unless tourists come in and bring them things they need. Yep. That's just the reality. And now hearing all these flights that are cut.

Think about how many fewer tourists like us and families and families that can bring stuff that these folks need, how much less access they're going to have to that. So, [01:05:00] I mean, for me, this is always going to be part of the equation, but, um, it is, it is frustrating that it's not going to be as easy. Yeah.

I probably

**Rooster:** would not bring a lot of cigars back from there.

**Gizmo:** That's really what the listener is asking. That's true. That's where I'm at. Try to acquire cigars. Here, yeah, pay a premium, get them in. Yeah, no, but you know,

**Pagoda:** it's really interesting. I was speaking to one of the guys over here and we were talking about the Cuba trip.

And I said, you know, we ended up taking our own cigars over there. We took a lot of our own cigars over there. We brought a lot of new worlds with us. Yeah, we bring the new

**Gizmo:** world. Yeah. And I smoke a lot of Cuba. I brought a lot of Cubans with me because I just prefer my cigars at a lower humidity. And they were very young there.

Yes. And they're young and they're, they're, they're very humid. So my smoking experience purchasing something at a shop, they're smoking it is I'd rather purchase something, bring it home to the listener's question. You know, I'm going to be bringing less cigars home if I have to fly through Miami or Fort Lauderdale, which is, you know, your first point of entry into the United States, even if you're connecting [01:06:00] your, your customs is going to be processed by that first point of entry and Miami and Fort Lauderdale, you, you just do not want to bring cigars through those airports.

What the listener

**Senator:** has to understand is those airports, the cigar culture in Florida is so strong that any of those customs agents is. Salivating at the opportunity to seize boxes of humans that they are going to take and smoke. So it's just a different ballgame. Like if you go into another port of entry and you're lucky where these agents could care less about cigars, they may be just a bit more lenient about it.

But in a place like Miami, good luck.

**Gizmo:** And it's to the point now in Miami where, I don't know if you guys have seen some of these photos, I've seen a lot of them, folks coming in, getting pulled, getting pulled aside. They'll let you bring the cigars home, but first they take a razor and they cut right through the cigars and destroy them.

So it's like, they're, they're going to another level in Miami to, to throw the middle finger at you. They'll let those cigars come through your bags, you open them and there's razors right through the cigars, just destroying them. [01:07:00] He has a middle finger

**Bam Bam:** because Miami's full of expats from Cuba. That's exactly what it is.

And kids of parents that have suffered greatly, you know, they, they don't have a fond affinity for Cuba. So that's gotta play

**Gizmo:** into this. It does. And I, that's absolutely it. Yeah. It's an, and you know, there's an anti Cuban culture down there. Absolutely. Your anti Cuban government culture, let's call it. And my problem is not.

That it's the, it's the brazen, just, we're going to destroy this and let you keep it as a middle finger. Just take them. You know what I mean?

**Grinder:** Just take the It's more painful for us to see that. It is. It is. Yeah. You're not hurting the government. Trust me. Exactly. Yeah. The government

**Senator:** already

**Grinder:** got their cut.

I may be in jail if that ever

**Bam Bam:** happens to me. That's

**Gizmo:** where I'm at. My anger is through the roof.

**Rooster:** So the lesson is to buy a Churchill. So even if they cut them, you end

**Gizmo:** up with a Corona.

That's true. So my summary, my summary comment on it is, if you have good connections in the country, in the United States, I mean, and you can get cigars, even if there's [01:08:00] a little bit of a premium on them. Get them shipped, you know, to you from inside the United States. That's the way to go. Or through, you know, uh, auction site like Bon Roberts or something like that, that you can trust and there's verification and, and there's recourse if you have an issue.

I'm not going to be traveling as heavy with cigars as I've done in the past. Yeah. You know, which

**Rooster:** is unfortunate. Plenty of sites that we have already mentioned on previous pods. That's right. You can order from, you'll pay a little bit more, but it's worth it because those are the guarantee shipment

**Gizmo:** to you.

**Senator:** I wonder if they're more lenient about bringing back, like, rum.

**Gizmo:** I don't know. That's a good question. That's a good question. I don't know about that. You know, so to me, it's like, coming through those ports of entry, Miami, Fort Lauderdale. You're just gambling and I'm not a gambler, so I, I don't get, you know, I don't get off on that feeling.

Are you sure you're not a gambler? ? I'm not a gambler. I've seen some, uh, ,

**Grinder:** I've seen gizmo pull some

**Senator:** crazy stuff with, uh, bringing back cigars from

**Gizmo:** Cuba, not through Miami. That's fair. You're

**Grinder:** very handy with [01:09:00] contraband. Thank you. You are. Thanks

**Senator:** ba Yeah. You, you have been a, a great mule for the listeners.

that's for sure. ,

**Gizmo:** I think I'm retiring. Uh, you know, the thing that bums me out about this question and about this. Concept of bringing less cigars back is, you know, to Senator's point, we've met so many amazing people there that we haven't met casually. We've met and we have real friendships with that. We, you know, we message on WhatsApp daily or weekly, you know, we're talking to these folks constantly and we've gotten some really amazing cigars from these folks unbanded that they roll themselves.

with excellent tobacco, great construction and blend. The problem that what bums me out is not bringing back banded cigars, not bringing back Hoyo Epi ones or Epi, you know, or Partagus. It's bringing back those custom roles from these people. You can't, you can't order these on the internet. That's what bums me out is bringing those back that, you know, you're not going to be able to support those folks and get them back into the country.

And those cigars

**Bam Bam:** in particular are very special. You can't find them

**Gizmo:** [01:10:00] anywhere. Yeah. And, and to know, The person that rolled this cigar and they handed it to you. That's special. You know, that's really special. And you can talk to them about your experience and they, they're so proud of it. There's such a pride in their work and their product and their, their export that it's, it's, it bums me out that that's going to be a component of, of our travel.

Moving forward is these decisions. We got to find different places. Well, there's nothing like Cuban tobacco. No, unfortunately. Yeah.

**Grinder:** This isn't like a. Like a Bud Light Miller, like conversation . No, it's not .

**Gizmo:** I would love to go to Nicaragua though. Me too. Yeah, me too. That would be a good trip. The problem, the problem with Nicaragua, from my understanding we haven't been there obviously, is it's quite honestly the complete opposite of of Cuba as far, far as it's not a safe safety.

It's not safe. You know when, you know when these cigar manufacturers go to their factories, they're traveling full armed guard carrier, like Oh yeah. Personal security the entire time, like it's a. Full on [01:11:00] mission keeping these folks safe. We got Bam Bam. He's formidable. I'm gonna try

**Senator:** to work on a diplomatic envoy for

**Gizmo:** us.

Oh, there you go. Okay.

**Grinder:** It is interesting to note that We, the, the culture, the industry, smoking cigars is a very luxurious, high, quote, unquote, high society, whatever it's viewed as something that's a little more elevated. Yeah. Sophisticated. I hate to use that word, but, um, you look at where they're coming from, you know, traditionally places like Cuba, places like Nicaragua, people are leaving places that they're made and exported from, uh, to go elsewhere.

And you have this class that is. I'm not trying to be Marxist here, but you have a class of people that are smoking cigars, more sophisticated, more money, paying money for it. It's a luxury item in a lot of ways, but it's very much, you know, derived from people in dire straits. And there's that, that's an interesting dichotomy, I

**Gizmo:** think.

And I think [01:12:00] we had that kind of before and after experience. You know, before going to Cuba on the podcast, going down the rabbit hole of finding and procuring Cuban cigars, paying massive premiums for, for stuff we thought was special and interesting. And then to your point, you go there, you meet these people and you realize that for, certainly for me, I think we've talked about this, my cigar journey now, as far as Cuban cigars go outside of the podcast and even inside the podcast here in this, inside this room with our listeners.

Is it's gone from like a real cigar heavy experience going to Cuba. It's very people heavy now. It's like these relationships and it's more of the impact you're able to make. The cultural experience. And, and going to Cuba now is not like, Oh, we're going to go smoke cigars, you know, with the lizards, with my friends.

That's secondary. Yeah. It's like, wow, I can't go. I can't wait to go with my friends and see our friends. Yeah. I

**Grinder:** have, you know, yeah. I mean, I have a client, um, uh, who goes to Cuba two, three times a year and he doesn't smoke cigars. But he loves it. And for him, it's the same [01:13:00] story. They go with friends. They have friends down there.

It's like a family for them, and it's part of their life now. Like, they're, they're constantly going down. That's great. And, uh, it has nothing to do with cigars, but they go there and they experience the culture. They experience the, you know, what it's like going to the Nacional and all these things, and they, and they can't get enough

**Gizmo:** of it.

I mean, listen, my friends in, in Cuba, I'm sure, you know, Rooster would say the same thing every Sunday. I hear from every single one of those people. It doesn't matter if we've spoken during the week or not. Every Sunday they send a message. Happy Sunday. How's your family? How are you? We have a great discussion every single Sunday.

Wow. It's like part of the part of the culture. Like they're just amazing people, man. So I, again, we've done this before, but we encourage every listener, despite everything we've talked about, get educated about Cuba and travel there. Even if it's for just for a few days, it's 90 miles from Florida. And just to have this experience, it's really, really an amazing place.

**Rooster:** Yeah. And all the, all the [01:14:00] problems that we talk about, I think it's more for the Cuban people. Of course. I don't think as a tourist. No. You really are going to face

**Gizmo:** those problems. No,

**Rooster:** we never felt those problems. We didn't feel that. No. You know, if there's a lack of food, it's for the local.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Which is terrible.

Which is terrible. It's true. It's horrible, but it's.

**Bam Bam:** It does affect you though as a tourist, right? You think about it and you try to

**Senator:** compartmentalize it, but it's all the more reason to go because these people need help. That's true. And the only way they're going to get help is, is the government certainly not solving the problem for them.

So it's like people, ordinary people like us and others that want to just go and visit and experience and appreciate the culture. That's really the biggest impact that anybody can make. Yeah, I mean, let tourism

**Rooster:** be one, you know, factor that can actually help the local

**Gizmo:** people.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, and what's interesting is when we're at dinner or we're getting a great cab ride from a guy that we really get along with, we're tipping heavy.

Yeah. And we're, we're bringing as much stuff as possible to give away. Supporting the economy. Yeah, that matters to them. It Airbnbs.

**Gizmo:** Oh, [01:15:00] yeah.

**Senator:** You know, it's like you tip the staff at the Airbnb, you visit a factory, you tip some of the folks that are there. I mean, we've seen people cry, they can't believe. You had an experience where

**Grinder:** you

**Bam Bam:** tipped very nicely and it got emotional

**Gizmo:** for them, right? Yeah. We all have. We all have. And the most important thing I think that we need to impart here is that when we're walking through a factory.

You know, tipping folks or it's, we're not, there's no ask. Like we don't leave there with a bag full of cigars. That's not our intent. That's just who we are as the lizards. And I really encourage the listeners to, to go and look for that similar experience. It's, it's a, it's a giving experience. It's not a taking experience.

And I think that's really, really important. Like I've had so many listeners write us just like Lizard John did. And you know, in this email talking about going there, I've had so many listeners say, Hey, I'm going. Give me some items that you guys brought that you think I should bring and we have three four guys going we're going to pack, you know, a bunch of suitcases and we lay it out and they hand it out to folks and it really makes a

**Pagoda:** [01:16:00] difference.

And you have to realize that, uh, you know, Cuba may be shut for the Americans, but, uh, there are a lot of other tourists from all over the world. That's true. Yeah. From Asia, from even the Middle East. Canada. Europe. Russia. Canada. So it's not like it's one of these places where. You know, I don't know how you imagine Cuba to be the, a lot of people out there, a lot

**Gizmo:** of people feel

**Rooster:** like it's unsafe.

And to me, it was one of the safest islands I've

**Gizmo:** ever been to easily, to me, it's safer than being in Manhattan at 10 PM in, in like near Penn station, it's safer in Cuba at 2 AM. At any time, walking down the street alone, like I, there's not a moment that I felt unsafe in any of my time in Cuba. Agreed, 100%.

Right, and

**Senator:** any of these other places that cigars are made, I mean, it's way safer than Dominican Republic. Oh yeah. It's safer than Nicaragua. It's safer than all those places that these cigars are made in.

**Gizmo:** So yeah, go to Cuba. Despite everything we [01:17:00] talk about on this podcast, we try to give everything to you.

As far as the news and the experience, but it's really, really an amazing place. We really encourage you to go. And if anyone

**Rooster:** wants to go and they're looking for a list of stuff to bring,

**Gizmo:** we can email us, we can send you that list. Yeah. And we'll, and we'll send you, you know, I'll send you the same email of like things to prep, things to make sure you have for yourself, you know, visa requirements, cell phone stuff.

Like we can help. And we're happy to, we're happy to educate and help other lizards get down to Cuba. So for a small fee, for a very small fee, you can Venmo

**Grinder:** BAM. I like cigars.

**Bam Bam:** BAM. This

**Gizmo:** is BAM with your Venmo. That's right. All right, boys. So we're coming to the end of our evening here with the Hoyo Epicure number one and the Lombe Irish whiskey.

Any thoughts before we, uh, Get into the ratings?

**Bam Bam:** No, you know, pretty smooth, simple experience.

**Grinder:** I

**Gizmo:** said my part. Yeah, it actually

**Rooster:** did get a little better towards the end. A little bit. Yeah, it picked

**Gizmo:** [01:18:00] up in strength. Sure.

**Grinder:** I'm actually really excited to see these scores.

**Gizmo:** I can't, I can't imagine which way this is going to go.

I don't know either. I'll be a lot of nines and tens until the end. Alright, Bam, you ready to do the formal liquor rating on the Lombe Irish Whiskey? Sure. Alright,

**Grinder:** you're up. This is a

**Bam Bam:** six for me. Um, I'll never drink this again. I can't say that it was harsh in any way, but it wasn't interesting at all. Not at all.

**Gizmo:** Okay. Six. Grinder.

**Grinder:** I, I'm also a six. Okay. Um, it's like I said, it's, I, I wouldn't recommend, I wouldn't recommend it. Um, but yeah, I'll drink

**Gizmo:** it. Sure. Pagoda. Yeah,

**Pagoda:** um, you know, uh, six works for me as well. Um, you know, I thought it was flavored water, really. Uh, it did help me with the cigar a bit. Um, but six, six works.

**Gizmo:** Senator?

**Senator:** I'm in the same camp. I think it's a six. Um, I think maybe for someone who loves a [01:19:00] light, Much lighter style whiskey. Maybe for them. It's a seven. Um, but for me, I just want some more body to any whiskey. I mean, to me, it's like, I don't know. I don't know many people at all that choose to drink a whiskey because they want something Insanely light.

Yeah, you want something insanely light like drink vodka drink like a very light tequila. Yeah So it just doesn't fit with what I'm expecting out of any whiskey But it wasn't offensive. I didn't there was nothing about it that I said I have a bad aftertaste or anything like that. So If I had no other choice and someone poured it to me, sure I would drink it, I wouldn't have a problem, but I won't pursue it at

**Bam Bam:** all.

It's a marginal experience and when you're saying that you can have a tequila and other spirits in place of it because you have a similar type of experience, that to me is, it's a prototypical

**Pagoda:** marginal experience. And you, you have to realize we are really, like we are whiskey drinkers. Oh yeah, well that's another point.

And I think [01:20:00] that probably has uh, A lot to do with it. Yeah, kind of.

**Senator:** And the last thing I will say, I mean, Giz mentioned this is finished in a Cognac cask. There's no semblance of Cognac in this at all. I mean, it's silly to the way, that's

**Gizmo:** in like size 10 font on the bottle. They're not as proud of it as I made them seem.

Right. It's very small in the bottle. Maybe keep it in there longer.

**Senator:** I mean, I also think clearly knowing that this is like a joint venture with Camus, the Cognac maker. I mean, that's probably what they have easy access to those, you know, those Cognac casts. So they're like, all right, we'll just finish it.

**Gizmo:** So I'm going to be the outlier tonight, boys. I'm going to go with a seven. I really actually thought it was very good. I think for the mild cigar that we had tonight, I thought it actually enhanced it. Um, I, I thought it was better than the cigar for me. Tonight, so I'm gonna go with a seven and that makes the formal liquor rating boys a 6.

2. Interesting, which I think is fine.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, it's fine and I think we said this [01:21:00] a few of us it pairs with the cigar because the cigar itself is also very mild and It doesn't leave anything memorable with

**Gizmo:** you So let's do the formal lizard rating boys on the Hoyo de Monterey epicure number one. Rooster, you're up.

So for me, it's a seven Okay, Senator

**Senator:** I'm also at a 7. I mean, I, I have such low expectations for Oyo and this definitely exceeded it. It was smokable all the way through. I didn't have any significant problems or issues. I think we all just want more flavor out of this cigar and that's what precludes it from, you know, an 8, But for someone who likes a mild smoke, I think they'd be very happy with this cigar.

**Gizmo:** I'm also at a 7. It's right, right there. I think, to your point, I think someone that has a really good Epi 1 for a mild cigar, no construction issues. You know, obviously my draw was a little tighter than I would have liked. I had to poke it. Common for the Corona Gorder as we talked about. [01:22:00] I think this would be a wonderful cigar for them.

Um, I would always reach for an Epi 2 over this. Or a Magnum 46 in the same size. But, um, yeah, it performed well and, and the first half of an inch, as I mentioned, was really, really good for me. And then it kind of faded from there. So it's a seven for me. Pagoda. Um,

**Pagoda:** yeah, this is an interesting one. I, I've been debating between a six and a seven, but I think I'm gonna, uh, Um, a six.

A couple of reasons. One of them is just not in my flavor profile. Number two, I thought the flavor really was in a very concentrated area of my mouth. I didn't fill my whole palate and there was nothing very complex about it. It was reasonably pleasant. Um, I had a really good cigar fortunately in terms of construction.

Uh, you know, the smoke output. Um, overall. Um, the, and the last thing was that I thought it was a bit too dry for me in the end, so I think [01:23:00] when I started handling the whiskey, it kind of really helped it. So considering the price point at 25 bucks a cigar, you know, I would leave it as a soft recommended at six.

**Grinder:** Okay, Grindr. I'm also at a six. I don't think this is, um, something I would really reach for. Uh, there's so many better Cuban cigars. And um, I've, the, the, the comments I made about the harshness and Pagoda's comment about concentrated flavor and it's not really getting the full flavor that you're looking for, that resonates with me very much so.

So yeah, this is a six for me, nothing special, it's just kind of humdrum and uh, if I had it and it was the only cigar, yeah, and I wanted a cigar, sure, I'll smoke that cigar. I wouldn't grab it.

**Gizmo:** Okay, bam.

**Bam Bam:** Seven. Simple. Simple experience. Pretty straightforward. Nothing dramatic. Perfect. Perfect. And didn't leave an impression.

But again, the experience was nice, though. I can't say, like I said earlier, [01:24:00] it's a pretty elegant smoke. Creamy, nice, really nice combustion. The room was full of smoke for a while there. Yeah,

**Rooster:** only, only, I mean, I didn't like the dry finish.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Yeah. The finish was kind of

**Rooster:** short. It was a little dry. And it had typical, like, You know, cedar and

**Gizmo:** cream.

**Bam Bam:** A hint of fruit, very

**Gizmo:** faint,

**Rooster:** early in the cigar. Yeah, I didn't get, yeah, maybe in the beginning or on the cold row actually I was getting some fruit, but not on, on the light or maybe just in the beginning. Yep. But the cigar was good like in the beginning, then it kind of was really mild. Kind of flattened out.

Flattened out in the middle and then at the end it kind of picked up a little bit, but with a dry finish, so it's a

**Gizmo:** soft recommend. Yeah, so the formal lizard rating boys is a 6. 7. So just under a seven there. Okay. So let's talk about the other Hoyos we've done. We've done two others, as we mentioned. Uh, very, very weak was the Hoya de Monterey Elegantis.

The taco perfecto, we mentioned the LCDH exclusive that got a 4. [01:25:00] 8. That was a real rough night. And on episode... That was... I didn't realize

**Bam Bam:** it went below 5.

**Pagoda:** Like

**Senator:** I said, my expectations with oil are very low. I don't think we

**Grinder:** finished

**Bam Bam:** that cigar. Most of us. Why is it

**Gizmo:** called a taco? It was not good. And then, uh, the other cigar we did, uh, as we mentioned on, we did it a long time ago, episode 18, we did it with the Aberfeldy 12, the Hoyo de Monterey Epicure number two got a half a point above this, a 7.

3. Yeah, it's a better cigar. So I actually think that the score at a 6. 7, I think that actually lines up pretty well with the Hoya line for us. But again, you know, as we've mentioned, Hoya is just a major, major disappointment as far as a Cuban global brand. I mean, they just are not, it's not pulling its weight.

It does not deserve to be in the ranks of Partagas and Upman and Cohiba. It just doesn't. Yeah. I don't know why is [01:26:00] it so popular though. A lot of people like that brand, like that marker. They, they go for it. They smoke it. CA.

**Grinder:** They, they,

**Pagoda:** CA, CA loves. But consider if you're a beginner, if you like really mild cigars, or if you're a beginner, I think this.

EpiOne could be really, really good for them. Yeah, I think what Pagoda

**Senator:** is saying there is exactly right. It's very simple. If you think about the two brands that we have a big frustration with that are huge global brands, it's Oyo and it's Romeo, and they're known for milder smokes, which is what gets anybody into, you know, this kind of world, right?

We all started with Uh, certainly milder cigars than we now smoke. And so I think it's just so easygoing, so accessible and that draws people in. And I think some, we're all creatures of habit. And so some just kind of stick with what they know and don't venture outside of that. And I think we fortunately.

Have ventured outside of that and found brands that we just like a whole lot more but

**Gizmo:** most

**Rooster:** guys who only smoke cuban cigars They [01:27:00] kind of like that flavor. They're in that mild to medium Yeah, a lot of the cuban cigars

**Gizmo:** are like right there primarily There's really no

**Rooster:** cuban cigar that you would call like medium to full.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, very few. Yeah, like

**Rooster:** which one do you think very few?

**Grinder:** Do you think serious smokers are smoking Romeo and oil? Some.

**Gizmo:** I think some of the S smoke, some of the S Yes. People love those two markets, man. And, and you know the Romeo Churchill in this, obviously the Epicure number two and the Double Corona people love those cigars.

Yeah. Like the white churches, white Churchill, people, guys smoke them. Yeah, I would Epi two in La Joa. I would

**Senator:** just. Modify that slightly for me. I think that the overwhelming majority of Cuban cigars are firmly medium Yeah, I actually do not think that most Cuban cigars are mild And I think that it's these two marcas that are are known and kind of their smiles these milder smokes That's right.

I think for most average Cuban cigar smokers I think they're pursuing it a medium profile and I don't think this lives up to that I don't think at any point this even felt me know

**Gizmo:** not at all My [01:28:00] problem is even not in the body or the strength of the cigar Overall, for me, it's just the lack of complexity.

It's the lack of something interesting. Like if this was a really complex, interesting cigar, that doesn't mean it's got, um, for it's strong. It means that it's interesting. And if you're slotting that at the beginning of your night, like you would a cigar that's mild or medium and very complex. You know, that's great, but this just misses on complexity.


**Pagoda:** And you know, like what I find is that, like, at least from my perspective, because as you guys know, I prefer medium to bold and, you know, medium to full strength. Um, the Cubans I tend to like is. Which are very flavorful and they, you know, complete your, like, you know, you have the RAS or you have the D4.

You know, your whole mouth is full with flavor. And it's, it's so excellent. Like, you know, you can't even describe, like, this wasn't really just completing that, that feel, [01:29:00] let's put it, put it that way. It felt, it felt a

**Grinder:** little flat, you know, it felt a little empty. There were some gaps. There were gaps, yeah.

**Gizmo:** All right, boys. So a 6. 2 tonight on the Lombe Irish whiskey and a 6. 7 on the Hoyo de Monterey. That'd be for number one. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** Compelling night. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** Great conversation. Good being with you boys. And uh, we'll see y'all next week. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Thanks for joining us. merch store and ratings archive at our brand new website. Loungelizardspod. com that's loungelizardspod. com. Don't forget to leave us a rating and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.

If you have any comments, questions, if you want to reach out, say hello, tell us what you're smoking, email us. Hello at loungelizardspod. com. You can also find us on Instagram at loungelizardspod. We really appreciate your time and we'll, uh, we'll see you next week.[01:30:00]