Lounge Lizards - a Cigar and Lifestyle Podcast

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Recorded at Ten86 Lounge in Hawthorne, New Jersey the lizards pair the Por Larrañaga Montecarlos with Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky. The guys smoke their thinnest Cuban cigar yet, they discuss the Habanos S.A. price increases taking effect this month, how higher prices will impact smoking decisions, and they talk about the origin of Japanese whisky.

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.

website/merch/rating archive: loungelizardspod.com
email: hello@loungelizardspod.com to join the conversation and be featured on an upcoming episode!
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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, Poobah, Senator, Pagoda, 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 123rd official invitation to join us and become a card carrying lounge lizard. Plan to meet us here once a week. We're going to smoke a Cuban cigar tonight, share our thoughts on it, and give you our formal lizard rating.

We smoke our thinnest Cuban cigar yet, we discuss the Habano's price increases taking effect this month, and how they will impact our smoking decisions, and we talk about the origin of Japanese whiskey, all among a variety of other things for the next two hours. So sit back, get your favorite drink, light up a cigar and enjoy, as we pair Nikka Coffee Malt Whiskey with the Por Larrañaga.

Montecarlos a slim Panatella tonight from Cuba on the pod. [00:01:00] It's the Larrañaga Monte Carlo. It's a 33 ring gauge cigar by six and a quarter inches long. And boys, this is a very, very small cigar in the hand. I did not expect this when I ordered them. Yeah, it looks

**Bam Bam:** bigger in the photograph. And honestly, the wrapper is quite toothy and rugged.

**Gizmo:** It is. It is. I don't think they're using the best wrapper that they have in Cuba for these cigars. Not

**Bam Bam:** necessarily a bad thing.

**Senator:** Man, you said these were beautiful when the box came

**Bam Bam:** out. I think the shape is beautiful. I like the vitale and the measurements. It's really quite nice. It's elegant in dimension.


**Senator:** is as rustic and toothy a wrapper as I've probably ever seen. Yeah.

**Pagoda:** It feels like a long cigarillo. It does. It kind of

**Gizmo:** does. Yeah. It kind of feels like a cigarette kind of in your hand.

**Poobah:** Poor my Iran's the, the, the, the, uh, the wrappers aren't always. They're not flawless. They have a little bit more of a rustic feel throughout the line, but not quite as toothy as this.

**Rooster:** So these used to be machine rolled till 2002, I think,

**Gizmo:** right? Yes, I believe [00:02:00] so. Yeah. Weren't these

**Bam Bam:** discontinued at one time? A long time ago, right? The

**Gizmo:** machine made was discontinued in 02 and then I believe they released the Monte Carlos, which is, this is techNikkally, techNikkally the second version of it.

Okay. Which is a handmade product because Habanos went all handmade. It's in the early

**Poobah:** 2000s in it, but it's, it's short filler or a long,

**Gizmo:** long filler.

**Senator:** Good. This cigar though, in that dress box is a heavily box press. Oh yeah.

**Gizmo:** Oh yeah. Looks like a Padron almost. All right, boys, let's cut this thing. So we're getting on the cold draw on the wrapper.

I think this might. Be up there or down there really with one of the smallest ring gauge cigars that we've ever done with the podcast. I don't know if we've ever done anything under 36 tight draw.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. A little bit of

**Gizmo:** a tight draw. Mine's open. Mine's all right. I have a whole box here. So if you want another one, I'm happy to throw you one.

You might

**Senator:** smoke through that in 10 minutes anyway.

**Bam Bam:** You know what? I think I might.

**Gizmo:** I'm getting a lot of cedar. [00:03:00]

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, you know, on a cigar, like on some of the other Vitolas, I get fruit, dry fruit, I don't get any of that on

**Gizmo:** this. I don't either. Yeah, I'm not getting. No.

**Poobah:** Getting

**Bam Bam:** much on the. Like that Petit Corona's delicious.

It's a

**Poobah:** little nutty.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, a

**Senator:** little nutty and like a little mocha.

**Gizmo:** I'm also getting like an earthy thing, almost like grass, woody. All right, boys, let's light this thing, the Porwarniaga. Monte Carlos. Again, it's a 33 ring gauge, slim Panatella by six and a quarter inches long.

So the factory name of the cigar is the Deliciosos. It's,

**Bam Bam:** it's quite nice on the

**Gizmo:** light. It is delicious. It's delicious. Oh wow. That's the thing about a small ring gauge cigar, guys, is you get, it's like a concentrated flavor. Correct. Delicioso. You get more of the wrapper. Ha ha ha. This [00:04:00] is, uh, this is really, really nice.

That's very good. I'm actually getting that note. The Pagoda sometimes calls out a little bit of tea, like a little bit of black tea. Yeah. That's kind of the primary note I'm getting on the light here. Well, the aroma

**Bam Bam:** is quite nice.

**Gizmo:** Aroma's great at the foot.

**Senator:** There's something slightly creamy about this to me.

I don't know why, like I said, mocha before, like there's something that, and if it is tea, it's like tea with milk. Yeah, that's what it

**Gizmo:** is. It's tea with milk. That's exactly right. English style.

**Bam Bam:** That's

**Gizmo:** right. This is really, really nice.

**Rooster:** It's funny. The, the two non Indians come out with tea with milk.

**Gizmo:** Pagoda said it so much.

I mean, it's on my brain.

**Poobah:** Is it Earl Grey or

**Bam Bam:** morning breakfast? I grew up drinking Earl Grey with milk. Really? Yeah. Yeah. With honey. Yeah. Copious amounts. My mom

**Gizmo:** always gave me Lipton. I wasn't Earl Grey. I also lived in Pennsylvania. I don't know if there was Earl Grey out there. There's an English tea that [00:05:00] we use.

**Rooster:** It's called PG tips comes in like bags and the bags are triangular. Delicious tea. Nice. Full, full, you know, full bodied, strong black tea. I use bog

**Pagoda:** buckery.

**Rooster:** That's a loose tea,

**Gizmo:** right? Fuck loose tea. My mom was such a mess. Thank

**Senator:** you. Roosters. Sorry. It's true. It's true. Let's just say I've had house guests that are big fans of loose tea and it gets all over the counter.

It's all in the

**Rooster:** sink. I mean, you can't like it stains the pop. Yep.

**Bam Bam:** Just give me a tea bag for crying

**Gizmo:** out loud. Rooster's about to tea off about loose tea. I'm glad

**Senator:** someone else is because I could go on for an

**Poobah:** hour about this. We know how much you love the teabag.

**Bam Bam:** I ain't gonna deny it.

**Gizmo:** So I gotta tell you, this is really delicious on the light. This is probably the least expensive, uh, Cuban cigar we've done on the podcast. The box of 25 [00:06:00] of these I got in December, right around Christmas time for 230 bucks. on iHavanas, which put them at, I think, 9. 28 each. So, you know, we always talk about price and we're always talking about, uh, price for value, you know, hunting for value, hunting for value under 10 bucks.

And this is actually after the price increase. They used to be like six bucks.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. This is quite the small Vitola though for

**Gizmo:** What we're getting, right? But this

**Rooster:** is, this is at least a 45 minute smoke. Yeah. I guarantee. And

**Bam Bam:** at the, at the moment, it's delicious.

**Gizmo:** I do think though that it does kind of back us into that, that common thing with small ring gauge that we've experienced on Lanceros and smaller where if you smoke this too fast, you're going to get a tar build up.

And it's going to punch you in the face. You know, even for how I would say mild medium, this is right now, I think if you push it too hard, you're going to get tired and

**Poobah:** you get, you're going to get, you're going to get, you can get [00:07:00] draw issues too. It just

**Gizmo:** too much saliva.

**Rooster:** Anybody having a draw issue right now?

**Gizmo:** So I anticipate

**Bam Bam:** one. Yeah. I don't know. Initially I did, but it's actually open now that the heat's

**Gizmo:** going through it. It's not

**Rooster:** too loose. No, it's not like over, it's not

**Gizmo:** that tight either. It's nice. Yeah. Yeah.

**Poobah:** That's nice. You know, when, like when you draw on it and you still have smoke coming out off the foot, it's that kind of a thing where you're not kind of getting, you pull as hard as you

**Rooster:** can.

These are hard to roll. I would imagine. Of course. You know, 33 ring gauge, long filler.

**Poobah:** There's a lot of room. There's, there's not a lot of room for error.

**Gizmo:** These are great little cigars. So this is the third Pura Barra Niaga we've done on the podcast. The other two we've done are the Petit Corona and we did the Galanus, which is their Robusto offering.

So aside from those two cigars, there's only one other cigar in regular production, which is the Habanos Specialist release, the Picadorus No. 1, which as we mentioned on a recent [00:08:00] episode, we were talking about Hermosos No. 4. That's a 48 ring gauge cigar by five inches. A Corona extra came out in 2014.

That's the only one out of the four. That has a different band than this one. So this one has the classic Porro Aranaga band on it. Yellow, uh, like a gold band with white text, a little embossed. The Picadoras has a red label. So it's a little bit of a standout for some reason. I don't know why. It's like red and white, red and white.

Yeah. It's strange. So that came out in 2014. So the other cigars, as Bam mentioned, the Petit Corona, we did that on a previous episode, that's a 42 ring gauge by five and one eighth inches long. And then the other cigar in the offering is the Galanis, which is a Robusto, shorter Robusto, 52 ring gauge cigar by a little under five inches, four and three quarters.

That came out in 2020. So that's the offering from, from Porro Aranaga right now. They use this a lot for regional editions as we talked about a lot, but small portfolio, very, very small portfolio. And we've done now three out of the four, including tonight. Of the regular [00:09:00] production offering.

**Bam Bam:** I'll tell you that Petit

**Gizmo:** Corona is quite good.

Yeah, and I like that they come in 50 caps. Yeah, it's delicious. This cigar only comes in 25 count boxes. And I'll be honest, they don't look great anymore. Did you mention a year on this box? Oh, I did not. Good call, Bam. The box code on this is B R M, La Corona. April 23. So we're coming up on a year old, great factory, April 23.

So they changed the boxes as they're doing for most of the Habanos catalog to make it more, uh, acceptable, I guess, for a lot of the, uh, warnings, the health warnings that come from various countries. So they're centralizing and shrinking the logos and text on the front of the box to try to make it so the sides are covered, which most of them are in a lot of these countries that you're still able to see the logo actually on the box.

So. That's the new Pura Gorda and Yoga box. Yeah, when you

**Poobah:** get boxes from, from, um, Mexico, from Eastern Europe, only Mexico [00:10:00] too, but Eastern Europe, you get big, huge

**Gizmo:** stickers. Yeah, Mexico, you can't even see the back of the box. You can't even see the factory code on those. You know, you see a big picture of a black lung.

Yeah, or a deceased baby or something, it's horrible.

**Bam Bam:** Oh, for crying out loud. And the teeth. It's horrible.

**Gizmo:** Excuse me. And

**Poobah:** the teeth. The Mexican government's great at regulation. I don't think I'm going on a limb with that sarcasm. Hey, am I good at regulating tobacco? Nothing else. They'll regulate the cigars.

I think it's the cartel putting the stickers. They're probably printing the stickers as a side hustle. They got to get their big,

**Gizmo:** this is a great little cigar so far.

**Bam Bam:** This, I don't know. I think I'm placing this pretty medium right now. It's not mild. I don't see it as a mild

**Gizmo:** cigar. I do think it would serve very well, like a breakfast or lunch. But I think it could also be an early, early evening kind of start of your rotation cigar.

I agree. [00:11:00] Early morning,

**Rooster:** afternoon. I mean, it's good.

**Gizmo:** 7 a. m. for

**Bam Bam:** you with a coffee?

**Gizmo:** Anytime.

**Senator:** I think with a cup of coffee, this would be great. It would be, yeah. At your point, it's like medium. I don't think there's any, there's nothing too sharp or aggressive in this that would hold me back from wanting to light this

**Gizmo:** in the morning.

**Rooster:** It's true. Black tea with milk would

**Gizmo:** go very well. Very

**Bam Bam:** well. I love a tea with some milk with a cigar. I've done that many times. It's, it's worth trying guys. I have to actually. You really have to try that. And pick the right tea because there are teas that are infused with fruits and so on. Some of them No,

**Rooster:** no, no.

Plain black tea. Agree. With a little bit of milk. You don't need anything else. Or Earl Grey. Or Earl

**Gizmo:** Grey. I'm

**Senator:** more black tea like Rooster.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. It's an experience.

**Gizmo:** We'll do it. Give it a shot. We

**Rooster:** should do it. Yeah. We'll do it in the spring.

**Gizmo:** Brookmont. Porto Aranjaga was established around 1834 by a man named Ignacio Aranjaga.

The brand was a popular producer of premium cigars, of course. And at the time of the [00:12:00] revolution was actually one of the biggest of the Havana producers. Most of the line was discontinued in the 1970s and 1980s. It's really leaving only. Machine made stuff in production, uh, until the early two thousands in the 1990s, even with the machine made stuff, they had a bunch of disputes over the ownership of the brand name worldwide.

So the export of this Marco was reduced to just a few countries. And now, like we said, they only have four of a toll is in regular production. Habanos S. A. categorizes the brand in the other segment of their portfolio brands. It's very popular with regional editions, and some people really chase those. I know that we don't, but some people do.

Everything, of course, comes from the premium Vuelta a Bajo region and the mother factory of the brand. Is like this box, La Corona. One we love. And like Coaba, La Corona and the folks, they're very, very proud of this marca. When you're sitting in that conference room, Puerto Aranaga is right up there with Coaba over [00:13:00] Monte Cristo over, you know, uh, Ramona.

And some of the other brands that they make there that you get a lot of stuff out of that factory. They're proud of Cuaba and Porro Añaga, which is interesting. One thing

**Bam Bam:** I remember being in that factory, the Cuaba Vitolas are so visibly distinct from all the other cigars that are rolled there. So when you walk in the back rooms and you've got all the cigars that are ready to be banded, you can tell right away where the Cuabas are.

Absolutely. It's really cool. Really cool to see. Oh,

**Gizmo:** what's interesting about your point too, is the, you know, as we've discussed in previous episodes. The rollers don't actually know most of the time, what marker they're rolling. They know that they're rolling a Robusto that day, or they're rolling a, you know, a petite Corona that day, or in some cases, a Churchill, whatever.

The Coaba people, because of the same thing you just said, because everything's a double figurado, it's the only stuff in the catalog that's production. They know that they're rolling Coaba. So they're very proud that that top row, that's cool. Desks on that floor in La Corona. Yeah. They know that they're the Coaba people and they're very proud of it.

It's a [00:14:00] sight to behold. Yeah. It's very,

**Poobah:** very cool. Yeah. Yeah, I just don't think this ring ring gauge is a size that I'm patient enough for, but how are you feeling about your flavor though? I like the flavor. Yeah. I like it a lot. Yeah. It's very, it's, you know, it's the finish between draws is, is there. It's a lot, it's kind of a, it's not like an abrupt finish or anything like that.

**Rooster:** I must say you look very elegant

**Gizmo:** Uba

**Bam Bam:** with that, the way he's hand handling

**Gizmo:** it. Oh, he, he's holding it

**Rooster:** very delicate. I can picture you in a cafe in Paris in the afternoon,

**Gizmo:** correct. .

**Pagoda:** But those, but those long hand gloves on Wewe

**Gizmo:** song. Yeah. Cro.

**Bam Bam:** You sound like Kramer.

**Senator:** The other thing, for as small as the ring gauge on this, the smoke output's actually been very good. Combustion's

**Gizmo:** great. I'm finding, though, that [00:15:00] I'm having to pinch just a little bit up here. Giz, don't massage

**Senator:** too aggressively.


**Bam Bam:** don't gizmo the cigar. Don't do that, please. That was bad.

We know the

**Poobah:** result of that. That was bad last time. You just have to smoke it so slow to get, like, that good draw out of it. If you attack, it really heats up. What?

**Bam Bam:** I'm laughing at myself. Not that joke. Don't gizmo a cigar. Pam likes to bust

**Gizmo:** my balls, because uh, the last, was it, what episode was that? Was that the uh, Andalusian Bowl?

Yes. My Andalusian Bowl that we did on a recent episode, when I tell you the wrapper came off completely in one piece, and I set it on the table and I smoked the binder and the filler, That's exactly what happened. Well, there's a reason why that

**Senator:** happened. He was massaging the head of the cigar trying to improve his draw.

Correct. And, uh, he got a little too aggressive and the whole fucking thing

**Gizmo:** unraveled? Mm hmm. Oh boy. I'd like to apologize to the listeners and to the room. Thank you. For my behavior.

You're [00:16:00] forgiven. I've, I've, I've. You know who's, you know who's not forgiven? I've, I've, I've been. Before DomiNikkana. Yeah. True. I've been there, don't worry about it. Yeah. It wasn't a great experience. The aroma is delicious. It is. It's quite nice. It smells so good. The foot, it really is one of those cigars that between the foot, the regular draw, and the retrohale, it's just really complimentary.

Everything's working really, really nicely. For an under 10 cigar from Habanos, I'm happy about that.

**Bam Bam:** I've only had the petite Corona in this. Marco, has anyone had any of the other cigars? Other than what, other than what we've reviewed? I've

**Gizmo:** had the Galanis and the Picador. Yeah. I've not had, I've, I've, I've, I've only had what we reviewed, so I've only had the, we did the galas.

Yeah, we did the goana. We did the, the petite

**Bam Bam:** Corona course. What's interesting for me, for this, Marco, they, these cigars are all pretty distinct in flavor profile. They're. There's some similarities, but there's nothing like the Petit Corona in this panadella. [00:17:00] Nothing.


**Poobah:** mean, I

**Gizmo:** think this is really good.

**Bam Bam:** It's

**Poobah:** delicious, but it's different. It's good. They tend to, the experience I've had is they tend to be a little bit one dimensional and kind of, but. I think they're

**Senator:** flavorful, which is nice. Sure. I haven't, I haven't had much experience with this market, but from what I have tried, I've never had one and said, this is a really bland, mild cigar.

I've always gotten a good amount of flavor out of it. And I always, hilariously, I always think of rooster when I think of this market. I do. Cause of the petite Corona. Most of these in the PLPC. I know you love.

**Gizmo:** I have not smoked this one. No,

**Senator:** not this, but many others. Yeah. Well,

**Rooster:** it's like the LaGloria Cubana, the number, number three, number four.

It's kind of like the same format, you know,

**Bam Bam:** roughly the same dimension, number

**Rooster:** one, number three, and the number four, very small ring

**Gizmo:** gauge.

**Senator:** This is a lot cheaper though. Oh, this

**Gizmo:** is a hell of a lot cheaper, yeah. You're right. It is surprising to have a cigar in our hand from Habanos that's not a half Corona or something that's gonna give you a 25 or 30 minute smoke and it be under [00:18:00] 10 bucks.

Because, I mean, if you think that the H Upman half Corona, which is a Pretty small cigar is around the same price as this now. I mean, a box of 25 of those, those half Coronas or what? Probably 225 bucks. Yeah. Now,

**Bam Bam:** and it's also 45 minutes, roughly. You get about the same time, but the flavor profile on that.


**Gizmo:** so good. I think most guys don't go for the size. No, yeah, we don't,

**Rooster:** you know, so hence, you know, the prices haven't really gone up like the other, the demand

**Gizmo:** is, uh, yeah,

**Rooster:** the demand isn't there.

**Gizmo:** No, no, poor Warniak is just not a market that I think about very often. You know, even when I've had them and I've had this in my humidor, had we not reached for this and needed to do it on the pod tonight, like I, it would just sit there.

Like, I'm just not. I'm interested really in the Marka so far. I mean, this is good tonight, but even still at this size, I'm not sure if this is something that I'm going to be wanting to reach for. Maybe outside of [00:19:00] having coffee. I would too. I would buy the rest of them.

**Rooster:** We'll split. Is there anything else

**Gizmo:** that you'd want to get rid of?

**Bam Bam:** There's a lot. No,

**Gizmo:** a lot.

**Poobah:** I mean, if, if you, if you flashed me back to like the sixties where you could like smoke a cigar in the office at, at your leisure, if I was like a newspaper writer or something and like. I had, I would light this up, put it down, pick it back up, light it back up, take a couple of draws, whatever.

Right. Do something like work on the computer. I could see myself like working with the cigar almost as opposed as it's like in a utilitarian way, like I want to smoke as opposed to like handling a Robusto. Do you know what I mean? And trying to, you could put it down, you could rest it, you can work, you can pick it up, you could relight it.

I don't know. It's just, you got to smoke it so slow because of its size. It could be, I could see myself. Like being into this kind of a size, but if I'm in a lounge, I mean, unless it's like a LGC or [00:20:00] something, when you get down to this kind of a format, it's like, I'm in the mood to generally blow some shit up.

You know

**Bam Bam:** what I mean? You feel me?

**Poobah:** You know what I mean? You want to be a chimney. I mean, not necessarily like off the chain, but I need 42 plus, 42 to 50 or, you know. Sure.

**Gizmo:** Agree.

**Bam Bam:** At home on a spring morning, this would be quite nice. Yeah. Sure. No

**Poobah:** doubt you could pick it up. I could just see myself like picking it up, putting it down, doing some work, picking it up.

You know, it's nice. I don't know.

**Gizmo:** Just thoughts. I just wish the Marco is more interesting. That's really how I feel about it. There's no, there's no story. There's no allure to it for me. Even the presentation isn't great. Like there's nothing about it. That's an obscure me and it makes me want to get brand, you know, it's kind of, it doesn't make me want to get curious about it.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's just, it's, it's not fun. I don't know. It's not a fun marker for me. [00:21:00] Like a lot of the others are. Big brand guy. Big brand guy. And I'm among some of the biggest.

**Pagoda:** On the contrary, for me, it doesn't do much at all.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. The cigar? Yeah. You don't like it?

**Bam Bam:** It's mild.

**Pagoda:** Yeah, it's, it's, I feel it's on the milder side and I would not reach for it.

I would not buy it, you know,

**Gizmo:** because put this against your nose, smell the aroma. No,

**Pagoda:** it is. I mean, yeah.

**Bam Bam:** He's going to burn himself. I have.

**Pagoda:** I have. Um, it's just, uh, I think the draw is a bit too tight as well. Um, Yeah. Yeah, not getting much out of this.

**Senator:** The only thing I like flavor profile wise, and maybe I'm not remembering the PLPC well or accurately, but I feel like this is not as woody as the PLPC and I like that.

**Gizmo:** I agree with that. Is that accurate? You guys have smoked more of those? I feel like the primary flavor note on that cigar is cedar, for me. Okay,

**Senator:** that's what I recall, exactly.

**Bam Bam:** I, for me, it's dry, it's dry fruit for me. I get a lot of [00:22:00] dry fruit on that. You're right.

**Gizmo:** Yeah.

**Senator:** But would you say, guys that have smoked a lot of the PLPC, that this is less woody?

Yes. Than the PLPC. For sure. Cause that's, that's what I remember. I don't, I don't prefer this amount of like the, the, this flavor profile to me is preferable for my palate. I,

**Rooster:** I kinda agree with you because I had one of those this afternoon and having, I just wanted to have that so I can compare it with this one.

At this point, I actually preferred the Monte Carlo.

**Gizmo:** It's really than the, than the one you had today. Yeah. So really,

**Bam Bam:** you know, the retro Hellenists early on was a little tough, but it's really quite smooth now.

**Gizmo:** Very, very good. So this

**Rooster:** flavor in the petite Corona would be desirable to me. Of

**Gizmo:** course. I agree

**Senator:** with that.

Cause a little bigger ring gauge would help.

**Gizmo:** I think if this was 38 in a similar profile, even, you know, same length, I think it would be a really interesting cigar. And maybe something that I'd want to reach for. But at [00:23:00] this size, it's just not something I'm going to go for. Yeah, it goes too quickly.

**Poobah:** Well, it's There's a place for it though.

**Bam Bam:** Of

**Poobah:** course. Yeah. I think you keep, my, my fight is that I can't smoke it as quickly as I'd like to because I feel like it heats up. And he's right.

**Gizmo:** It makes

**Rooster:** you take your time with this, you know, you don't want to rush it.

**Bam Bam:** Same with the Lanceros and, yeah,

**Rooster:** I mean, it's a panatella, all

**Gizmo:** panatellas are like this.

Yeah. Yeah. It

**Pagoda:** really helps you develop patience. I see that.

**Poobah:** But Lanceros, a Lancero Yeah, substantially. That's true, too. You know, yeah, more substantial than this. I mean, this is the diminutive statures is what is the only my only real criticism. It's not really the flavor. It's like I just can't get the repeated combustion in the frequency that I want.

This is really my only complaint.

**Gizmo:** Other than that, the point, let's focus on the positives. [00:24:00] Well, I'll say one more negative out of all of the Slim panatellas that have ever been offered by Habanos. This is the only one that remains in the entire catalog. There was one in almost every marca, including Partagas, Montecristo, Upman, Cohiba never had one, but Bolivar had one.

Cuban Davidoff had one, the 3000, Punch had one. Romeo, Romeo had one. So all of these were discontinued. You know, in the seventies, eighties, nineties, and early two thousands, this is the only one that has survived. So that I would assume that aligns with what we're feeling about the Vittola. Yeah. I wonder if there's some

**Rooster:** women that buy a lot of Panatella's.

**Gizmo:** This is a good size for, you know, this is, well,

**Bam Bam:** I see a lot of women in clubs smoking, Robustos, Toros, you know, they're not limited by the Vittola. I don't think,

**Gizmo:** I think there's a perception thing now, which we've obviously debunked over and over is that. Okay. [00:25:00] And really it, the, what I would point to is like the lag kuban stuff that we're talking about, which is similar in ring gauge Mm-Hmm.

across the ones that rooster listed. I mean, the, your eye tells you when you see a small cigar with a lighter wrapper. That it's not going to have a lot of flavor. It's going to be a mild experience. Obviously we've debunked that through the years with some of the smaller cigars that we've had that really can knock you around a little bit.

Despite the color. Yeah. Like you said, I mean, this is definitely something that I could see women reaching for because it's not intimidating. At all. Sure.

**Senator:** Yeah. I just think, I mean, very simply, if you know, if you're a smaller woman or I guess even a smaller guy, just with small hands, you know, this doesn't feel bad in your hand.

I think for us like this, you know, Poobah used the word diminutive, like it just feels like a tiny little cigar. It feels like a cigarette in your hand, which is not really what I'm, you know, ever chasing. I think he's getting

**Pagoda:** a bit self conscious.

**Gizmo:** I just assumed that he was teeing something [00:26:00] up. What are we doing?

Every time I send a picture on the chat. Oh, yeah, it's

**Senator:** Looks like you have a double tour. Oh and you're gonna

**Bam Bam:** check your camera, dude. Something's up. I have a

**Gizmo:** brand

**Bam Bam:** new iPhone 15 I don't know what's up, but that cigar looks like a baseball bat

**Gizmo:** Is what do you think it is, I don't know what I'm doing wrong though the optics are all the hands It's not the hands. We have done the measurement For the listener, we have done the hand measurement. That's true. And it's, um, I'm right there with you. Your fingers

**Poobah:** are, your hands are somewhat small.

**Gizmo:** They're not, compared to Bam's they were identical.

We have the same size hands. Same size hands. Can you ever sent the implication? Can you palm the planet? And it stops at the hand. So you can't

**Poobah:** palm

**Gizmo:** a basketball. So you say I cannot palm a basketball. No,

**Bam Bam:** not a, can I? No, I don't

**Gizmo:** think anyone in here can. What about a softball softball? Definitely. Thank you.


So boys, let's talk about our pairing tonight. We are back to Japanese [00:27:00] whiskey. We did the sister whiskey of this. I promise no dragons will be broken. No dragons tonight. This is not, uh, I forget what the name of that one was. It was not great. This is our, our return now to Nika. This is the coffee malt whiskey.

We did the coffee grain whiskey. Probably about 80 episodes ago. I'll talk, I'll pull that up later. Which was delicious. Rating it. It was a great, great, great whiskey, which is why we've come back. And this one is a little, a very similar presentation in the bottle and the label. It just has a different color label.

And, uh, I'm very excited to pair this tonight. You know what I love is the nose. Oh yeah. So we're drinking this neat. The nose of this whiskey is really nice. Slight vanilla.

**Senator:** Yeah. That's exactly what I got on the nose. Yeah, it's all

**Gizmo:** vanilla.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. I will say, I'm gonna go out now and say something that I think this spirit slightly overwhelms the cigar.

Just a little, a little bit. Hmm. A bit. It may need some ice because we're all drinking it neat now. Which is actually quite delicious. I like this a lot.

**Gizmo:** I'll be [00:28:00] honest, I think any pairing, including most Cuban rum, would probably overpower the cigar. Hmm.

**Poobah:** Yeah. I bet you a, like a creative bartender, could u could use this in a cr in, in some sort of a drink.

You know? It, it's got a very unique flavor to it. Um, it's quite good. One of these mixologists. It's, it's unique. I've never really had anything that tastes quite like this.

**Gizmo:** Um, it's

**Bam Bam:** very good. Senator, what

**Senator:** are we drinking? The Nikka Coffee Malt, you know, that Gizmo mentioned. I just think the funny thing is we did the Nikka Coffee Grain, and we didn't really go into too much of the brand history, but just

**Gizmo:** We were young pups back then.

**Senator:** But just doing a little bit of reading, there's actually a very cool, rich history to how this brand came about. Um, the founder of Nikka, and this guy is considered the founder of, uh, the father of Japanese whiskey, is a guy named Masataka, uh, Tekutsuru. And in 1918, [00:29:00] he, his ambition was to learn how to make whiskey, and he went to Scotland all by himself to go figure out and learn how to make it.

He became the first Japanese person ever to master how to make whiskey. He enrolled at the University of Glasgow, took chemistry courses, and then apprenticed at three scotch distilleries there. So like, very legit. This was not some guy that went there to go find someone who knows how to do this and then like build a brand off that person.

That's incredible. He himself wanted to learn how to make all of this. The guy returned. to Japan with his Scottish wife. He met a Scottish woman there. They got married. Um, his wife actually, um, left Scotland and moved to Japan with him to support his kind of dream to build this, uh, Japanese whiskey brand.

It's a BAM approved

**Bam Bam:** move. What? What?

**Gizmo:** What?

**Senator:** What? Um, and then the funny thing is

**Poobah:** commercial success and emotional success [00:30:00] fulfillment.

**Gizmo:** That's beautiful.

**Senator:** Correct. So the funny thing is we've talked a lot about Suntory, the Japanese brand. I mean, they basically own like the vast majority of the Japanese whiskey brands.

Don't they own Jim bean? Uh, there, it's like a partnership. Um, it's like Suntory Beam I think. Got it. So at the same time when he had come back to Japan, Suntory was in search of someone who could lead whiskey production and there was no one in Japan that really knew how to do this except this guy. So in 1923, He was hired by Suntory to, um, direct building the Yamazaki distillery.

And I think we've done Yamazaki. We did 12 year. Um, and that was, uh, the production of Jap, of Japan's first genuine whiskey, uh, with Yamazaki and he was involved in that. After he had a 10 year contract with Suntory, he decided to become independent and do his own thing. So in 1934, he built his first distillery, um, a place that is considered to be [00:31:00] ideal for making whiskey that is similar to the climate in Scotland, which is bizarre to think, like in Japan, there's a place that exists with a very, very similar climate.

It's cool, crisp air. Um, they're like right amount of humidity. And so while they were waiting to be able to start whiskey production, they actually started producing Apple products there. Like, uh, not Apple, like the computer, like the watch apples to actually, you know, sell and eat. And then in 1936, the first pot still, uh, was designed by Masataka.

And, uh, that's what allowed them to start distilling actual whiskey there. So in 1940, the first whiskey from Nikka. His brand was born and, um, that's kind of how he really got his start. Why they call him the father of Japanese whiskey, because without him venturing out on his own to Scotland and figuring out this whole process and coming back wanting to do it.

I mean, we may not have Japanese whiskeys to try and enjoy that we do today.

**Poobah:** I find I really enjoy this. I, I would buy it. [00:32:00] I mean, I find it very, but it's, to me, it, it's like, it doesn't, it doesn't, it totally doesn't taste like traditional Scotch and in how I think of single malt, traditional single malts that we drink, sherry cast, single malt, Scotch, et cetera.

You know, all the things, all the, you know, all the brands that we could talk about that we've reviewed. Um, yeah. There is a sweet finish on this though. Very interesting taste to this and the vanilla thing is happening. That's why I mentioned like you could be maybe a bartender. Could you make an old fashioned or something similar to that with this or something and get away with it?

**Senator:** Like, I don't know. It's very funny you say that because to me, this is kind of a hybrid between like a bourbon and a scotch. And I say that because like exactly that vanilla note that you're talking about. I feel like that's prominent in a lot of bourbons. Yeah. But the delivery of this is not as aggressive, um, and full as some bourbons can be, it's, I think, smoother, more like the Scottish style of distilling.

[00:33:00] So I, I completely agree. I think it's like kind of this unique hybrid between the two and it's carved out its own lane. Yeah. Like

**Poobah:** almost like little rest did when, when, when we reviewed the little rest, it's like, it's a hybrid, it's not really Scotch, but I mean, it's in the style. It's clearly not. It's like a hybrid, it's just like its own thing.

And that's, that's what's cool about this. It's like, it's totally unique

**Gizmo:** that I, before you said bourbon and scotch, what was going in, going on in my brain was almost maybe because of the vanilla, vanilla, the sweet finish, almost like a rum, With a scotch in the smoothness of the delivery. If you think about we've been drinking, obviously, we just got back from Cuba a few weeks ago, drinking a lot of Havana Club 7.

The way that that Havana Club 7 delivers, it's not unlike this. The finish is not unlike this. Yeah,

**Senator:** I agree. I think it's another great

**Gizmo:** comparison.

**Poobah:** It's balanced. It's really approachable. It's got body to it. [00:34:00] I mean, I

**Gizmo:** like it. How much was the bottle? 75 bucks. Yeah, I agree. There you go. Okay, so it's right in line with 12.

There's not an age statement on this, correct? No, there's not on most May. I'm, does Haki have a few age statements? Possibly? I don't think so. I don't think so. No. I don't know, but, uh, it's only yamazaki seems to, right, it's in line with the, the pricing of a lot of the 12 years. True. From, from Scotland.

**Poobah:** Like, I could see myself having this as like an after dinner drink of sorts.

Sure. Like, um, almost like in a sniffer, you, yeah. It's just, it's, but it's not, it doesn't behave like a, it's not that sweet. Um,

**Gizmo:** it's balanced, but I like the delivery of the sweetness. I think a lot of the times when we've had sweet forward spirit pairings here, it's either overwhelming of the cigar or the spirit itself just has a delivery that's too, too sweet.

And I think that this is very subtle. And, and. Why I'm comparing it to rum is I think it's doing what [00:35:00] the best of Cuban rum and even some of the Barbados rum We've done. Yeah, it's kind of in line with that and as you get

**Bam Bam:** deeper and deeper into the glass It's it's it's becomes really really good and really easy to drink and for me the finish the sweet This is on the finish not in the front.

**Gizmo:** I agree. And I think the nose is nice, too Oh, like every time you know, it's vanilla. Yeah. Why is it

**Rooster:** called Nika coffee?

**Gizmo:** C O F

**Senator:** F. So it's distilled in coffee stills. That's what the coffee is. It's the style of the stills. Which is used to distill grains, whiskeys. With a Y. That's right.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. So the

**Poobah:** coffee still doesn't look like a pot still.

It's like more vertical. Look in the back of the

**Gizmo:** bottle here. This is really damn good. It's good. And bam, I'm feeling even, you know, as we're coming, we're about the halfway point here on the cigar. It's kind of leveling now. Everything's leveling. Now

**Poobah:** it's leveling. It is. And, and, and try this. I tried it.


**Gizmo:** purge it. Push out. Yeah,

**Poobah:** purge it and then [00:36:00] wait a second and then take another draw. And it, it, it, it did me well, served

**Gizmo:** me well for a lot of listeners out there who ran and grabbed the cigar. Certainly. It's a very accessible cigar price wise when you get in, this is, he's right. It is. And

**Poobah:** what I'm just purge these, I think with these smaller, sorry to interrupt, but with these smaller ring gauge cigars, um, when you, when.

Do you start to get build up or it starts to, you just, just purge it from time to time. I think

**Bam Bam:** Pagoda

**Pagoda:** agrees. I do. I really do. Right? Yeah, because I was getting a bit of the bitter taste, but, and I'm smoking from my perspective.

**Bam Bam:** You're fast.

**Pagoda:** But, uh, yeah, no, it did help a lot.

**Gizmo:** You need a lot of tricks of the trade when you have a cigar of this Kind of ring gauge small.

Yeah. You need to do a lot of stuff to keep it moving in the right direction. Don't smoke too fast. Don't put too much saliva on the head of the cigar. True. Purge as you just said. Yeah. You know, do a second cut if you're getting bit a little bit, which is very possible with a cigar that's under a year old.

[00:37:00] So we'll see. So

**Senator:** this is cool, a little bit more about the coffee still. So the coffee still is the world's first patented continuous still, invented by this guy Anus Coffee in 1830. And when, uh, Masataka was studying in Scotland, he was able to learn how to distill grain whiskey in a coffee still. And then what happened is, Uh, the first still was imported from Scotland to Japan in 1963, a second one in 1966, and it says that apparently these coffee stills are not easy to operate.

Like you have to really know what you're doing to be able to make whiskey using this. So him being there obviously helped that and even getting them all the way to Japan. I mean, there's a three year period before they were able to get a second one to be able to do this. So, um, it's pretty interesting.

And when you compare the coffee grain that we've had with this, the coffee malt, some notes that they say, so the coffee grain that we already reviewed, uh, that was released in 2012, predominantly made from corn [00:38:00] distilled in a coffee, still matured in old casks, um, that were basically, um, charred American oak barrels that they use to deliver sweet and mellow flavors.

The coffee malt we're drinking, it says, was developed in 2013, a year later, and that's made from a hundred percent malted barley distilled in a coffee still matured in old cast to enhance the rich maltiness complexity and a silky texture. It says this expression is not categorized as malt whiskey, but as grain whiskey, since it's not distilled using a pot how interesting.

**Gizmo:** That's

**Poobah:** interesting. That's why that's The reason why, because that you didn't, we, I don't know if I was on that review or not. It was 80 episodes ago. Right. I mean, yeah, but, um, that's why maybe we didn't, um, prefer it because it, it, it probably T it's a, it's a corn based

**Gizmo:** whiskey. We very well, though. It did

**Senator:** really well though

**Gizmo:** too.

It was delicious. It got a nine, it got a 9. 2. Oh, it did get a 9.

**Poobah:** 2. It was [00:39:00] okay. I just can't remember,

**Senator:** but, but. And I think it's a product of it's also that was distilled in a coffee still like this. In a coffee

**Poobah:** still, but it's, it's probably lean more towards an American whiskey style than, than a Scottish style whiskey.

**Gizmo:** I remember

**Senator:** that as being a fuller bodied version of this, but also smooth.

**Bam Bam:** Not, not as sweet as this either. I don't think. We didn't get that sweetness. I think

**Senator:** sweet in a different way. I think, like, this is more vanilla and that might have been Caramel? Exactly.

**Gizmo:** Something else. What's interesting about this, given that you're talking about a history that's, what, almost a hundred years ago?

It's interesting to me that when you, when, when I think, I'm speaking generally, the average consumer thinks about Japanese whiskey. The first word that comes to their mouth is Hibiki. It's not Yeah. Nika. It's not, uh, Yamaka, uh, uh, uh Yamazaki. Yamazaki. It's not some of the other ones that we've done. Or Suntory also.

Or Suntory, of course, yes. But it's not this that has such a long history. It's true. It's just interesting how that's happened. This

**Poobah:** stands out for me. [00:40:00] I agree. Of all the Japanese whiskeys that we've done, this one's, this is a standout.

**Senator:** And we said the same about the coffee grain because I bought multiple bottles of it after we reviewed it.

I still have it. I still

**Gizmo:** have one as well. Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's funny though. I haven't reached for it because I've just been so down the path of rum and down the path of single malt and

**Senator:** cognac and carbon yak. I mean, we've just opened Pandora's

**Gizmo:** box. You know, we have it real tough around here making choices.

We're blessed. So, boys, we're halfway through here on the Polar and Yaga Monte Carlos. What's everybody thinking? I

**Bam Bam:** think at the moment it's an excellent cigar. I agree.

**Poobah:** No complaints. It improved? Sure. For me.

**Gizmo:** Rooster, what do you think? I

**Rooster:** think the draw could be, draws

**Gizmo:** a little tight. A bit snug.

**Rooster:** Yeah. Yeah. But it's, I mean, the flavor is,

**Gizmo:** is delicious.

**Poobah:** It's better now than it was in the beginning. Yeah. I like the

**Gizmo:** cigar. It's a pretty balanced

**Bam Bam:** cigar.

**Senator:** I really do like the flavor profile. I just wish this were a larger ring gauge and I could enjoy even more of it. But I'm [00:41:00] happy with the flavor profile. Yeah,

**Pagoda:** um, I don't know what kind of flavor profile you're getting.

I did get a little bit of the tea in the beginning, but over a period of time I'm getting, I think, Rooster would understand that. You remember those Parle G biscuits, which had a little bit of saltiness and sweetness. I don't know. It's just like really, we used to use it to dip. I'm getting a bit of what I would call like a biscuit ish flavor with a little bit of saltiness.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. I think that's pretty fair because I'm getting like a fruit type of a cookie type thing. Yeah. Like one could say it

**Gizmo:** like baking spice. Let's talk about a biscuit, like a tea biscuit.

**Poobah:** There's a little bit of it. It's gotten better.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Yeah, I

**Senator:** think, summing up, because I'm in agreement with that, I'm just getting more dessert notes as I've gotten, like, halfway through this cigar.

I think that's what we're really experiencing. Those are notes that I think we all pursue in cigars, so I, I

**Gizmo:** really like it. I think, I think the flavor that I'm getting that's in line with what you'd say, what I would call it is almost like toasted bread. Like, like, like warm [00:42:00] bread. Sweet,

**Senator:** sweet warm bread.

Like more cookie like. Almost like, almost like a,

**Gizmo:** Sourdough like. Almost like to me, if you took one of those Hawaiian rolls and you put it in the toaster oven, you ever have a Hawaiian roll? Yes, there's those sweeter rolls. Yeah, it's not that good. It's not That's a 10 all day. That's a 10

**Rooster:** all day. That's a 10

**Gizmo:** all day.

They're good. And you get

**Poobah:** a slap in the face to poop.

**Gizmo:** Everybody calm down. If you, by the way, if you get those at Costco in bulk, they're so fresh, they're, they're excellent. And you put it like

**Rooster:** a one chicken nugget on it. Oh,

**Poobah:** you know, I'm sure you guys, I'm sure you guys have done this, but I maybe not, but I've done it.

You get the large whole thing and you cut the whole thing in half. Yes, I've done it. And then you put whatever you want on there. It could be sliders, pulled pork sliders. It could be Turkey, whatever sandwich you're making on these things. You cut the whole

**Gizmo:** slab. It's almost like 20 of them.

**Poobah:** And then you toothpick them.

And then you just cut them and you got sliders right away. You don't have to make individual, you don't have to make them one at a time. It's a

**Gizmo:** delicious roll. [00:43:00] It's a great roll. The Senator has no idea. Order .

**Senator:** I know what Hawaiian rolls are, but I've never bought a giant bag. It's

**Gizmo:** Hawaiian roll. No, it's like 12 rolls.

The Hawaiian rolls are like, let's say three by three inches. By three inches times. Sorry. When

**Senator:** I heard a slab, I'm thinking like this, this giant, like,

**Gizmo:** no, no, no. It's, it's no bigger than this computer picture. Like a White Castle

**Rooster:** roll. But they're connected to

**Gizmo:** each other. No,

**Senator:** no, I, I

**Gizmo:** know what Hawaiian rolls are.

I just, it sounds like you don't, I'll be honest.


**Senator:** Am I right? I will happily concede that Gizmo is a better Hawaiian role expert.

**Poobah:** I'm just saying, if you're going to make the sliders, it's a, it's a hack, you know, you slice the whole thing, the whole thing right down, you know,

**Gizmo:** right down. It's really

**Senator:** good. So what he's describing comes unsliced then it's not pre slice.

Yeah. That's what I'm saying. I haven't seen. I've seen like the little bags where It's the individual rolls that you just like pull apart. Yeah, they're not sliced.

**Gizmo:** No, they're like, it's they're like perforated. It's like perforated bread. Yes, they're perforated. Perforated bread. It's not. It's really a good roll.

Yeah, it's a great [00:44:00] roll. Anyway, I'm getting that in the cigar a little little bit as if you just took it out of the toaster. Just a little one. I'm getting like a sweet toasted kind of

**Bam Bam:** bread y thing. It's great.

**Gizmo:** It's really good. So boys, let's talk about something that we, uh, we love to talk about and we don't love to experience.

Habanos has announced a new price increase. Yay! Which, as of this episode Motherfucker. coming out Uh, is probably going to be an effect and some of the numbers are pretty shocking. Let's go through the markers. So I wanted to go through them with you guys and let's talk about them and see what you guys think.

So just for the listener out there, these increases that we're about to detail are not for every single Vitola in every single marker. So for example, if we say a Vitola is going up 15%, it doesn't mean that every one in the line is going up 15%. It's a composite average of what's happening with that marker.

Got it. So, the story is that this price increase [00:45:00] was announced in January or February. I think it started in Spain or Germany. It's gonna work its way through the world and it's probably gonna be in effect right around the time that you hear this episode. The important thing is that if you haven't seen these prices in, uh, Price increases yet they're coming in the next few weeks or probably month to the market that you're in.

If you have, unfortunately it's too late. So classic Habanos raising a lot of the markers by a pretty decent percentage having seen three price increases over the last 36 months, I guess. Right. Yeah. 24 months even. Yeah. It's been very aggressive. Yeah. So let's go through some of them. So Boldy bar is going up 10 and a half percent.

So for the A box of BBF, which were at one point around 500 bucks. They're going to go up another, they're going to go from 500 to, let's say 550, which is, you know, it's putting Senator in a position where those BBFs are going to be outside of his acceptable range. That's a big hike. They're [00:46:00] always going

**Senator:** to be my acceptable range, let's not go too

**Gizmo:** far.

So Cohiba is only going up 5%, of course that makes sense, given all the price increases that have been in the hundreds of percents over the last 24 months, that makes a lot of sense. This one's shocking. Cohiba is going up. Twenty two and a half percent. Yeah,

**Poobah:** I think that's funny because none of their cigars are particularly good At all, I think you're very

**Bam Bam:** few.

They do come up a lot. You see a lot of guys smoking them online now You know, what's funny

**Poobah:** more often respectfully disagree more

**Gizmo:** often than previously. We did the salamones on the podcast Performed very very well. It was young

**Senator:** that was that was shocking actually I'm not, I'm not a Coaba fan by any means, but that cigar actually smoked

**Gizmo:** pretty well.

That was a good cigar. Yeah, it did very, very well. But you know, the thing for me with Coaba is even having them in the humidor is how little I'm interested in reaching for them because it's just kind of the opposite of this cigar, but in the same, you know, [00:47:00] in that the Vitola is not something that I'm right.

Even remotely

**Poobah:** interesting. Let's get to real Vitolas. Let's get to real Marcos. They're just

**Bam Bam:** Get off these.

**Gizmo:** Puma's scowling right now. Let's move on. I don't,

**Rooster:** I don't like the size of the, the Vitolas off the quad, but they come in, you know, all the

**Gizmo:** Figuerados and, uh, Perfectos. Yeah. I'm a fan of those. Not interested.

Diplomaticos, the not a popular one on this podcast, going up five and a half percent. Fonseca, which is a cigar we have to do. We have not had one of those on the podcast, going up a little under five percent. Now, this one's a bummer. Very similar to Bolivar. H. Upman is going up ten and a half percent. Wow.

So that's going to put boxes of the cigars that Poobah love so very much. At least they make good cigars. Probably in the 600 to 650 range for a box of, uh, Connie A's. Mm hmm. Mag 46, a little bit less than that. Sir Winston, that's going to be in the probably 1, 300, 1, 400 range. 600

**Bam Bam:** plus for a box

**Gizmo:** of Connie's?

It's [00:48:00] crazy.

**Rooster:** Well, the problem is none of us are buying these cigars at the MSRP. No. We're paying more than that to begin with. Mm hmm. Yep. Mm hmm. You know, we're not buying them from an LCDH, so we have no idea. I mean, like how much they're more than that, whether you're buying on bond Roberts or from the third party,

**Gizmo:** you're paying more.

That's true. It's always why I'm

**Poobah:** thankful. I mean, one of the reasons this podcast has been such a great journey is that. Quite frankly, I wouldn't have tried nearly as many new world cigars, uh, as, as I've had the opportunity to, to, to, to, to try and, and, and Cubans. Oh yeah, certainly. Yeah. You wouldn't have picked this up.

Yeah. Yeah. No,

**Gizmo:** no. We wouldn't have picked up that

**Poobah:** quaba. Yeah. No fair. Totally fair. Um, the larger point I was, I was getting at though, was We we've discovered some really great new world cigars that are really, really serviceable and that's a blessing. I mean, I, I feel like that, you know, you don't have to [00:49:00] rely, get dragged because, because before it was just, I would only pick up Cuban, Cuban, Cuban, Cuban, Cuban cigars.

It's all I would smoke. And I, I, I do smoke some of these new worlds that we've reviewed more often and put them in the rotation more often. Because of the pricing, we all have, you

**Gizmo:** know,

**Poobah:** because of the pricing. I mean, you can pick up when we, like some of the stuff in the Davidoff line that we used to kind of poo poo, not everything, but there's some of those cigars.

Now we kind of go to them. We're like, you know what? I appreciate the cigar. And they're awesome. Yeah. You know,

**Gizmo:** um, Habanos has opened our eyes by, by doing what they've done. And we're, you know, continuing to review right now what they're doing. They have pushed us to a point that we have had to open our eyes to the other things that are out there.

Because to your point, when we started smoking these cigars, they were arguably a third or almost a third. Third of [00:50:00] the price that they are now. We were getting D fours for 200 a box. Yeah. There's 600 now. Those are the exactly the

**Rooster:** point. I mean, you could pick up a RAS of 50

**Gizmo:** cap for 600 bucks. I

**Senator:** mean, back then people always used to ask me and many of us.

You know, Oh, I see you guys smoking Cuban cigars. Aren't those so expensive? And every time the answer was cheaper than the new world cigars that we're buying here. And I mean, those days are so long gone now that exactly like Poobah saying it's pushed us in the opposite direction where we're picking up more new worlds because they're at a reasonable price point.

And. The irony is we don't have to worry about draw issues and some of the stuff that we deal with and get frustrated with Banno. Yeah. Heck

**Poobah:** yeah. I agree with that sentiment. Mm-Hmm, a hundred percent. I've discovered some really nice new, new world cigars that, um, hey, you know, this sounds crazy for us, but I mean, like, how many different cigar, you know, I've kind of come full circle to know what I like.

And I think a lot of people, you know, I think we [00:51:00] all have, I mean, we've reviewed and smoked hundreds of different cigars, you know, Cubans, new worlds, you kind of come around to what you like and you're like, well, you know, you like what you like. And, and, and I think that's good. Keep trying new stuff, discover new

**Bam Bam:** stuff.

But discovering something that you love that you've never knew of before creates a great diversion from your Cuban collection.

**Senator:** Yeah, correct. I never would have picked up an Oliva V Lancero. Oh, absolutely. Period. And we did it on the pod and I smoked that every single week. That's

**Bam Bam:** in

**Gizmo:** all of our rotations.

I actually just finished a box of those 36. I mean, since we did the podcast, it's what a couple months ago. I'm already on my second box. They're incredible. I'm blowing through them. You're blowing through them.

**Poobah:** They're five bucks. They're fantastic. And the, and the, and the, the VSG illusion, the illusion, another really great cigar.

Yeah. And

**Gizmo:** you know what's interesting about what you're saying, Poobah? Is we've had so many listeners repeat that same exact thing is that [00:52:00] the exercise that we're going through here of just trying new things because they've been recommended or they're popular, or they're on the CA top 25, whatever reason we reach for something and try it.

It's this exercise has gotten us to a point where we're, we've tried so many new things. And for me, it's made it a lot easier that I reach. For so fewer Cubans now than I've ever reached for. Yeah. I mean,

**Poobah:** there are times I'll reach for, for one of the, like the, um, you know, that fantastic cigar that, um, Churchill, uh, the, it was the, uh, that was it a short Robusto?

The little pyramid?

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. Davidoff white label.

**Poobah:** Yeah. Oh, yeah. The

**Gizmo:** Davidoff white label. Oh, the Davidoff bellicoso.

**Poobah:** It's a wonderful cigar. What a fantastic cigar. I agree. I mean, that was a cigar that I'm not sure in the Cuban vortex over these years that I would have reached for, you know? And um, one of the members in the lounge said to me, Pooh, are you going to try this?

And I said, okay, sure. Sounds great. And I lit it up and I said, [00:53:00] this is magnificent. This is a fantastic

**Gizmo:** cigar and it's like eight bucks by the way. Yeah.

**Poobah:** Yeah. And we used to, so that's out there and that's a, that's a DomiNikkan cigar and it kind of sounds good. For my palate, um, I, I'm not into really aggressive, um, super aggressive Nikkaraguan, you guys with the hammers and stuff.

I mean, I like them and stuff and I, I like them. Don't you guys in the hammers, the fucking

**Gizmo:** guys with your fucking hammers, you

**Senator:** tell him who, but

**Poobah:** no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, I like the, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, of course, no, no, no. What I'm saying is, is that. I'm not as big of a UA Nikkaraguan guy.

I'm a little more Cuban, DomiNikkan. Anyway. Sure. You're more of a

**Gizmo:** pillow. a pillow. What do you mean? What does that mean? You're saying you're soft. Okay,

**Senator:** soft for roosters. If you don't light a petro 90th in the morning, we're all soft. We're all soft.

**Bam Bam:** Hold on. You're interrupting poop. But this is a [00:54:00] revelation.

Here I am.

**Senator:** I am riveted. I'm riveted to it. Explain to him later.

**Rooster:** Hammer

**Poobah:** and the pillow. I just, I just, I'm just being honest about kind of like where I lean. I mean, I enjoy the 80th and I enjoyed the 60, 1964 from Padron from Padron and, and they're fantastic. But like, I do find myself leaning sometimes more towards the DomiNikkan tobacco than I do Nikkaraguan.

It's just, but that's just me. I mean, it's, um, uh, but my point is, is that this has just been, it's been great to, to, to experiment and, and, and review all these things. It's been really good.

**Bam Bam:** I like this new

**Gizmo:** Poobah. The new poop is here looking at him as he said that he put his 33 ring gauge cigar in his mouth

**Poobah:** trying to smoke out of it.


**Gizmo:** right, let's continue on here with our price increases. Boys, where to Monterey going up 10 and a half percent. Very [00:55:00] similar to Upman. Jose Piedra, Juan Lopez, both going up a little under 7%. Leflore Decano and LaGloria Cubana going up 5. 5%. Montecristo, another one going up right around 10%. And this one's a bummer, especially for Senator who said, I think, I think he said if that D4 goes above, what was it, 25 or 30 a stick?

Yeah, he ain't touching it. He ain't touching it. Correct. I would have said, I would have said

**Senator:** 30, not 25. He

**Bam Bam:** said 25.

**Gizmo:** There's no way. There's no way. So Particus is going up 9%. And considering inflation, 40. D4? So if, if a D4 box is what, uh, 550, it's going, it's going to be a little over 600 now? I don't know, man.

**Poobah:** I don't know, man. That's nuts. I mean, that's And you gotta, and you gotta sleep it.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Yeah, you gotta let it rest. So if you're, okay, so if you're buying It's a good thing I stocked up when I did. If you're buying a box of D4, it's 610 bucks. It's You're right under 25. I think the number was 25. I think it was.

We're going to [00:56:00] call back to that episode. I'll pull that clip. I'll pull some boxes

**Poobah:** out of my humidor and put an addition on my house.

**Gizmo:** What the fuck is, what's going on? Port of Aranaga, the cigar we have in our hand. This mark is going up five and a half percent. Punch and Kai Dorsey, both are going up ten and a half percent, which is unfortunate. That's ridiculous. Quintero, another cigar we haven't done, one of the more budget ones, going up four and a half.

Rafael Gonzalez, going up six. Ramon Iones, another one, in line with Pardigas, going up ten and a half percent. Oh my goodness. So that's gonna put a Rascab, which I think is right around, A thousand now dude is going to put it at 1100, but look at

**Rooster:** it this way. Your entire inventory is going up

**Gizmo:** by this much.

This is true. But we're not going to last forever. Sell them. No, no, no, no. Oliver V. Lanser. Okay. Let's let's cut. I like. Cut that mic.

**Poobah:** And let's [00:57:00] just end the podcast drop. Let's just end the whole podcast and,

**Gizmo:** uh, screw it. By the way, I would love to see him sell his collection. I want to see

**Senator:** Rooster and Havana just lighting up Olivas exclusively.

**Gizmo:** Come on, man. Did you bring Punch DC's back for me?

**Senator:** No, they didn't have any. I told you, I did go. I went to

**Gizmo:** Vanna Libre. Did you look enough? Did you look

**Senator:** hard enough? I did. I asked if they had, they had, so the only double Corona's they had, there was, um, the oil, double Corona, the Lucy.

**Pagoda:** And the rest gigantes,

**Senator:** probably.

And the Ramona. Exactly. The Ramona gigantes. Exactly. They had those three. And then I asked him, like, do you have any boxes in the back? She's like, no, they, they're

**Gizmo:** out of them. I mean, we should have grabbed more.

**Poobah:** They did have, they did have some though in the glass top box. On the beach,

**Gizmo:** on the beach, on the beach.

Yeah. So, uh, so for context, uh, when Senator went to, to Havana, Rooster, uh, asked him to bring back some punch double [00:58:00] Corona's cause he had seen some there and unfortunately they were gone, gone. Well, we, we were

**Rooster:** flying back into Miami and we, we did not want to purchase a whole lot of cigars. So pagoda and I each grabbed two

**Gizmo:** or three.

Two, yeah, just a couple. And you came home with yours and pagoda did not No, I did. I did.

**Pagoda:** No pagoda. Those, those I was able to sneak in

**Bam Bam:** pagoda. He packed intelligently that day.

**Gizmo:** In some regards, I should have got more . Yeah. The rest were

**Senator:** in

**Gizmo:** vacuum sealed bags. He took a labeled vacuum sealed bag and got that confiscated.

Well, he wrote it with a black marker. Cuban cigars.

**Bam Bam:** That's

**Pagoda:** how they were given

**Gizmo:** to me. All right. So El Rey Del Mundo going up 6%. Romeo y Julieta also going up 10%. So

**Poobah:** worth, so worth it for

**Gizmo:** that. God

**Bam Bam:** damn.

**Pagoda:** So kids, where are they growing up? Simply using by the But the government, but how about now? So,

**Gizmo:** well, Habanos is the government.

Yeah. [00:59:00] Habanos is the marketing arm of the Cuban cigar community, this Cuban cigar universe. Right. So Taba Cuba is the government owned, um, You know, company in Cuba, I think they have a partnership with Habanos. Habanos is the marketing arm. So when I'm talking about prices going up, Habanos recently, I think it was a year and a half ago when all the crazy price increases went, went, when, uh, it happened, they leveled the prices worldwide.

So the price that you get in a shop in Cuba. It's very similar to an LCDH in Mexico, very similar to an LCDH in Hong Kong, same as in, you know, in Spain, UK, wherever you're going, they leveled the prices, kind of like any, uh, manufacturer of a product, they set an MSRP. And that's what they're expecting.

Those prices keep in mind

**Senator:** for the listener. The only thing though, that creates wild variations. You're not going to find the same price in Havana as you are. Asia. It's the taxes, taxes,

**Gizmo:** taxes, everything. Exactly. And also in the U S we're dealing with the gray market. So there's [01:00:00] price fluctuation there.

Sometimes you're going to find a cheaper, sometimes, and most of the time. You're going to find it a little more than the prices that we're talking about. So that's what we're saying is that the, the marketing arm of, and the, and the sales arm of Cuban cigars based in Hong Kong, Habano SSA has raised the prices worldwide.

So I'm going to skip over one of these markers here for a specific reason. We'll go to Sancho Panza going up 6 percent Trinidad. This one surprised me guys, because we've talked about the need for Trinidad to go down in price because I think they inflated that to a point that I don't really see any interest in Trinidad, certainly in this room, but also outside this room.

I don't see it happening on secondary markets. I don't see it happening on our groups. People are just, have lost interest in Trinidad because they've tried to price it so similarly to Cohiba. Correct. Yeah. You know, and it's not there.

**Poobah:** It's not there. And some of the, you know, like the Visia and some of these other ones, you know, in, in, in the lineup.

Are it's, they're not fundies. I mean, they're [01:01:00] only, they're good. They're constructed. Well, they're, they're not worth that price point. No

**Gizmo:** way. That's the problem. Do you want to pay 65 for a Trinidad, you know, Corona? Or

**Bam Bam:** how about 48

**Gizmo:** for a colonialist? Yeah, it's crazy.

**Poobah:** Like a colonialist. Exactly. It's only, it's, is it a really good cigar?

Sure. Yeah. But for 48 bucks, but for 48 bucks, it's not worth for that reason.

**Rooster:** I'm out. None of them are, you know, you have the media Luna. Yeah. You have the Vigias,

**Gizmo:** you have the Esmeralda. They're all nice. The Esmeralda is apparently a very nice Robusto. I've never even tried to get one. But that's over

**Bam Bam:** 50 now.

I think

**Poobah:** it's close to 80. What? Yeah,

**Gizmo:** it's crazy. So yeah, so Trinidad going up another 7. 5 percent is ridiculous to me. I mean, the fund of Doris, I mean, those boxes now are 1, 500, 1, 700 is this,

**Rooster:** is this China dictating

**Gizmo:** price increase? No, it's, [01:02:00] it's a Bono saying that they want to raise the prices. Certainly every box that comes out of Cuba is most likely sold, especially the high end ones that, that, you know, the market is, is dying for.

They're already sold before they're even rolled in Cuba. So for these, for these folks, they don't care about the average consumer. They don't care about the plumber who, who likes to smoke a Cohiba Robusto once a month. They don't care because they have no issue with, you know, with the demand. I mean, their supply has not met the demand.

I mean, as

**Rooster:** long as there's a demand and the people are willing to pay these prices, they're not going to

**Gizmo:** stop.

**Senator:** Yeah, I mean, this is an exercise in value based pricing, right? How much is the consumer willing to pay regardless of what, you know, it actually costs to produce any of these products, or, I mean, even the demand at this point, the demand for Trinidad, there's no way matches the price point that they're setting it at.

So, like, I respect the exercise. I think that, You know, most successful businesses should engage in value based pricing. The problem is I just think the execution on her balance, this part is [01:03:00] terrible. I mean, we are the ideal consumer for them in that we're so eager to try good cigars that, you know, many times we're willing to spend sometimes silly amounts of money, right.

To get access to certain things. And the fact that we're sitting around saying, I'm not going to pull the trigger on. Almost anything in the Trinidad line at this point, they've clearly missed the mark.

**Gizmo:** Absolutely. And the problem is, though, is I don't think that they've connected that to the long term alienation, not only of the current smoker, but of the future

**Senator:** smoker.

Well, correct. This is always my big, you know, rallying cry. I'm like, the fact that there are young people that will never Ever experiment with any of these Cuban cigars, because there's no 22 year old kid that's going to drop 30, 40 per cigar just to get that experience when there are new worlds they can buy for 10 that will satisfy them.

That's a [01:04:00] whole generation that's going to be left out of the fold of what we got into when this was so accessible. It wasn't hard. And the other thing to keep in mind. With new world cigars, you can walk in and buy singles anywhere with Cuban cigars. If, especially if you're in the States, you need to buy a box.

Exactly. And so when we used to buy boxes, it's like, you know, 200 for a young kid is not a small amount of money, but. You can certainly find a way to split up with some friends, two, three

**Gizmo:** guys or something. Whatever. Exactly. You're not

**Senator:** going to buy a 600 box of cigars to split with some buddies at that age.

And at that price point, it's not going to happen. Yeah. And

**Bam Bam:** they're missing, they're missing out on an incredible experience in the future trajectory of Cuban cigars. It's

**Gizmo:** in trouble. It's, it's

**Poobah:** in trouble. It's in trouble. And also, I'll also add, um, if, if you're not buying, um, on the gray market in private sales here in domestically, you're risking losing a box at, at, at an airport.

Yeah, you know, so you, I mean, so you're going to pay that money and you're going to risk, you [01:05:00] risk losing a box. And a lot of these retailers now are, aren't like what

**Gizmo:** they used to be. They've dropped the guarantees

**Poobah:** and they've dropped guarantees. So it's like, okay, you're going to raise the price and you're also going to drop some of these guarantees on me.

You know, It puts the, puts the end user in a tough spot.

**Gizmo:** And the point that, that you guys are both making you and Senator is that this 22 year old kid who doesn't have a lot of money, maybe at some point is going to have a lot of money and now he's felt so alienated from the Cuban cigar market that He's already found his preferences.

He's already found what he's interested in. He's not doing a podcast where he's smoking 52 different cigars a year.

**Senator:** He or she is used to consistency and being able to draw every cigar out of that box. You're going to go try Cubans and get frustrated at that price point. You've lost the consumer and easy

**Gizmo:** access to the cigar as well.

**Poobah:** That's right. You don't, you don't need to walk around with a perfect drawing your cigar case. Yeah. And you're buying, when you're buying Padrones and Davidoffs or [01:06:00] Olivas. Exactly. It's just, so, you know, it's a, it's a tough spot. I wonder at what point, um, this, this value based pricing exercise is going to, is going to reach a tipping

**Rooster:** point, but at, at, at the present time, they can't keep up with the demand.

Exactly. So they have no incentive of keeping the

**Gizmo:** prices. My only caveat is

**Senator:** that when you're in Havana, you look at the one thing that is always on the shelves, Cohiba and Trinidad, because that price point is so aggressive that even though there's demand, it's obviously not strong enough that they're selling out.

I mean, we're in Havana. I can't find any boxes of Partagas. I can't find any boxes of Bolivar. I can't even find that many Monte Cristos. But what's always sitting on the shelves at the crazy price points that if I were dumb enough to want to spend 2, 000 on a box of Cohiba or Bustos or something they're sitting right

**Gizmo:** there.

And especially to your point, it's the smaller format stuff that they've priced so ridiculously. I [01:07:00] understand. I understand. I understand pricing Ciglo 6. Robusto, arguably Esplendido, Lancero, and certainly Bajique, right? I understand pricing them at a level that, you know, certainly with Bajique, they can't make, if, if the, you know, it's a little demand was 10 percent of what it is today, they still can't meet it.

They can't, they, I get pricing it like that, but some of these smaller Vitola's in the signal line, some of the, you know, the, the, the. The media, uh,

**Rooster:** media

**Gizmo:** Luna. I mean, like you're saying, they're sitting on the shelves. There's hundreds of boxes

**Bam Bam:** of them. And that was the case at every shop in Cuba. Absolutely.

Every shop

**Gizmo:** that we've had. And the other point to remember what we saw in I Havana's on this, this grain market, there've been boxes of Esplendido's and some of these higher end Cohiba's just sitting there because The prices are crazy. Yeah.

**Senator:** Bahi sitting there. Mm-Hmm. . I mean, these are things you never, ever would've seen.


**Gizmo:** you saw Bahi? Yeah. Yeah. On [01:08:00] I have absolutely on, I have, yeah. Talking about Havana, not in Havana. Well, the reason why you don't see them in Havana.

**Senator:** I even when I was in Havana Libre, I saw Lindos just sitting there. Yeah. Can you imagine years those would've been scooped up. Correct.

**Gizmo:** Instantly. They're a hundred bucks a stick now.

Now you guys

**Rooster:** were in Cuba in March, 2022, 23, 23. Yep. So you found some singles of Cohibas that you got, that you smoked. I did.

**Gizmo:** All right. Was it a Lancero? The Cohiba Lancero. And what was the

**Bam Bam:** price of that point? That was 22 bucks.

**Gizmo:** So that was at the point where they hadn't adjusted the prices worldwide.

They haven't leveled them. I kicked

**Bam Bam:** myself to this day for not buying

**Gizmo:** that whole lot. That price is closer to 95. Oh yeah. It's gone up four, above more than four times. That's outrageous. Well, you're talking about within a year.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. But if you're going to compare Cohiba to the Trinidad line, I mean, I can see someone splurging.

If you have a choice between the two marcas, you're going to go for Cohiba. Yeah. I can only imagine the inventory of [01:09:00] Trinidad's that it's sitting in Havana

**Gizmo:** right now. Yeah. Well, the, you know, the other thing too with Cohiba is that aside from outside of festival time, which, you know, right now as we're recording, this is right after the festival, right?

So this episode is going to come out a week, two weeks after the festival. So, Now there's decent stock in Havana, but for Habanos and Tabacuba, there's no reason to make boxes of cigars and not export them to these other territories. Because when it goes to Hong Kong, when it goes to Europe, when it goes to hunters and Franco, it, they're, they're gone immediately when they sit in Havana.

The other one I wanted to point out to, to, to Senator's point, think about how many boxes of that Romeo, uh, the red linear. The high end, um, the high end line, how many of those boxes we've seen every single time we go there, because that's a new release, fresh cigars. They're not great. And people aren't buying them.

Nobody wants that 60, [01:10:00] 70 and another one. Yeah. Yeah. So you've

**Poobah:** got those that aren't good. And then you, and then you have on the other side demand. I mean, With the economy, even millionaires, uh, I'm not talking billionaires. I'm talking like millionaires who like cigars. I mean, some of these guys, okay. The behicke is great.

It's got Medio Tempo, right? Primings. Uh, no, I don't think any other cigar features Medio Tempo, those primings in the whole catalog, right? So, okay. That's special. I could, but, but I see people buying that box and that they buy one box. So,

**Gizmo:** huh. Well, the problem with those now is they're 270, you know, 270 bucks a stick for a BK 52 fresh,

**Poobah:** fresh, right?

That's right. And like to pay that much and then, and then you really should wait five years to even touch one.

**Gizmo:** Exactly. I mean, sure. Makes this cigar.

**Rooster:** Like, I mean, how is

**Gizmo:** this under 10 bucks? [01:11:00] Like pennies compared to it. This

**Senator:** cigar's incredible.

**Gizmo:** So let me finish up on the, uh, the markers here. So like I said, Trinidad going up seven and a half percent.

Vegas, Robania going up a little under six percent. And Vigueros is one of the budget lines going up four and a half. The one I skipped for a very specific reason. San Cristobal de la Habana is the only one in the catalog with a price decrease coming. Oh, I wonder why. Thirteen percent decrease. How far

**Bam Bam:** has the La Punta gone down?

**Poobah:** The La Punta. Oh my God. You're going to punt

**Gizmo:** it. Oh, that was a tough cigar. So yeah, that's the, uh, that's the story on, uh, Cuban price increases. Great news. Unfortunately,

**Poobah:** what, what, what an uplifting,

**Gizmo:** unfortunately, I would expect that this is going to happen at least one more time this year. And probably, uh, semi annually moving forward.

Yeah. You know, which is how they've, uh,

**Poobah:** all we got to do is get everything up to like, you know, [01:12:00] box of minimum cost for a box. Robustos is going to be like 1700 bucks.

**Gizmo:** That's exactly what they are for a fresh box of Cohiba Robustos. It's a little under 1700. I mean, it would be nice

**Rooster:** to be in a business like that.

It could increase the prices whenever the hell you want. Yeah. Well,

**Gizmo:** you do that.

**Senator:** No, I mean, it's really remarkable what they're doing for anybody who's, you know, in business, like that's the hardest thing to do is increase your prices. The hardest

**Gizmo:** thing. Tell me about it. And they just, you know, they just don't care.

They don't care about, they don't care about guys who've been smoking people that have been smoking for 30, 40, 50 years. They do not care about pricing people out. They have no nostalgia. They have no connection to their consumer, which Again, ties this whole thing together, that the future of that consumer, then the next generation of the two generations from now of that consumer are not going to be reaching for Cuban cigars.

**Poobah:** Well, where's the tipping point? So that's that it may not happen for five, 10, who [01:13:00] knows, five, 10 years, but at some point. Um, they, you know, they may run into the law diminishing returns.

**Gizmo:** Here's, here's, here's what I think, here's what I think is going to accelerate this. Is if for some reason, Cuban cigars go on a bad run.

That is going to be very, very damaging to their business. Right now, Cuban cigars, they've benefited. They've benefited for the last four years, five years of these cigars being arguably starting in 2018, 2018, 2019, right before COVID arguably one of the best runs of Cuban tobacco that has ever happened.

And I'm not saying that. Across the market experience. That's, I'm saying that's not, that's everybody's saying

**Poobah:** that's everybody. That's everybody's saying That's true. That's true.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. All of the experts are saying that. So if that turns and all of a sudden you're buying boxes of D fours that all of a sudden don't taste their smoke like d fours of the past, and the prices continue to go up, well, hold on.

That's gonna change

**Bam Bam:** everything. I will say [01:14:00] that I, I don't, I don't think I'll ever buy another 50 cab of RAs and I'd like to, I'm not spending over a thousand dollars for them. It's not gonna do it. So for me, I can afford it, I want it, I can do it anytime I want. The tipping point for me, it's almost there.

Like, I'm not

**Gizmo:** going to do that. It's only

**Rooster:** because we have spent, let's say, 600 for

**Gizmo:** it. Yeah, we were spoiled. I understand that. So we got it at that price. But it's outrageous though.

**Rooster:** So, you know, we know like that's, that's, that's

**Gizmo:** the price. That's a fair

**Bam Bam:** price. You don't see a tipping point occurring right now in this room.

You're not going to buy boxes that are outrageously priced.

**Gizmo:** You're just not going to do it. I'll tell you right now, when I stand in front of my tower, I, tell me the last time you've seen me smoke a banded D4? Nope. A banded, uh, RAS? Nope. Banded Monte II? No. It's just not happening. You're preserving your collection.

I am because the replacement cost of that versus unbanded stuff and certainly the new world stuff to Poobah's point that I'm smoking. It's harder for me to reach for my Cuban [01:15:00] collection because I know with time they're just going to get better and they're going to increase in value. And now even a D4 to me is something I'm looking at.

Instead of a daily smoke. It's more of a special special occasion. So wait on your birthday. No grand reserves. I'll tell you a few weeks ago, a few weeks ago for the Super Bowl, a few weeks ago for the Super Bowl. I smoked a monocrystal number two. I smoked at an unbanded custom role that we brought back from Cuba with us.

And I smoked the Davidoff Millennium Pyramides. I haven't seen, you know

**Bam Bam:** what I, I haven't seen a

**Gizmo:** Cohiba in your hand in a while. You know what I smoked by the way, last Super Bowl LDO number one, two. Uh, uh, Age Partagus D4 from 2014 or something. Like, I'm just, my entire mentality's

**Bam Bam:** changed. Yeah, the tipping point is here for a lot of people.

**Senator:** I'll just say, I have a different, uh, perspective on this. I don't know, I, I just. I'm very much of the, the camp like live every day, like it's your last. So I'm just, I'm not person. That's a little [01:16:00] surprising, I'll be honest to hear. Yeah. I'm just, I'm not of the, I mean, look how many times, times, Mr.

Conservative, I was gonna say, how many times do you see me light up a D four Still all the time. But you're,

**Gizmo:** but, but the argument that's weird to me with this, and, and I, I want to dig into this a little bit, is I would argue in the room you might be the most practical and pragmatic about. You're spending everybody here, correct?

So it is interesting to hear you say that

**Senator:** I love hearing that. It's true. I love hearing you want me to tell your wife, hold on. Yes, because I mean, I can hold myself accountable and I do not adhere to that. Um,

**Gizmo:** you indulge when you want to indulge, but I think on a day to day basis,

**Senator:** here's, I guess my point for when he's

**Gizmo:** driving home with a new Rolex,

Thank you. Rooster.

**Senator:** Those are a whole different ballgame because those actually hold value. Um, and they're

**Gizmo:** consistent. So do Cuban cigars. Not, not like a Rolex,

**Senator:** not like a Rolex does, but the point I'm making is, you know, for [01:17:00] me, there are certain Cuban cigars that. Like I enjoy as I view as like an essential everyday need almost for me, right?

Like a D4 and a RAS. Those are like needs. Those don't feel like wants. We need it too. And so my point is just like, my options are to like scroll them away and have them very occasionally. And not be as happy because I know I want to reach for them or to just enjoy them. And you know, when I run out, then I have to make the decision of like, I'm glad that I didn't make myself miserable, not smoking things that I want to, and making decisions out of like, you know, this stubbornness that I'm having about the price, as opposed to just like living every day, like it's my last and enjoying them.

And when I run out, I'll have to make the decision, you know, am I angry at her balance at that point? And I say, Yeah. Fuck that, I'm not gonna buy anymore of these. Or I'm gonna say, you know what? Of all the things that I've been smoking through, there's really only these two particular cigars that I will pay a premium to now have [01:18:00] occasionally.

I just, for some reason, I can't wrap my head around the fact that Not enjoying something I want that I already have, I've already bought and waiting as if like, if I just have one every month, as opposed to one every week or five every week, like I'd rather just be happy now and enjoy them while they're, I know they're good and they're smoking well and not like dramatically alter my preference just based on the fact that the prices are going.

I agree.

**Poobah:** I agree a hundred percent. And you're talking to someone who's not exactly, you know, I'll spend money, um, like I'm not, um, I don't live my life in a cubicle. I, I want to, to, to kind of reinforce what Senator's saying. I agree with that. The only point I was making before is I, I do find myself hedging just a little, just a little bit, like, like not dramatically, not denying myself.

I don't, I deny [01:19:00] myself of nothing. I don't know how many, I mean,

**Senator:** I meant that more at the comment of like, when's the last time you see me with a D four? Like that to me is

**Gizmo:** unthinkable. Okay. But let me just say, let me just say, if

**Senator:** you don't see a D four in my hand in over a week, there's something wrong.

You should

**Gizmo:** be concerned. Door. If we don't see that, but it's pretty clear. It's been, here's, here's what I'll say about it is it's not, I'm not walking to my humidor doing the math per se. It's factoring. Value is factoring. Sure. And the cost of replacement is factoring. What I'm saying is it's this forced curiosity that has pushed me into other avenues of the cigar journey, namely unbanded custom roll stuff that I've really been enjoying in some cases is giving me more.

Oh, I agree with that a 30. I'm on that train now, too. I agree with that. And that's where I'm saying I'm reaching for a lot of those. But I like what

**Bam Bam:** Pulver said, that's a form of hedging. So you're slightly hedging. Exactly. And that makes sense. And we're all kind of

**Poobah:** doing that. Yeah, yeah,

**Senator:** yeah, we are doing that.

But I'm doing that because I'm enjoying those just as much as I am a [01:20:00] raster. Exactly.

**Gizmo:** That's why I'm saying I'm not doing it just on price. I'm doing it that this forced. Experiment has resulted in something that is giving me a, a really close experience. Is it 3 percent off? Is it 5 percent off? Is it right there with what I get out of that band?


**Poobah:** just about being somewhat practical in your decisions. Like, just exactly. And like,

**Gizmo:** like apparently I am, I've loved it. I'm going to put this on, but I think

**Poobah:** no, it circles back, but it circles back to what I was kind of saying before, I think, which is, which is, we've been able to discover some cigars.

Exactly. That it's some new world cigars that are accessible, that are reasonably priced, and you can just slip them in your rotation because why not? They're good. Yeah. So you're not, it's not a matter of denying yourself of anything. I think it's a matter of just trying new things. Listen to this podcast.

Mm-Hmm. Because there's a call to action. 'cause I, and, and we're doing a lot

**Gizmo:** of, we're doing a lot of the work for the listener. You know? Yeah,

**Poobah:** yeah. Go into the catalog, go go to the website, download the [01:21:00] spreadsheet and look at the rankings. It'll tell you the truth. I think. Very

**Bam Bam:** well

**Senator:** said. Well, the well said dude.

The last thing, the last thing I'll actually say, you know where I do draw the line and where I think I am actually very practical is there are some cigars at a certain price point that just aren't worth it to me. Yes. Yeah, of course. And so that's where I think, like the day I run out of D fours, I'll sit there and say to myself, if they're $35 a stick at that point.

And I am not satisfied getting that flavor profile that I like out of that D4 from anything else I have. And I say, you know what? For me personally, cause I need it. This is a hypothetical. I'll have to make this decision. I need that. And sure, then I'm going to, I'm going to exceed whatever silly limit that I had once said, and I will pursue it.

But I'm, I'm always, you've heard me say this before. I'm all about paying more for more. So if I'm going to get a unique experience, I can't get anywhere else and I have to pay more for it. I have no issue doing that. Sure. But my problem becomes like, you know, a bahica at 200 and something dollars. Like I've smoked them.[01:22:00]

They're a very good cigar. I don't think that cigar is worth anywhere near that price point. And so if it was if I love that cigar so much that I said, man, Nothing satisfies me like a Behicke. I'm silly. I would spend 200 on it, honestly. But that's not my experience or my feeling, which is why I'm never

**Bam Bam:** doing it.

But from that perspective, historically, the Behicke makes a 35 D4 a bargain. It feels like a bargain. So you would buy another box if you're looking at it that way.

**Senator:** I'm not comparing those head to head. I just mean in isolation, I look at each as in, am I, am I willing to pay more because that delivers me something I can't get anywhere else?

And that Bihike, I'm sorry, there are many cigars that satisfy me just as much at a fraction of the price. Sure, sure. The question I'll have to face, Is with a D four. I have such an attachment to that cigar. I may conclude there is nothing else that gives me what I personally love and get out of that cigar.

And so sure I may pay more for it, but so many other Cuban cigars [01:23:00] I'll write off and I'll never, you know, pursue again at the price point.

**Gizmo:** Well,

**Poobah:** I mean, the, the, like, uh, like the Coro, I mean, look at the Coro. Yeah, it came and come around. I smoke them and we had some not so good ones and the, some good ones, some ones that were aged, some whatever.

But you've been against the Co Ro since the existence of the Co Ro. Even when it was, when even it was, when it was cheap, you thought it was overpriced. What, all of a sudden something's changed? Nothing's changed. Correct. So,

**Gizmo:** so, so. But a lot of, a lot of, you know, a lot of people out there love the Cohiba Robusto.

I know. You know, that is. And I have said

**Senator:** with a lot of, one of the best cigars I've ever had was an 05 Cohiba Robusto. Outstanding. Yeah, delicious. My problem is even when they were. 30 a stick, the idea of paying 30 for a cigar that I hate young, I think it is awful young. I think with age it gets spectacular.

Am I going to wait 10 years for that cigar to be that enjoyable at that price? I'm never going to [01:24:00] do that. At 80 And I didn't want to do it even at 30 because for 30, I was then buying a Partagus D4 for 10 and I was satisfied with it young, let alone with five years of age. They were awesome. I, I, the thought of waiting 10 years and paying three times the price to meet them.

It just, I'm not getting, again, I'm not getting more for more. And that's the calculus

**Poobah:** just doesn't work period doesn't work on some of the stuff. So it's disappointing. These price increases, but

**Gizmo:** they're going to keep coming

**Poobah:** boys. You can't, you can't live your life in a cubicle. Live your life. This is true.

**Gizmo:** That's true. We're coming to the end of our evening here, boys, with the Nikka Coffee Malt Whiskey and the Poruayran Yaga Monte Carlos. Any, uh, final thoughts here on the pairing before we go into our ratings? I thought it's

**Bam Bam:** culminated, it culminates in a delicious pairing for me. It's coming together beautifully

**Senator:** at the end.

Yeah, I think to Bam's point, the cigar has picked up a little bit in the final third. Correct. That I think now actually holds up pretty well with the spirit. Exactly right. The [01:25:00] only complaint I do have with the cigar, I have had to touch it up several times. Me too. Yeah. That's

**Gizmo:** one thing I will say. I, I wonder if that's a matter of youth.


**Bam Bam:** also the matter of the

**Senator:** ring gauge. It could be, but I think the ring gauge is like when you're having a lot of conversation with a larger ring gauge cigar that you've really toasted well and is able to hold a lot more heat. I think, you know, I can talk for 10 minutes and then go back to the cigar and go back to the cigar.

With this little stick, you just can't really do that. You're

**Gizmo:** going on 40 now. I think he just liked it. I said he was

**Senator:** practical.

**Gizmo:** All right, boys, it's time to do the formal liquor rating on the Nika Coffee Malt Whiskey. Bam Bam, you're up. Yeah, so I don't

**Bam Bam:** think I've had, I think to everyone's comment earlier, it's a unique spirit.

I don't think I've ever had anything quite like this. That hybrid flavor of what a bourbon and a whiskey could be done in a special manner, I think it's a nine for me. It's a nine. Had not a drop of ice in it. It just got better and better as the night went on.

**Gizmo:** All right, Pagoda. [01:26:00] Yeah,

**Pagoda:** it's a nine for me as well.

And I kind of agree with Bam that it just got better over a period of time. It did not require a chip of ice and a pretty interesting flavor as well. Yeah,

**Gizmo:** Senator.

**Senator:** So I'm between an eight and a nine, but I think I'm going to round up. I'm going to be generous and give it a nine. I think, I mean, number one, you know, we talk about, we do get attached to brands and their story and their history.

And I'm very impressed with, um, This brand stands for and has done and has kind of blazed the trail for Japanese whiskey. I think it's definitely something I would drink again. I'd be very happy if someone poured me this if I was, you know, out at someone's house or if I was in an airport and they had this, I would absolutely pick it up.

Um, And I think it's versatile. I think, like, I can see a lot of utility in this spirit. I mean, the fact that Poobah mentioned the flavor profile being so unique that this could make an interesting cocktail. Yeah. We're sipping this neat. I think with ice, this has enough structure. It would hold up well. [01:27:00] Um, I would drink this on a summer day.

I would drink this in the fall. That's a great point. Absolutely. Yeah, there's a, there's a lot of utility here. So, um, and then the last thing I'll say is just the style. Some of my most frustrating experiences with whiskey have been Japanese whiskey on this podcast too. And so I just, I love that this brand, now that we've tried two of kind of their like flagship bottles.

The fact that it's done this like soft balance style that delivers flavor, but is still so approachable, I think deserves a world of credit. So I'm going to happily round up to a nine.

**Gizmo:** All right. So I'm, I'm surprised to hear you in between an eight and a nine because I was in between a nine and a 10 all night.

And for me, it finished at a 10. Really? I think this is the best Japanese whiskey that we've had. I think that my brain tying this to the experience I have when I drink great rum is a real [01:28:00] merit. I think this can pair very well with a Cuban cigar, with a DomiNikkan cigar, with a Nikkaraguan cigar. Any combo of the three and more.

I think this is the very, very best that we've had on the podcast as far as Japanese whiskey. And certainly in my mind, the only whiskey that I've ever said, you know what? This is giving me a rum like experience, which my palate. It's certainly with how much we've been to Cuba and how much we love Cuban rum.

It's giving me something close to that. Um, I'm really, really happy with it. So I'm surprised to hear you say we're between an eight and a nine. Cause I'm, I'm absolutely at a 10. I'm very, very happy with that. Great notes. Poobah.

**Poobah:** Yeah, I'm, I'm kind of with you. I, I'm, I was going to be generous. Yeah, I know. I really, and you guys know I'm honest and I can be brutal.

Um, no.

Uh, I really enjoyed the spirit. I think it stands out. I think it's distinctive. I've [01:29:00] never had anything, um, In this style that delivered, I love the vanilla component. Um, and, uh, it wasn't overpowering and it's not too sweet. So it was balanced. Um, and it was just very, very balanced is, is, is, is what I can say about it.

So for me, um, I don't think I can give it a 10. Uh, it would probably be in between there. Uh, this was great for me. This is something that I'm going to, there are very few times where you bring in something that's not off brand, but maybe not mainstream, um, or well known and established that you would go for that.

I would kind of really, really go for. This is something. That a mental note has been made. I will ask, look for this in a bar. I will order it and I will drink it and I will advocate for other people to drink it. I really enjoyed it. So it's a nine for me. Great. I thought it was [01:30:00] great. I really did think it was fantastic.

Unique. Excellent notes, gentlemen.

**Gizmo:** Awesome boys. So the formal liquor rating on the Nick of coffee, malt whiskey. Is a 9. 2, which is very, very interesting boys because on episode 36, isn't it under we paired the Nick a coffee grain whiskey, the sister to this with the part of his P2 and we rated that a 9. 2 exactly the same as this, which is pretty damn cool.

Yeah, it is cool. We did that on 36. This is what. 123. So,

**Senator:** and I will just say for the sake of explaining, you know, why I was debating between an eight and a nine and why I am interested to hear this. It was not in the cards for me. The only thing I will say about this that precludes Even me to consider a 10 is I would not consider this a, a very complex spirit.

And I didn't hear a single person in this room say that the flavor profile, this was complex. We got a lot of vanilla, the right amount, [01:31:00] not too much. It's balanced and just traditional kind of whiskey notes. But, you know, for some of the spirits that I have rated a 10 or consider, you know, in that conversation, I would say.

I'm getting multiple notes that are very prominent and distinct and defined. And, you know, I'm not knocking this is that there's something wrong with it. I'm just saying like to reach the highest point of a spirit rating for me, there's gotta be some really unique complexity. And I just wouldn't describe this as an overly complex whiskey.

I think it's pretty straightforward, but it does what it seeks to in a very

**Gizmo:** good

**Poobah:** way. It does. It's just the uniqueness got me. What did we rate the little rest? Um, American whiskey.

**Gizmo:** Uh, we did that on episode 1 10. So 13 weeks ago, a little rest, American single malt whiskey, 8. 8, 8. 8. So about four points lower than this.

Yeah. It was

**Poobah:** higher proof. Yes. Yes. May have played into that.

**Senator:** And the other thing, sorry, you mentioned the proof. This is not 40%. This is a 45 percent spirit. So the fact that [01:32:00] way, the fact that shocking

**Gizmo:** this neat. All of us had that neat. Not a drop of ice. You're sure you don't want to change your rating? No.

**Poobah:** I gotta tell you something. It's too late. For 90. Dakota! For 90 proof. Release this. 90 proof. I have no desire to change. This is, uh, okay. Yeah. Pretty damn

**Gizmo:** smooth with no ice boys. Wow. All right, it's time to do the formal lizard rating now of the Puerto Aran Yaga Monte Carlo, the small panatella. Can't wait for this one.

Rooster, you're up. I was

**Rooster:** really Excited that we are doing the cigar. I have always wanted to do the Monte Carlo. I like cigars in this ring gauge. I see that, man,

**Gizmo:** all the way down to the bottom, all the way down to the

**Senator:** bottom. Are we surprised? No, I

**Gizmo:** mean,

**Rooster:** I,

**Gizmo:** I don't know if it's good

**Bam Bam:** or not, but He's a big

**Gizmo:** cigar guy.

Thank you.

**Rooster:** So, I mean, I really like the cigar. I don't mind the size. I'm okay with a 33 ring gauge cigar. I like, I

**Gizmo:** like that for me. You love the MDO for that. I do [01:33:00] exactly the

**Rooster:** only issue that I have. I mean, the flavor is great. The draw is tight and after, you know, reading reviews and a lot of people talk about this, this cigar that the

**Gizmo:** draw, there's issues with the draw.

It's inconsistent performing. It's inconsistent.

**Rooster:** And for me, the draw got tighter towards the end and it's odd. It's like I was enjoying it and then it got tight and got even tighter. Later.

**Gizmo:** You know, you were drooling as you were smoking, and he didn't massage it. You didn't get the cigar. I was afraid to massage the

**Rooster:** cigar, but other than the draw issue, I think it is a good cigar.

It's got a lot of flavor. I like the notes that I get out of the cigar, uh, mainly because of the draw. I mean, it's, I'm going to give it a seven.

**Gizmo:** Okay.

**Poobah:** Poobah. Yeah. Only. Okay. For me. Uh, you know, I would echo what Rooster said. It's, it was okay. Um, not [01:34:00] terribly complex. It had moments where I was enjoying it more than others, like the middle third I thought was really good.

I thought the beginning was kind of lackluster and the last third was a little lackluster. So for me, um, for me, it's a, uh, you know, it's a seven, the size probably isn't for me.

**Gizmo:** So I'm at an eight. I, I came into this cigar tonight with very low expectations. Um, I thought it performed very, very well. It did not give me any problems.

I really liked some of the unique flavor notes of it. Am I going to reach for the cigar? No, but for what it is, the format that it is very unique to the Habanos catalog in this size. I'm very comfortable with an eight. It really gave me a nice experience and I can't knock it. So, uh, and, and the price point factoring in value there.

Under 10, even with this price increase. I mean, I, I, there's some merit to that in the Habano's catalog. So, for me, it's an 8. Senator?

**Senator:** So, I've been [01:35:00] between a 8 on this one. And, I think I'm actually gonna round up and I'm gonna give it an 8. And the reason is, I, I don't love poor La Reñaga as a brand. period.

And even the PLPC for me, it's not that I find it to be a bad cigar, it's just the flavor profile is not something I pursue. It's too woody for what I normally like. This flavor profile I actually really like. I think my frustrations, like all if not most of us in the room, I really wish the ring gauge were larger.

I had to touch it up and relight it several times. Um, but the actual, you know, flavor, I think for me and most of us is the single most important factor when we're rating. And I really like the flavor profile. I would smoke something like this again. So I think I'm rounding up because for someone who wants to try the Por Laranjaga brand, I think this is probably the, the easiest entry point in, I think like those dessert notes, if you're like an upman guy or Partagus or whatever the case may [01:36:00] be, you would appreciate this cigar.

If you do prefer a woodier, you know, style, there's just enough of that, that I think you'd be satisfied too. So, um, for those reasons, I, I think I would recommend it. Now to Gizmo's point, will I pursue a box of these? No. Um, but if someone handed me one of these, but I smoke it again and know that I would enjoy it, even though I'm going to have to light it and touch it up several times, I would.


**Pagoda:** It's a seven for me. And, um, I think I've, I'd already mentioned this earlier, like in the beginning, I didn't feel. That was within my flavor profile. I was missing something. I think, uh, the middle was great because that's when I got a little bit of the flavoring, um, you know, which was what I call the biscuity kind of flavoring.

I really enjoyed the flavor towards the end. Again, it was a bit, you know, the draw was really tight. was touching it up a lot towards the end, you know, and the smoke output for me because of the tightness of the draw was also less. So, you know, considering the construction, and I do understand [01:37:00] it's a panatella, um, and just overall, uh, you know, because of the inconsistency in the beginning and the end, I think it's a seven for me.


**Gizmo:** Bam.

**Bam Bam:** firmly at an eight firm. I found this to be an enjoyable cigar. I think it evolved and became more robust, and we mentioned it earlier, it paired better and better with the spirit that that we're having tonight. I found it to be delicious. The draw was a little bit of an issue but not that bad. I just love, I like the Petit Corona in this, in this marca.

And this is kind of like the bigger brother to that because it was a bit bolder. I thought it was a great cigar.

**Senator:** Eight. I also just have to say quickly, clearly, if someone's going out to pursue this cigar, singles of it, look at the foot of the cigar because I feel hearing this, I got very lucky. My draw was actually pretty good.

Perfectly fine. I didn't have any problems, but clearly, had I gotten a different stick, I might have had a very different experience, so you really need to To

**Gizmo:** your point, I looked at the foot when we were going through the box, [01:38:00] picking for the pod tonight. I'm glad I had a box and not just six of them.

That's right, yeah. Because I think we would have had a tougher time. I was looking at the foot when I

**Bam Bam:** was choosing. There was variations on the foot of every cigar in that box. You know,

**Gizmo:** they're all rolled by different people. Yeah, and also, like we've talked about, You know, to experience that exact same thing in a box of Cohiba Robusto's at that price.

Yeah. And to have to pick over those going, wow, this is heavy. It's densely packed. The foot is tight. I'm going to have draw problems. It's a lot more acceptable to me in a track. Sub 10 cigar than it is on a 60, 70 rate. Every Cohibas

**Poobah:** put on the draw master though.

**Gizmo:** That's what they say. Every, every single one.

Every single one. But the problem is they just let them all go out. All right, boys. So the formal lizard rating on the Larrañaga Monte Carlos tonight is a 7. 5. So let's compare that to some of the other Larrañagas we've done. The petite Corona famously we did with Ricky on Chef Ricky Camacho.

On one of the tequila episodes, [01:39:00] episode 34, if you can believe it, by the way, that's a lot of episodes ago. Oh, we got an eight, 8. 4. Nice. I was

**Poobah:** going to say tequila episode.

**Gizmo:** We were feeling generous

**Poobah:** with Ricky. No doubt. It got an eight. That's an accurate

**Bam Bam:** score for that cigar, my

**Gizmo:** friend. And we also did the Galanis, the Robusto offering from poor Warren yoga on episode 88. We, uh, we gave that cigar a 6. 0. We did that with the Barbon Court 15, which is one of the worst spirits we've ever had.

There is a trend here. There is a trend. Is there a

**Poobah:** correlation, Senator?

**Gizmo:** So what do you guys think about the 7. 5 on this? I think that's a fair score.

**Bam Bam:** I'm a little, little disappointed because I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

**Gizmo:** Honestly, for me, if, if I were to have to give it a decimal, I would have put it at like a 79 or 79, 81, it was kind of in that range.

That's why I ended up at a very low 8. For me, so, you know, if,

**Rooster:** if I didn't have the draw issue, I think it would have been a higher score and the other thing, other thing I missed on the cigar is a [01:40:00] pigtail.

**Gizmo:** pigtail, that's a point.

**Poobah:** Well, you know, for me, just for me personally, when I'm rating, um, for whatever it's worth, if I give something an eight.

I'd buy a box of it. I wouldn't buy a box of this. It's so for me, it's, it's, that's just me personally, like how I kind of, how I kind of do it. So now would I, would I, if this was in like a sampler and there were like two of these, you know, and I was buying a sampler or something like that, I would be happy to have two of these in my humidor, you know,

**Gizmo:** or by the way, I have, uh, 16 for sale today.


**Poobah:** sold , you know, so it's nice to have a couple laying around. But yeah, a lot of PE pessimists in

**Bam Bam:** this room. Pagoda. Well, no, no, no. Let know what's going

**Gizmo:** on.

**Senator:** Some of us are just

**Gizmo:** honest,

**Poobah:** but if it's an eight, if it's an eight, if I give something an eight, I'd buy a box of it. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** I's perfectly fair. I think that's fair.

That's fine. So boys, we did mention Chef Ricky. I wanna say this really quick. [01:41:00] We have to shout out his new Quick serve, uh, Mexican restaurant. Yes. In Montclair, New Jersey. Any listeners out there in the Tri State area, Montclair is a beautiful, beautiful town. Check out Montclair. Great food town. Great food town.

Great downtown. But Playa Taquiera is Chef Ricky's new venture. Playa Taqueria. Playa Taqueria.

**Poobah:** Taqueria. This is

**Gizmo:** amazing. What was it? You said Playa

**Senator:** Taqueria. All right. All right. It's actually Taqueria. You go there for a teriyaki.

**Gizmo:** Pennsylvania in the house. Let me nail it.

**Senator:** No,

**Bam Bam:** we're

**Poobah:** not editing this out. No, we are not.


**Gizmo:** yes, we are. Oh, no, we're not. No. All right. You got to check out Chef Ricky Camacho's new spot, Playa Taquiera. This is not editing out. We're

**Poobah:** not editing

**Gizmo:** this. That's a taqueria, man.

**Senator:** Guys, he's taking Spanish lessons. They're

**Gizmo:** really paying off. Got

**Poobah:** all these New Yorkers in a

**Gizmo:** Pennsylvania half weeks in. [01:42:00] All right, Chef Ricky.

I'm so sorry. Let me try this one more time. Let somebody else say it. All right. I'm going to point to Senator. You can say it. He's a Spanish master. All right. Any listeners out there in the tri state area coming to New Jersey have to go to Montclair and check out Chef Ricky Camacho's new quick serve restaurant.

Playa Taqueria. Playa Taqueria. There you go. No bullshit. It is some of the best quick serve lunch Spanish food I've ever had. It rivals Añejo in New York City, his other restaurant. It's some of the best fresh Mexican food I've ever had. It's unbelievable. Have you, who else has tried it? I haven't. I have yet to read it.

Oh, it's unbelievable. You guys got to go. Can't wait to try it. You guys got to go. So get out there. It just opened, just had its grand opening. Check it out. Playa Taqueria. There we go. There we go. I'm working on it,

**Poobah:** boys. If you said it again, that would have been really funny.

**Gizmo:** All right, boys. A great night tonight on the Nikka Coffee Malt Whiskey from Japan.

We got a [01:43:00] 9. 2. And on our Cuban Port Bar and Yaga Monte Carlos, we had a 7. 5. Excellent night, boys. Great conversation. We'll see everybody next week. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Thanks for joining us. You can find our merch store and ratings archive at our brand new website, lounge lizards, pod. com. That's lounge lizards P O D. 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 lounge lizards, pod. com. You can also find us on Instagram at lounge lizards pod. We really appreciate your time and we'll, uh, we'll see you next week.