Lounge Lizards - a Cigar and Lifestyle Podcast

Recorded at Ten86 Lounge in Hawthorne, New Jersey the lizards pair the Cohiba Lancero with Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the third part of four recapping their Cuba trip in March. The lizards visit the La Corona Factory in Havana - the manufacturing powerhouse of Cuban cigar production. They reveal what they learned during their private factory tour and they discuss the famous origin story of tonight’s cigar.

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 relaxing 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
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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 range from 60 to 90 minutes and feature a variety of different topics including food, travel, life, sports and work.

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

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

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

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

And our plans to smoke a cigar, drink some wine, talk about life, and of course, have some laughs. So take this as your 78th official invitation to join us and become a card carrying lounge lizard. Plenty. Meet us here once a week. We are gonna smoke cubit cigar tonight, share our thoughts on it, and give you our formal lizard rating.

We've resumed the recap of our trip to cubit this week, focused on our visit to the La Corona factory, the manufacturing powerhouse of Cuban cigars. We reveal what we learned during our private factory tour, and we discussed the famous origin story of tonight's cigar, all among a variety of other things for the next 90 minutes.

So sit back, get your favorite drink, light up a cigar, and enjoy as we pair Marquez de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon with the . Landro, [00:01:00] the original Landro tonight from Cuba, Cohiba Landro. The factory name is a lato number 1 38 ring gauge by seven and a half inches. And I don't know if there's a cigar that we've had more requests to review than the Cohiba Landro.

Is that true? Yeah, I would say over 30 emails so much asking about when we were gonna do this. There's so much to talk about here. Yeah, there's a lot to talk about. And we're coming off two weeks ago, our episode from, uh, featuring our tour and experience at Elto, uh, on our trip to Cuba, and tonight is part three of our Cuba trip recap.

We're gonna talk about La Corona, but first let's talk about the Cigar Boys, a classic beautiful lancer with the pigtail, of course. What year is this? This is an August 21 cigar. Okay. From Elto. Very toothy. Yeah. Very toothy. And the rapper. The rapper's not beautiful.

**Senator:** [00:02:00] Mm-hmm. Yeah. I will say that's probably the most surprising thing.

I mean, we talked about our experience at Yeah. Uh, elto, um, on that other episode and the rapper, the attention to detail, making sure how it's so perfect. And there's, there's shockingly, it's, it's a pretty veiny Yeah. Too

**Bam Bam:** wrapper. It's an imperfect wrapper. Yeah. Yeah. Surprise for the

**Gizmo:** price. Right. So yeah.

These are very, very expensive now, as BAM is alluding to. We'll talk about that in a bit. Um, but first boys, let's cut this thing. Let's cut the pigtail off. See, we're getting on the call draw on the wrapper. More

**Senator:** important than the wrapper. It has a pigtail for roosters. Exactly. Mm-hmm. At least one of us is very happy

**Gizmo:** so far.

**Bam Bam:** Cold

**Gizmo:** draws delicious. Hmm. Mine has the perfect amount of resistance. Mine just the slight

**Bam Bam:** resistance. Yeah. Bit tight. But yeah, it's really very delicious on the cold draw.

**Gizmo:** It's really nice. Mm.

**Bam Bam:** Getting

**Gizmo:** some dried fruit. Yeah. Classic [00:03:00] cohiba, grassy little bit of honey on the, on the cold draw. Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Little bit of hay, maybe a little vanilla. Oh,

**Senator:** it's really cool though. Yeah. The sweet notes are a little fun, like, ah, true.

**Bam Bam:** Hmm.

**Gizmo:** All right, boys, let's light this thing. The Cohiba Landero out of Cuba. Again, it's 38 ring gauge by seven and a half inches. This is the original Landero created in the late sixties Fort Fidel Castro.


**Senator:** there's some special significance we've heard to the dimensions of this

**Gizmo:** cigar. Mm-hmm. Yeah, I can't, I think we, you know, I'm having difficulty kind of verifying that, so we're gonna call it a rumor. But in, uh, metric, it's 38 ring gauge by 192 millimeters long, which is supposed to, uh, be directly correlated to the age of Fidel.

[00:04:00] Uh, when they created Cohiba or he found his love of this specific blend from the person who was rolling these and the 192 millimeters directly correlates to his height, which was rumored to be somewhere around 63, 64. So that's what we heard. I can't verify that on the internet, but that's the rumor. So we're gonna run with it because it's a good story.

**Bam Bam:** Outstanding on the light. Wow. Just what I remembered it to

**Gizmo:** be. You know, I've really, um, I've really fallen in love with these cigars. Oh yeah. Really fallen in love with these cigars. What year did you say this is? This is from August 21. So they're about two and a half years old. Mm-hmm.

**Senator:** All right. So I'll say, uh, I'm, I'm probably the biggest cohiba skeptic

**Gizmo:** in the group that's changing.

**Senator:** Um, I don't know about that. Not a lot, not honestly, it's not changing much. Um, but my take has usually been, I mean, with heavy age. I've had some of the best cigars I've ever smoked have happened to be Cohiba Cohiba Buso from oh five. I smoked last year, [00:05:00] absolutely incredible. Was a 10 all day. My problem has been younger cohibas, um, honestly have been like a seven for me.

Nothing's really cracked a top score, but to hear that this is 21 on the light, this is sweet and creamy and just tasty. This is really

**Gizmo:** good. It's a delicious cigar. I think that these perform better, in my opinion, than a lot of the other cohibas that I've had at a similar age, namely the Siglo series.

Aside from Thesla two, uh, especially the Cohiba Ra Buso and the Espino. I think both of those cigars with only two to three years of age, they're not even close to hitting their stride. Where the coro, where the coro and the Espino, five years for those, I think four to five years, I think is really where you hit your sweet spot.

And, and I, I think eight is probably the magic number for those. Mm-hmm. But that's a long, that's a lot of time investment on top of your money investment. Oh, yeah. Or 15 or

**Senator:** 20, yeah, like that Coro had, I mean, it was literally spectacular, but it's just a hell of the time [00:06:00] to wait.

**Rooster:** I, I, I mean, I don't know. I could be wrong, but I think the blend is a little bit different than in Cohibas in general, as it used to be, I think the 14th and Fifteenths, and before that they, they, they were a little bit.

They had more ooph, they had more flavor, they had more, uh, could be, I don't know, a little bit more spice a little bit. It, it, it tastes very different now to me. I mean, I don't know how the 2015

**Gizmo:** Choros, I mean, or oh 5 0 0 0 5. Oh boy. So I have, I have spectacular, I have four, uh, 14 co rows from lub lub 14 co rows outta the atman factory, which are really, really amazing.

But the ESP splendido that I have from 2014 are just, it's kind of, it's, it's starting to rival the Vegas Romania Classicos with my favorite box that I have in my humidor. But that's a, that, that's a long time to, to age those things, man. You're talking almost 10 years. Question for you. Yep. [00:07:00]

**Bam Bam:** G you haven't always been a cohiba man.

Yep. When have you, when, when did you start pursuing these? Really, and why and

**Gizmo:** how So I had

**Senator:** a, can I take a stab at this? Go ahead. He had every other cigar and he had nothing else left to buy, but cohiba, that's a damn good answer.

**Gizmo:** I mean, he's not wrong. He's probably right. He's not wrong, but he's not right in that, uh, I had a very, very old Cohiba Robusto, um, given to you?

Yes. That it was given to me. And then we were actually, I was gifted by Grindr. A uh, a fiver of the pyramid, the selection pyramids. Um, And it was in, I think it was an oh five Cohiba pyramid in there. And that really, that's quite the gift that knocked me on my ass. Of course it was. And I got the Robusto.

**Senator:** You got

**Gizmo:** Theo, which is got the Pyramid five Coro. Exactly. And the rest of us got nothing. Well, it was, it was for

**Senator:** hosting. We did a bunch podcasts. It was,

**Bam Bam:** it was for

**Gizmo:** that. Yeah. I got you. Were [00:08:00] specifically left out.

**Senator:** I know that on purpose. All right. Bam is gonna host and produce the next podcast. I'm looking forward to it, which means in 2036, we'll have our next episode.

Let me

**Bam Bam:** call my tech guy, by the way. I'm

**Pagoda:** sure he has a few cute prohibits in this tower. Oh, he definitely does. He does.

**Gizmo:** He definitely does. Uh, that a no. So the answer to your question, bam, is I, I, I, it kind of blew me away. The problem with those selection pyramids and the selection of a boosto is they're in a really tight little cedar box.

They get a little bit cedar forward. Mm-hmm. Unnecessarily so. Then I had an oh eight landro that was also gifted to me. That blew me away. And then I really started down the rabbit hole. And I've really, I, I've fallen in love with the landro, um, and the esp bandido. But the problem is they're so goddamn expensive.

Yeah. And that, wait, this is a hundred dollars cigar. Not easy to get. No. And you know, as we discussed on the Moni Fortuna shit show episode with Dan, uh, quite a while back when I bought the fake box of Cos, there are so many counterfeits out there. Yeah, true. You know, so, so what are you guys thinking? [00:09:00] Um, this, this is gonna require us to smoke slowly, but yeah.

It's, it's,

**Bam Bam:** it's a beautiful cigar. It, it's a delicate, elegant cigar with really good flavor on the sweeter side for me, not so much tobacco or cedar, but I'm getting more, more fruit notes, some dessert notes. Floral and a bit a floral notes. Floral notes a little bit.

**Senator:** Yeah. I mean, I, I'm with bam in that I get a ton of dessert notes on this.

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Which is not what I associate cohiba with. That's true. So for me, bacon spice kind of thing, or a little bit, hon. I mean, this is like, That's true to me. It's like, honey, it's just like a honey vanilla. It's like honey drizzled on grass. Some kind of, no, not even gra like I would say a cream like brioche or something.

There go that works.

**Gizmo:** It's really just, it's a little, it's, yeah, it's kind of got like a, um, there's like

**Senator:** this creamy readiness. Mm-hmm. It's kind of the base and then all these sweet and floral like rooster's saying, I just, this is nothing like any cohiba. Yeah. I've ever had. This is not, if you gave me this blind, I would never, my wildest dreams say cohiba.

[00:10:00] Um, but that's a really good thing because I don't usually love cohibas flavor profile. Like I, this reminds me of like I, what some fundies are, but this is on steroids. Like this is even better. Agreed. Than any funding just so far. Agreed. I've

**Gizmo:** agreed. I I

**Rooster:** bet that opinion would change if you knew the price when you did a blind test.

So if you were said, this is a hundred dollars a

**Gizmo:** stick, well then

**Senator:** we'd immediately know cohiba.

**Bam Bam:** Exactly. It'd be, do we know the construction of this guy? The amount of, uh, the particular leaves? No,

**Gizmo:** no, no. Of course not. That's a trade secret. Mm. Um, I actually did see the breakdown one time mm-hmm. When I was at one of the factories and they quickly pulled it away, pulled it away when I was there on a tour.

This was before we were there. But this, you took a picture, didn't you? No, no. You, you trying to get me killed. Yeah. I find, um, I find these are really, really nice at this age, two to three years. Um, even younger. I mean, I've been smoking a lot of younger almost. This is at 21,


**Rooster:** smoking. Amazing.

**Senator:** [00:11:00] That's fantastic.

That's the thing I'm so confused by is every other cohiba I've tried within this range of age has been so underwhelming and disappointing and this is such a like over performer. I don't

**Bam Bam:** know how I happen to think it has something to do with the ring age. There isn't as much tobacco that you have in this as you have in other cigars.

They maybe hone in on the specific leaves that they want to use here and you're getting a more flavor than anything else, you know?

**Rooster:** Well, it's the same four leaves that they use. It's just different in different portions. Right?

**Gizmo:** Yeah.

**Pagoda:** The one thing I'm finding interesting is like, typically I'll find a lot of the flavor even towards the whole of my mouth.

Uh, this is a lot of it is settling in the front of my

**Gizmo:** mm-hmm. Tongue. Like I agree with that. Mm-hmm. That's a good call out. I couldn't agree more. It's, it's, yeah, it is very much the, the forward half of tongue of your mouth. Yeah, that's a good call out. So the Cohiba Len has a long, long history. It was, uh, Cohiba was founded formally in 1966 [00:12:00] with three sizes, the Lito one, two, and three.

This is obviously the Lito number one. Um, we've talked about the Lito number two on some other episodes, which is a little bit smaller. Um, same with the three, but this is the hallmark of classic Cohiba came out 34 years. Let's, even before the cohiba were buso 30 some odd years before the Siglo line, and probably 50 years be, you know, or 60 years even before, uh, the BK line.

So, you know, this has been around a lot longer than the cigars that. People talk about today for Kojima, which is mainly behi Can Segal. So Fidel founded this, uh, brand. I think we talked about this when we did, uh, Cohiba, when we did the sigal too, but we can just rehash it real quick. Uh, he was, uh, his bodyguard was smoking a cigar that a roller had rolled for him, and Fidel said, what is that?

It smells amazing. Tried it and founded Cohiba, which in its early years, [00:13:00] many of its early years from 1966 to 1982 was produced a few thousand boxes a year for Fidel, his cronies and diplomatic gifts. Yeah, and that's it.

**Bam Bam:** I'll tell you it, it's not one for major combustion, but the aroma is delicious on this smoke.

Really very nice.

**Gizmo:** It really compliments the flavor in the, oh,

**Bam Bam:** it sounds

**Senator:** amazing. Yeah, I mean, sorry, I'm just sitting here dumbfounded and a little bit sad because I've pursued fundies. We all have Oh yeah. And we've gotten a, we've, we've got a good amount of them. I have none of these. And this is so far, definitely better.

Yeah. Than any fundee I've had.

**Gizmo:** I think this is, I think that within

**Senator:** this age period,

**Gizmo:** I think that this, I think this cigar wipes the floor with Fundies, which I like you're saying, I never used to say, but the last 10 fundies I've had out of various boxes and ages, including the one we did on the podcast, have all been lackluster for me.

Hmm. And maybe my palace changed, or my perception, or my expectation of those [00:14:00] cigars has changed. But so be it. Go ahead. I would like

**Rooster:** to, I would like to buy them

**Gizmo:** from you at the 2018 price. Yes. No way. Discounted number. I'm gonna, I'm gonna fire sale those. I'm gonna buy a car. So this comes in, uh, a beautiful dress box of 25 cigars.

Which is obviously classic, a beautiful, uh, uh, varnish box. And it's come, I mean, in 10 different varieties, obviously since 19 64, 19 66, it's come in a ton of different varieties of packaging, including five cardboard packs of five, a display box of 25 cigars, which is classic cardboard packs of three varnish box in cellophane, which is cool.

So these used to come wrapped in cellophane. Wow.

**Senator:** That's good to know because if I saw someone with that, I would immediately dismiss it as a fake cigar. That's

**Gizmo:** true. Wow. And this is gonna bum me out as long as it doesn't have a glass top. Exactly. Stay away from, stay away from the glass. Stop. Uh, this one's gonna bum us out.

We can, we can all say rest in peace [00:15:00] to the varnished boy nature box of 50 cigars. These used to come in 50 caps. Wow. I've never seen that. I've never seen that a decade. Can you imagine? Oh, so that was discontinued even before ho Bonos came into the picture. That's before 2000. If

**Senator:** you're a listener and you have that, please send us a photo.

You're probably a grand lizard. That is something else.

**Gizmo:** And then there's a couple other, uh, configurations in cellophane. Um, but yeah, so right now you can only get these in the varnished, uh, boy nature box of 25 cigars. Yep. So

**Bam Bam:** amazing. Amazing. Someone's doing the bam

**Senator:** bam, shaking over their, I'm, I'm wagging my tail.

Like bam, bam. Right now, I mean, I'm sorry. Like GIZ has been so passionate about cohiba within the last year, and I have been trying to find a way to get where you are and appreciate what you're appreciating. And I have nothing what I tell you able to, but this is the one stick. Oh, that I will say when we

**Gizmo:** do the ESP splendido, that'll be the second one.

All rights. The [00:16:00] young esplan,

**Senator:** but perfect example, the young one's not great. Probably the same

**Gizmo:** age as this, right? 21. But you can't listen, you can't start that journey. You can't start the esp splendido journey with the 2014. That's just. That's


**Senator:** You made me suffer a little

**Gizmo:** first. Exactly. 21.

Alright. Exactly. Fair enough. Welcome to the journey. Fair enough. I, uh, I'm gonna make a definitive statement. I am a full on 100% Cohiba slut. Yeah, we know that. Full on Cohiba slut. I'd like to make it known. I can't get enough Cohiba Landeros and ESP pdis. How many not How many

**Senator:** Landeros do you have?

**Gizmo:** I don't have a ton.

I have a box and a half. Okay, nice. Including the six seven that I brought with NICE tonight. Very nice. So, um, all right.

**Senator:** We need to work on cornering the cohiba. Yeah. Before GIZ clears everything out.

**Bam Bam:** We're all in

**Gizmo:** before this pod

**Senator:** ends. We're all in Ben.

**Rooster:** They don't really come up that much. I mean, it's hard, you know?

Yeah. And, and the way, way the price is right now, I mean, these are going for a hundred dollars a stick, so you're looking at 24 to $2,400

**Gizmo:** a [00:17:00] box. That's crazy, man. It's a lot. Yeah. That's a lot of money. That's a

**Bam Bam:** mortgage payment. You know what, um, the first time we were in Cuba, I had the Cohiba Rub Robusto, a bunch of them.

I happened to like them a lot. They were young in Cuba, so they were over humidified. But I'll tell you, I, there wasn't one that I didn't like. So if I get my hands on a box of those, even young, I'll age 'em a year and I'll start going into that box.

**Gizmo:** But you also got into Lance Serros in November. Oh, you had that Cohiba and Sarah.

That was

**Bam Bam:** the first that, that was really my, it's probably my second cohiba that I've ever had

**Gizmo:** in my life. And dude, he freaked out. I freaked out like you were freaking

**Bam Bam:** out and I regret not buying that box. Yeah. I told you to this day, I still think about not buying that box. It's a big, big mistake that I made.

And you said

**Senator:** they were 25 a stick there. They were. That's incredible.

**Gizmo:** Dude. We got Sir Winston's in November for 20. For 20 years. For 2020 Dark. Oh God.

**Rooster:** Yeah. But we didn't see them

**Bam Bam:** this time. No, we did not. We're gone. They smartened up. They're gone.

**Senator:** Well, that's awesome. We went right after the festival. Yeah.

So we know half those guys cleared out. Yeah. Anything like that. Yeah. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** [00:18:00] It was really an elegant experience. The first time I had the cigar in Cuba.

**Gizmo:** Were we, I understand now. Where were we? I think we were at either Cohiba atmosphere or uh, Malia Cohiba. Malia Cohiba.

**Bam Bam:** That's where we were. I think that's where it was.

Yeah. It was amazing. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** Great time. Oh yeah. I mean, I can easily

**Rooster:** say in the last 10 years, this is the best cohiba I've

**Gizmo:** had. Yeah. You know? Yeah. It's amazing. It is. I'm blown away. I'm so happy to hear that. I've been very, kind of cautiously optimistic about bringing the cigar into the room to smoke with you guys.

Yeah. I've, I've really, you know, I've, I've just sat on them. I've had them for quite some time. Um, but I, I've been nervous because as we've talked about, we talked about it two weeks ago in the La Theto episode, you really don't know when you get a box, even if it's $2,500. You don't know the quality of those 25 cigars because, or if they're real, they're color matched, or if they're real, real authenticity.

Sure. But let's assume that, you know, they're real. Yeah. [00:19:00] You may have 20 different rollers that have rolled those cigars that mm-hmm. They're in the same box just because they match in color of the wrapper, which doesn't directly mean that each of those cigars is gonna be consistent, obviously. So you just never know.



**Pagoda:** on the other hand, like after the trip, I can say that these guys are really focused on quality for a change.

**Gizmo:** Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Special at Lego. Oh, of course. Yeah. So this is really, really fantastic and I'm glad you guys are joining. Of course. So, coming off again, coming off two weeks ago, our, uh, discussion of our visit to Elto and our amazing time that we had there.

We were also fortunate during the week to go visit La Corona, which is, if we called. Elto, the artisan hub of Cuban cigars. La Corona is the mothership factory. The volume. Volume and production producer. Yeah. That is a of multiple. It's an assembly line. Yeah. Multiple markers. [00:20:00] Yeah, they make a ton. I think they make every market there almost.

Um, it's like the Amazon of Cuban cigars. Yeah.

**Senator:** I mean literally.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. There were eight markers on the wall when we were

**Gizmo:** in the, in the conference room.

**Rooster:** No, they roll. They roll everything. Everything, everything. Even

**Gizmo:** Cohibas. Yeah. They had single twos when we were there. Yeah, a few.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. Kawas they'll do.

**Senator:** I thought

**Gizmo:** Cohiba was only rolled to going to be, it's not yet.

It's going to be, they're working on transitioning in the past it has been rolled at other factories. Yeah. That was

**Bam Bam:** actually an interesting point of reference that, uh, we learned that they're gonna try to get all of their. in one location right. Back at That makes sense.

**Senator:** Home base. Oh, yeah. Then when they do that, they can justify, it'll be 200.

Oh, exactly right. Because they're only rolled in one place

**Bam Bam:** in small rooms. That's right.

**Senator:** With air conditioning.

**Gizmo:** So Corona compared to Lato, which has, you know, a fraction of production staff, team and, and, and torso doors, uh, La Corona has hundreds [00:21:00] of, of rollers on the floor at any given time. Certainly it's recovered now after Covid, but there's so many other per, there's so many other parts and moving pieces to the factory that I think, like we did with Lato two weeks ago.

I think we should just kind of walk the listener through the tour that we did, uh, and take it all the way from the basement where we started all the way up to, to the top floor where they're, they're they're putting them in the boxes. Yeah. We should, we should, we should actually

**Rooster:** talk about the building.

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. It's, you know, just when you walk

**Bam Bam:** in, that's a po uh, post or post-Soviet Union style structure, all concrete. Um, it's very, um, it's like a, it's, it's, it's got a machine-like quality from the street, so when you walk in, it's a true

**Senator:** factory. And it's several stories. Yeah. I mean like at Elto most things are pretty flat.

Like one or two stories like this, thing's going three and a half stories. Okay. If I remember, it looks even bigger, honestly, outside the

**Gizmo:** It does, you know, it does look bigger than that. Outside. Massive. Outside. It

**Senator:** looks like a five story building. Yep.

**Rooster:** I must say it's not ADA compliant. [00:22:00]

**Bam Bam:** Oh no, there's a lot of stairs.

ADA doesn't exist there. Ada, what

**Gizmo:** do they have? Building code there? Bam.

**Bam Bam:** No. Well, we talked about that the first year. Geez.

**Gizmo:** Lots of stairs. Lots of stairs. So we started in the basement, uh, where they actually bring the tobacco into the building, um, and, you know, start sorting it and, you know, opening up the bales.

Then start preparing it for distribution throughout the factory.

**Senator:** Do you remember that room? We walked in down there? The I intoxicating smell. Oh my God, dude, I want a car freshener scent. Just like it, it was incredible. That's, I'm just gonna hang

**Gizmo:** a tobacco

**Bam Bam:** leaf. No, no, no. I like that idea. That's a great business idea, dude.


**Gizmo:** lizard car

**Senator:** freshener. Yeah. But as we ridiculous. Done as we, we don't even need to do it. I want to help the Cuban people do

**Bam Bam:** it. All right. For the listeners, everything we talked about, we say has a cop right on it.

**Senator:** We talked about, I mean, how, uh, how inventive the Cuban people are. I want to make sure next time we [00:23:00] go, we suggest this idea.

And hopefully we come back and they figured out a way to make some cart fresheners for us with, uh, little lizards

**Gizmo:** on 'em. Yeah. So we started downstairs and then we made our way upstairs to the sorting room where there were a ton of women at various standing tables separating the leaves, uh, for, you know, the various types of leaves to then be.

Um, to be moved out. And that room was lively and energetic. They were, it was full

**Bam Bam:** of, yeah, it

**Gizmo:** was full of workers there. Yeah. Full of workers. Yeah. Yeah. Go back to,

**Rooster:** uh, where, where they had the, uh, the tobacco leaves. We

**Gizmo:** saw barrels there too, right? Yes. Yeah. I guess for fermentation. Fermentation, yeah. Mm-hmm.

Yeah. Similar to looking to, yeah. Yeah. I just forgot to ask.

**Rooster:** I mean, whether they were also from the US like, uh, bourbon barrels

**Gizmo:** or not. It's a good question. It

**Senator:** sounds like they had to be, because I mean the, their most recent journey would've been to make rum in Cuba, but it sounds like the origin of all of these basically was like an American oak barrel that [00:24:00] then went to Europe and then Cuban into Cuba.


**Pagoda:** But, but in terms of the first impressions, I think Allego was like a five star hotel, whereas this was more like, you know, motel

**Senator:** Yeah. Hotel

**Gizmo:** for the messes. It's like an assembly line. Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's like a manufacturing facility. Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. Certainly. There was nothing pretty about it.

No. You know, like, like you said, bam, it's just all cement.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. But it was compelling to walk through that,

**Gizmo:** that building. Oh, yeah. Just to see the, the amount of people in there that the amount of hands touching this tobacco is pretty. Yeah. And if you

**Bam Bam:** compare it to the Lato, the tour and where we, they separated the leaves.

It was very mannered at the Palace of Cigars. Whereas opposed to La Corona, there were maybe 12 women in the other at Lado, maybe they were eight, and they were separated. Everything was neatly organized at La Corona's a little looser, little informal, definitely, but in a very, in a very good way though.

They get their work done.

**Gizmo:** Absolutely.

**Pagoda:** But more lively. I, I think El Lido was most sophisticated. This was very lively, I think. Yeah. Yeah. I mean,

**Senator:** to Gus's point, when we [00:25:00] went in that room where the women were sorting, I feel like we were all trying to be very quiet, very respectful, and they like, wanted to hear from us like they wanted to chat.

They were like, whoa, whoa. We were about to walk out. Yeah. They were like yelling out, take us to New York. Yeah, it was so they, they just wanted to chat and have a fun time. It was cool to see.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. And, you know, uh, a point I wanna make to the listener is we were not there during festival week. We were the only visitors in that factory at the time we were there.

So it's not like they had an expectation that we were coming. Thank goodness, thank goodness. Um, but we really got the raw deal. Yeah. You know, kind of like we did at Lato. So we, after the sorting room where we had a fun time with the, the ladies in there where they were separating out all the leaves that were coming in, uh, And they had scales too.

They were weighing the tobacco, you know, to make sure that they're distributing the right amount of each leaf, um, to the torso doors. And then we went across the hall and we went into the DST stemming room, which like you talked about, bam. At Lato. Yeah. Where they take the full leaf and they destem the middle of it.

Mm-hmm. [00:26:00] They save that leaf to be sold back to the farmers later. Right. And then they use those two leaves for whatever the application's gonna be. For them. The

**Bam Bam:** process at LA Corona was much, much faster than what we saw at Eleg. Guido. There was just a higher paced, faster paced.

**Senator:** It was, it was cool. I mean, you're just sitting there and like there's so many more people all doing the same thing at one time.

I mean, it just feels like you're watching some kind of video. It's

**Bam Bam:** an art. Watching them take that stem out without destroying the delicate leaf, it's amazing.

**Gizmo:** But

**Rooster:** it also felt like one big happy family for me. Yeah. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** Which

**Bam Bam:** is, well, that's a testament to the director. The rollers

**Gizmo:** were happy. Happy. Yeah.

They a jovial,

**Rooster:** they were conversing with each other that they were talking to us. Yep. You know, they, I mean, they're walking

**Gizmo:** around, uh, the energy levels around it seemed like a great

**Senator:** atmosphere. It, it's so funny you say that. I mean, I vividly remember when, as we're going on the tour and we're going up and down all these stairs, we're saying not being very ADA compliant.

Uh, but as we're going up at one point you just, we saw like this whole [00:27:00] group of workers sitting on the steps, chatting, having a good time, laughing. And I'll be honest, I mean, just my expectation going in, I mean, you kind of expect in a place like Cuba that some of these places are just like they were in handcuffs or, yeah, not that extreme, but not far from it.

I mean, honestly, I just expected like you're to sit at that desk, do exactly what you're supposed to. Leave and come back and do the same thing tomorrow. And I just couldn't believe how casually they were able to just sit there, have fun, just like we would at an office here. Mm-hmm. And that was really cool to see that they were able to enjoy themselves, their company being their colleagues at work.

And uh, that was just, it was kind of a special

**Gizmo:** thing. But I think that also speaks to the overall experience of the Cuban people that we've found there, is that, listen, the, these folks, they're content, these folks don't have great lives. No, they don't have a lot. We're not sitting here saying that the Cuban government is doing a great job helping these people.

They're doing the exact opposite of that. They're failing their people. It's an absolute shit show [00:28:00] economically. These people have difficulty getting food, clothing, shelter, transportation. It's all bad. However, That doesn't dismiss what we're seeing in that these people are making the very best of it. So what, I don't want the listener to walk away from this conversation thinking that we're optimistic about Cuba and the government there, but no, we're not What?

But we're very high on the people. We're very high on the people and their ability to be resilient. Right. That's the key word, I think. I think

**Rooster:** it's, that's the level of contentment due to lack of any other choice. Yes. Mm-hmm. They've kind of adapted Yeah. To this culture that they know that they can't do anything else.

Sure. So, sure. Why not be happy in the moment and live in the moment and, and do their best. Make

**Gizmo:** the, make the best of

**Senator:** it. Yeah. And I think bam, te this up and we'll talk a bit more about this, but a lot of it also stems from the leadership there. Yes. And kind of how they mm-hmm. Institutionalized that this is not a place to come to be miserable every day.

This is a place that we want you to feel ownership of what you produce and, and help provide there. Um, and you see it and all the people that [00:29:00] we met, how happy they are to actually show up and work there and proud Yeah. To be there. Yeah.

**Rooster:** And, and then during the tour, Um, we were kind of pointed to an area where they told us like, these are the trainees.

They're learning how to roll. Yeah. And I

**Gizmo:** forget like how long the training period was. So the program's in nine months, so, so leaving So good tea up there. Uh, rooster. So we leave the stemming room, we walk upstairs and that's the floor of torso doors. That's where they all are. There's, there's, I mean, hundreds and hundreds of torso doors rolling.

Uh, versus some of the pictures that we certainly saw during Covid. And you might have seen, uh, you know, listeners out there. Um, there were really no empty benches. It was a full house. Sure. Uh, maybe there were 20 or 30 empty, uh, from folks who had gone home or whatever, had finished what they had to do for the day.

But to your point on, on the, let's say the top left corner of that floor is where the students were, who were being taught in their nine month program, how to successfully roll great cigars.

**Bam Bam:** And what's cool. We didn't see that [00:30:00] in our first round. We did not back in November. That was really interesting to

**Senator:** see.

That was awesome. Yeah, I mean, honestly, I'm like, you, you're sitting there and like a lot of them are, are pretty young that you, they are can see they're doing this and you're like, this is the future of this business. Right. I mean, these are literally the people that, you know, 10 years from now are, are gonna be the ones rolling the cigars were smoking.

Um, so that, that was just really cool for me and hearing kind of the vision of. How they train them up. I, I think the director was explaining to us how they all get graded and they need to maintain a certain standard to get through the program and ultimately

**Gizmo:** be a torso door. Right? Yeah. And it's not a hundred percent success rate, you know, some of them fall out due to, you know, it's just not working or stress or maybe their, you know, their dexterity is not there, their hand-eye coordination, whatever it may be to roll.

Sure. And then on the flip side of that, I don't know if you remember what, uh, Daniella told us at Lato, they had a recent graduate who was almost a, a top level Tors, Sudor coming out of that program. Young. He was so talented and young and I think that Yeah, and he was very young. Yeah. And I think they put him right into the Bahi [00:31:00] Saloon at Lato to roll coming off the program.

So. Wow. He, you know, he had a fast track to Sure. You know, so I,

**Rooster:** if they train them at La Corona and maybe graduate them to

**Gizmo:** Lato, it's a very good possibility. I'm not sure of that. Um, It's, it's possible, yeah. You know, I don't know if they have that program,

**Rooster:** ITO, because Lato did not have that many rollers to begin with.

You know, I mean, like we're talking about 300 plus rollers at LA Corona and the amount of training that happens. So if you learn to roll once Agar, you can roll another one. It shouldn't, you know? That's true.

**Gizmo:** So maybe they do do that. Yeah, they very well May. So, yeah. Then you know, you're on the floor of the torso doors and they're kind of grouped together.

Based on the vitals that they're rolling, um, based on their experience. The back corner, the back left corner, let's say, um, all the way down the hall. So we're talking, how big is this? B building? Bam, square, you know, on the floor. So

**Bam Bam:** on, on that floor. To me it looked like it was roughly 45 feet wide and probably [00:32:00] 110 feet long, something like that.

About 5,000

**Gizmo:** square feet Per floor. Per floor. Per, per floor. Per floor. Yeah. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** That's a sizable

**Gizmo:** building. Yeah, that's What do you think it's a 30,000 square foot building? Well, I,

**Bam Bam:** I only remember three stories really? Yeah.

**Gizmo:** There's orex floor, the

**Bam Bam:** three floors when you're inside, correct me if I'm wrong. We went 1, 2, 3 stories.

I don't know if there's addi an additional story. About 15,000

**Gizmo:** or four.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, maybe four floors. Four with the basement, the seller including this. But there wasn't much other action happening other than de

**Gizmo:** bailing the, so it's 15 to 20,000 square foot building? I think so. Okay. And the rooftop. And the

**Bam Bam:** rooftop.

That's not a big building for what they're producing in the volume of cigars that they're making there. That is not a big structure. Yeah. At 5,000,006, uh, or units per year. It's not a big building. Yeah. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** So in the back left corner on that same side is where actually the best of the best rollers are, uh, including, you know, um, some of the folks that we were able to spend some time with, we actually got a demonstration of the top roller there.

Oh yeah. Who's a good friend of ours now. [00:33:00] Um, liquidy

**Bam Bam:** split. He was done with an impeccably rolled cigar.

**Gizmo:** D dude. This, how do you do that? This guy is like Michael Jordan of rolling cigars, is he not? Yes, he is. He is. I know, I know. You laugh at me when I say that.

**Bam Bam:** Well, they all laugh at me

**Senator:** too. Well, I especially laugh because you hate basketball so much.

So I That's true. I do love you using a basketball reference.

**Bam Bam:** Well, he loves mj.

**Gizmo:** I do love mj. I love mjs story. But yeah, it's, it's amazing to see, you know, um, some of the folks that, that just, what they're able to do with, with a couple tobacco leaves and, and some talented hands, it's, it's really incredible what they're able to produce.


**Senator:** that's the other thing we didn't mention. So in that room, when you walk in on the right side, the like, um, burgundy shutters where they hand out. What? They're

**Gizmo:** gonna be rolling. We should talk about that. So, yeah, so the way that, I think we talked about this briefly in the Lato episode. Obviously it's scaled up here at at Corona, but so when the torso doors walk in, I think they get 'em two or three times a day depending on, on how many, uh, cigars they're rolling.

But they rock walk up to [00:34:00] a window and they're handed the, the, the bundle of tobacco that they're to use to make the cigars they need to every day. And the process is actually, Semi are completely anonymous and that they don't know who's handing them the mm-hmm. The tobacco from the other side. So they can't grease these people before or after work.

Mm-hmm. It's, they, they do that so that there's, you know, anonymity. Anonymity. So you know, you're not getting preferential treatment Right. In the distribution of tobacco. And

**Senator:** it's like for the listener, if you would imagine like a drive-through window, but you couldn't see the person's face that's actually handed, that's a good way to put it.

Yeah. That's like literally what it looks like. There's just this window just enough to put their arms through, hand them what they need to, but you don't actually see who's giving you what or what you're

**Bam Bam:** getting. Yeah. We saw that

**Gizmo:** in action actually. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It was pretty cool. We were actually there when a bunch of torso doors, I don't know if it was right after lunch.

No. They were going up to the window. They're going up to the window. There were a lot of them there going up to get tobacco. And I, and somebody from our group, I don't remember who it was, actually walked up to get, um, tobacco. Like tobacco made a joke of it. It was pretty funny. But, um, [00:35:00] but what's

**Rooster:** interesting is that, The rollers have no idea what brand they're rolling.

No idea. They have no idea whether, whether it's a punch or a quba. Yeah. They're just giving, given a formula, roll the cigar. Mm-hmm. If you're rolling a somon, this is how many tobacco leaves you need. You know, this is what you're doing. And then it goes, and then it gets color,

**Gizmo:** you know, separated by color

**Rooster:** and then banded

**Gizmo:** eventually

**Bam Bam:** not, not to jump ahead, but the number of violas that are produced in that factory from those beautiful, elegant little cigars, like those little kaaba, unusual shape, all the way to the rub robusto and the Churchills.

It's incredible. The variety of violas that they're rolling and one torso door going through several different violas. That's true skill.

**Senator:** True. What's your skill? I think it's also encouraging. I mean, I, I would never have expected that to be the case, that they have no idea really what they're rolling every time.

Mm-hmm. Yeah. And the fact that that is the case, it's very encouraging when you think about, like, we have these preconceived notions about certain [00:36:00] brands like. Certain brands we think are very high quality. Other brands we probably think are low quality and based on the system, how they actually produce these.

There's not a meaningful difference in the rolling. Of a RGUs or an up men at La Corona or a Kaaba or a punch or something else there. And that, there's something nice about that, that, you know, if you don't like one of those cigars, it's because you don't like that blend. It's a great point. But it's not because it's, it's, you know, rolled in an inferior way as if like, they're only rollers that roll, Kaaba versus parkas versus something else.

And that challenged com, everything I would've

**Bam Bam:** expected is this, this, what he just said, really pulls down the curtain on the violas and the brands. Right. And even in this room, we have preconceived notions of what a high quality cigar is and what a low quality cigar is. That's out the window now.

**Gizmo:** Well, it, it truly is.

I think your point is it's the taste, it's personal taste. It's all about palate. Absolutely. Right. It's not about equality in one brand versus another. Yeah. Yeah. The only thing I think that's a difference maker that we need to point out is that corner that we're talking about, where the best rollers [00:37:00] are.

They are given the special stuff. Yeah. They're rolling. The Solomons, they're rolling. Well, no, like Alex's 1 0 9, Alex is rolling, you know, regional and limited releases. Right. Yeah. 1 0 9 s they're, they're, they, they do know they're giving those, those, that's fair, specific, fair. I mean, more for standard production.

Most standard production. Yeah. Absolutely. There's no discerning That's true. Difference in quality in, in, in, in all. But,

**Rooster:** but it's the same tobacco going into every single cigar. Yeah. I mean, unless they have different tobacco, like, kind of like from different farms going into

**Gizmo:** different brands. I, I think there's some of that.

I do think there's some

**Bam Bam:** of that. There, there must be, because what you're getting in a kuaba, you, you, you're getting, I mean, I'm not getting anything like that in any of the cigar. Not that that's a great cigar. I mean, I'm not gonna say that it's bad or not,

**Gizmo:** but Cohiba for sure has. Yeah. You know, well, leaving Prova alone, because

**Rooster:** it's Lato, it's a separate factory.

Sure. They could have access

**Gizmo:** to tobacco from a certain specific farm.

**Rooster:** So, yeah. You know, and also the fact [00:38:00] that. You know, they're rolling. They're also, they're also rolling certain brands because that's what the orders

**Gizmo:** that are coming in for. This

**Bam Bam:** is true. You know, they're also rolling regionals in Esgar.

**Gizmo:** In that, in that factory. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of 'em. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of stuff comes outta Corona. Yeah. A lot of stuff. Yeah. And no shortage of boxes right now. Yeah. So when Bam and I came back in November, that's a good point. When we came back in November, there was a shortage of, uh, packing supplies where they had a lot of cigars ready to be packed and shipped out.

Yeah. And that's not the case anymore. No. They have plenty of all of


**Bam Bam:** We kind of ended the tour, didn't we? In that craft room, let's call it. Yeah. Right. Yeah. So it was beautiful to see how they built the boxes and labeled them, and it's really stunning. That was awesome. Awesome. That's amazing. That was

**Gizmo:** awesome, man.

Yeah. And all natural, all natural stuff. Adhesives

**Bam Bam:** were all natural. Yeah. The, the craft in creating the box was truly elegant. The process in

**Senator:** which they go through, I was honestly surprised. I just for some reason, assumed that they received the boxes already made and had all the, um, emblems and things [00:39:00] that are supposed to be on there.

I didn't realize that at the factory that all this is being rolled. They actually have people like literally just with a wooden, you know, box that they have to adhere all these different decals and things to make the, the

**Bam Bam:** art labels are all centered beautifully. Cut. They have complete command on that chain of custody from creating the cigar to the box and getting it out.

But I don't

**Rooster:** think all the boxes are physically made in the factory. I think they get them from overseas

**Gizmo:** too. They mentioned, I think some of the, uh, some of the higher end boxes, like the, the, the boxes that wakes the varnish boxes, the varnish boxes that the Cohiba Ander comes in, or the ESP splendido or the Sir Winston.

Those boxes are certainly coming from overseas. Yeah. But most of the regular production stuff, I mean, even some of the, you know, the ados, the. Uh, uh, Senator had before we started this podcast today from h Oman that we did a few weeks ago, that box was made in that factory atman. That's, that's a by hand.

That's a varnished box, so I,

**Senator:** no, no, it's a cardboard box. It's a, it's a, it's a dress box. [00:40:00] Its a dress box. I think Bruce Rooster's making a good point. It, I'm telling you, I just opened it. That's the thing, like any dress box they make there, honestly,

**Gizmo:** and the, they make the, uh, the, uh, the, the, um,

**Rooster:** oh, I'm thinking of the Probios

**Bam Bam:** box.

Well, they don't actually build, I don't think they build the actual box in the factory. Those are made elsewhere and I think they're brought to the factory. Yeah. It's the labeling and, you know, the artwork, application and adhesive. That's all done in the factory. That's right. No doubt about

**Gizmo:** it. All right, let's pause here on our Corona experience and let's talk about this experience we're having tonight.

Boys. We're a little bit under halfway through here. Yeah. On the Cohiba Landero. You're ahead of me. Talk

**Bam Bam:** to me, dude. The retro hell on this, I get a beautiful salty twang for me.

**Senator:** There is not an ounce of freshness or harshness coming through this stick. I don't know how at 2021, this is smoking this way.

Yeah, there's a, it's fantastic.

**Gizmo:** Can I get, you know, you guys usually gimme shit when a cigar doesn't go well, that my universe is not correct. Can

**Bam Bam:** you say that again please? [00:41:00] No, I'm talking to him. It's

**Senator:** fantastic.

**Bam Bam:** We gotta coin that. I like that.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. This is, uh, this is performing beautifully tonight. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** You know, for me, the, the, the notes have stayed consistent, but I'm getting a nice salty twang as I'm getting toward the center of the sky.

It's picked up a

**Gizmo:** little bit in strength, maybe a bit, but the sweetness is still the, the, the consistent note. Oh, yeah. That it, it really, uh, soothes all of those. Sure. This

**Senator:** is dessert. Yeah. Mm-hmm. And the best part of this cigar, we talk a so much every time we're reviewing a stick about where would you slot this in?

How versatile is the smoke? Anytime, anywhere. That's the thing. That's what I'm most excited about with this cigar. I would like this in the morning with a coffee. Mm-hmm. I'd have this in the afternoon, and I'm enjoying it equally in the evening while we're recording this, there's utility at every point.

**Bam Bam:** It's safe to say the best Cubans are the Cubans you can smoke at any time of the day. I agree with that. It's proving to

**Gizmo:** be the case, really, and most are. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. [00:42:00] That's true. Think about it. This is true. Not all, but most.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. And you know, we've talked about this. We've done so many landeros at this point in this block of landeros.

It's funny that we're actually kind of coming not to the end, but we're, we're certainly later in the journey here with the one that started at all. Oh yeah. You know, the Cohiba Landeros started this, this whole thing. We've done a lot of them so far. Yeah. And I have to

**Senator:** say, I'm glad this is the experience because you know, we reviewed so many new world land Ceros that have really surprised us, that have scored very high.

And when I think of the number of Cuban land Ceros, I mean, it's not like there's a ton to begin with, but we haven't had that same level of surprise or excitement. So it's nice to see a Cuban lands really surprise and even over-deliver. I mean, this is exceeding my expectations. Sure. I can't say that we've had like a fundi, I expect to be outstanding.

And I think we, we were all pretty happy with the fundi that we had. I wasn't [00:43:00] sure what to expect here. And with a lot of the new worlds we've been, you know, really unsure of what we would get out of it and been really surprised. Mm-hmm. It's nice to

**Gizmo:** see also

**Rooster:** when you smoke a hundred dollars Lenaro, you expected it to be, you know, a pretty good stick.

So the new world stick when you light up a lenaro that you might not even know the price, but you're not. Expecting it to be a very pricey stick. And then you are surprised by how well it performed. Yeah. And what kind of flavors you get for like a sub $10

**Gizmo:** stick. We've had plenty of those experiences.

That's probably blows you away. Oh

**Senator:** yeah. Well this, this is my, my one hangup with Cohiba. Right. Because the sad thing is at a hundred dollars a stick, whenever I smoke a young cohiba, I don't expect it to be great. No. And that's a problem, right? Like you should not spend a hundred dollars on a cigar, right?

And be sitting there saying, I don't think this is gonna be anything great for at least another five years. When you can buy a parus or an up man or an oil or really anything in, in, within just a couple years, be very satisfied with it. So [00:44:00] that's always been my hangup, but for me, especially GIZ giving me, trying to take me on this Cohiba journey to get him closer to where he is.

Giving me an ESP splendido, that's also gotta be what, like a hundreds now, like something crazy a stick, at least with roughly the same amount of age. And me being very underwhelmed with that. I came in expecting to be underwhelmed by this cigar. And I am not only satisfied, but this is one of the best land servers I've ever had.

Absolutely. If not the best. Mm-hmm. So would you pay a hundred bucks for this? No. Yeah. But would I pay like top dollar for this? Would I pay 50, maybe even 60 bucks? Sure. And for anyone who's ever listened to me talk about price on the podcast, I, I fundamentally don't think any cigar should be more than $40.

When I think of like the value I've gotten of a sticks that are, you know, $15, $20, 30, 40 at the absolute most, I don't need to pay any more than that to have an outstanding experience. Like some of my favorite cigars all fall under 40 bucks. So for me to say, I would actually, maybe I'd pay 50 or 60. [00:45:00] For me, that's saying a lot.

And I say that because. This is the most, I love dessert. Like, like Puba, if he were sitting here, would be probably over the moon smoking. I think he'd be gushing over the cigar. But I say that because he and I have very similar pals and we chase dessert like flavors. Sure. And this is dessert in a, this is the definition of a dessert smoke.

So I would pay top dollar for this. Yeah. Not a hundred, but

**Gizmo:** still a lot. It's nice to hear it. It

**Bam Bam:** is. You know, and the whole, this discussion about how much a cigar should be, I think it's up to the individual, very much like the individual pallet. What is someone willing to pay for an exclusive, elegant heart to get cigar?

Yeah. You're gonna pay that money.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. And, and what bothers me about it though is to your point senator, is that how ha Bonos has taken this and has gone so overboard with the pricing where Yeah, maybe at 50, 60 bucks we'd all be buyers of the cigar. Right. But at a hundred, it's just not something you can reach for very often unless you're just.

You know you have [00:46:00] bongo bucks, but it's just not a reasonable thing to do, especially to Rooster's Point. And what we've experienced on this podcast is how many of these $10, $12, $14 new world cigars when ceros have delivered amazing experiences. Oh yeah. It's crazy. Yeah, absolutely crazy. Yeah,

**Pagoda:** it's kind of tough, right?

Because I, I think the price differential doesn't justify for the marginal difference in flavor. It's, and I think obviously it depends on individual. Absolutely. But having said that, I, I'll tell you, is one of the few that, God, I've just let in the smoke just come over my face. Yeah. It's velvet. Yeah. It's, uh, it's very nice.

Oh yeah.

**Bam Bam:** Great aroma. Truly a celebratory cigar. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** And it's what bad about him? It's, it, I find it to be, I guess to your point, pagoda, I find it to be a very relaxing smoke. Like it one, like my heart rate goes down. It feels good in the hand. Like I just, I feel very elegant. It feels very elegant to smoke.

And it's nice, the aroma in your face, the smoking, it just, it just feels really good. Yeah. [00:47:00] Really enjoy it. All right. So let's talk about the pairing boys. Oh, yes. Uh, Senator can tee this up. He picked this, uh, wine for us at Elco Cero on the final night of our trip. Um, so talk to us. What, what is this?

**Senator:** Yeah.

So a as you might expect in Cuba, it's, it's not like there's a, you know, tremendous wine selection. They're able to import everything from everywhere. It's relatively limited, but to their credit, they're usually picking, you know, inexpensive bottles that are supremely drinkable. Um, and some even very enjoyable.

And I think this ended up being one of those for us. So this is, uh, Marquez de Casa Concha, uh, Cabernet Sauvignon. Uh, the vintage we had in Havana was 2018. This is 2019. The 18 vintage has pretty much run out. Um, so this was the oldest we could find, but, um, it's a wine from, uh, Chile, and, uh, it's. I mean, just great.

It's full-bodied, but velvety and smooth. Yeah. [00:48:00] Um, supple pairs

**Bam Bam:** beautifully

**Senator:** with this kohe. It does. It really does. And that's the thing, like a lot of these Chilean reds there, there's not this aggressive quality that you get out of some, let's say Napa cabs that just need time to smooth out some of that aggression.

Uh, which eventually builds into tremendous flavor, but starts with a little bit of a punch. And this only being a 2019 bottle. I mean, it's so velvety and smooth, which pairs with just how creamy and smooth this cigar is. So I'm, I'm glad this worked out, but it seemed like a lot of the guys liked this when we had it.

**Gizmo:** Oh, it's extraordinarily drinkable. How much was this again? I think when we got it here in the States, what was it? 16, 18 bucks. Like 18 bucks. Yeah. That's ridiculous. It's a very drinkable bottle. Oh, yeah. And that's

**Senator:** the, that's the thing, like when you're at a restaurant a lot of the time, especially in the us right?

Like you look on a restaurant, a wine list, and every wine out of Napa. Is like at least a hundred dollars a bottle at a lot of these places, right? The markup is crazy. You then go to these other countries, you look at Chile, [00:49:00] you look at Argentina, you look at Spain and that's where you get a ton of value where they don't mark them up as aggressively because people don't pursue them as much cuz they don't know as much about them.

And so it's nice like traveling to random places like Havana and kind of being forced, you, you don't literally, you can count on one hand the number of California wines that are on a wine list in Cuba. They had two literally. I mean that's it. I wonder why. And it's like everything else is from Spain, Argentina, Chile.

And um, it's nice cuz it forces you to, at least for me, get a little bit outta my comfort zone. And you find something that's such a great value like this and um, I think this definitely competes for best sub $20 cab. I

**Bam Bam:** find it to be very balanced. It's not trying too hard to be too minerally, too earthy or too sweet.

It really, it's pretty elegant and sophisticated for what it is for the

**Gizmo:** cost, and I like the dryness of it. It is a bit dry. Yeah. But I like

**Bam Bam:** that and I

**Gizmo:** happen to [00:50:00] love that. I like that with a cigar. Sure. You know, I think when you get something that's a little too fruit forward, fruit forward, it's a little too much going on.

Trying a little too hard. Even with a steak too, you know, it, it, it can throw your balance off when you're enjoying a great cigar, especially a hundred dollars cigar. We're having an $18 wine with a hundred dollars cigar and it's, it's holding up and it's holding up and it's not, you know, it's a lot of the cheaper wines.

I mean, they really do try too hard.

**Senator:** Mm-hmm. Well, I'm glad you said that. It, it's got a bit of dryness to it because you've probably heard me say this, but. I love wines that are a little dry, not aggressively dry, not bone dry like some bordo are. But you know, a wine like this, it starts like the front of your pate as fruit forward, but it finishes dry.

Yeah. And that's that balance bams talking about. Absolutely. Which I think makes this special because usually you have to pay way more than $20 to achieve that. I, you know, wines that have that quality about them, uh, a value is usually at 40 bucks. And where you really find a lot of them are at 50, [00:51:00] 60 plus dollars.

Mm-hmm. So to find a wine with that level of balance at $20 is crazy. That's awesome.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Incredible. All right, so back to Corona. So we've been through the torso door floor where we walked around and saw the torso doors rolling. We, um, went into, we didn't talk about this, we went into the storage room.

The cold room. I mentioned that earlier. But yeah, yeah's, there were, how many cigars did they say that were in there when we were there? Was it um, I thought it was couple million I thought in that

**Senator:** room before we were in there or after we left there. I'm just

**Gizmo:** kidding. That's funny. What em, what embargo

**Bam Bam:** was it?

I didn't hear that number. I thought it was 400,000. 450,000

**Gizmo:** cigars in that one room. I don't remember what the number was. It was a lot. Yeah. But they had

**Bam Bam:** beautiful, it was, I'm sorry, beautifully organized. You really can identify, if you know your cigars, you can kind of look. I know what that is. I know what that is.

That's a cool experience without the

**Gizmo:** band on them. And they're all [00:52:00] unbandaged until they're ready to be put in the box. Yeah. Yeah. So they live in that cold room. Oh yeah. You know, until they're ready to be

**Senator:** boxed. That was another room. The aroma dude. It was like there was air movement in there with the being that cold room and Oh my

**Bam Bam:** goodness.

So when you guys were in the group near the door, I walked through the path, someone was mirroring me. If you

**Gizmo:** noticed. Oh, yeah. Because you, they don't wanna grab and stuff. No, no. Because a lot of people are fortunate to go on these tours. Yeah. And as we talked about before, they want to take and take and walk out of there with handfuls of stuff and it's just like, yeah, that's a good way to get yourself never invited back.

Oh, yeah. Although

**Pagoda:** the lady out there was very friendly. She was. She's very kind.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. She was, yeah, she's very kind. Yeah, very kind. So, um, then we went upstairs to the, uh, the room where they made the boxes. We went through the banding room where they actually are banding all of the cigars and prepping them for boxing.

Um, went through the boxing room, like we said. Yep. And then we saw where they actually keep the master cases. [00:53:00] Uh, that are ready to be moved to Havanas with the Havana Seals on them. And there was something I found really interesting and do you remember? Yeah, I, I actually called the manager of the room over the date.

Yes, there were, because there were half Coronas specifically. I saw a box of half Coronas up monds of up half Coronas from 2021. And I was con confused, like, why are these still here? Why are these not in the distribution chain? Why are the shelves empty in Spain? In Yeah, in Europe and in in Australia. Why are these sitting here?

You know? And what they said is they only roll a certain amount of them at a certain time during the year, and they hold them until they're called for by havanas. It's amazing. So that does lend me to believe that ho Bonos is a little bit full of shit.

**Bam Bam:** Oh yeah. They're controlling their global inventory.

**Gizmo:** Right? And they're trying to keep the cigars scarce. Well, this, I really believe

**Senator:** that this also explains it. It's been very baffling to me how you walk in certain retailers and you see a box that's got a few years of age on it and you're like, if you're moving inventory all the [00:54:00] time, how do you have a 2020 box of something that you're gonna convince me that's been sitting there for three, even two years, that would explain it?

And I didn't understand that for so long until you're hearing that they're literally just holding stuff with AIDS sometimes because supposedly it hasn't been called for. And then the retailer's getting it later.

**Gizmo:** It's, it was pretty amazing. And then seeing all those, the master crates there, I mean, I've never seen the master crates.

That was the first time we were in that room band. It's impress we weren't in that room. It's, it's impressive.

**Senator:** I wanted to load up a plane and just fly us all back. Oh my goodness.

**Gizmo:** So that concluded our tour. And then, uh, we head down. We, we went back downstairs all the way down to the first floor and we were very fortunate to be invited to sit and have coffee in a cigar, uh, with the director of the factory os Mar the man.

The man, great guy. Um, really enjoyed the time with him. Uh, and we had some wonderful conversation with him. Yeah,

**Senator:** we did. I mean, what a guy, you know, we obviously talked about, uh, our experience at Elto and meeting Dan Nilo, who's the [00:55:00] production manager there. Um, and, uh, Oscar, who is the director general, and it's so funny, you just, you remember, and, and we went there first, right?

Elto, and you remember talking to Deni Nilo and so amazed by his knowledge of cigars in this business, despite how short of amount of time he's actually been in it. And he very readily says, I learned everything I know from os Mar Yeah. Who's at La Corona. And so how surreal it was then to fast forward like a couple days and we're sitting in a room with Os Mar and I was blown away by all the cigar knowledge that Daniel Nilo shared with us.

And this is the guy who really kind of started it all and, uh, it sounds like is just viewed as, you know, I think Gizmo has said that the hefe Delk, like he, he's had such an imprint on,

**Bam Bam:** he's the godfather of cigar production and quality and the ability that he has to keep everyone happy in these compounds.

It's astounding.

**Gizmo:** So I think, again, the thing I, I want to temper our enthusiasm for the [00:56:00] listener. In this way. Again, I wanna say it because we are not celebrating Tabba Cuba. We're not celebrating Havanas, we're not celebrating the Cuban government. Part of the using our pseudonyms on this podcast is we don't want them to figure out who we are, so we can't go back.

Right. Well, you're also

**Bam Bam:** being very diplomatic because they're not

**Gizmo:** good to their people. They're not good to their people. They're horrible to their people. But on a micro level, what we can see, Because they have no reason to impress us. They don't give a shit about a podcast. They don't even know what a podcast is probably cuz it's not accessible to them.


**Senator:** don't, they don't care. We care to describe it as a radio show. Yeah. They don't care. The

**Gizmo:** only way they understood, they're not trying to impress us and, and, you know, make us feel some sort of distorted view of what they're doing. Really, it comes down to, I think that they are trying to develop as best they can, a family atmosphere to try to treat their people well.

The people who are manufacturing these cigars, they're trying to treat them well because, like Komar said, in so many words, Happy people make good cigars. Yeah. [00:57:00] And I think that at his time in Lato and his time in the other factories, I think he's worked at all the major factories, he said, except part I, I don't remember if it was up or Pagus that he hadn't worked at, but he's run all these factories and he spent 10 years at Lato and now he's been a Corona for four or five, I believe.

Um, and he's trying to, which

**Senator:** even that is so fascinating, right? Yeah. I mean I was sitting there when we first learned that, and you hear, you think of like, Lato is like the Mecca. Like if you are the director general there, that's probably as good as it gets. Like that's the mountaintop for that job. And I was so confused.

Well, why would he be moved to La Corona? Nothing against La Corona, but like it's hard to beat that job. And it was so cool to hear that he's so good at it. And essentially because they produce so much more at La Corona, his impact could be magnified in such a huge way. By him sharing all of his knowledge and instilling his process and his way at the factory that produces more cigars than any.

Yeah. It,

**Bam Bam:** it's gotta be like a five times the, [00:58:00] the size of the enterprise. Ad la Corona, you mentioned the amount of control that you need to have over that. It's astounding.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. And it

**Rooster:** also makes sense that he's been there like four to five years and you see the, the production quality. You know, getting like much better.

Like I remember like nineteens 20, 21, 20 twos. That's interesting. Even. Yeah. The Civas are smoking better. We're having a 21 lens. I mean, although it wasn't, wasn't rolled at uh, LA Corona, but a lot of the younger stuff is smoking really great. And we have yet this, yet they've been consistent. It is. We haven't really had many draw issues with the, uh, newer

**Bam Bam:** boxes.

True. Think about how much better the Monty Two's got.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Right. Yeah. Especially since 2018. 2019. Exactly right. And a lot of them are made of Corona. Yeah. Most of them.

**Senator:** Yeah. Well, that's what was cool. So Gizmo during this discussion with, uh, smar. In gizmo's broken Spanish was,

**Gizmo:** was, you know, there's always a jab there, fam.

You hear that? I heard

**Bam Bam:** that and I love it. I shut his mic off. No, leave it on to, [00:59:00]

**Senator:** and so Gizmo was trying to say basically that we as the consumer, noticed a difference in just the last few years, like Roosters saying. And it was cool to see os Mar's reaction. It was as if he hadn't really heard that before from an American consumer.

And uh, it's gotta be really validating, which is cool for us to be able to share that in. Yeah, I think he was being

**Gizmo:** very modest. Yeah. Yeah. Very humble.

**Bam Bam:** It's exciting though to have that thought of it, of, of what's happening there. It's really exciting. Gives me goosebumps.

**Pagoda:** Honestly, and mind you like these guys, what I'm, uh, producing about 5 million cigars annually.

Yeah. Uh, but, uh, considering his vision where he nearly wants to double it up and go to mm-hmm. 9 million by, uh, 2030, that's in the next seven years. This is a guy who knows his stuff and uh, wants

**Gizmo:** to do it right. I think on a micro level, really I believe that they're trying to do their best, at least in what we saw in these two factories.

I believe that the people in leadership on the ground are

**Senator:** trying to do their very best. Yeah. And, and on that, cuz I think it's really important and I, I, [01:00:00] I think I've got a very sensitive bullshit meter and I don't think any of these people we're talking to are bullshitting us. And I say that because, um, what we were hearing is being done there and what the experience is like now.

It was crystal clear was not always the experience there and there was no like dancing around that issue, right? Mm-hmm. For Smar to sit there and say, Recognize that more needed to be done to support the people that work there so that they can bring their best selves to work every single day and produce good cigars.

I mean, that's an acknowledgement that that always hasn't been the case. That's true. And that he needs that to be the case. To do his job. And them to do their job. Mm-hmm. And I remember him saying, and we had a translator that was very helpful during all this, but he was explaining how when he started there, he had a meeting and went and met with everyone that works at that factory and said, what do you need to get by?

Not, here's what we're paying. You take it or leave it. What do [01:01:00] you need to make ends meet for your family? And he was gonna do everything in his power to try to at least fulfill that. Yeah. If not more. And that's like a huge departure from I think, how most things in Cuba work, which is this is the way it is.

Yeah. And this is the way you will accept it there. There's no negotiations. What are you gonna do about it? Right. Yeah. Yeah. And that was really powerful. If

**Bam Bam:** you remember the, to Elto, they had crates of eggs distributed throughout the facility. Why? Yeah. Yeah. Because they wanna make sure that they have protein and take home for their families.

That's a, that's a mark of the director.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. And if, if, if, let's think about it. If a torso door is sitting at work all day worrying about feeding their kids, of course, of course they're not gonna be able to focus on their work. Yeah. That's, that's just a patent. Yeah. Truth small in, in any existence. Yeah.

If you're worried about feeding your children, you're not gonna, you're not gonna be able to focus at work that day. Small gestures like that

**Rooster:** go so far. I'm gonna try that at my stores tomorrow. If you guys gotta sell $5,000 a day, each person, I'll give you guys some

**Gizmo:** eggs.

**Pagoda:** Hey, hey, listen, that's an example of leadership, but I'll [01:02:00] tell you, those Cuban omelets, those Cuban omelets are fantastic.


**Gizmo:** with the hot oil. Oh, so, uh, pagoda mentioned that, uh, they're, they're trying to, uh, increase the production out of Corona over the next, say, five to seven years, correct? Yeah. 20, 20, 37, 2030s, the number, they're, they're almost trying to double the production. And what was the number? It's escaping me.

They're trying to move up to a certain number of tors, I think it was 350 or 400 was the number from two 30 to 300. That was it. Two 30 to 300. That's what they're gonna try to get to in the next couple of years, and then increase the production. And

**Pagoda:** these are not the employees, these are the ro

**Gizmo:** rollers specifically?

Just the rollers. Yeah. Yeah.

**Senator:** And, and even just along the lines, we're talking about the people. How much of a focus that is there. I mean, I couldn't believe, I remember we're going there and they have this position, the Tuda, is that right? Yeah. Yep. And I'm sitting there like, what, what is this position? And like for any.

Anyone in certainly the [01:03:00] United States, but, um, many of other countries will relate to this. It's basically like the head of hr. I mean, like that person's job is to make sure that people are happy, they have what they need. And, and that, I was just stunned that in any Cuban business, um, especially something that, uh, obviously has an influence on the government, that there would be such a focus on things like that, that someone gets paid literally just to make sure, yeah, people have what they need and it can do their job.

And, and

**Gizmo:** you know what, and they read, they read the news on a daily basis. Yeah. So, so she has a platform, uh, on the floor where all the torso doors are, that she has a microphone and she'll read the bus schedules, she'll talk about the transportation. Certainly, I'm sure that it's very challenging every day.

I'm, I'm sure that it's very difficult to get these people to and from work. Uh, she'll read the news, she'll read, you know, various things to them, you know, so that they're aware. And obviously prior to the advent of the internet and cell phones, which they all have now, Um, you know, that's, that's, it's where they got their entertainment during the day.


**Bam Bam:** It's so cool. It's almost this all kind of winds down to the focus of, [01:04:00] to really getting the rollers to focus on one thing, the quality of the work that they're doing under net. Right. See the second indirect quality control. Yeah. To get your thoughts off of your problems, to help you as much as possible to focus on your work.


**Pagoda:** amazing, I think. Yeah. I think, uh, they had a party the night before Ed on Wednesday or something. We missed it. Yeah. They had a party for all the employees to go and I, that's right. I think, I think one of the guys had mentioned he was a bit bit hungover,

**Gizmo:** so we, uh, we had a wonderful cigar and a wonderful cup of coffee, by the way, even at these random places.

We're sitting in a conference room at Lan Corona. The coffee is unbelievable. It's

**Senator:** outstanding. Yeah. I have to say, I don't drink much coffee. It was good. It was excellent. It was. And

**Gizmo:** the ventilation's horrible. Oh, the ventilation's so bad. I was worried Senator

**Bam Bam:** would be bouncing off the walls.

**Senator:** I was on my best behavior with that giant photo of Fidel Castro. Oh boy. Above Rooster's head.

**Gizmo:** By the way.

**Rooster:** That was the earliest we got up during our whole trip to make it to the tour. Yeah. [01:05:00] What are we,

**Gizmo:** we had to be there at 10, right? Yeah. Oh my Lord. Why? Oh, my

**Bam Bam:** Lord is right.

**Pagoda:** But you know, uh, they were talking about that they're gonna try and build a place where they, you know, I think people are gonna be allowed to come and smoke and

**Gizmo:** That's right.

Drink. Yeah. For guests. They're gonna have like a lounge. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** So they showed us beautiful interior renderings. Renderings of a lounge. They're gonna build at the top floor somewhere that

**Gizmo:** I can, you know where I think it is? Bam. Is, I think it's on the second floor. Oh yeah. Right next to the, the sorting room.

There's a door right there. I think that's the room. It's gonna Very cool. And I think they're almost done with it. Very cool. The

**Senator:** renderings looked really

**Gizmo:** nice. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's nice that they're spending the money there for the tourists and the, the government, uh, visitors. Did they use you?

**Pagoda:** Bam. They did not.

All right. Ah,

**Senator:** damn. So the whole thing's gonna come crumbling down in a few years.

**Bam Bam:** They'll use two by fours to hold up concrete.

**Gizmo:** So boys, this kohe ands is performing beautifully in the second, third here. I'm, uh, you know, I've, I'm honestly, I've had a few duds [01:06:00] out of this box. Really? Um, yeah, cuz I, I picked some, when I smoked them that I could tell were more densely packed and were probably gonna have draw issues, which is a common thing with, uh, small ring gauges.

We've talked about ad nauseum, but, you know, I've had some duds out of this box. So, for the five of us to be sitting here and none of us experiencing a, a difficult smoke tonight, especially for a hundred bucks a stick. Yeah. Is a welcome

**Senator:** relief. That's what I was gonna say. At a hundred dollars a stick. No big deal if a few of them don't

**Gizmo:** smoke.

Oh yeah. How much ho much did you pay for these? I think I paid 60 or 70 at the time. Wow, good for you. Yeah. So did you, which at the B by the way, at the time felt like a real, real, real gouge, obviously now in hindsight, no.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, it's not the case. Did you inspect the foot of every cigar

**Gizmo:** before I brought them tonight?

Yes, I did.

**Bam Bam:** So you pulled out the ones that you assumed would

**Gizmo:** be. Yeah. A challenge. Yeah. And I, maybe, maybe that's a good thing to talk about for the listener. So yeah. I'm curious

**Bam Bam:** about that as well. So did you separate those cigars? Are you gonna dry box them? Maybe.

**Gizmo:** So the ones that I pulled for us tonight, um, I isolated, [01:07:00] um, a couple weeks ago.

Mm-hmm. I put them to the side and, you know, I kind of said, these are for the, where did keep them wizards? I kept them in the box, just separated. I had a little, you know, in your tower. In the tower. Okay. They were in the tower the whole time. So, which, which shelf On the

**Senator:** tower.

**Gizmo:** Shelf two. But you,

**Bam Bam:** you noted earlier that you, you, you separated cigars or pulled out cigars that you assumed won't be smoking well or that won't

**Gizmo:** smoke.

Well, no, I pulled those, I smoked those, uh, in the, in the, in the last few months. Okay, got it. Yeah. But I was reaching for cigars that I thought might give me a challenge because I didn't wanna bring those here. Okay. You know, when we're gonna record. So I'm just glad that maybe I got most of those outta the box.

But we're talking probably 10, 15% of the box was, was a challenge, you know. Wow. Three, four cigars already. Was this rolled at the Lado? Yes. M a r. Awesome. M a rgo 20. I

**Rooster:** wonder why, why didn't we do this when we talked about Lego?

**Gizmo:** That's a great question, rooster. I appreciate. Yeah. Who's the

**Bam Bam:** manager here? What the

**Senator:** heck?

Gizmos fired. Apparently the hefe over

**Gizmo:** here turn GIS mic off. Honestly, I thought it was a good way to [01:08:00] segue the conversation we had two weeks ago with a brilliance cigar. I thought it was a way to segue, you know, Corona to, to lato and vice versa. So there you go. That was my thinking thought wrong

**Senator:** rooster's.

Right? But both work

**Bam Bam:** Garan is fired. Only one bottle.

**Senator:** I didn't know everyone was

**Bam Bam:** gonna love it so much. Oh dude, we

**Gizmo:** know. We love that.

**Rooster:** This cigar just keeps getting better. Sure. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** It's, it's unbelievable. On the last third. Yeah. I'm just coming in the last third. Now it's, it's really performing great. I think you and

**Bam Bam:** I are the same point.

It's stunning how good this is.

**Gizmo:** So, rooster, you've had other land zeros. I mean, where does this compare for you? Have had other Koji. You've never had a Koji. Yeah, I

**Rooster:** have, but while back, I mean, any other cohiba I've had, it's different. Like, I mean, I distinctly remember a Koji or Boosto from like, you know, like 20 14, 15 had more, a little more sp a little more ooph to it.

[01:09:00] Um, the young one was, wasn't that great, but this is in a different world. Yeah. So I don't think I've had an older lancer though.

**Gizmo:** I had a 2008, I think I mentioned earlier on the podcast. Mm-hmm. And it, it really mellowed out and chilled out. I think I'm actually perform, uh, preferring this kind of vibe right now.

Yeah. Over the oh eight. But the oh eight was, was a really brilliant cigar. I

**Bam Bam:** had a 2022 in Cuba and I, you know, I loved it. You did. This is better.

**Gizmo:** Much better. There you have it boys.

**Rooster:** I mean, it gives you hope that even if you buy like, you know, fresh Saros, if you can get 'em at a decent price, keep 'em good

**Gizmo:** luck.

I mean, uh, they'll smoke.

**Pagoda:** Well, I think the way you guys should think about it is it's investment. I think the price is nearly doubled. Well, the

**Gizmo:** market's

**Rooster:** downed. Like, I don't know. I don't think it's going above this.

**Gizmo:** I'm kidding. I absolutely think it's gonna come

**Senator:** down. I just wanna say this as the resident watch person here, this is exactly the same type of market [01:10:00] where everybody says, look at the price of watches.

This is ridiculous. It can't possibly go higher. And you fast forward five years from then and people are saying, holy shit, I wish I would've spent 10 or 20 grand or whatever it was at the time for X watch. And it just keeps going up. I do believe this will continue to increase in price. I really do.

Outrageous. Outrageous. That's crazy. I mean, I was just reading, there was an article this morning, um, oh man, what was it? It was actually talking about another product and then it related it to the cigar market. Um, Caviar, something that young people are starting to spend a lot more money on vapes, and it known like a, a higher end, higher ed product.

And it was comparing it to the cigar market, how there's been an explosion in cigar smoking among younger people, particularly in the US and how they're starting to want to spend more money that they view this as like this luxury that's worth, [01:11:00] um, spending money on. And how accessible cigar information and content.

Honestly, podcasts like ours, it's kind of the lens. I was reading this through social

**Bam Bam:** how media as well, I think, well that's big. Has had a big, a big, big hand in. Increasing the popularity of cigars today. Well,

**Senator:** that's the thing. And increasing the accessibility of just information like Yeah, sure. So many people they were talking about who maybe were very predisposed to wanna enjoy cigars but didn't know how to smoke one, didn't know how to procure them.

All the stuff that we hope to share with the world through what we're doing. Um, and so it was just as I was reading this and I'm like, wow. I mean, the numbers are exploding among younger adults and you think about what that's gonna mean for the market, for this product. Yeah. In 10 years. I mean, to me it's no question.

And the prices are gonna continue to

**Gizmo:** climb. Well, ha, bonos also views this that we have in our hand as a Rolex. Yeah. But how many Rolexes have you had that don't tell time? Like, are there 10 to 15% of Rolexes that just don't work? You know, kind of like cohiba landeros, you [01:12:00] get 10 to 15% of Cohiba, landeros are not smokable, you know, which is the major criticism of, of, of Havanas with their approach here is that you're smoke.

You, you, you have a handmade product in your, in that we're smoking and sometimes they just don't go. Yeah. You know, and so it doesn't justify something that, you know, they're comparing it to handbags and watches and cars. And

**Senator:** it's true. And I also hate to break it to them. You smoke a cigar and it's gone hour.

It's gone. It's gone. That Rolex is gonna last generations and even a handbag is gonna last a long time. So,

**Pagoda:** so essentially a box of this is equal equivalent to a Panai

**Bam Bam:** or a Louis Vuitton handbag maybe. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** More like a

**Senator:** handbag. Yeah, there's a little panai You can

**Gizmo:** buy 500 bucks. No you can't. No,

**Bam Bam:** they're over, they're like

**Senator:** 6,000 now.

No, maybe 10, 20 years ago.

**Gizmo:** Maybe ACO

or a Rolex with two Ls. So, uh, wrapping up our visit to La Corona, uh, is there any other [01:13:00] takeaways that we didn't hit that that kind of resonated with you guys? Stuck with you guys? You know, I, I

**Bam Bam:** think sitting in that conference room, this is the second time for you and I, it was really heartwarming. It, it was just fantastic.

It felt like we were part of what they were doing. They were ingratiating. Uh, it was just a very warm experience.

**Gizmo:** I'd have to say. I, I think that they appreciate that we don't ask for anything. Yeah. Oh, of course. You know, we show up there with do, I mean, we showed up there with a suitcase full of

**Bam Bam:** stuff.

Also, the enthusiasm though, I mean, we have a great enthusiasm for this. Yeah. And I think they see that.

**Gizmo:** And they, and they know that we want to educate. Sure. And we show up with a suitcase full of stuff that I gave to the elector. Mm-hmm. To, to give the torso doors. Yes. Medicine, clothing from Rooster. Yep.

You know, toys, baseballs, uh, smar, the, the director of Laona is a big baseball guy, very involved in the youth baseball. So we gave him some stuff to give away to his people. Yeah. I mean, it's just like we show up there to give, not to take. And that I think is a message. We're not patting ourselves on the back by sharing that with you listeners.

It's if you do go to Cuba, it's all about giving and that's where the joy is in it. [01:14:00] All of these experiences are great, but what you really. The connections you make with, with human beings there. And our ability as Americans to do so much with so little, um, it's, it's really pretty monumental and very impactful.

It's, at least for me, and they were

**Rooster:** very happy to talk to us too. You know, they answered all of our questions Sure. Because they knew that we were inquisitive and that we do a pod and then we were there, you know, to learn more about the culture and about the cigars that are being rolled and, uh, about the people rolling them, about the director, the whole mm-hmm.

Whole history and everything about Lock Corona.

**Gizmo:** So it, I mean, it was a, it was a, yeah, it was a fantastic, it's giving us

**Bam Bam:** a chance to really put this out where prior to before our trip to Cuba, uh, we had no idea what a factory tour was like. What it was like inside. Yes. So it was eye-opening. Well

**Senator:** going, building off of what Rooster just said.

That was kind of the last point I was gonna leave the listener with. I think we talked about this a little bit. With [01:15:00] Allego, and I think we saw where a lot of this stems from, which is Smar was just like the willingness to share knowledge and information and be transparent. And Daniel Nilo Oh yeah. Teed that up.

Very much so about how, you know, there have certainly been director generals in the password. That's not really the style. Kind of the old guard in Cuba is this is what we do, we do it extremely well and it's not something that we need to share with everybody or talk about. Right. That's the secret sauce.

And Danil was so transparent with us. And then to hear from him, I learned everything I know from OS Mar and to sit down with Os Mar and it was like, and and his staff, it was like no question was off limits. Mm-hmm. There was a willing you

**Gizmo:** were the hard questions. Correct. Which it, it unfortunately, it's just.

It's not all rosy.

**Senator:** Right. And even what is this tension between the folks who on the ground are actually responsible for producing cigars and the investors who owned, you know, Havanas A and are, there's a huge tension there, obviously. Yeah. We learned that from Denio. Yeah. It was, uh, there were a lot of conversations, but I, the biggest shock, [01:16:00] to me, nothing at any point was off limits.

And I think we're all just eternally grateful for how much they were willing to share.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. And I think, you know, in our. Future visits when we go back there, we're just gonna be able to double down on this. You know, having known the people that are there, they know our faces, they know our intent, they know who we are, and they know why we're there.

I think that's just gonna allow us to keep pulling the layers of this onion back and getting deeper to the root of this thing that we love. Yeah. I would love

**Rooster:** to go back and just sit in that room where we sat towards the end of the tour. Like we don't have to do the tour again. Mm-hmm. Yeah. But just to sit there and spend like half an hour, like an hour, smoke a cigar and have a cup of coffee and just, we might have other questions.


**Pagoda:** And then of course that to the terrace right

**Bam Bam:** after. Absolutely.

**Rooster:** Yeah. Maybe the

**Gizmo:** lounge will be open. Oh, that'd be amazing. Yeah. That'd be great. Yeah. Yeah, it was a great visit. Great week. And you know, like we opened this conversation just as such a [01:17:00] contrast from what we experienced at Lato, you know, but like Senator just said, there was a thread tied between.

The leadership on the ground, not tabba Kuba, not havanas on the ground at these factories where I believe that the people on a very micro level are really trying to do their best. I really believe that.

**Pagoda:** No, absolutely. And they're focused on making the best of guys they can. And with a huge disconnect with how they're actually brought out to market.

**Gizmo:** Well said. Very well said. So boys, we're in a final third here of the Jibo Ander. I can't believe how good the cigar is. Still, it keeps getting better. It does. You notice the ash, the color of the ash on this. It's super dark. Yeah, it's like a very dark gray Yeah. Charcoal. Yeah. Yeah. So the intensity's picked up a little bit for me a bit.

The, the smoke is still cool though. It's not, uh, it, the, the cigar is not heated up for me, which I'm, I'm happy about. No

**Bam Bam:** rough edges, but I know what senator's looking at right now. So the ash color from cigar to [01:18:00] cigar, it differs. Mine's cutting kind of lighter. Mine's a light

**Senator:** gray like most

**Gizmo:** Cubans. Yeah.

Yeah. Mine's a little

**Bam Bam:** dark. Mine, mine. But we, but what truly, I know you don't like this, but we are stacking dimes here. The layering is beautiful. It

**Gizmo:** is. Anybody out there playing? Bam, bam. Bingo. Uh, okay. Stacking dimes. Stackings

**Senator:** baby.

**Bam Bam:** God, help me.

Sorry. Ba give me patience.

**Pagoda:** It was great to, you know, I wish I could photograph, I should actually, the cloud is smoke right above

**Bam Bam:** your head. It's like a halo. It's a halo. Wow. It's very fitting.

**Senator:** Is it? Really?

**Bam Bam:** Well

check the past episodes, ladies and gentlemen.

**Gizmo:** So we mentioned, uh, Ramon Ionis, uh, earlier in the podcast when we were talking about, um, [01:19:00] other cigars that we smoke. Obviously we smoked the rassle lot. We love that cigar. Uh, and last, uh, Last time we did, uh, the, the, the second episode we did the Lego episode.

We talked about, we smoked the Ramons 1 0 9, Ionis number two. Ah, okay. Which was the, uh, the el from 2019, which got a 10. Yeah. And I wanted to talk about this with you guys. Uh, so they announced and they released, they've actually released, it's actually in market. I actually saw some in Cuban. We were, uh, Cuban when we were there.

A new regular production size, which is the Ionis number three, which is five and a half by 52. So it's kind of a rib robusto. Yeah. A little bit larger than the RAs. Mm-hmm. Um, and it's going to be a new regular production cigar from Ramon. Interesting. Which is nice to see. Yeah. I want

**Senator:** them to make a torpedo.

Yeah. I mean that damn number two was so good. Oh yeah. I want them to have a standard production Ramon on its number two. That

**Gizmo:** would be amazing. Yeah. Like a, just make a pyramid of the same [01:20:00] size of the Monte two or the, uh, that'd be incredible actually. Or the P two. That would be great. That would be great.

We'll bring it up to us tomorrow when be, unfortunately, I think that's a Haas decision. He may show

**Bam Bam:** you right out the door.

**Gizmo:** You know what's nice too? The, the thing I know, uh, that, that I'm into is that, uh, they're pricing it at 19 bucks a cigar. Mm, that's good. Very good. So, you know, given what we've talked about with a bonos.

It's nice to see a regular production Ramon coming out. Yeah, that's great. Under 20 bucks a stick.

**Senator:** The gray market will be 50,

**Bam Bam:** maybe 80. He's not wrong.

**Senator:** So one of the other cool things, uh, during our discussion with Smar and his team at La Corona, we were talking about, this was probably when we were in the boxing room where they were like assembling all the boxes.

How many cigars are in a box? And right now I think, oh yeah, most of them we purchase are 25 count, you know, in a box, whether it's a dress box or somebody, boy nature, whatever the case may be. And he was talking about how it [01:21:00] used to be the case that the King of Spain and Spain is, I actually think to this day they say like, more Cuban cigars are sent to Spain than anywhere.

There's some like stat like this.

**Rooster:** Yeah. I think that came about when Gizmo asked him why is there a certain times you open a box and there's like a wooden piece,

**Gizmo:** a block on the, on the lower level or

**Senator:** cardboard? If it's a cardboard or dress box. Yeah, yeah.

**Gizmo:** On the lower level then that's, that was the, that was his answer.

**Senator:** Yeah. So he was saying that the King of Spain, um, had wanted 26 cigars in a box, and then at some point that changed. To 25. I think it was like easier to count or something like that. Like everything just being 25 multiple. Yeah. Like to very easily do the math. So they had to add that little cardboard piece if it's in a dress box or that little piece of wood.

Mm-hmm. Um, and so apparently now, especially as they're having a shortage of boxes, I think both Gizz and Bam, your first trip before we all went as a [01:22:00] group, were talking about how they apparently have all these cigars on the island. They don't have boxes to get them out. That's true. At least allegedly.

And if that's the case, it'd be better off for them to try to fit as many cigars per box as possible so that they have to use less boxes. So we were told that there is talk about in the future, going back to 26 count boxes, which would be

**Bam Bam:** pretty cool. Yeah, that's

**Gizmo:** a big move. Oh yeah. It seems like a waste of space to ship out a box with a piece of cardboard or a piece of wood in it instead of another cigar.

Yeah, it is. So like would a cab become 52?

**Senator:** No, because a cab cab doesn't have that. No, it

**Bam Bam:** doesn't have that block. But I hope the dress boxes don't get packed even further than they are already. That's true. Okay. We don't need that. Okay. Please.

**Pagoda:** So, you know what's interesting is they have more cigars on top.

That's 13 on top and 12 below. Yep. And you would think that it'd be the other way around because if you put 13 down, the gap between the two cigars would form enough for them to put 12. But [01:23:00] it's, it's opposite. Mm-hmm.

**Gizmo:** And it's also, you know, it's all about that presentation they want. When you open that box, all the cigars are color matched, perfectly aligned, all the bands are perfectly aligned.

They want you to have that initial whoa moment, uh, when you open your box of cigars, but, but it tells

**Pagoda:** you that they think about everything, meaning it is really remarkable.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Yeah. So I wouldn't mind if they put 26 cigars in a box, but the problem is the price is gonna go up. Yep. No,

**Pagoda:** I hope the price

**Gizmo:** goes down.

Oh, I don't think so.

**Bam Bam:** No, that's a pipe dream.

**Gizmo:** Apparently there's some more prices and increases coming, but, um, I haven't gotten solid information on that yet. Mm-hmm. But I've heard that there's two more coming this year. Damn. I don't know if that's true, but I guess we'll

**Pagoda:** see. Please don't tell us ignorance is a bless.

**Bam Bam:** No, it ain't.

**Gizmo:** It's crazy. All right, boys, so we're coming to the end of our evening here. Uh, do you want to do the formal liquid rating on the Marquez wine? Sure. Let's do it. All right. Bam. [01:24:00] Bam, you're up. Well, I, you

**Bam Bam:** know, I love this, this cab for the balance that it has and how sophisticated it is for the price.

I'm giving it a 10. Wow. Wow. Like a, like, like Senator said, it is so drinkable. I can go through a bottle in a sitting and really be very comfortable.

**Gizmo:** Okay. 10 pagoda. I'm

**Pagoda:** at an eight. Okay. I think it's very flavorful. Very tasty. It's a bit dry. Um,

**Bam Bam:** A bit dry. Yeah.

**Pagoda:** He's not a

**Bam Bam:** wine drinker. No, he's not.

**Gizmo:** Senator whose head, just the back of his head just blew off.

He's gonna the,

**Senator:** you're gonna have to clean the walls. Cause my head is literally about to explode. Oh, I'm sorry. I can't believe he gave, I can't believe this.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, yeah. Just by smelling the glass, I would've given it a nine. Yeah.

**Senator:** I mean, wow. Jesus. Well, to eat his own, well, this is making my life a whole lot easier because I've been back and forth between a nine and a 10.

He's at an 11. Just about definitely, [01:25:00] definitely having to give this a 10 to balance this out. Uhhuh and I will feel very good doing it. And I'm in lockstep with bam, in the sense that. The hardest bottle of wine to find is the sub $20 bottle of red. With that balance, the single most difficult thing to do in all of wine, you can find a bottle of white easily at that price point.

A bottle of red gets really difficult. This drinks better than any wine at its price point. Uh, it's a 10. Okay,

**Gizmo:** so I'm gonna give it a nine. I'm right in between you guys. It's not quite a 10 for me. It's not my favorite thing I've ever had. I'm certainly with you on the price point thing, but I've had quite a few bottles of this since we got home, cuz I bought a case of it like Senator did.

Um, it's not a 10 for me, it's a nine and I'm very quick question. Comfortable with that

**Senator:** of 20 or less bottles. What would you prefer to

**Gizmo:** this? I would definitely take Oberon over this. Yeah, Oberon, definitely. I feel the

**Bam Bam:** opposite. Oh, I do too. Think this is, honestly, I do [01:26:00] too. This, I take the Oberon over this.

So the Oberon's nice. It's a great table wine, but there's a bit more sweetness to this right. Than I get here. And it's, again, you gotta go back to the balance when you're balancing this sweetness and a bit of the earth tone and it's not overwhelming in any way. That's a sophisticated bottle of wine.

**Senator:** I'm glad you brought this.

That's what I wanted to ask. I was curious You were gonna say that? Yeah. You, so you

**Gizmo:** don't prefer the Obon over this? No, I don't. Right. So let, let me just say before you give that, so the, but I love the Oberon,

**Bam Bam:** but I, I happen to think this is

**Gizmo:** better. The formal liquor rating on this is a 9.3. Uh, so the reason why I wanted to say that is I think a 93 for this is actually a perfect score.

It's a perfect score. If I were to, to rate the Oberon, I'd probably give it a 92. If I were to rate this, I'd probably give it a 90 or 91. That's how close they are for me. That are very good. But it's a nine. It's a solid nine

**Senator:** for me. That's fair. So I take no, as always, the composite lizard score is always right.

I have zero issue with a 93. I think it's perfect and deserving. The thing I do wanna talk about, you mentioned that you prefer you give a bit of an edge to Theron over [01:27:00] this to me, for a listener who's trying to decide between the two, I think that Theron lacks legs in the way that this does. Um, I say that as an Obon is a.

Medium to full bodied cab that as a result of it not being squarely full is so easily drinkable. And I would even say gu, you could just guzzle that stuff down. I mean, it, it's like very easy drinking wine. I don't know that it always holds up really well with food or with something else in the way that where, why I give this the slight edge is I think this has a bit more structure with.

Delivered in an even more, much more sophisticated way in my agreed opinion. Agreed. Agreed. And this, to me, holds up much better with as far as a steak, as as heavy a meal as that, or with something that is, you know, not, you know, even chicken or something not as aggressive as red meat. Sure. So for [01:28:00] those reasons, I think like when you, if you want a full-bodied red that's gonna be delivered in a velvety, supple way, this is the bottle.

If you want a medium to full bottle, that's, um, just going to, you know, be sit out on the deck and just pound a bunch of wine, then then's a wine. Yeah. Yeah. You can

**Pagoda:** definitely pound a lot more than this. I, I think for me, what it did with it just really dried my mouth up quite a bit, and I'm not sure why, uh, but you know,

**Senator:** that's the

**Pagoda:** structure in the wine.

I mean, that, that's, yeah. And after a while, like it's not something I can drink like a lot of, uh, over a period of time. And maybe that's why. So I'm not sure. Right.

**Senator:** We're gonna get you some yellow tail.

**Pagoda:** I'm not a wine drinker.

**Gizmo:** Sorry.

**Senator:** I'm

**Gizmo:** so upset with an eight. So I gotta say this is one of the higher rated wines that we've actually done. Is that right? Yeah, so I, I'm just looking through the list here. You know, if you guys wanna call some wines out that we've done the stags leap. Artemis [01:29:00] was an 80, uh, 8.8.

I'm surprised, which I was surprised that the, uh, iter, uh, that we did, uh, on the John Gibson memorial episode was a 9.0. Um, that was a good wine. And then, uh, Oberon, I don't know if we rated Oberon. We didn't, I don't think we did. We should do it. I don't have it on the list here. Maybe a listener could tell me if I'd missed it, but, or I can look, but I don't remember that we did that Senator understood how Mountain, Hal Mountain, we did that.

That's right. So the Hal Mountain got an 8.4. Hmm. What now? Guess, guess why

**Senator:** that was?

**Bam Bam:** Wow. Oh, he points

**Gizmo:** to pagoda and

**Senator:** Pagoda said he brushed his teeth before he came, so that impacted, but I was still upset about that.

**Bam Bam:** How much is the Howell, uh, mountain Senator?

**Gizmo:** 80 bucks, isn't it? No, no, it's 40,

**Bam Bam:** $48. Okay. It's a pricey bottle of, of wine and the stags leap.

Do you remember doing how much that It's like 65 now? 65? Yeah. And how much is this? 18. 18. Thank you. Thank

**Gizmo:** you. [01:30:00] The

**Senator:** other one that we did, bam. Bam, Esquire, case closed. Thank you.

**Gizmo:** $18. The other one was the Jordan that got a 9.0. So this is one of the higher rated wines that we've done. The value

**Senator:** is tremendous.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. So many factors

**Gizmo:** in its favor. Yeah. And a listener, like you said, a listener who's just getting into wine or is not very experienced. This is a very low risk investment. Yeah. At 18 bucks. Absolutely. All right. Okay, boys, we're coming to the end here of the Cohiba Landero. The Lato number one. How you guys feeling?

How are you

**Bam Bam:** feeling? I love it. How far down are you about

**Gizmo:** me? Uh, I have about, about an inch. An inch left. Okay.

**Bam Bam:** Me too. I like it. Mm-hmm.

**Gizmo:** What do you

**Rooster:** think? So, so good man. So good. Oh yeah. Good to the end. I mean, it did build up some strength, but you still get the same sweetness, the same, you know, baking spice, floral nose.

Can I have a little bit more?

**Bam Bam:** There's no more left

**Gizmo:** Pagodas asking for more wine. I think he's out. Someone's have,

**Senator:** someone's [01:31:00] have to restrain,

**Bam Bam:** he's out.

**Senator:** I'm just gonna say when we're at my place, my seller is close to Frigo.

**Gizmo:** Senator, how you feel about the cigar before we

**Senator:** raid it? Very good. So the funny thing is, this is a perfect example of a cigar that I didn't wanna be too quick to say anything about The final third. To me, you really need to look at the final fourth. And I say that because with the fundi, sometimes the final quarter cannot be, that is not that enjoyable for me.

Uh, a, a fair amount of the time, actually, the whole three quarters of it. Fantastic. It's just that last bit. Yep. And so I've been waiting to see how this is gonna perform. It's even great in the last

**Bam Bam:** quarter. Yeah. It's much richer now. I'm about an inch away and there's a, I'm getting a lo I'm actually getting a lot of coffee and earth tones here.

Earth notes where I'm not, I didn't get

**Gizmo:** early on. Yeah. The sweetness is kind of [01:32:00] faded. It's dissipated, but

**Bam Bam:** it's gotten richer through the coffee rich.

**Senator:** Very, it's savory now. Yeah. And a lot of these cigars, when we say like, oh, it's picked up in strength toward the very, you know, final third or final fourth of it.

A lot of the time, like when we say it's picked up in strength, it, it's tasting more like hot tobacco. Yeah. And that it's just stronger than what we were getting before. Bam. Calling out these notes, I think are spot on. Like coffee I'm actually getting Yeah. It, it's maintaining flavor. It's a richer flavor down

**Bam Bam:** to this.

It's uncanny if you have certain espressos that pulls that, that earth note into that coffee. That's exactly what I'm getting. Yeah,

**Pagoda:** no, I, I, I preferred it in the second half, and the last quarter is definitely more in my wheelhouse, so

**Gizmo:** yeah. This is really good. Very good. All right, you guys ready to do the, uh, formal blizzard rating on this thing?

Can you go higher than a 10? No. All right. Rooster, you're up? Yeah, it's a 10. Okay. It's some

**Rooster:** absolute 10. It can fit like any time during the day, [01:33:00] afternoon, evening. It's very versatile and, uh, it's, it's fantastic.

**Gizmo:** It's great, Senator.

**Senator:** Great. This is tough for me because yet again, I'm bouncing between a nine and a 10.

Mm-hmm. If this were purely based on flavor, it is a 10 for me. There's no doubt there. I know where it's got value, but I can't not factor in price. That's just to me, it, it, it has to. Right. Like if I'm gonna give a cigar a 10 and I wanna pursue it all the time, like this is so cost-prohibitive, I'm not gonna pursue this all the time.

Hmm. I'm not gonna smoke a lot of these. I wish I could, but at these prices, it's just absurd. You can't. So what about at the

**Rooster:** price that Gizmo got this

**Gizmo:** box

**Senator:** for 70 is still too high. I think I paid 60. 60 is like the very end of what I'd be willing to pay, but I'd only smoke that very infrequently still. I mean, it would need to be sub 40 for me to smoke this, pull this out at least monthly, if not even more.

So I'm gonna have to go down to a nine. [01:34:00] Um, because I gue, I guess, here's the best way I can put this. If, if I were gonna give this a 10 at a hundred dollars a stick, it would have to be the greatest cigar I've ever had. Yeah. And that would mean that even at a hundred dollars a stick. I'd pursue it. Not a lot of it, but I'd pursue some of it.

And this to me, as an outstanding cigar, I would happily smoke this again. But will I pursue paying a hundred for this as if it's one of the, as if it is the greatest cigar I've ever had, I won't. And so that's the only reason I have to round down to a nine. Have you found

**Gizmo:** a cigar

**Rooster:** that you would pursue at

**Gizmo:** a hundred dollars?

**Senator:** If I could ne, if I had no more Vegas Reina 2011 Classicos. Big time left. That's big. And I, and I wanted another, which I will always want another. And some popped, uh, somewhere it popped up at a hundred a stick. I would absolutely buy it. I totally can send

**Gizmo:** you my half

**Senator:** box Yes. Or a hundred dollars stick.

**Gizmo:** Yes. Yes. All right. I'll see. Yes.

**Bam Bam:** I'll split that with him.

**Gizmo:** I mean, I'm not kidding. Ba box. That's good. That is, [01:35:00]

**Bam Bam:** yeah. What? I do not, he does not. I do not. Uh, he's, I do not have that. Don't start that

**Gizmo:** rumor. I'm sorry. Two, two and a half boxes.

**Bam Bam:** Senator. It's not true.

**Gizmo:** Bams getting ready. He's getting,

**Bam Bam:** oh boy. I'm out.

**Gizmo:** All right. So, uh, so here's how I'm gonna go on about this. So, I, I've, I've really fallen in love with this cigar, uh, as you know. I paid 60 bucks for this. That's how I'm looking at the cigar. And I'm also looking at the cigar I have in my hand, not the, you know, call it the cumulative experience I've had with the specific box, which has been, I've had a couple duds, uh, just in, in, in construction, which I've dealt with, with the perfect drawing.

They ended up okay. But tonight, this cigar is absolutely one of the best cohibas I've ever had. No question about it. Um, and it's 60 bucks a stick, which I paid for it. Uh, and this experience tonight, this is absolutely a 10 for me. [01:36:00] Um, I, I certainly respect what you said, Senator, about value. I think at a hundred hundred 20 to replace this box.

I do think that has to factor in. But this specific cigar, absolutely a 10 i l, everything about this is perfectly designed for my pallet. This cigar is perfect for me. If I could only smoke one cigar regularly. F price not factored in for the rest of my life. I would absolutely reach for the Jibo and Sarah.

It is perfect for me. So

**Senator:** can I say one more thing I forgot to mention in kind of my review? Um, the other reason, as you're saying that, when you were saying it's a perfect cigar for me, I was sitting there saying to myself, well, oh, it's also the perfect cigar for me, but I'm realizing that there is one thing missing, which is actually why I'm feeling a little bit better about my nine not taking issue with your 10.

That's perfect for you. Sure, yeah. That's a P thing. Yeah. But what I'm realizing is when Bam talked about the richness in the finals, uh, quarter and the coffee [01:37:00] and things like that, the perfect cigar for me would be. Exactly this. The dessert notes are unbelievable, but with a bit more richness actually in the first three quarters of it.

Okay. It was a little milder than the perfect cigar for me. So that's the the other reason that I'm, I'm at a nine.

**Gizmo:** Okay.

**Rooster:** Pagoda. I mean, I kind of

**Gizmo:** like that, that it built up,

**Senator:** but it only got to it at like the very final quarter. I mean, I would've wanted it to change like halfway. I want more of this.

**Rooster:** Yeah.

But then again, I like the floral notes in cigars. Sure.

**Gizmo:** Trooper. So Of course I do so,

**Senator:** and let's not forget it had a pigtail. Yeah. Well, that's just a bonus.

**Rooster:** I put my own pigtail on

**Gizmo:** cigars. All right. Pagoda.

**Pagoda:** What do you think? I'll rate it.

**Gizmo:** I think you're gonna give it a nine. That's my guess. You're

**Pagoda:** right.

There you go. It, it's a nine for me. And you know, I, I think Senator kind of explained it in his second half. Like I preferred the second half, and I wish [01:38:00] there was a bit more of that richness in, even in the beginning. Not that I did not enjoy it, but it, like, for me, it would be more a morning cigar for me, typically.

Mm-hmm. But towards the end I'm like, oh, damn, this, this is wonderful. Um, so I think nine is a fair score score from my perspective and considering the price point, you know, I, I don't think I'll be ever be able to reach it, so

**Gizmo:** bam,

**Bam Bam:** bam. You know, so when I first took the first few draws, I, I, I would never, I wouldn't consider this.

Uh, a dessert cigar. I find that cobra that we had, remember that cigar, the RGUs that was dessert from beginning to end. For me, that's a quintessential dessert cigar because that had had a lot of age on it and, and a ton of fruit. This started off with slight dessert notes and baking spice a hint of it.

But then as you get into the coffee, toward the end, the complexity and the balance of this, for me, it is a 10 at 60 bucks, but at a hundred [01:39:00] dollars, I'm not gonna go near this. I'd be at a nine for, at a hundred dollars.

**Gizmo:** Well, we, we are rating this cigar for what he paid, right for the box.

**Bam Bam:** I, I will give it, I, I'll give it a 10 for, because of that.

**Senator:** I'm surprised that you wouldn't call this a quintessential dessert cigar. I say that because we were getting so much honey. We were The first third of this is just, but your note straight, honey, your, your

**Bam Bam:** note early, just a moment ago was spot on. It wasn't, it wasn't a a in your face dessert. Right. It was very

**Gizmo:** subtle.

That's fair. Yeah. So, uh, again, it always works out. I think the composite lizard score here boys is perfect at a 9.6. Okay. A 96. I think that's perfect for this. Fair. You are, I kind of agree that's fair for the how this, how this performed. Alright. I agree. And I think with even a little more age, another three, four years, I think this could reach 98, 99.

Um, I, I think it could very well get there.

**Senator:** Hmm. I'm very happy with that score. Yeah. I mean, my fingers are starting to burn. That's how good this is in that last quarter. I, I can take no issue with that. Yeah. That's rare

**Bam Bam:** for

**Gizmo:** you. [01:40:00] Well, what an excellent night, boys. Yeah.

**Pagoda:** And it's smoked really well, by the way.

Yeah. Yeah. Combustion

**Gizmo:** great,

**Rooster:** great construction, combustion, everything. I

**Gizmo:** mean it No touchups. So

**Senator:** I think going forward, gizmo should procure these and only give us the ones that are gonna

**Bam Bam:** smoke perfectly. And the ones that are, I'll smoke the dust and the ones that are 60 bucks each.

**Gizmo:** All right, great. So, uh, wonderful, uh, conversation about Corona tonight. So we're gonna continue in two weeks, part four of our Cuba trip. We're gonna wrap it up, uh, in two weeks, and then, uh, yeah, we'll continue on, uh, hopefully do some interviews and whatnot. Uh, and we'll be back in Cuba sooner rather than later, hopefully.

And, uh, certainly for any listeners out there who have questions about going to Cuba who want a little initiation, feel free to email us, um, or hit us up on the dms in Instagram. Uh, glad to help. It's absolutely worth the trip. Would you guys agree? Absolutely.

**Senator:** Life changing. Oh yeah, life changing in the best way.

Like, oh yeah. I don't even say the exaggerating, it's just, I think Gizz [01:41:00] said before, like the impact that all of us here, doesn't matter how much or how little you have in America. Anyone is able to really improve a person, if not several people's lives in Cuba.

**Gizmo:** Absolutely. All right, so an excellent night, a 9.3 for the pairing tonight, the Marquez de Casa Concha wine from Chile, and a 9.6 for the Cohiba.

Landrow. I'm very happy with that score. Oh, I was nervous, man. I was nervous driving here. I was nervous. It was an elegant

**Bam Bam:** night. It was, it was. It was an excellent, a

**Senator:** beginning to end.

**Gizmo:** Thank you, G. Of course. Thank you guys. Thank you G sir. And uh, we'll see you. Like I said, we'll see you back here in two weeks for part four and, uh, we'll see everybody next week.

Hope you enjoyed this episode. Thanks for joining us. You could find our merch store and ratings archive at our brand new website, lounge lizards pod.com. That's lounge lizards p od.com. Don't forget to leave us a rating and [01:42:00] subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. If you have any comments, questions, if you wanna reach out, say hello, tell us what you're smoking, email us hello 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.