Lounge Lizards - a Cigar and Lifestyle Podcast

LOUNGE LIZARDS PRESENTED BY FABRICA 5 - Visit Fabrica005.com and use code LIZARDPOD at checkout for 10% off THE ENTIRE STORE! Free worldwide shipping from Miami on all orders over $125. See website for more information and terms.

Recorded at Ten86 Lounge in Hawthorne, New Jersey the lizards pair the Cuaba Salamón with Tequila Ocho Reposado Barrel Select Widow Jane. The guys do a deep dive on the history of Cuaba, they discuss two recent football documentaries, and they answer a listener email about the ethics of buying Cuban cigars and traveling to Cuba.

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

website/merch/rating archive: loungelizardspod.com
email: hello@loungelizardspod.com to join the conversation and be featured on an upcoming episode!
instagram: @loungelizardspod

What is Lounge Lizards - a Cigar and Lifestyle Podcast?

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

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

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

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

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

And our plan is to smoke a cigar, drink some tequila, talk about life, and of course, have some laughs. So take this as your 98th official invitation to join us and become a card carrying lounge lizard. Plan to be this year once a week. We're going to smoke a Cupid cigar tonight, share our thoughts on it.

And give you our formal Lizard Rating. We review the history of Coaba. We discuss two football documentaries we watched recently. And we answer a listener email about the ethics of both buying Cuban cigars and traveling to Cuba. 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 Tequila Ocho Reposado Barrel Select Widow Jane with Cuaba Salamones.

A double perfecto tonight from [00:01:00] Cuba. It's the Kawaba Salamone. It's a massive, and boys, when I say massive, this is massive, 57 ring gauge, by seven and a quarter inches long. This is

**Bam Bam:** gonna be

**Gizmo:** a long smoke. This is gonna be a long smoke. I'm, my gut says this is gonna be a medium affair, given how much tobacco's in here.

I'm hopeful that that's the case, that it not that heavy though. It's very light. It is. I'm hoping the draw is not a problem.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. Some of the reading I did earlier, it does call it a full bodied cigar. Some of the language on some sites.

**Gizmo:** Let's just see. All right. Well first let's cut this thing. Yeah, I'm with Rooster.

It's actually light. It is. Oh, yeah. Yeah, there's not much tobacco in it I'm hoping that it has good draw and yep light affair. We'll see.

**Bam Bam:** Oh my god. The cold draw is delicious. Oh Wow, it's a complete contradiction

**Gizmo:** from the wrapper and it's wide open. Yeah

**Bam Bam:** Anybody getting peach? [00:02:00] Fruity? Mm hmm. That's

**Senator:** there.

Bizarrely, you're right. Right? Yeah, I get it.

**Gizmo:** That's strange. Alright, now I'm excited. I was very nervous about these. Just cause this is not a little bit of a commitment. This is a lot a bit of a commitment. I even brought another set of cigars just in case this fell on its face. It's also a bit ugly. It's a listener's secret.

It's a bit ugly. Pretty a cigar. Well, we'll see what happens. It's rustic. Right. Ha ha ha. All right, boys, let's light it. The Kawaba Salamone. It's a double perfecto. 57 ring gauge by seven and a quarter inches long. And we're going to light that tapered tip at the end and let it open up. So the draw might disappear for a while and come back.


**Bam Bam:** these are tricky to light. You know, if you over light it, you're burning the wrapper. It's easy to burn. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** You just light the tip. Yeah, exactly.

**Bam Bam:** And it always. I don't know, this Fatola always needs a little [00:03:00] touching up for me. Never can get it even burned initially.

**Gizmo:** Just, just leave it alone. Just light the tab

**Senator:** and leave it alone.

The key with this early on is patience. It won't burn evenly. If you start drawing too aggressively on it, you've got to just wait and take it slow. And then once it opens up, once it gets to about like the wide, uh, wider ring gauge, then you should be in good shape all the way. Solid advice. But I say that because we smoke a lot of the Padron 80th, which is a similar,

**Bam Bam:** um, Different wrapper.

That's more, it's got a, it's a bit more rugged than this. Yeah, but the shape, shape

**Gizmo:** is same. So the factory code on this thing is BRM, March 23. So La Corona factory, March 23. And, you know, we've been smoking younger Cuban cigars. So that's a new thing for us. You know, some of the stuff we've been smoking is six months, eight months, four months old.

So for how much tobacco is in this. How big this is, and I would assume how much time the tobacco would need to acclimate [00:04:00] to get to a very evened out place as far as, uh, humidity wise. I'm hoping that, you know, the, the four or five months that we've had them in the tower at about 60, it's going to work out.

I gotta

**Bam Bam:** say. It's kind of nice on the draw, the initial draw. Pungent.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, what are you guys getting flavor wise?

**Grinder:** This is like, very medium, smooth. It's not creamy. Definitely got that, that kind of musty, Orange. Ashy, cedary

**Senator:** flavor.

**Gizmo:** There's definitely a cedar thing coming off the, uh, There's

**Grinder:** some odd sweetness that I get.

Every other second, there's like a hint of floral and jasmine.

**Gizmo:** Jasmine? Jasmine. Pretty good pickups. Jasmine. You're not getting that? I like jasmine. I

**Grinder:** like it too. I'm getting

**Gizmo:** it. Are you? I can see it. No, it's all working. These are weird. These are odd notes, but they're not wrong. Like, these are notes, peach, jasmine.

Yeah, I mean, I, I, I

**Rooster:** get some, uh, floral. Yeah. But I couldn't [00:05:00] pinpoint, like, jasmine. You know, it's not my palate. It's not that refined, like, grinders. Actually, I have jasmine plant at home for the flowers at night and it puts out those white flowers. Beautiful.

**Gizmo:** I like the scent. The scent is awesome. We have them as well.

**Grinder:** You do? Yeah. Maybe that's, you know, yeah. Recollect. Yeah. I love this. I'm sure it's going to bomb on me at some point when like it gets ammonia y, if it will. Hopefully not. I mean, it's just so young. Cute. This is a young. Yeah, it's a very young Cuban. I think the youngest Cuban I've ever

**Gizmo:** smoked. Yeah. Roughly five months old.

Five, six months old. But what I'm finding and why I'm comfortable doing it is number one, if somebody orders this to smoke with us, this is the box code that they're going to get likely. Yeah. Or close to it. And number two, Cubans have just been smoking so great young, you know, because you pull the humidity down and That's the one.


**Senator:** was just going to say, we smoked some cigar recently that was incredibly young. Was that a 23?

**Gizmo:** November [00:06:00] 22. It was

**Grinder:** delicious. Still very young. So gentlemen, what's your record here? Do I touch this up? I'm showing my cigar for the listeners. Not yet.

**Senator:** Not yet. Yeah. I would just

**Gizmo:** wait till it opens to the full bulb.

**Senator:** Yeah, I would take a serious draw to just try to heat that so that it naturally takes care of itself.

**Gizmo:** I think the other thing that benefits this too is obviously in this blend. It's it's not a strong blend I don't think there's a lot of lejero in this So I think that from a time stamp, you know Time wise I think that Hopefully with this not being a super dense packed cigar and being a medium bodied affair.

Yeah, hopefully it'll perform. All right, you think it's gonna be a quick a smoke? I don't think it's gonna be quick, but I don't think we're gonna get two hours out of this. Yeah, that's what's how this is

**Bam Bam:** burning That's what you see on some sites regarding this cigar to our

**Gizmo:** Affair. Yeah. Yeah. We'll see what we get.

Probably an hour

**Bam Bam:** and 10

**Grinder:** [00:07:00] minutes. I'm not, not familiar with the two hour affair.

**Gizmo:** Two hour saga. So this cigar was originally released in 2003, so it's about 20 years old. It only comes in a dress box of 10 cigars. Um, and what's cool about Quaba, and we'll get into the history in a little bit. Quaba was designed to produce Figueroa cigars in, in the late nineties.

It was the, Only brand introduced in the nineties, uh, after Cohiba. So Cohiba was 1982, officially launched, obviously founded way before that. Officially launched as a commercial brand in 1982. And this was the, uh, the successor to Cohiba as far as Haos launches, uh, in 1996. And these are the cigars that they were designed to make.

Just perfect those and Fidos. That's it. You know, it's

**Senator:** funny because I, I love Perfecto and Fidos generally, but I, I, for some reason, I've never. piece together that that's all that Quabba makes. Hmm. That's true. For some reason, I just [00:08:00] assumed that

**Gizmo:** they had other They only make, I think, three Vitolas, right?

Uh, so right now they make, they make five or six, I believe. They have the Divinos, which is a Petit Perfecto. The Exclusivos, which is just a regular Perfecto, 46 by 5 and 3 quarter. The Traditionalis Petit Perfecto. The Distinguidos, which is the little brother to this, not much smaller. It's 52 by six and three eighths.

And this, the Salamone 57 by seven and a quarter. And they have a new release coming. It was announced in 2019 typical Habano's delay called the Britannica's extra, which is a 48 by five and three eighths. It has not been released yet. They have a bunch of discontinued cigars. And what's cool about this cigar specifically, and most of Coaba cigars actually came from previously released special releases in like special humidors and stuff in the late nineties.

So they started with, you know, fancy humidors auctioned off at, you know, Habana's festivals and various things. And then, uh, the cigars, I guess that did [00:09:00] well in those or performed well. For folks, um, they decided to release them as regular production. The other thing that's cool too, is that this brand alongside Cohiba and Trinidad was at launch designed to be a premium brand.

It was designed to be up there with the, you know, core brands, Cohiba, Partagus. Montecristo, Upman, and Not regarded, not regarded as such. I wouldn't say that 25 years later.

**Senator:** Someone lost their job.

**Bam Bam:** So I've had the Divino and the Distinguido. Had a box with a bigger one and a Divino, I was gifted. I find they all share a similar trait in that they have a distinct floral note that they all share.

It's unusual. This thing, Guido's got more coffee. This, I agree with Grindr. To me, there's a little barnyard in this and some sweetness. The Divino, it's so small, it's actually quite delicious. It's all coffee and a little bit of floral. [00:10:00]

**Senator:** This is actually my first guava. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** Ever. I think that, yeah. Any

**Gizmo:** kind.

I think the only one I've had was the little one, the Divino. Yeah. I think that's the only one I've had. I actually thought when we got these, that these were Distinguidos. And then I was looking at it, I was like, and I was looking at the dimensions of it. I'm like, this is not a Distinguidos. This is definitely a Salamone.

And I actually put it up to the poster on my wall, which is like all... The size chart. The size chart. Yep. And I was like, okay, this is a Salamone.

**Grinder:** This is very light. Um, and the Retrohale... It's where I think you can get a lot of flavor. It's

**Bam Bam:** delicious, the retro hell. Yeah. Yeah. Also, the Distinguido's got a darker wrapper than this guy.

I'm getting such

**Grinder:** good flavor in the retro

**Gizmo:** hell. I was talking too much, I gotta touch mine up here. I see.

**Bam Bam:** I tried to retro hell. I see, everyone's trying to retro.

**Gizmo:** No, you know what it is? It's like,

**Bam Bam:** I have sinuses all the

**Gizmo:** time.

**Pagoda:** It's like, this is just not a good move for me. But still, I've gotta definitely try [00:11:00] it.

**Grinder:** Yeah, it's a, it's a, it's a big stick, but it's definitely got a light touch. I

**Bam Bam:** can't complain about this cigar

**Gizmo:** yet. Yeah, this is really good so far. Yeah.

**Grinder:** Yeah. I mean, I, I like the aroma, the aroma on this, like the, what do you call that? The, the

**Gizmo:** aroma. At the burn line. The aroma at the burn line. Yeah. I think the foot smell, you know, the foot smells nice.

The burn line there. I think that where the smoke's coming off of the head of the cigar smells great too. And the dry, it's all lining up for me. It's


**Grinder:** like. I'm just, I'm curious to hear more from the guys with the stronger palates here because... This is

**Gizmo:** from 23? This is from March of 23.

**Bam Bam:** Well,

**Grinder:** there's definitely some youth in it.

Like, you can, you can get some, you can taste a little youth,

**Rooster:** right? But it's, I mean, it's not bad. This is the only 23 we have done, right?

**Gizmo:** This is the only, yeah, this is the only Cuban, Cuban 20, 20, 23, we've done certainly the biggest Cuban we've done in a long time. I mean, age is only going to help the

**Rooster:** [00:12:00] cigar for, for being so young,

**Bam Bam:** it could mellow out the notes as it gets older.

So I've had at that box of Distinguidos for a year. Initially they were pretty hard to smoke. They weren't great. So I. Tried another few, six months, eight months, the last two at the final end of the year, they're actually very good. So I think they need to sit. That line. This one's much better.

**Senator:** I think I will say, I mean, I think you do taste a little bit of the youth, but it's like pleasant youth.

I don't think it's bad. Yeah. Yeah. Like sometimes you have like a young D4 or young Rast and you're pleasantly surprised. Oh yeah. That's kind of what I get out of this. Like there's nothing offensive. I'm getting it all from the cigar. It's not like overwhelmed with ammonia or anything like that. And I'm just shocked that for, I mean, Coaba, which I don't have that much experience with, plus the fact that it's not aged very much at all.

It's complex. Yeah. Tasty. I mean, I don't know how many young cigars I describe as starting out as complex. Usually the complexity builds over time, but it's [00:13:00] not really present right up front. And this is definitely complex.

**Bam Bam:** I want to ask Pagoda a quick question. So this, you've got a stronger power alley.

What do you think of this? As far as the robustness of a cigar, you like a deeper

**Pagoda:** cigar. You know what? I've been really enjoying this. I think over the last year I've begun to realize, um, actually I've begun to enjoy a lot more of the medium bodied cigars as well. Yeah. And I was, you know, I think we were having a conversation with Gizzy the other day, I said, I'm not reaching on to exclusive those all the time.

Like I could pound three of those a day and now I'm just doing,

**Bam Bam:** you know, now I do like one at the end of the night or something evolving.

**Pagoda:** I am evolving. I'll tell you, that's a great company.

**Gizmo:** You're right. Actually that came up because I asked him, I was like, you know, I haven't seen you smoking Padron exclusives in a while.

And he said, I hadn't been reaching that. He hadn't been reaching for them. Right. Because he feels like his palate's kind of moving in a, that's what happened with me though. A wider direction.

**Senator:** He did like one the other night and he had a big smile on his face when he said I hadn't had

**Grinder:** an ecstasy,

**Pagoda:** because then it tastes so [00:14:00] good.

It's awesome. It just tastes so good. It's like, it makes you realize what the hell you miss.

**Gizmo:** And he's just like the official podcast, by the way, of the Patron Exclusive. Well, it could never leave us, right? I mean, we, we just never miss an episode. So, uh, what was your journey with that grinder? With what the, with, with your palate?

Adjust your pal.

**Grinder:** Well, it was, I had a stronger palette. I like, I mean I like really, really strong cigars up until like eight, you know, I would say 8, 8 19 maybe. And then nine 2019. So

**Senator:** around the pandemic? Yeah. Yeah. Pandemic changed around the pandemic, right When it hit 19 years old . Yeah.

**Grinder:** Around then, that's when I was, that's when I started to smoke more, uh, you know, less, less, you know, less strong, you know.

So you

**Bam Bam:** had an body placebo at 19? No, I'm,

**Rooster:** let's hit the joke again.

**Grinder:** Anyway. So, so I think, I think it's just, I don't know, think your palate changes and, and I've got more into Cubans with you guys, you know, and that

**Senator:** changed a lot. [00:15:00] I

**Rooster:** think for me, and I mean, maybe it's true with everyone once COVID hit. Everybody was home, so we were smoking a lot more cigars. So

**Gizmo:** when you're smoking a day, you

**Rooster:** can't smoke all padrones back to back to back.


**Gizmo:** you can't.

**Senator:** I mean, you can. Other cigars you can't, but padrone you can. That's a

**Grinder:** good hypothesis.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, I agree. So

**Rooster:** maybe we were looking for like something a little bit milder, medium smokes to kind of build on and then end with a... Or

**Gizmo:** just

**Bam Bam:** to kill the boredom of the typical cigar. I'm

**Senator:** glad Rooster said that because now you probably understand.

You've heard me on other episodes where I'll say a cigar is just a little too full for my palate because I'm still, even without the pandemic, a four to five cigar a day kind of person. So that's where like too much strength when I'm going to have that many smokes in a day. It's just overpowering, where if I'm going to have one or two, then no problem.

And that's where that factors in for me, the strength. It

**Gizmo:** is amazing how the pandemic changed [00:16:00] smoking habits. I mean, obviously we kind of bonded through COVID. That's really when this group came together. That's true. Welcome

**Grinder:** to the Lounge Lizards podcast. We're seven guys during the pandemic looking for better ways to spend their time smoking cigars.

We should have that in the tagline of our podcast, because it's like, you know, pandemic kind of fueled a lot of the fire. You were talking about The podcast went over, you know, over around the fire because we were distancing and stuff. And then we had to sit outside. Yeah. And we, and that's where all those initial, you know, really the bonding kind of took place is over the campfire with that stuff.

And I don't know, it changed a lot. I think it was the Genesis for this. Yeah, for

**Pagoda:** sure. Yeah. But it seems like it's everywhere, right? I was hanging out in another lounge in Long Island and it seemed like even over there, it's quite a few of the guys I spoke to a lot of people's Uptick in cigar smoking started around the pandemic.

And, and the thing is now it's become more of a consistent lifestyle where people at least [00:17:00] smoke, you know, a couple a day at least, you know, which was never like a daily thing for some of them. But it's interesting that COVID did change quite a few things. And the

**Gizmo:** data backs that up too. I mean, we've talked about the rise of cigar imports.

We've talked about the, the demand on Cuban cigars over the last four years, three years, which is, I mean, even think about where. Cuban cigars were when we were starting to really buy. And then we doubled down and went crazy buying during COVID. Thank goodness. Let me ask you

**Grinder:** this. Do you think everything changed?

Do you think there was a pop in a significant, let's say a statistically significant pop in the number of cigar smokers versus You know, just the existing cigar smokers buying more shit.

**Gizmo:** I think it was a little bit of both. I think for sure. Both because I think people were bored.

**Senator:** Exactly. I mean, if you think about even when we were at our, a former lounge, once things reopened during the pandemic, there were people who joined during the pandemic [00:18:00] that were some like relatively new cigar smokers, some who smoked every now and then, but not really.

Super frequently, um, I, I think it's definitely a combination of both. I mean, Puba, I'm pretty sure joined our old lounge during the pandemic. I said he, yeah, the only place he could find it was it as well.

**Gizmo:** Didn't you? I joined at the tail. No, I guess I did. Yeah. Cause I joined him and then Pagoda did too.

And Pagoda joined right after me. Time is like warped to me. Like I don't, I can't pinpoint dates anymore, but yeah. So Puba was there first. You, you know, uh, Grinder, uh, Senator and Rooster and Bam were there. Far longer than, than the oth the other three of us. Uh, but then, uh, UBA had joined. I joined I think two or three months after him, and then Pagoda joined a month or two after me.

And then this all came together pretty amazing. Paon and Chocolates. Yeah. . But I think that , I, I was,

**Senator:** I,

**Grinder:** I, we were, some of us were playing golf the other, the other [00:19:00] day, and I smoked a couple PO drones on the golf course because of all the times that we've been in this podcast. And

**Gizmo:** UBA would be like, That's that's a go to cigar for a golf course like it, you know, you could smoke

**Grinder:** this in a hurricane kind of thing And I was like, okay.

I'm on the golf course. I'm definitely gonna smoke padrones all day. And Yeah, I mean

**Pagoda:** can't go wrong. Yeah, it worked out. Well, right nice. I smoked

**Gizmo:** padrona. Yeah So this cigar is really really good. How much is this cigar? This is about 25 bucks. What? Yeah That's, it's lot of tobacco in this dude. What, what Cuban cigar is.

Hundred I'm, you're right Ben, I'm surprised by your

**Senator:** reaction. Let, let's just be, let's understand with the pricing right now, a re a Cuban re robusto is 20 bucks. If you want a D four RAs, it's $20. It's nothing under, this is way bigger for 25 bucks. I think given where the market is for these, this is a very fair price.

**Grinder:** Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** I just bought a box of Monty Twos for just under that.

**Senator:** I'd buy that over this. I mean also, sorry, but. You know, [00:20:00] obviously you love the Davidoff Millennium like I do. That's a 30 something dollar stick and that's just a torpedo. It's a pyramid. This is bigger than that and this is cheaper.

**Gizmo:** That's true.

So you'll find these anywhere between... Case closed, Senator. You know how, but you know how the internet is. You can find these for 25 a stick. You can find them for 45 a stick, right? So, I found them on the lower end of that. You know, you can get them, you can get them really high. Damn. Forty three bucks.

Okay. For a cowabba. Yep. Pagoda, you were, you were gonna

**Pagoda:** say? I was about to say, Bam, I need to know your source for money, too. Because I think I, I pay like

**Gizmo:** twenty eight bucks. My source? He doesn't know his money. Can I just say something? You guys play the same amount. You're looking at the source.

**Bam Bam:** Hahaha. Oh, you are the source?

No, you're looking at everybody in the room. Hahaha. Thank goodness. We lizards take care of each other.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, I'm

**Rooster:** surprised you found, you found Monty II's for under 20 bucks

**Gizmo:** a stick. No, it was

**Bam Bam:** like, it

**Gizmo:** was 28. No, it was like 6. 75 a box of 25. It's around 27, 28. Yeah, that's true. [00:21:00] So, you know, going back to the intention of when Habano's formed, this brand is a premium brand up there with Cohiba thinking that they were going to bring the Figurados back, which were, I guess, were very popular in the early, you know, 1900s, 1920s, 1930s, they fell off during the seventies, especially, and this was their attempt to bring that back to Cuban cigars in Coaba, make it a premium wine, um, And I just don't think it is.

What year again? No. Did you say they founded this line in 1996?

**Grinder:** 96. So they,

**Gizmo:** I don't know if

**Grinder:** during the cigar boom. Yeah, but that was the big cigar, like the thick, the 60 ring gauge popular then?

**Gizmo:** Well, no, but they also launched, you know, this didn't launch till 2003. Alright. But a lot of the other cigars that they have are, you know, smaller little perfecto.

Yeah. You know. You know, Petit Perfecto is kind of Robusto length or, you know, Corona length, you know, um, so it's just, it's just [00:22:00] interesting that their intention just totally fell on its face. And I look at, even when you go walk through, we were fortunate to go through Corona factory when we were in Havana, uh, the times that we've been there.

And it's like, that's where most co op has rolled. Yeah. There's a whole bunch, 10, 15, 20 rollers that all they do is roll figurados all day long. Co op, uh, you know, there's a big, and you're sitting in the, in the, the La Corona boardroom. And there's a picture of Fidel to your left, and in the center of the room are all of the, the...

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, and the Kawaba emblem is right in the middle of it all. That's the biggest

**Gizmo:** one at the top. That's right, that's right. So it's an interesting... Yeah, there's something disconnected there for me and how they market the brand, the, the, the packaging, the, the, the bands, and then that it doesn't make sense to me.

**Grinder:** So how is CA, how is CA ranked this, this line?

**Gizmo:** I don't know if they've ever really given it much attention. I don't think they do

**Bam Bam:** that, but I think there's a historic respect for this, for this market, maybe.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, [00:23:00] it's, it's,

**Rooster:** I don't know. I think it's one of them. One of the least known brands out of the portfolio.

**Bam Bam:** There's a few that are kind of

**Gizmo:** out there. Yeah.

**Rooster:** Yeah. La Flor de Cano. Fonseca.

**Gizmo:** Cuaba. Fonseca. I mean, this is around those brands. This isn't, you know. They call this an other brand now in Habano's catalog. It's next to Diplomaticos, Ray Del Mundo, Fonseca, Juan Lopez, Florida Cano, as you just said, La Gloria Cubano, which we referenced the Turquinos we did recently, which by the way, if you haven't heard that episode, that cigar is excellent.

Check it out. By the way, I'm sorry to the listeners who have emailed us saying they couldn't get them. Because I've gotten a lot of emails saying, Giz, why did you say these were available everywhere for 25 bucks? And then two days after the pod came out, they were gone. Cause Giz bought them all. Sorry about that.

Uh, poor Warren Yaga, Cadorce, Rafael Gonzalez, San Luis, St. Louis Ray. I mean. Robania. This is next to them. This is not at the top of that [00:24:00] list. K Dorset

**Grinder:** is in there though. So like, yeah, that is it. We don't know how they segregated or categorized the, the.

**Gizmo:** This is an official categorization from

**Grinder:** Habano. But what's the, but what's the other brands?

I don't, you don't know the logic that went into that. That's what I'm saying. I don't know what the logic is. Maybe it was just more. Heritage brands or something like that, or that are more, more popular just in media or something, and that they said, we're going to push this and market it. Or you don't know.

I mean, I don't think, I don't think that speaks to the quality of

**Gizmo:** the cigars. I'm not commenting on quality. I'm commenting on the effort that Habanos puts into marketing and pushing these cigars. It's just like Rooster said, I don't think it's very well known outside of, you know, Uh, aficionados, I don't think you don't really see it

**Rooster:** much, even on the Facebook groups and stuff, it doesn't come up much.

I mean, nobody's

**Gizmo:** really, I mean, you know, for them, the various retailers are not sending out emails saying, Hey, we've got quabba. Yeah. Come and get them. Yeah. Come and get your quabbas. It just doesn't happen. There, [00:25:00] there

**Rooster:** is one thing though. When I, when I look, when I picked this up and look at the cigar, it kind of reminds me of the La Corona factory.

Yeah. Yes. It does. Rough

**Bam Bam:** and rugged.

**Rooster:** Right? Yeah,

**Bam Bam:** rustic.

**Gizmo:** That's a good word. Rustic. And this is a cigar that's really only manufactured there. Yeah. And they're very proud of the, so the, in, in Corona, we talked about it, uh, on our recap episode, go back and I think it was 74 or 76 when we went through the factories, but there's three kind of lanes.

Of rollers. And the Coaba, the Figurado rollers are in the middle lane at the very, very front. So when you go through a tour of the factory, you always pass by that specific row of people. And man, are they proud of these cigars? They're rolling. They're handing them to you. Like not to give you, but like, look at what I've done and.

They're very, very proud of their work. Well, the shape. It's hard. It's hard to roll. This is a hard cigar

**Grinder:** to roll, easy cigar. That's probably the best rollers, you know, that are reserved [00:26:00] for that.

**Gizmo:** This is one of the hardest cigars to roll. Yeah. For sure. You're a hundred percent right. Yeah. So like when they take the class, which is a nine month class, I think they have to successfully roll a petite figurado or the petite perfecto to pass the class.

**Bam Bam:** It's ironic that, um, this. Vitola is selected for the co op, a marker, the most difficult cigar to roll for one of the most like underappreciated underappreciated marker, right? Least known. It's ironic. Yeah.

**Grinder:** I kind of like that. You know, it's, it's a little, it's a little bundle of unappreciated. There's always these gems that you like to uncover and I like that.

It's a little gem, you know, it's, it's not.

**Gizmo:** It's like for those in the know, this is a treat. Yeah. You know, but I've also heard that, you know, through the early two thousands, obviously as Uh, Habano's Cuba Tobacco went through that dark period of quality control issues and consistency. I mean, this is a box of cigars that I, I wouldn't want to gamble on one of these [00:27:00] with that kind of uncertainty.

But now, given the recent quality, that's why, you know, bringing these in tonight. You know, I'm happy that they're performing like this because I very well thought that this could go the other way just because of,

**Grinder:** you know, How's this changing on you guys? Is it? It's

**Gizmo:** me, it's earthy. It's very earthy. Earthy cigar.


**Bam Bam:** the fruit notes, floral have dropped off a bit. Yeah. And it is earthy. Maybe very, very deep coffee, almost like a bitter coffee. There's a minerality

**Grinder:** as, as Ben would

**Bam Bam:** say. Yeah. Uh, true. But it's still, for me, enjoyable.

**Grinder:** I, yeah, it's. There's definitely some kind of shift, turning up a knob a little bit, I don't know which knob, but something's turning up a little bit, but not much, just a, just a smidge.

**Rooster:** There's no

**Gizmo:** Ligero in this. There can't be. I think anything with Ligero is not going to perform this well young, or with a heavy amount of it, and I think that the density of the, the pack inside the cigar is also lending itself to performing well. There's just not a [00:28:00] ton of tobacco in this, which thankfully is the case.

Uh, not to

**Bam Bam:** jump ahead, but the drink that we're drinking with this cigar initially, I didn't like the pairing, but now that it's more minerally for me, the tequila works nicely

**Gizmo:** with it. So let's talk about it. It's the Tequila Ocho Reposado and it's aged in Widow Jane bourbon barrels, correct? Yes. Bourbon casks.

Excuse me. But, uh, I mean, what's the story with this? Cause I know that it's a, it's a very popular at the lounge here. Can I,

**Grinder:** can I just say, can I just say, before we continue, I'm just taking a whiff of this again after having smoked the cigar for a while. This is perfumey. The nose on this. On the tequila?

Yeah. Yeah. It's perfumey. It's like the floral is really coming out.

**Senator:** Yeah.

**Gizmo:** We've talked about Tequila Ocho. We went to that event. I mean, really, really awesome story here. Um, you can listen to the previous episode. I think we did Tequila Ocho Añejo, right, Senator? Was the one we did on the, uh, last [00:29:00] time we did this.

Uh, we love this brand. It's artisan, you know, Chef Ricky Camacho approved tequila. And, uh, this one's very unique because it's aged in those bourbon casks. So what do the bourbon casks do for you guys on this versus the, the Tequila Ocho Repo? Really? Not for me. I

**Pagoda:** think on the finish, it's, it's very different from the other.

**Bam Bam:** I find the other ones tastier. They're delicious to me. This one, I don't know. For me, it's got like a little bit of heat. It's okay. It's minerally for me. It works good with the cigar, but I like the others better personally.

**Gizmo:** Is this less floral, more floral? I don't know. I don't get the same. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** It's like, this is drinking like a Blanco for me.

**Grinder:** Yeah. Do you, this was an, this is the bourbon barrel one. You

**Gizmo:** said yes, the widow Jane bourbon cask. I don't get the bird. Do you get any of that? I, to me, it just tastes like a good reposado. Yeah.

**Senator:** I don't get the difference [00:30:00] between the repo and the, this repo in the bourbon barrel. The regular reposado has like citrus notes.

It's more of like a summary kind of reposado that you would expect what the widow Jane does. You don't get bourbon notes per se out of this. But you definitely get the char from those charred barrels that they use when they age bourbon and you get just like a little bit of that like smokiness. So that's what I'm getting.

**Bam Bam:** Exactly. That's what it imparts. I'm interpreting that as mineral, but that's probably what I'm getting. You know, the smoky

**Pagoda:** sweetness to it. As opposed to the citrusy orangeness at the other one.

**Senator:** That's right. And that's the sweetness from the Repo and then the smokiness from that charred barrel.

**Gizmo:** Exactly.

So the question is, is how does this tequila pair with the cigar for you guys? Because I think it's actually quite complimentary. I think this is a good choice, Senator. Yes,

**Senator:** I, I, this is very intentional. As anytime, obviously, if I, if I suggest a certain thing with a cigar, obviously it's for a reason. With this, having not had coiba, but if you look it up, you do see that it [00:31:00] talks about a lot of floral notes.

Tequila is probably the only spirit that we would possibly pair that would be floral. I mean, a bourbon's not gonna, a scotch is not gonna, a cognac's not, maybe with the exception of hind. So, um, I mean, it wasn't really a hard gamble. It had to at least somewhat pair well. It's

**Gizmo:** perfect. So let me ask you this.

The normal repo, which we haven't done on the podcast yet, I'm assuming at some point we're going to do it. You're saying it has the more citrusy type notes. How do you think that would pair? With a cigar like this versus the Widow Jane,

**Senator:** I actually think this pair is a little bit better with it because I'm not getting just like sweet notes out of this.

**Bam Bam:** It actually dissipates

**Senator:** after the first thing, right? Like there's something we talked about, like the barnyard, the mustiness, like, because that is there and the minerality. I think that it lends itself well to this with the Widow Jane Barrel. I think that if this didn't have any of those kind of barnyard, musty notes and it was just like sweet and floral, then I think it would be perfect for the regular repo.[00:32:00]

But given the way this is, I, I think it works better with this one. Yeah. Yeah. I think the

**Rooster:** sounds like the regular repo would do better with

**Gizmo:** like the K dors says. Yeah. Yeah. You are the, uh, the Schwa Supreme or GC Supreme? Schwa Supreme, for sure. Yeah. The S would be good with that. Oh, yeah.

**Senator:** Oh yeah. An MDL would be great with that.

Oh yeah.

**Gizmo:** So like I said, we recently did Tequila Ocho, so we're not going to go through the history of the brand again. So if you're interested in that, go back to that episode and check out the Tequila Ocho on Yeho. We did a little bit of a deep dive on the, uh, on the Ocho brand. But uh, boys, I, you know, we're about, we're into the second third now with the cigar.

But a half hour into the episode, um, I'm very, very happy with how this cigar is doing right now, you know, and I think, I think it benefits from pulling down the humidity sitting at it's, you know, 60 percent for as long as I did, probably about what, two months, I guess, um, it was a good move. They've been just sitting loose in my tower like that.

So again, I crossed my [00:33:00] fingers, but I'm just, I'm a big believer in young Cuban tobacco right now. And, and the question I want to ask. Going back to the earlier comments about tasting youth. I don't know if I'm tasting youth or if I'm there, if there's just an absence of age, or there's an absence of that kind of mustiness that comes with aged tobacco.

I don't think I'm getting what I would get a lot of times, especially from a Cuban that's really young, that has that oomph that really knocks you around and kind of throws you off kilter. You know? I don't think I'm getting that in this. So I just think it's an absence of age. Is that a crazy statement?

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. I just find aged Cubans to be creamy, right? There's a creaminess to an aged Cuban. You're not getting that in this cigar. But there's just something for me, I'm capturing the minerality of the cigar, which I really like a lot. Um, it, it, I don't think it tastes young. That's [00:34:00] an ambiguous term for me. I don't know what young is, but I know what older and age cigars are and they're creamier for me.

I think

**Grinder:** you nailed it. I think that's absolutely true.

**Senator:** I'll just say about this cigar. I think early on, I said, I was tasting some of the youth, not in a bad way, but just that it was present. But once you get about a quarter of the way in, and beyond. I feel like any of that youth I was getting has actually kind of dissipated.

He's right. This is smoking now more like a cigar with a little bit of age. It's nice. Like it's smoother than it started. Yeah. And I feel like the flavors are a little more concentrated

**Bam Bam:** than when it started. It's less pungent. I happen to like a pungent cigar. The quarter of an inch was really nice and pungent.

Barnyard, fruit notes, floral. It was really special. But that's gone now. It's gone. Totally gone. But I think Senator nailed it. It's actually settled in beautifully. And it's really

**Senator:** nice and consistent. Like, I find it to be sweeter

**Gizmo:** at this point. There is a little bit more sweetness here. On the back end, for me.

And I'm also getting like, like you said, Brewster there, it's just really [00:35:00] earthy and it's, it's a nice earth though, because I think like, if you think about a Cohiba type earth at this young, it's unsmoking, it's not, that cigar is unsmokable. I mean, if you told me this was a

**Rooster:** 23, this is a March 23 cigar. I wouldn't buy that.

Yeah. I would say it's

**Gizmo:** at least a couple of years of age on this. Yeah, I agree. So there's a couple more interesting things about the history of Coaba. Like I said, founded in November, 1996, simply in an effort for Hibana's to bring back Figurados into the catalog. Cause they were completely absent for quite a period, uh, quite a period of time.

The first brand founded since Cohiba in 1982 or launched, I guess I should say. And then the successor to this brand, as far as launch was San Cristobal de la Hibana. Which, as we know, was launched in 1999. What I think is really, really cool about this is that when they launched this brand, every cigar that they released had a different, a slightly different shape because they didn't have the molds [00:36:00] for Figurados in Habanos.

It took about a year after the brand was launched for them to actually create molds to create a consistent product. So, the early Coabas that were released in 1996, 1997 were. Very inconsistent interesting in size. I mean, it's just kind of relying on the eye and of the roller I'm

**Senator:** not sure. I'm convinced.

They're currently using. Yeah, I don't know. No, I just say that because like one of the things that's very sad for me Again, this is my first co op. I'm actually really enjoying this. This is a very good experience, but we're talking about why co op is not Regarded the way that they clearly intended, which was to be this really premium brand.

Yeah, and I can only speak for myself, but the reason I haven't really chased or pursued KBA is you just look at KBAs in a box and they look to me very uneven. There's nothing premium about them. The wrappers are, I think, right. When we got these, I think Grindr comment and said, this is a very veiny cigar.

The wrappers aren't particularly nice, and it's ironic to think that [00:37:00] they thought this would ever be like a cohiba where. When we've been at El Aguido, the wrapper matters so much, not for the flavor, but solely to just look beautiful so that you open that box of Cohibas and say, wow, look at those cigars.

I mean, this is the polar opposite of that. There's nothing visually all that appealing about this cigar. Now, what I'll give the rollers at La Corona credit for, this is an extremely well rolled cigar. It's burning perfectly. I mean, look at the ash on this. It's unbelievable. It's perfectly straight. I

**Grinder:** kind of like, it goes to its gem persona.

It's that little gem. It's got, you know, it's got that rough edge. It's not, it doesn't look sexy, but damn, this is Pretty good tobacco

**Gizmo:** and, and, you know, what it comes down to for us always is performance. And despite what the eye says, I mean, obviously if you're buying a Cohiba at a hundred, a hundred dollars or 200 or 600, some of them, obviously the intention there is it's like, it better be beautiful.

It's like a Louis Vuitton bag, you know, that's their intention is to make it absolutely perfect. The only thing

**Senator:** I will say though, why I'm, I'm not. It's not [00:38:00] easy for me to overlook these flaws. I'm talking about is because it's not the case that koala is like dramatically priced less than a lot of these other brands.

We like like part of this or up men or QD or you name it. And so if you're going to charge a premium price, I mean, you know, bands reaction 25. That's not a cheap cigar. No, right. That's a premium cigar. And so if you're going to charge that price, I would like to see a little bit more effort made to make it also visually look deserving of that price point.


**Bam Bam:** and part of my reaction, I guess there's a stigma on that marca and some of the other marcas that we haven't dived into for a reason. Maybe we all have some kind of stigma against those brands, but you know, that's why I reacted that way with the

**Gizmo:** price. No, you're, you're right. But I mean, we, you know, some of those other brands that I mentioned that we haven't done, they're coming up.

Oh, we need to do them. I just bought a box of, uh, a new release Rafael Gonzalez for us. Nice, nice. Um, that's coming up. We're gonna do, you know, we're gonna do the Sancho Ponza, we're gonna do another song, crystal Ball down the road. We're gonna do a Vegas roia. I know. We [00:39:00] love that market, obviously. So, you know, there's a lot more coming mm-hmm.

from these lower tier brands in the catalog. So, you know, like I said, from a performance standpoint, this young stuff is, is really doing great. The, the issue that

**Rooster:** I have is if this is 25 for

**Gizmo:** a Quavo or more or more, you know, we

**Rooster:** probably, you got it at a great price. So it's probably more like about 30, 35 maybe.

How do you compare this? Like there's a lot of new world sticks

**Gizmo:** out there like Davidoffs for like

**Rooster:** 30 bucks

**Gizmo:** that are beautiful and the wrapper is beautiful. They're

**Rooster:** consistent. The flavor, I mean, the Padrones, I mean, And they're

**Bam Bam:** beautiful to look at.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, you

**Rooster:** have, And available. And available.

And available. And readily available. And, uh, you know, I mean, they, I mean, I think they're much better, they deliver much, much more than this

**Gizmo:** does. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** But the flip side of this cigar that we're reviewing, you know, it's great that we're going into this world of the other brands. Right. The Habanos [00:40:00] classifies as other brands.

We're going to be surprised, I think, by this rating and we're going to find more surprises. Yeah. Which is a great journey. It's an

**Senator:** awesome journey. I also think to like defend Coaba or at least this cigar, I can't really speak for the whole line. This is more complex, honestly, than a lot of other new world cigars that we may compare this to in its price point.

Like. Mm hmm. I love a Davidoff millennium. I would argue this has got much more complexity of flavor than with Millennium. Yes. Agree with that. He's absolutely, he's a hundred percent so like I do think it has to get some credit for that. Now I, again, I'm the one, I'm just as critical as you are on the presentation.

I think that the wrappers need to be better picked. I think that the packaging sucks. I would love for them to honestly like, you know, redesign the bands and the boxes like many brands have gone through over years time. But I will say the complexity is there. I mean, that, that is what you're paying some of that premium.

But as it stands

**Rooster:** right now, you would pick this over a Davidoff Millennium Pyramid.

**Senator:** To me, they're not [00:41:00] competing for the same slot. It's exactly right. Yeah. It's a different cigar. The flavor profile is so dramatically different. I would never be looking for these at the same price

**Rooster:** point.

**Senator:** Again, I mean, I would, they're never, it's not an either or it's an end for me.

So like this would slot. In an earlier time of day in a a way's true. That a millennium would never for me. That's true. Yeah. And the millennium would slot at a later time of day mm-hmm. in a way that this never would for me. So they're never competing to me at all. They're, they're black and white,

**Gizmo:** really.

Yeah. The other, the other thing that I think from a presentation standpoint of the cigar, not only from what we're talking about, the visual look of it, which, you know, like I said, we get down to performance. We kind of forget about the look of it. But when you're looking at it, you know, at, at the rollers table at.

Yeah, at Corona, or you're looking at it in the box with those kind of gross co op, a red Brown bands on them, the box itself. It's not a cigar that I'm excited to hand out to my friends. You know, it's not a cigar that I'm going to walk in and go, guys, let's get excited about this cigar. Now for [00:42:00] the lizards, for us, I'm going to say, guys.

Forget how it looks, you're really going to enjoy this cigar. But if you're pulling this out for some friends somewhere, I mean, not only is it a time commitment, it's an odd looking cigar, it's imperfect looking, but the presentation overall is just kind of mediocre.

**Senator:** Yeah. There are 7 cigars that have a nicer presentation.


**Gizmo:** absolutely. The Papas Fritas. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, this is, um, this is really good, but I just, I'm not going to bring a box of this and... Sure. Handed out to friends. Well,

**Bam Bam:** I don't think you'd ever hand a Figurado to a novice cigar guy. A little one I would. I don't know. They burn, they're difficult to smoke.

If you smoke them too fast, they'll be uneven. If you smoke them too slow, they go out. This is burning grape. Figurado's I'm with them on that. Yeah, that's more of a seasoned

**Gizmo:** cigar guy. So you think a Figurado of any size It's a more advanced cigar. Oh, a hundred percent. I

**Senator:** just think it cannot be to a beginner or novice smoker who has not smoked that many cigars.

That's right. Because to me, you're setting that person up to fail. I mean, look at us, [00:43:00] even as many cigars as we smoke and we're sitting here like, you know, should I touch this up? Is it drawing right? Should I, do you think it's going to open? Should I cut more? How many times have we all had these conversations smoking a Figurado?

And we smoke a lot. So I just think for someone who doesn't smoke often, it's not easy to successfully smoke a Figueroato. Yeah. You

**Pagoda:** might start off cutting the wrong end to begin with.

**Senator:** You, you've personally witnessed this before. Of

**Pagoda:** course. Of course. Yeah. I, I shouldn't be saying in case people listen to the pod, but I've had people cut the wrong end of the cigar a couple of times.

**Bam Bam:** Tell us about that. Recently, right? Yeah.

**Pagoda:** Yeah. And it's, um, firstly, it, it, it's really frustrating because when you're handing out good cigars to people who claim that they smoke cigars and they cut the wrong end

**Bam Bam:** in a new world. Now, are you polite? Are you polite and don't say anything or do you correct them immediately?

I correct them immediately. That's how it should be

**Grinder:** done. How do you even make that mistake? Like, what do you, what's the cutter for that? [00:44:00]

**Pagoda:** How about this? It's not once, twice within three or four weeks. I said, all right, this

**Gizmo:** is it. And are you, are you giving this person like a Robusto or like a Toro or something?

Which one end is closed, one end is open?

**Pagoda:** You know, I've handed him Dominicanos. Come on. You know, you

**Gizmo:** know how hurt I was. It's like an arrow through the heart. You need to give them a

**Bam Bam:** southern draw, man. That's what they need.

**Pagoda:** Alright, you know, it's like, I think people should stop claiming that they smoke cigars frequently if they don't know which end to cut.


**Gizmo:** a good barrier to entry.

So the name Kawaba. It's actually pretty cool. It was, it's refers to a wood, a type of wooden torched used by the Taino Indians. I don't know how to pronounce the Taino, Taino, which the Taino is the Cohiba head. That's the Taino head, uh, that they've had, you know. Forever, uh, in that brand and in other cigars too before Cohiba.

[00:45:00] But, um, and they say the Cuban people still use them in the countryside today. So this is named after a torch, a wooden torch. You

**Senator:** know, the other thing that's, that's odd as I'm thinking about this, and we're talking about kind of how Coaba is regarded, I have never met. A cigar smoker that has told me they love koaba.

And I just say that because why do we try cigars, right? Someone you trust introduces you to them. That's how we have found every single thing we smoke. And this is just one brand. It's very odd. Like it's not, you know, and you guys even have, you know, we all each of us has like a random brand that we found that's not that popular.

That we happen to like that we've shared. And some of us like it, some of us don't, I just have yet to meet someone passionate. I'll tell you, I,

**Grinder:** I think, I think some of that started and that's okay. Yeah. Uh, I think some of that goes to like cigar smokers are very traditionally minded, typically like.

There's a traditional, traditional element to it. And these are newer brands and it just got off to like a, [00:46:00] not as great of a footing because it's very traditional brands that they marquee, right? Very old school brands. So I think that didn't help. And I think as, as time goes on, a lot of it is, Hey, you hand down cigars from your, you know, your father or your mentor or something, and they're giving you these old time cigars.

And it wasn't heavily invested

**Senator:** in, it wasn't marketed. This is not a, this is

**Rooster:** not a new brand though.

**Senator:** There are, there are newer brands that I feel like I see people 96. Yeah, but name, there were brands you just named that came out after

**Gizmo:** that even. San Cristobal de la Habana came out in 99. Right? People smoke,

**Senator:** I've seen people recommend San Cristobal way more than I've ever heard anyone recommend

**Gizmo:** a coiba.

Maybe the size just intimidates people or the shape. Could be, you know, to go back to our previous discussion,

**Rooster:** that could be true. I mean, not everybody wants to smoke

**Gizmo:** a figurado, especially a big one like this or the Distinguidos, which is pretty damn close. The fact that we

**Senator:** reviewed a La Punta before this cigar and none of us liked it.

Right. But we had heard of it more. Like that's, it's like [00:47:00] other people talk about some of these other small brands in a way that people just, for some reason,

**Gizmo:** nobody talks about Quaba. Right? Yeah. Do you see it very, very

**Senator:** rarely? I mean, we, you know, we've sat in Havana. I, even there, no one is sitting there saying, yeah, that's true.

And we heard some odd things, right? Like you remember we're sitting there and a nice guy we met, uh, was talking about how much he loves the oil Rio Seco. It's a very polarizing cigar. There are a lot of people that hate that cigar, not something that I pursue, but I was like, okay, interesting. Good to know that, you know, there are some passionate fans of that stick.

Even if I don't really think it's for me, I've just yet to meet a co op, a person.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, I've not met one. And even in Havana, I don't see anybody smoking this cigar.

**Bam Bam:** Or, or a Sancho Panza person or the

**Senator:** Fonseca. No, but even Sancho Panza, like we, a guy in our lounge, I think Rooster helped procure some for him.

He sings his praises. He loves the, Mom

**Gizmo:** Plus. And the Bella Cosa. That and the Bella Cosa. Interesting. People chase the really aged bellicose, especially, and there's something [00:48:00] about 10 15 years of age on those that really make them pop, I guess, that people really chase those, but, again, you don't see those stories about coaba.

So a couple other things, uh, to note that I think are pretty cool, like I said, The Salamone, uh, for Coaba, this Figurado shape was originally released in a special humidor in 1999. And this is where it started. And then from there, they released it four years later as a regular production cigar. And the final thing that I've found to be very interesting is unlike all of those other markers that I listed in the other category, Coaba is not designated to ever have A regional edition release.

There will never be, apparently, from Habanos, there will never be a regional edition Kawaba. There'll be never a, you know, no Cuban Figueroa will come out as a regional.

**Bam Bam:** Honestly, that doesn't break my heart. The regionals aren't something that I chase.

**Gizmo:** I don't think any of us do, but it's pretty interesting, right?

Why do we

**Senator:** think that is? [00:49:00] I don't

**Gizmo:** know. Maybe they're afraid. Maybe they're seeing. That the shape, I'm, I'm just, as we're recording, kind of cementing my brain to think that this is an intimidating, uh, size of, or shape of cigar for people. Isn't the Hoyo,

**Rooster:** which one is that, Escodigos?

**Gizmo:** Escogitos. That's a double Corona, I believe.

It's a double crown. It's not a,

**Senator:** there is some oil roosters, right? We reviewed it. That was the one that wouldn't smoke for me. That's right.

**Gizmo:** That's right. Yeah. It's a figure. There's a figure. Well,

**Bam Bam:** it

**Gizmo:** wasn't, we didn't, that was an LCD elegance. That's a perfecto. It's not a figure. Same family. It's a taco. Yeah.

Uh, it was an LCD.

**Rooster:** I guess maybe just in the Qba family, they will not

**Gizmo:** introduce a regional. There will be no regionals from kba. Interesting

**Senator:** fact. I mean, it's a shame, honestly, because there are other brands that get regionals that I really don't like, and I actually like the flavor I'm getting outta this.

I wouldn't be opposed to trying a qba

**Gizmo:** regionals. I mean,

**Rooster:** if Haos really wants to market it, why not do more regionals of [00:50:00] Qba? They may

**Bam Bam:** not want to market it.

**Gizmo:** I own a business, but I don't want to market the product.

**Senator:** We're keeping it in just going to

**Gizmo:** keep it. Let's not apply logic to Habano's decision making.

Let's not do that.

**Grinder:** Maybe there's only so many marketing dollars they have to go around and they feel like they're going to get their biggest bang for their buck with those, those brands.

**Rooster:** I guess. But I mean, if you're trying to, you have a special shape that these are rolled in, why not market that? Maybe there is a market for that.

And maybe if you do regionals, that's one way of putting them out there more in people's faces and more people

**Gizmo:** would try them. Yeah, that's a good point. That's a factor. Also, don't forget to, you know, what did I list off? Six or seven? The toll is in this market that are currently active. And you look at Liguria Cubana, which has two, one of which is a new release.

That's really hyped. And is every, you know, everybody's talking about that Turquena cigar, you know, that's [00:51:00] very contrary to, you know, what, what's going on here. Like they're trying to revive that brand and this one's being ignored.

**Senator:** The whole thing is just frustrating because I, I am genuinely enjoying this cigar.

Yeah, it's great. I actually wish that they would put some more effort into the packaging, everything, marketing it, giving it a regional, I just can't believe I, all these years is the first time I'm smoking one. And I, I like it. There's nothing wrong with these cigars at all. Nothing at all.

**Bam Bam:** Not yet.

**Pagoda:** Definitely a, a good cigar for the afternoon deck, man. Yes. In the afternoon.

**Gizmo:** The problem is, is do you really wanna pull out a cigar this size at three in the afternoon, correct? Five. Yeah. Why not on

**Senator:** a Saturday afternoon if

**Gizmo:** you're done with work, why not? I'm dead serious. That's

**Senator:** true. That's fair. I mean, you, you light up a Lucy on an afternoon.

What's the

**Bam Bam:** difference? Well, GIZ lives a leisurely lifestyle. .

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Very leisurely. Okay, so speaking of going to Cuba and uh, Cuban travel, We have a listener email that I wanted to share with you guys and, uh, see what, uh, kind of answer [00:52:00] we can get for our friend, uh, Lizard Luigi. He says, Hey Gizmo, uh, I'm listening to your Cuba episodes, um, and I just wanted to thank you for bringing all that stuff for the people and the children that you guys brought.

Toys, hygiene products, and clothes are all stuff that they desperately need. However, I cannot help but think that every box of Cuban cigars we buy, we empower the government to keep enforcing these assistive policies. And I'm a culprit. I just want to know how you guys navigate that where you can still buy the cigars and not feel guilty about it.

Should I feel guilty smoking the cigars? I appreciate the input. It's a tough decision.

**Bam Bam:** It's, you know, we love, we love the Cuban marcas. It's part of our life. Difficult to say no to them. That's a heavy question. Very heavy.

**Gizmo:** The way I look at it. He's not wrong. The way I look at it is obviously the journey into Cuban cigars, you know, and loading up our towers like we all did.

And then getting the, the, you know, having that oomph to go to Cuba and experience it and meet the people for me [00:53:00] really changed my perspective on the whole thing, similar to what Luigi saying, but now it's like I look at the opportunity to go there and actually directly help people, which we've been able to do in ways that we talked about on the pod and ways that we did not.

You know, you're, you're able to do so much good for people that that's, that's the why for me now, even the cigars I'm smoking now, a lot of them don't have bands on them. You know, that, that you're getting out of Cuba. Like there's wonderful cigars that are coming out of Cuba. They're not from Pobanos.

**Senator:** I'll just say this. I mean, the thing as I've, we've had this exact debate even before we went to Cuba. And certainly when we got back, the thing for me is us stopping buying Cuban cigars. To me, it's just not at all helpful to a problem of people getting paid a living wage there or changing anything. If we stop buying cigars, what the Cuban government's all going to say, all of a sudden going to say, we want to pay people more.

No, they're not. Not at all. [00:54:00] They're going to say, we want to employ more people. No, they're going to cut jobs. If we're, if we're buying less cigars, I mean, one of the encouraging things, at least, you know, we visit these factories and they're talking about their growth plans to train all these new rollers and.

Have, you know, increased their capacity by 20, 30, all these goals. They have, that's more jobs. Now, is that a living wage? No, it's disgraceful what these folks are paid. It's Trevor. The alternative is them making nothing. It's much worse, but it getting even harder for them. So I just personally don't view.

Our purchase of Cuban cigars as at all solving for, or lack of purchase as at all solving for the problem of folks getting a living wage there and being employed. I just think it's, that's not what at all addressed that. There are other things that can, and I don't just don't see it as that.

**Bam Bam:** One interesting thing though, at a more intimate level of detail, the workers in the factories, what did we notice?

They're respected. They're taken care of. At El Aguido. [00:55:00] They were given a lot of additional produce, things like that, to support their families. They're probably paid additional, depending on how much work they want to work, right? They're paid by the, by the volume of cigars that they make. Those workers are happy, Pagoda, but they're also, you know, they have a sense of accomplishment because they're making the marquee Cuban product.

**Gizmo:** But I think,

**Bam Bam:** I think

**Gizmo:** they're also very well taken care of. I think, I think, I think that we should put an asterisk on that. Because I think, A, number one, we're a bunch of Americans rolling into their factory. They're, they're putting on a show, you know, whether they, whether, whether it's 100 percent of a show or 20%.

I think that we have to assume that these folks are going home and they're still struggling. I'm sure they are. There's no question about that. So I think that that's a, that's a difficult, you know, that's certainly a difficult thing. And, and like Senator said, you know, it is a sin what they're paid. No question about that.

But I don't think that our buying these products or not buying these products, it's a pittance of... It's not going to change. It changes [00:56:00] nothing. It's an

**Rooster:** internal thing that the government, the regime, I mean, they have to... That has to change for the end result to change and by us buying Cuban cigars, I'm not buying Cuban cigars.

It's not going to make an iota

**Gizmo:** of difference. But here's,

**Bam Bam:** here's, I'm sorry, here's what will make an impact because of what we're doing right now in this recording, just talking about it as this podcast grows and maybe other podcasts grow and develop and have the same conversation. Maybe that continuous conversation that happens nationwide or globally, that'll start to resonate.

And I think with that, There could be some potential

**Pagoda:** change. No, but I also think that, you know, they're employed, right? You, because of the demand, they're employed. And as the demand continues to grow, you'll have more employment there. Because like we visited Corona and he mentioned that he wants to expand the number of employees.

Uh, so there'll be more and more people coming into the workforce. Good or bad, you know, forgetting, like, you know. I come from India and [00:57:00] in India, uh, at one point in time, I think, uh, the average, uh, you know, wage was 200 bucks a month or something like in terms of, you know, uh, the average salary over there.

And now it's gone to 2, 000 a month or something. It's the same. You know, it's just that over there, things are accessible. at a cheaper price for those people. But, you know, having a job and feeling a sense of accomplishment and contributing to society and being a, you know, contributing member of the society is more important.

We're not here really for political agendas anyway. You know, uh, it's a part of me feels that, uh, I don't feel guilty at all. In fact, a part of me feels that whatever little we can do to continue this, uh, you know, uh, activity up and of course, uh, you know, be cognizant of what's really going on. And at the same time, in a way, Buzz, uh, you know, continuing to purchase these cigars, uh, really does help keep

**Gizmo:** employment there, so.

And, and I think it's [00:58:00] important to note too that, that my vision of the podcast, and I think our collective vision, especially after having visited, uh, Cuba is to push as many listeners to, to make that journey and go experience the, the motherland of this thing that we love and meet these human beings and do your very best to impact them.

I think that's, I think that's the move.

**Senator:** I would also just add on what Pagoda is saying about employment, that the type of employment that this provides there, I firmly believe, and this is a direct result of the individuals who run these factories that we've spent a lot of time with. The conditions. Are much better there than many jobs that still pay, unfortunately, so low, but what they would have to endure there.

I mean, you know, Bam was mentioning, you have workers who bring stuff for other people, you know, the gifts that we give, they try to distribute them out, you know, evenly into people who need them, like. It's like a family at these places and even in America, right? There are a few [00:59:00] workplaces that we would truly describe as a family, right?

Like it's all about how much you can squeeze out of the worker globally, everywhere. And it's very refreshing to see that despite how little these folks are making, they're at least treated. With dignity and respect by the people that are running those factories. And that's not the Cuban government that's running them.

Those are real people that have a great heart, great intentions that we've spent a lot of time with. And I'm at least glad to see them have those employment opportunities as opposed to, you know, some, some of the even more labor intensive things that they could be doing where they could be treated like absolute garbage.


**Rooster:** And as, as Habano's or his factories. Make

**Gizmo:** more cigars, they're going to need more rollers.

**Rooster:** So they're gonna, they're going to need more training. They're going to be more trained rollers and maybe one day they can get out of Cuba and go to Nicaragua, go to, uh, Honduras, go to Mexico and maybe roll cigars there and make much more money than they do now.

Sure. And who knows, [01:00:00] maybe they can, you know, one day create something of their own. Yeah.

**Pagoda:** But my perception was that leadership really takes care of them, right? Yeah. They have those parties, they have those parties, they have those events, they have those extra eggs. And

**Gizmo:** I, we tied, we, you know, we tied those things together.

I think that, you know, I think the recent quality improvement in Cuban cigars, the consistency, I think is a direct result of, you know, an improvement in leadership on the ground level, not. Hi, you know, not high level leadership, but in those factories as Senator smoking an example right now. Yeah, this is March 23.

**Grinder:** I was, I was just going to, at this point, probably echo everyone's sentiment on this, but the revolutionary change will not be done on the battlefields of the tobacco industry for Cuba. Okay. So like if you have any kind of altruistic bone in your body that thinks it would be, maybe you should yeah. Check yourself a little bit.

I don't know. But also this is something they're very proud of. It's a gift that they [01:01:00] have that they want to share with the world. And if, if you're not helping support that, you're not actually helping support the people. It's something that is part of someone else mentions part of their culture is part of the Island.

It's part of who they are and they're sharing it. Okay. Whatever way they can do it, they're making it happen. And another thing to consider is these people actually have great jobs. And the, and, and they're a small subset of all Cuba. So there's a lot of Cuba that have nothing to do with tobacco that are living a life that has nothing to do with the tobacco industry.

And, and it's, and it's not great. So you have to kind of frame it up, you know, from that perspective.

**Gizmo:** And you cannot

**Rooster:** understand the culture in Cuba unless you go, if you have not gone. Yes. By, by living in this country, you, you don't understand Cuban culture, you don't understand the generosity of the people, you don't, you don't understand how they live, you know, what they do in their daily lives, I mean, we were walking.

On the, in the [01:02:00] streets and people would just invite us to their house. Like, come, come join us. Like who does that? Nobody. No people to hear. Don't do that.

**Gizmo:** I mean, I barely know my neighbors. I don't know my, I would say, I don't know my neighbors. Like they're directly next to me there. I mean, everybody knows each other.

You're more friendly guy, dude.

**Bam Bam:** Gotta be said, sorry,

**Gizmo:** man. So I

**Rooster:** would say, I mean, like. Pack your bags, go to Cuba, learn the culture, experience the culture, go there, smoke cigars, bike, buy

**Gizmo:** custom rolled cigars if you really want to help out the economy.

**Senator:** And on exactly that, the fact that this is an industry there that you can go and experience firsthand.

And directly help people within like people who are picking fruit, people who are doing some of these other labor intensive jobs in Cuba, there is no tourism going to visit these folks while they're doing their jobs. That's giving them extra money. That's providing clothing if they need it. You know, we're bringing suitcases worth of stuff to give to folks there.

Those other jobs, they don't have that, [01:03:00] that same access, right? So I think some of these people that are in these roles, thankfully, again, it's not, we're not trying to at all suggest that these are not painting a rosy. These are not great, amazing jobs, but there's more opportunity within them than countless other jobs that they could be doing in Cuba.

**Grinder:** Charity. Charity is not. a, a quid, a quid pro quo and it is not black and white. Right. You can be charitable and not have any agenda. And you, the fact that we have to define that is, is upsetting in a way, you know, sorry to interrupt. Our

**Bam Bam:** only agenda is that we happen to love what they make.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. And, and again, what we've learned is that we really love that culture that Brewster just talked about, the people that we've met.

It's my favorite place on earth. Sure. Like hands down anywhere. I visited. I've been very lucky to travel a lot in my previous professional career. Um, it's my favorite place in the world. Hands down. I love it. And I can't wait to go [01:04:00] back. And I think that that to me is, is everything about Cuban cigars now is it's changed my full perspective simply by getting on a plane.

And landing at that airport and experiencing,

**Rooster:** I'm ready to

**Gizmo:** book. I'm like, let's go. I'm ready to go.

All right, boys. We're into the last, uh, I would say last third here. We're coming up on it. Of the Coaba Salamones. What do you guys think? Still very good. Mayans performing. Wonderful.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. For me, the mineral aspect has ramped up a bit, still nice and smooth and enjoyable. I

**Senator:** gotta say, for an afternoon smoke, this is as good as it gets.

I mean, truly, like to slot in at that moment, I'm, I'm not at all exaggerating. See, this is

**Bam Bam:** surprising for this particular, uh, Vitola and Marca. It's really, this commentary, I wasn't expecting it.

**Senator:** Me either. I just, you know, I think of so many cigars that are not as full as I would normally go for. And then we start having the conversation of, all right, would this slide in [01:05:00] the afternoon?

And my answer is yes, but there's something lacking in the cigar, like the flavors so muted or so mild that it's not even interesting enough to withstand an afternoon. This still has complexity to it. Yeah, this would be incredibly sassy. I mean, I'm thinking about. You know, we've, um, we were at a barbecue the other day, like just sitting there with this would have been great for a meal would have been incredible.

**Gizmo:** I love to, for the complexity and the different kind of notes that we've gotten, and I really think that this is kind of taken us on a two or three act journey so far. I think it's changing a little bit now in the last third. What's your, what's

**Bam Bam:** your, what profiles

**Gizmo:** are you catching? Honestly, I'm getting a little weather now.

Yeah, it's getting a little leathery for me here. Um, I'm still getting the earth. There's. I think the sweetness is kind of ramped down. Yeah. I think that's gone. But it's a really medium bodied affair through and through. Uh, it, it hasn't ramped up in strength at all. But I think now it's settled into this [01:06:00] leathery, uh, earthy, shortbread y maybe, kind of...

**Bam Bam:** And this right now is pairing perfectly. Yeah, the tequila is really good with it. Right now it's perfect. The

**Grinder:** nose on the tequila. Yeah. It's so good. So the um, don't forget that this, the, the construction of this, uh, cigar, the composition of it is changing. The ring gauge is changing as well. Yeah. Yeah. So like there is, there's definitely some shift, but it's very, to me, it's very, it's subtle.

And when there's, when it, when it's, You know, when you, when you taste that change, maybe the leather, it's just one of those knobs is just being amped up a little bit, but, but not everything else.

**Gizmo:** And I think, I think the blend on this, I got to give credit, I mean, for the size of the cigar, for the length of it, for the varying degrees of complexity, it's really just a brilliant blend.

Yeah. And I think the fact that, that the six of us are, with all varying, you know, kinds of [01:07:00] palettes and preferences, the fact that all six of us are enjoying the cigar to some degree. It's kind of surprising at its age. Yeah.

**Rooster:** I mean, I do wish like the notes that I was getting in the first inch. Yeah. Had kind of

**Gizmo:** continued a little

**Bam Bam:** bit more.

Could that pungent, sweet... Like I miss those... Savoriness disappeared after that first inch. Yeah. Yeah.

**Rooster:** So that would have been nice if it continued. But it's, but it's

**Gizmo:** not bad.


**Pagoda:** did get a bit of bitterness, very slight bitterness, I don't know. Right

**Grinder:** now,

**Bam Bam:** maybe. I'm getting a little

**Grinder:** more age right now. Or not, youth. Lack

**Gizmo:** of age. I would think that the youth, if we're going to get hit with it, it's going to be in this last third. You know, um, we'll see. I think in a couple of years this would be a pretty good cigar.

Yeah. Yeah, I think, I think that this is going to age very, very nicely and I'm curious what's going to pop with age, you know, cause this is one of those cigars, you know, Puba always says it previews. [01:08:00] I think this cigar, the preview on this is just excellent because it's not a cigar, you know, we've had young cigars or cigars that it's like, this is kind of, it is what it is.

Right? I think this is a cigar that you can kind of see into the future that this is going to be dynamic with 10 years of age on it. Obviously, all of those being very different experiences. And yeah,

**Rooster:** there's just something about Cuban tobacco, how it ages. It just, it develops, it gets smooth, it gets, I think sometimes it gets more complex and it just changes.

**Gizmo:** It's a beautiful thing.

**Senator:** I'm just amazed. I mean, I'm, I'm already thinking about the next time we're in Havana and we're in a shop. This will be the first time in my life that if I actually see a box of guava, you know, we sometimes find these random boxes, you know, we sometimes find these random boxes with age.

Like last time we were there, like Rooster and I, we found like a 2017 Monty box. We're like, great. Been done. Sold. Like, that's amazing. [01:09:00] I'm now going to turn over a guava box and try to find one of these with some age on it. Just buy a single or two to. Enjoying

**Gizmo:** an afternoon there because it's funny. Think about how many times we've been in those humidor's.

Do you even remember seeing koala? No, I don't and they probably

**Senator:** were there.

**Gizmo:** They were there. I'm sure they were there I don't think we were looking for them. Of course not Yeah,

**Rooster:** the other thing is like it's like you can't really go into a store

**Gizmo:** and buy a box because you can't They, you know, they can't transact.

Yeah. You can't transact. We, we felt some ways around. We did. Yeah. We all, which is also, I mean, we can talk about that. It's, it's actually going to get more difficult transacting, you know, cause the Cuban government's trying to restrict the use of cash, um, even in private businesses. So in the, you know, government owned businesses like the LCDH shops, um, the, you know, the, the various shops there, anytime that you've used cash, it's just, you're giving that cash to, uh, a Cuban, uh, Citizen who's then running their own debit card to buy and taking the cash home and putting it in the bank We can't use our debit cards there or credit cards.[01:10:00]

And now I think it's gonna become even more restrictive So I'm curious how that's gonna change our ability to purchase in the shops when we go there Um, to actually get cigars, it may actually make it harder. Yeah, things are

**Rooster:** very dynamic there. It

**Gizmo:** changes like monthly. That's right. It's constantly changing.

Yeah. I mean,

**Rooster:** just look at the Cuban Peso. When we went in March. Yeah. It was 140 Cuban Peso to a dollar. And then we heard, uh, It

**Gizmo:** was

**Rooster:** 170 on the street, 165, 170. Now it's up to, they think it might be up to like 300 Cuban pesos to 1 in a couple of months.

**Gizmo:** And that's, you know, going back to what we were talking about before, that's a terrible inflation situation for them buying in the wrong direction.

Yeah, that's really difficult for the Cuban people, but as a tourist. Oh, it's, it's, it's

**Senator:** good for us. Yeah. It's a, it's a monopoly money situation. I mean, I

**Grinder:** would say, I would say get all of your Cuban cigars that you can, because there's, you know, [01:11:00] inflation like that runaway inflation at an underdeveloped country with that kind of instability never really goes well, it's not

**Gizmo:** good.

Just saying historically, it's true. Get your co op.

**Senator:** I'm actually kind of

**Bam Bam:** serious.

**Gizmo:** So boys, we're coming into football season now. The Johnny Manziel documentary on Netflix. Incredible. So I always saw pieces of it. I haven't seen it yet by the watch the whole thing. You guys watch the whole thing. There's some really, really powerful stuff in that documentary.

**Senator:** I just, we all obviously live through this as it was happening his whole career.

You forget just how wild and exceptional his story is when you see it all replayed in, you know, just a matter of hours as opposed to over a year's time. We watched that unfold. I mean, number one, the level of talent that this guy had. I mean, he's the only freshman [01:12:00] in history to win the Heisman. Yeah. In college.

He was incredible. Unbelievable. He was incredible. Yeah. The amount of money that he made Texas A& M. It is insane. They had a stat in there. Yeah. The most that school had ever fundraised in its history in a calendar year was 300 million when Johnny Manziel had that Heisman season, they raised almost a billion dollars.

It was like 700 and something million. He didn't get a penny of it. He didn't get a penny of it. And that's where then you watch the documentary and he talks about how. A friend, his good friend in college, they found ways for him to sign autographs and make money private settings and make like 30 grand in a night.

Wow. Imagine a college kid in a night, just signing his autograph, 30 grand every single night. Just all that money coming in is tremendous and it's easy to sit there and criticize this kid. Like he's throwing away his career, he's breaking the rules, all this. He took a school from earning 300 million a year to 700 something million a year and didn't get a damn dime of it.

I mean, I'm [01:13:00] sorry you watched that. You can only feel bad for these athletes. And if he was playing

**Gizmo:** today,

**Senator:** actually sell his emission likeness. And the other crazy thing is then you watch how he got away with this stuff. So like a part of, you know, obviously his whole story is like this, this tragic figure that he just is always sabotaging basically himself and his career.

But that's a direct product of. Somehow, he would get away with everything, and that made him, at some point, just feel invincible. There's nothing

**Gizmo:** he can't get away with. And listen, college kids in general, college men, how do you feel when you're in college? You feel like you're this, like, invincible, you know, superhero.

And imagine on that scale, at that level, performing like he did? He was a star. That was really formative. This is

**Senator:** what's crazy to me. So he starts the, the, the investigators for the NCA start figuring out that he's making money on the side through these autograph things. They have to find a way to prove this.

So Johnny Manziel and his buddy, these are, you know, they're not rocket scientists. These two kids come up with actually a brilliant scheme [01:14:00] where Johnny Manziel was giving all this money, tens of thousands a night he was earning. To his grandfather in cash. Wow. It's all cash. Yes. Having his grandfather write him checks for this same amount of money so that he could say that his, he concocted this whole story that his family was super wealthy.

He, he grew up poor. It

**Gizmo:** was like an oil thing, right?

**Senator:** Total fallacy. His family was not wealthy at all. Oh, I didn't know that. But he was cleaning the money by giving it to his grandfather, having him write checks. And he said to the NCA, Wow. I have a check every, every month from my grandfather for 50, 100 grand, however much.

He gives me money. My family's very wealthy and they had no way to prove otherwise. Smart. So that's how he got away with it. It was brilliant. And then you watch he's partying with Floyd Mayweather and every actress and an athlete and he's sitting courtside at games in tickets that cost 20, 000. People are saying, how's this kid afforded this?

And the only way he could justify it [01:15:00] was. creating this narrative that his family is really wealthy, which is not the case. So it's just, the story is so wild. It's, it's really well done. It's worth

**Gizmo:** watching. Can't wait to watch it. So I have a question. How did, how did he get away with the volume of autographs coming out that people had, like, wasn't that a dead giveaway that this guy is signing the same footballs, the same jerseys, whatever it might be like, how did that.

So, so there's

**Pagoda:** nothing, there's nothing, um, in terms of the rules, in terms of whether or not he can sign autographs. He can sign as many autographs.

**Gizmo:** I see. So it's a money

**Senator:** thing. And they could improve the, the paper trail. Cause it was cash. Yeah. Wild. It's,

**Gizmo:** it's unreal. So the other, obviously he had some pretty, pretty tough stuff in the documentary too.


**Senator:** even, here's this, so, when he's going into the NFL draft, and this is a guy, he was partying, doing drugs, he basically admits that he had a kid on the team, uh, pee for him, because they were drug tested all the time. He never, never peed for himself. He was on drugs the whole time he was in college. He wouldn't be eligible to play.

[01:16:00] He had somebody else doing all the testing, then he goes to the N F L draft and I'm sorry, you can't get someone to pee in a cup for you. Yeah, they're little more trying to get to the N F L . They're a little better at that E. Exactly. And so his agent and the agent actually is one of the best parts. This guy, I am forgetting his name, he's one of the few guys, when he met with him to try to become his agent that said, you are not going to be a first round.

Everyone's probably telling you that they're full of shit. No general manager is going to draft you in the first round, which was exactly the case. Initially, every GM was like, we're not going to risk money on this kid. He's a party animal. He's not taking this career seriously. And so he hires his agent and he tells him for the next three months.

You are not going to do a single drug. You're not going to drink. You're going to just train. I'm going to have a video recording of all these workouts you're doing. We need to prove you're serious and that maybe in college, you'd like to have fun, but now, you know, you're a grown man. You're going to the NFL.

This is a different time in your life. So to Johnny Manziel's credit, he does this for almost exactly three months. The day before he's supposed to [01:17:00] go to the combine, he goes on, uh, goes to some party. He does drugs. He drinks everything, calls his agent. I fucked up. And his agent's like, are you kidding me?

You're going to have to, you're gonna have to pee in a cup tomorrow. Soon as he gets to the combine, they test you. There's no way he's going to pass. So again, and this is how I, you start to understand, it's not to justify that this kid threw his life away in many ways, but you understand kind of how he kept being enabled to think that he could get away with this stuff.

So his agent comes up with this brilliant scheme where he's going to fly into the combine, physically show up there. So it's like, he's not running away. He's not hiding anything. He didn't do any drugs, shows up to the combine, has his father. Check into a hospital saying like, he feels like he had a heart attack or something.

And then when he's at the combine, before he can stay to pee in a cup or anything, he says, he checks his phone like, Oh shoot, I got to go flies out to go see his father. So they have no reason to believe that he's [01:18:00] dodging the drug test. They think he's going to tend to his father. That's how he got away with the whole, the whole bender.

**Bam Bam:** That's some funny, unbelievable.

**Gizmo:** That's

**Senator:** crazy. He wouldn't have been eligible for the draft.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. It's a, it's

**Bam Bam:** a great document. Where was he drafted? First round, right? Uh,

**Senator:** at the very end of the first round. And that the agent had to beg. Cleveland even was not going to take him at first. And he kept falling.

And then the agent thought that Cleveland had the best chance of giving him an opportunity. Basic. I mean, they were desperate. They needed a quarterback. And so he called, gave this whole thing about how he's changed. He's a different guy. All this stuff, and they bought it, and obviously it didn't work out well.

**Gizmo:** I saw the clip, obviously, of him saying that he watched zero tape. Zero seconds of tape his entire time in the NFL. Right, he never saw any tape. Never

**Rooster:** watched any tape. And Texas A& M beat Alabama. Yeah. At their peak. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, that was

**Senator:** huge. In Alabama. That was an

**Bam Bam:** incredible game. Yeah.


**Senator:** What

**Grinder:** do you mean he

**Gizmo:** never watched tape? [01:19:00] He never watched tape? He

**Bam Bam:** never started in college? No,

**Gizmo:** the pros. I think both. Both in the pros. Both. Yeah. No tape. So it's just talent. Yeah. Yeah. Talent and creative tenacity. Right. I mean, just figuring out ways to make shit happen. I mean, it's like, it just

**Bam Bam:** goes to show that if he actually focused and cared about his career, he'd be, he'd still be playing.

Yeah, he, he

**Pagoda:** was, he was excellent. Yeah. In fact, you know, being a long horn, we, we missed out on him and I was in school 11, 12, 13. In 12, I think he got recruited by A& M and in 2012 was when he, when they beat Alabama. A& M had just moved from Big 12 to the SEC and, uh, you know, we had let go of another star, another star, like, like the many

**Gizmo:** before.

But he wanted to be a longhorn. He wanted to be.

**Pagoda:** Yeah, I think so. But he was a bit short, but um, you know, overall, excellent,

**Gizmo:** excellent quarterback. It's really amazing to me too, that instead of being parental or, you know, like his [01:20:00] father, his grandfather playing into the scheme, instead of helping this kid in college, like, be a better person, Make corrective measures like they're, they're, they're like his father was very strict.

**Senator:** They're colluding. I know. No, I will say this his parents So I don't know that they even talk at this point his parents tried so hard to get through to him And it got so bad, they went years without speaking. They just,

**Gizmo:** nothing would work. His father, dude, my dad would not check in a hospital pretending to have a heart attack for me to get out of

**Senator:** something.

If your son's lifelong dream was to be in the NFL. He would

**Gizmo:** do it. I would do it. I'm saying my dad wouldn't do it. Okay, well,

**Senator:** I think most dads would is my point. But his

**Gizmo:** father wanted him to play football. Of course. He wanted

**Senator:** to get into the pros. But once he was in the league and he just still couldn't clean up his act and his parents tried.

everything. They just, they stopped talking. They're like, nothing we are doing is getting through this guy. And they, they just kind of severed ties for years. So

**Gizmo:** what is he [01:21:00] doing now? Does he have any sort of, well, he played in the

**Bam Bam:** Canadian league for a while after the NFL,

**Gizmo:** after football, he does a cigar podcast.

**Bam Bam:** Hey Johnny, what's up?

**Senator:** So it's a good question because the one thing that I was actually annoyed with the documentary It ended without me being able to answer that question. No resolution of... I had no clue what he's doing right now. They showed him hanging out with his

**Rooster:** buddies. But

**Pagoda:** yeah, at his house. In a beautiful house, you know, with friends and

**Gizmo:** he's just chilling.

I mean, obviously he has more money than God, but I mean... Well, we don't know that. He's now, right?

**Senator:** Oh, I'm sure. Oh, no, no. He does not have more money than God. So one of the things he talks about is when he had contemplated suicide and decided he was going to try to commit suicide. He said his goal was to spend every dollar he had.

So I'm sure he's pissed away the vast majority of what he's made.

**Pagoda:** But you know, he's still a name. And, uh, you know, people probably pay him to show up

**Gizmo:** somewhere. And I'm sure Netflix paid him pretty handsomely for this documentary. I hope so. [01:22:00] I hope so. I would think, right?

**Pagoda:** But I'm glad he's living, you

**Grinder:** know.

**Bam Bam:** It's a tough, it's a tough story. Very sad.

**Senator:** And the same agent that I told you concocted that whole scheme so that he could be eligible for the draft, he left him. Really? He fired his own client. Wow. Couldn't work with him. That's pretty rare.

**Gizmo:** Well, there you go. I'm gonna have to go watch it now. I only saw clips of it. I just didn't have the time. No, I'm on it. Yeah, but it's a,

**Pagoda:** it's really interesting, like, you know, you have these young kids who suddenly come into money, like, obviously, not the money they really deserve, but still a lot more money they can.

I think the league needs to be better in terms of helping them cope up with, you know, these new

**Bam Bam:** responsibilities. They do have financial advisors now that they can tap into through the players union, I think. That's there. Yeah,

**Gizmo:** the agent's name was Eric Burkhardt Burkhardt. The other Netflix show. I don't know if you guys saw it, uh, saw any of it speaking of football, it's called quarterback.

Great. So it, yeah, it's, yeah, I actually did watch quite a bit of that. [01:23:00] Um, cause I think it started earlier, came out earlier than the Manziel, but it follows Patrick Mahomes, Marcus Mariota and, um, Curt Cousins. Curt Cousins. You like,

**Senator:** you like that? I mean, that's his famous line. Yeah. Yeah. Curt Cousins. Curt

**Gizmo:** Cousins.

Oh, I thought it was Roosters. Oh yeah. And Roosters. And Roosters. You like that? You like that? I found, I, I, I found that to be really fascinating. I love Curt Cousins now. Yeah. And I think Mahomes is kind of the opposite of, What we're hearing about Manziel. Oh, yeah, that dude works, man. He's a pro. Yeah, he grinds.

He grinds grinder. Yeah, you got a grind. You got a grind. You got to check that show out too. Very good.

**Senator:** It's good. The funny thing is so they're they're gonna do a second season of it Yeah, it's a Peyton Manning production. Yeah, it's cool. Peyton Manning came out said we're doing a second season Apparently Daniel Jones got asked to be on it and he were he declined

**Gizmo:** That's like watching like it's too focused,

**Bam Bam:** but he's a Manning disciple though,

**Senator:** isn't he?

Yeah, but, I mean, that's gotta be [01:24:00] adding a huge level of distraction in the middle of a season to have, like, every moment of your... Oh, like Hard Knocks?

**Gizmo:** The Jets will be fine. They should just send

**Pagoda:** Zach over there.

**Grinder:** Have the, have a Hard Knocks team ever done very well? No.

**Gizmo:** Not that I know of. No, but they're always picking the bottom of the barrel teams.

I mean, the teams that are eligible are like the jets at the bottom of the barrel are the teams that like perform the worst. You know what? They're not

**Bam Bam:** even in the barrel. They're in a dirt somewhere,

**Gizmo:** but they've done some, they've done some acquire, you know, don't miss a mad man under the

**Bam Bam:** widow.

**Grinder:** It's actually, it's actually a punishment from the league.

It's like, uh, in the premier league, when you get, uh, relegated, relegated, you got to do hard

**Bam Bam:** knocks now, man. I No,

**Senator:** who does actually? Yeah, the owners, that's the

**Gizmo:** owners. They probably get paid, right? Oh yeah. And you know, he gets um, with his new [01:25:00] deal, he has access to the NF, like a personal private jet, for the rest of his life.

Even after he's done being commissioner, part of his deal is private jet access whenever he wants, on demand, for the rest of his

**Senator:** life. Not a single corporate CEO of any Fortune 100 company gets that. And the commissioner of the National Football League, it's so ridiculous.

**Gizmo:** That's a pretty incredible perk.

It's like, I want to go have lunch. There's no

**Grinder:** shareholders of the NFL, right? Except for the owners. There's 30 billionaires. A bunch of billionaires. It's a private club. The NFL is a billionaire's

**Gizmo:** club. I saw that the Cowboys, you know, obviously that's the number one, uh, priced franchise. Yeah. Just net, you know, the value of it.

I think in all of sports. Now it's 9. 2 billion. Wow. Yeah, it's crazy. Almost ten billion dollars. It's

**Senator:** just comical. I'm

**Grinder:** sorry. You know, you

**Pagoda:** know who's gonna come and buy them, right?

**Gizmo:** It's the Saudis. Yeah, very well could be. So, boys, we're coming to the end of our evening here tonight with the Tequila Ocho Reposado, the Widow Jane version, and our Cuaba [01:26:00] Salamones.

Pairing has been excellent for me, guys. Very good. I'm very, very pleased with both, with both, uh, tonight. Absolutely great. Yeah. What do you guys think? I want to ask

**Bam Bam:** Pagoda. You got some ammonia early on. How is it for you now? Because you're getting down into that thing. Not

**Pagoda:** ammonia. I mean, I felt a little bit of bitterness.

Bitterness, yeah. It's, um, it hasn't been as remarkable as, I think, the first half. That's fine. Let's put it this way. Yeah. I think, uh, it's really flattened out to me. It still continues with the... I think the earthiness and it's becoming very, um, somewhat becoming one of the, like one of those new worlds where the second half is not working too much for me.

I don't know. That's, that's

**Senator:** my, I'll say this. The second half, I don't have an issue with writ large. The, the midway point I actually think was some of the most enjoyable. Points in this cigar the last quarter is where [01:27:00] the youth is showing up for me Yeah, it's like

**Bam Bam:** it's a little harsh little muddled

**Gizmo:** and harsh and it has imagined it It has that thing on the front of your the front of your tongue a little tingle That's just had just a little bit of like it's not pleasant just a touch of it But I'm still getting it's my cigar right now is heavily leather.

Mm hmm It's like very much leather

**Senator:** and the thing I'll say I'm not gonna knock it Scoring wise, aggressively for that because this is a 2023 cigar. Oh, March 2023 cigar is going to, in that last quarter, show its age. It's almost impossible not to. So the fact that three quarters of this I have enjoyed very much, this is still, I'm very pleased overall.

**Gizmo:** Are you guys ready to do the formal liquor rating on the Tequila Ocho Reposado? Widow Jane? Yep. All right, Bam Bam, you're up. Let me take a sip.

**Bam Bam:** So, initially, I was at a six on this thing. Really? I was, early on. It just, I didn't have any ice, I put a chip, it got better. I do like the other... Brands are the other [01:28:00] bottles that this maker has.

So I'm going to go, I'm between a seven and an eight now. I'm and I'm closer to a seven. Uh, I'll be generous and go with an eight because I actually liked the pairing tonight. It was beautiful. And I'm just going to judge it for what it is

**Gizmo:** tonight. Okay, you were closer to a seven. How'd you get to an eight?

Yeah, I'm

**Bam Bam:** glad you said that. Like I said, like I said, I'm being generous. I'm gonna be a little generous tonight. I'm at an eight.

**Gizmo:** So what made you go to an eight?

**Grinder:** The pairing. He was at seven, he was at seven, two, five, that knocked him to seven, seven, five, and then he rounded up.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. And as I thought about it, you know, it paired nicely with the cigar.

So I can't, you know, for what it is tonight, it's an eight.

**Gizmo:** This is Bam Bam Maths, folks. All right. Grindr.

**Grinder:** Uh, I'm at a seven. Um, really enjoyed it. Uh, I think, you know, I, I'm probably not as generous as you, but a lot of the same thinking in that, you know, the pairing was really fantastic. Um, and it's not, [01:29:00] I don't think it's a tequila I'd drink.

Without this pair, um, you know, there's other ones I'd grab instead and, you know, um, It was very enjoyable tonight. It, it, it complimented the cigar very well. And for that reason, I'm giving it a seven.

**Gizmo:** All right, Pagoda. Um, yeah,

**Pagoda:** for me, it's actually a nine. I really like this tequila. Um, I like the pleasant smell.

I like a little bit of the smoky and sweetness on the finish. Uh, it's a, one of the tequilas I've really enjoyed. The one thing I don't like is, uh, how I feel the day after. Um, but, but having said that, uh, you know, um, And just in terms of the flavor profile, I think it just, you know, for me, I'm, I'm not a really big fan of tequilas, so it just brings back, you know, um, some of the flavor profiles of, uh, you know, liquors I would generally enjoy.

So for me, it's, it's a nine. Um,

**Senator:** so I'm, I'm at an [01:30:00] eight. I, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm actually, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would because I've had this before. Not a lot of it, just a small glass. The, the widow Jane barrel. Gives it a bit of a bite, a little, a little heat, um, in a way that I'm not really used to from tequila Ocho.

What I love about this brand, if you have their regular reposado or their, and Yeho, they're very smooth, very easy drinking. So, um, I'm not usually looking for. that heat from this brand, but I will say the complexity of flavor, it did pair extremely well with the cigar. Um, so I'm at an eight, but the regular Repo and the Anejo are like nines for me.

It doesn't quite hit the same. I

**Gizmo:** agree wholeheartedly. Yeah. I mean, that sums it up perfectly for me. I'm also at an eight. It's a reason that I'm not going to run out and buy this versus even the other tequila Ocho's. It's not a, not something that I'm going to really stock in my humidor at all. I, I don't know if I would put [01:31:00] this on the table and serve it to guests other than the cool story.

Are you keeping liquor in your

**Senator:** humidor these days?

**Gizmo:** You know what I'm saying. My collection, sorry. My brain is fried. Uh, but you know, I, it's just not. A tequila that I'm going to keep at the house, you know, but for what it did tonight, how it tasted, I love the brand. I thought it was great, but it, it, it's definitely an eight for me.

That's a look at eight. It's a great score. A great

**Senator:** score. Oh yeah. I would

**Gizmo:** drink it again. Happily. Yeah. Right. So that it ends up at a flat 8. 0 boys. There

**Bam Bam:** you go. There's the respectable score for this. Yeah. Perfect. Yeah. All right.

**Gizmo:** You guys ready to do the formal lizard rating now on the Kawaba Salamones.

All right, Rooster, you're up. Good, good cigar and

**Rooster:** pretty impressive that this is a 23. Uh, but I think a little bit of age will definitely help the cigar. The cigar started out great. I mean, I love the I really enjoyed the floral notes and the fruity notes that were Coming through in the, in the, in the front end, but I kind of dissipated after a while.

So I'm [01:32:00] between also a seven and eight. I'm closer to an eight, but I'm going to give it a seven.

**Gizmo:** Okay.

**Bam Bam:** Not generous.

**Senator:** Um, I'm in the same camp and that I've been debating between a seven or an eight, but I am closer to an eight and I'm going to give it an eight as one should. Um, and the reason for that, the, the thing that stands out about this cigar for me is complexity. Like that's my big takeaway. I never imagined that frankly, any quaba is all that complex.

The fact that a young quaba 2023 cigar. For at least half of it, I thought was very complex and three quarters of it, I enjoyed thoroughly the last quarter I did not, but I'm still going to round up to an eight because it's previewing so well that I would actually love to try this with some age. And this for me has [01:33:00] made me much more now willing to smoke other quabbas in a way I wasn't before.

So for all those reasons, I'm at a solid eight.

**Gizmo:** So I'm also at an eight. Um, I think previewing, I don't think it's ever going to get to a 10. That's my assumption. I'm, I think it gets to a nine with that age, I think for how it performed today, that last quarter, like if we're really being hard asses and judging it on its youth, it could be a six or seven with that last quarter.

I don't think that's fair. For the performance and it's age and where it's at right now. I mean, think about new world cigars, how age they are before we smoke them. So I'm hedging a little bit, but I think eight is the right number for how this, this performed tonight. Construction was great. You know, we didn't even talk about the smoke output.

There were a couple of times where I pushed out my draw and it was like, I couldn't see you guys. Great combustion. The combustion was fantastic. And. You know, the, the construction was just excellent. Um, flavor wise, leather is, is a note that I chase. So I was very pleasantly surprised when that came in in the second half.

[01:34:00] I love that. You know, one of my favorite cigars at the Sir Winston from H Upman. That's a core flavor note of that cigar. So I think that for me, leather adds elegance. And I think that it, it moved this cigar from something that could be casual. I think it is an elegant medium. type of smoke, and I'm looking forward to, like Senator said, trying it again in the future.

How far down did you go? I went down to the last... Is that your stick

**Bam Bam:** right there? Yeah, right there. So there's about an inch and three quarters, something like that left.

**Gizmo:** Okay. Yeah, this one's mine

**Bam Bam:** here. Hold on. Yeah, I see it. Oh. Okay, so about an inch and... Yeah, about

**Gizmo:** an inch. Yeah, mine's about an inch left. So, that, that last, that last bit really kind of started biting, but...

Yeah. I'm not judging it on that. Yeah, I've got some kind of stick. Because I think in six months, I think that goes away. Yeah. All right. Pagoda. Yeah.

**Pagoda:** Same seven and eight. You know, I, I think I'm going to end up giving it a seven. And the reason is I'm really struggling in the last quarter with this. Um, uh, it did start off really well.

In fact, I was thinking, Oh, I could [01:35:00] just envision myself on the deck smoking this. And the first, you know, when you began, They were obviously started with a little bit of floral earthiness. I think it just a little bit of sweetness as well. And then it just dissipated towards the end. Like I mentioned before as well.

Um, I think it's

**Gizmo:** a seven for me. Okay. Grindr.

**Grinder:** Uh, I am an eight for all the same reasons. Uh, you guys mentioned that you were eights. Um, it smoked great today. Uh, it was an eight today. And as Puba says, it's, you know, it's previewing very, very well. And I see this as a nine in a year. And, uh, it was a great cigar.

**Gizmo:** And to that point, I'm actually going to mark this cigar. Because I have a bunch, you know, that I got at the same time. So I'm actually going to put this aside for us. I'm going to put seven aside for future episodes. So I want to actually smoke this specific box with time. Um, not this specific box, but another box of the same code.

Obviously, there's only 10 in a box, but, um, I'm going to put some [01:36:00] aside so we can smoke this in a year or two. Hmm. All right, Ben,

**Bam Bam:** you're up. So, it definitely started off as an 8. That first inch was, was really delicious. Pungent fruit and floral. It's fantastic. You know, the, and that middle was very good.

The complexity continued, but at the very end, I took it just below an inch. So, the beginning for me was an 8. The end was an absolute 6. That complexity for me, it did dissipate. So if I, you know, average what's the middle between eight and six, I gotta go to seven. No, the middle

**Senator:** between it is a four. Yeah.

I'm just doing Bam Bam Math.

**Bam Bam:** Well, that is not Bam Bam Math.

It's 20 I mean, if it begins at an eight and a six, I have to go to seven.

**Gizmo:** All right, boys, so the formal lizard rating on the Coaba Salamones is a 7. 5. Let's round up. And I,

I think that's a great score for this cigar being six months old. I never called for rounding

**Bam Bam:** up, did I? I

**Senator:** think you rounded up aggressively earlier. I did, I was generous.

**Grinder:** I think it's a great score. [01:37:00] Yeah, I think that's what

**Bam Bam:** it is right now.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, I think it performed very well. And like we said, the pairing was great and I think a listener hearing 7.

5. I think that's just to recommend. I think that's just counting in youth. You know, I think you buy these sit on them maybe for a year instead of six months. I think you're going to get closer to a mid eight on a rating or close to a nine with some age like grinder said, um, You know, but really an excellent cigar and being a 57 ring gauge, it's not my favorite size.

So to have this cigar be as enjoyable as it was, you know, I, I couldn't believe it.

**Senator:** I also want to say anyone who enjoys a figurado, there are not many Cuban figurados and the ones that exist. I mean, I don't think we've had great experiences with them. So much as I love Partagas, I know you, you bought a Salomone, a Partagas Salomone box a long time ago.

It was awful. It was terrible. So I, I think if you like this shape, this is definitely worth trying. And I say that because I actually, when this started, I was at a nine on this cigar, not an eight when it started. Yeah. It's, and it's the end that brought me down to an eight. It's fair. So I, I [01:38:00] really think if this is your shape mm-hmm.

This is a, a Cuban, this is a marker that's actually done it well. Yeah. And that's only gonna get better. So even young, I think it's worth exploring. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** Alright boys. An 8.0 for the Tequila OCHO Reposado. Widow Jane, and a 7. 5 for the Coaba Salamone. And we will definitely be revisiting this exact code of this exact cigar at some point.

Which I don't think we've said before, but I think that we deserve, I think this cigar deserves a second shot with some

**Bam Bam:** age. Yeah, and I think you're saying that's because it's so surprising the positive commentary that we got for this one. And the previewing. It's worth looking

**Gizmo:** at again. Yeah, absolutely.

All right, boys. A great night. We'll see y'all next week. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Thanks for joining us. You can find our merch store and ratings archive at our brand new website. Lounge lizards, pod. com that's lounge lizards, P O D. com. Don't forget to leave us a rating and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform, if you have any comments, questions.

If you [01:39:00] want to reach out, say hello, tell us what you're smoking, email us. Hello at lounge lizards, pod. com. You can also find us on Instagram at lounge lizards pot. We really appreciate your time and we'll, uh, we'll see you next week.