Lounge Lizards - a Cigar and Lifestyle Podcast

Recorded at Ten86 Lounge in Hawthorne, New Jersey the lizards pair the Montecristo Edmundo with High West Double Rye Whiskey. This is the fourth and final episode recapping their Cuba trip in March. The lizards highlight their favorite cigar shops and lounges in Havana and they discuss their experiences at the Habanos Festival '23 and Amigos de Partagás '22.

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

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What is Lounge Lizards - a Cigar and Lifestyle Podcast?

Released every Tuesday, the LOUNGE LIZARDS podcast helps listeners navigate the experience of finding and enjoying premium cigars (both Cuban and non-Cuban) and quality spirits. Episodes range from 60 to 90 minutes and feature a variety of different topics including food, travel, life, sports and work.

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

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

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

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

And our plans to smoker cigar, drink some whiskey, talk about life, and of course, have some laughs. So take this as your 80th official invitation to join us and become a card carrying lounge lizard. Plan to meet us here once a week. We are gonna smoke a Cuban cigar tonight. Share our thoughts on it, and give you our formal lizard rating.

We wrap up the recap of our trip to Cube. This week. We highlight our favorite cigar shops and lounges in Havana, and we discuss our experiences at the Havanas Festival and Amigo's de Parkass, 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 high West double rye whiskey with the Montecristo Ed Muno a rib robusto tonight from Monte Christo on the [00:01:00] pod from Cuba.

It's called the Ed Muno. It's a little bigger than the ribos we're used to outta Cuba. It's actually a different size as well, but it's still a rub. Robusto, uh, it's a 52 ring gauge by five and three eighth inch cigar. So compared to a D four, it's got about a half inch on it. And I, I think the ring gauge is about two millimeters bigger.

So the factory name in on this is actually an edmundo. Um, so it is a little different, but it's still classified as a rub robusto, uh, in the retail chain. So, uh, this is the, I believe, third mon fourth Monte Cristo we've done on the podcast. Um, I can go through some of the other scores, uh, later on. But first, let's cut this thing boys.

See we're getting on the call. Draw on the wrapper.

**Bam Bam:** Not the most elegant looking cigar. It's not, it's a potato farmer grade.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. You know, I'm, um, I've heard wonderful things about these cigars and I've heard terrible things about these cigars. You've never had it. I've never had this cigar. You're

**Bam Bam:** [00:02:00] joking.

I swear. Never had it. I've had a bunch of these.

**Gizmo:** My dry, my drawer is wide open. Right. Anyone else

**Senator:** catch that? I've had a bunch of these. Yeah. Mm, you had two. Someone's tower is well stocked. Isn't that interesting? I've never had one of these, actually. Well,

**Gizmo:** I'll get, he says that quite

**Bam Bam:** often these days. I'll take you to the, you know what, you, you know what it is.

I'll take you to the corn farm and they have a whole bunch over there. It is a rustic cigar.

**Gizmo:** It is, it, it's not pretty. This is my meaning. Yeah. It's not pretty. So these are actually quite young boys, so we'll see if we taste the youth in them. Uh, these are g e r, which is a provincial factory from July 22.

The cold draws nice. It is, and it's wide open. Wide open for me. Yep. Tobacco

**Bam Bam:** and very slight hint of fruit.

**Gizmo:** Is anybody suffering on draw?

**Senator:** Mine's got a bit of resistance, but it should hopefully not be a problem.

**Gizmo:** Same here. You good? Okay. I feel like it does taste similar to like Amani too. It's nice on the cold draw.

It's nice, you know. Yeah. I'm not getting much on the cold draw. Little dried fruit maybe at the most. Just a tiny

**Bam Bam:** bit. Little cedar. Cedar. [00:03:00] That's it.

**Gizmo:** Well, all right boys, let's light this thing. The Monte Christo Ed Muno. Again, 52 ring gauge by five and three eight inches. It's a rib robusto, a little bigger than the other.

Classic D four RAs, epicure number two outta Cuba. A little bigger than those, but still a rib robusto. Uh, and like I said, it's our fourth Monte Crista from Cuba we're doing on the pod tonight. So

**Bam Bam:** someone's flame is very

**Gizmo:** loud. Yeah. Coming in really hot. Is that mine? I don't know. That's me. Senators flexing over there.

Senators flexing.

**Bam Bam:** It's pretty nice right off the light.

**Gizmo:** Hmm, right. Happy with that. Yeah. That's a good start. I do like the extra half inch on it. Mm-hmm. Um, I think that, you know, if it were to take a, a RAs or a D four, you all right over there? Bam. Good. A half inch. Uh, if it, you know, if you were to take a RAs or a D four and add an extra half inch, I think that would even make those [00:04:00] cigars even more Perfect.

To give you that extra 15, 20 minutes. But, um, I do like the size I do. So what are you guys getting on the uh, on the light? It tastes very Monty to me.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. Very Monty. But it's a very, um, it's not extraordinary like

**Gizmo:** chocolate milk. It's not extraordinary. Like not very coffee ish, but more like it's okay.

Chocolate milk. Yeah. Mm-hmm. I gotta say I'm getting that twang. I'm getting that montecristo twang. Yeah. What is the Monte twang? The Monty Twang Is there, it feels like the little brother or stepbrother of the, uh, of the Monty Two for sure. Very different than the Monty one. Yeah. That we had.

**Senator:** I think both the notes are spot on.

I mean, to me it's, it's milk chocolate and that Monty Cuban twang. Sure. Not a ton of complexity. To me. It's like very straightforward. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** That's, I, I just did a double draw, like I pulled it in my mouth and pulled again. Mm. And I got a blast of twang. That was really [00:05:00] nice. Like really nice. I like that.

**Senator:** I like the finish is actually smooth.

I was worried when you said these are young, that this might be a little harsh. Yeah. So

**Gizmo:** far it's pretty good. Not bad. Yeah. These come in a variety of different, uh, packaging. They come in a display box of 15 aluminum tubes, five cardboard packs of three. They come in a display box of 15 cigars in five cardboard packs of three.

And these came out of a semi boy nature box of 25 cigars. Oh. And, uh, they were introduced in 2004. They also had. In it's 2010, a special ceramic jar, which are very nice. I know you have a jar in No, I have jar in, no, from Hey Chapman. Yeah. The jars are very cool, man. Now the, do you have jars, rooster? I have jars.

I like the jars. These coming into jar. They did, in 2010, they did a, uh, a ceramic jar of 25, uh, 25 cigars for Western Europe. That would be a big jar. It would be, yeah. Thick jar. It would be, yeah. Unless maybe they double stack 'em or [00:06:00] something. That'd

**Bam Bam:** be cool. But then the feet would get damaged. Unless there's a

**Gizmo:** cedar barrier.

Maybe there might be a little cedar thing in there. Don't, so yeah, I don't

**Senator:** think that one, the ones we're smoking, did not

**Gizmo:** come out of a dress box is they did come out of a dress box. They did. These came out of really a semi boy nature box. Got it. So the und edmondo that I have, not a dress box, the semi boy nature box.

Like, like a D four. That's, that's what I'm saying,

**Senator:** yes. They did not come out of a dress box. That's correct. Okay. Hmm. There are not many mons that are, most mons come in dress boxes. Right.

**Gizmo:** Except for these. Think that's correct.

**Senator:** This is a pretty notable number one.

**Gizmo:** Monty number

**Senator:** 3, 2,

**Gizmo:** 3, 2, 2, 2. They're

**Senator:** all dress boxes.

Dress boxes. So the address, so I'm just saying to me, this stands out, obviously, um, most of us, if not all of us, are not huge fans of dress boxes. So it's very curious to me that this is the one exception to that rule for Monty's.

**Gizmo:** Very, it must be. It must be because it was released so much later. I mean, those other cigars were, were what, 1960s, 1970s released.

**Senator:** And it was, it's not even like if this were the traditional re robusto size, I could see it's very easy probably to get those boxes, like the same boxes that Parus would [00:07:00] use or someone else. But this is longer, so they would have to special make these boxes. There are not a ton of at munos size or shaped cigars.

**Bam Bam:** So the Munos I have at home come in a cool, a different presentation. It's a yellow box. It's about six inches long, maybe five and a half inches tall. And inside that are four, three pack boxes of these. Yeah, it's kind of cool.

**Gizmo:** I think there's five boxes in there. There. Five boxes. Five boxes of three come in 15.

Yeah. Fifteens. Fifteens. Yeah. That's not a just box Monte twos come like that too. Yeah. In the cardboard packs. I've never seen that. Yeah. So they also make a double ed muno. Yep. I've heard That's very good. And they make a petite ed muno. Mm.

**Senator:** But I like about this cigar that finishes. Sweet. Yes. The, the thing I don't love about the petite and muno and I think rooster's given me one, um, GIZ has given me one.

I find the finish on that to be a little bitter. I don't get any sweet notes in that cigar, which I, I [00:08:00] like, so this so far is more my speed. I'm actually enjoying this to start.

**Gizmo:** I'm really enjoying it as well. It's really good for under a year. It's a nice cigar and, you know, it, it, it plays into, like we've talked about is this, you know, as we reference all the time, what Rob said about run of cigars, the run that Cuba's been on and, and these factories have been on, uh, in the last three years has been spectacular.

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I was a bit skeptical about smoking a fresh, uh, at Muno, but pleasantly surprised. Yeah. Mm-hmm. It's good. Very good. It, it's

**Senator:** smooth. I mean, I'm not detecting any ammonia or harshness. Not

**Gizmo:** yet. The finish is really nice as very, but even, even, you know, on the light, that doesn't surprise me, but a half inch in, or a, you know, quarter of an inch in.

It's still very, very smooth. Sure. The mouth feels really nice. There's not that lingering thing that happens sometimes for me with Amani too, where it kind of sticks around too long. Yeah. I get

**Bam Bam:** a, I get my dessert notes on the finish here. Yeah, same here. It's, it's on the finish. Yeah. And it, it's on the tongue [00:09:00] and I you, you experience it for a little bit after you, your final draw

**Gizmo:** out.

It's nice. Yeah. And five of us are smoking this and there's no burn issues. It's like razor raw issues. I'm having a little

**Bam Bam:** bit canoeing. Tiny, tiny bit. Really little bit, but nothing to speak

**Gizmo:** of. Hmm. It's definitely not a short finish at all, man. This is, no, it's great. It's somewhere but it doesn't overstay.

It's welcome. No, like it, it's to me it's just That's true. It's perfect and then it clears out

**Bam Bam:** crazy thing. I have a lot of these and it never makes my rotation. I just never reach for this for, so I have to think about it. Oh, I have those. Let me try it. You know? It's not one of those things that I remember to smoke.

**Gizmo:** I think if it continues this way, this is something I'd pursue. Hmm. So boys, uh, we have done now three recap episodes of our trip to Cuba. First episode we did food Culture, first Impressions, overall Experience, Tropicana Show, et cetera. Our second episode, which was I guess four weeks ago now, was the, [00:10:00] uh, recap and telling of our time at El Lato and with the production manager there, Delo.

And the amazing education we got two weeks ago was episode three of, of, uh, the Cuba trip was our visit to La Corona and our experience there, which was fantastic. And tonight we complete our Cuba recap with part four, where we talk about the LCD Hs, the different cigar shops we went to, the hotels, et cetera.

And then we'll finish up with some festival business, um,

**Bam Bam:** multiple base camps we had there. Yeah,

**Gizmo:** yeah, yeah. So, you know, I, it's, it's interesting because I had somebody ask me why did we start with why, why didn't we start with the festival? Because that's what everybody talks about this time of year, all the media, all the publications, that's what they're talking about is what happens at that Havanas festival.

I was there for the, the last part of it. We'll talk about this a little later, but this stuff that we're discussing tonight, [00:11:00] just, it's not as important to me as the stuff we discussed in episodes one through three. Right. All right, so let's talk about, uh, Some of the shops we went to, some of those experiences.

I found those to be some really wonderful memories as sitting in some of the shops in Havana. The very first day. Yeah, very first. You guys got off the first afternoon,

**Senator:** first couple hours, first couple of hours

**Gizmo:** you guys got off the plane and we were, well, we had lunch right in it. Yep. We got to the place, we checked in leftover luggage, got ready, went to that, uh, spot for lunch, which was really good.

What was the name of the place again? Entro. Entro. Yep. And then from there it was walking distance to Lia Cohiba. Yeah. Which is a hotel in,

**Senator:** in the sun, which Bams not, was not so happy about it. That was great.

**Gizmo:** I'll just

**Bam Bam:** take another shower on my, I lost 10 pounds on the way over.

**Gizmo:** I mean, it was like, it was a half a mile.

Not even, it was like a quarter of a mile. It was a quarter

**Bam Bam:** of a one on the way. Handing out balls on the way.

**Gizmo:** No physical activity, [00:12:00] please. That was an impressive, we were handing out balls on the way. Actually two impress hits. Impressive spot. Yeah. Uh, the lounge was one of the. Better lounges that were in Cuba.

I think it was quiet and we were able to access that back room overlooking the Melancon private room. Yeah. And, uh, we tried the, you guys had the Santiago 20 rum. Yeah. The, the one we did. Uh, Two weeks ago. Oh, we had coffee. We had, uh, some espresso. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** Now that was your first taste of the Santiago 20.

**Senator:** It was incredible.

Yeah. I mean, if you could we're, we're on a plane. We're tired. I mean, we got, we had a very early flight and just the first cigar experience in Cuba is sitting there. I light up a D four, take a sip of Santiago 20, and I'm sitting there saying, this is the best run I've ever had in my life. I mean, I think it got tens across the board when we reviewed it.

Yeah. You have this amazing view rooster's talking about, just like overlooking the water and you're in a private room in Havana smoking a Cuban, and it's like, it just doesn't get much better than that. After

**Bam Bam:** [00:13:00] his first sip, he said, I'm moving here. Yeah, that's right. That's all it took.

**Senator:** The other thing that impressed me is even just leading up to getting inside the, the cigar shop there.

And lounge, just walking through the hotel. Mm-hmm. I mean, the Malia, Jibo, it was a nice hotel. It's

**Gizmo:** attractive,

**Bam Bam:** it's place. Really impressed. That's nicely appointed.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So that, what's funny is when we were there in November, bam and I, that hotel was closed. Yes. We didn't get in there. They, they were closed for covid.

Most, most, most of the better part, I guess the better part of two, two and a half years they were closed. Uh, and they just had opened, I think a couple weeks prior to us being there, which was, you know, the week before we were there was the Havanas Festival. Um, so I'm assuming that that was, was part of it.

But, um, yeah, like, like you said, the hotel was pretty dead. I mean, there really wasn't much going on. Yeah. I'm surprised it was closed from 2020 was Covid and to the end of 22. Till the end of 2022. Man, that's a long time. Yep.

**Bam Bam:** Remember the humidor, how [00:14:00] well stocked it was.

**Gizmo:** Nice humidor. It was impressive. It was one of the better humidors I think.

So we actually wanted to go back there. We just didn't make it and wanted to check out inventory and get a couple of boxes, but we just didn't have the time or whatever. Yeah, that's true. Just didn't make it back. Yeah. I liked walking into the bar as well. It was very nice. It was open large, uh, for the soccer fans.

They had English, English Premier League on in the back. That's right. Yep. It was. Yeah. You know, so you felt like, alright, it's uh, you know, coming into Cuba, you know, you have all these impressions in your mind. You don't know what to expect and then you hang out in a very nice hotel, in a very nice bar and then you go to a private room and have excellent rum and great cigars for the one experience, service.

Service there is really spectacular. It was very good.

**Bam Bam:** Good. Honestly, it would've been great to go back for an evening there. And experienced that, that would've been impeccable, I think, especially in that private room. Oh yeah. Or even out in a

**Senator:** big room. We had to leave a reason to return. I can't wait. This is true.

**Gizmo:** So the second place that we went, [00:15:00] which was very, very memorable, and I know for Senator was borderline, if not absolutely emotional. Sure was. It was absolutely emotional. Was the Paga shop over by the Floridita? Yes, sir. Where Hemingway used to hang out. Mm-hmm. The new Parta shop over there. Uh, we had a magnificent time there at the Paga shop.

Yep. So it's right downtown in Central Havana. Very close to, you know, a lot of the happenings. Yep. Um, like I said, right next to the, for Adida, it's right near the Parque Cent trial, which we'll talk about. Um, but that is the heart and soul of Parus for retail buyers. Sure. For people in Cuba who love Parus Barass, uh, that is the place to be.

The people there or Dallas. Herto. Um, there's so many people there that are just Renee, who, who runs the place. Senator will tell a story about that. They're spectacular. It's just unbelievable service and they are genuinely just so happy to see you every time. They're also extremely

**Bam Bam:** hardworking. [00:16:00] Yes. No one, there's no dust collecting on anyone there.

They're all active stocking shelves, taking care of their customers. Renee walked in with a bottle of rum and just poured for everyone in our lounge where we were sitting. I mean, you can't beat

**Senator:** that. And not just for everyone. I mean, it was, I think we might have talked about, we met this amazing guy there, uh, Roberto.


**Gizmo:** yeah. Oh, his guys. Amazing guy. We're gonna have him on the podcast. True Renaissance man. Incredible.

**Senator:** Just a world traveler. The guy was what, in his eighties? Eighties. I mean, he didn't even look in his eighties. Crazy, uh, guy was a cardiologist, knows everyone in the cigar business in every country you can think of.

And uh, we just kind of hit it off. And the funny thing is, so we're sitting in the Parus Lounge and. Roberto's sitting to my left and I just remember looking over at him and he's lighting his cigar. Oh yeah. And I just start saying all the guys, I'm like, look at this. This guy's a lizard. And he's lighting his cigar with his watch.

It was the

**Gizmo:** craziest thing. That was the one of the most

**Bam Bam:** amazing, [00:17:00] though. It was bizarre a bit, but

**Senator:** it was very close. It was. I'm just sitting there saying like, only we would be stupid enough to do something like this. And the fact you found someone is dumb. I mean, it's like the fact that there's another person on this planet that would have like a watch lighter.

I thought it was so cool. It's, it's

**Gizmo:** also the way he was smoking his cigar. That's right. His cigar was in a pipe. Yeah. Yeah. It wasn't special. His mouth, special pipe had special pipe for, that's true. For a cigar for like petite Coronas or

**Bam Bam:** something, but fur, a guy in his eighties to flip up his watch like James Bond and light a cigar.

It's amazing. It, it was his very cool. I wish we caught a photo of that. He was a lizard. He was pretty

**Gizmo:** badass. Big time.

**Senator:** I feel like, you know, we really hit it off with him and we were just talking about our passion for cigars and a little bit about the podcast and he was telling us about all his kind of, you know, global cigar travels.

**Bam Bam:** He got emotional. Yes, yes

**Gizmo:** he did. Yeah, he did a moment or two there. He did. I think he was talking about AVO for some reason. Yes. At that time when Yeah, he was very close friends with, when he got emotional. I was trying to think like, yeah, maybe. What was he talking about that he got so emotional? [00:18:00] I thought maybe it was when the floods like destroyed the, the crop, but I think it was about something about avo.

Yeah. He was very close to friends with Avo.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. He also owns his own factory. Yeah. Where he lives.

**Senator:** In, uh, Argentina. Argentina. Argentina. Yeah. Yeah. It's amazing. Really crazy. And then I feel like. We kind of hit it off. And I think Renee knew him and, um, that sort of, I think, warmed Renee up to all of us.

Mm-hmm. And like Bam said, he just walks in and he just points at everybody and goes, rum. And we're all just, yes, we all just

**Bam Bam:** nod quickly. Can I just say something? If anyone would've said No, I would've punched that guy right in the face. I would've just punched him. Right? I

**Senator:** don't think you would've had to.

I think, I think Renee would've. Renee is a no nonsense kinda guy. Oh, absolutely. And, uh, then he just comes back in the room with a bottle of rum and a bunch of glasses and he pours some rum out on the floor. Um, I think in honor of like

**Gizmo:** RGUs and people, people that have gone before

**Senator:** us. Yeah, that's right.

Yeah. That's cool. And then he poured all of us, uh, a nice very healthy pour and, [00:19:00] um, we got to toast with him, which was really cool. And I think the best part of our experience with Renee is just, uh, he's sitting there starting to chat with us and he talks about how he's always wanted there to be a guest book in the part of his shop.

Oh yeah. And, uh, he finally went out and bought a book that he wanted people to sign and he said it would be his honor to have us be the first to sign the guest book Cool. In the particle shop. Um, and so Roberto Signs and all of us got to write a message and that's honestly where I got a little bit emotional because.

Um, I think for anyone who's listened to this podcast would know, RGUs is my favorite cigar brand. Um, and, uh, I wrote in my note to them, you know, RGUs has been part of every single special moment in my life. It's my wedding cigar, my birth of my, my son. Um, so many special memories. So, uh, it was so cool to be able to.

Thank the people that make this all possible. And, uh, I mean that book, uh, I'm sure will live on for a very long time there. True. It's pretty cool. You'll see the, the lizards on page [00:20:00] one

**Gizmo:** and two. Yeah, we're right up front. Yeah, I, that was a very nice honor. Oh yeah. And, you know, uh, bam. And I had spent some time with Renee in November.

It was during the, the festival week for Parus. So it was a little chaotic. He was under pressure, he was under a lot of pressure. There was a lot of people there and certainly had a lot of heavy hitters that go in there and buy non-Americans who go in there and buy, you know, dozens if not hundreds of boxes Yeah.

At a given time and take 'em home. So, you know, for us, we don't do that cuz we can't, um, you know, we can't take that much stuff home. So, you know, it, it was nice to, I

**Senator:** know that Gizmo said, because we can't, he would happily take 400 boxes of, uh, Parus home. I would all, all, all loosies.

**Gizmo:** Exactly. Absolutely. By the way, how cool is it to sit in the parus shop and light up?

I luci Tanya. That was my first stick. I lit it. Know you lit up a luan. I lit up in 8 98. I think, I don't remember what I left. I think you might have had a P two at a deep, possibly

**Bam Bam:** a P two. Yeah, possibly.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. How, like, just what did you have Rooster? I, I think it was an 8 98. Yeah, I [00:21:00] think that's true. Yeah.

I think you and I had eight 90 eights. But to sit in that parus lounge, drinking rum with Renee having this wonderful conversation Yeah. With, uh, Roberto. Mm-hmm. And smoking RGUs. So back

**Bam Bam:** in, back in November when we went, it was hustle and bustle. It was crowded. People from all over the world were there.

Canada, Japan, Europe, you name it. So I didn't get emotional when I first walked in. I was just enamored. It

**Gizmo:** was almost overwhelming. It was overwhelming because over like

**Bam Bam:** overstimulated, you don't get a chance to walk into a cigar shop and it's full of Cuban cigars and it's, uh, you're walking into the Parta shop.

It's a destination. And it was really, uh, it was very special. And honestly, coming back in, uh, the second time with the rest of the group, I, I, we kind of just, I just held back and I wanted to hear their experience and see how they reacted to it. It was pretty cool.

**Gizmo:** I just liked how much more, more chill it was this time.

Oh yeah. You know, how much more relaxed, not, you know, everybody wasn't crazy. Very laid. That's, that's big thing for

**Senator:** me. So honestly, as [00:22:00] much as I wanted to visit the Parus shop, my expectation was that it was gonna be very crowded. So I was never even, I wanted to go, but I wasn't that excited cause I thought it would just be mobbed and that's not the experience I was looking for.

And I remember the, the lounge, you kind of walk through the shop and it's tucked away in the back. And as soon as we got to the back and just looked around the corner into the lounge area, I couldn't believe there was one guy, Roberto sitting there and it's like the whole place was ours. It was amazing.

So I can't think of honestly, a better experience we could have had. And I think that's what allowed us to have like a really meaningful conversation with Roberto, what allowed us to chat more with Renee. Um, and it just made the experience, the

**Gizmo:** co the coffee was great as well. Yeah, they make great coffee there.

Great coffee. Yeah. Yeah.

**Senator:** Even the woman who was serving there, she's so nice. Amazing. Yeah, just such a great job. Just everything there start to finish, like, I just really appreciated how. I think because we know in Havana sometimes the service is great in other establishments, particularly if it's government owned, it's not.

And it's just such a [00:23:00] welcoming experience, like start to finish there. While a very intense one in that you can see everybody there takes tremendous pride in the work they do, they don't mess around. Um, it was just cool to see,

**Gizmo:** you know, also what was cool was like the, all the transactions there were done in dollars, like for us.

And we actually got changed back in dollars. Not in That's true. Yeah. Not in Cuban. That's true. I haven't, I didn't see that anywhere else. No. Only there. Yeah. Well a lot of the other L cdhs are government owned. Mm-hmm. You know, like government run, government owned. So I think they make an exception for Parus cuz there's so many Americans that go there.

Um, I don't know why that is cuz it's all operated by the same company. But yeah, for some reason they're, they make it a little easier. They don't need you to use your m uh, the MLC card, um, like they do at other places. The other cool

**Senator:** thing when you visit these shops, and we actually didn't see this at Malia Cohiba where we kind of started this conversation, um, is that they'll have a roller sitting there, um, rolling cigars and I, I forget who the roller is.

Um, our [00:24:00] friend who's been to Cuba many times had mentioned there was like a great roller at Malia Cohiba. Juanita Juanita,

**Gizmo:** who was not there when she was not there that week. You know why? Cuz I think the week prior her, she probably was rolling so many cigars for the festival folks that she probably took some

**Senator:** time off.

That makes sense. But it was great. When we were at the party shop, uh, the famous Latina was Latina. Yes. Right there. And for me it was very cool because I had just heard about her and they have a mural like painted on the wall of her right

**Gizmo:** behind where she

**Senator:** sits behind her. And it's just like, I mean, I have these photos and it just felt surreal.

You're like looking at this person in the flesh, actually rolling cigars, people surrounding her, tons of tourists taking photos and videos. And then right on the wall behind her is this like beautiful mural of her. It's very cool to see.

**Gizmo:** It's a, you know what, I think I said this to you guys when we were sitting in the shop, but you know, she had worked at, at, she was at the top of Parus for so long, uh, at the factory.

She's one of the top rollers there. Just think about how many of the amazing parus cigars [00:25:00] that we've smoked over the years that were probably, or potentially rolled by her, you know, and then you're sitting there with her. Watching her role at the shop, you know, making custom rolls with a custom parus, LCD H band on 'em.

Isn't she officially retired? Yeah, she just does that at the shop. She only works at on custom roles at the shop now. Nice. Cool. So yeah, Parus shop is definitely a highlight place. If you go to Cuba, absolutely get tous shop. Other interesting thing about it is that's actually the second pargo shop. The first one was in the now defunct or, um, abandoned Parus factory.

Parus factory. The shop was actually in the factory on the first floor. Um, but you know, since they, they had to close that for, uh, safety reasons, the factory moved to a new location and then the shop moved to an isolated location over by the, uh, the Flora Dita. So that's the second place. It's only a few years old.

**Senator:** And the last thing I'll say on the party gets shop. I think even the bar is well appointed. They had [00:26:00] everything we would need. The ventilation was pretty good. I don't remember it being overly smoky in there. Yep. Um, and I say that because you don't get that at every single place, right? Um, for as much as I love Malia Cohiba, I did feel that room gets a bit smoky.

Um, the bar was great, obviously we found Santiago 20 there, so we, we had no complaints. But, um, that's not the case necessarily everywhere.

**Bam Bam:** Did you guys find the Partica shop to be on a smaller side, smaller than you anticipated It

**Senator:** was. Right. It's surprisingly saw. So that that is the one knock. Yeah. Well, I mean, when it's crowded, I, it would be I think a little tough.

Oh, it's tough.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. It's, so when we were there in November, I also felt it was really tiny compared to what I was, you know, imagining it to be. But um, when it's not crowded though, it's very cozy.

**Gizmo:** We spent hours there. We did. We, I think we each had two cigars. I think so, right? We you had a Lucy. I had, we all had long ones.

And then, uh, and

**Bam Bam:** then I had that lg, um, which one was it? Lgc number two. Yeah. M d o number two. M d o number two. Sorry. Yeah. Yeah.

**Senator:** And I had an 8 98 after the

**Gizmo:** Lucy. Yeah. Amazing. [00:27:00] All right, boys, before we move on, how are we feeling about the, uh, Montecristo Edmundo right now? I like it coming into the second, third.

I think it's really, really damn good. I'm really enjoying it. Yeah. I see

**Bam Bam:** Senator's got an ash about the same size as mine. Let's see

**Senator:** if it, I mean, I have to say for, we were talking about how rustic the cigar kinda looked and the construction wasn't really that impressive. Pre light. It's burning flawlessly.

It's a sharp burn tennis. Um, it, it's, it's been really good in the flavor. Hmm. Um, it's not a. It is at best a medium cigar. I think it's

**Gizmo:** mild to medium for That's where I'm going.

**Senator:** I completely agree with that. I agree with that. It's

**Bam Bam:** very pleasant

**Senator:** though. It is. And I just love, like there, there's like a dessert like finish about it that I really, really like that.

Um, I don't always associate with Monty. I mean, honestly blind. This smokes a little more like an mond to me. Uh, but I like that this

**Bam Bam:** works. What are you getting on the smoke rooster? Because you're sensitive to that. And I'm getting something specific.

**Gizmo:** So this is a lot like the Monty three. It's like the same DNA you get like the [00:28:00] sweet notes from the Monty three that, that I'm getting out of this.

**Bam Bam:** Any floral on the smoke? I'm getting that a little bit. You're getting a little floral at the

**Gizmo:** burn line? Yeah, just a bit. I would say it's primarily either chocolate or coffee. Mm. Okay. Yeah, I would say milk chocolate. I mean, I can't really tell what floral note that you're getting, but Right. But maybe, yeah.

Could be a sweetness of some kind. It's really, really good. It's very pleasant though. Yeah. Smooth.

**Senator:** You have to say. No edges on it. Are pairing with this I, I was critical of. Bam. I'll just

**Gizmo:** own it. That's a very kind way to put it.

**Bam Bam:** So for the listener. To the listener, what else is new?

**Gizmo:** Senator. Senator was getting a little hot with Bam.

Coming in here with this bourn. Tonight we're smoking a

**Senator:** Cuban cigar tonight, and bam pulls up with a bottle of rye. Now Ry

**Bam Bam:** pulls up. It's a double rye, by the way. It'd be a double

**Senator:** rye. Just rye can be. Why? Why? I don't know. Rye can be a more aggressive spirit. Something that I would [00:29:00] more readily pair with a new world cigars, mma.

I was very skeptical to start, but I will say there's a sweetness in this rye. With the ice. With the ice that opens it up. Yeah, that actually works with this

**Bam Bam:** cigar. So I'm only going by recommendations of friends that love this spirit and they said you can't drink it without ice, but you put a few cubes in and let it sit.

It will get really nice and smooth and sweet and it goes with practically any cigar.

**Gizmo:** So let's, um, very easy to drink. Let's tell the listener what we have here. It's the high West double ride blend of straight rye whiskeys. What I find interesting about this is it's made in Park City, Utah. That's right.

Which is pretty cool. Yep.

**Bam Bam:** And the guys that recommended it are big fans. They live there, they've got things happening there. They're here. So they go back and forth. How's

**Gizmo:** that of impossible? I thought Utah was a drys state. I don't know. Very interesting. Yeah. How much was that?

**Bam Bam:** It's re it's cheap. Very, it's $32.

Wow. [00:30:00]

**Gizmo:** It's really cheap. It drinks very well. It does, it does. It really does. So the flavor notes that they call out on the back, uh, unique balance profile of cinnamon, ginger snaps, juniper, mint, spriggs, and fresh wildflower. Honey, I get it. Some of those. I don't know. I think that's not all of it. I think that's a little bit of a stretch.

Mm-hmm. I mean, it's pretty good, but it's good, you know, for 32 bucks. Yeah. It, it's definitely good with small steps. I think when you take a slightly bigger sw Yeah. It's like, uh, it does true. Get a bit harsh, but it's all good though. It's true. I'm enjoying it.

**Bam Bam:** You can't take it. So the usual pagoda, SW can't go here.

No, not at all.

**Senator:** Well, the thing that's also crazy, it's 46%, 46% alcohol, 92 proof. Mm-hmm. So, I mean, it, it's, it's obviously a packs of punch, but when you put some ice in this, it really mellows out in a way that some higher approved spirits, even with ice, still kind of keep a bite. And this doesn't do that at all.


**Gizmo:** It's true. I think it's actually a really nice pairing for the cigar tonight. I agree. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Nice job.

**Senator:** Bam. Bam. I take it back. There you

**Bam Bam:** go. Once in a while you get a gem. [00:31:00]

**Gizmo:** You know, you mentioned, uh, uh, Upk as a potential flavor match for what you're getting outta this cigar. What's interesting is one of the other cigars that comes in this specific size, and I think it might be the only other one out of the regular production havanas catalog, is the Huppman, Royal Robusto that comes in those 10 count boxes.

I think that's an L C D H. It is. It has the second band. Have you ever had that? Yeah, I have a box. The two I've had out of it are hit or miss. I've been very curious about that. Cigar

**Bam Bam:** try. It's a box. Box of 10. Yeah. Never had. I've

**Senator:** never had it. I think I've had it and I

**Gizmo:** actually wasn't crazy bad it now.

Yeah, it's hit or miss from what? From what I've had. I've had two and they were interesting. Both. One was pretty good and one was not interesting. So maybe they just need some time. But, so back to Havana. Uh, the next place we went was the Park Central Parque Central. Which is in a bureau star property.

Yeah. Is actually not, they don't actually have a lounge there. Uh, they just allow you [00:32:00] to smoke on the second, or I guess the balcony half floor mezzanine. The balcony mezzanine. Mm-hmm. Uh, when you come in, you're not allowed to smoke on the ground floor where they have a little restaurant and they, you can get some, you know, bar drinks and coffee and whatnot.

So on the mezzanine, you're able to go up there and smoke and we actually spent quite a bit of time there during the week. It was very comfortable relaxing. I like that spot. Yeah. Yeah. It good spot. It was beautiful entrance. Me too. I mean, too mean, so you walk in with the spirals, staircase is going up.

You felt like you were in a really nice hotel. It just, yeah. Uh, there was music playing. Uh, you know, there was a good vibe. Music. Yeah. Yep. Service was very good. Yeah. Very European vibe. Yeah, I

**Senator:** agree. Um, but that, that was the coolest part. I just, there are not many hotels. It doesn't matter where you are that like in a lobby essentially, even though you're in the mezzanine, uh, raised up obviously that you can smoke a cigar.

So just it felt unique to be able to sit there looking down at all these people doing whatever they're doing in the lobby area and not getting yelled fat for it. You know, just be able to enjoy yourself. It

**Gizmo:** was great. It's true. Yeah. We all had aqua the [00:33:00] gas. Aqua gas. A aqua gas. Aqua gas. No, I, I, can

**Senator:** we translate that for the listeners?

This doesn't sound so weird.

**Gizmo:** It's water spark carbon. Water, sparkling water. Carbonated water. Carbonated water. The cappuccinos were good. Oh boy. Yeah. The, and the drinks were fine too, you know. Yeah. Um, the, the one thing that was disappointing is that every time we ended up there, the L C D H that's there, Was closed now.

We did

**Bam Bam:** get in there in November. We went

**Gizmo:** twice in November. And that's a pretty good shop. It was okay. It's okay. You know, the stock was decent.


**Bam Bam:** had a lot of things you can look at and buy. Yeah,

**Gizmo:** it was pretty good. Yeah. Actually that's where we ended up with, uh, this pretty reasonably priced Cobra Boosto.

Yes. They were like 25 bucks or something. Yep. Um, in November. But, uh, yeah, I mean, that's one of my favorite places to smoke in Havana, even though it's not a designated place to smoke. It's just so comfortable in my husband. Yeah. The, the couches are great. It's just fun up there. The vibe is good and, and the ventilation is surprisingly good.

Yeah. So that's not a state run hotel. No. It's run by aro star. Yeah. Yeah.

**Senator:** Which you can tell [00:34:00] the minute you walk in that place. Yeah, exactly. Everybody's so friendly. I mean, ironically, you know, uh, our translator for a part of the trip works there. We met there. Yeah. He works

**Gizmo:** there. He works at the concierge desk.

Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Which was very helpful. Yeah. Uh, so then after the Parken Trail, the next stop was the Cohiba atmosphere, which is in the strip, I guess of the high, high end tourist attraction mall thing, kind of, which I guess has what, six or eight stores? Yep. Mon Blanc and, and some others. Mm-hmm.

Uh, so Cohiba atmosphere is definitely the nicest and newest looking. Uh, yeah. But man, we walked in there. The air conditioning was broken. Air conditioning wasn't working. It was a hundred degrees in there. Yeah. What'd you guys just think of? The

**Senator:** humidor? They also had no water. No water. No water. That's true.

They were out of

**Gizmo:** water. Yeah. The humidor was decent. We actually all bought some cigars

**Senator:** there. Yeah. That was the best part of that place.

**Gizmo:** I like that little humidor. We got some, I mean, you guys got boxes of, uh, cutie claros. [00:35:00] That was there. No,

**Senator:** I bought singles there. I got singles. Claros at the next place we're gonna talk.

Okay. And that's where I bought

**Gizmo:** mine too. Yeah. Yeah. But I, I did buy a, a fewer singles. Yeah. Yeah. Pagoda. Yeah. Great

**Senator:** singles. They had a lot of stuff. Oh yeah. Lot

**Gizmo:** of stuff. Absolutely. Yeah. Um, and they were, and they smoked

**Senator:** Great. They smoked well, they did. I mean, to your point, I bought, um, singles of QD 50 s Right.

That I was lighting up every morning on our trip. They spoke 'em every night.

**Gizmo:** I love those.

**Bam Bam:** Every morning too. I think I grabbed one of those from you. They're really good. They're good. Yeah. That was the first time I had that, by the way. They're delicious on

**Gizmo:** that trip. Yeah. Yeah. So could you an atmosphere, we had a nice experience there in November.


**Bam Bam:** Oh, it was great. It's just the, I'm sorry. It was

**Senator:** great. It's so funny. So Gizmo mentions like the n newest, nicest lounge. I don't think it's in very nice lounge. No. The funny is,

**Bam Bam:** oh, is that a surprise? I agree with, I agree with Senator.

**Senator:** No, no. But look, we were just talking about the Parque Cent trial.

That's not even supposed to be a cigar lounge. No. And that upstairs is set up in a way that is like perfect for cigar smoking. Mm-hmm. To me, when you walk in [00:36:00] Kohi atmosphere, and I said this to our friend who has been there many times that helped us with some of the trip planning, and he's had the same reaction.

It feels like you are walking into a shopping mall and there just happens to be seating there. It does not feel like a dedicated cigar. It, it's like this little strip of seating. And the funniest part is, it's like a hundred degrees, all that. There's no water. Okay. If we overlook all of it. We attempt to sit down in these chairs, and all I remember is this couch that gizmo sits out.

I have a pH

**Bam Bam:** I have a photograph. I have a photograph of

**Senator:** that. And his feet can't touch the floor. No, they're two

**Bam Bam:** feet off the floor.

**Senator:** I mean, it's not that Gizmo is like, he looks like

**Gizmo:** a toddler. Tiny short. I'm five. I'm five nine. I'm five nine. I felt like I was like two feet tall. Yeah,

**Bam Bam:** in that chair you were toddler.

It was hysterical.

**Gizmo:** And, and it was a huge sofa. Like they had like, I think three or four in a row. Yeah. It was like a big long

**Senator:** [00:37:00] sofa. All of us could have sat on the couch cushion together. Cushions could fit like a 700 pound per, they were just so wide in every direction. Like you were so far back into the couch.

Your feet were anywhere. Yeah, nowhere near the floor. The, the whole setup was just very funny. So even sitting there, if I was gonna tough it out and sweat to enjoy a cigar, nothing was to me conducive to really enjoying anything. But the shop was at least good to purchase.

**Gizmo:** It actually looked like seating in a mall, you know, like.

Like, like inside the mall when you walk around, there's like little seats and stuff. That's kind of what it felt like. I'll be honest

**Bam Bam:** though, back in November, the air conditioning was working great and we were tucked away in a corner to the left of the bar. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** We had a better experience.

**Bam Bam:** We did. You don't have visual access to the storefront, which eliminates that whole retail type experience.

It was great. It was

**Senator:** very nice. It, it doesn't feel like a cigar lounge. That's I No,

**Bam Bam:** overall you're right.

**Senator:** Overall, you're right. When I heard you guys describe it as like new and modern all, I was thinking of like a davidoff lounge. Like I would describe a [00:38:00] Davidoff lounge as like new, modern, like it's not old.

That's a

**Gizmo:** good point. That's a fair point. And

**Senator:** that's kind of what I expected to get. Like you think of the Davidoff lounge in Brooklyn or any of these places, it just totally threw me off walking in there. It just didn't feel like a lounge. It felt like I was in a

**Gizmo:** mall. That's true. Yeah. So our, our best experience there was certainly the humidor.

They were very accommodating. Even though we didn't have M MCL cards, they made it happen for us, um, which was very nice. But we walked out of there pretty quickly. So then we went to the government owned Havana Libre, if you remember, which was we had to get in the car and go across town. Um, but uh, so that is the former Hilton that was taken over during the revolution.

And I don't think a single thing has been done to modernize or improve that hotel since the revolution. No, absolutely not. No. I mean the L C D H there is pretty nice and they have a stacked humidor. Yeah. And the lounge was great.

**Bam Bam:** That's where I had my first cohiba Lance. That's true in

**Gizmo:** November.

**Senator:** That's true.[00:39:00]

We, we definitely didn't see that when we were there. I also had

**Bam Bam:** a Sir Winston there both, almost

**Gizmo:** like $25. Both

**Bam Bam:** were priced under $25. Yeah. I kicked myself to this day for not getting a box of

**Senator:** each. I will say until you said that, I completely forgot that that was government owned, because that is the one place that I will say, despite being government owned, I think we had a very nice experience.

**Gizmo:** We did the, the lounge was great there. Um, you know, we were able to go into a back room, which was fantastic. They, they actually stayed open for us, if you remember. Yeah. They were actually closed. We were knocking on the door. We saw a friend in there, uh, and they let us in. And then we stayed quite a bit longer, but there's like a, there's like a separate back room through double doors that o you know, that they open for you.

Um, if vip, if they're able v i p lizard lounge,

**Senator:** L l I p l i.

**Gizmo:** And uh, yeah, there's an, an amazing bust of uh, uh, Don Alejandro Romania's head that I just love a beautiful statue bust of him. Yeah, that's cool. Um, and very comfortable. We had a great [00:40:00] time in there. Yeah. They had a couple of private drums over there.

I think the inventory was really of, probably the most, right. I, I think of all the shops we went there, I would say so I think that, and Malia Cohiba were probably neck and neck. I agree with that. But Havana Libray, I mean, we were there when a guy was clearing out with like 300 boxes back to Hong Kong, literally.

Oh yeah. Yeah. He was buy, met that guy buy a ton. Yeah. Buying a ton of stuff. Oh yeah. Um, and

**Senator:** that's where I got a box of, uh, qd Kros. Claros. Yep. Great price. Me too. It was, it was excellent. Got

**Bam Bam:** a box of, uh, short to punch there too.

**Gizmo:** The thing that's interesting when you talk about price is despite the worldwide leveling of price, as we've discussed, you know, so many times on the podcast from Havanas in Havana itself, the pricing is actually quite inconsistent from shop to shop.

I mean, especially in November when we were there, we would see it one shop, a Cohiba Robusto was 60. Oh dude. Or 80. And then you go to another one that was an L C D H and the, it was 20. It was very unusual. It was, it was odd how inconsistent they were even inside Havana. Yeah. And [00:41:00] at that location,

**Bam Bam:** updating the prices, there weren't any O Los Landeros or so Winston anywhere except for this place where we were.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, that hotel is a mess though. I mean, it's

**Bam Bam:** old Tara Rozo floors.

**Gizmo:** I mean, what, how, what kind of, can you, can you give some perspective, bam, on Bam. This sounds like a great client for

**Bam Bam:** you. Oh, I would love that client. He would never get paid. You never get paid. I love the work. Unless I moved, I would live there.

I would live, I'd have my entire team there. They would love to be there. Bam. Would

**Senator:** just wanna be paid in cigars. He'd be fine. Oh, many

**Bam Bam:** other things too.

**Gizmo:** You mean rum anyway? Oh yeah. So can you kind of paint a picture of the Havana Lire from an architectural standpoint, or it's a, cause it's just run down. I don't even

**Bam Bam:** know how to describe it.

So if anyone's out there that really cares about this and wants to look up on internet, what a post-modern building looks like. So it's a post-modern building, very old and dilapidated. The floors are tora. The stairs are they, they got a central stair, uh, steel spine with treads that are built into it.

You don't really do that [00:42:00] anymore. The Tezos out of date. Um, and a lot of old, uh, art, art sculptures, some architectural sculptures. It was, you know, it's

**Gizmo:** very dated. That to me, from a timestamp like it, it's very clear. It's true timestamp when it was built and when it was forgotten. Probably built in the seventies.

Yeah. Yeah, I know way before that. Well,

**Bam Bam:** that building's a bit newer than the other ones. Really? I think so. Hmm. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** Seventies. So I wonder when the Hilton thing happened, cuz it, oh, I don't know. It must have been, it must have been. I, I don't know what the year was. That's a branding change, I guess. Yeah, well they took over, they took the, the, you know, the hotel from the Hilton.

Right, right. Um, yeah. So now this one's gonna upset some listeners. Our experience at the hotel Mass el, oh boy. You

**Bam Bam:** guys are

**Gizmo:** picky. Jesus. So listen, when in Rome guys, it's a beautiful place from the outside and that's about it. Grand entrance. It looks beautiful. Right? It's incredible. But then when you go and you want to sit down and have an experience there.

Mm-hmm. To [00:43:00] me, despite what, again, this is gonna upset listeners who've been to Havana or want to go, I just think that experience is the weakest of everything we've discussed so far. It's a dump.

**Senator:** It's a dump. There's no other way to say it. I'm sorry.

**Bam Bam:** Well, it's in better shape of the spot that we were just at.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Well, it, it is. The government's primo hotel, I guess. But they don't have, it's in better shape. But the service sucks and the F furniture sucks. The furniture

**Bam Bam:** is awful. Yeah. Awful. Yeah, that's true. And the drinks,

**Gizmo:** that's true. Yeah. The pores are bad. They don't have anything. No. They have ham and cheese sandwiches with no ham.

No ham, and that's it. You listeners think that we're joking. We're not. No, it's,

**Bam Bam:** but honestly, we didn't take it. So you and I walked the grounds when we were there in November. That was actually quite nice. Come on.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, but I, I walked

**Senator:** around the whole place. You, I was in some room with like a private party.

No, no, no. I wasn't even supposed to be in, I checked out everything.

**Gizmo:** Did you

**Bam Bam:** toast the bride in group? I sure did. The backyard, that yard area, if you walk further down it, the views [00:44:00] of the lon are actually very Oh yeah. I mean

**Senator:** that's the thing, like the location of it is great. Yeah. Ensure there's nice views back there.

The setup could be perfect. That's like the most disappointing part. If like structurally it didn't work, that would be one thing. Yeah, it's beautiful from the outside, its location is perfect. The structure

**Gizmo:** itself is actually very nice. It's, it is, it's bad use of space.

**Senator:** Space. That's the thing, like that outdoor patio we're sitting on so much you, you're not, you're not wrong.

Even cheap outdoor furniture out there, not anything expensive. We we're not expecting something crazy there, but just a a, I mean, honestly, those little folding chairs that people sit in at like ball games and parks are more comfortable than the shit we were sitting on. I agree. It's like these massive wicker chair chairs.

Bulky, very bulky, massive. Like one chair the size of like a loveseat basically, and these cushions that shouldn't, did nothing basically. I'm not even sure why they were

**Bam Bam:** on there. Anything government run there. Is really not a [00:45:00] place to be to me. And that's the problem. But you gotta check out the

**Gizmo:** national, national, you have That's, that's my point of pagoda.

You have to, if you're gonna Havana. You have to go to the hotel. Na. Now I think it's really interesting that the back of, of, of the hotel Naci now is right on the Mala cone and that's where the Bay of Pigs incident happened. That's right. With with the They have the cannons back there. Yeah. You can take a tour in English.

The history, the, yeah, the, the, the view, the beauty of the actual hotel. You gotta see it. If you can find an ashtray at the ashtray desk and get a hotel. Nasty announced ceramic ashtray. Great. But as far as a smoking experience, sitting down and enjoying your time there, that is really, as senator so eloquently said, it's a dump.

You're not

**Senator:** wrong. And, and I think the biggest problem with it arguably is what Roosters said a minute ago. The service is atrocious. I mean, it's like, look, they're rude. We, we went to a few government run places while we were there. We had [00:46:00] breakfast at that place. The Presidente. Yeah. Horrible. We, we know what to expect.

Right. It's not gonna be the most friendly service. But they weren't outright rude when we were at that hotel. No. At National. I mean, our server was very rude. Completely rude. The, the entire, he had no desire to serve us whatsoever. I, I just couldn't believe it is just hard. It ruins the

**Bam Bam:** experience. Giz, did you take them up to the cigar lounge?

Did you go up there? No. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** Oh yeah,

**Senator:** Senator and I went, when I say I explored everything there, I did explore everything. So yeah, gizz and I walked up there. What did you think of that space? But they

**Gizmo:** wouldn't let, they wouldn't let us in. Americans in. Yeah. We were not allowed in there at the time. So when we

**Bam Bam:** were there in November, I went in and I sat down with our European people that we met that on our first November trip.

Yeah. So I sat there for 20 minutes. I felt the space was

**Gizmo:** actually very nice. Yeah. We were, we were gonna try to go in there as a replacement for sitting on the outside in the, in the back. Uh, but they wouldn't

**Senator:** let us in. Well, I think they told us they took, was it credit card only? It was M MLC only. Yeah.

Which we don't have. So we weren't,

**Gizmo:** we weren't able to go up there. So they also have an lc DH at the, uh, hotel NCI [00:47:00] now to Yeah, in the basement. That's right. That's a little weird. Yeah. It's not stuck. It's definitely weird. It's not stocked well. Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's just, uh, again, if you go there for the history and to say you were there and to check it out, but it's not a destination to smoke.

True. Even that

**Senator:** indoor cigar lounge there, that GIZ and I walked in, Had we been able to go there, it was dead. It was sterile. There was nothing interesting about it. Was there anyone in there like No. No. Just two services. Some people followed behind us and maybe they were gonna sit down. That weird. It.



**Gizmo:** That's strange. It's so strange. I think the best part part was like leaving the hotel national. Sure. And getting into that black Thunderbird from 19. That's right. That was really cool. Experie was, that was the same car that Michelle Obama and John Kerry rode in, right? Supposedly. Yeah. That was cool, right?

Yeah. That was great. Nostalgic. It's awesome. Even the drinks. Do

**Senator:** you remember some of us got beer? The beer

**Gizmo:** was warm. It was was warm. The beer

**Senator:** was warm. How hard is it to just bring out a cold beer?

**Bam Bam:** It's strange. In

**Gizmo:** November. What? What does Juan Moya say? [00:48:00] He says a lot of things.

**Bam Bam:** I don't know. You, you and Havana.

Hey. Hey, you and Havana, man, I love that. I fucking love that guy. I miss that guy. I gotta see that guy.

**Gizmo:** I got it. He's great. Cuba is a mecado, as they say. Very complicated. Expecting a cold beer. I'm sorry, Senator. Everywhere else. Not at the hotel. They

**Senator:** ice cold. Yeah. Everywhere else.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Didn't somebody get a peanut colada?

Yes, I think I did. Someone did? Yeah. I guess did. How, how was that? It was horrible. Very sweet. It's horrible. So sweet. It was terrible. Mm-hmm. So, yeah, we, uh, the government run places were not great. No. They were not great. And I think we covered all of the different smoking spots that we hit. Correct? Yeah.

Did we miss any? I don't think so. I think that's it. Yeah.

**Senator:** Other than our rooftop. I think that's, that was all of '

**Gizmo:** em, which was fantastic too. So the rooftop is where certainly I think we smoked the most cigars consistently. Yeah. You know, breakfast and then we'd go up there at the end of the night and have [00:49:00] a few cigars.

I mean, it was just, we were lucky that we were on the, we were on the malaco where, where our, our house was. Yeah. So the view at night. It was very cool. It wasn't a terrible amount of wind. Great breeze though. Yeah. We were eight. Yeah. Very slight. Just a, a perfect amount of breeze and we were able to really enjoy the rooftop.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. It's a different experience from staying downtown Havana. Yes. It's quiet. More suburban.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. So we stayed in Vado and the first time we went, we stayed in Old Havana. That's right. Actually kind of closer to the Pargo shop and some of the restaurants we talked about four from the Havana. Yeah. Uh, from the parka shop.

Yeah. And some of the restaurants we talked about on, on, uh, the first of these four episodes. So how was it different? I mean, it was just kind of loud, like hustled and busted. No, it was, the difference was in old Havana you could walk out your front door and quite literally walk to almost all of the places that we just talked about Today.

**Bam Bam:** It's more of an urban setting. Yeah. Where this was suburban. Well,

**Senator:** that, that's why I said this on a prior episode, but for the listener who didn't necessarily listen to that, My take on on that [00:50:00] experience, not having stayed where you have, but obviously of being there and knowing what that would be like.

If I were traveling to Havana by myself or maybe with just one other friend, I would stay old Havana. In Old Havana where these guys did in November, you're, everything is right there outside of your apartment or flat. It's easily accessible and it's more lively. You're not there with a big group or anything, so you kind of wanna be part of the actions.

It's true if you're going with a larger group of friends, you kind of want, at the end of the day, you've been doing all this touristy stuff. You just kind of want to get back to your place and just have a cigar among that group. That's where I think like Vida was

**Gizmo:** absolutely perfect. It was perfect. Yeah.

So May, so maybe next time we go or, or you know, even if a listener wants to go, they should try to go to the, uh, the tobacco growing area of Les. That would be interesting Tour. Right. Which we haven't done in pin. Bernard Del Rio Pin. Bernard Del Rio. Old region is called the pin. Bernard del R, right? Yeah.

Yeah. And also some of the beach areas like Guro and another thing we haven't done. Yeah. I'm not into the beach scene. I'm not going with [00:51:00] Havana's. But a listener might be No, uh, no Speedo feed and No, no. Okay. And apparently you can ask, there's some lc DH stores there as well that they might have more stock on the beach.

Yeah. The beach towns might have

**Senator:** more. Yeah. He's saying basically the further you get outside of Havana Right,

**Gizmo:** the tourists don't, don't really make it, make it there so they, that's interest have better stock. It's like,

**Senator:** think of the festival, right? Everybody who comes in for the festival Oh yeah. All just, they're buying everything up there.

They're pleading everything. Yeah, exactly. But if you get outside of there, there's gonna be more inventory. Interesting.

**Gizmo:** So boys, a few more trips to uh Oh sure. Havana, no doubt about it. Have a year. Going back to

**Senator:** our first episode where we talked about this trip like. Uh, the cigars obviously are reason to go back.

The rums a reason to go back. The experience is a reason to go back. But the people like, yeah, we made so many friends in such a short amount of time. Like I, you know, bam is sitting there saying, I miss that guy talking about Juan Moy. Like, oh yeah, they're people there that we need to see. Again,

**Bam Bam:** I miss Yvonne, our [00:52:00] host.

Yeah. Tremendously.

**Gizmo:** And I think there's a misconception about Havana that it's maybe not safe. Yeah. That's just not true. And we felt, yeah, very safe. Sure. I've never felt safer. And also that me too, maybe there was no

**Bam Bam:** food or, or resources. I think,

**Gizmo:** I think that's more for the local people of course, but at the restaurants, I mean, there was no shortage of fruit or drinks or anything else.


**Bam Bam:** back to what Senator said, the people, I think when you leave there, you really appreciate what you have when you come home. There's no reason for any of us to really ever complain about our lives. When you go there and you see what they don't have, it's tremendous.

**Gizmo:** And you see how resilient they are.

Yeah. Yeah. And how.

**Bam Bam:** We've talked about this in nausea, but it's

**Gizmo:** important to know, but it's important. I think we could say that, we should say this almost in every episode that we talk about Cuban cigars. You know, it's a culture of need, not a culture of want, which I think is really something that we can learn from.

We talked about the, you know, uh, our friend Elias, who's part of the Sania movement and you know, some of his comments [00:53:00] about, you know, Americans think they have everything. Mm-hmm. But we have so many problems here that they don't have there. It's everybody has their own unique set of problems. Sure.

They're just incredibly resilient, powerful

**Bam Bam:** people. But they have culture, they have access to certain arts, they have access to music that we'll never see here in the States. Yeah. And that enriches their lives in a different way. Totally. It's tremendous.

**Gizmo:** So we held off, I held off on talking about my experience at the Ha Bonos Festival, um, simply because it's probably the least important thing that I experienced in my.

Trips to Cuba ever. Um, it's honestly, I'm kind of glad that we're anonymous, that we don't use our real names. Um, so that I can confidently and honestly and confidentially talk about my feelings on, on the Havanas Festival because it's an absolute travesty. It's a [00:54:00] joke. It's they should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves.

**Bam Bam:** Well, the Pars Festival I'm sure wasn't much better.

**Gizmo:** Well, comparatively speaking, the Parus Festival, that was awful. It was, but I'm saying, my point is that the, the lunacy of this event inside these walls of these, of these, you know, the Wednesday night event where they announced the Boulevard, uh, new gold medal cigar was at, at El Digito.

Okay. The Friday night event where they announced the RGUs, uh, um, Linea, the new, uh, Cigars that are coming from RGUs three new cigars, which is kind of like the Montecristo Linea and the, the Romeo Jutta. Um, uh, what are the, what are those called? The Noble and Dianas? Noble Dianas. It's a, it's an a higher level regular production cigar than the, than the normal stuff we're used to.

Um, and

**Bam Bam:** they're blue banded blue band, which is unusual

**Gizmo:** for RGUs. Yeah. It's a different color band on RGUs. Yeah. But, [00:55:00] you know, it's just, it's a, it is just a disgusting display of capitalism inside these Wow. You know, inside these walls where outside is just absolute, um, wow. Suffering. I mean, they can't provide food for their people, you know, and they're charging, uh, people to come in and spend $3,250 mm-hmm.

For a week of events. Yep. Yeah. If you go to all of them, sure. That's a bunch of costs. Yeah. I mean, it's absolute lunacy. Yeah. How much was the dinner alone at the last dinner? So the dinner on Friday night was $1,250. Mm-hmm. It's insane. It's insane. So the bowl, our event. On Wednesday night was 700 bucks and you got two cigars and it was standing room only.

The food was all on trays. Yeah. Um, it was at Elto. I I was very disappointed that night. Um, and then the only other event I did was the Friday night gala event where they, it was Parus themed. Yep. Which I was excited to go to just because it was RGUs and as, as senator. And we discussed going to the shop and, and our feelings about RGUs.

I mean, [00:56:00] I was very excited to be there and try those new cigars. And I was in great company. Yeah. My table was wonderful. I was very happy, uh, with the people I was around, but it's hard to ignore the lunacy Wow. Of, of the, of this event. We

**Bam Bam:** experienced that in November the first time you and I went because the irony of what you were seeing, that's the word on a daily basis, is it's really tremendous and.

You know, you grapple with that. Yeah. As you're enjoying this decadent meal and a glass of wine and a cigar that no one else in that country really is gonna, going into experience. It's, you know, I, it's, it's, it's,

**Gizmo:** it's lunacy. Yeah. I didn't see a single person in Cuba. No. They don't. A Cuba national smoking a cigar.

No. Because they can't afford it. It felt so odd that, you know, the cigars that are coming from Cuba and like, not a single person was smoking, smoking Cuban. I gave, I gave our host when we were leaving, I gave him five or 10 cigars and he had never had any of 'em. Yeah, that's crazy. And I'm talking like regular production, like ar Romeo Wide Churchill, a [00:57:00] Portus D four A Hoyo, epi two, A Boulevard, Royal Corona.

Like he'd never had any of these. But that, that's understandable. When you go, when you make like 30 to $50 a month, how are you going to afford a $20 cigar? Can't. Yeah. You just can't. Yeah. No, it's, but, and, and that's the comment on the lunacy of all this, I mean, The fact that, you know, when you go to New York, let's say you're in New York and you go to a fancy gala dinner, that's expensive.

The people who are serving you, the people who are, are busing your table. The people who are, you know, doing any sort of service type job there, when they go home at night, they could feed their families. Of course, they're not worried about feeding their families. The people who were busing our tables at this event were no older than 15 years old.

Oh man. They were kids. They were children. Yes. And these people go home at night and I don't know if they have food. They probably don't. They have to stand in line all day begging and hoping that they can put food on the table at night. You know, it's, it's an absolute [00:58:00] travesty. And then to watch these people.

Announce this new RGUs line, and they have this big, kind of like Taylor Swift, this big, you know, we're in a massive convention hall of thousands of people have paid for this event. I can't imagine how much money they grossed on this event. There's like a, a catwalk down the middle of the, of the thing, and they're, you know, they have choreographed dance and music and all these things, and they're doing almost like Lion King.

You know, when Lion King, when Rafiki holds up Simba, like, like, here's the new the new Christ child. Yep. In the Lion Kingdom. Senator did that when,

**Bam Bam:** uh, Senator Junior was born,

**Gizmo:** I was there. Uh, they were, they had a choreographed dance. I'm not kidding. They had a choreographed dance where 20 or 30 Cuban dancers held a box.

Of the new part, cigars and did this symbol like thing, like holding [00:59:00] these new cigars up to the heavens, parading down this catwalk. It took like 10 minutes, and I'm just sitting there and I'm, I can't help but think like, I cannot wait to the TA to talk to the guys about this on the podcast because it's such bullshit.

It's such bullshit. Yeah. I, I was like embarrassed. It's embarrassing. It's

**Bam Bam:** hard to know what to say really. I mean, because we are patrons of this cigar. We spend a lot of money on this Cuban product. Havana is owned by the Cuban government and China. And China, so we're, you know, it, there's a lot to think about there.


**Gizmo:** So the craziest part of the whole night, as you guys saw a thousand times from every other media source that was at this event, Was the celebration of the big auction that they do every year. And this year was by far and away the craziest auction that they had, which was [01:00:00] highlighted by this cohiba humidor.

I think it would had 500 cigars in it that hammered for 4.4 million us, which is just lunacy to think about spending 8,000 bucks on a cigar. It's insane. And this demonstration of, you know, it, I would

**Senator:** never spend 8,000 on a cigar, but I would happily smoke an 8,000 on a cigar.

**Bam Bam:** Me too.

**Gizmo:** That, that's my budget for 10 years.

**Bam Bam:** Are you joking? You guys have spent, uh, I'm not

**Gizmo:** gonna go there, but I mean, it was, it was crazy to be in the room. It's crazy to see the news reports on it. Yeah. You know, they raised 11 million boys, which is of course, as you know, is going to the medical system of the Cuban people, supposedly. Yes, yes. Uh, I'm happy I was there, but, I don't know if I would go back.


**Bam Bam:** you have mixed feelings as an American citizen seeing what you see on the street and seeing what you see behind closed doors and decadent

**Senator:** events like this. Yeah. I forget as an American citizen just, I [01:01:00] mean as a global citizen Yeah. Of sure. You sure. From country, I think that's right. That's right.

What gives is describing is, is very valid in that like there's just this ridiculous kind of irony and it's sounds like it's completely divorced from reality. Right. Of like, okay, we're we're doing this thing. It's supposed to be for this good aim, but I mean, how much good are they really doing? Right? If there are all these people that are starving on the streets and like, You know, it, it almost feels as though the five of us in a week there did probably more than this organization does in a calendar year.


**Bam Bam:** that's a great point, and I think that's a great way to sum up this portion of the podcast where we will continue to go and we hope listeners go. And, and you said so beautifully giz a few recordings ago about the, our Cuban trips. You go in the spirit of given, not in the spirit of taking. Yep. So when you go, you support the people, you bring things to help the people.

It's a tremendous gesture and they love it and appreciate it. Yeah. And I think that you continue to do

**Gizmo:** that. And I think that someone who's thinking about maybe going to the festival and [01:02:00] spending $3,250 on a week at that festival, the impact you can have with a quarter of that money, you know, hitting the Cuban people, you know, meeting Cuban people, helping Cuban people.

That's the, that's the magic of the trip. Sure. You know, and I'm glad I went. And I'm glad I could talk about it. Mm-hmm. Like I said, be anonymous.

**Bam Bam:** Well look, we had the same feelings at the Pars Festival as well. Yeah. Man was very expensive. Very decadent. Well, disappointing.

**Senator:** Right? But I think there's even a bigger point here that we're kind of arriving at, and that's like the beauty of this hobby in the sense that every experience that we have gushed about from this trip cost us nothing.

Exactly. That's true. And GIZ and BAM are talking about an experience that they had to actually spend a lot of money to be a part of, and that brought the least enjoyment that's for them. True. Very true. And I think that's like what's so magical about, right? We talk about, you know, we can find a $7 cigar that can be so satisfying to us.

[01:03:00] You don't have to spend some crazy amount of money to have it. We talk about obviously the cigar being the great equalizer. Doesn't matter what your job is, doesn't matter how much money you have, if you're enjoying what you're smoking. That's what this is all about. And I think that that's what was so.

Cool and refreshing and even a learning experience in Cuba of, you know, just talking about how content these folks are with so little and I think all the experiences that I'm gonna remember cost me nothing. Yeah, yeah. And walking in the RGUs shop and Renee saying, I want you to be one of the first to sign the, the guest book there that cost us nothing.

That was an experience sitting down with Roberto, a guy who's 80 something years old, a cardiologist has traveled the world more than any of us in this room. Yeah. That cost us nothing that I'll never forget. And those, that's what this

**Bam Bam:** is about. And those experiences are so much more valuable than anything that you and I got at either one of those, uh, festivals.

A hundred

**Gizmo:** percent. You know, the smile and the kids when you hand them the ball, right? Yes, yes, yes. You know, it's, it's just,

**Bam Bam:** it just makes you feel very happy. Personally, I don't think [01:04:00] I'll ever go to another festival, but I'll go and I'll bring as much as I can. And it's like you said, Senator, when you let up the cigar, it all culminates in this habit.

The moment you light that cigar, you enjoy that 15, $20 cigar. It's what it's all about.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Yeah. And to me now, when I like these cigars where I think about what we're smoking, I'm thinking about the people that we met. I'm thinking about the connections that we made. Yeah. The people we were able to help with.

So little. Yeah. Who rolled it? Who rolled it? Yeah. The people we met that roll it. Awesome. You know it that, that's the magic of it. So the Havanas Festival, to me, is a joke. And if you're going to Cuba, I wouldn't spend my money doing

**Bam Bam:** that. No. It's, it's not recommended. Yeah. If you're gonna bring that money, don't donate that money.

Yeah. Absolutely. Totally

**Gizmo:** agree. A lot of people go to it. Yeah. Well, you know, always the industry guys,

**Bam Bam:** it's a trade show. Yeah. Leave it to the industry folks. That's fine for them.

**Gizmo:** My opinion, but there's a lot of people who are not in the industry also go and and they go every year. Yeah, no,

**Senator:** you're right. I mean the, the two guys [01:05:00] you're talking to right now, they went Yeah.

Assuming that this would be maybe a life-changing experience

**Bam Bam:** and, and that's why we wasn't, that's why we paid that money to go to those. Well, I went to the parkas and he went to the Cohiba. He went to both the parkas and Cohiba. You know, we thought we would meet people that were like-minded and of a giving nature and it really didn't amount to that.

So for me, I'm out. Right, right. I'm a shark. I'm out.

**Gizmo:** Okay. Yeah. How were the people dressed at the gala? Uh, it was very formal. Sure. Yeah. It was a gala dinner. Yeah. Everybody had all, so we

**Senator:** have to hear this now. So Gizmo, what you wearing? Oh,

**Bam Bam:** black tie. Were you wearing a hoodie with buttons? No, I had a

**Gizmo:** button hoodie with buttons?

No, he had a T-shirt with a, I was very well dressed. I had a jacket and everything. Oh,

**Bam Bam:** really? Yeah. So at the Parus Festival, he looked really dapper. I'll tell you, black button down. Very appropriate senator for that type of an event. Now, black may not have been the right choice, but he had a great pair of jeans on, [01:06:00] great shoes and a great shirt on.

He just said

**Senator:** formal. You can't wear jeans to a formal

**Gizmo:** No, this is Parus. The Parus, the Parus gala. Dinners locked. Walk me through. Yeah, I had a button down shirt on, tucked in. I had a jacket and I, my button was open. I didn't have color on. What color? What color was your shirt? Uh, it was a white shirt. Well done.

And it was black. Black. Done. It was a matching top and bottom. Look at nice shoes. We taught him well. And your shoes. They were dress shoes. Black. Yeah. Very good. Seven semi boy.

**Bam Bam:** They were varnished them. They

**Gizmo:** were varnished. They were definitely varnished. I varnished them, but yeah. You know, uh, havana's festivals for me.

I think it's gonna be a one and done, but we'll see. Mm-hmm. I like talking about it. I like reporting on it. Yeah. And I like telling the truth. That's cool. You know, I think there's a lot of media that celebrate this thing. No, absolutely. Unnecessarily. Sure. And I don't think that we, uh, yeah, that's not my take.


**Bam Bam:** know, I had a whole conversation with our, uh, interpreter. Yeah, about people that he knows that right now, at that very moment, after our decadent dinner, you know, they didn't have food and they were struggling and it's part of what happens there, but they're so [01:07:00] resilient and happy, regardless of what they're going through.

It's a sin for us to complain about our lives in any way. They are a happy community

**Gizmo:** overall. They are. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. They're very content. Yeah.

**Senator:** But that's the thing, and it goes back to like what made that trip special for us? It's because they define their life and their happiness based on their experiences, their interactions, the people that they're around.

They don't define it based on how much they have. That's not what it's about. The same way that we talk about when we're going these places. You know, we're not defining our experience by how many cigars did someone give us or did we find or get at these places? I mean, we came back with very few cigars.

In fact, that's true. That wasn't the purpose of the trip. No. All the experiences we had, it was the people we met, the interactions, the experiences. That's, that's what makes it Absolutely.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Love it. So that's the Havanas festival, pars Festival and the shops. What a great trip to Cuba boys. Yeah. And, uh, I can't wait to go back and [01:08:00] happy many, many more of these days.

I'm very happy

**Bam Bam:** to have experienced that with

**Gizmo:** everyone in this room. Yeah, I'm glad that we did it. It was awesome. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** Couldn't have been better brothers in arms lizards in Cuba. How do you, you can't beat that great

**Senator:** experience. Yeah. And I think it just affirms, I mean, anyone who considers himself a lizard and listens to this podcast, you love Cuba.

Yeah. I mean, there's no other way

**Gizmo:** to put it. Yep. And if you go with the right mentality, like we've talked about so many times, if you go down there not expecting no lush, you know, accommodations and go

**Bam Bam:** in the spirit of giving Exactly. That's you're golden. Yep. Yep. And you get back so much in return.

**Gizmo:** Yeah.

All right boys, so, uh, we're coming to the end of the evening here at the end of the Monte Cristo at Muno. What are you guys thinking on this thing? I.

**Bam Bam:** I gotta say I'm a about an inch away. I'm still enjoying the cigar. Me too. It's, it's quite delicious.

**Gizmo:** It's very pleasant. It stayed like mild to medium. It didn't, it didn't really pick up in strength.

And No sharp edges. No sharp edges. Yeah. Yeah. Construction [01:09:00] was great. Combustion

**Bam Bam:** was fantastic. Yeah. I have to admit the last minute pairing works, it was, it's, it's working well. I'm on my second glass.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. The high West did well. Yeah. I'm gonna have a little bit more. There you go. Um, but I'm very happy with it, you know,

**Bam Bam:** it'll make my friends very happy

**Gizmo:** to hear that kind of like senator said, I mean a, a double rye expecting that a double rye was gonna go well with a Cuban cigar.

Mm-hmm. Um, was a surprise. And it, it was a really nice pairing tonight. Sure worked. Yeah.

**Senator:** I'm glad we did this Dick, cuz I've been very. Aggressively opposed to the, um, petite ed muno. Not that it's a bad cigar, I just think it people really acclaim it as a great cigar for my palate. It's never quite struck me that way.

Maybe with a lot of age, different story. I don't think I've had a heavily aged one, but this cigar all the way through, um, just really enjoyable. Not the most complex stick, um, but for what it is. Very good.

**Bam Bam:** Pagoda. Did you find that it it built in body as you get closer to the end? Uh, for me it did.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, I thought [01:10:00] so.

I, but. It was still mild to medium, but you know, I, I did, um, really enjoy the pleasant feeling, you know, very milk chocolatey, very, uh, comfortable, very easy smoke. Um, meaning the construction was great. Of course, the combustion was great. And I, you know, for me, I, the more and more I think about cigars, I often think that, uh, the combustion really also adds to the value, at least when I smoke cigars.

And, uh, for me, for Cuban, I thought this was very, very, very, I think the cigar would also fit in just like a QD 50 in the morning. It's a morning. Yeah. Morning to cup of coffee after breakfast maybe.

**Senator:** Yeah. Light breakfast. I agree with that. In flavor profile. It's a little too long for me. For a morning smoke, like a traditional rib robusto is as long of a morning smoke as I typically would want.

Mm-hmm. Like a D four I love in the morning. Um, so that's my only thing, but flavor profile wise, I a hundred percent

**Gizmo:** agree. That's sad. Saturday morning. There you go. It would be nice with a cup [01:11:00] of coffee. Yeah. Oh, that'd be great. I think. Yeah, because the QD 50 for me is a little light. I think I'd, I'd actually like this with a, an espresso that, that

**Bam Bam:** QD 50 in

**Senator:** the morning.

The QD 50 has more flavor than the cigar. It

**Bam Bam:** does. I would put that just the above. I would put it above this. Yeah. Did we rate that

**Gizmo:** cigar? He's, we have not. We gotta do that cigar. We haven't tried it yet. Yeah. Yeah. Because we've done the Coronas Sclero and we've done the QD 50, but we haven't, I say

**Senator:** that the 54 QD 50 is firmly medium.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. Okay. We've done the 54, not the 50. Yeah. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** Right. We gotta do the 50. Yeah. All right. So you guys ready to do the formal liquor rating on the high West? Yeah. Double rye. Yep. All right. Bam. Bam, you're up.

**Bam Bam:** I am gonna go with a, an eight. Eight. You know, it's easy drinking. I didn't try it without the ice.

Senator did and he cringed a little bit, so I, but I think after the ice went in, it just w it, the sweet notes came out, easy to drink, really nice flavor, and I think went great with the cigar. Good pairing.

**Gizmo:** Okay. Yeah. Pagoda. I think it matched, uh, with the cigar pretty well. Uh, it did go, uh, you know, with the ice it was [01:12:00] pretty smooth, except for, um, as like, uh, I think Bam mentioned earlier.

It's not a pagoda sip. It's not a, yeah. With that you do get a little bit of farness, but having said that, you know, I've been between a seven and eight, seven and eight, you know, I'll give it an eight. All right. Because I've enjoyed the cigar so much, and the parents so much. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Senator?

**Senator:** Uh, this is easier than I thought.

I'm, I'm in lockstep with these guys. I'll give it an eight, I think. Um, Even when I had this neat, it wasn't overly aggressive. No, it just had a bit of a bite. Um, but with ice, it really opens up in a nice way. I like the kind of sweet finish that worked well with the cigar. And the price point, honestly is absurdly good.

I mean, it is for $30, it's not easy to find, uh, quality spirit at that price point. And I think that this definitely classifies as that at that price

**Gizmo:** point. It's true. Yeah. That's how much you get like a drink in, in the city nowadays. Yeah. One drink, one drink. It's ridiculous for that. I think it should be a [01:13:00] 15, but

**Bam Bam:** I haven't said that.

You know, that's true.

**Gizmo:** So I, I would, I'm between a seven and eight. I, I was. You know, uh, having not considered price, but considering the price is 32 bucks, it's definitely an eight for that value. Wow. Now, if it was, if it was 60 or 70, oh yeah. I think I'd put it at a six or seven. Yeah. But at 32 bucks, I always factor in value.

I definitely think it's an eight. Awesome, awesome. Look

**Bam Bam:** at this Bear. 8.0

**Gizmo:** my Lord, 8.0. Look at you. My Lord.

All right, so we've come to the end of the Monte Christo, ed Muno tonight. You guys ready to do the, uh, formal lizard rating on it? All right. Brewster, you're up. Yeah, it's an ite, Ocho ocho, so it's also an eight for me. I, I think that, um, you know, I don't know if I gave the money two, an eight or a nine, I think I'd placed that at a nine.

Mm-hmm. I didn't mean for as much as you smoked that, I'd hope you gave it a nine. Yeah. But the one that we did [01:14:00] on the pod, I don't remember what, what I rated it. Uh, but this is definitely an eight for me. No, you gave it a nine. Yeah, I remember. This is definitely an eight. Um, Definitely performed better than the Mon Won, no question.

And then the Mon 1935 that we did, uh, very early on in the podcast, that cigar was phenomenal. That's phenomenal. The linear. Yeah, the linear, yeah, that's true. Yeah. That was great. So, um, yeah, eight for me, Senator.

**Senator:** I'm also at an eight. Um, I'm just glad the Edmundo line, this has finally given me something that I'd be interested in smoking again.

Um, the only things that precluded it from a nine or a 10, Um, I think it's a very straightforward cigar. I, I would not say it's a complex cigar, but it's a very enjoyable one. Young. I'm amazed that I never at any point really in smoking, it felt that I got a ton of rough edges or ammonia. So it's, I, I especially appreciate when you can smoke a cigar young and enjoy it and enjoy it even more as it ages.

So, um, it's [01:15:00] firmly innate. Definitely recommend for me.

**Gizmo:** Okay. Pa, same here. I think I've enjoyed the cigar more than I thought I would. Um, very simple though. Very easy smoke. I think, uh, even when you get friends over and we have not really gotten to cigars, I think this could be an easy one to present to them as well.

That's a great point. Yeah. We didn't talk about

**Senator:** that. That's excellent. It really, it really is really important

**Gizmo:** point. Yeah. And, and what's the price point on these if they're right around 20 bucks? Yeah. All right. No, that's absolutely fair. Then. I, I think it's a de it's a definite eight for me.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, that's a great point.

You know, if you've got guests over, if you want to give them a Cuban, this is a good cigar to hand them. Yeah. I'm, I'm at an eight as well. I'm at an eight. It's an enjoyable cigar. I've had five of these before. I've got a bunch at home. They weren't always very memorable to me, but when I had them, I like them.

I just don't think about it often enough. But it's a good cigar. Yeah. Hate.

**Senator:** Well, that's the thing. I think it's like, it's not the most complex, so that's, it's not something maybe you wake up the next morning thinking about. Yeah. But, uh, and I love Pagodas point, [01:16:00] I mean, Someone at any stage in their kind of smoking journey would appreciate this cigar.

You can give this to a novice, you can give it to someone who's experienced and it slots in at a number of different points during the day. Mm-hmm. I mean, we're smoking this in the evening saying it's mild, medium that's in strength, but there is flavor. Yeah. It's not like this is, and it's good flavor, light flavor.

You couldn't enjoy this in the evening. So I love the versatility of it too.

**Bam Bam:** It's, it's very versatile. And I think your point of the lack of complexity, that's not a negative thing, but it's something that doesn't linger in your mind. Where a very complex cigar I happen. I think about that for weeks after I have it.

Yeah, yeah. But

**Gizmo:** a great cigar tonight, so that's an 8.0 boys for the Monte Cristo. Ed Muno. It does make me want to try the double in Muno now cuz I haven't had that. Um, I think, I don't know, I don't know what the size on that is. I'd have to look, but I'm sure Rooster's had it. Yeah, I I definitely wanna try it.

Have you had that cigar rooster? Yeah. And what's, what, what does that, how does that compare to this? It's double the pleasure. [01:17:00] So it's a six. Oh, say double the side. Double the pleasure. I like that. So it's a 16th. I

**Bam Bam:** like that. I like

**Gizmo:** it a lot. You know, and the other, the other thing too is I think what's interesting about what Pagoda said is not only for, uh, folks who are novice to expert smokers who smoke a lot, but I think also people who prefer a lighter cigar versus a stronger cigar.

It kind of, I think, serves a lot of those folks. Maybe not second, third, fourth cigar of the night, but if you're giving this some, I think this would work in a room full of people that want to try a Cuban, I think this is a perfect fit. Good point. Um. For that, you know, for the cigar. I think it's perfect for the anyone.

And who has any kind of preference? Mild, medium, or full? Yeah. I must say for a short Monty, I love the media. Sea glow is media. Media. Media. The media. Corona. Media. Corona. Yeah. That I had it this morning. Dude.

**Bam Bam:** Fantastic. You really, you and I love that cigar. I like that. I, I want to bring one for senator.

**Senator:** Someone's gotta share that.


**Gizmo:** mean, Bambam has the corner, the market [01:18:00] cornered. I'm Monte Christo. I'm looking at Rooster right now. I'm looking at you.

That's a great little cigar. Is that, what size is that? Is it close to the half? Corona? It's

**Bam Bam:** exactly the same size as the half

**Gizmo:** Corona. Really? Yeah. Oh, we need to try that. It's a different phrase. You see what's happening, senator's Little Do you see what's happening?

**Bam Bam:** It's different. It's different. Like the upward, when they're waiting,

**Gizmo:** you're keeping secrets.

Bougie. Bam. No, I'm bougie. Yeah,

**Bam Bam:** I think And also a, wait, I don't have connoisseur Corner over there. He's bougie. You

**Gizmo:** are there. You've been there for

**Bam Bam:** a while now. You


**Gizmo:** what? That warms my heart. And also the petite number two. I've never had that. That's a good scar. I wanted try.

**Bam Bam:** I've had that yet. See, now he's more bougie than I am.

I don't

**Senator:** have that.

**Gizmo:** You might. No, I don't. All right boys. So an excellent trip to Cuba. Again, this was a wonderful, uh, experience with you guys is Bam said, I'm so glad we got to experience it together and tell these stories. Um, I hope you, uh, listeners out there enjoyed our, uh, recap [01:19:00] over these last four.

Why aren't we record recording back? That's a good question. Good question. We have to figure that out. We'll let everybody know. Can't wait. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. All right. So an 8.0 for both the High West Double rye out of, uh, Utah, which is crazy. Yeah. And the Monte Cristo at Muno.

**Bam Bam:** Haven't been many pairings that scored evenly like

**Gizmo:** that.

Yeah, it's, uh, it, it, it was a good match to, it's a, it's a good sign. It was a good match. Match. Yeah. Yeah. All right, boys, excellent night. We'll see y'all next week. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Thanks for joining us. You could find our merch store and ratings archive at our brand new website, lounge lizards pod.com.

That's lounge lizards, p 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 wanna reach out, say hello, tell us what you're smoking, email us hello@loungelizardspod.com. You can also find us on Instagram at Lounge Lizard's Pot.

We really [01:20:00] appreciate your time and we'll, uh, we'll see you next week.