Lounge Lizards - a Cigar and Lifestyle Podcast

Recorded at Ten86 Lounge in Hawthorne, New Jersey, the lizards pair the Foundation Olmec Claro in Robusto with Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey. The guys answer listener email about cigar towers and seasonal humidity changes, their have their first-ever podcast cocktail, and they lament over brick and mortar retailers who don’t understand their own products.

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

website/merch/rating archive: loungelizardspod.com
email: hello@loungelizardspod.com to join the conversation and be featured on an upcoming episode!
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What is Lounge Lizards - a Cigar and Lifestyle Podcast?

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

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

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

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

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

And our plan is to smoke a cigar, drink some whiskey, talk about life, and of course, have some laughs. So take this as your 106th official invitation to join us and become a card carrying lounge lizard. Plan to meet us here once a week. We're going to smoke a New World cigar tonight, share our thoughts on it, and give you our formal lizard rating.

We answer some listener email about cigar towers and seasonal humidity changes. We have our first ever podcast cocktail, and we lament over brick and mortar retailers who don't understand their own products, 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 Bullet Bourbon Frontier Whiskey.

With the Foundation Cigars Olmec Robusto in Claro. A Nicaraguan Robusto [00:01:00] tonight on the pod from Foundation. It's called the Olmec and this version that we're smoking tonight is the Claro. It also has a Maduro. It's a 5 by 50 ring gauge cigar, and, um, I've seen a lot of guys smoking this, Ben. It's a popular cigar.

I feel like every time I'm in a lounge somewhere, I always see this black and yellow band. Yeah. Uh, being smoked. I don't know why. Oh. I've never had one. I've never known about them until we did the other foundation cigars on the pod, but True. Um, people seem to be loving this cigar. I've

**Bam Bam:** had this four times prior to tonight.

I kind of

**Gizmo:** like it. Has it always been the Claro? Yes. I had one Maduro. Was this

**Rooster:** a listener

**Gizmo:** recommendation? Yeah, we've actually had some other listeners saying, Hey, with Foundation, try the Olmec. And then, you know, also, I've seen so many guys smoking them in lounges, I figured they must be pretty good, so.

Yeah. We'll see tonight. But first, boys, let's cut this thing. See, we're getting on the cold draw on the wrapper. It feels, for a [00:02:00] Robusto, for some reason in my hand it feels insignificant. It's like light, it just feels like dainty to me. Yeah, and

**Bam Bam:** the draw is wide open, and very, very floral. Mm hmm.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, this is not significant in my hand.

No. You know, and for a Robusto, you know, I guess I'm comparing it to a Padrone Exclusivo or something like that, but I... I mean, this is a little shorter, right? It's, uh, this is 5x50. It doesn't feel like it. What's the excesivo? Five

**Senator:** and a half? I think it might be five and a half. Yeah. I honestly, I think it's just a half inch.

I had the same reaction looking. I'm like, this is a small Robusto.

**Gizmo:** And I think it's lightly packed too. Like it's not. It's true.

**Bam Bam:** It is a nice looking cigar though.

**Senator:** I will say the wrapper smells great. Yeah. And the cold draw is actually very nice.

**Bam Bam:** Yes. Tons of floral notes.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. All right, boys. Well, let's light this thing.

The Foundation Olmec Robusto. Enclaro. Again, it's a [00:03:00] 50 ring gauge cigar by 5 inches long. One of five in the line. Offered by Foundation. How much were these? These were 12 bucks. Okay. I think you could probably get them a little cheaper, like if you bought a box or something. Like if you're really into them.

Yeah. But I bought, uh, I bought two fibers for us tonight. Cool. I

**Bam Bam:** went to a, um, a local shop months ago. And they were presenting these cigars. It was packed with people. Really? There's a big following behind this stick.

**Gizmo:** Well, Nick Malila, who founded Foundation in 2015, is the guy who's primarily responsible, alongside Steve Saka, for blending the Liga Pravada line for Drew Estate.

So, he himself has had a following probably going on almost 20 years now. And then his brand, he launched about 10 years ago, which, you know, this is the third of his brand that we're smoking tonight.

**Bam Bam:** I know you'll get a chuckle, but you do get a lot of citrus on this light, I think.

**Gizmo:** I agree with you. [00:04:00] Right.

A little citrusy. Lemony. A little, it's like a little tart. It's

**Pagoda:** kind of weird because on the cold draw, I don't know. I thought I tasted tea.

**Gizmo:** I don't know. Yeah, no, he's right. We've called that

**Bam Bam:** out before. Floral tea kind of a thing. Yeah. Yeah. It was like,

**Pagoda:** that's accurate. I don't know. I thought that was strange.

I said, I should just keep my mouth shut.

**Bam Bam:** Never. Not you.

**Gizmo:** I feel like I'm going to have to work very hard tonight to not smoke this in 40 minutes. It's wide open. I feel like it's gonna, I'm gonna fly through this cigar tonight.

**Pagoda:** It feels like that.

**Gizmo:** So what are you guys thinking on the light? Not bad. Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah, pretty good. They list this as a full cigar in strength. Um, I certainly would not say that on the light. I would say it's hovering firmly medium. Just, you know, maybe just above mild. Yep.

**Bam Bam:** You [00:05:00] know, cigars like this are interchangeable with a lot of other cigars. Like, this for me is kind of reminiscent to the aging room cigar, just in the same, the way it's made, the way it smokes, the price point.

It's kind of in that medium range of sticks that aren't super premium, but they're not low grade. Decent cigar.

**Gizmo:** This is

**Rooster:** so far better than the aging room.

**Bam Bam:** It's

**Gizmo:** smoother. I agree. Yeah. Yeah. The aging room still had a little harshness. If I remember correctly. This is true. Still had a little oomph to it. Yeah.

**Pagoda:** Yeah. Yeah, I, I remember, I have aging room on and off, uh, because, uh, some of my friends have it all the time. And I kind of like it. It's a pretty easy smoke. Yeah, I like it too. Yeah, very, uh, you know, it's like, it's, uh, somewhat short of being a Padron, I think. Padron, Padron

**Gizmo:** esque. Exactly

**Rooster:** right. From what I remember, I think the aging room had a little bit more spice.

**Bam Bam:** It did. Do you agree? I think from the point of view of the grade of the cigar, they're kind of similar to [00:06:00] me. Yeah. Interchangeable that way. Darker wrapper though. Very dark.

**Gizmo:** On the aging room. Mm hmm.

**Senator:** Do you get just a little bit of

**Gizmo:** hmm. I was getting that on the foot on the, on the, on the cold, you know, before we lit it.

Yeah, I get that. I was getting a little barnyard, but I, I didn't sense that it was any more than I would get on a normal Nicaraguan or a Mexican San Andres wrapper, but I am definitely getting it on the, you know, on the actual

**Senator:** smoke for me. I feel like I usually from a Nicaraguan, it's more like earthy and less barnyardy, like more like forest, you know, grass, like stuff like that, where this is more just that kind of musty barnyard flavor note.

But the thing I'm happy about it's. Very much in the background. I don't love a cigar that's got, I mean, Grinder, obviously, he loves Barnyard and his cigar, but it's just in the background that I don't think it takes away from the other flavors, which is good.

**Gizmo:** I also think I'm getting that on the burn line too, which complements [00:07:00] what you're saying.


**Bam Bam:** a touch of manure.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Or a horse foot is up,

**Senator:** I would say. Horse foot. Menuet.

**Pagoda:** What are we smoking

**Bam Bam:** here, guys? Dr. Scholz does not approve.

**Gizmo:** So the wrapper on this cigar is a Mexican San Andres. Binder is a combo from Nicaragua, both from Esteli and Jalapa. And the filler is, as they say, undisclosed, quote unquote. Ah, that's interesting. It's a secret. So they do not reveal the innards of the cigar. The cigar comes in five can, can you not call them the innards?

**Senator:** Innards, , Ivy.

**Bam Bam:** Jesus. Are you? Are you like fileting a Turkey?

**Gizmo:** the innards? Hey, we're getting close. We are. Couple weeks. That's right. So there are five sizes in the line. Both are offered in Claro and in Maduro. We have the re BoostA that we're smoking tonight, which is five by 50. The Corona Gorda five and a half by 48.

The Toro six by 52. [00:08:00] The Grande, which is a 6x60, and the Double Corona, which is a 7x54. That's a big cigar. I think we

**Pagoda:** should have been smoking that today. Uh, no.

**Bam Bam:** No, no, no. I don't think so. No way. I also think there's a danger in this. I've had this cigar very quick, and it backfires on you if you smoke it too

**Gizmo:** quickly.

You push it a little too hard. Oh yeah. So like I said, this is the third foundation cigar we've had on the podcast. The first was the tabernacle in Robusto Maduro on episode 43. And we did the El Wawense wise man Maduro in Toro Huaco. On episode 95. So now this is the, the guys are laughing at my pronunciation.

What's wrong with that? Well done. The

**Senator:** effort is there and we appreciate it, Gizmo. I

**Bam Bam:** just like how you analyzed the

**Gizmo:** room to see our reactions. Well I, I look up and you're all laughing at me. I'm, you know, I'm trying to, trying to tell the people what we're doing. It's adorable. So these,

**Pagoda:** What was that? Wa [00:09:00] wen say?


**Gizmo:** wen say. So these, uh, cigars come in very Cuban esque. I don't know if you guys saw this, uh, in prepping for the episode, but it comes in very Cuban esque. Uh, cedar boxes almost reminds me kind of like a, uh, like a Sir Winston box without the lacquer. Certainly. I think the cigar that's in it is a little different, but it comes in 12 count boxes with the Olmec logo on them.

So this cigar is named for the tropical lowlands of the Mexican states, as they say, of Veracruz, Tabasco. And San Andres Tuxtla, which we know that name Tuxtla from Tatuaje obviously has some. That's a rooster favorite. Love that cigar. My eyes light up.

**Bam Bam:** It's a holiday nightmare.

**Gizmo:** What's, what's with the, look at the man.

What's the guy wearing? That's a

**Senator:** helmet.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, it's like a helmet. Is he like a Inca? Like a, oh, he's an Olmec. Oh, he's wearing a beanie. [00:10:00] That's what this line is celebrating is the people that were there many, many years ago in the regions where some of these rappers are grown. Um, you know, that cigars we love, especially out of Nicaragua.

What's interesting too, Rooster mentioned this before we came on the seed varietal is considered one of the oldest seed varieties that still exist in the world today. So I guess it's just been held, you know, I don't know if it's rivals, Cuban tobacco seed, you know, Cuban seed, apparently, yeah, it must rival the age of the Cuban seed that we're smoking.

When we smoke Cuban cigars, but I thought that was pretty cool. And, uh, like I said, it says that it contains the finest Nicaraguan filler tobaccos from Esteli and Jalapa valleys after fermentation. The filler tobaccos are barrel a bail aged for three years before arriving on the production floor. Did you just retrohale?

**Bam Bam:** Did I? Yeah, you did. Very


**Gizmo:** of you. Maybe it just happened. That's the thing. That's

**Senator:** what I can't, you know. That was

**Gizmo:** impressive. [00:11:00] If you ask me to do it, I can't do it.

**Senator:** I'm the exact same. I had a pre pod smoke and I literally, I was sitting there and I retrohaled just. Coincidentally, I was like, Oh, that was amazing, but I can't do it on command.

**Bam Bam:** Performance anxiety. The cigar, the

**Rooster:** finish is a little dry.

**Gizmo:** I agree. Yeah,

**Bam Bam:** it's, it is dry.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. It's not giving me much right now. It's very, it's, it's not very complex for me.

**Bam Bam:** It's not a complex cigar. One dimensional,

**Gizmo:** I think. And I don't think I'm loving the, the, the, the texture of the smoke in my mouth.

**Senator:** So I, I agree that it has a dry finish and maybe a short to medium finish.

It's definitely not a long finish. Not at all. But the only thing that I'm just a little, I'm intrigued in a good way, just the, the flavor notes that I'm getting out of this for a Nicaraguan are, are not exactly typical Nicaraguan notes, which I like. I mean, the fact that like the first note Bam called out was citrus, you don't get [00:12:00] that typically on a Nicaraguan.

It's like the first note you would pick up. So I'm just intrigued. There, there's something different here where I worry that this was going to be, Trying to be a carbon copy of kind of your standard Nicaraguan Robusto and just probably not done as well. And it's not, it's clearly going for something else, so it's at least keeping my interest of just where this is going to go.

I think

**Bam Bam:** on that cold draw, I got that floral note. It's very powerful for me. That is consistent. And it's dissipating, but it's consistent and it's there. And that citrus just evaporated after two or three draws. But that floral, along with the deep coffee and some earth, is what you're getting. That's what I'm getting.

And the

**Senator:** floral is unique. I mean, I don't Robusto that I would say I get floral notes out of. I really don't.

**Gizmo:** This is definitely a smooth delivery of Nicaraguan tobacco, you know, even compared to some of the others that we've done and loved and smoked still after having done them on the podcast with the Mexican San Andres rapper, which I, you know, Pagoda always calls out like, this is a very smooth delivery.

I'm not sure I'm [00:13:00] loving it at this moment. We'll see how it develops.

**Senator:** I mean, just on, on the smooth delivery, the thing that. I immediately think of, and Bam was kind of mentioning this before we hit record, I mean, if this stays this way all the way through, this is probably the best introduction to a Nicaraguan cigar for a novice smoker.

**Bam Bam:** Absolutely. I think we discussed that before the recording. This is exactly what the cigar is.

**Gizmo:** It's a great intro cigar. Maybe that's what I'm missing in other Nicaraguan cigars that I, you know, that my palate is accustomed to is, I'm, I, maybe I'm expecting a little bit more oomph. Not in spice. I always say this when we have a Nicaragua that's not very spicy, I'm glad it's not spicy.

But I wish there was a little more body, I wish there was a little more complexity, call it earth, call it sweetness, call it something coming in that's absent right now. But to your point, I think that the simplicity of this, the flavor in this blend right now, I [00:14:00] think is very appropriate for a novice smoker.

**Senator:** Sorry, go ahead. Oh, I was going to say, just one thing I would disagree with a little bit there. I wouldn't, to me the flavor is actually not simple or simplistic. I actually think that there is a decent amount of complexity to the flavor profile of the cigar, which I give it credit for. I just think it lacks body like we would want or expect from a Nicaraguan.

Right. And I just say that because I can pick out several distinct flavor notes from where it started with citrus to floral to cocoa. There's a nuttiness, barnyard. I mean, the fact that all of those exist, that's not a simple profile to me, which I give it credit for. And that's where I think like for someone that's probably used to a very basic, straightforward flavor profile.

And a very mild cigar. This is probably, like, their best on ramp toward some more complex cigars and some ones with some more strength. So, I'm just saying, I mean, it's odd. Like, I feel like I'm gonna be probably defending this cigar a lot tonight. [00:15:00] But,

**Gizmo:** it's I like putting him in this position.

**Senator:** Yeah, no, I just, you know, we talk about so many sticks.

We're like, this is probably not for me, but I could maybe see this is for someone else. And some we say, we don't know who this is for. I'm seeing a very clear lane for this cigar and if this can stay like this all the way through my rating will reflect that like I do think there is merit to something right

**Bam Bam:** and that not the idea that this could be for a beginner or a guy or girl that's been smoking for a year could latch on to this and because these notes are so pronounced.

They'll gravitate to it and stick with it for a while until they graduate to an Exclusivo

**Senator:** maybe. Or even for a smoker like myself, for many of us in this room, I mean, if this stays like this all the way through, I would like to sup in the morning with a coffee. Earlier in the day, correct. And I'd be very happy.

Where I normally don't reach for a Nicaraguan in the morning. You know, I reach for a Cuban or something more medium if it's a Dominican cigar. So. There, there could even be a place for this.

**Rooster:** Yeah, does this remind you of a Padrón at all? Not at all for [00:16:00] me. Right? I mean, this has been compared to, uh, I've seen it.

No. Like they have, they have mentioned that it's, it's kind of like a Padrón, like in a family reserve line. It's not quite, it's not like that. I

**Gizmo:** think that's a, I think that's a very big reach. Oh, I agree. To hear it compared to that.

**Bam Bam:** I totally, I think this, like I said, you graduate to that cigar. After a few years of smoking this, I think.

**Gizmo:** I don't even think that this... I don't even think there's a comparison point here. And I don't even say better versus worse. It's just different. In the Padron 1000 series line. You know, which is a similar price, pricing, uh, strategy. I don't even think that these are in the same ballpark as far as cigar.

You know, uh, in body, in, in blend. I think those are actually a little harsher for me, young, than this is right now. Yeah. Because padrones are notoriously a little bit, have a little bit more oomph. But I don't think that this compares to any padrone that I've had.

**Bam Bam:** No, because that heavy floral note for me distinguishes it.


**Senator:** I, I agree with that. The only thing that [00:17:00] oddly... Maybe this is somewhat like is, is not any of the Padron Maduro's, but some of the drone naturals that could be, cause those are lighter in, I mean, they're not mild, but they're certainly not as full bodied as some of the, most of the Maduro's really are. I mean, I think the lightest Maduro they make is I would still call like medium full, like an ex placebo would be probably medium full.

Um, so I just, some of the naturals, maybe this is somewhat like, even though the flavor profile is different.

**Pagoda:** Yeah, but it doesn't like Patron doesn't come to my mind when I smoking this, like not at all. Right. I'm thinking more in terms of some other lighter cigars. I'm not that I smoke that. I'm thinking which one's good.


**Rooster:** not, it's not mild. It's not, you know, it's got, it's got a good amount of body. I think it's even has some spice. There's some pepper. Just a bit. Get

**Gizmo:** some. Yeah, yeah. I'm getting a little, I'm sorry. Sorry, Senator. Go ahead.

**Senator:** I was going to say, I'm even getting like minerality now. Like, there's like this saltiness at the tip of my tongue as I'm [00:18:00] taking a draw.


**Bam Bam:** getting that right in the middle of my tongue on

**Gizmo:** this guy. I actually didn't take a draw for about a minute, minute and a half while we were talking. That's the way to do it. I feel like as I'm slowing down, I'm getting way more flavor. Agreed. I'm letting, you know, letting it build up. I think I'm getting, I would urge you guys to try that.

Yeah. To just smoke it a little slower. You need to nurse the cigar. I'm about, what, three quarters of an inch? I've been doing it for 25 years. Ha ha ha ha

**Bam Bam:** ha ha! Well, since 2010 I thought. Ha

**Gizmo:** ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I'm enjoying the discussion because I feel like there's a lot of times that we have a discussion about a Nicaraguan cigar that's not as Uh interesting as this to me even sitting here in that I you know I I like that.

We're all kind of finding a different angle to it And the thing I want to challenge you senator because you have some pretty definitive Um thoughts on it. I'm curious and not right now if just rack your brain as we're recording But what other cigars you would compare this to and also? When you think about other cigars you've rated for [00:19:00] that, you were saying that you see a lane for a type of smoker.

What other cigars that we, we've reviewed or not, or you smoke or not, would you also throw in that same lane? Like, I'm thinking about that. So, I'm, I'll just kind of toss that t ball up. I mean, I'll just say later,

**Senator:** you know, you know, I'll give this more thought, but why I'm intrigued by this cigar is nothing else really comes to mind.

And I think that there are times that we've talked about some Nicaraguans that we've done on the pod that, Oh, I

**Gizmo:** mean all over myself, sorry, we'll have

**Senator:** rooster bring us next time. So, um, the, the thing that just surprises me, I mean, I feel like we've done some Nicaraguans before where we expected them to be bold in flavor and they weren't, but the flavor profile was so muddled and muted that I wouldn't even recommend it for a novice smoker.

Cause you just, you couldn't make sense of what you were supposed to get [00:20:00] there. And with this, I mean, every note is very clear. It's distinct. And just put together, like, there was thought put into this cigar, in this blend. Yeah. So, I'm, I'm shockingly very, very intrigued by this cigar. Yeah, you're not having

**Bam Bam:** to define the note and take time with it.

You know what it is. And that's a quintessential novice cigar, first timer. You know,

**Pagoda:** uh, I'm glad you said some thought's been put into it, because I was thinking about Nick Melito. Everything he does, it seems like he takes his time to figure it out and he's been in business for long enough and he's still going slowly in terms of developing his portfolio in a very organized and a very systematic manner.

**Gizmo:** And he has a lot of brands. But to your point, we talked about Rocky Patel we did two weeks ago. You know, how many lines did we say he has? 50? 100? You know, I don't remember, I mean, um Turn off his mic, please.

**Bam Bam:** Rooster's getting PTSD right now. He's getting angry. [00:21:00]

**Gizmo:** And so Nick Melillo, having been in business now 10 years, effectively has 10 lines of You know, varying, you know, varying quality and, and blends.

So I'll go through these again. I know we've hit them on, on the prior two episodes. So anybody who wants a little bit deeper, uh, dive into the history of foundation and Nick Malivo, check out episodes 43 and 95. But, uh, so they have the El Buense Corojo and the Wise Man Maduro, which are sister cigars, the Tabernacle, which we did, like I said, on episode 43, the Robusto.

They have the High Claire Castle. They have the Charter Oak, which I think is their budget line. They have the Olmec that we're smoking tonight, the Upsetters, the Manolik, the Night Commander, and the Matapa. I haven't heard of any of these cigars. So I haven't heard of the last four. I don't know much about those.

But, you know, again, this, to, to Pagoda's point, this being the third cigar that we're smoking of his, also, if you want to add in... The work that he did with Liga and those cigars that we've [00:22:00] smoked and enjoyed. I mean, he's kind of, he's kind of hitting home runs on the podcast.

**Rooster:** Yeah, Bam, have you had the Maduro in this?


**Bam Bam:** have. It is, it's a bit stronger than this and much more

**Senator:** potty. Oh, I'm sorry. There's an Olmec Maduro. Yeah, so this is the

**Gizmo:** Claro. Oh, wow. Yeah, we're smoking the Claro today. I mean,

**Senator:** let's

**Gizmo:** say that's what validates your point about Padrón. And

**Senator:** I'm like, this kind of reminds me just a little bit, not a lot of some Padrón naturals.

Maybe that Maduro

**Bam Bam:** is closer to most

**Gizmo:** of the Padrón's that we've smoked. So when I read

**Rooster:** the article, that's what they compared the Maduro to the Padrón line. So that, you know, that does make

**Bam Bam:** sense. That has a very deep, deep, dark rapper. Yeah,

**Pagoda:** because very deep. Because when you think of the Mexican San Andres rapper, you're thinking about the deep, dark.

You know, the cocoa coffee,

**Gizmo:** so maybe that's something for next year. We put the Maduro version of this, maybe in, you know, the Corona or even the Toro, because honestly, I often say the opposite. When I have a Toro in my hand, [00:23:00] I'm wishing for a different size, but I think based on how I feel by, by, you know, with this five by 50, I do think I would have preferred.

The six by 52 in this from a size standpoint, you know, which I'm thrilled to hear me say that, by the way, he went up like a Christmas tree. There's also a five and a half by 48. Yeah. Yeah, Corona Gorda, which I know, you know, in Cuban cigars, we love that size. We do. And I also love that size in the Liga Pravada series that he blended the Corona Viva.

Oh, you love that cigar. I love that cigar. And I have those for next year as well. So do they make a Lancero? No, they don't.

**Senator:** Gizmo's out.

**Gizmo:** No pigtails, no Lanceros. I'm sorry. So Nick Malivo is based out of Connecticut. We've talked about that, like I said, on a previous episode. And runs his business from up there.

And I wanted to mention, just talking about Connecticut, Arturo Fuente [00:24:00] Uh, Carlito Fuente was actually up in Connecticut in October, so last month. And it was his first time ever having gone to Greenwich, Connecticut. And that he went to the, what they called the Burning Tree Country Club. I guess they did like a big charity dinner.

And in one night... Fuente raised 335, 000 for the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. Incredible. In one night. Incredible. Over 300, 000. Welcome to Greenwich. So I guess he did that obviously by the, the, the table fee, you know, the plate fee to get people in the door. But I guess he did a big auction, had a bunch of industry folks there.

Everybody went. They sold one cigar, for example. for 5, 500. Yeah, that was a... A 9 inch plus cigar in a wooden coffin, signed by Carlito Fuente himself. One of the Opus Fuente Opus X Perfection. Nice. Which we did on the podcast, if you remember. Not that one. We didn't smoke the 9, uh... Oh. [00:25:00] No, no. The 9 inch one.

**Senator:** I was like, someone got robbed if they paid that much for

**Gizmo:** that cigar.

Yeah, I mean, some lots closed as high as 30, 000, it was reported. Wow. Purple rare humidors, round of golf in the Hamptons, tripped at a Dominican to go to the Fuente Factory with Carlito. That's cool. Uh, 10, uh, 20th anniversary Lanceros with a blue band, which I guess is very rare. You know, we're not an Opus podcast, but, uh...

**Senator:** Did you have someone attend and put in a bid

**Gizmo:** for you on that? I did, I did. Well, I wanted the Lanceros, you know. It went for 25, 000. My cap was 23, 500, so they just edged me out. Uh, 2, 500 bucks a cigar. That's crazy. You know, you're talking, you're talking like Cuban prices. Aged Cuban prices. Crazy Cohiba prices for that.

So it shows you what Carlitos developed with Opus X and his brand over the years. Like this cult of celebrity. Huge, huge following. Huge following. Huge. People like worship the guy. But it's nice to see them raise that kind of money. For charity. I think that's

**Senator:** brilliant. There's that and just what Carlito's done for charity, uh, just [00:26:00] generally.

I mean, you look at like the rare pink line. Yeah. I just feel like it's always been a big focus for him, like really giving back and you gotta respect that. Absolutely. What he's done.

**Bam Bam:** So other than breast cancer awareness, what other charities is he, do we know? What,

**Gizmo:** what do you support? So the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, let me look here for you.

Did they ever

**Rooster:** come out with that cigar for Padrón

**Gizmo:** and vice versa? Not yet. It was supposed to come out, I think, last year, the year before. I think it's coming out holidays this year. Actually, soon, maybe. But it's pretty well delayed. Supposed to be out last November. Yeah. Roughly. Yeah. So it's, uh, it's at least a year behind you.

Can't rush the

**Senator:** hands of time. Is that on his ashtrays? The

**Bam Bam:** hands of Carlito.

**Gizmo:** So the cigar family foundation has a cigar family school. I think this helps Dominican families and, you know, children. Oh, that's right. He builds schools. Build schools. Exactly. And, and helps folks to raise [00:27:00] 335 grand, man. That's, that's awesome.

That's incredible in one night. Oh, yeah. So good for him.

**Bam Bam:** I gotta tell you, I'm liking the pairing tonight.

**Gizmo:** So am I. A lot. I'm shocked. I have two cubes of ice in this bourbon. Not neat, but pretty close. And it's... Pretty damn good

**Bam Bam:** and very well priced. This bottle was 40 something

**Gizmo:** bucks. So what do we have tonight?

So this is just straight bullet bourbon. Bullet bourbon. That's it. Is there any age statement on this?

**Senator:** No, but from what I've read on average all of these like Bullet, Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, they're usually around four years. Oh

**Gizmo:** yeah. So we, I think we all came in anticipating that this was not going to be drinkable.

Yeah. In, either with, without a lot of ice or neat at all. And it's, it's very serviceable as it is with two cubes.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, it's tough without ice though. [00:28:00] I gave it a try on neat. It's a little tough.

**Senator:** Put just a couple cubes in, I mean, it goes down almost too easily. It transforms the drink. It transforms

**Bam Bam:** a drink.

It's fantastic. And I

**Gizmo:** feel like it's a light bourbon, you know, versus some of the other bourbons that we've had and I've had. Yeah. And with the Claro that we have tonight, not a Maduro cigar. I actually think it's pairing quite nicely. I like

**Bam Bam:** the floral notes in the bourbon that pair nicely with the floral notes in the cigar.

A hundred percent.

**Senator:** I agree. And the funny thing is like, I fully understand for true bourbon aficionados and I don't call myself one. Um, you know, they're looking for a really rich, flavorful bourbon. And so. You know, a bullet, a maker's mark, some of these lighter bourbons obviously are, you don't garner any respect from folks like that.

And I get why I do think, I mean, as we're talking about a cigar like this, or you just think about certain occasions where a hot day, the afternoon where you don't necessarily want a full bodied [00:29:00] experience from a spirit. And we've talked about some lighter scotches that we'd like at certain times. And I think of something like this, just like I think of something like just regular maker's mark.

There are occasions where you want something with some flavor, but not a whole ton of body, not something overpowering or aggressive or overproof. And I mean, this is so easily drinkable. It's insane.

**Gizmo:** And I think the thing that needs to be said too is sometimes you're in a situation where you don't have a lot of options.

You don't have a total wine. You don't have a well stocked, you know, liquor store nearby, and they have kind of the run of the mill brands. It's nice to know that. If you need to grab a bourbon, this is pretty damn good. I can't tell you the last time I've had it because I've just avoided it. I guess purely based on price.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah, because it's citrusy and floral. This is a great summer drink.

**Senator:** It is. Yeah. And I mean, to gizmo's point too, you think of when you're at like a bar or at a wedding, right? Wedding, there's like limited options. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. I could sip this the whole night. It'd be very, it'd go [00:30:00] down so easy.

Absolutely. The funny thing for me, this is, um, I guess this validates at least that I had some semblance of taste at a, the guest at a young age, because I remember joking when

**Gizmo:** he was 12, by the way, .

**Senator:** Well, I just remember drinking,

**Bam Bam:** letting up a padron at nine .

**Senator:** I just remember drinking like, you know, bullet like.

Some in college, but really like when you're right out of college and you know, you're not making a whole lot, you're trying to be, you know, pretty frugal. And so. I remember like I would be able to sip this with ice on the rocks, or I mean, this is, I think kind of regarded as like, has to be one of the biggest mixing bourbons that exist.

It's in like, you know, I think of like a mint julep or like so many events I've been to and like all the bourbon cocktails are mixed with bullet. It's true. And so, um, I've, I feel like I've drank a lot of this stuff, but it's been a while since I've had it and I'm just shocked. I was expecting it to be harsh.

Something that maybe years ago what I would have thought was drinkable and now wouldn't [00:31:00] it's so easy to drink.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah. It's a great budget pairing tonight. That's punching

**Gizmo:** above its weight class. Bourbon

**Rooster:** has to be good if it's being used in some mixed drinks.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Cocktails. So.

**Senator:** And they've got a cool history also, uh, Bullet.

I was looking this up just out of curiosity before we hit record. Um, the, Bullet's been around for almost 200 years.

**Gizmo:** That's amazing. It's wild. And you look at, you look at Knob Creek, which we did recently, and their history is so short. It's true. There's really nothing to talk about. Right. Like, I really had a stretch to, like, come up with some stuff that I thought was interesting to kind of color the, the, the pairing experience a few episodes ago.

You're a good color man. Thanks. Thanks, Pam. Call me John Madden.

**Senator:** Uh, but just going back to their history, they basically, uh, a guy named Augustus Bullitt founded it around 1830. He made the first batch. The current recipe follows the original mash bill produced by Augustus, which is two thirds corn, one third rye.

Um, and as they've [00:32:00] implemented today, precisely it's 68 percent corn, 28 percent rye and 4 percent malted barley. In its early days, it was made at what was then called the ancient age distillery, which is the modern day Buffalo trace distillery, which is a legendary distillery in Kentucky. Then Seagram's bought the bullet brand in 1997 and started distilling it at the four roses distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

**Gizmo:** We did four roses, small batch select. That was excellent.

**Bam Bam:** Yep. And

**Senator:** then, um, the brand was introduced in the U S market in 1999. In Europe and Australia in 2000 and then in 2017 Diageo, who owns everything, bought Bullet and they opened a new huge 300 acre, 115 million dollar distillery that now only makes and distills Bullet products.

**Gizmo:** Sounds like they're selling enough of it.

**Bam Bam:** Yeah,

**Gizmo:** you would think. I mean, [00:33:00] I would have never assumed that a company would put that kind of an investment in one budget. liquor. Well,

**Bam Bam:** think about it. It's a lot of money if it's being mixed and it's being drunk with ice. It's being consumed, right? Yeah. There's a lot of volume going out there.

It is

**Pagoda:** a staple in every bar, at least in New York City. Every single

**Senator:** bar around

**Bam Bam:** the world.

**Pagoda:** Every liquor store has bullet bourbon and bullet dry. Yeah.

**Rooster:** Plus the price point 40

**Gizmo:** bucks. I mean, you know, it's pretty affordable. Good. Yeah. Very affordable. So boys were about halfway through here on the Olmec You want Robusto, Claro, what do you guys think?

Yeah, hasn't picked up in strength.

**Bam Bam:** No, hasn't changed much. Pretty

**Gizmo:** consistent. I've slowed down a little bit, like I said, and I've been doing that since I said that, and it's actually... Really improved my smoking experience. You're way ahead of us. Yeah. You're still,

**Senator:** you're not slowing down there. Jesus. I'm halfway through.

You're pulling a Pagoda.

**Gizmo:** You're more

**Pagoda:** than halfway through.

**Gizmo:** [00:34:00] Pagoda has got like double the cigar that you have. That is not true. That's unusual. I have about three and a half inches there. Three inches. All

**Senator:** right. All right. You're on a timeout. So no more draws.

**Gizmo:** Just point to me whenever I can draw. We'll get it.

We'll get, we'll get an intern to do the timer. So. You mentioned kind of briefly there about using bullet in a mixed drink. So tonight for the first time, we're going to make a mixed drink and consume it on the podcast. Roll up your sleeves, Pagoda. So Pagoda... We have a mixologist. We have a mixologist.

Mixologist Pagoda, Dr. P. And he's gonna make us... Dr. P.

**Bam Bam:** I

**Pagoda:** like that.

**Gizmo:** Please. My name... Keeps getting up, this is

**Bam Bam:** ridiculous. It's morphing. I like that.

**Gizmo:** Dr. P now. Can we get

**Senator:** a story actually before Pagoda makes these? Please. This is perfectly fitting because I remember when Pagoda joined our former lounge, before we really [00:35:00] knew him, and I remember hearing about him from Rooster.

And I had just seen him once, but we hadn't really had an extensive conversation. And I just remember sitting in the lounge, probably with some of you in the room, and Pagoda was with some like high school friends of his that he had brought over to the lounge, and he's standing at the bar. He's brought with him everything to make Manhattans.

He's got the full setup on the bar. He's sitting there mixing, making cocktails for people, handed him out left and right. And I'm like, I got to meet this guy. I mean, this is amazing. So that was, he

**Gizmo:** didn't even know us and he would be handing out drinks. I remember when we first met, like. He was just handing stuff out.


**Rooster:** I had told him about us, so he kind of had an idea.

**Pagoda:** No, I don't remember

**Bam Bam:** that. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

**Pagoda:** Uh, no, but I'll tell you, uh, that lounge was also, you know, we've had some really good times there. Um, it was fantastic the way it was set up with the bar, and a lot of fun. Yeah. And, um, you know, we, like, between [00:36:00] me and my friends, we always had a lot of, and every time we go to, uh, either Carnegie or Merchants or wherever, I think a drink of choice is either the Belvenie, uh, you know, Need, and, uh, some days we'll either do the Old Fashioned or the Manhattans.

So, uh, you know, I'm, uh, very comfortable making those. Giddy up. Do I

**Gizmo:** start? Let's make some drinks. So this is the first time on the podcast. We've had a lot of listeners and I know we've teased it. I mean, it started, I think, on episode three when we were talking about I've been begging for a cocktail. I know.

Senator's gonna make paper planes for us. Puba is someday, maybe episode 300, gonna make, uh, Bloody Marys for us. There we go. We have a bunch of stuff, but tonight we're gonna start with Dr. P. Our mixologist,

**Bam Bam:** can I assist? I'll, I'll, uh, just take the cork out of the bottle.

**Senator:** Pagoda's got a large vessel that he's going to use to mix this.

I understand this is not to be shaken. Don't forget Bam Bam's contribution here. James Bond would be very pleased with this. Oh, sorry. James Bond would not be pleased. He's the, uh... Shaking not stirred. Pagoda [00:37:00] is only stirring. All right, he's carefully measuring the bourbon, making sure he's got just the right proportions.

While Bam Bam's measuring. Oh, Bam Bam's. All right, so we're all gonna leave here in Ubers. He's telling me what to do. I see, uh, I see about, uh,

**Gizmo:** Two, two finger pours. Wow. All

**Senator:** right, that's, I think, the third, uh, Third shot of, uh, bourbon. That's right. It's made its way into the, uh, the vessel.

**Gizmo:** Number four.

There's the fourth. I've never seen Dr. P so focused. Well, it comes

**Pagoda:** to drinks.

**Gizmo:** Ho, ho, ho. So now what is he pouring in there?

**Senator:** All right, now he's got sweet vermouth, which is a key ingredient in a Manhattan. And

**Gizmo:** keeps it refrigerated. That's right. You must keep it refrigerated,

**Senator:** right? That's right. Once opened.

Fortified wine. It does go bad. That was very good

**Gizmo:** counsel by Puba. How long when it's in the fridge? I don't know if we discussed this. After you put a bottle of sweet vermouth in the fridge, how long does it [00:38:00] last? Puba said months. Okay. Yeah. So it doesn't go bad like wine does. Yeah. It's putting

**Rooster:** in bitters.

**Gizmo:** Alright,

**Senator:** eight dashes of bitters. So let's get the, let me just make sure I have the ratios. It was three shots of bourbon. No, four. Four shots of bourbon. How many vermouth, two sweet vermouth. And then eight dashes of bitters. Alright. Dakota's got a proper, uh, mixing spoon.

**Gizmo:** A little ice.

**Bam Bam:** I see beads of sweat. Accumulating.

**Gizmo:** He's definitely stressing.

**Bam Bam:** You're not counting the stirs, Senator? One hundred one. One hundred two. That's it.

**Senator:** Let us proclaim the mystery of faith. I feel like I'm in church with this like [00:39:00] clinging right now. Oh. Where's Pastor Jay?

**Gizmo:** Oh. What are you making? Rack juice? Rack juice.

**Bam Bam:** Hahaha. No, all you need, you want to try it? Yes. That's good. I'm

**Gizmo:** making a pig. All right, so now Dr. P is pouring us into our, we have some proper stemware.

We have proper stemware with the 1086

**Senator:** logo. That's right. We have some martini glasses that you see a bar traditionally serve a Manhattan up in. Here we

**Gizmo:** go. All right, Bam is the taste tester. Nice color

**Senator:** on the drink. Very nice

**Bam Bam:** color. Fantastic, actually. Look at that. Perfect, Amber. Gorgeous. That's, that's pretty good.

All right, let's try it. That is

**Gizmo:** pretty good. I'm excited. All right, I can't tell you the last time I've had a mixed drink, period.

Cheers. All right, so, Pagoda, thank you for the beautiful looking [00:40:00] Manhattans. Cheers, boys. Salute. To Dr. P. To Dr. P, the mixologist. And our first mixed drink on the pod. Very exciting. Let's try this.

**Senator:** Just smell it before you drink it. The nose is great. Oh, it does smell wonderful. It is.

**Gizmo:** Oh, that's excellent. Pagoda, well done.

**Senator:** This is

**Bam Bam:** really good. When it has the right temperature, it's fantastic. Oh,

**Senator:** yeah. Oh,

**Bam Bam:** thank you. Damn,

**Gizmo:** homeboy. I think this is good. I love this bourbon in this drink. It's so smooth. It's perfect. Yeah,

**Pagoda:** the bourbon, the bullet bourbon works really well. I also do it with the bullet

**Gizmo:** rye sometimes.

And what does that do for it?

**Pagoda:** It's, um, it's a slightly different flavor. I think it's a bit less sweeter. Some people think it's a bit more sweet, but it's, I find that it's just a slightly different taste. And, um, so what you're supposed to also do is, uh, have, um, Orange peels and then put it around and then you just leave it at the garnishing.

So it becomes [00:41:00] a little, you want that little, you know. A little citrus.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, a little citrus. Some people in the room like citrus. Not me. That's very good and I love it with

**Bam Bam:** the cigar. Honestly, the sweetness, this is a great post dinner drink. If you want to avoid a dessert, it's a fantastic end to the night.

I like

**Gizmo:** it a lot. Yeah, well done.

**Pagoda:** So yeah, I think this, uh, in this, like, Now that I've tasted it, I would put a little bit less sweet vermouth in the next one so that it's a little, you know, less sweet and a bit drier. Yeah,

**Gizmo:** very, very good. Cool.

**Senator:** I think it works. I'm just happy there's a, I mean, I guess this bourbon is just so smooth.

Um, you know, sometimes you get a Manhattan, there can be a little bit of a bite, even when you see them really mixing it and it's served cold. This is just, I mean, you could put these back.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, this could be very dangerous. What, what other bourbons do they use

**Rooster:** for, uh, Manhattan?

**Senator:** Woodford for sure. Pagoda, you would

**Pagoda:** know.

Yeah, [00:42:00] I, I typically use either Woodford, Reserve, or, or Bullock. That's it. Those are the two I go, you know, with Maker's Mark, it just doesn't taste the same.

**Senator:** That, like, woody flavor you get in Maker's Mark would overpower a cocktail like this. Oh, yeah.

**Bam Bam:** Uh, I think Mrs. Bam Bam would like

**Gizmo:** this. I think Mrs.

Gizmo would love this too.

**Bam Bam:** Oh yeah. Two or three of these. Gonna have a good time that night.

**Senator:** By the solo.

**Gizmo:** Oh,

**Bam Bam:** yeah.

**Gizmo:** Get

**Rooster:** that solo fire pit going. Yes,

**Pagoda:** sir. You'd be surprised that the second one always tastes better and I wonder why.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. That's really good

**Pagoda:** Pagoda. Thank you. So, so in this, I, I typically use just the Angostura bitters. I was looking for the, uh, Angostura orange bitters today, which can be used in case you don't have, you know, the orange peels, uh, but they didn't have it.

They do, they did have, there's another brand Fee, I think, uh, bitters, which [00:43:00] I typically don't like as much. So I just said, let me get the regular ones and we'll do it without the orange peel today and we'll figure it out for the next time.

**Gizmo:** Nice. Very good. I

**Senator:** love just like buying bitters once in a supermarket and like it shows up on the screen, you need to be ID'd.

There's like Is that true? Oh yeah. There's like so little alcohol in bitters, it's like silly.

**Gizmo:** Our first cocktail. Yeah, very cool. We have to do more of these. Yeah, we do. Paper planes, old fashions. But, uh, Bloody Mary's, of course.

**Bam Bam:** Oh, yeah. I was the beneficiary of many paper planes one night.

**Gizmo:** Yeah, I missed that night.

Alright, well, let

**Senator:** it, let it be told. So, Puba had sent a photo over our group chat, that, uh, he had ordered a paper plane somewhere in Denver, which, uh, immediately, not a good idea. The problem is... Yeah, no paper planes in Denver, guys. Not in Denver, no. It's

**Gizmo:** the elevation, it's

**Senator:** the problem. No, the problem is, a proper paper plane is actually very hard to find.

I say this because I had my first one in San Diego, Without even knowing it, I just, I met this bartender, [00:44:00] Sky Heath, best bartender I've ever met anywhere, period. And, you know, one of those where like, tell me what flavor notes you like and I'm gonna make you something. And he makes me this drink, I'm like, wow, this is incredible.

What is it? He's like, it's a paper plane, but it's my take on it. He's like, I modified it slightly. Um, the proportions of a paper plane, everything's one to one, just everything is the exact same amount, but he modifies certain things a little more of some, a little less of others, and he actually made it with rye, which it's traditionally made with bourbon.

So kind of like Pagoda was saying how he likes to use rye in Manhattan's and, um. I love this cocktail so I just assumed you could go to any reputable cocktail bar and in a city and order it and you'd have the same experience and I learned the hard way you cannot and finally when I figured out what the downfall is in all these places I was at actually a cigar bar in Nashville.

There's this cool speakeasy, uh, I think it's called like the red phone booth and you literally go into a phone booth there's like a secret door or a whole thing. No, no, this is, there's one in Atlanta, probably, but [00:45:00] this is a different place and, um, beautiful lounge. Like. Awesome space, gorgeous leather chairs, dim lights, this insanely ornate bar.

It's such a cool spot. And I just remember asking the waitress that came over. I said, uh, you know, can you, can your bartender make a paper plane? She goes, let me ask, but I'm pretty sure he can comes back. Absolutely. And I said, you have everything you need to make a paper plane. And the key thing is there's a zillion types of a marrow and a paper planes made with a marrow and Nino and.

She brings the cocktail back and I'm looking at it and it's way darker than it normally looks. And I take a sip and the first thing I knew, I said to her, I said, show me the bottle of a Maranonino behind the bar. Just bring it here. She comes back. She's like, wow, you're good. She's like, we don't have a Maranonino.

He used a Mara Averna. And I said, that's why it doesn't taste the same. So it's really hard to find a good paper plane. And I assume Puba had a similar frustrating experience. So [00:46:00] when this whole photo came about. I got a lot of flack on the lizard chat, right? Led, led by, led by our MC gizmo here saying, uh, Oh, I've only been waiting years to have a paper plane.

I guess it'll be another three years till Senator makes us a paper plane. It's true. So

**Bam Bam:** until I, until I was, you know, exactly. Now I'm saying

**Senator:** you've changed your tune paper. Oh, I have. So what does a proper lizard do? You know, if he's called out for not providing for his fellow lizards, he's going to rectify that.

Not tomorrow, immediately, immediately.

**Gizmo:** So I was like 1 a. m. But

**Senator:** it was not that late, but it wasn't far. 30 11, 11, short up in

**Gizmo:** pajamas.

**Senator:** I did. And so I go look at my bar. I had just enough of everything I needed to make a few of them, loaded them up in a bag, brought it straight to the lounge. I said, any lizard that wants a paper plane, meet me at the lounge.

I'm going to make them right now. And what did I say? Sure enough, Bam Bam. On my way. Immediately. Immediately. So Bam's there. He took this, [00:47:00] I have to say Bam is, he was a videographer in another life. I should have hired him at like my wedding or something years ago. He takes this actually very impressive

**Gizmo:** video.

Stop it Bam. I like videos.

**Senator:** Oh, we know.

**Bam Bam:** No, but honestly, I had to, I had to witness this for myself because we've been talking about this for so freaking long. I had to come. I was exhausted. I didn't want to come.

**Senator:** Did it, did it live up to it? Dude,

**Bam Bam:** they are delicious. This is also delicious, but it's a completely different cocktail.

Totally different.

**Pagoda:** Yeah. I haven't had the right paper plate. Remember I called you from a restaurant once? Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** It was citrusy, refreshing, lemony, beautiful. Earthy

**Senator:** too. That's what the Merrow does. On the finish. It's just complex. The

**Bam Bam:** finish, the earthiness I get on the finish.

**Gizmo:** What is a Merrow? What is that spirit?


**Senator:** save that for the episode.

**Gizmo:** Okay. It's a deep dive. Yeah. Okay. God, boy. I

**Bam Bam:** just love that. He interviews bartenders before he walks [00:48:00] into a bar.

**Senator:** Yeah. Yeah. I gotta say, so can I see your CV please? Yeah. I'm sorry, but this guy, like no exaggeration, this guy, he, so there's a great, this is for any lizard that's in the San in Southern California.

It spends any time in San Diego. There's this, uh, another speakeasy place, uh, called prohibition lounge and they have live music. They're very cool. It's like. It's a, it looks like a law office outside. Obviously it's not, you go down and like this basement and they've just built, it's a small bar. Then seating all along the wall.

And then they've got like a little stage that they have live music. And I've heard some great music there. And, um, this guy Heath, I would always go and make these amazing cocktails. And I remember one time I go back and, um, I'm looking around and I don't see Heath there and I know what nights he normally works there.

I'm like, what happened to Heath? They're like, he left. I mean, I was distraught. I could have put this guy in retainer just to make me cocktails for the rest of my life. I would, I mean, that's how good this guy was. So funny thing is i'm this ruined my, I mean, I am [00:49:00] almost in a state of depression, but i'm never going to have this guy make me a paper plane there.

So. We end up leaving because some other bartender tried to make me one. It wasn't the same. So we leave, we're trying to find somewhere else. And there's a place called, it's like something like Whiskey House in San Diego. And fun trivia fact, the single biggest collection of whiskey at any bar. Not in the U.

S., in the world, the most distinct bottles of whiskey, that includes bourbon, rye, scotch, any whiskey, is in San Diego, at this place. What? I'm pretty sure it's like Whiskey House. Wow. And so we go in there, and there's so many bottles behind this bar. You know a library that has like the ladders you gotta go up to get books and stuff really up high?

There's that many bottles. It is insane when you walk in this place. And very

**Gizmo:** random. Rooster has that ladder system in his connoisseur corner at home. Yes, he does.

**Bam Bam:** I know. 1910 cigars.

**Gizmo:** Let me get the Robania.

**Bam Bam:** 1964. [00:50:00]

**Senator:** So the funny thing is I'm with a colleague and we sit at the bar, we're looking, the menu is like a novel, I mean, so many options.

We're looking through this. And at first I saw a woman behind the bar and I thought she was going to help us. And the next thing, as I'm reading the menu, this guy comes over and he's like, can I help you? And I hear this like raspy voice and that sounds familiar, that voice. I look up and I'm like, Heath, he's like senator.

And I couldn't believe he now works there. And so I said, well, you know what I want. This was, this was a

**Gizmo:** match made in heaven. But this was like, uh, this was like, you've got mail. You had no idea

**Senator:** he works there. No clue. Wow. I just, we left so disappointed at prohibition lounge, just looked up like, where can we get a good cocktail?

We find this place that apparently has this huge whiskey collection. We didn't know it held the Guinness world record at the time. When you walk in, they have the whole plaque and stuff. And we were reading about it and just by pure luck. That's where he went to

**Gizmo:** work. Bam, this is like mis connections, you know?

Serendipity. Do you keep

**Senator:** in touch with him? Not in a while. No, cause I, I, I basically, I had a client in San Diego. I was out [00:51:00] there every few weeks for like two years. And um, it's been a while since I've had to regularly be out there. So not anymore, but man, if I

**Bam Bam:** go back. We have a lizard budget to fly him in, right?

We should do it. We

**Senator:** should do it. And the other thing is, like, the bartending community is so small in a lot of these cities, like, I mean, people know who he is there. Like, everybody knows who this guy is, so I'm sure I could find

**Gizmo:** him. And

**Rooster:** San Diego is a great place to visit if anybody ever gets the opportunity to

**Gizmo:** go there.

Yeah, it's a great place to go. Never been there. Would love to go. The best, the best weather. Oh, yeah.

**Senator:** It's amazing. Cigar friendly, too. A lot of cigar bars.

**Gizmo:** Really? Yeah. Really? Wow. Especially that old, old, uh,

**Rooster:** old town area. Mm hmm.

**Gizmo:** Really

**Senator:** cool. Yeah. Right by the Gaslamp

**Gizmo:** District. Yes. So now I'm like super pumped to have a paper plane.

Obviously Bam was raving about his experience. I had four that night. Yeah.

**Senator:** Amazing. It was awesome. Yeah. My Tesla drove me home. And

**Bam Bam:** this, this Manhattan is actually very good. It is. It does get better and better as you drink it. Now this has more viscosity than a paper plane.

**Senator:** [00:52:00] It does. Oh, yeah, for sure.

**Bam Bam:** If you do four of these, you're going to be wheeling me out of here.

It's, this is quite, it's got a

**Pagoda:** punch. Well, we got a long, long, long way to go tonight.

**Gizmo:** So boys, we had some listener emails I wanted to talk about as we're coming into the fall here. First, um, Lizard Bill, who is a, you know, one of the OG emailers, listeners. From many, many moons ago, emailed asking about, uh, what our tower recommendations are specifically, which towers we're recommending currently.

This will be a good, and then also as I followed up with that, uh, he wanted to know what Rooster thought of his, uh, new vigilant tower, the vault. Cause I don't think we talked about that after Rooster had gotten his vault this summer. So first off, I, you know, kind of just going around the room, I know. So.

Senator, you and Pagoda have the Tower of Power. The Tower of Power. As do I. Very appropriate. So does Bam too. Yeah. With Cigar Oasis units in [00:53:00] them. Right. And Rooster and I have the Vigilant Vault 2000. Which is a custom build, you know, the Tower of Power, you can just go online and order. You also order the Cigar Oasis separately.

And you're done, you have it in a couple weeks. I guess if they're in stock, wherever you're getting them from. For Rooster and I though, you know, they make each of, Vigilant makes each of their vaults to spec. It's also double wide. It's a double wide, yeah. Yours is a single. That's right. You can

**Rooster:** customize the vigilant with if you want glass front or if you don't, I initially did not want the glass front, but then when I saw his house,

**Gizmo:** it looks great.

This is the way to go. Yeah,

**Rooster:** especially with the lights and everything. It's really good. Yeah, because the light. The, the strip is actually inlaid into the door area, not on the cabinet. Yeah. So it, it really

**Gizmo:** looks, looks nice. It projects the light. Yeah. And they chose the right LEDs. Like it's the right, it's the right hue.

There's complete coverage, no matter [00:54:00] how much you have or don't have in your tower. Honestly, that's

**Bam Bam:** important because if you have, let's say, if you've got a puck light underneath each shelf, you'll have a ton of shadow that. Layout will project light inward. So you won't have any shadow. You can see all your boxes,

**Gizmo:** right?

It's kind of cool. The shelves are

**Rooster:** nice and deep. There's a lot of space between, and you can adjust the, the height of the shelves. So my unit, I have not ordered the Oasis as of yet. I'm running it just. Without it, because the

**Gizmo:** ambient, you know, the ra, the humidity. Yeah, it's

**Rooster:** pretty good because in the summertime, the, the humidity goes up, so it stays around like 63,

**Gizmo:** 64.

**Bam Bam:** So, can I tell you something? Um, I think I mentioned this. I took my Oasis unit out mid-summer because it was humid. So did I, I have yet to put it back in.

**Gizmo:** I, so that's what's funny. I'm, I'm actually on the verge now about putting my cigar oasis back in. I was thinking the same thing. So what's funny, I didn't, so I didn't technically take my cigar oasis out.

I just took the distilled water out of it because I have the auxiliary fans running at the top because I like [00:55:00] air circulation happening. Gizmo designed. Gizmo designed. That's right. So I have.

**Senator:** And fabricated.

**Gizmo:** So I have that running. Uh, that's tied to the cigar oasis. So I'm just going to put the distilled water back in.

Cause we're coming to that time of year where, where my tower is in my, my home. And I'm sure for a lot of you guys here in the Northeast, we're getting to that point where the ambient in the actual room that it's in is going to start to drop as it starts to get colder and drier out. So I'm going to have to put distilled water in, and that's important too.

Like, you know, to Rooster's point, I've always heard that a full humidor is a stable humidor, you know, obviously, which is what Rooster, you know, experiences. By not having, you know, a cigar oasis or humidification device in his tower. It's pretty full. So that's why it's, you know, maintains its humidity. But now, now even for rooster, I don't know if his basement is a little bit more humid than mine.

Um, but, you know, we're certainly getting to that time of year where. Like, you know, for you to BAM, like you're going to have to put our humidification devices

**Bam Bam:** back in. Yeah, like I said, I [00:56:00] took it out. I've been thinking about getting it back in. My RH is pretty good.

**Senator:** What's your, what's your target date to put it back in BAM?

**Bam Bam:** Depends on the humidity.

**Senator:** I feel like next, uh, September he's going to have it in. I'm avoiding this

**Bam Bam:** joke. Depends on the hygrometer. All right,

**Gizmo:** boys. Where is the unit?

**Bam Bam:** Is it? It's in the cellar. Yes, it is next to my

**Gizmo:** office. So it

**Bam Bam:** stays kind of humid. Very. Yeah. It's right now it's hovering at 64 and it's been that six between 62 and 65 for three months without the Oasis.

Yeah, that's great.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Yeah. So mine, mine's a little closer to 60 right now. So I'm kind of getting to that point, which I like my tower low, you know, my, my new worlds, I kind of like closer to 64, 65 Cubans, closer to 62. 61. So I'm certainly getting to that point where I'm going to have to put distilled water back in mine.

But, um, it's interesting, you know, the listeners are experiencing this too. I mean, even in Tupperware, you know, even if you have a great seal, every time you [00:57:00] open that Tupperware and it's in mid July, mid August, or if you live in Florida, Texas, or, I mean, all year round, you're dealing with, you're probably

**Bam Bam:** leaving everything out down in those, that, you know, those areas.

Cause the humidity is

**Gizmo:** so high. Yeah, but I mean it's... Too high. Too high. Yeah, like what do you do? Yeah, you have to throw low bovine in or... Right. You know, call Gizmo and have him deliver kitty litter. Some kitty litter. He'll get on

**Bam Bam:** the plane for you guys.

**Gizmo:** But you know, I guess my question for you guys, you know, based on the listener question, you know, I think for Rooster and I, we're, our towers are newer.

We only got ours this year. Certainly I would emphatically recommend the Vigilant Vault. Oh, yeah, it's great.

**Bam Bam:** Great unit. Well, it depends on the collector, right? I'm very happy with the Tower of Power 2. It's a sizable unit. You guys have the double wide, so for the more seasoned guy or girl that's collecting a lot of cigars, Cubans, you're going to need a bigger [00:58:00] tower.

And that's what you have.

**Gizmo:** Well, yeah. But

**Rooster:** also, you know, I mean, I lived in a Tupperware for like maybe eight months. Yeah. It took forever to get that unit. Yeah. So plan ahead if you decide on getting the Vigilant. I mean, it's going to take at least four to six

**Gizmo:** months to get it. Yeah. And

**Bam Bam:** you're going to spend a lot of money filling that unit.

**Gizmo:** Well, if you already have the

**Senator:** boxes, that's true. Yeah, not necessarily. I mean, if I got that, I basically, I have two very large Tupperwares full in addition to my tower. Yes, that's true. Like that would all fit in the Vigilant, which would be

**Gizmo:** good. In the Doublewide, you're able to be more efficient with space and you're not cramming, you're not having to play as much Tetris.

Yeah. You

**Bam Bam:** know, like, Oh, I am a Tetris

**Gizmo:** master. Thing. Yeah, I was, before I used to have the Remington. Yeah. Um, and you know, now I have the double wide vigilant, but it's like I, I'm just able to, and I have a thing now where I'm just not going back into Tupperware like I'm done now. So, you know. Hold on. I got a question for you.

What's that?

**Bam Bam:** Are [00:59:00] you combining new worlds and Cubans in your single unit? Yeah.

**Gizmo:** You are? Yeah. So I split my, interesting. Yeah. So my, my long-term Cuban storage. That I don't plan on touching for four or five, 10 years is at the bottom. So I have like a bunch of Sir Winston's down there, Lucy cabs, et cetera.

And they're locked in and they're locked in. I look at them maybe once a year. The rest of the the the shelf above that, I only have one shelf dedicated to new worlds, which is Padron Davidoff. Some of the cigars we've, you know, talked about on the podcast recently that we've all bought boxes of and then the rest of the tower.

Our Cubans. So

**Bam Bam:** you can't do that in a Tarot Power because of the volume of Cuban cigars that we have. I have all of my New Worlds in Tupperware. Tupperdoors. Big, big containers. Two of them. My Tarot Power is full of Cuban stock. And I kind of like the separation of the two, personally. So you like to keep

**Gizmo:** things separate?

I do. I think we'd

**Pagoda:** like to come and see it.

**Bam Bam:** Sure.

**Gizmo:** I think you're ready for another tower. But

**Bam Bam:** honestly, [01:00:00] I, maybe, but the, the new worlds, I do keep that at a higher humidity, just a little bit more than the Cubans. And, uh, for me, I don't have the talent that GISS has, you know.

**Gizmo:** I resent that. No,

**Bam Bam:** you don't. It's a great name. Come on. GISS. So I, you know, for me, the separation makes sense.

**Gizmo:** By the way, on the chat, the, the, my, my friends here in the room, my friends. I've changed my name from Giz to Gis because I pronounce Tesla with a Z instead of an S, which they don't like. It's just

**Bam Bam:** incorrect.

It's just, it's, it's a treasure, that name. It's just a treasure. And it was perfect timing, Rooster. You're just sitting there. You're talking about Tesla being pronounced with a Z, so should we call you GISS? Fucking great timing.

**Gizmo:** It's perfect. So, uh, for Senator Pagoda, on your Tower of Powers, do you share the same mentality that BAM does as far as keeping things separate?[01:01:00]

Is everything co mingled? Like, what do you guys do?

**Senator:** So I, for some reason, I like to co mingle them, um, but I do have them on different shelves. So I have, so basically the, the top two, I keep loose sticks so that I can just easily grab stuff every day and I don't have to rummage through boxes. And, uh, the top shelf is Cuban, the shelf below that's new world.

And then for the rest for box storage. Cuban new world. So that's, that's kind of in my system. Yeah.

**Bam Bam:** And in our tarot power, the humidity tends to kind of gravitate, gravitate at the bottom, bottom, any.

**Gizmo:** Yeah. Mine does.

**Bam Bam:** So new worlds down there. It doesn't make

**Gizmo:** sense. Yeah. So like my single, I have a single tray of loose Cubans in a cedar tray.

I got an Amazon, which is awesome. It's like 20 bucks. Nice. You know, Spanish cedar. It, it works perfectly. I just slide it. That's on the very, very top shelf. So I use that for kind of quote unquote dry boxing or if I have loose, loose [01:02:00] cigars, I put that at the very top and that's closer to 60 where the bottom's closer

**Senator:** to 65.

I'm a huge advocate honestly for keeping loose sticks in a tower. I just say that because it's weird. There's no, I can't prove this. But there are boxes of Cubans that I've had where I've like pulled one from the box and I've smoked it. And I've said like, Hmm, I'm not that thrilled with this. And then I'll just take them and just throw them up in that tray for like three months.

And I'll just come back to it. And especially at the top where it's the lowest level humidity, the entire tower, you're almost dry boxing

**Bam Bam:** at the top.

**Senator:** Well, world's difference. I mean, boxes that I literally would have contemplated just like moving and getting rid of versus taking them out and letting them kind of dry box for a couple of months, just up at that top.

I can't emphasize how much difference it makes.

**Rooster:** Yeah, only thing I do different is I take the loose steaks and I put them in five finger bags so they don't touch each other [01:03:00] and, you know, because the wrappers are sometimes very fragile. Right,

**Gizmo:** right. When

**Bam Bam:** you were a kid, did you keep your food separate on the plate?

All the vegetables. The peas don't touch the chicken and the gravy stays over here. There was no chicken.

**Gizmo:** So I am a very, uh, I am very, very much in agreement with Senator on dry boxing. And I think that the important thing for any listener out there who's in a desktop humidor, who's in Tupperware, who's buying a cigar or a fiver at a time or a box of cigars, whatever your purchasing habit is, whatever, however you like to procure your cigars and store them.

If that means you're buying them for the week. I am very, very. into dry boxing cigars. Of course. Now, you know, like we're talking about inside our towers, we effectively have a dry boxing system inside the tower. But for someone who's living in Tupperware, like even for you, Bam, with your New Worlds, Mm.

like, we experienced that on the podcast. When I bring [01:04:00] cigars in for us to smoke, New World cigars like this one tonight, This has been in my tower, dry boxing, for two months now. If you look at the top shelf, sorry. I think we're, I think we're experiencing the benefit of that when we smoke the Oliva V.

Lens Cigar. Agreed. We smoked this cigar tonight. Agreed. Coming down out of humidity from that, that brick and mortar, which is shipping them with a 69 or 72 percent Boveda, it really matters. Yeah, so

**Bam Bam:** I, so when I want to smoke my New Worlds, I will pull from the Tupper Door and leave them on my top shelf for a couple of days or a week or longer.

Knowing that I'll get to it eventually. And I think for me, it makes a lot

**Gizmo:** of sense. Yeah. Yeah. That's what I use the desktop humidor for. Yeah. For dry boxing. Yeah. Yep. Throw in like a 60, move it in there. It's perfect. Yeah. Yeah. So Pagoda, what's your tower set up like? Is everything kind of co mingled or do you keep it separate?

It's co mingled.

**Pagoda:** Yeah. You know, I'm laughing because I still haven't set up, but you know. What is it? The hydrometer? Hygrometer.

**Bam Bam:** Hygrometer. Well, you have a [01:05:00] hygrometer. Yeah. But your

**Pagoda:** oasis is probably... The oasis. That's the only one. So all my new worlds are in the bottom, all the Cubans are on top, and in the middle I have all loose

**Gizmo:** sticks.

So there you go. Yeah, it's working.

**Bam Bam:** Honestly, the tower is a revelation,

**Gizmo:** man. The tower is so crucial. Oh my God. Especially, you know, there's a lot of deals. I mean, on Facebook Marketplace, you can find used towers out there. So, for listeners, this is not something that's terribly cost prohibitive. When you're investing in cigars, if it's Cuban or not, you know, we're smoking a New World cigar tonight.

Even for New World cigars, when you can find a deal, if you're able to buy stuff you like and store it and dry it out a little bit. Like, I don't think that the cost of a tower is... Really as prohibitive as I thought it was before I entered into the fray like I Found it to be very reasonable and it's like it's storing my collection.

That's so important to me It's like it's important to have a vessel and also for the bride for mrs Gizmo when she sees it with the bride when she sees the light on [01:06:00] it's like a piece of furniture

**Bam Bam:** like yeah, it's amazing Yeah, so I walk by my tower every morning and I just look at it and I go about my day I'm getting a shower, get dressed.

My office is right next door to my room. It's a nice thing. It's nice. It's a, you guys, you know, I'm, I'm very thankful early in our lizard days to have gotten that recommendation. I'm very happy. Very, very happy.

**Senator:** Yeah. I'll just say, I mean, for anybody considering a tower, you will always make the money back.

I mean, you remember when I got my tower very early in the pandemic. I spent obviously a lot of money to just fill it, but the price is because I could finally, when you see a deal, it doesn't matter what you smoke out there. You will come across at some point, a great deal on a box of cigars that you love.

And when I only had a desktop humidor or two, you know, I could just get like a couple boxes and that's it. And it's like, that's the best price I probably ever find that for at that moment. And once you get that tower and you find a deal and you can buy five, seven, 10 of those boxes and [01:07:00] just store them and just watch over a year's time, the price go up and sit there and say, look at all the money that I've saved.

You pay for the tower with the money you're saving. I'm getting goosebumps

**Bam Bam:** from what he's saying right now, because I think the exact same thing. You're banking your cigars. If you're getting a great deal, buy them and bank them. And

**Gizmo:** keep them in that tower. And by keeping them in the tower, not only the increase in value in your collection, which we don't buy to flip or sell, Or profit from, but it's also look at the experience that we had with those 80th anniversary padrones.

**Senator:** Bingo. But that's exactly what was in my head. Can I just give the example on that? Go ahead. That box, when I got my tower in 2020, a box of those with VIP on Atlantic. I paid 180 right now. They're 280. I bought 10 boxes at one time. When I got the tower, do you remember how cheap they were right there? The tower back then I paid 800 for [01:08:00] now.

It's obviously more than that. That purchase alone, the 100 per box. I've saved. That's 1, 000 savings that has more than paid for the tower just with my order of the 80th. Forget all the other. That's

**Gizmo:** exactly right. And exactly right. And The cigars by being in the situation that you have set up for yourself in your tower, they've almost definitely

**Senator:** improved.

I mean, we know it because I brought the 80th that I aged for four years, and we gave it a 10. Perfect 10. It

**Gizmo:** crystallized. Literally. The only counter to that argument really is a cigar. That has peaked or is past its peak that with time is not going to improve. And I think most of us have found that that's really only happening in a negative way, either with cigars that are just not previewing well, or just aren't, you know, aren't going to age well, or they're so old that, you know, they're just kind of past their peak.


**Bam Bam:** we've smoked cigars where we've realized aging them any [01:09:00] further won't bring you any value or experience. Smoke them and finish them. But I think everything that we have in our collections will age very

**Gizmo:** well. Yeah.

**Rooster:** And if you have multiple boxes from different years. Oh yeah. You keep the older ones in the front, keep the newer ones in the back.


**Gizmo:** that's. You smoke out of the older ones. That's

**Bam Bam:** the amazing experience with a tower because you can kind of look at your age, but your box dates and really move them around and. Sample from

**Gizmo:** time to time and like and like, you know, I think both rooster and and senator have said you have a box That's not smoking.

Great. You just put it in the back of the tower. I'm gonna revisit this in a year Yeah, I'm gonna revisit this in six months Yep, and it's it's it's accumulating value and more importantly for what we do It's, it's improving in its experience and flavor when you do decide to smoke them, you know, it's a beautiful thing.

**Senator:** Where, honestly, when you have just a desktop humidor and you're in a situation where you get a box that you really don't like, it's just a bad box, right? Whether it's the factory code, the age on it, it needs more time. When you have limited space, you're sitting there saying [01:10:00] like, I'm not going to take up half of my desktop humidor.

With these cigars that I hate, but when you have a tower, you just throw them in the back and you revisit it in a year or two and you may have a dramatically different experience and you're glad that in the desktop situation, you might have just given them all away or thrown them out because that's precious real estate.

You know, you can only store so much there. You want the things that you can pull regularly and

**Gizmo:** enjoy. It's true. And I think there's something to be said too, about air movement. You know, certainly I experienced when I had stuff in Tupperware for as long as I did, and then moving to the Remington now to the vault, the, the ability for air to move around these cigars, it, it, it does improve that, that experience with time, you know, on, on every cigar that's in my tower, you know, nothing doesn't, everything benefits from time as far as I've experienced in my tower.

And this hobby in particular, for sure. Absolutely. All right, boys. So we're in the last third here of the Foundation Olmec Robusto. [01:11:00] What are you guys thinking? I like

**Bam Bam:** it. You know, I've had a bunch of these, honestly, and it's, it's a pretty consistent

**Gizmo:** cigar.

**Rooster:** Yeah. I, I would like to try the Maduro on this. I

**Gizmo:** think you guys would like that.

I'm curious how that would, uh,

**Bam Bam:** I've only had one and it is more Padron like than this cigar is. I find this, like everything we've talked about, the floral notes that are kind of interwoven in this cigar. It's a different experience. Right. Yeah.

**Gizmo:** This is good. Yeah. It has picked up a little bit in strength.


**Rooster:** has

**Gizmo:** in the last,

**Rooster:** uh, you know, I would say like in the

**Gizmo:** last third or

**Senator:** so. Yeah. I was going to say the exact same thing, Rooster. I think the last third picks up in a very, very nice way and gets like close to medium full. Yeah. Which is. Probably where most of us are kind of sweet spot is. So the last third I've enjoyed more than anything.

And I mean, I'm, I'm smoking this down to the nut. That is a shocker. Does not happen often. It does not. I, and like Rooster said, I would definitely want to try the Maduro in this. [01:12:00] Yeah,

**Pagoda:** no, same here. Uh, you know, what I found was, uh, halfway through the cigar was the first time I felt a little bit of the, you know, mineral, minerality, which you had mentioned.

Um, and I did also get a little bit of spice towards, uh, you know, the, uh, halfway through the cigar. And I think that's somewhat muted a bit, but overall very, very, uh, nice. I'm really enjoying it. I would

**Bam Bam:** love another Manhattan. They are so good.

**Gizmo:** Well, when we're done recording, we're going to have like three or four more.

I thought the second half of the cigar was better than the first half, which because it picked up, it picked up. But it also, I feel like the blending decision, it took us on a journey as opposed to how many times have we talked about a Nicaraguan manufacturer, you know, wanting to punch you in the face out the, out the gate.

And then by the second third, the last third, it's a completely dull dead. Experience, you know, because they're trying to punch you, you know, on the light. What [01:13:00] I like here, what I like what Malilo did here is that it, it was a slow introduction. It was a journey the whole way through and it kind of picked up as it went for me.

And I thought the second half was much better than the first for me. Agreed. Yeah. So I got to tell you guys, I got a call from a friend of mine the other day, uh, who was at a bachelor party. They were at a cigar store. They were kind of bouncing around and they ended up at a, a cigar shop and... What city? Uh, they were in Edgewater.

Okay. New Jersey.

**Bam Bam:** Yes. Okay. Edgewater, New Jersey. That's an upper

**Gizmo:** end town. Yeah, so these guys weren't like regular lizard cigar smokers like we are smoking. You know, maybe they smoke a cigar a month, or at a wedding, or very rarely. But, you know, they had... Some interesting preferences on flavor. So they called and said, Hey, what do you think?

And they ended up putting me on the phone with the owner of the shop. Are you serious? Yeah. Like saying shop or that I don't know. I don't remember any Edgewater shops. There there's only one in Fort Lee.

**Bam Bam:** There is a private [01:14:00] club in Edgewater. Yeah. If they were there, I'm not sure if they

**Gizmo:** sell cigars or not.

I don't know where they were. So I get this call and I end up on the phone with. The shop, you know, the shopkeeper at the time and eventually the owner, I got two people like the first one was like, hold on, you got to talk to the owner. I talked to him. It was amazing. I'm asking him various cigars that he has.

Do you have this? Do you have Davidoff Millennium? Do you? Because they told me they wanted something premium and a little bit of flavor. They had a big meal like they were ready to OK. Have a really nice cigar. I got on the phone with these folks, man. They had no idea what was in their humidor to the point that I'm asking them, do you have Padron 1964?

They're telling me, Oh yeah, we have, I'm looking at the band. It says 1964. It's the number 44. It's the number one. I'm like, no, those are not the 1964 line. Every cigar that Padron makes has the 1964 on it. Cause that's when the company was founded. Right. Let's talk about the lines. I'm telling you, it took me 20 minutes to get to the point that they had [01:15:00] the Tubo 1964 cigars.

I think they got the Soberanos or the Presidentes, but those are okay. They had a great experience. Yeah, the Soberanos are great. It took me 20 minutes to get to that point. How can you, how can

**Rooster:** you own a business and you don't know your inventory? You don't know what

**Gizmo:** you have.

**Bam Bam:** It's a, it's a disgrace. Let's just call

**Rooster:** it for what it is.

I mean, I can understand. I mean, even an employee working there should know.

**Gizmo:** It's literally all they do is sell cigars. I don't understand, like, now figure this, like, I have a pretty good understanding of New World Cigars and what I would recommend to people who are looking for something that's a premium experience.

I think all of us would say the same. Now imagine you're walking in there. You have no idea. You don't have anybody to call. These folks don't know how to communicate with someone who has a good understanding. Nevertheless, someone who's walking in and saying, no understanding. I'm at a bachelor party. We want a great experience.

They don't even know what to recommend them. Wow. I want to know what store this is so I can avoid it. I, I was shocked. I think we should buy it because they're [01:16:00] ready to put four or 500 down. There were a bunch of guys there. I think there were 10, 12, 15 guys at this bachelor party. Wow. Ready to make a nice big transaction at the store.

It's a good sale. How do you not know what you have? Wow. How do you not know what to recommend?

**Rooster:** I mean, Edgewater is an affluent town, very, you know, there's a lot of guys who live there. Oh, yeah. A lot of younger people who commute into the city. That's right. And probably our cigar smokers. And I don't, I don't even know if, uh,

**Gizmo:** it must be in Fort Lee.

**Bam Bam:** It may be in Fort Lee. It could be West New York. It's right on the water. Not far from there.

**Gizmo:** Possibly. I'm sure that All of us have experienced this in the past, right? I mean, Well, that's

**Senator:** what's sad about this whole story. I mean, there's, unfortunately, this is a dime a dozen. I mean, we go back to our former lounge.

Yeah. I mean, this is a brick and mortar shop that's existed in the town I live in. For 40 years? For 40 years. And you assume a business with that longevity, that the folks in there really know a lot about cigars. And what I was just so shocked to... Unfortunately learn is, you know, I would ask what's the [01:17:00] difference between this cigar and that cigar.

Uh, I don't know, but they're all great. And you're just sitting there like you're the only reason that I would choose to pay more money to buy from a brick and mortar as opposed to saving money and buying online is because you're either going to tell me something that I'm not going to be told on a website Right.

You're going to educate me in some way, and that's going to make me purchase something that maybe I wasn't planning on initially, or you're going to demonstrate such great knowledge and recommend stuff that I like and figure out my palette and profile that I want to give my business to you. And when that doesn't happen, it just defeats the purpose.

And I say this because we all want to support brick and mortar. I mean, we love our lounge here. I hope anyone that's in this area buys cigars from this place. It's just so frustrating when you go into some of these spots and the people there clearly are not at all serious about cigars. And I just don't know how you run a business, a cigar shop, a tobacco shop, and not even understand your product [01:18:00] and expect people to support it.

**Gizmo:** Especially when you're competing with the internet. Yeah, that's

**Bam Bam:** true. And there's something called salesmanship. And it kind of goes to what Senator's saying. You have to know your product and you have to have a conversation with your, with your customer and understand what they're looking for and recommend, make several recommendations.


**Senator:** Yeah. Right. Every, every lizard deserves a heath tobacconist. Exactly. There you

**Gizmo:** go. That's right. Well said. To me, it's like, you know, when I walk into a brick and mortar place, you know, it's like, I'm no expert. We're not experts. We're just maybe one step ahead of someone else or 10 steps behind.

That's not, that's not what we do here. But we know what we like. And, but also I want to walk in and have a conversation with someone. And I want to have, when we're paying the kind of premium you do at a brick and mortar. You're looking for an experience to be curated for you. You're going to sit down.

You're going to spend 60 minutes, 90 minutes, two hours, three hours, smoking cigars, meeting new people, having some drinks and enjoying a relaxing time there. Curate an experience [01:19:00] for me, like ask me the right questions and take the information I give you and feed, you know, feed me. You know, to some point, someplace in the humidor that is going to deliver an excellent experience.

I don't understand that kind of operation. Yeah, honestly,

**Bam Bam:** spirits and cigars deserve that kind of attention. Of course. For it to be curated for you as a customer, so you know what to buy and what you want to experience, specifically that day. Especially if you're with a group of guys after

**Pagoda:** a wedding. This is what makes me realize that Nat Sherman was a boon to me.

Because, uh, every time I went there, firstly, in one store, there were like six or seven of them working. Yeah. In one small store. 42nd Street location. And you would walk in, and there would be a guy who'd come to you as soon as you walked in, and he would start engaging, uh, you know, in a conversation with you, try and understand what you're seeking, take you to the humidor.

Get you the cigar, come in and sign you out. Meaning the experience was wonderful. In fact, you know, [01:20:00] you talk about foundation cigars and Nick Melillo. These were recommended by, you know, I think I'd mentioned in one of my podcasts, either Cliff or maybe Jeff, who had recommended this to me. And he kind of understood my palate and he Wanted me to try different cigars and I was in that phase where I was trying a lot of new worlds at that point in time.

And it helps you in the process of discovery, right? And, um, yeah. And something to be said about old school sales, you know, mentality.

**Bam Bam:** Even for us where we've smoked thousands of cigars in our cigar careers, it's nice to walk into a place and just have a conversation and let them recommend. And it's a different experience.

Yeah. You know.

**Pagoda:** Especially for somebody who's novice, like a group of guys going into a bachelor, like in

**Bam Bam:** a bachelor party.

**Gizmo:** Or even a seasoned cigar smoker. Just waving cash around saying, give us a great hour and a half. I mean, it's crazy. I don't understand it.

**Pagoda:** Yeah, because if they walk away with the wrong cigars, they'll never get it.

They're [01:21:00] never coming back.

**Gizmo:** That's exactly right. And it's like to me, and I think for, I speak for everybody in this room. And I think I speak for the lizard listener who's, who's sitting with us right now. There's nothing more important to me than my time, even more than money, my time. So when I'm offering up my time to you.

In addition to money, but when I'm offering up my time to you and I'm saying, please help me fill this time with something great deliver. If this is what you do, this is what you've chosen to do for your career. Just do it. Keep an eye

**Bam Bam:** out for the future lizard lounges coming up across the

**Gizmo:** country. Are you going to build them?

Uh, yeah, we can't afford

**Bam Bam:** it. I'll give you the lizard discount.

**Gizmo:** All right, boys. So we're coming to the end of our evening here with the bullet bourbon. And the foundation Olmec Robusto in Claro. Any final thoughts before we get to our ratings? It did get very peppery

**Pagoda:** for me in the last [01:22:00] few.

**Gizmo:** I didn't get a pepper bomb. And I'm very happy about that.

**Bam Bam:** No, I just got it.

I'm right down to a half inch. It's still quite nice.

**Senator:** I mean, just the fact that, I think, everybody smoked this to the nub. Yeah. I mean, truly, I mean, we, we've reviewed some shocking new world cigars that we were pleasantly surprised by, and I don't recall a time that every single person in the room, I mean, could feel their fingers burning, that's how far down they're smoking the cigar.

**Gizmo:** All right, so let's do the formal liquor rating on the bullet bourbon, which we had in a Manhattan tonight, but we're going to rate the bourbon as it was. Neater with ice. Okay, Bam Bam, you're

**Bam Bam:** up. I have to give it an eight. Once I put a few chips of ice in the bourbon straight, it was really drinkable, delicious, easy to go down.

Fantastic. Eight.

**Gizmo:** Okay. Pagoda.

**Pagoda:** Uh, it's an eight for me as well. You know what I'm pleasantly surprised about is, um, the fact that I really enjoy the bourbon [01:23:00] with, uh, with ice. I've, I always have bollard in my house and the reason is because I do tend to make quite a few cocktails for that. Uh, but having said that.

I've never really had a neat or, you know, just as a independent drink with a chip of ice with a chip of ice. And this has been fantastic. It's very pleasant. It has been in fact, uh, very, very pleasant. Um, definitely innate for me and the price point is unbeatable, unbeatable

**Gizmo:** senator. So

**Senator:** I'm going to start quickly with the price point.

The price point is insane. It's 30 a total wine.

**Bam Bam:** Wow. Yeah. At bottle King was a bit more. But that's this ridiculous,

**Senator:** crazily affordable. Yeah. I, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it on the rocks. I enjoyed it in the cocktail. You very clearly see why this is stocked in every single bar. I mean, I, I, I don't think I've ever walked in a bar that doesn't carry bullet in a Manhattan.

It was great, perfectly served its purpose. Um, you [01:24:00] talk about like a large gathering and you know, you just, at that point, you're kind of preparing for volume, right? This is not like a small gathering of the highest quality. It's what's going to please a large enough crowd and not break the bank, break the bank.

And I think this fits in perfectly. So I'm at a very strong eight.

**Gizmo:** I'm also at an eight. Don't need to do the math on that boys. Great bourbon. I'm really impressed with it. It's surprising. It wasn't, it's served the Manhattan brilliantly by itself with two chips of ice delicious for 30 bucks. I mean.

That's incredible. Pagoda, great job on that

**Bam Bam:** cocktail. Yeah, well done. Oh,

**Pagoda:** no, thank you for that. I'm ready for another. Yeah, no, I'll definitely make it. And then we'll, we'll do it again when I get everything, including my own measurement. Oh, you

**Bam Bam:** know, uh, the proprietary Pagoda

**Gizmo:** mix. Dr. P, Dr. P mix. The Pagoda juice.


**Bam Bam:** P mix. Yeah. Not whack juice, but

**Pagoda:** Pagoda juice. Oh my Lord, this is, this is getting

**Bam Bam:** horrible.

**Gizmo:** So the former liquor rating. On the bullet bourbon is a [01:25:00] flat 8. 0, which I think is a perfect score for that. All right, boys, let's do the formal lizard rating on the foundation. All Mac Robusto and Claro. Brewster, you're up.

Yeah, so just

**Rooster:** like the bourbon, I think I'm gonna score the cigar in eight as well. Woo. It

**Gizmo:** was really pleasurable.

**Rooster:** I would probably, I, I would consider buying some of these. Yeah. And, uh, you know, the way it started out, it would, like you said, it had like nice floral notes and all of that, and I, I love the floral notes and it kind of built on that.

It got. It, you know, about the halfway point, it kind of built in strength and it, it became like a medium full and towards the end, I think it almost became like a full, full cigar, almost, almost. Yeah. In body, not, not so much strength, but everything, it was complex. The delivery was, was great. So

**Gizmo:** it's an eight for me.

Yeah. Senator.

**Senator:** I'm in lockstep with Rooster, I couldn't agree more. Uh, I'll start by saying I, I do [01:26:00] not think it's fair to call this cigar a beginner cigar. I really don't believe that. I think this is an every person cigar. And some of my favorite cigars are cigars that You know, we talk about the Padron 64X Lucivo, sure that's really built for a somewhat experienced to experienced smoker, but I've given that to countless people who smoke occasionally and they have that and say, wow, this is great.

And I think that this has the ability to appeal to someone who's just getting into cigars as much as it does seasoned, you know, lizards like us. that it had just enough to keep me interested all the way through. I mean, there was not a single point that I sat here and said, this is really boring. I just don't really see how I'd ever pick this up again.

I would smoke it again. Um, a cigar like this is especially helpful. We've talked about this many times when you're in that brick and mortar in a random city, you're traveling. And you need to buy something there. And

**Gizmo:** the proprietor has no idea what he has in the humidor.

**Bam Bam:** That as well. You got to do your own digging.

**Senator:** And, uh, you know, you can't necessarily [01:27:00] bring your own. If I saw this there, I would definitely pick it up. I know I would have an enjoyable experience. And, um, I'm very excited to try this in Maduro as well. So it's a strong eight. Nice.

**Gizmo:** So I'm right there with you guys. It started at a seven for me, for sure.

Maybe kind of a high six, low seven. But it really finished strong. The last half was really good. I really enjoyed the, the, the pickup and strength. I thought the flavor really improved. I liked the journey. You know, I liked that we stuck with it. And like Senator said, the fact that we all nubbed it like we did, the fact that I nubbed it down as far as I did, which was probably half an inch or even closer to a quarter of an inch, like burning my fingers.

It's a real testament to the cigar. So it's an eight for me for sure. And I think if, you know, all indications are accurate, I think the Maduro, if we do that next year, I think we should. I'm anticipating a really good cigar there. Yeah. So it's an eight for me. Pagoda.

**Pagoda:** Um. I'm a big Nick Melillo fan, [01:28:00] meaning Foundation Cigars.

As you know, I really enjoy the Tabernacle. I smoke a lot of the Guguenze. Guguenze? Guguenze? Guguenze. Guguenze. And, uh, you know, this is, um, I guess the third cigar I'm smoking. Um, which, uh, uh, he's manufactured, I guess. But really enjoyed it. In the beginning, when I got the floral, um, taste, I also got... You know, there was some unique flavor, which kind of made me feel like there was some kind of a tea kind of a feel.

I really enjoyed that. So, I can't even say that I didn't enjoy the first half as much, because I did. And, uh, the second half was more, you know, coming towards my flavor profile as well. And, uh, yeah. From my perspective, reasonably complex, you know, went from floral all the way, I experienced a minerality, a little bit of pepper, I think a fantastic experience tonight.

Yeah, it's an 8 for me.

**Gizmo:** Alright,

**Bam Bam:** Bam. Yeah, I think the versatility of this [01:29:00] cigar, I think, mattered. It means, you know, you mentioned earlier you'll have it in the morning with a cup of coffee, Senator. You know, you can smoke this anytime during the day, any season of the year. It's an eight.

**Gizmo:** All right. Again, we don't have to do the math on that.

Another flat 8. 0 for the foundation. Claro. Nice pairing. Yeah, very nice pairing. And,

**Senator:** and I'll just say in closing, going back to kind of the question that I was just about to ask you. Yeah, so, you know, why this is a definite, I mean, clearly the composite score in eight, that's a definite recommend among all the lizards, but, um, for me, Going back to that question, there really is not another new world Nicaraguan like this.

And that's a huge, huge merit for me because I really feel like, you know, anytime we light up a Nicaraguan cigar, we like instantly know what we're going to get. We're like, Oh, that's a Nicaraguan, you know, it's punchy. It's got a lot of flavor, cocoa, some earth. And the fact that there were notes in this cigar that you don't traditionally get [01:30:00] in Nicaraguan cigars.

And that they were able to blend this in a way that even when it picked up in strength in the final third, it was still so smooth and delivery. I mean, none of us would have nubbed this cigar if it got harsh at the end. So I just, for all those reasons, I I'm really, really impressed with the blend and, uh, and what they've done with the cigar for

**Bam Bam:** a cigar smoker that's not seasoned and hasn't been smoking cigars for very long, that floral note is so pronounced and it's intermingled with other notes.

That are distinguished. It's a great cigar for a, a guy that's been smoking for 10 years or for a year. And that's, what's unique about the

**Gizmo:** stick, I think. So to double down on my question for you earlier, you said that there was that lane, which I think you just reinforced now, right? Of, you see a lane of a smoker who would really enjoy this cigar.

Do you have any other cigar call outs that you would throw in that same lane? Be it Cuban, be it Dominican, be it a [01:31:00] Maduro or non Nicaraguan cigar? Like, do you have any other cigars that you see kind of fitting in that

**Senator:** lane? I mean, I think most Cubans are, are very easy for someone who's new to cigars to kind of appreciate because none of them are particularly full, right?

They're all firmly medium for the most part. So for Cubans, I think it's very easy for someone to find their journey and find their way in. With new world cigars, especially Nicaraguan tobacco, it's not that easy for someone who's not an experienced smoker to appreciate in the same way that. Those of us who have smoked a lot of cigars can.

So, you know, for me, I struggle to think of another Nicaraguan cigar that is as accessible palette wise, right? Not so full and so aggressive and yet still complex flavor wise. And unique. And unique that I would put ahead of this as like a gateway into Nicaraguan tobacco. You know, uh, Padrone, I, I, I always say the [01:32:00] Exusivo is like the gateway, right?

We've all had that experience. You have that, and then you just really start to do that deep dive into Padrone and just Nicaraguan tobacco generally. But starting at an even more accessible point than Padrone does, because it is a fuller experience in this cigar, uh, I think this is kind of hard to beat as far as being an entry point into Nicaraguan tobacco.


**Pagoda:** you know, I just want to say one more thing, um, for somebody who's trying the cigar. Um, as a novice, at least when I used to try them, I used to really like the smoke output. This cigar does have a great smoke output. It does. And very sharp razor burn. And I think, um, just overall, uh, even for somebody wanting to try it, they'll get a good experience of the cigar.

Although the smoke, uh, may not be very velvety, but it's still. A reasonable smoke output and you'll really enjoy it. So I'll definitely give it a, give it a

**Gizmo:** try. I totally agree. And I think, you know, it's important to mention that we said that this is [01:33:00] the third Nick Melillo cigar, third foundation cigar we've done on the pod.

And this falls right in the middle. So on episode 95, we did the wise man Toro Huaco. Which got a 7. 8 and the Tabernacle Robusto in Maduro got an 8. 2. That was a good cigar. That was a good cigar. So this ended up right in the middle at an 8. 0. So, you know, I wonder seeing that the Tabernacle Robusto Maduro got an 8.

2. I do wonder what this is going to do in the Maduro next year. Interesting. Because I'm, I'm feeling very good that the Maduro is going to really.

**Bam Bam:** I happen to like that cigar. Yeah. I've only had one and I think you'll like it. Yeah,

**Gizmo:** I think so. Yeah. Yeah. So an excellent pairing tonight, boys, A flat 8.0 for both the bullet bourbon and the foundation, Olmec re Robusto, and Claro and pagoda.

Again, thank you for the Manhattans man. They were excellent and uh, great night boys. We'll see you y'all next week. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Thanks for joining us. You can find our merch store [01:34:00] and ratings archive at our brand new website. Loungelizardspod. com that's loungelizardspod. com. Don't forget to leave us a rating and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.

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