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  • CigaRobbie Radio Program & Troop Support

Best Prices on the web, Cheap Humidors! has been a partner of the CigaRobbie Radio Program since the beginning and CigaRobbie loves to offer you the listener the best deals on the web. Remember to punch in: C-I-G-A-R-O-B-B-i-E in the coupon box for your additional 10% off your already low, low purchase! Listen live to CigaRobbie on WSRQ Radio 1220 AM / 106.9 FM every Saturday and listen for CigaRobbie to offer the fifth purchaser on cheaphumidors get's to co-host the program with CigaRobbie, Single Sammy and Eric!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

July 17th Guest on CigaRobbie Radio Program

Rocky Patel, will be our guest tomorrow on the show! He will be in our last segment of the first hour and look forward to speak with the hardest working man in the industry. Will talk about his up and coming 15th Anniversary Edition Cigar.

We will aslo be joined by Our Lovely Lady of Stick: Christine Morgan in the second segment of the second hour. Lovely Christine brings a ladies perspective of the industry.

We will also announce the third winner of the Co-host the CigaRobbie Radio Show by purchasing on and using the C-I-G-A-R-O-B-B-I-E coupon code!

Its a new two hour format and we will be looking forward to your calls (727)441-3000

Rocky Patel, listen to him live this week on the CigaRobbie Radio Program WTAN 1340 AM in Tampa

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Roberto, y Abraham Ramirez... The Men Behind La Herencia De Cuba!

 I'm smoking my Jose Carlos Maduro, A gift from the creator of this fine cigar and a recent friend who I met at a mutual friends wine tasting party last Friday night. I am tooling west down 7th Avenue just as I enter into Ybor I see my good friend Oscar Sanabria, you may now him as the traveling photog from Cigar Snob always willing to catch people loving the cigar lifestyle. Anyway he's standing in the rain in front of a mechanics garage so I pull over pop out of the car, cigar in my month and great my friend with all smiles. His reply, "what are you doing here?” my reply, "likewise?" So he tells me he is having work down to his Audi, and asks if I have some time...? Now, I was in town to do a little business with my goals set on King Corona, I said, "sure let’s go." We hop in the car go about three or four blocks up 7th Avenue to the La Herencia De Cuba shop. As we entered we were greeted in Spanish by Abraham Ramirez, presidente of La Herencia De Cuba and the son of Roberto Ramirez, (Master Torcedor). I met Mr. Ramirez, very traditional Cuban gentlemen with deep history and tradition set in his eyes, both men so gracious, so welcoming and the younger acting as the interpreter between his father and myself. Abraham speaks of him with great pride and very deserving Mr. Ramirez the son of Domingo Ramirez, a tobacco farmer from Cuba with Spanish decent his son Roberto would go onto become a Master and responsible for supervising over 500 rollers in some of the most well known tabacelra's in the world.

Roberto Martinez & son Abraham Martinez in their shop on 7th Ave.
Ybor City, La Herencia De Cuba Cigars

This is why I love this job, I am talking business with some of the greatest names in the cigar industry, and I sat with Oscar talking sponsorship for the show with over 100 years of cigar making tradition in one room. I sat there wishing my Spanish was better; I wanted to sit down with Mr. Ramirez and ask him a million questions... Now I have a big task my friends, through the show will try and tell the tale of this great Spanish-Cuban family and the wonderful cigars they create

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CigaRobbie Radio Program moving to WTAN 1340 AM & Affiliates

Last week Sammy and I inked a deal that will make the CigaRobbie Program heard in six states through the southeast. Moving the show to WTAN 1340 AM with affiliates WDCF 1350 AM, WZHR 1400 AM, and 50,000 watt powerhouse out of Little Rock AR KLRG 880 AM, brings the show to a new level.

Besides the move which allows us to produce the show in a new studio we  will also have a two hour format every Saturday from 3 to 5 pm EST. The show's great success in a short period of time has allowed for such growth. You the listener has propelled us to this level and we are doing everything we can to make sure we get great information to you!

With our commitment to existing sponsors: Maduro's Cigar & Bar, and we'll be bringing on some new sponsors in the Tampa market. I don't want to take on to many and clutter the show with all ad's, but I need to cover some additional growth expenses. I try to make myself the best spokesperson I can for each and everyone of them and want to keep it more about you the listener and the cigars. This two hours helps us with that goal, knowing all to well the one hour just was not cutting it!

Monday, June 28, 2010

40 Acres of History; Ybor City!

Ybor City, (pronounced EE-borh), founded in the 1880’s, with its accessible port, and railway locations it attracted the attention of prominent Spanish born cigar manufacturer Vicente Martinez Ybor. It was first the discovery of Don Gavino Gutierrez, a New York civil engineer also of Spanish decent in search for “guavas” for a canning into a jelly which was becoming a craze in the northeast. Even though the 40 acre parcel of swamp and scrub Mr. Gutierrez, saw it industrial possibilities of something much more than canning jelly. He quickly relayed the information to his cigar manufacturing friend. Vicente would travel to the palmetto ridden area north of Tampa to purchase it.

First order of business for the industrialist to connect the harden area between Tampa City and his newest creation by rail (El tren, urbano) was created and would run: “often!” Soon to be the Cigar Capital of the World and an early century moniker of being the finest Cuban cigars in the world. With tobacco picked in Pinar del Rio and shipped directly to the tiny port of Tampa for production, in its day with over 200 cigar factories, employing over 12,000 cigar makers (Tabaqueros), and producing over 700-million cigars. Ybor City was incorporated into the City of Tampa in 1887, becoming a staging ground for the Cuban Revolution after the Spanish sunk the USS Main in the tiny harbor of Havana. Enticed by the hearty nightlife of card rooms, brothels, bolita games (Cuban version of Powerball), and active commerce Teddy Roosevelt stationed with his “Rough Riders” and rumored to have enjoyed all the Ybor accommodations.

If you look deep enough you can still see the brick streets, concrete pavers, old fashioned cast iron street lamps, aligned handmade wrought iron balconies and ornamental tile work makes this place a walk in time. Walking through Centennial Park bordered by canopied oaks and statues of predominate business leaders of Ybor City, there is one statue that stands out the most; The Immigrant Statue, depicting a young Hispanic family exiled or having escaped a oppressing regime and finding solace, gainful employment and workers housing.

Must see’s if traveling to Ybor City today; Artist Arnold Martinez, a blue collar son of a cigar roller (torcedor), who will warmly greet you at the door of his historic studio and immediately poor his long time history and experience of the city he is proud to call home. He will take you on a historic tour through each one of his paintings hanging on his wall, so proud you feel as though he really does not want to part with them, you get the sense it’s much more than connection with people than actually mass producing artwork. His paintings may have a unique appearance, that’s because some of them are created with such mediums as: tobacco, Cuban coffee, tea and wood.

Since 1982, the Ybor City Museum Society that serves as the experts to the legacy those 40 acres has meant to our history. Exhibits, programming, educational tours, combined with cultural and historical resources are for you to explore…

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Day in Ybor!

Walking down 7th Avenue in the heart of Ybor City, a.k.a. The Cigar City! It's like you’re walking back in time, other than the modern cars passing you by you would think you’re in the turn of the century. Pretty Cuban senorita's walking pass with huge smiles, the constant wafting summer smells of a city so steeped in heritage and tradition to any other place in this country. I smelled Cuban coffee, pastries, and cigars! Oh wait that was me I'm smoking a Fuentes Opus X, just cause I'm here.

I read The Cigar Maker, written by Mark Carlos McGinty in the middle of Centennial Park as the locals would brush by me every so often to make sure I was not an outsider. To them I was an outsider, but the funny thing as a budding aficionado, and just armed with enough of Ybor City history to be dangerous, they seem to me to be the outsider. One man even came up to me as I smoked my local stogie and told me, "Those things will kill you." My reply, "Everything will kill you." I did meet two very interesting gentlemen... both meaning so much to the rich heritage of cigars and Ybor: Wallace Reyes, yes that name rings a bell you cigar geeks! He is the man who is legendary in Ybor; you may know him of his Guinness Book of World Records, longest cigar. The other kindly local was Wally's good friend and local born artist Arnold Martinez, you may know his name as the artist who uses such mediums as tobacco leaves, Cuban coffee, tea and acrylics.

What a day my friends, I would look for both of these men to be guest on the CigaRobbie Radio Program! I know tomorrow I will be smoking one of Wally's personally rolled cigars a Bazarte, with a rich deep maduro wrapper the size was recommended to me by another local working at the museum store: torpedo and I can't wait to light this treasure and tell you about it on the air. Really thinking of making this a regular trip, well you know for the history part of it!

Wallace Reyes, Grand Master Cigar Maker

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gary Streitz, CigaRobbie's Father!

Becoming one of the most popular guests of the CigaRobbie Radio Program, CigaRobbie's dad who provides great insight on: well, nothing! Will be called and see what cigars he has smoked since the last time he was on?

I will wish him a happy fathers day and see if he has been on the site to purchase great cigars and by using his son's C-I-G-A-R-O-B-B-I-E code and get an extra 10% off his purchase!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

David Blanco's, On the June 26th Show.

We've just slated David Blancos from Los Blancos Cigars Company for Saturday June 26th 2010. With their rich Cuban history to the cigar industry combined in deep family heritage they bring you Los Blancos Sumatra, Criollo, Connecticut, Maduro and Nine blends. All providing great Nicaraguan & Honduran blends with the craftmanship of olde world Cuban construction. I look forward to sit down on the program and speak with such a master crafting family such as Los Blancos Cigars! Won't you join me each and every Saturday as we talk to the people that make a difference in this industry!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Next Week's Show!

Working on a couple of things for next weeks CigaRobbie Radio Program, Dr. Augie Mauser not only a retired Professor Emeritus College of Education at the University of South Florida but for the last thirty five years being the only official licensed cigar vendor in the city of Tampa. Dr. Mauser known to most as "Augie" by all the major players in the cigar industry. Consulted by the likes of Rocky Patel, Alan Rubin and Fuentes Family, Augie will bring his rich history and colorful tales to the CigaRobbie Radio Program.

The other interview I am working on is: Nick Perdomo! Wow, would be nice to speak with Nick about his wonderful line of entirely puro Nicaraguan cigars. With such classics like the 10th Anniversay Champagne, the Habano and his five year aged creation Perdomo (2) squared. I will talk to him about him having one of my absolute favorites... the Perdomo Edicion de Silvio, its pricy but its worth it!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Saturday 12th, CigaRobbie Radio Show

Congratulations to Russ Fletcher, our winner of co-host the CigaRobbie Radio Program for a day. Russ was the fifth purchase on cheaphumidors and by punching in C-I-G-A-R-O-B-B-I-E into the coupon box for additional 10% off and a chance to win. Listen to the show on WSRQ Radio and listen for your chance to win! Russ maybe a little nervous call in and make him feel at home.

Scottie Hayes, the weekly host on WSRQ Radio of "The Drive at Five Sports Show", will be in studio with CigaRobbie as well. Stay tuned as we combined great current and local sports with the cigar lifestyle.

CigaRobbie and guests will be smoking in studio, CigaRobbie has provided Glenmorangie Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky the Original and the man himself will be smoking a Don Pepin My Father Cigar!

The Final Segment will consist of the author of "The Cigar Maker", Mark McGinty written in Mario Puzo style a fictional meets fact, a story of Salvador Ortiz who's struggles through the early 20th century as a cigar maker in Ybor City, kidnappings, assassinations, lynching, bandits, war and revolution his struggle to return back to his Ybor home. And his beloved career! Passion, love and good ole fashion Spanish family drama make this a must read!

Finally CigaRobbie will finish the at Maduro's Cigar & Bar, as he does each week surrounded by great Domincan feel, leather seats and big screen T.V.'s come in and on your first purchase mention CigaRobbie and recieve a complimentary house blend cigar! Come out and have a smoke with CigaRobbie!

BP Spills Coffee

Friday, June 4, 2010

What to Smoke this Year?

August here in Florida is a time for seeing a light at the end of a tunnel, however we’re not quite there but we can see a better time of things to come. For instance; an end of a long drawn hot sticky miserable summer, training camp in the NFL are winding down and college football ready to kick off. It also is a time in the cigar industry were the manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers share a city and display new products and celebrate a coming of a new product year. I’ve assembled a list of companies and what to watch for.

My Father Cigars; Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial, a powerful hearty blend of rich deep tobaccos.

Joya de Nicaraguan; Antano Dark Corojo, a strong deep ligero, they also have a Cabinetta half maduro and half claro; they also have Fuerte series B which is a bundle line product for them.

La Flor Dominica, Air Bender Litto’s Ecuadorian typical full strength Habano!

La Gloria’s Cubana Artesanos de Tabaqueros, a new conceptual creation from Benji Menendez & Rick Rodriquez it is dual wrapper of the foot and first third being Connecticut shade and the next two thirds being a rich brown Sumatra.

Nestor Miranda’s 1989 another great creations from the Don Pepin Family creating the Rosado & Oscuro.

With some of these great products some other manufacturers by bucking the trend of price point will be releasing some limited editions.

Avo with LE10

CAO, Escaparate Blend # 7

My Father Limited Edition

Tatuaje Monster Series the Face & La Verite

Viaje Skull & Bones Super Secret

With just another great year of cigars in front of us, I get excited when I think of myself in different situations smoking these great cigars with friends, by my pool, in great B & M’s, or in the studio and rating them for you the listener!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Advertising with CigaRobbie Radio Program

Want to increase your target market with your business? Would you like to partner with CigaRobbie using his professional personality to drive focus to local and national markets? If the answer is yes then CigaRobbie has a deal for you.

Looking for partnerships in business where you'll not only have a sponsorship of the CigaRobbie Radio Program but a spokesperson, a personality and many forms of marketing such as social media marekting on facebook and the CigaRobbie Blog!

You can contact CigaRobbie direct:
941-405-4008 CigaRobbie Radio Office Line
941-720-3553 CigaRobbie Cell Phone

Call or email for price list. Remember building professional partnerships that last!

Gary Aminoff is CigaRobbie Radio Program Blog Winner!

Congratulations to Gary Aminoff, he was randomly picked from the CigaRobbie Radio Program Blog followers as the first winner! Gary if you send me the proper mailing address you wish to receive your gift it will be sent out immediately!

I thank for all who participated and you'll all be entered for next month’s winner except for Gary! Don't forget to listen to the CigaRobbie Radio Program every Saturday from 3-4 pm EST, on WSRQ Radio 1220 AM / 106.9 FM or by logging onto

I look forward to taking your calls at 941-373-1220 and talking cigars!

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Power of Cigars!

It was the Memorial weekend of 2010, represents a couple of things in my life... just two years ago my mother passed away this weekend, I had lost my home, job, vehicle and in that time went through a bankruptcy. At one time things in my life were looking bleak, I had just turned forty years old and to say that my life was not going as to plan, would have been an understatement!

That was May of 2008; we forge ahead to this past Saturday! I am a year away of getting my bachelors degree in business administration after going back to school in January 2009, I started the CigaRobbie Radio Program and have interviewed such guest as: Joey Gannascoli (Vito, from the Soprano's), Alan Rubin from Alec Bradley, and Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars. To say that life has definitely taken a turn for the better in the last year, again is an understatement.

Sometime you have to believe in yourself, I guess at a point in my life I had forgotten that! Sometimes I take a little walk in the evenings, with a nice cigar and it is my time to reflect and think about things or process the events that happen that day, week or year. The other evening as I walked and thought about the show earlier that Sammy and I aired at the WSRQ Studio's, I was smoking the Savinelli R y R Series Y, a great cigar nice sturdy construction, great taste consistent through the cigar I was processing all the previous information I had just told you. I thought about the tough times of my mother’s life at the end, I thought about the call from my bank to let me know my account had been frozen through a judgment against me. I also thought about the note placed on my condo door by the Sheriff Department to let me know I had 24 hours to vacate my dwelling or forfeit my property.

There was a period of my life not one hour of one day went by that something went against me, I learned to be reactive to every problem I faced of every day. To tell you the truth, I can't believe I did not have a heart attack or stroke through that year and a half of my life. Now as I stroll along the tree lined boulevard, smoking my cigar that had been sent to me by the good people of Savinelli to smoke and discuss on my radio program. It was like a wave of freedom had just washed over me... I started to get a little emotional as I sauntered along this Saturday evening, then I could not help it I just pumped my fist in the air, in victory! In victory over depression, in victory over hard times, in victory over standing up in adversity and keeping my eye on the prize. I gathered my thoughts and said I don't know what will come of my tiny cigar radio show... But I do know this, I will only increase with my life and new horizons lay before me, and these lay with happiness, opportunities, and hope!

I once said about a critic of mine in the cigar industry, that I rate cigars, I interview people in the industry, I do everything to promote the cigar lifestyle not for money or wealth, but for the love and remarkable things the sanctity as a man sitting down smoking a cigar can do for your soul. At times it was the only thing that got me by or kept me going. I know the power of what this lifestyle can do and the magic it represents to people! I just want to get good quality information to you the listener!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CigaRobbie Offices

CigaRobbie contact info:

4550 47th Street W. #1731
Bradenton FL 34210

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The CigaRobbie Radio Program; "smoking the Entubar Torpedo!"

Just as we finished the show, I learned with so much activity on the server and people trying to log on to that it crashed. So to celebrate Sammy and I headed down US 41 to Maduro's Cigar & Bar, we were armed with our bottle of Johnny Walker Black as a give away, and the Berger & Argenti Entubar Torpedo. It is a Nicaraguan & Dominican filler & binder, complimented with a USA wrapper... interesting I thought. Also in tote was Richard Fisher the voice of Political Hangover which is on two hours before my show.

I turned Richard onto a mild Gispert Churchill, Sammy and I toasted the foot of this Entubar beast as the advisory foot band suggested. I thought presentation good a beautiful sillky wrapper and with a toated nutty taste was a little more complexed than Sammy suggested. We smoked these odd creatures right to the nub and moved onto other conquest's! The MSRP: $9.50 on the Entubar just as a note: It did smoke light and airy it has a rolled and molded ligero center that creates a flume through the center of this unique wonder.

Guy's right now if you purchase anything from punch C-I-G-A-R-O-B-B-I-E into the coupon box CigaRobbie will send you a gift!

Friday, May 21, 2010

To the CigaRobbie Crew...

Guy's reply to this post, telling me what questions you'd like me to ask Alan Rubin?

We will be giving some great giveaways to listener's who call in... sponsored by punch in C-I-G-A-R-O-B-B-I-E in coupon box for an extra 10% off your already low, low price!

Sammy, The Lovely Nikki and I, spent Thursday evening at  Maduro's Cigar & Bar for the CAO Event. They will honor event prices throughout the weekend on CAO Gold, LX2 and La Traviata! 20% Off plus a seven cigar gift pack and ashtray with every purchase.

Remember come have a cigar with CigaRobbie and Single Sammy right after the show every Saturday at Maduro's!

I also want to thank all of you for the emails and support you have given the show... Its all about you guys!

Monday, May 17, 2010

What goes into producing CigaRobbie Radio Program

I know it’s only an hour show! But to produce a good quality hour like the CigaRobbie Radio Program there is considerable work to be done, I want it to be so informational but that needs to be combined with entertainment and character. I really think that is one of my strengths, is there guy’s who know just as much, if not more than me? Sure, and are there more qualified people who should have a radio program? Again, yes! But I think my mixture of comedy, entertainment and industry knowledge, makes me tell a unique side of the industry.

This is the week of May 17th thru May 22nd which is my show date, I really don’t count Sunday’s it’s my day off to relax and do homework.

This Monday I am off of my regular job but will be working in the CigaRobbie Offices, just like I’m doing right now. Then I will catch up on some homework for school as I am attending Everglades University and my pursuit of a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. I go Wednesday nights from 6 to 10 pm and Saturday’s from 9 to 5 pm, but obviously I’ve been getting out early to do the show. So I usually work a 45 hour work week, combined with school, and the radio show, oh did I mention I am also involved in Kiwanis, and I go to the gym at least three to four times a week, I also fill in from time to time on the Drive at Five show with Scottie Hayes, who use to work for the Atlanta Braves organization.

Today I will go to three of the five Tobacco Depot’s which are hear in the Tampa area to drop off flyers for the show and do a little promo, Tuesday night I am going to my Kiwanis meeting right after work, Wednesday after work I have to run down to Ceviche’s a local tapas restaurant that was a old Spanish four story styled building that on rooftop with a tiki bar the WSRQ Radio 1220 AM / 106.9 FM or who does a live feed and I go up plop on the headphones do a little promotion for the CigaRobbie Radio Program then I am off to school. Thursday night, after work I have to run down to one of my show sponsors Maduro’s Cigar & Bar in south Sarasota for a CAO event, probably will catch up and have a cigar with some old friends. Friday night is busy… after work I need to set up for the Tony Katz Radio Show, which I call in at 6:35 pm and do the Cigar of the Week, for my other show sponsor, then over to a buddies girlfriends house for a little get together. Oh my home that night to work on show format and school work for the Saturday which I have to be at school by 9:00 am and to the studio by 2:15 pm for my 3:00 show.

Guy’s I say this like it is a lot of work and I can’t find the time! The truth I love every minute of it, the hustle the bustle running from work, gym, school, show, events and on some Thursday nights I relax with a few good friends and actually smoke cigars! I needed to say that because some of you were probably wondering, when does this guy have time to enjoy cigars? You’re right sometimes it’s tough, but I would not trade it for the world. Guy’s give me a call on the show; I’d love to hear from you! 941-373-1220 on Saturday’s 3 to 4 EST, and listen on web

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What we smoked on the show yesterday!

Great show thanks to my entire guest: Christine Morgan, as always you do such a great job!

Christine rated the La Gloria Cubana’s Artensano’s de Tabaqueros, which Benji Menendez selected 18 cigar makers to co-create this blend with: Michael Giannini, Yuri Guillen, and Rick Rodriquez. It has Dominican and Honduran fillers combined with that distinct Connecticut wrapper foot & Ecuadorian Sumatra head; this tobacco is aged five years and is made in General Cigars, El Credito Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic. The suggested MSRP average out between all three sizes: 6x50, 6x52 and 7x50 is $8.83

And you can follow Christine and all her rating on her blog:

I smoked the Casa Fernandez Arsenio 2009, which was introduced in 2007 and made with sun grown 2006 Corojo wrapper. As a puro with Nicaraguan Aganorsa leaf which can be dry and crumbly this cigar was produced in the Tabacalera Tropical Factory and blended by cousins Eduardo Fernandez and Paul Palmer who blends for Illusione and Cruzado. This cigar coveted the 21st spot in Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 of 2009. And with a MSRP of $5.00 it is a steal, you may know that this cigar was one of the gifts for my guest at the CigaRobbie Super bowl Party and they raved about this little robusto.

My co-producer Sammy was smoking Rocky Patel’s Renaissance with a 5 year Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper this cigar debut at the 2008 IPCPR in Las Vegas it comes in three shapes very indicative of Rocky with a Churchill, robusto and his coveted Toro size cigars. Created in the El Paraiso Factory in Danli Honduras, it has Nicaraguan fillers and a binder from the Jalapa Valley. Rocky will not give up the location of the ligero leaf center, only stating it’s from an undisclosed region in Central America. The Churchill Sammy was smoking has an MSRP of $7.75

Friday, May 14, 2010

Working to pimp your sticks!

It is almost 11:00 pm on Friday night the 14th of May, I am working on my fourth CigaRobbie Radio Program which airs tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WSRQ Radio 1220 AM / 106.9 FM or on and afterward there is a concert in the parking lot of the studio can't wait!

Last night me and a couple of my friends who meet every couple of weeks on Thursday nights, sat down and I smoked the Punch Upper-Cut it had been sitting im my humidor for about two months. It is a very mediocre cigar, I was then going to move to a Punch Champion but I decided to call it quits.

Anyway tonight got home from work, and had to get my Brighthouse modem situated here in the new CigaRobbie offices... by the way the new number is 941.405.4008 looking for show sponsors! Anyway after that was done I had to work on my "Cigar of the Week" spot on The Tony Katz Radio Show on so knowing I was going to have Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars on tomorrow what did you think I picked from the selection? That's right, I lit up a Tatuaje Havana VI, which Tony referred to as the "red labeled" cigar? I agreed and we moved on... Guy's I want you to help me out... go to and when you purchase something punch in C-I-G-A-R-O-B-B-I-E into the coupon code for an extra 10% off your purchase.

Tomorrow I will be smoking the Romeo y Julieta 1875 Habana Reserve & a cigar I gave out to guest at my Super Bowl Party this past year in their gift boxes, Casa Fernandez Arsenio 2009 which is a great cigar. Afterward as I wind down after my show at Maduro's Cigar & Bar enjoying my Americano I will smoke something of Pete's.

Great show the hour needs to be pushed to two, I have more guest than I have time: Christine Morgan our lovely lady of stick, then Andre from Toro y Leon Cigars, then Scottie Hayes from the "drive at five" on WSRQ and giving us the Preakness Report! and finally you've asked for it and I give you the man Pete Johnson!

I'm looking for your calls tomorrow, please call into the show on the listener lines 941-373-1220 from 3-4 pm EST lets talk stick!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Interview with Pete Johnson

I have Pete Johnson from Tatuaje Cigars coming on the show this week, he was actually scheduled for last week but had to cancel. It worked out cause we had Oscar Sanabria from Cigar Snob and my father who came on and spoke about my first experience with tobacco... it was very funny!

I spoke to Pete over the phone tonight to confirm for this week, sounds like he is very excited to come on and speak about his new vintage line of cigars, and the concept he was telling me about of using the same field or piece of soil on the Garcia farm and produce lot of tobacco year after year for the same cigar! Sounds interesting, and Pete should be a great interview.

Looking forward to all of you calling in and talking stick! Remember its 941-373-1220 and its every Saturday afternoon from 3-4 EST on 1220 AM / 106.9 FM

Looking to be interactive on the show I have my email and face book up throughout the show interacting with you the listener.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

How Bad is Cigar Aficionado

We've all had our doubts about the cigar ratings in Cigar Aficionado, right? At some point in time everybody I talk to in the industry, weather openly or under their breathe always say "yes we know Marvin and all of his well suited cronies give high ratings to full page sponsors in the magazine."

Let's take for example the Top 25 issue dated December 2009, first of all this is his (Marvin R. Shanken, Editor & Publisher) Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition, who does he choose for the cover? Hugh Grant, are you kidding me, Hugh Grant! He doesn't even have a cigar in the photo, because we know he doesn’t smoke cigars.

Oh wait it gets a whole lot better, if you turn to page 172 for the cigar ratings; first category "Churchill’s" No. 1. Wrong, a 91 rating for J.C. Newman’s, Brickhouse, only to be followed by that well known full page advertiser: Xikar, with their flop the HC Habano Colorado. But what really clued me in on the whole thing was they had the best and most underrated cigars of last year: Frank Llaneza's 1961 and receiving an 88 rating these guys are idiots!

Does it always sound like I'm a hater? I always pick on the bigger guys I sometimes worry that it sounds like I am jealous? But once again just trying to get you the end user the best information

Saturday, May 1, 2010

WSRQ 1220 AM / 106.9 FM Saturday

I'm really excited today it is the second CigaRobbie Radio Program, last week as I was waiting to go and sitting in the green room listening to the show before mine I was getting a little nervous that: I did not have enough material, the guest would not come through, all kinds of stuff raced through my mind. But all-in-all it went well. I finished just about two minutes early, something I will try and correct this week.

I have three guest so it is a packed show, plus I've invited my co-producer of the show Sam Mallikarjunan and my liason from he will sit in as my in studio weekly guest. I think you guys will like him he's a technological prodigy that will amaze you with his marketing capabilities.

I do have my facebook, and email up when I'm in the studio so please feel free to blog, email or post on my facebook it is another way to keep the show interactive with you the listener.

Introducing my newest show sponsor today... Maduro's Cigar & Bar! here in Sarasota located 7386 S. Tamiami Trail Sarasota and you can find them on the web: I will leave the studios after every show and wind down with a cigar at Maduro's please come join me and we'll extend cigar talk!

Remember all of you out of the area can listen to the show on and still can call in on listener line 941.373.1220

It's 8:30 AM just finishing blog and trying to finalizing some show stuff! Take care guy's remember; Smoke 'em, if you got 'em!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A typical CigaRobbie Day!

5:30 AM - The Gym, 25 minutes of cardio & leg workout

7:30 AM - WSRQ Studio to shoot the 7-10 minute promo for the CigaRobbie Radio Program with station engineer Steve Huggins, we read through it twice Steve edited it and put it in the rotation on the Don Imus Show commerical spot.

7:45 AM - Driving to work and listening to radio station heard the promo I just taped... pretty cool!

8:15 AM - Arrive at work answer emails, checked facebook and made some calls

12:00 PM - Over to Soprano's for lunch

2:10 PM - Received call from Andre creator of Toro y Leon about booking him for May 8th show, favor for my new sponsor Maduro's Cigar & Bar. I set up a meeting for next Thursday the 6th

2:30 PM - Received call from Michael Dove, the creator of a new website called we talked about trading a banner on his website of the CigaRobbie Radio Program and booking him on the May 8th show, he asked for an interview and feature on front page after the feature on Nick Perdomo... I said yes!

4:00 PM - Leave work for cigar night with my friends, I smoked the Padron Anniversario 1926, 40 year, and the Montecristo, No.7 great cigars, caught up with some old friends Kirk Morey, Danny Barrett, Mark Verducci and Mary Deasey... Good night!

9:00 PM - Back to work wrote the one pager that will appear on WSRQ's advertisement and website.and did some research on Friday's program with Tony Katz and my Saturday show... don't forget to listen Saturday on WSRQ Radio 1220 AM or 106.9 FM or on the web:

Monday, April 26, 2010

What do the "Brick & Mortar's" need to do to compete with online companies?

To my CigaRobbie Crew members, I hope you enjoy the blogs and my new radio show, "The CigaRobbie Radio Program." I really want this show to be about you, the cigar smoker, and the 4.4% of your life that you live on your terms. With this in mind I am constantly trying to find better options for you "Pimp the Sticks" one of my show sponsors is but I do believe nothing beats the true fellowship experience of sitting down at your local tobacconist and learning what other people are doing and smoking.

One of my newest sponsors is a quaint, local Sarasota cigar shop, it’s called Maduro's Cigar & Bar its run by two gentlemen Kim & Adrianne, they have been doing cigar wholesale to golf clubs and hotels for about ten years and decided to progress into a full tobacconist shop with beer, wines and coffee's with deep rich brown leather furniture and art deco meets Soho sheik decor, and every wall with a large plasma television it sets a inviting mood. Oh wait! I forgot one of the most important features Erin, a young, friendly blonde with a cute Australian (?) accent, I don't know but she is knowledgeable and never forgets a face or name.

Of course customer service is essential and most shops give it! I also think you get to touch, feel and purchase right there the smoke you want. They really try hard to earn your business, inviting the reps of the companies to do events and give specials plus most of them parlay food, drinks & giveaways! I every so often see guys walk into these Brick & Mortars and sit down in the furniture provided, pour a complimentary drink provided, use the lighter & cutter provided & sit down and watch the cable television, also provided by the proprietor, but not once go buy a cigar, wrong, wrong, that’s absolutely wrong!

They (Brick & Mortar's) have to charge tax; they don't have those cool sampler packs with some type of J.Peterman Catalog with funny poetic sayings, telling you how they put this awesome deal for you together. But the truth they (Brick & Mortar's) give you the option, or should I say the power to put the sampler pack together yourself, I've watched tobacconist lower prices right at the register because someone said it was cheaper at another retailer. You don't get that with the online companies, and they usually ship in four to nine days depending on the purchase day.

I really don't want to discourage you from buying cigars at the best place you can afford like: Cigar International, JR Cigars and Famous Smoke. But remember about your friend just around the corner who greets you with a smile, works hard to get the smokes you enjoy and calls you his best customer; remember the prices he pays to provide that environment: rent, product charges, utilities, insurance, tax, advertisement cost, and accessories for the customers like matches, cigar bags, lighters, cutter and toiletries! Yes it is an expense. Plus employee benefits, Christmas parties, and well you get the idea it never ends. He does it for you the customer so act like one!

You want established? Here is W. Curtis Drapers the oldest in American:

The one that throw's the best events, Outlaw Cigars:

The one that moves the most cigars, Corona Cigars Orlando:

The best prices, Tampa Humidor:

Maduro's Cigar & Bar Sarasota:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The CigaRobbie Radio Program, enjoying 4.4% of your life!

The CigaRobbie Radio Program will be a great inter-active radio program, not only will I take calls from the listeners on: cigar ratings, storing, humidification, and the process to create a cigar, but I will have facebook and other social media sites up in the studio to interact with you the cigar smoker.

As men we give so much of our lives, we give 95.6% to our jobs, the wife, kids, the business, our boss, your creditors and the government... but there is 4.4% left, that is our sanctuary our time to gather in our favorite water holes, man-caves, your own back patio and we gather in those times to live life on our terms! You give 95.6% all day long, your happy to do it, but when 4.4% time comes, we tune into WSRQ 1220 AM / 106.9 FM or and sink away into a fine handcrafted cigar!

Relax, and enjoy the ride as we explore the finer things in life! Remember WSRQ Radio is where Sarasota comes to talk, but the CigaRobbie Radio Program is where Sarasota comes to Smoke!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Freedom Cigar Club... A way of life!

To the members of The Freedom Cigar Club, I love the fact you meet as a true fellowship cigar club discussing cigars, politics (local, state & federal), and current events. I myself would love to bring the CigaRobbie Girlz to a meeting and enjoy the finer things in life: cigars, fine adult beverages and your company. Smoke 'em, if you got 'em!

Please follow the link to check out these great bunch of guy's:

CigaRobbie, promotes all cigar clubs, especially if they support and recognize the fight against Anti-Tobacco laws, these Pro-Tobacco organizations such as: CRA Cigar Rights of America or IPCPR International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers. We must collectively structure our forces, and we do make up a huge section of this country that enjoys this lifestyle. The small cigar and pipe clubs will be the format to unite through these organizations that send lobbyist to Washington on our behalf!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Interactive with you!

Romeo y Julieta, Habana Reserve: A beautifully constructed cigar with perfect silky habano wrapper and Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, blended to perfection and filling the palet with a full diverse falvors the whole way through. Featured on this weeks Tony Katz Radio Program at:  I would like you my bloggers to pick next weeks Cigar of the Week, lets knock Tony's socks off with our next great selection, looking forward to your comments?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

CigaRobbie: Tony Katz Radio Program & WSRQ 1220AM

Tony Katz Radio Program & WSRQ 1220AM

It is a wonderful experience for me to do "The Cigar of the Week" on The Tony Katz Radio Program, I would like to make it very interactive with my blog? Such as: letting you my bloggers even though there are not a lot of you now... But with the cross-over from my facebook and possible new cigar show on WSRQ 1220 AM that is heard throughout Florida we could really grow this thing! Oh anyway, what I was saying, I would like bloggers pick the cigar I rate each week on Tony's show?

Blog in with your favorite cigar that is sold by and I will smoke and rate it for Tony's Show.

Tell me your thoughts? Remember gentlemen we are taking back our lives, and living life on our terms!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Mike, lets just agree to part ways here!"

Feburary in West Palm Beach is Smoke Inn's, Great Smoke Cigar Event. It is a time when most of the people in the industry come out, and support one of the largest retail events. It is relaxed, low key and usally a lot of fun. This years event had a fatal twist for one man in the industry; Mike Chiusano of DomRey Cigars, which produces the Cusano cigar line out of Tabadom SA, a subsidiary of Oettinger Davidoff Group and the very same who just acquired the small Bradenton FL,cigar company for an un-disclosed amount, but some reporting close to ten million dollars.

While Mike and top executives for Davidoff sat in a tent at the quaint Florida event, a disagreement erupted leaving Mike and the Davidoff Group telling each other we should part our seperate ways even though the buy out had Mike staying on as a consultant. The small Bradenton company had reached some success in the industry by producing a mid price cigar and receiving favorable ratings in Cigar Aficionado, and debuting its 151 line which was the companies first Esteli Valley cigar.

Mike Chuisano, could not be reached for comment. And DomRey however acknowledging the un-timely departure of its former creator would not comment. Oettinger Davidoff Group, who recently announced moving their processing facility to St. Petersburg FL, has said they have no plans on shutting down the DomRey offices in Bradenton FL.

Monday, April 5, 2010

CigaRobbie on the Radio!

CigaRobbie rates The Cigar of the Week, on the Tony Katz Radio Program, every Friday night! Check it out 6:45 pm heard on 1340 AM in the Tampa Bay area. or check out All Patriots Radio and the Tony Katz website by clicking on the link below.

  Tony Katz Radio Program

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"We want to be the best part of your day!"

 "We want to be the best part of your day!"

That was Alan Rubin's quote to me that stood out the most through our one hour and twenty minute conversation. It didn't seem that long, it felt as if I were talking to a long lost friend. This could be one of the least pretentious men in the industry with an easy manner and a strong business mind. He was very quick to assure me that he is doing what he truly loves.

I am usually the one trying to open my interviewee up with talk of what the industry means to the hard working, middle class man. Alan was citing back yard cigar clubs, fellowship of guy's smoking and living life on their terms... are you kidding me, that is all my half spun rhetoric! But I was listening, nodding my head and wanting everything he said to be true, and you know what? It was. He speaks with such passion using subtle lay-men terms and he puts you at ease the same if you were smoking one of his famous Alec Bradley lines of cigars, which he created in 1997. "Admittedly after some"learning experiences" of being a "gringo" in a Spanish cultured industry, I got stuck a few times with subpar tobacco in the beginning, I just had to learn the business from that end." After the sale of a sucessful family business of importing hardware good for the construction industry and promising himself a six month respite to devote time with his family, he has quite the life of luxury to pursue his passion, and we all know what happened next. Tempus (spanish for "time") Centuria, which received a 94 rating in Cigar Aficionado, six other of his cigars which received 90 ratings including the Select Cabinet Reserve SCR, which I personally thought should have been rated higher. The MAXX  The Freak, Trilogy and his pride of the lot, Prensado (spanish for "boxed press"), all great cigars and all the vision of this humble man.
Alan told me that one of his best business decisions was hiring then cigar creator Rafael Montero "Ralph", who was appointed from Operations Manager to Vice President and served as my liaison in the process of setting up this interview. The Friday before I spent almost fourty five minutes on the phone with Ralph, talking cigars and the industry or I should say the state of the industry, which he was quick to point out that the tobacco industry needs to separate itself from cigarettes in the same way that beer and wine did with liquor. Even though both are alcohol, they are very different in effect, process and characteristics. He said it is unfair to compare an all natural product with one that is full of chemicals that are so addictive. I learned so much from speaking with Mr. Montero, a very insightful and knowledgable asset to the Alec Bradley family, working with Hendrick Kelner, who produced the Occidental Reserve, and still remains in the blending process.

I got into such real conversations with Alan, dispelling rumors of "golden handshakes" with Marvin Shanken of Cigar Aficiondo and the bogus ratings of cigar publications. He was quick to defend Cigar Aficionado, he said because of the exposure in the magazine it propelled his company so much. He also sternly told me that this industry is not where it is today withouth the vision of Marvin and Cigar Aficionado. I am now sure that Alan had been following some of my posts on facebook, as I am very critical of high cigar ratings correlating with full page advertisements in Cigar Aficionado. I asked him directly, "Don't you feel that Marvin has lost touch with working men who spends his hard earned dollar to buy his cigar for the week and seeking sanctuary to escape: his boss, the bill collector, and faulty economy? His reply was "No, it was never about that, Marvin's mission statement was to promote the finer things in life."Dually noted! I agree Cigar Aficionado has its place, maybe I'm jealous!

Alan, also pointed out that this industry has been around for four hundred years and it is very cyclical as the economy, I remember reading once at the turn of the century when the economy instead of being compared to gas prices they (finacial analyst) would compare it to the five cent cigar, and how the price of that cigar would fluctuate from four to six cents. I tried to lead him into arming me with information about the competition but no avail he would have none if it. Only saying that he and the other manufacturers are like brethren, that they sit down at shows and conventions smoking each other's products. I even brought up Rocky Patel, which is good for some off-the-wall comment, but he just dispelled my tactics and we progressed to through the interview. I asked him to talk about his joint venture with Joseph Gannascoli's, new line of product Cugine Cigars, and he said, "Joe is very passionate about cigars and is trying to learn the business. He now has a good product, but it's now in his hands." I asked if it was a private label or did Joe have his hands in the process of creating this blend? He said Joe was totally in the process and wanted to have the Alec Bradley name involved with the blend. We also spoke of any new blends coming out for the IPCPR in August, he simply told me he is in a "creating mode" right now and working on a Connecticut blend, he also mentioned a surprise blend that  he could not release the name because he was unsure it would make it to the IPCPR in time. I thanked him for spending time with me, knowing all too well that I'm a small guy starting out in the industry and it was very nice for a busy man like himself to agree to do this. Alan told me, "You know Robbie, I want to thank you for taking the time and calling to ask these questions. It's guys like you that make the industry what it is."

Thanks again Alan, mission statement successful once again. Alec Bradley was the best part of my day!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

CigaRobbie Crew

From time to time I like to assemble the CigaRobbie Crew over at my place for a real man's night, this time I had: the basketball game on the plasma; Johnny Cash playing at a delightful pitch on the entertainment center, and a bevy of single malt scotches, complimented with California and Bordeaux wines. The final missing piece a large assortment of fine handcrafted cigars for us to smoke all night long!

I wanted it to be perfect so I laid out three cigars for each of us to swill our pallets around. 1. Padilla Signature 1932 which commandeered a 93 rating in Cigar Aficionado which is billed as a high priming of Cuban-seed fillers in addition to a rich coffee colored wrapper. Cigar No. 2, Oliveros's XL Bold, with great complexities also a Corojo wrapper cigar. And third one was a surprise from CigaRobbie to his esteemed guests, it was a obscure labled cigar from Texas by the name of Adrian's Cigars, the creator Michael who'd contacted me earlier in the week and wanting me to rate his cigars up against the "big boys", no problem I told him, and he sent me thirty cigars, ten each of his three different lines: a Connecticut Shade, a Havana 2000, and the Maduro. I had the Havana 2000 displayed for the crew as a blind tasted un-banded wonder.

Our pre-dinner cigar was the unknown beauty as we watched the game combined with laughter, and all the sports conversation we almost forgot about the cigar, but this cigar demanded the attention! Between the three of us we have almost seventy years of cigar smoking experience and the CigaRobbie Crew throughout the process kept asking, "what are we smoking?", My reply, "in due time my friends," I could tell from the inquisitive nature that they (Adrian's Cigars) were going over well, plus the added excitement  of not knowing what they were smoking. I heard statements like: Graycliff, Perdomo, and Padron's... Nope, no and nada?" Was my reply! I had to eventually come clean, as we sat at the dinning room table savoring our filets and twice baked potatoes, Mmmmmm, Delicious! By the time we had retired to my patio in full view of the TV while we sipped our single malt scotches we were well into our second cigar, the Padilla 1932, just another great treat. The conversation had gently swayed from the best quarter back ever to the best actor, this conversation always sparks debated with this group. The libations flowed and the cigars got smaller and smaller.

Looking back on it now, I don't really remember smoking the Oliveros, I knew it must of been good as I saw the small butt reminates sitting in my H. Upmann ashtray, I smiled, relishing of the past night. I truly enjoy and treasure these times of fellowship as we debate cigars, sports, girls and politics. They are what keeps me going, the economy maybe bad... But the CigaRobbie Cigar Parties are still going, Oh by the way the whole crew loved the Adrian's especially for the price point. Enjoy my friends, and smoke 'em, if you got 'em!

Check out Adrian's Cigars here:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

They call him; "Pepin"!

I stepped onto Calle Ocho Street, in the heart of "Little Havana" Miami, ah the smells, colors and the distant sounds of hustle & bustle of this cultural little burg. As I negotiated my fine big city parallel parking skills right in front of the El Rey de los Habanos Inc., the little shop is all of 4500 square feet at the most, and serves as the American corporate headquarters for one of the most influential families in the cigar industry. It started over a half a century ago, the man was just eleven years old and h$e couldn't think of anything else but tobacco, he would to onto become the best cigar roller ever. As i walked up the street I recognized this young, slender, and smiling women talking to a friend, which probably happens often in this community where everyone knows and looks out for one another, me walking around like a "gringo" like a lost tourist in a strange land, I definitely caught some suspicious stares. She looked at me the very same way but then I saw the look on her face, she being: the beloved daughter of Jose "Pepin" Garcia, and the being half of the namesake of "JJ" cigar line, She being Janny Garcia, the moment she recognizes me her warm Latin smile got even wider. Now let me set this up; The only contact that Janny and I had up until now we had some mixed words that I had reported on facebook about the amount of surplus and production of her father's cigar Co. El Rey el los Habanos Inc., man did she let me have it, but it was done with a sincerity and a kind gesture to tour the larger and more impressive Nicaraguan facilities.

She gave Nikki (my girlfriend) and I, the ten cent tour of El Rey de los Habanos Inc. all the while telling me that we should really go and see the operation in Nicaragua, thinking maybe I was not impressed. I can tell you right now everything I saw that day was impressive, the loyal workers, who many of them have been working with Pepin for decades. I also was impressed while the three of us sat at the board room table and smoking "My Father", robusto cigars and drinking the best Cuban coffee or cafe leche that I have ever had, Janny, right again as she was the one who touted it to be. I was also impressed. I can tell you right now everything I saw that day was impressive like her charismatic style, her beauty and her easy nature, not hard to see why she's the public relations for her fathers company and the apple of his eye. As we sat and talked she kidded me on my feud with her families beloved quasi adopted son "Pete Johnson," (Tatuaje Cigars), my reply, "he does not like the fact I call him "Rock Star", and having only met him once, he probably does not even know who I am. She dismisses that comment and threatened to call and tell him I'm there... We laugh! and I proceed to prod her of questions like: "tell me about the guy they call the "drug lord", she looked concerned at first, and then opened up and said" Your talking about a man named Luis Montesino." Ah, I finally have the name! A name I have been trying to get for months, I had from previous interviews "drug lord", and on big name in the industry actually gave me "Luis", but until now everybody seemed to be tight lipped. For the reading public, this man is someone who drives tobacco prices coming out of Nicaragua, most of the cigars you've smoked have been sold or brokered from "The Drug Lord", now I have people making cigars vehemently deny this, but they are lying. Janny knowing the rumors that have circled about the connection between Luis Montesino and the good name of the Garcia's were probably one of the reason she agreed to set down with me for this interview.

I said there was a report that Jose Garcia borrowed two million U.S. dollars to build the Nicaraguan facility, she laughed and said "I heard it was four million," I started to ask another question and she stopped me and said "let me say this,Luis Montesino who's Cuban and lived in Nicaragua for a while now, and when my father started to go there he met Luis, only natural right?" "Yes", I replied, and she went on to say, "they're both in strange lands, both cigar guys from Cuba and had a lot in common but my father quickly severed ties with him, after an agreement to find a good quality tobacco farm went sour". I shot a question at her and putting her on the spot a couple of times, I asked her if she ever met Marvin Shanken? "Oh yes", she replied, how about... and I preemptively knew the answer of this question but had to ask it: how about James Suckling? This is where the interview got powerful and emotional, knowing Suckling as a huge supporter of anything Cuban, and Janny being from the depressed island. "He is so pro-Cuba, and he did a seminar in Las Vegas last year for the Big Smoke". She then told me "he has no idea how the people live", now I see the tears in her eyes start to well up! My experience with the Cuban culture steeped in rich tradition, heritage, pride and always so respectful to the human race, that a man like Fidel Castro has ripped the heart and heritage of these people. She told me with those brown eye's still moistened with sorrow that her people don't live lives of humans in Cuba, they are more than oppressed, and they live in such poverty. In the same breathe she tells me that her family is not rich, she's quick to point out they are workers.

She is endearing, and I would defy anyone not to like her, and even though I have met her father at an event in Tampa, we spoke through an interpreter. Janny and I spoke to one another like we had known each other for years, and I got the impression this is a quality directly inherited from her father and if I had spoken Spanish he and I might still be talking. I get the impression they are a beautiful, graceful family that sit around a big table full of laughter, food, wine and great cigars. Maybe Janny in terms of total capital your family is not the wealthiest, I do think your are one of the richest, Viva la Garcia!

I would like to point out: after the interview I posted a promo on facebook with the name of Luis Montesino, Janny contacted me right away to let me know it could be very dangerous to mention his name.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You Hoarders!

It's funny when interviewing leaders in the cigar industry, they will give you information about their competitors by accident. When speaking to a cigar man, I probe for information. Now I may not use it for that particular piece, but I'll put it away in the "information bank". When probing, I always bring up the benchmark in this industry, The Padron's, the one response I get time and time again, "hoarders of tobacco". These guys buy and age tobacco like no other company in the cigar industry.

Most manufacturers live hand to mouth when it comes to product, if they are going to run a cabinet or vintage collection, most of them will buy it from a broker who is selling aged tobacco. Let me put it to you in these simply terms: Cigars in the process and concept of production is a lot like wine, certain years in respected growing regions are better than others. Factors that can affect tobacco are: hurricanes, drought, blue mold and infestations, also other characteristics develop and are discovered in the aging process that maybe the blender did not anticipate when he first acquired the tobacco.

Padron's hoarding tobacco, "How does this affect me?" you might ask, well it can have rippling effects throughout the cigar industry, for example Gurhka has a cigar called the Triad, great cigar but the maduro's MSRP: $100.00, the Padron's comparable which is last year's Cigar Aficionado's No. 1 cigar of the year the 45 anniversary for an MSRP: $32.50. His (Padron's) vintage tobacco which Jorge Padron has owned the entire time and does not have to pay the premium aged tobacco price from a tobacco broker. Jorge Padron and familia set certain production cultures that set them above the competition: Developing long relationships with the actual farmers who harvest their tobacco, never mass producing their product, using only the highest class of rollers who touch the product.

The Padron Familia, never broker tobacco or "private label" to any other company. Now the next time you find yourself in front of a large wall of cigars in a Spanish cedar lined humidor, with those intoxicating smells that are so captivating calling you with deep rich colors and eye appealing cigar bands that stand out to you, I want you to stop, recall what I am saying and ask yourself how many times has this particular cigar's tobacco been "brokered"? Then ask yourself, "Could I find a comparable cigar for less money"? If you have not grasped the term "brokered tobacco", I implore you to keep reading my blogs...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Arganese; Good by design!

Typical February Sunday here in south Florida, a street festival in full swing on Central in the tiny village community of West Palm, which again is being invaded by us in-landers. I try to maneuver my way around the tiny car lined streets, my destination: Gene Arganese sixth floor condo over-looking the Atlantic, not a bad way to spend an afternoon. The next couple of hours would play out like a scene from the movie "Boogie Nights", minus Sister Christian playing in the background and no one to resemble Dirk Diggler; it still had all the makings of a Hollywood set.

I pushed the cracked door of the spacious condo my welcoming was a stout babied faced Pisano with a smile from ear to ear. I could already tell with hair tousled, his clothes wrinkled that this 1pm meeting might have been a little too early, since the escapades the night before consisting of an after-the event-party, which seems to be pretty much standard in the cigar business. He casually shook my hand as we introduced ourselves to him: being Gene Arganese, of Arganese Cigars, and I, CigaRobbie of well... Ah, damn it CigaRobbie, whatever that means? He introduces me to a man on his right standing tall, white cowboy hat, shit-kicking boots and the eighties porn stash flowing, I later learned he has a Colombian line of cigars called Bravo. Nice man served in the Marines under Ollie North in the jungles of Columbia where he made direct contact with the tobacco farmers.

Now we finally sit down to the business at hand, we enter the living room which the entire condo has not seen an interior designer since the late seventies. I jump straight for the big man's throat: Gene tell me about the bad blood between you and Joseph Gannascoli who played "Vito" in the Soprano's, and originally had a deal with Gene to produce Joey's new line of cigars Cugine, which means cousin in Italian. Gene looks at me with his boyish smile that turns to his version of a scowl, which is still like most people's smirk, "I'll whack the bastard", in his best Tony Soprano accent. Ha, we both laugh, he alludes to "some people just don't do good business." We finally make our way to his line of cigars which his face beams with pride when he tells me his one of only two or three companies who grow their own tobacco he tells me, "no one has better product control in the industry", than he does and I nod in assurance.

We sit on the patio with its northeast exposure, facing the Atlantic, my thoughts are on my "White Label Maduro" it is a preferido, "tough roll", claims Gene, I nod and agree again. We talk about how most of the industry is constantly worried about what the other guy is doing than focusing on their own product. He gives me advice about tasting the tobacco of a cigar; he tells me how the cigar industry and the land development game politically are no different. The interview ends with a study handshake, he is off to a dinner meeting on the island; I'm off for a three hour drive across the state. The afternoon was good I smoked another cigar with the brands creator conversing on blending rituals... Not a bad life!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Growing Concerns; Cigars!

Many of the faces in the cigar industry try very hard to make you believe they are the creator of a cigar, this is simply not true! Most "boutique lines", are nothing more than a face who has plopped down money to put his name on a "private label".

The beauty is the blender or sometimes even the grower captures his profit and does not have to label or market it in a very competitive United States. He uses let say a "face" to move his merchandise to a younger consumer discovering cigars, but does not really want to smoke his old man's Punch, Cuesta Rey's or Cohiba's!

Is this good or bad for the industry? Two schools of thought: 1. It raises prices for the consumer or end user to have tobacco brokered that much. The other thought is, It also reaches end-users who may have not smoked a cigar if not for marketing genius's like Pete Johnson, and the face of Tatuaje Cigars, your thoughts...