Boutique Cigars - Checkout the Latest and the Greatest│Mardo Cigars
All right everybody. So the reason why we're here is the question what makes a cigar company boutique? We're going to tell you about six different brands and what makes a cigar company boutique.
Well, you guys watch this video until the end and you're going to have six companies that truly represent the Boutique cigar world. There's plenty more unbelievable boutique companies, but we definitely want to start with that for now. So definitely check this out. Now we've been all over the place and we had no idea about the resources that we've had at our disposal from traveling all over sampling sticks, selling cigars. We've been at this a long time, so we wanted to make sure that we can bring some behind the scenes type footage and information to you so you can learn a little bit more of how these boutique companies get going. We have had a lot of experience at this, and we never realized how valuable this can be for the end user. So pay attention, you guys will dig this stuff.
So when we're talking about it, why are we choosing boutique cigar companies? There's nothing wrong with the big conglomerates. They make phenomenal cigars, but I've always envisioned it like a big boat or an ocean liner, you can't maneuver a big ocean liner, but you can take a small boat, turn around and do all kinds of stuff. Very similar when we're talking about these big conglomerate companies and factories they're so big, so massive, have 2000 plus employees, it's not as easy to get your hands in the soil and the dirt when you're trying to make cigars. To where some of these boutique companies, what they've been involved with and gotten involved with is all the way down to the grassroots level. And they get into the fun part of it as we've come to really, really like.
That's true I'm trying to picture a corporate environment where you got to make this phone call to that guy, and then another guy and then you get into the farm. When we're down in Dominican Republic, it was Neil and I, our blender and our roller, and the four of us were talking about it and we're like, "Hey, let's go check out a farm." And we went right away and we checked out a farm. The guy that was giving us the tour of the farm had been there 50 years, doing the same thing over and over. Every single aspect of the whole entire operation of our little company just happened within one thought and we got in a car and just made it happen. Those are the moments and those are the areas that I feel makes something boutique happen and it gives that boutique vibe.
Six Boutique Cigars Companies and Our Behind the Scenes!
So when talking about boutique companies, we have a few in mind that we want to talk about that are near and dear to us. Like I mentioned, there's plenty of others and we'll get into all of these in future videos. So this isn't about the best or the worst or anything along those lines, this is about our evolution and journey in the cigar space in general. So the first company we're going to talk about is RoMa Craft and that's kind of what started this journey for us. Now on the sales side, we've been at this a long time, we're going to the show, we're doing all kinds of different things and bringing product to the public.
Gerard and his wife went for their wedding anniversary to Chicago. (Gerard)...when I was over there visiting different cigar shops, I came across a brand that I've been keeping an eye on, which is RoMa Craft. What got me hooked on RoMa Craft was actually the name, the word "craft". Today's day and age craft beer is very popular, just knowing that it had that boutique vibe.
So I got one, I tried it, loved it for the price point I even told my wife this is something we want to carry. Came back home, I shared it with Neil and then thus became our journey becoming one of the top accounts with RoMa Craft at the time. And we started pushing and doing it very well. Next thing you know we're in Vegas this year, we're at dinner, me, Vince Hill, Danny, Mike Rosales, and then I kind of got pushed to the wayside between me and Danny's relationship because Neil's a ballplayer.
I'm going to let Neil tell the story.
(Neil)...Little did I know, I played ball for the Tampa Bay Rays. Danny grew up in St. Petersburg area, he used to go to a lot of the games that I was playing in, which we had no idea about. He's a big baseball fan. Obviously I love the sport and to kind of bridge that gap. So it's a small world how we go from the world of baseball and now we're working hand in hand daily. Obviously Danny and Gerard had been doing a lot of business together, I'm behind the scenes most of the time, but it was cool to have that connection. We started going nuts with it, we were in love with it. There's a huge cult following behind RoMa Craft.
Mike blends some unbelievable sticks. They started their own factory in Nico Sueño over in Estelí- and that's the cool part about RoMa is they blend their own cigars, they don't get influenced by the bigger factories. Skip is down in SLE most of the time. So hence why we're choosing RoMa as one of the boutique companies out there.
And that's part of our journey and that journey had brought us to the show two years ago. Obviously not even realizing this has been a huge hobby, a love of ours, an obsession like you couldn't imagine. We had an event out at our shop, Mike came down, had a huge kickoff, a lot of our followers, a lot of our customers here at our brick and mortar store in California are huge fans of RoMa Craft because we really push the product and they make a hell of a great cigar.
That being said, when we were at the event, one of our good buddies who turned out to be a lot more than a good buddy was one of the founders and one of the owners of Sinistro cigars, his name is Coleman. "WHATS UP COLEMAN!"
And at that party I had a Mardo cigar shirt on there's probably four or five hundred people at the event. And we're tired, we'd been at the event all day, it's been a long day and all of a sudden and across the room we hear Coleman out of nowhere yelling, "GERARRRRD!."
(Gerard)And at this time, I don't really know Coleman. I mean I know him because of Facebook pictures and stuff and I'm kind of keeping a low profile, I don't really want to talk to anyone, you know? And that happens.
So it was kind of funny how that came about. Coleman came over, anyone that has met him ... And that's another thing that we'd like you guys to see behind the scenes of how these guys really are, they're great guys, all of them, Mike, Skip, Danny, obviously Coleman and James and a lot of the other guys we're going to talk about, you guys don't get to see that behind the scenes aspect of them. But at that event we came over, Gerard starts talking to Coleman. Next thing you know, we're introducing everybody to each other. Coleman's partner, James, who is the mastermind behind all the blends and cigars at Sinistro, we didn't even meet him at this time. We were scheduled to have an appointment with James the following day. But the meeting we had at that event, the RoMa Craft event, started this process for us. James has done a phenomenal job. Now this guy eats, lives and breathes cigars, so he took his time blending all these sticks, all the different blends. A lot of you guys know him for, Mr. White, Mr. Red, Mr. Black, Havana Vieja, Last Cowboy, Last Cowboy Maduro, which we'll get into in a little bit.
And a bunch of new stuff.
And we've got a bunch of new stuff coming out. That being said, what we've always wanted to do is continue to do really cool stuff in the industry. We'd started talking to James about let's, let's do-
... An exclusive blend just for Mardo cigars.
And at this point, Last Cowboy had just started making its appearance within the industry, so we wanted to do something special with last Last Cowboy, the Maduro, and we came up. You see the ashtray, but we have the-
Yeah, this is the actual box-
If you go on our website model, mardocigars.com, you'll see that we have the last couple of Maduro limited edition, also known as a lot of people like call it the TNT because it looks like two bundles of TNT. And so that's why we also choosing Sinistro as another boutique brand. Now even though it's made in La Aurora, but James is the guy who makes the blend, chooses the tobacco. The guy is, excuse my French,
anal as you can get when it comes to his cigars. So this guy, would you say he's like a perfectionist when it comes to cigars?
Without a doubt.
So when we started making this exclusive blend, this blend right here, the 2018 limited edition with Sinistro Last Cowboy, James was saying, "You guys got to get your butts down to the Dominican with us and see how everything's going down." And we made it happen. We get down there and this is when everything changed for us. And when we finally hit our feet on the Dominican soil and we directly went over to the La Aurora factory and met the master blender Manuel who is an unbelievable person, unbelievable guy, took the time and-
The guy took us to school basically.
Really did. I mean Gerard and I were looking at each other right then and there knowing we've been at this a long time, but not even realizing what it was like to get down into the grassroots level. Now we'll get back to that in a minute. Then we start walking the factory. You're seeing that 300 hands are touching a cigar before it goes to market. You're seeing how the planting works. You're seeing how many times they roll over a crop in a given year. You see the different uses of the plant, different regions of the plant, where it's coming in from, flavor profiles and so on.
And we got into a blending session and James is sitting back just smiling at us because he's been in love with this for a long time. So James, we owe you a big debt of gratitude because you really opened us up and started us on the second part of our journey, which we'll get into a little bit as well. So again, La Aurora is a large factory, the largest and oldest factory in the Dominican Republic. We started going around and seeing other different factories. That was our first trip. We'd been down there now five or six times?
Some, I dunno-
A few times. We've been down there ever since, so pretty much once every other month since then. And reason being is we just got obsessed with finding some stuff because we've always had a dream and an obsession for ourselves to make our own cigar. Now again, there's some amazing cigars out there, but him and I both have a very similar taste profile. His is a little bit stronger than mine, but we both have a unique flavor that we've always been looking for in cigars. Now on a lot of these guys, Sinistro is a great example, unbelievable medium full to full sticks. They do have their mild to medium Connecticut Last Cowboy, which is a great stick. But James' claim to fame is working with some of these tobaccos, blending them to make that medium full stick that a lot of you guys have come to enjoy.
James is in VR right now, he's been hitting us up on WhatsApp, and you know, just shooting the shit. But I love being on the same page as Neil. So what we're gonna talk about is the third brand, which is Jake Wyatt, that's where you're gonna segue into. So being done in Dominican Republic, I don't know if the word is overwhelmed, but just like I kind of want to move there. Right? So we come back here and my mind is going, man, I'm ticking, tocking. He's up at two o'clock in the morning doing some stuff, I can't sleep because I'm thinking, so I started making some phone calls and we come across a great, great gentleman and he has a lot, a lot of experience. So we flew out to Dominican again, we meet them down there. And at first I was like, "I wonder what this is going to be and what this is going to lead to."
So we sit down and he gives me this cigar that we had asked for him to blend for us within that same profile that we want. And we told him the kind of tobacco we're looking for. And as a matter of fact he said, "That's funny cause I worked with that type of tobacco." So I was like, "Neil, this guy is like speaking our language." We sit down, he gives it to me, he gives also another one to Neil. I started smoking it and they're kind of like looking at us, this mirror was right there in the corner.
I'll never forget it.
And the master roller's wife makes amazing coffee. And basically he just goes, "Café," and then here comes the coffee because it's like right behind the other side of the wall of the factory. And then we were blown away by this cigar and we were like, "What is this? Did you use this tobacco?" He was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." And we fell in love with it. And the next thing you know, we started thinking about names and what we're going to blend and man, it went from like one blend to we have five blends now, we have the limited edition, we have the special edition. So what we're talking about right now is Jake Wyatt cigar company.
Which is in essence as boutique as one could be. We've been down there, we're walking the farms, we're picking tobacco, we're talking with the rollers, we're talking with master blender, we're getting rolling up our sleeves, getting our hands into everything because that's the way we like it. As I played baseball, as Gerard told you, I was a catcher. I like to know everything going on as Gerard does, a million times more anal than I am, thank God, because we become extremely excited and happy with where we're at with these particular blends. Finding are our taste profiles for us that we definitely want to bring to you guys so you can try these as well. And hopefully you'll like them half as much as we do. And we'll know you'll love them.
Yeah, so Jake Wyatt definitely on the boutique end of it and it will be here very, very soon. The biggest thing for us, remember, I mean we talk about it a lot is that when we were blending and doing whatever you want, we wanted to capture this regard that allows us to retrohale without a lot of sharp edges. We want a really smooth retrohale where a lot of flavor that just keeps you wanting to take another drag. And I think we've accomplished that pretty much. So next we're going to talk about which guy?
I just want to make sure that's what you want to say.
Right. So again, this small little world of how everything intertwines with one another. We get down to the show, a mutual friend of ours from down here whose been to our shop a bunch, a lot of our events, knows all the cigars were talking about. He mentions Dapper Cigars, we have heard about them. We walk by this booth, Dapper Cigars and we're-
David Novin was with us. He said, "I really want you to try this Siempre, Gerard." And then so when we got to Dapper, David kind of introduced me to Ian, I got a Corona-sized Siempre, I lit it up and I was really impressed with the flavor. And then that's where the conversation between Ian and Neil started because I started looking at the price sheet and looking at what I want to order, so I was focusing on that. That's when you and Ian started having a very good conversation with the owner of Dapper.
Right. And that kind of gets back to my background. So I really like to find out the nitty gritty behind the scenes, so to speak. And we're sitting on the couch at Ian's booth, he begins to tell us about his journey, gave a bunch of props to the guys that helped him. Nick over at Foundation, which is another phenomenal boutique company, and he starts talking to us about the blends. Gerard's sampling the Siempre, at this time I'm talking so I didn't even light anything up at that time, but Ian man, he was just a salt of the earth kind of guy, loving what he did.
And then when he gave us our little sample packs when we're leaving, the stick that was in there, which is more my flavor profile was the Cubo Claro. I was so impressed by this stick and all their blends. We want to do everything we can to find these amazing sticks, bring them to the public, bring them to you guys, put it on social media for you guys, all to be able to have the experience that we've had. We're going to travel, we're going to do what we can to make sure we bring the cigars to you guys. That's our fun. That's what we get out of this. That's what we absolutely do.
So Dapper also has a brand that's been very famous and putting them on the map is the El Borracho. I smoked that too when we got back home. It comes in a two shades, you got the regular natural and then you have the Maduro, the El Borracho mini as you already already know this. It's a phenomenal stick, box press, so Siempre, Cubo Claro, the El Borracho, the La Madrina, you guys know that one too, it's a skeleton hand with the rose on it. So very, very good portfolio under Dapper, huge props.
And then we're gonna talk about Bespoke. Due to naming rights you can't use Bespoke in the United States, so it's under Casdagli, and their master blender is Hendrik Kelner Jr. They're working hand in hand with him. And this company is so boutique that some of their cigars are only introduced in certain sizes because it's catered to that size. Any other size, it didn't taste the same. So they kind of didn't want to make those sizes, so they stuck to certain sizes with certain blends because that's where it tastes the best.
Daughters of the Wind, I fricking love it. Neil's favorite is the Club Mareva and mareva means corona in Spanish. Their traditional line, and then what else is in that sampler? So we talked about the Daughters of the Wind, the Club Mareva, the traditional and then they have Cottontail and then the Grand Cafe, which is their Lancero. That's their claim to fame is their Grand Cafe Lancero is a phenomenal stick. So their sampler has what I just mentioned and Casdagli definitely up there for me. I really, really liked that cigar.
Next on the list is Jeremy Jack. We go to the booth, I fire up a cigar and sure enough, man, it's got this raisin flavor. Many of you guys have already been trying it because I've been pushing you guys the
Libelula, which means dragonfly in Spanish. I get to meet Brady, he's got the Salchichas, the El Chapo. I love the name, the portfolio. He gives me samples. I try the Libelula right then and right there and I was like, "Dude, this really is what Kay was talking about." So it's boutique, very small company. So him being a brick and mortar owner and making his own cigar through Aganorsa Leaf. And then his other one is made through Felipe Gregorio and he said, "You know, I got in early enough with Aganorsa Leaf right."
So here we are, we're like, okay Jeremy Jack, let's look at the order, we start ordering. After I smoke one I loved it. And I am glad, really, really glad that we went Jeremy Jack because they're making some good stuff. And not too long ago Brady and the whole entire San Diego crew came here to this exact spot and we sat around and we smoked cigars. And the funny thing is is Brady wanted to try something completely different than what he smokes. And I gave him a Casdagli and he loved it.
And so this brings us to Jeremy Jack, an other boutique company doing very good stuff. And now we carry almost the entire portfolio. We have the the JJ series, we got the-
... Chingadera, the Fingerprint, or the Prince, just call it-
... Prince. The Prince is very, very good. I smoked one the other day, I love their product man, it's got that sweet raisin with the pepper. You guys got to checkout Jeremy Jack, and we do have a sample pack of theirs as well, their JJ Lancero phenomenal, JJ14. So here we go guys, RoMa Craft, Dapper, Sinistro, Jake Wyatt, Casdagli and Jeremy Jack had been covered all and we gave you a around the world type of vibe of how it all interlinked and interconnected and how we got to get to these brands.
Come Join Us
Right. And that's the cool thing about this space, everything about it, staying open minded, seeing cool people out there and making great sticks, bringing them to everybody to share in this community. That makes it a hell of a lot of fun. So our goal here is to bring the same type of information to you guys so you can also enjoy them. I mean not only the cigars are wonderful, the relationships are even better. So definitely get on mardocigars.com and check all this stuff out. So back to that, we're going to have a special gift for you guys at the end of this. So make sure you stay tuned until the end.
We've gone all over the world, and are going to continue to go all over the world and we're going to find the greatest cigars possible to bring to you guys. Whether it's a small batch boutique, small company or one of the big conglomerates, there's so many great cigars out there and we definitely want to do everything we can to bring that information to you.
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Something for you
Well, we got something special. We can't tell you guys right now. So you're gonna have to click on the link below and we'll bring something special about all these sticks that we're talking about so you guys can give them a shot yourselves. We definitely need you guys to let us know your opinions, make comments, make sure you hit the bell, subscribe to our channel so we can continue to bring you guys good content and get behind the scenes views of what's happening. So this is Gerard and Neil signing out. We'll see you on Mondays with Mardos!