The Cretins and decorum. Yeah, the differences are black and white, but that fits right in for Blowin' Smoke #178!
We were thrilled to welcome Sam Leccia of Leccia Tobacco to the Havana Room just after the announcement of his return to the premium cigar industry. Sam was nice enough to spend several hours with us smoking cigars and talking about his new cigar brands about to hit store shelves called Black and White. Sam not only shared the story of the two distinct blends, but also how he looks back at his hiatus, and how he is eager to get back out there. Plus, some morsels of Sam Leccia trivia that you may be quizzed on when you see Sam on the road. Thank you and much success to Sam and Leccia Tobacco!
The Cretins herfed up a new Cigar of the Day for review...the new UF-13 Dark from Drew Estate. They also checked out some listener emails, some weird news items, and a brand new installment of what the chicks are reading. Plus...a phone call from slightly inebriated friend of the show. The follow-up proof is on KEEK here. Follow the show and the Cretins on KEEK by starting here.
So, grab cup of coffee or a cold brew, light up a favorite stick and join us for Blowin' Smoke #178!
I've known Tom Lazuka for a many years. First, as a sales rep for Camacho Cigars, and now as the brand owner of Asylum Cigars. Tom and I (and some other fortunate cigar goons) spent some late nights smoking cigars, drinking, and talking cigars, the industry, and its people during several Western Pennsylvania Cigar Crawls...where Tom has always been a big supporter and a good friend.
This cat has some great stories...not all of them cigar related...and if you have the opportunity to enjoy a brew with him, you'll probably hear a few. I am very happy to see his success continue to grow! Let's do it...
#1 - Tell us the story of how you got involved in the cigar industry.
TL: A good friend of mine, Mike Perales, who has been an independant rep for over 20 years, told me about an opening with Colibri and said it would be a great way for me to break into the premium business. I interviewed and got the job with Colibri, was there for a few years and then started with Camacho. From there the relationship with Christian grew and here we are today.
#2 - When and how did the idea for Asylum come about, and is there a story behind the name?
TL: In 2012, Christian introduced me to Kevin Baxter and we started coming up with names for a brand. We chose Asylum because the industry itself is a bit crazy at times, but the true meaning is that the Brick and Mortar shops is where people go to seek their asylum and escape the mayhem in their lives.
#3 - You obviously have a very close relationship with Christian Eiroa. How has that relationship played a part in the development of Asylum outside of the obvious factors such as tobacco and manufacturing.
TL: My relationship with Christian goes way beyond tobacco. Over the years we have formed a friendship that is more than just an employee/boss relationship. Christian's experience as well as my own, have given us the insights to avoid a lot of the pitfalls that other new companies many not foresee. Christian gives me the freedom to make my own decisions with Asylum and to be creative with it. At this point, we can read each other's minds so there isn't much we have to discuss.
#4 - Give us the official breakdown of the different Asylum lines...sizes, blends, etc., and which one you would nominate to be the Asylum brand ambassador out of them all.
TL: There are currently three Asylum lines: Asylum Premium, Asylum 13 and Schizo.
Asylum Premium - Available in four sizes: 44x4, 50x6, 54x5 torpedo, 60x6. This Nicaraguan puro has a dark Habano wrapper with a maduro binder giving it a nice rich finish and Estelli and Jalapa fillers. Asylum Premium is medium to full bodied cigar. Cigar Aficionado has rated this cigar 91 and 90 in the last two issues.
Asylum 13 - Available in four sizes: 50x5, 60x6, 70x7, 80x6. Also a Nicaraguan puro with the same wrapper as the Asylum Premium and different binders and fillers. Asylum 13 is a bit peppery on the lips and is full bodied. This is the best seller of the Asylum lines. Asylum 13 also did a fifth cigar called the Ogre. This is a maduro and candela barber pole available in the 70x7 size. Its very smooth and has gotten great feedback!
Schizo - Available in five sizes: 50x5, 50x6, 60x6, Torpedo and 70x7. This is a Nicaraguan puro, medium bodied and is a cuban sandwich cigar. Available in 20 count bundles for the price conscious consumer.
The 70x7 is definitely the brand ambassador for Asylum. When you see it on the shelf, you take a second look and give it a try.
#5 - What's cooking in Tom's kitchen? What can we look forward to next from Asylum, or perhaps a new brand?
TL: Asylum 13 Authentic Corojo - We decided to make an Asylum 13 out of Honduras using the 100% Authentic Corojo seed tobacco that the Eiroa family is known for growing. Corojo is one of my favorite tobaccos so it was a no brainer for me. It will be available in 50x5, 60x6, 70x6 and 80x6 sizes. The price point is the same as the original Asylum 13. The Authentic Corojo will launch at the end of April or beginning of May.
We'll also be releasing the Straight Jacket. It is a short production run that is a very full bodied Nicaraguan puro. Straight Jacket will be available in May also. It wiil be priced $9 to $12 retail, and vailable in 50x5, 54x6, 60x6 and 70x7.
Ready for some cigar learnin'...it's Blowin' Smoke #179!
With a brand new Cigar of the Day smoldering between their tobacco stained fingers, the Cretins were all ears as they welcomed José Blanco, Senior VP of Joya de Nicaragua Cigars, makers of CyB Cigars to the show to talk about his years in the tobacco and premium cigar business, his tremendous knowledge and love of blending tobaccos, and more. This is an interview that will raise your cigar IQ, and we thank Mr. Blanco for taking the time to talk to us.