0074 - Rocky Patel on his start in cigars, BURN lounges, and improving lives in Honduras

We left Miami and headed to Florida's opposite coast for this interview with Rocky Patel, the founder of one of the most recognizable brands in premium cigars.

Rocky recalls how he got his start in the business, the challenges of breaking into an insular industry, and the journey from newcomer to cigar superstar. We also get into the charitable work that he does through the Rocky Patel Foundation and his efforts to combat government encroachment on your right to enjoy cigars.

0072 - Cigar lifestyle designer Manny Iriarte on his journey from Cuba to OpusX

No matter what you smoke, there’s a damn good chance you’ve been up close to Manny Iriarte’s work. The Cuban-born designer and photographer has created ads, cigar packaging art, and other designs for many of the biggest names in the premium cigar industry — most notably and frequently Arturo Fuente.

Manny’s is a compelling story about grit, hard work, and all that’s possible when you’re willing to adapt to changing circumstances and take risks with new skills.

0071 - Roasting whole hog with La Caja China's Roberto Guerra

Roberto Guerra and his family are pork roasting royalty in Miami and their La Caja China pig roasting box is ubiquitous in any Cuban-American celebration. With some major mainstream exposure from Food Network personalities and the consistently delicious results of using the La Caja China, the product is growing in popularity around the country. We sat and smoked with Roberto to talk about pork, parties, and how La Caja China brand has grown beyond its Cuban Miami beginnings.

0069 - Novelist Keith Scribner on Old Newgate Road, his new book set in Connecticut tobacco country

In “Old Newgate Road,” novelist Keith Scribner tells the story of Cole Callahan, a Connecticut native who moved to the west coast after violence tore his family apart. Now Cole is back in Connecticut’s tobacco country, where he’s coming face to face with the characters, landscapes and relics of his past — including his father and childhood home, which he’d left behind decades before. It’s all set against a backdrop of tobacco fields, sheds loaded with curing Broadleaf, and the culture that has developed around the crop.

0068 - Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust on Sin Compromiso, 2018 Cigar of the Year

Steve Saka, founder of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, stopped by Cigar Snob HQ for an episode of the podcast. We talked about his young company, his approach to cigar making, and Sin Compromiso, the cigar that we named Cigar of the Year when we announced our picks for the Top 25 Cigars of 2018.

0067 - Fred Vandermarliere of J. Cortès on family tradition, Belgian cigars, and Oliva Cigar

J. Cortès CEO Fred Vandermarliere represents the third generation to helm his family's Belgian cigar company. In this interview, we talk about his family's approach to machine-made cigars, their motivation for acquiring Oliva Cigars, and where there's overlap between the cultures of the two brands.

0065 - Jochy Blanco of Tabacalera Palma on La Galera Cigars, Dominican beaches and sausages

On this episode, we’re bringing you a conversation that Cigar Snob publisher Erik Calviño and senior editor Nicolás Jiménez had with Jochy Blanco of Tabacalera Palma when he stopped by our office on a recent visit to Miami. Tabacalera Palma has been around a long time, but it was only more recently that the company made a hard push marketing its own brands, like La Galera. We talked about the company’s history, Jochy’s approach to blending, and what it’s been like for him to get to know a side of the cigar business he hadn’t dealt with very much early on.

0063 - The S.T. Dupont LeGrand lighter — soft and jet flame all in one

Whether at your local cigar shop, in social media, or in the hands of your gadget-obsessed friends, it’s likely that you comes across a lot of cigar accessories. There’s always some new shape of ashtray, finish of humidor or guillotine mechanism out there to try out — but rarely are those new features much more than cosmetic or novelties that stop just short of being truly innovative.

Every once in a while, though, a game changing tool comes along. One such tool is the S.T. Dupont Le Grand lighter. In a nutshell, the lighter seamlessly marries soft and jet flame in a way that’s as beautiful as it is practical.

To get the details, we spoke recently with Jennifer Loria, the S.T. Dupont brand manager at Davidoff, which has sole distribution in the U.S. market.