0083 - Danny Ditkowich of La Sirena Cigars on the brand's story and the new Aniversario Especial

Danny Ditkowich dropped by Cigar Snob HQ to share some cigars and step up to the mic for an interview about the history of La Sirena Cigars, his own path into the cigar industry, and a new product that celebrates La Sirena founder (and Danny's daughter) Arielle Ditkowich's 10th year in the business.

0078 - Glynn Loope, excitive director of Cigar Rights of America on the FDA and local smoking bans

Cigar Rights of America executive director Glynn Loope dropped by for a chat about federal regulation of premium cigars, state and municipal smoking bans, and the work that CRA does to engage smokers, tobacconists, cigar makers and government officials in preserving your legal right to enjoy cigars.

0077 - Mombacho Cigars master blender Claudio Sgroi on cigar making and having a factory in Granada

Mombacho Cigars is one of the few Nicaraguan cigar manufacturers with a destination factory that's not located in Estelí. The historic building the company calls home is in Granada, Nicaragua, where tons of tourists happen upon Mombacho's story and subsequently (at least we all hope) fall in love with the craft of cigar making.

The company's not just a tourist destination, though. They're making serious cigars, including the Mombacho Liga Maestro, which Cigar Snob called the No. 12 cigar of 2018. Mombacho master blender Claudio Sgroi dropped by our office with cigars and doughnuts for a chat.

0075 - Rafael Nodal of Tabacalera USA on Aging Room, Trinidad, other cigars and Casa de Montecristo

Rafael Nodal came to prominence among smokers with the Aging Room brand he helped create and popularize. Now, he's Tabacalera USA's head of product capacity. It's a role that puts him in the thick of product development as well as some of the retail and hospitality aspects of the company's expanding cigar empire.

Rafael dropped by the office for a chat about his career, the cigar making process, and the myriad responsibilities he has in his current role.

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.