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A podcast for new cigar enthusiasts and cigar aficionados.
Jan 15, 2022
Episode 72: 3 Year Anniversary, Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Problem, and PCA News
Thank you all so much for your support these past three years!! This is now the longest running podcast and most successful podcast that I've ever done. None of this would be possible without you, the listener. THANK YOU!! I break down Cigar Aficionado's 2021 Top 25 and why it's still problematic. I also cover the PCA's announcement of adding manufacturers to their board and why that's a good thing. LINK: https://halfwheel.com/pca-adding-more-manufacturers-to-boards-creates-new-mission-statement/403663/
Jan 1, 2022
Episode 71: What the Hell is Paprika with Devin Ashley of Bad Ash Cigars
I sit down with Devin Ashley, owner and founder of Bad Ash Cigars. Bad Ash Cigars is an ultra-boutique cigar company that is just getting off the ground. We discuss the challenges that face small cigar manufacturers, where he sources his tobacco, how he started rolling cigars, super tasters, and how he handles being in the cigar industry and the healthcare field.. We talk about the FDA, rules and regulations, and a lot more. Visit Bad Ash Cigars' website here!
1 hr 16 min
Dec 15, 2021
Episode 70: PCA Legislative Update with Josh Habursky and Glynne Loope
I am joined via Zoom by the PCA's Head of Government Affairs, Joshua Habursky, and State Advocacy Director, Glynn Loope. We take a look back at the legislative victories of 2021 and then look forward to the legislative fights coming in 2022. We discuss the how the PCA approaches the Federal Government fights, and the multi-faceted fights at the state and local levels. We also let our listeners know how they can become involved in the fight, by going to cigaraction.org, staying up to date on the fight, and letting your local, state, and federal lawmakers know where you stand. You can even have your local B&M reach out to Josh and Glynn to have them appear in-person or over Zoom to educate and help with grassroots efforts in your area. You can email Josh at email@example.com You can email Glynn at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 hr 8 min
Dec 1, 2021
Episode 69: The One and Only Tommy Zman
I chat, via Zoom, with the one and only Tommy Zman. Tommy "Zman" Zarzeki is a writer, producer, voice actor, humorist, and content creator. While he has worked on projects outside of the cigar industry, Tommy is well-known for his work in the cigar industry. Tommy talks about how he broke into the cigar industry and where his journey took him. Tommy recalls his time at JR Cigars and Famous Cigars, among other, and what it was like working with guys like Steve Saka. Tommy also talks about his arrest after leaving Famous Cigars and how the case was dismissed, all charges dropped, and his record expunged. We also touch on how "PC" and cancel culture has an affect on humorists and comedians, the politics of cigar smokers, and much more. You do NOT want to miss this episode. You can see what Tommy is up to and some of the things he's worked on in the past by going to his website tommyzman.com. You can check out his Facebook group Cromag Nation here.
1 hr 5 min
Nov 21, 2021
Episode 68: Bonus with Lucas Da Silva of Oxford Cigar Company
I welcome Lucas Da Silva, owner of oxfordcigarcompany.com, back to the podcast. We discuss the state of cigar retail, what it's like to do business during the second cigar boom, and how Oxford Cigar Company chooses what new cigar manufacturers to carry. Lucas also talks about the current logistical problems plaguing the industry and why it may be harder to find your favorite cigar on store shelves and online. Lucas tells us what hot new products and cigars will make the perfect Holiday gift for that cigar smoker in your life. We talk about Oxford's huge Black Friday sale (Nov 21 - Nov 28, 2021). And Lucas announces the Oxford Cigar Company Airstream Mobile Lounge. A mobile cigar lounge and walk-in humidor that is perfect for your next event! To inquire about having the Oxford Mobile Cigar Lounge at your next event, email Lucas at email@example.com
Nov 15, 2021
Episode 67: The Cuba Episode with Nick Syris of LH Premium Cigars
I welcome Nick Syris, the owner and Master Blender of LH Premium Cigars and a Subject Matter Expert on all things Cuban cigars, to the show. Nick and I run the gamut of Cuban cigars, as we discuss the U.S. embargo on Cuba and some of the effects on the Cuban people, the changing U.S. stance on Cuba from administration to administration, some of the challenges Cuban cigars face, how the rest of the world views Cubans and "New World" cigars, what Cuban cigars might look like in a post-embargo world, and what is currently allowed and not allowed under the Biden administration. Nick is a wealth of knowledge about Cuban cigars. Over the last 12yrs Nick has visited Cuba countless times and has worked hard to create a bridge cigar in his LH Premium Cigar lines. Don't forget to visit Oxford Cigar Company and use coupon code "SimplyStogies" for 10% off your entire order!
1 hr 15 min
Nov 1, 2021
Episode 66: Getting to Know Alec Rubin from Alec Bradley Cigars
I travel to Capital Cigar Lounge in Lincoln, Nebraska and sit down with Alec Rubin of Alec Bradley Cigars. Alec and I discuss what it was like growing up in the industry and his unique cigar journey. Alec describes what it's like working with family, what he believes makes a cigar manufacturer "boutique," and his opinions on vitolas and accessories. We touch a little bit on how the global pandemic has affected the industry, how it affected their business, and that leads to a discussion on the meaning behind the Kintsugi (and why it was 6mos behind schedule). A huge thank you to Jeff Fry, GM of Capital Cigar Lounge, and owners Tony and Austin for allowing me the opportunity to sit down with Alec Rubin and talk with him.
Oct 15, 2021
Episode 65: Return of the Reinado Empire
I chat, via Zoom, with Antonio Lam of Reinado Premium Cigars. There are things in the world that are more important than cigars and more important than business. Antonio and I discuss one of those things: family. Antonio explains where he has been for the past seven years and the reason for Reinado's long hiatus from the industry. We talk about the cigar industry, what it means to be boutique, and where Reinado's seat at the table is. Antonio also talks about the future of Reinado before we have a bit of fun. Reinado Cigars is a proud supporter of the Dementia Society of America. Visit Reinado Cigars website. Halfwheels' article on Reinado's return. Cigar Coop's article remembering Reinado.
Oct 1, 2021
Episode 64: A Conversation with Andy Sweis of Cedar Room Fine Cigars & Lounge
I am joined via Zoom by Andy Sweis, owner of Cedar Room Fine Cigars & Lounge in Scottsdale, AZ. We talk about how he got into the cigar industry and how it is a family affair for him and his brother. Andy talks about staying on the bleeding edge of boutique cigars and new releases. We talk about both the physical space and their online space and the challenges of competing in an online market. We find out how Andy sees his customers as family and how that translates into one of the best experiences I've had in a cigar lounge. We learn about their Cigar Text Club and how they are innovators in the industry! Andy announces the Simply Stogies Sampler on both their website and via the Cigar Text Club! The Simply Stogies Casdagli Sampler - $90 value for $69.99 - add to cart and priority shipping will be included. You can join the Cigar Text Club and order the Simply Stogies Casdagli Sampler by texting keyword "stogies" to 1-833-855-6464 The sampler includes: Traditional Robusto Gran Mareva Super Belicoso Grand Cafe Maduro Cottontail Follow Cedar Room Cigars on Instagram Follow Cigar Text Club on Instagram
Sep 15, 2021
Episode 63: Smoking with the Evil 3mpire Cigar 5ociety
I sit down with Joe from Evil 3mpire Cigar 5ociety at Prime Cigars in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Joe and I have a great conversation that covers a wide array of topics. We get to know Joe and how he started his cigar journey before getting to know what the Evil 3mpire Cigar 5ociety is all about. Joe explains their focus on those in and around the cigar industry, how they got started, and what's next for the E3C5. Joe and I also discuss Instagram "influencers" and what it means to be an "influencer," the politics of the cigar industry, if we should be involved in those politics and how, and we talk about the cigar community. Joe also shares with us upcoming projects. It was a great conversation that I hope you enjoy as much as I did. You can follow Evil 3mpire Cigar 5ociety on Instagram here.
1 hr 18 min
Sep 1, 2021
Episode 62: Chatting with Dan from the Cigar Saver
While at the PCA 2021 Trade Show, I sit down with Dan from the Cigar Saver. The Cigar Saver is a product that, well, saves your cigar. When you find it necessary to step away from your lit cigar, the Cigar Saver allows you to quickly put it out, saving your cigar to be easily re-lit when you can come back to it. Dan walks us through the process of creating the new cigar accessory, some of the difficulties and challenges of getting it manufactured, and verifying the proof of concept. We discuss Dan's cigar journey and find out when they hope to launch this new product. Visit the Cigar Saver website!
Aug 15, 2021
Episode 61: An Epic Conversation with Dean Parsons of Epic Cigars
I sit down with Dean Parsons of Epic Cigars at the 2021 PCA Trade Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dean and I discuss his journey from Canadian hockey player, to police officer, to real estate development, to finally finding his passion and starting Epic Cigars. Dean opens up about the industry and the amount of effort, time, and money it takes to become successful. We discuss the Epic core lines and how they are a reflection of the cigar industry. Dean talks about his newest cigar, the Epic Ten, teases a new cigar and a new project, and his relationship with Zander-Greg and Nat Cicco. We also touch on TPE and the importance of supporting the industry with the PCA and CRA. Buy Epic Cigars from Oxford Cigar Company and get 10% off using code SimplyStogies
Aug 1, 2021
Episode 60: On the PCA Show Floor with Scott Weeks of Recluse Cigars and Iconic Leaf Cigar Company
I sit down at the Recluse Cigars/Iconic Leaf Cigar Company booth on the PCA Trade Show floor with owner and blender Scott Weeks. Scott and I talk about his and his family's background in the cigar industry and how he started Recluse Cigars and Iconic Cigar Leaf Company. We talk about federal regulations and how Scott navigates that. Scott discusses the pros of being a small cigar manufacturer versus a larger manufacturer and his approach to blending. Scott highlights Recluse's intubar/intubado rolling technique, its advantages, and its drawbacks. Visit Iconic Cigar Leaf Company's website to find a retailer.
Jul 15, 2021
Episode 59: The Journey with Nick Syris of LH Cigars
I talk, via Zoom, with Nick Syris of LH Cigars. We discuss his journey from an audio business to his life as a retailer and how he eventually started LH Cigars. Nick talks about what he's learned and where LH Cigars is going in the future. We discuss the cigar industry, what it means to be boutique, how the global pandemic spurred cigar sales, and Nick's thoughts on trade shows in a post COVID-19 world. Nick briefly discusses his time in Cuba and what it means to be a true Master Blender.
1 hr 39 min
Jul 12, 2021
Episode 58: BONUS Live from the PCA Trade Show with Lucas Da Silva of Oxford Cigar Co.
James and Lucas, owner of Oxford Cigar Co., discuss the 2021 PCA Trade Show LIVE from the show floor. Lucas is open and transparent with what he sees as good and bad about this year's trade show. The pair discuss how things could be better, fi the PCA will survive, if TPE is good for the premium cigar industry, and why Oxford Cigar Co. does what's best for their customers.
Jul 1, 2021
Episode 57: A Conversation with Anya Ramirez
I am joined, via telephone, with Instagram influencer, entrepreneur, and representative of Karen Berger Cigars, Anya Ramirez. We talk about her journey into the world of cigars and how it's a lifestyle for her and not just a hobby. We discuss how she came to be a rep for Karen Berger Cigars and some of the things she's seen in the industry. I ask her about women in the hobby and how smaller B&Ms can better cater to this growing demographic. Anya opens up about her experience starting a new cigar brand, how some in the industry treat women, and how she uses her platform on Instagram to influence others. You do not want to miss this episode! Follow Anya on Instagram here.
Jun 15, 2021
Episode 56: On the Patio with Giannis of the Vintage CLT
I sit down with Giannis Koutsoupias, the Director of Business Development for the Vintage Whiskey and Cigar Bar in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the patio at the Vintage. We talk about Giannis' cigar journey, the lessons learned from his time in the restaurant and hospitality sector, the friends he made in the cigar industry, and his shared vision for the Vintage with Dan the owner. Giannis and I discuss how they curated their humidor, the blending process for the house stick (made by Nick Syris of LH Premium Cigars), and the relationships that he has made. When you're in the Charlotte area, the Vintage Whiskey and Cigar Bar is the place to visit, at 215 E Worthington Ave, Charlotte, NC 28203. They have a wide range of whiskeys, scotch, wine, port, and a great cup of coffee. The staff is friendly and extremely knowledgeable, and they have a great space in a wonderful neighborhood. Tell 'em Simply Stogies sent you!
Jun 1, 2021
Episode 55: Talking with Lucas from Oxford Cigar Company
James travels to sunny Orlando, Florida to have a conversation with Lucas Da Silva of Oxford Cigar Company. The pair sit outside next to large fans and a train station to discuss how Oxford Cigar Company does business, how they treat their customers, and their vision for the cigar industry. We also cover the PCA, the state of the cigar industry, some of the craziest things Lucas has seen, and the future of cigars. This is a great conversation that you're sure to enjoy. Visit Oxford Cigar Company and give them a shot. You won't be disappointed.
1 hr 2 min
May 15, 2021
Episode 54: Talking Shop with Deep South Cigars
I travel to sunny Orlando, Florida to chat live and in person with Jeremy and Donovan from Deep South Cigars. The three of us have a candid conversation about everything from politics, southern culture, diversity, family, cigars, self-promotion, the future, dating, starting your own business, and demystifying the cigar industry. This was a great conversation with a couple of real, down to earth, and generous BotLs that took time out of their schedule to sit down and have as open a chat as you'll find in the industry. You do not want to miss this. Visit Deep South Cigars Purchase the 770 BBC from Deep South Cigars and more here!
1 hr 39 min
May 1, 2021
Episode 53: A Conversation with GSTN Cigars
I visit Capital Cigar Lounge in Lincoln, Nebraska to sit down and talk with Jeff Gaston. Jeff is the owner and founder of GSTN Cigar, who makes quality wood ashtrays for every budget and every need. Jeff and I discuss how he started his cigar journey and what led him to start GSTN Cigar. We talk about his process of making ashtrays, what inspires him, his inventory, and how long it takes him to ship out an order. We also dive into Jeff's background as a content creator, the podcasting process, and so much more. It was a great time getting to meet Jeff and spend some time with him. Jeff is also GIVING AWAY a custom engraved Wade \/s Evans ashtray to one lucky listener! Just go to Episode 53: A Conversation with GSTN Cigar and leave a comment on the episode's page between May 1 and June 15, 2021 and you'll be automatically entered to win. Winner will be announced on the July 1 episode of Simply Stogies Podcast. Go to GSTN Cigar and use code SImplystogies for a 15% discount off of ever…
Apr 15, 2021
Episode 52: Talking Shop with Evan from The Blend Newsletter
This episode I chat with Evan, the founder of The Blend Newsletter, via Zoom and we discuss his cigar journey, how he fell in love with cigars, how the global pandemic helped him find his passion for the leaf, and how he curates the newsletter each week. We end up talking about what it's like being a content creator in the cigar industry, the time it takes to create content, how it affects our personal lives, and the relationships we've made along the way. It was a great conversation that I hope you enjoy as much as I did. To sign up for The Blend please click here. If you'd like to find out more about Smoked, the cigar-centric event hosted by The Blend, or to buy your tickets, please click here.
Apr 1, 2021
Episode 51: Chatting at the Drawing Room QC
I visit the Drawing Room QC and chats with two of the owners, Eric Norton and Shale Sage. The trio discuss the cigar community and rich cigar history in Davenport, Iowa, the cigar industry, how cigar manufacturers sell cigars to B&Ms, and how Eric and Shale started their cigar journeys. They also discuss opening a cigar lounge during a pandemic, how they train their staff, and so much more. Visit the Drawing Room on their Facebook Page.
Mar 15, 2021
Episode 50: Sitting Down with Sean David of David's Fine Tobaccos
I sit down with the third generation owner of David's Fine Tobaccos in Clive, Iowa, Sean David. Sean and I discuss a wide range of topics that both his customers and cigar aficionados and enthusiasts will find interesting. We talk about the 40+ year history of David's Fine Tobaccos, what's changed over that time, and the growing diversity of cigar smokers. We find out what goes into an event, how Sean views the PCA and CRA, state level politics, and where he sees the business in the next few years.
Mar 1, 2021
Episode 49: Chatting with Robin Blue of Blue Smoke ATL
I welcome Robin Blue, founder and creator of Blue Smoke ATL, to the show. Robin and I discuss how she approaches creating her line of cigar pokers, flasks, and key chains. We talk about how she began her cigar journey, what prompted her to start her business, and how women are different cigar smokers than men. We find out how she chooses which lounges to do business with and how women have found their place in the cigar community. It was a great conversation that I hope you enjoy as much as I did. Please visit and support Robin. She makes quality cigar accessories that are unique and can be customized to fit your tastes. Blue Smoke ATL Blue Smoke ATL Etsy Follow Robin on Facebook Twitter Instagram
Feb 15, 2021
Episode 48: Cigar Community Round 2 with Keepers of the Flame
I sit down and chat via Zoom with the founder and admin of Keepers of the Flame cigar club, Anthony. We discuss how Anthony got into the cigar hobby as well as his thoughts on boutique cigars, diversity, growth during COVID, his approach to moderating, and the Cigarmageddon contest with the Simply Stogies cigar club. This was a great conversation that I hope you enjoy as much as I did. Keepers of the Flame Instagram
Feb 1, 2021
Episode 47: A Conversation w/the Organizers of the Queen City Cigar Fest
I chat (via a Zoom call) with two of the three organizers of the Queen City Cigar Fest, Clinton Douglas and Damon Robinson. Clinton and Damon tell us about the upcoming Queen City Cigar Fest being held in Charlotte, NC from May 19 - May 23, 2021. There will be daily and nightly events held at different cigar lounges across the Queen City those five days that will highlight both the cigar culture and local small businesses in Charlotte. We discuss how the Queen City Cigar Fest was brought about and the challenges of organizing such an event during a global pandemic. We also nerd out over the movie Hand Rolled: A Film About Cigars and find out about Clinton's time on a reality show. It was a great conversation that you won't want to miss. Tickets will be going on sale soon! Please follow the Queen City Cigar Fest on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-date ticket information, a full list of partner lounges and even sponsors, and for information on the launch of their website. https://www…
Jan 15, 2021
Episode 46: Cigar Aficionado and Short Smokes
I give you my shortened opinion on the Cigar Aficionado Top 25 of 2020 list, why I think it is not a true list of the top cigars of 2020, and why we do not have advertisers or sponsors for the show and website. I then give you my list of Top 10 short cigars for winter or when you just don't have an hour to smoke. With both Cuban and non-Cuban cigars on the list, it's sure to have something for everyone. Please consider rating Simply Stogies Podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to Simply Stogies.
Jan 1, 2021
Episode 45: Cigar Community Round 1 with Simply Stogies Club
I sit down with the new Administrator of SimplyStogies.club, Ryan Janus. Ryan and I discuss his cigar journey and how he started smoking, to working in a cigar lounge, to running simplystogies.club. We talk about the cigar community, the impact that COVID-19 has had on the online cigar community, some of the fun things they do, and the upcoming Cigarmageddon contest with the Keepers of the Flame cigar club. If you'd like to join simplystogies.club please email Ryan and the moderators of simplystogies.club at firstname.lastname@example.org When in the Buffalo area, visit one of the Buffalo Cigar Lounge locations. *NOTE: Simply Stogies Podcast is not a part of, or affiliated with SimplyStogies.club If you'd like to become a part of the Simply Stogies Cutter Club or support Simply Stogies Podcast, please visit our Buy Me A Coffee site.
1 hr 4 min
Dec 15, 2020
Episode 44: 2020 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2021
I invite everyone to go to The Blend News and sign up for their newsletter and for their holiday giveaway! I then take a look back at the trials, tribulations, and victories of 2020. Yes, 2020 was a tough year on everyone and Simply Stogies Podcast and simplystogies.com were not immune from the 2020 curse. I then take a look at our future, what we hope to accomplish, and announce that our Buy Me a Coffee "Cutter Club" memberships and one-time donations are now up and running! I also take a look at how the cigar industry was affected by 2020: delays, shortages, and FDA wins are all discussed. Will the CRA and PCA be able to pivot from a fight against the Feds to state level politics?
Dec 1, 2020
Episode 43: 2020 Holiday Gift Guide and Budget Cigar Reviews
I welcome our Content Director, Matthew Kang (Twitter and Instagram), and our Photographer, Wonho Frank Lee (Instagram) to the show. The three of us go through our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide on simplystogies.com and break down the gifts, why we chose particular products, and how they'll help you land on the nice list of the special BotLs and SotLs in your life. We also discuss how to choose cigars as gifts and what we would want if given a box of cigars as gift this holiday season. We round out the podcast by explaining our new Budget Cigar Review series. We believe that the sub $6.00 price point deserves to be graded on a scale, and we explain why there is a multiplier for the value found in budget cigars.
1 hr 8 min
Nov 15, 2020
Episode 42: Stolen Throne Oath Taker Review and Celebration Cigars
I go through my review of the Stolen Throne Oath Taker, a Cigar Federation exclusive offering from Stolen Throne. I tell you why it scored what it did and where I believe the fault lies. Then, with the holiday season upon us, I cover what celebratory cigars are to me, and what I'm planning on smoking this year. I then ask you to tell me what you're looking forward to smoking. I also announce a new way to support the podcast coming January 1st!
Nov 1, 2020
Episode 41: A Chat with Diana Hutton from Perfect Ash
I sit down with the Diana Hutton, the owner of Perfect Ash in Inver Grove Heights, MN. We discuss how an attorney from Mexico City winds up in Minnesota and then becomes the only Latina sole-owner of a cigar lounge in the state (and possibly the country). Diana opens up about what it took to open the new location of Perfect Ash. Diana also gives her perspective as a businesswoman on the business, the cigar community, the industry, and regulation. Please visit Perfect Ash at 9080 Buchanan Trail, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076 Visit Perfect Ash's website Perfect Ash on Instagram Perfect Ash on Facebook Perfect Ash on Twitter
Oct 15, 2020
Episode 40: Catching-Up with Lee Marsh of Stolen Throne Cigars
James catches up with one of the founders and blenders of Stolen Throne Cigars, Lee Marsh. The pair discuss how Stolen Throne has handled the pandemic, their new releases (Call to Arms, Argos, and Oath Takers), what makes boutique cigars boutique, and much more! Check out Stolen Throne's Facebook page Visit Stolen Thone on Instagram Get your Simply Stogies Podcast swag!!!
Oct 1, 2020
Episode 39: A Revisit with Capital Cigar Lounge in Lincoln, NE
I sit down and catch-up with co-owner Tony Goins, and humidor coach Jeff Fry. We discuss their response to COVID-19 and how it has impacted their business. Jeff and I talk about the changes in their stock, their approach to customers, and how they treat their employees and customers like family. I also got the opportunity to talk with Tony about his new book Something in the Water, where the project came from, and who it is benefiting. Visit Capital Cigar Lounge at 5505 South 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68512 or at https://capitalcigar.com/ Please check out Tony Goins new book at https://somethinginthewaterbook.com/
Sep 26, 2020
Episode 38: Jeff and Mari Doll of Safari Cigars & Lounge
James sits down with the owners of Safari Cigars & Lounge, Jeff and Mari Doll. They discuss lounge etiquette, the impact that small business has on the local economy, how they got into the industry, and much more. This is a great interview with a couple of genuine, and down-to-earth entrepreneurs. Safari Cigars and Lounge is THE destination cigar lounge in Omaha, NE or Council Bluffs, IA. https://safaricigarsandlounge.com/ Safari Cigars and Lounge 13110 Birch Dr #108 Omaha, NE 68164
1 hr 4 min
Sep 15, 2020
Episode 37: FDA News and Cuban Cigar Retailers
I am finally back in my studio with power and internet! Thank you for your patience during my forced hiatus! I talk about the victory the cigar industry had over the FDA in court, what it means to small businesses and the industry at-large. I also give my opinion on where the next legal battles will likely take place. Then I move on to discussing my favorite Cuban Cigar retailers, and who I think you can trust when ordering Cuban cigars. *DISCLAIMER: None of the retailers mentioned are sponsors or have paid for any advertising. The opinions are mine and mine alone. Ordering Cuban cigars in the US is illegal and can carry fines. We strongly encourage you to not break the law.
Aug 31, 2020
Episode 36: A Discussion About Cuban Cigars
First, allow me to apologize to my listeners who may not follow me on social media. Where I live was hit hard by a derecho on August 10. I lost power until August 20 and I lost internet until August 30. For more information, check out the latest episode of Simply Stogies Podcast Presents: Cigars and Coffee here. This episode, I welcome Cuban Cigar expert, Joe, back to the podcast. Joe and I discuss the changes in the secondary Cuban cigar market, box codes and their importance, who you should look to before buying those Cubans you see on Facebook or Instagram, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Cuban cigar market.
1 hr 12 min
Aug 1, 2020
Episode 35: Project E Gran Ola Review
I give you my review of the Epic Cigars limited edition Project E Gran Ola. You can follow along with my review here. I also go over our new Statement of Ethics and why it's important to our staff and to our fans. You can get your own Simply Stogies Podcast SWAG here!
Jul 15, 2020
Episode 34: Getting to Know Our New Content Director, Matthew Kang
James welcomes the new Content Director/Editor of simplystogies.com, Matthew Kang. Matthew discusses his cigar journey, and how his real job at Eater LA will help us give us some direction. We also talk a little COVID-19, and Matthew mistakes a travel humidor for a takeout box. James also announces a brand new Cuban Cigar review, a new pipe tobacco reviewer, and a new YouTube Channel featuring a new show called, Simply Stogies Presents: Cigars and Coffee hosted by Tim Allen and James Giehm.
Jul 1, 2020
Episode 33: Up and Down with Phil Ledbetter from Up Down cigars
I had the opportunity to sit down with co-owner of Up Down Cigar (located at 1550 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL) and current PCA Board Member, Phil Ledbetter. Phil and I discussed his cigar journey, starting from pipe smoking and going all the way through his becoming co-owner of Up Down Cigar. We discussed the cigar industries love limited editions, the cigar community, how COVID-19 has affected his business and business model, the PCA, the FDA, and the cigar industry in general. It was a fantastic conversation, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. You can contact Up Down Cigar toll free by calling (800) 5UPDOWN. You can also reach them at (312) 337-8025 or at http://www.updowncigar.com/index.cfm Please visit Up Down Cigar at 1550 N. Wells, Chicago, IL 60610. You can email Phil directly at email@example.com
1 hr 29 min
Jun 15, 2020
Episode 32: Catching Up with Glynn Loope
I get to catch up with the Executive Director of the Cigar Rights of America, Glynn Loope. We discuss how COVID-19 has impacted cigar retailers and manufacturers, the government's response, and the current fight against regulation and why it's so important given the global pandemic. We also discuss the cigar industry as a whole, we talk about the political divide in the country right now and how cigars can help bring everyone together. Please, join the fight against Federal regulation of the cigar industry by supporting the Cigar Rights of America at https://www.cigarrights.org/ and becoming a member!
1 hr 7 min
Jun 1, 2020
Episode 31: Zooming with Andy Yaffee of Micallef Cigars
I sat down, via Zoom, with Andy Yaffe, National Sales Director for Micallef Cigars. Andy tells the story of how his cigar journey began, how he came to in the cigar industry, and the friendships he has made. Andy and I then have a frank discussion on the impact COVID-19 has had on local B&Ms, and how Micallef is making good on their promise to support brick and mortar retailers, including Micallef's new Phoenix Program fro retailers. . We also talk about the PCA, trade shows, and the industry at large. It was a great conversation!
1 hr 14 min
May 15, 2020
Episode 30: Cigar Scanner App and Hygrometer Review
This week, I quickly gives my thoughts on the PCA cancelling the 2020 trade show and how this presents the PCA with a unique opportunity for change; change for themselves, and change for the industry. I then jumps into my review of the Cigar Scanner Application and the Cigar Scanner WiFi Hygrometer and Thermometer. I discuss my experience using both their cigar tracking application and their wireless hygrometers that work with the app. *All equipment was purchased by me, and I am in no way affiliated with or paid by Cigar Scanner or Neptune Cigars. Full Cigar Scanner app review found here. Full Cigar Scanner WiFi Hygrometer and Thermometer found here. Cigar Scanner WiFi Hygrometer and Thermometer
May 1, 2020
Episode 29: Review: Casdagli Daughters of the Wind Cremello
Before I dive into my review of the Cremello, I discuss what reviews look like across the industry. While they're not standardized, there is room for differing viewpoints and tastes that are diverse and subjective. SimplyStogies.com is still looking for at least two staff writers. If you like reviewing cigars and can do a better job than I (who can't?) or if you enjoy writing and would like to write about the cigar industry, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Written review at SimplyStogies.com: http://simplystogies.com/casdagli_daughters_of_the_wind_cremello/ NEW SIMPLY STOGIES MERCH: https://creativebraincandy.com/shop#!/simply+stogies?collection=niKPHlTWoO
Apr 15, 2020
Episode 28: Micallef To Be Named Maduro Review
I discuss the impact to local B&Ms and ask you, the listener, to support local whenever you can. The impact of COVID-19 is being felt everywhere, and I like to order online as much as the next guy; however, if you can, I implore you to check with your local B&Ms and see if they're still open for business. Then I dive into my first solo review, as I give my impressions of the Micallef "To Be Named" Maduro. My full review can be found here.
Apr 1, 2020
Episode 27: Sitting Down with Dan Thompson of Micallef Cigars
I welcome Dan Thompson, President of Micallef Cigars, to Simply Stogies Podcast. Dan and I discuss everything from how he started his cigar journey, to Micallef's open letter to the cigar industry, and where he sees Micallef in the future. Dan talks candidly about his overall vision for Micallef and the industry. Dan goes over the new Micallef Ultimate Inventory program for select retailers and discusses everything they're doing to bring content to Micallef Ambassadors during these strange times where everyone is home. Dan and Micallef have their focus right where it needs to be.
1 hr 10 min
Mar 22, 2020
Episode 26: Drunkenomics and Cigars
James begins the show by thanking Mike Breig, our content director and lead reviewer at simplystogies.com. Due to personal reasons, Mike must permanently step away from the cigar hobby. Mike was a driving force behind simplystogies.com and helped make it what it is today. He will be sorely missed. James then welcomes Aaron from Drunkenomics podcast to discuss the global, national, and local economic impact of COVID-19. The pair discuss the importance of supporting your local B&Ms, what the post COVID-19 landscape might look like, and how it affects areas where tobacco is the primary source of income. We are also looking for a staff writer and lead reviewer for simplystogies.com. If you're interested in one or both positions, please email email@example.com
1 hr 1 min
Mar 8, 2020
Episode 25: REVIEW: Stolen Throne's Crook of the Crown Robusto
I welcome SimplyStogies.com lead cigar reviewer, Mike Breig, back to the show. Before we dive into our reviews, we discuss Micallef Cigars shipping a cigar without a name and how that translates to their open letter released earlier this year. Mike and I then give our in-depth review of Stolen Throne's Crook of the Crown robusto. Mike's full, written review will be available the same day this episode is released to the general public, March 8, 2020. To order Crook of the Crown from Cigar Federation, click here. To apply to become a Micallef Cigar Ambassador, click here.
Mar 1, 2020
Episode 24: Chatting with Lee Marsh of Stolen Throne Cigars
I had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with Lee Marsh of Stolen Throne Cigars. We talked about how Stolen Throne came to be and where the name "Stolen Throne" came from. Lee gives a unique perspective of the industry, its internal politics, and what it's like navigating them. We also discuss Crook of the Crown and what other projects Stolen Throne Cigars has in the works. I hope you all enjoy this chat as much as I did. I am also pleased to announce that Simply Stogies Podcast is now part of the Creative Brain Candy media cooperative. Please check out https://creativebraincandy.com/ for other great content from our creators!
Feb 22, 2020
Episode 23: Habano Cigar Lounge Davenport, Iowa
I get to sit down with Freddy Allan, owner of the brand new Habano Cigar Lounge in Davenport, Iowa. We talk about what it takes to open a cigar lounge, the hurdles that have to be overcome, and his vision for Habano Cigar Lounge. Freddy also owns four other cigar shops in Chicago and the Chicagoland area; he brings his years of experience and knowledge to Davenport. Freddy also tells us how he became friends with Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate. When you visit Habano Cigar Lounge in Davenport, mention Simply Stogies Podcast and get 10% off your purchase!!! And check out the review of Habano Cigar Lounge Davenport; a first in our new series of lounge reviews coming to SimplyStogies.com!
Feb 15, 2020
Episode 22: Two Lounges
Recorded at Capital Cigar Lounge (5505 S 16th St Ste 100, Lincoln, NE 68512) I sat down with the owner, Tony Goins, and the owner of Cigarz Lounge (800 Q St #104, Lincoln, NE 68508), Stacy Williams. We also had Capital's lead bartender Kelly, and their head humidor coach, Jeff. We discussed how both lounges got their start, how Tony and Stacy started their cigar journey, and ended up discussing liquor. With so much divisiveness, partisanship, and competition today, it was refreshing to sit down with two "competing" lounge owners who are good friends. If you're in Lincoln, you do not want to miss out on either of these lounges! Have Kelly make you his old fashioned at Capital, then head over to Cigarz and have Aaron make you his!
Feb 1, 2020
Episode 21: Isabela Time Traveler 2019 Review
I announce the first Patreon exclusive content from Simply Stogies Podcast called, Tales from the Lounge, is now available for Patreon supporters! To become a Patron of Simply Stogies Podcast please go to https://www.patreon.com/simplystogies and sign up to get instant access to this new bonus content! I welcome simplystogies.com Content Director and Lead Reviewer, Mike Breig, to discuss Isabela Cigar Co. and to compare our reviews of the Isabela Time Traveler 2019. Our reviews, shockingly enough, were not that far off. We were impressed with the flavor notes, transitions, and overall construction of this beautiful, limited edition cigar; we were even more impressed considering MSRP is under $10.00. Mike and I talk about Isabela's footprint in the industry, and how there are a lot of people missing out on some fantastic cigars. A big thanks to Mike for coming on and discussing his review. You can find Mike's review of the Isabela Time Traveler at the link below. OUTSIDE LINKS: http:…
Jan 15, 2020
Episode 20: PCA Trade Show 2020 News
With the news that Drew Estate, Altadis, General Cigar Co., and Davidoff will not be exhibiting at the PCA Trade Show this year, I give an outsider's view of what appears to be going on. I discuss the lack of a shared vision between the PCA and the manufacturers, the PCA's perceived lack of direction, and reasons why the trade show must change in order to survive. I also announce a new show that is exclusive to our Patreon supporters, Tales from the Lounge, and let everyone know of the great new articles up on simplystogies.com OUTSIDE SOURCES: https://halfwheel.com/altadis-davidoff-drew-estate-general-not-exhibiting-at-pca-2020-trade-show/370803/ https://www.cigaraficionado.com/article/major-cigar-companies-pull-out-of-pca-trade-show https://s23.a2zinc.net/clients/tmg/tpe20/Public/exhibitors.aspx?&_ga=2.164869239.955363547.1579030274-165441018.1578858608 http://simplystogies.com/2020_pca_absences/ http://simplystogies.com/projectpandatravelcase/
Jan 1, 2020
Episode 19: An Interview with The Cigar Madame
Congratulations to Chris Hansen, Gary Mehrl, and Caleb McReynolds on winning the Pupperdor.com contest. A big "thank you" to Pupperdor.com for supporting Simply Stogies Podcast and sponsoring such a great giveaway! I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with @thecigarmadame (Coco Maria) an avid aficionada, cigar enthusiast, great Sister of the Leaf, and Instagram influencer. We discussed her cigar journey, how a woman's experience in the cigar community differs from most men's, and how in some ways it's exactly the same. We talk about social media, if glamor models smoke cigars, and The Cigar Madame brand! I had a blast getting to spend a bit of time with The Cigar Madame and hope that you do, too. To book The Cigar Madame for events or to contact her for product and business promotion, please visit https://chocolateandcigars.com/ To follow The Cigar Madame on Instagram please search @thecigarmadame or click here Visit The Cigar Madame's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/t…
Dec 15, 2019
Episode 18: An Afternoon Chat with Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars
During an AMA/Virtual Cut&Light for SimplyStogies.club with Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars, I get an opportunity to have a three hour conversation with Pete. We talk about everything from his cigar journey starting in a strip club, to how he looks at the FDA's overregulation, and everything in between. Pete was generous with his time and was more than happy to answer my questions, as well as the questions from the members of SimplyStogies.club. Thank you, Pete! It was a blast! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
1 hr 38 min
Dec 1, 2019
Episode 17: AMA/Virtual Cut&Light with Jon Huber of Crowned Heads Cigars
Jon Huber from Crowned Heads cigars joins James and some of the members from simplystogies.club for an AMA. Jon discusses his cigar journey, how he got started in the business, and where he sees the future of the business. Jon also talks about what inspires him and finding the reason for cigars to exist. We briefly discuss the FDA, it's impact on the industry, and what that looks like from an artists' point of view. He also tells us how his latest collaboration with Drew Estate, La Coalicion, came to be. Immediately following the podcast interview, the members of simplystogies.club had the opportunity to interact with Jon in the AMA portion of the virtual cut&light. To become a member of simplystogies.club email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram @simplystogiespodcast or DM @simplystogies Thank you again to Jon Huber for joining us. It was a fascinating and fun chat!
1 hr 6 min
Nov 14, 2019
Episode 16: A Conversation with Jeremy Casdagli of Casdagli Cigars
I sit down with Jeremy Casdagli of Casdagli Cigars, formerly Bespoke Cigars, live from the Clayton in Chicago, Illinois. Jeremy and I discuss his cigar journey, how and why he started Casdagli Cigars, the name change from Bespoke to Casdagli, his family history and how that has influenced him, how he reacts to bad reviews and so much more! Plus, I mention how to save 10% by using coupon code simplystogies at Small Batch Cigars. For a limited time, when you use that code to purchase Casdagli Cigars, you will be entered into a raffle for a Casdagli cutter by Xikar!! Details in the episode! LINKS: https://casdaglicigars.com/ https://bespokecigar.com/
Nov 1, 2019
Episode 15: The Hobby Within the Hobby
James begins this episode with several big announcements! James announces interviews with Jeremy Casdagli of Casdagli Cigars and Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars. He also announces a contest with pupperdor.com. Details and rules of the contest are found in this episode! Thank you to Pupperdor.com for sponsoring this contest. Have you ever wondered why there are so many different cigar accessories out there? How do you find what you need? What do you need? Do they make a difference in how your cigars smoke or taste? James gives you his take as his journey brings him to "the hobby within the hobby," cigar accessories.
Oct 15, 2019
Episode 14: AMA w/Nick Melillo of Foundation Cigars
I get the opportunity to sit down and chat with Nick Melillo, master blender, and founder of Foundation Cigars for a SimplyStogies.club AMA/Virtual Cut & Light via Zoom Meeting. We had a fantastic conversation about Nick's cigar journey, how he got started, what he's learned, and where he's going. We discussed a slew of topics that ranged from the various cigar lines at Foundation, to Nick's approach to blending cigar, Nick's love of history, and the dreaded FDA. It was a fantastic chat that I hope you enjoy as much as I did. I am thankful for Nick being so generous with his time and sharing his passion with us. There was a SimplyStogies.club members only live Q&A immediately following the podcast that is only available to SimplyStogies.club members. To become a member of SimplyStogies.club please email me at email@example.com
1 hr 23 min
Oct 2, 2019
Episode 13: Community
I am pleased to announce the launch of simplystogies.com! I'd like to thank all the hard work put it in by the team (Timothy Allen, Mike Brieg, Wonho Frank Lee, Troy Kelso, and Stephanie Hattan) in order to get the website off the ground!!! Please, check out simplystogies.com and let us know what you think via social media. I discuss the recent Simply Stogies Mega Herf at Casa de Montecristo in Countryside, IL. It was a fantastic time and I'd like to thank everyone who was able to make it. I use this as a springboard to discuss what a healthy cigar community, online or otherwise, should look like. Remember to be good to each other out there and stay smokey!
Sep 1, 2019
Episode 12: Cuban Cigars: An Interview with an Expert
This episode, I welcome Joe from SimplyStogies.club. Joe has been smoking Cuban cigars for 20yrs and is an expert on the subject. I get his expert opinion on the moral and ethical issues of purchasing Cuban cigars, how to spot fakes, the implications of a free market Cuba, and much much more. This discussion, much like my cigar journey, is filled with twists and turns. If you have questions about Cuban cigars, Joe has answers!
Aug 15, 2019
Episode 11: Cuban Introduction
I return to my journey and how I came to know the famous Cuban cigar. The Cuban cigar has mystery, romanticism, and maybe a bit of a taboo air that surrounds it. Is the Cuban cigar hype? What issues surround the Cuban cigar for someone living in America? Can you easily get your hands on an authentic Cuban cigar? I recall how my journey first crossed paths with this famous stogie.
Aug 1, 2019
Episode 10: Boveda Butler Review
I recall how I was gifted with something completely unexpected by a great BOTL before jumping into Facebook cracking down on the buying/selling/trading/private transactions of cigars. As I discuss Facebook's shift in policy, I land on Netflix cutting down on scenes that portray tobacco use. This underscores the need to support groups like the Cigar Rights of America. If you haven't joined them yet, please consider doing so. I then give you my experience and full review of Boveda's foray into hygrometers, the Boveda Butler. OUTSIDE LINKS: https://www.patreon.com/simplystogies https://www.cigarrights.org/
Jul 15, 2019
Episode 9: Sheepdog Humidors Bullet Torch & Padron 2000 Review
I give my impressions and review of Sheepdog Humidors Bullet Torch and of the Padron 2000 Natural. Before I dive into those reviews, I put out the call to those who would like to join the Simply Stogies team! I'm looking for writers interested in reviewing products and cigars, writing about the latest news around the cigar industry, or imparting their knowledge to others. If that's you, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Outside links: https://sheepdoghumidors.com/ https://www.instagram.com/sheepdog_humidors/
Jul 1, 2019
Episode 8: B&Ms, Lounges, and Etiquette
I discuss my recent visits to several cigar lounges and B&Ms around my area, what to look for when choosing a B&M, and the importance of supporting your local B&M. I also discuss the do's and don'ts when visiting a cigar lounge, and share some of my most embarrassing cigar lounge moments. If you have do or don't or funny anecdote you'd like to share, please email me at email@example.com OUTSIDE RESOURCES: https://www.theclayton.com/ http://casademontecristo-chicago.com/ http://habanocigarloungehg.com/ https://www.habanocigarstinleypark.com/ https://leafbrotherscigars.com/des-moines-cigar-lounge/
Jun 15, 2019
Episode 7: An Interview with Vlad from Casdagli Cigars
I sit down with Global Ambassador for Casdagli Cigars, Vlada Stojanov. I join Vlad at The Clayton in downtown Chicago, where we discuss the name change from Bespoke to Casdagli, the Casdagli lines of cigars, what the future holds for Casdagli, and I pick the brain of a sommelier on how to develop your palate. It's a fantastic conversation with a genuine BOTL who has a ton of knowledge. I hope you enjoy the interview. Link to Vlad's Flavor Wheel: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B0H8PlYeLC2-V2dRbVp4dWRYTDA I also congratulate CigarandThings from Instagram for winning the one-of-a-kind Simply Stogies ashtray. I thank my first Patreon supporters Stephanie Hattan and Chris Jones! Thank you!!! To support Simply Stogies podcast, please follow this link: https://www.patreon.com/simplystogies I have a new email address: To contact the show directly, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org OUTSIDE RESOURCES: https://www.theclayton.com/ https://bespokecigar.com/
Jun 1, 2019
Episode 6: Tabernacle Havana Seed Review
I interview a moderator for SimplyStogies.club and a cigar reviewer at Burn1.net, Mike. Mike walks us through his process of reviewing a cigar: from the pre-cut ritual, to the cut and light, to writing his review. Thank you to Mike for taking the time, on his birthday, to sit down and give us some insight on what goes in to reviewing a cigar. You can find more of Mike's reviews at https://burn1.net/
May 19, 2019
Episode 5: The Eastern Iowa Cigar Appreciation Society
For this episode, James goes on location to the Walker Homestead in Iowa City, Iowa to interview a couple of the founding members of the Eastern Iowa Cigar Appreciation Society. Keith Chiavetta and Doug Wagner sit down with James to discuss what it means to be a local cigar club, what it means to interact with the community, and how to give back. To join or follow the EICAS: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EIowaCigars/ Twitter: @CigarCR Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12208387/ Or you can contact Keith Chiavetta on Linkedin directly: https://www.linkedin.com/in/keithchiavetta/
May 1, 2019
Episode 4: Guardian of the Farm Apollo Review
James reviews Guardian of the Farm Apollo, a collaborative effort between Warped and Casa Fernandez. James also announces Simply Stogies is now available on iHeart Radio, as well as Simply Stogies first contest! Make sure to listen for details. OUTSIDE SOURCES: https://www.bobalu.com/cigar-size-chart https://halfwheel.com/five-thoughts-imperials-decision-to-sell-its-premium-cigar-business/298529 https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-simply-stogies-30907896/
Apr 1, 2019
Episode 3: The Cigar Rights of America
James welcomes the executive director of the Cigar Rights of America, Glynn Loope, and one of the CRA Ambassadors for the state of Iowa, Timothy Allen, to Simply Stogies. They discuss what the Cigar Rights of America does, how the FDA is trying to regulate the premium cigar industry, how the CRA is pushing back against that, how cigar enthusiasts and aficionados can get involved, and how the current political climate plays a role. To become a member of the Cigar Rights of America and help them in their fight to protect our cigar rights please go to https://www.cigarrights.org/ To see a list of current state and federal cigar issues please visit http://www.cigarrights.org/news-info.php and choose your state If you have questions concerning the Cigar Rights of America, please email email@example.com You can follow the Cigar Rights of America on Twitter @CigarRights and on instagram https://www.instagram.com/cigarrightsofamerica/ You can follow Glynn Loope on Twitter @GlynnLoope…
Mar 1, 2019
Episode 2: A Short Story
For Episode 2, James discusses the proper storage and humidification of cigar, and also reviews the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story. James tells you about his journey through cigar storage and humidification, while also giving you the very basics of what you need to know. James briefly touches on the "mold v plume" debate and emphasizes the importance proper humidification and storage. James then gives his review of the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story. He regails you with his first encounter with this gem of a stogie, before reviewing it. Enjoy the stories and stay smokey. OUTSIDE SOURCES: https://www.friendsofhabanos.com/forum/topic/131757-foh-mould-study/
Jan 30, 2019
Episode 1: The Journey
For the inaugural episode of Simply Stogies, James takes you along on how his journey through the world of cigar smoking. He recalls his decision to begin cigar smoking, the first few cigars he tried, and how his collection has grown. James has something for both new cigar smokers and veteran aficionados for his very first episode!