Box Press Podcast

Warfighter Tobacco Company’s Simons and Jansen Share Tales

Next up on Box Press: Got a NFW cigar story to share? This proves that in-store herfing with strangers leads to unexpected mash-ups and good couch for a cigar podcast! Hear the whole cigar lounge tale and more as Warfighter Tobacco Company’s Jon Simons and Scott Jansen join Box Press host Rob Gagner at 2021 PCA in Las Vegas.

In this episode of Box Press: Warfighter Tobacco Company protects its premium cigars for the warrior in all of us by packaging with Boveda, 2-way humidity control.

– We’re taking fire from a, I think a four story building.

– Yeah, I think we were in Ashraf.

– Yeah, we were in Ashraf. And my platoon sergeant, so he had some helicopter support, my platoon sergeant, he waves waves me up there. He’s like, “Hey, put a smoke round in that window so that the helicopter can see which one we’re talking about or whatever.” I’m like, no problem.

– The entire platoon, we’re like either on line or somewhere in the area. And we all know what’s going on. We know that, you know, he got called up and that he’s supposed to launch-

– To signal. Like okay, we’re on hold until we can move forward with this.

– And then the helicopter is going to come in and do their thing. And it’ll be awesome.

– So we’re all waiting and watching, all of us.

– Now this is a four story tall building and we’re, I don’t know, 2, 300 yards away.

– About 200 yards out.

– 200 yards away.

– Typically, no problem.

– No problem, right. I put the smoke round in, I shoot this thing, and I air ball over the top of this building.

– It just goes.

– Like, I wasn’t even aiming in the right anything, right. I had never shot a smoke round before. Come to find out, they’re a lot lighter than a regular HEDP round, but this is the first one we’ve ever got issued or held or seen or whatever, right. And so I air ball this building, my a platoon sergeant looks at me like what the #!*%? You know, I’m just like-

– You’re the best this platoon’s got?

– I’m just like-

– Exactly.

– I’m just like, I have no idea what just happened right now.

– There’s a story inside every smoke shop with every cigar and with every person. Come be a part of the cigar lifestyle at Boveda. This is Box Press. Welcome to another episode of Box Press. I’m your host, Rob Gagner. And I’m at PCA 2021. And I am sitting across from Jon and Scott of WarFighter Tobacco. Gentlemen, thank you for being here.

– Thanks for having us.

– Yeah, it’s a pleasure being with you guys.

– Yes, I appreciate it. You guys, this has been a long time coming. You’ve been packaging with Boveda for awhile. We just have never sat together because you’re always busy at PCA selling cigars. And your booth is always packed.

– This year is going really good for us. We’ve been crazy busy too. But yeah, we’ve used you guys in a lot of our products.

– [Rob] Right.

– We have our travel humidors, our ruck case humidors, our big Pelican humidors. About, I don’t know, about a year ago or so we switched and every single one of our orders is now shipped with a small, you know, Boveda Ship Fresh.

– [Rob] Right.

– And yeah, absolutely love your products you guys have. And it really helps with our customers too.

– Yeah.

– Exactly. Now, what am I smoking?

– You are smoking our 7.62 Garrison Rosado. That one, that’s probably a medium full cigar. Really good flavors on that one. Yeah.

– We use a Nicaraguan wrapper and binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican filler on it.

– Yeah, it’s got enough spice, but not the type of spice where I’m like, whoa!

– [Jon] Right.

– Like not black pepper spice.

– For me it’s more, like I told you before we started, I get kind of a steak flavor. For me instead of spice, it’s more like seasoning flavor.

– [Rob] Yeah.

– So, I don’t know.

– Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it. Is that from the Rosado wrapper?

– I think so.

– Yeah. It’s phenomenal. It’s great. What are you guys smoking?

– I’m smoking the same thing you are actually.

– And I’m smoking our 5.56 Garrison Corojo. This is our kind of pepper and spice guy. Like the Rosado has a little bit up front and then it kind of mellows out after that. Our Corojo is going to have it through the whole cigar, solid medium body stick, I love them. I mean, I’m smoking 15, 20 cigars a day. So normally in the breakfast, in the early parts of the day, I start with lighter cigars, Connecticut, Sumatra, stuff like that. But I’ve smoked so many this week that I need flavor now.

– There you go. And everyone’s palate is so different.

– [Jon] Right.

– [Scott] Yeah.

– What I think is interesting and I think we should do a different video on this sometime, but this idea behind super tasters. Have you heard that? Some of the bloggers and some other people come out-

– Oh, where they come out with a really crazy flavors and-

– No, that they can taste more in a cigar than let’s say you.

– Oh, Okay.

– I might say, well, I’m a super taster-

– Oh, okay.

– Of flavors. Like I can pick up the raspberry bubblegum in the cigar. And you can’t.

– [Scott] Right. Right.

– And in fact, in hindsight, super tasters, which would just mean that you have more taste buds are more sensitive to those peppers than not. Most people reside in normal, like right around 10,000 taste buds or less, whereas super tasters have over 30,000 taste buds.

– I don’t know if that’s a good thing.

– It’s not a good thing. Because you’re more sensitive and therefore you don’t gravitate to a majority of the cigars in the humidor because they might be overpowering or too much of one thing for your palate. Whereas like a normal taste bud would just say, “Oh, that’s peppery, but it also has cream and coffee and a little leather on the backend.” Whereas a super taster might just be like, “It’s all pepper.” And that is annoying, you know, and move on.

– [Scott] Oh yeah.

– So.

Why Do Cigar Smokers Taste Wild Flavors in Cigars?

– I do think it’s pretty cool to hear what people get out of a cigar, the flavors they get out of them. And we hear it all the time. There’s stuff that people say, “Oh, I get, you know, toasted marshmallow” Or Scott got Butterfingers out of one.

– Yeah. It’s weird.

– And it’s cool because like, it’s subjective to the person.

– [Rob] Oh, absolutely.

– Without going into the whole science aspect of it, essentially, whatever the flavor of your taste buds correlate into your brain, your brain triggers a memory of whatever that flavor is, and it could be some of the wildest stuff. And it’s awesome. It’s so fun to hear some of the.. the guy’s like, “Oh, I get, you know, whatever, campfire with a s’more.” And I’m like, no. But hey, you’re not wrong.

– [Rob] No. Exactly.

– Now are they super tasters, or they just really creative, imaginative people, you know, like, I don’t know.

– It’s that cognitive connection between olfactory and the brain, like you said.

– Speaking on that, you know, when we were in the military, we smoked cigars, right. And so when we were in the military overseas, we were smoking a cigar, I would instantly I would remember back home, right. Like I’m sitting with my friends, hanging out, like chilling at home. And now every now and then when I smoke a cigar, I think about that cigar, when I’m sitting in, you know, in Iraq, smoking with my buddies. So, you know, it’s not a taste thing, but it’s definitely a memory trigger.

What’s a Cigar Smoking Trifecta?

– Absolutely. And I think that’s why sometimes you’re like, man, that cigar was really good, but it was because you had the full trifecta of like either food, company, experience, just everything was going great when you were smoking it. So no matter what, that cigar was going to be phenomenal because it’s a great quality premium cigar. Let’s face it, all these cigars taste great.

– [Scott] Right.

– They all taste great.

– [Jon] Yep.

– It’s just situations, palates, everything else that just comes into factor, so yeah.

Best Answer Ever To What’s Your Favorite Cigar?

– We get the question all the time of what our favorite cigar is. And Scott’s answer is the best answer ever. Scott, what’s your favorite cigar?

– The one I haven’t had yet.

– Yeah.

– The one you haven’t had yet?

– [Jon] Yep

– [Scott] Yep.

– My wife asked me, she’s like, “You have over a thousand cigars. Why do you need that one?” I haven’t had that yet.

– [Jon] Yeah, exactly.

– I haven’t had that one.

– Right. Now sometimes I’m disappointed, but you know, I like to try new things all the time, so yeah. We, you know, it’s funny, some people assume we only smoke our own brand and we’re like, no, no, no. We love to smoking others, most of what I smoke is my own brand, but that’s economic based.

– [Rob] Right. Right.

– But I love smoking everybody’s cigar, so yeah.

– And it’s fun to chase the new stuff.

– It is, yeah.

– And I love the creativity that some of these companies have and kinda like the limits that they’re pushing and what they’re making with their cigars and the types of tobaccos they’re using. And so when somebody comes out with something new, like I’ll almost go to the ends of the Earth to track it down, to get one, you know what I mean? Like I need to try this.

– Did you guys read some of the cigars that were coming out in the PCA-only exclusive cigars?

– I know it’s a thing, but I haven’t had a chance to really sit down and look at it. We worried about what, you know, what we got going on and stuff like that. But I’m sure once it’s settled down and we get back to the shops, then I’ll start, oh, it’s a PCA one, okay. Yeah, I have to try it, you know?

Warfighter Tobacco Company Origin Story

– Right. How did you guys even decide to start the company? Why?

– It’s kind of interesting story.

– One of my favorite stories.

– I’m friends with like some of the guys from Black Rifle Coffee and some of the other veteran-owned companies. And they put out a movie Range 15 a couple of years ago and they crowdfunded it. And so I help support it and then I would got to be in the movie and meet all these people. And at that time I owned a gun store in Nebraska. And, but I got, I had an idea, like I wanted a product that was a consumable, that I could market because we did a lot of cool social media stuff at the gun store. But then, you know, if you have this gun and it’s cool, people would just go to the local store and buy it, right. So I wanted have a brand and something fun to do. And so the idea kind of sparked when I was out doing that and hanging out with all the other veteran-owned companies. But then it we really actually decided to do it when we were sitting around a table at SHOT Show and we were getting drunk and we’re all like, you know what-

– Drunks an understatement!

– We should start a cigar company. They’re like, okay, who knows anything about the industry? And we all looked at each other and we’re like, not really anybody.

– So bunch of ignorant gringos.

– [Scott] Yeah.

– Figuring out.

– [Scott] All military guys.

– Military guys.

– And now all of us have smoked cigars the majority of our lives. We smoked them while we were in the military, whether we were in stateside or we were deployed or whatever.

– On a very basic consumer level.

– Yeah. And so kind of when we decided that, you know, this is something that we want to pursue, I remember when we sat down at our first like official business meeting. And we’re like, okay, cool. Like this is going to be a thing we’re going to be great. We have all these ideas. It’s going to be so much fun. Anybody know where to get cigars from?

– Yeah. Where do we get these?

– And nobody, it was just, no, no, I have no idea, you know? And so, I mean, we’re very resourceful being prior military guys. And our biggest thing is if we don’t know something, we need to find someone that’s way smarter than us and learn and ask questions and be vulnerable to criticism and everything like that.

– And that led to some mistakes being made in our first couple of years, right.

– Sure. I call them false tutors.

– Yeah. You know, one thing I did before we even bought our first cigar or had our cigar made or anything is I came to this trade show.

– [Rob] How’d you get in?

– Well, I owned a gun store and I sold cigars in the gun shop. So as a retailer, I came but the only reason I came was to check out the industry and to see how it worked, right. And one thing I, and this was what year 2015 probably?

– I believe it was ’15

– Yeah. And one thing I noticed about the industry, we were good at social media and I would walk around to a lot of the bigger companies, but in 2015, you know, I just had a couple of questions, you know, like, “Hey, you know, how many social media followers do you have? You know, how do you do your marketing?” And we heard a lot of times like, “Oh, we have a lot, we have a huge following, like 3,000 people.” And I’m like, okay.

– 3,000?

– 3,000, you know.

– That’s a lot?

– That’s what I thought.

– Back in 2015 it was.

– In 2015. But even then it still wasn’t.

– It wasn’t. Especially some of these companies that have been around for, you know, 40, 50, 100 years and their social media presence is extremely small. And then what the content was and how they were doing it and everything. And, you know, coming from the background that we have and the people that we knew, like watching Black Rifle grow and grunt style grow and all these other veteran-owned companies that are, I mean, I know probably going to get a bunch of crap for it, but essentially they’re a marketing company that sells a product.

– [Rob] Right.

– You know, and learning how they do their content and learning why they do the things the way that they do it. And then translating that into different industries and seeing how a lot of people in the cigar industry do things and it’s just like, oh, you’re way missing the curve there, bud.

– So you want to fax me over your plan?

– So I seen that there was a way in, you know, like I said, we had no industry experience, right. So, but I seen that there was room for us to like, build something.

– There a spot for us.

Creating Consumer-Driven Demand for Warfighter Cigars

– There’s a spot for us. So we did some social media, you know, and what we did is, you know, we were told, you got to go to the shop, you gotta, you know, essentially beg them to carry your cigar. And then they’re gonna, you know, create a demand for it. Well, I’m like, okay, that’s what everybody else is doing. I don’t, I’m going to do it my way. And so what we did is we created a demand from the consumer. And then once we had the demand up, then we, you know, we ask our consumer, “Hey, go to your local cigar shop and ask for Warfighter.” Until recently we haven’t had any sales reps or anything. And we’re in a, you know, 120 stores across the country with zero sales reps. None, it’s all customer demanded growth.

– [Rob] I love it.

– We kinda did like a grassroots campaign on social media when we started and created the draw with the customers and then had the customers reach out to the shops. And it wasn’t like our master scheme plan. We knew this, you know, from day one that we were going to do it. It just kind of worked out that way.

– Well, it’s actually the best because like, if these people that really like the cigars, but want to support the brick-and-mortar.

– [Scott] Right.

– Why wouldn’t you, that’s all, as a retailer, that’s all you need to listen to is will you smoke this cigar? If I order six facings or two boxes, are you going to buy it if I don’t sell it? At the end of the day, if I were the consumer, I’d be like, yeah, I’ll buy it from you if you don’t sell it.

– [Scott] Right.

– [Jon] Yeah.

– Because I want to come in and I want to buy a couple of cigars. I want to share them with my friends.

– It’s weird that the retailer, like I can approach the retailer and say, “Hey, you should sell my cigars.” You know, and give them the whole pitch and story and all that. And they’re like, “Okay, we’ll think about it,” whatever. The consumer comes in and says, “Hey, you should carry these cigars because I’m going to buy them,” retailers like you got it. You know, it’s done.

– Because that’s what they need to, that’s what they need.

– Right.

– Will you come into my store and buy cigars? Yeah, if you carry this one.

How Cigar Smokers Can Support Their Local Brick-and-Mortars

– We have an extremely loyal customer base, too. And the best thing about our customers, we love them to death, is they would much rather go to their local brick-and-mortar and get our cigars.

– [Rob] Why do you think that is?

– Because of the experience, the ambience, the conversations, all of the things that happen when you’re in a lounge.

– [Rob] Right.

– They’d much rather do that than have to order off some website and have it shipped and worry about your mail.

– Not be able to smoke it at the lounge because that’s a really bad move.

– Yeah, bringing in your own cigars. Most, I mean, some shops do have cut fees and stuff like that, but some shops it’s just absolute no-go.

– Yeah. In the area that I come from, it’s like, don’t do it.

– It’s like almost bad etiquette sometimes.

– Really bad etiquette because we’re paying all the taxes and the fees to open up that door. And in Minnesota it gets cold so the only spot to smoke is in the shop.

– Yeah and you guys, well, I think up until recently, you guys had some crazy taxes.

– Yeah, like 90, 95% wholesale.

– Yeah, it’s insane.

– So you might as just go double the price to start.

– You got a beautiful stadium though right?

– Yeah, great. Yeah.

– But now we’re, where we are as a company, we’ve been around, we’re going on our sixth year. And we see our growth through the brick-and-mortar. We’ve been around long enough where the brick-and-mortars, they recognize our name now. And so now we’re transitioning into that, you know, we’re going to hire some sales reps and have a presence that way and go the more traditional route. Because that’s where our growth is going to be.

– [Rob] Great, I love it.

– We had to create the demand somehow. So, and you know it’s hard, you know, some retailers like, “Well, you guys sell on your own website.” It’s a double-edged sword, right?

– [Rob] Right.

– I had to create the demand somehow, you know.

– It is what it is.

– [Scott] It is what it is so.

Why Garrison?

– Why Garrison?

– So we have two lines of cigars, not really lines but two categories kind of. So the green box sitting over there is our Field. And so that’s like your camouflage uniform, your work uniform. And then the black boxes here, our Garrison line, that’s like your dress uniform, you know, your back, you’re, you know, going to the military ball, you’re doing, you know, something like that, so.

– What is Garrison? What does that represent?

– Garrison means not out in the field.

– So in the military.

– [Rob] Not out in the field.

– Not out in the field.

– Garrison is like, when you’re back at like, we were stationed at Fort Campbell. When we were doing training on Fort Campbell, like in the buildings or around our company area or something like that, they call that the Garrison. And then when we were either deployed overseas, or we were in the back 40, like running around the woods, playing Army, they call that the field. And so it was just a lot of the things that we do, we use a lot of military influence into it, just because it’s kind of who we are.

– I mean, I don’t know why but.

What’s the difference Between Warfighter’s Field and Garrison Cigars?

– And so but the cool thing about that when we did the Field and the Garrison line, so we kind of did it purpose driven from the blending side of it. And what I mean by that is our Field line, we got a really good flavors in the cigars, but we toned them down strength wise. And we did that for a reason. We don’t want guys that are deployed overseas or on a training mission on the back 40 or something like that, when they’re sitting behind a machine gun, smoking a giant nicotine bomb, getting a buzz.

– Right.

– You know, it’s not conducive for anything or anybody.

– And so how that relates to non-military people, if you’re out mowing your lawn, you want to be smoking a cigar. You know, you want something that, you know, you want to smoke, you want something with good flavor, but you don’t want all that nicotine because you’re working, you’re busy, you’re on a golf course, not really paying attention to it. You know, something like that. So that’s a good Field line so, and then what we did is in our Field line we have the caliber. So we have a 5.56 Field and that’s a Connecticut. Then we have a 7.62 Field, which is a Sumatra. And then we have a .50 CAL Field that’s a mild Maduro.

What Do Warfighter Tobacco’s Calibers Mean?

And what the caliber relates to is kind of the strength of the cigar. So the smaller the caliber, the not as strong, the more mild cigar. And then we get over to the Garrison, we have a 5.56 Garrison Corojo. We have a 7.62 Garrison Rosado, which you’re smoking. And then we have a .50 CAL Garrison Oscuro Maduro. And once again, it’s the strength of the cigar.

– Smart.

– [Scott] Right, so.

– And it kind of helps me judge, okay which one do I want?

– Right. Right. So, and when we came out, when we started, we had six blends initially, because we wanted to hit all the different palates, too.

– [Rob] Sure.

– You know, if you start out with, you know, say you start out with two cigars, you might, you’re missing out on a lot of different palates there.

– [Rob] Oh, yeah!

– So we wanted to start out with six and really have a diverse catalog for, you know, flavors, so.

– [Rob] Great.

– Yeah.

– Yup.

– [Rob] Even better.

– Yeah, and this year we introduced a couple of new, well, one new size in all of our blends. And then we introduced an actual whole new cigar also, the beginning of this year. We didn’t know any of the shows were going to happen because all the COVID stuff. So instead of waiting to release at the show like a lot of people do, we were just like, well, it’s here, it’s now, like, here we go, you know. And then, you know, two months later, like, oh, the shows are on. And we’re like, oh great.

– [Rob] It’s still new. It’s still new.

– We still got it.

– [Rob] Yeah. Nice.

What’s Warfighter’s Minutemen Cigar Like?

– So we brought in, we call it the Minutemen.

– [Rob] The Minutemen?

– Yep and it’s a size in all of our six core blends and it’s a 4×44 and it comes in a five-pack.

– [Rob] Oh, nice!

– And so we designed them to be like a 25, 30-minute smoke. It’s the exact same blend, same tobaccos, just smaller size.

– There you go, for those Minnesota winters, get a Minutemen.

– Exactly.

– And then for the other new one, we came out with a mixed filler cigar.

– [Rob] Mixed flavor?

– [Scott and Jon] A mixed filler.

– [Rob] Mixed filler, got it.

Good Name for the New Pandemic Cigar: The Dumpster Fire

– We have some short filler and then a couple of leaves for construction in there. And, you know, our dilemma was, you know, it’s a more economical cigar, right? So how do you, how do we brand a more economical cigar that’s a mixed filler? Well, we were right in the middle of 2020, so we named it the Dumpster Fire.

– Multiple reasons.

– [Rob] Dumpster Fire.

– The Dumpster Fire. One, it was a great representation of 2020. And two, it’s made from all the trimmings of our other cigars, right. So we call it the Dumpster Fire. Yeah.

– [Rob] Love it.

– But we’re also supposed to get it in 2021, but because of 2020, excuse me, we’re supposed to get in 2020, but because of 2020, we didn’t actually get it until 2021, so yeah.

– [Rob] Perfect.

– Yeah.

– [Rob] A blast from the past.

– Right.

– It’s one of our most elegant bands. It’s literally a dumpster burning, but I’m very proud of the barrel.

– Very elegant.

– It’s a very elegant band, so.

– Hard to recognize a dumpster on fire. But you’ll, you know, when you get there, you’ll see it.

– You’ll see it.

– You can’t miss it.

– You can’t miss it. How are you guys as family men, wives, children?

– I’m married. I have four boys and a grandson and another grandchild on the way.

– A grandson.

– [Scott] Yeah.

– So lineage of men.

– [Jon] Yeah.

– [Scott] Yes.

– His wife’s so pissed.

– [Rob] Yeah.

– We’re hoping the new grandchild, we don’t know what it is yet, I got my fingers crossed for a girl so.

– If it’s a girl that will be the most spoiled and over-protected girl in the history of the world.

– I wouldn’t want to date her. That would be suicide.

– And so not only is it-

– It’s me.

– It’s him, it’s the military family. So when Scott and I were actually in the service together. We deployed together in 2003, 2004, and now we’re in business together. And it’s amazing. But our platoon is probably one of the most tight knit platoons in the history of the United States Army. Even to this day, you know, 20 years after we got out, we do platoon reunions and there’s 32 guys in our platoon. The last reunion we did, we had like 24 people show up.

– [Rob] Wow.

– Which is unheard of for a small unit that big, a small unit that big, for a small unit and how big the military is. And so it’s like an extended family that we’ll do even more than a regular family would do.

– [Rob] Wow.

– But yeah so, if it’s a granddaughter.

– Yeah. Yeah. So, and then, you know, she’d have all the uncles, right? So, but yeah, my oldest boy’s in the Air Force. My next youngest is in the Coast Guard. And then I got two more. I got two at home yet, but one, he’s kinda ornery like me so I’m thinking that he’s going to be the Marine because-

– [Rob] There you go!

– He needs a little more discipline so got him into that.

– [Rob] Where you guys in together?

– We were in the Army.

– Army? Any special unit or anything like that?

– We were in the 101st Airborne. We were both infantry guys. I was a machine gunner and Scott was a sniper. So we worked well together.

– Yeah.

– [Rob] Yeah!

– But it was fun. And I’d been married, I’ve been married for 21 years now. And so my wife, she was like the one that like, babysat the whole platoon.

– She was my den mom.

– Yeah, because we were young kids. We were kids. I look back at the pictures and we were kids. You know, we were 19, 20, 21, you know?

– [Rob] Wow.

– So I was the old man at 23 when we got deployed to Iraq, you know.

– He was.

– [Rob] That’s old?

– I was 20, he was 23. And like he was old.

– Compared to the 19 year olds and stuff, yeah. So it’s kind of funny but, looking back on it.

– Did you guys do careers then in the army or?

– No, I did 5 years. I was in from 2000 to 2005 and then I got out, jumped around, did a whole bunch of everything after that, just trying to figure out what I actually wanted to do in life. It took me a while to figure it out. But now we’re here.

– [Rob] Nice.

Why It’s Hard to Be Married to an Infantryman 

– Yeah. I did just shy of 10 years. So I did, we were deployed in ’03, and then I took 2000, middle of 2004 to middle of 2005, I took off, we’re just not at war. And then I went back for another year, in 2005, 2006, and then having the kids and the wife, I kind of got that ultimatum like, “Hey, if you’re going to be gone, you know, two years now, you know, like get out or I’m getting out.” It’s kind of the ultimatum I got so. I’m like, well, you know, I made a good decision. Being married for 21 years, especially as an infantry man is super rare. Like most infantry guys are on two or three wives, you know, like, it’s not easy.

– [Rob] Why is that?

– It’s not an easy family life. You know, you’re gone for a year.

– The Optempo, the amount of deployments that are having, the amount of trainings. You know, even prior to a war time, like when we joined the military it was peacetime military. But probably at least four or five times a year, you’re out either in the woods, in the backside of Fort Campbell for a couple of weeks, or you’re deployed to Louisiana Fort Polk for JRTC or NTC in California for training rotations and those are 30, 45-day deployments at a time.

– In the eight years that I was at Fort Campbell, my wife added it up, we were together for three years, collectively over an eight year period.

– [Rob] Over an eight year period?

– Yeah.

– That’s why they’re on wife three.

– Exactly.

– Yep. Yeah, that’s why it’s hard so.

– [Rob] Wow! Strong wife.

– Yeah.

– She is.

– Yeah.

– [Rob] Unbelievable.

– Yeah, so.

– [Rob] And to hold down all those boys.

– Right!

– [Rob] Jeez. She just runs the show, I bet.

– Yeah, yeah.

– [Rob] Yeah.

– Yup.

– [Rob] Yeah. Yeah. How has it been with the gun shop? Is that something that-

– So I used to own a gun shop. We kind of, we started the cigar company to kind of help out the gun shop and you know, we weren’t thinking super big scale at first, but then we figured out we can make something of it. And once WarFighter tobacco kind of took off, I ended up selling the gun shop and that was in Nebraska. And then we relocated to San Antonio.

– It got to the point where if we focused on Warfighter, the gun store suffered. And so we were like, oh crap. And then we turned around and we focused on the gun store and then Warfighter would suffer. And they were both just too big to do at the same time with what we had. And so we kind of had to make, or Scott actually, had to make a decision because the gun store was Scott’s, to try to figure out which direction, you know, is a more viable direction to go in. And you had the gun store for what, ten years.

– Yeah, ten years. But I tell you what I love the firearm industry, but it’s nothing, I don’t know, my life is so much easier now. And I really, really enjoy the cigar industry. You know, Jon and I we were just talking about the tight knit platoon and all that. And, you know, we were a diverse bunch of guys, right? Like we had, you know, every race, every whatever, it didn’t matter, tight, tight group of guys. Well, the next best thing I can correlate that to is the cigar industry.

– This is that commonality, that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you are or anything.

– You walk into a cigar shop, you can have a CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation sitting next to a janitor of different races, different sexual preferences, whatever, it doesn’t matter. And they’re sitting there talking like me and you are right.

– I need to tell my Belle Meade story, my Nashville story.

– [Rob] Yeah, tell it.

The Best Cigar Lounge Story Ever

– So I did, I was doing a sales trip, excuse me, and I went, covered Tennessee in that area, because we were stationed at Fort Campbell, which is on the Tennessee/Kentucky border. Nashville’s, you know, 45 minutes, an hour away from Fort Campbell. So I was like, I might as well go down and check those places out too. So I went down to a cigar shop. It was one of my last stops of the day. It’s called Belle Meade Cigars in Nashville and amazing people. I walk in, you know, to do the business side of things. And I was like, “Hey, do you guys mind if I just hang out for a little bit and have a cigar or two? I’m like, my hotel is down the street. I can’t smoke there. I’d really love to just relax and enjoy a stick.” And the guy’s like, “Absolutely!” He’s like, “You want a drink?” And I’m like, “Oh, you guys got a bar?” He’s like, “No, but we got a bunch of bottles.” And I’m like, “If you don’t mind.” And so he starts to pull up these like super high-end whiskeys, at least I thought they were super high. And I’m like, “Aw dude, I don’t want to drink your good stuff.” He’s like, “Oh no, the good stuff’s over here.” An I’m like, okay. And so I grab a drink and sit down. And then I was sitting with like four or five other people that you know, around a table and everyone’s in their chairs. And I’m just trying to figure out who they are, what they do, where they’re from, what they smoke, like all that kind of stuff. Just be engaged in the conversation. Long story short, this is one of the most amazing experiences in my entire life. So there’s me, just the outsider that happened to show up that day, sitting next to me to my right was a retired law enforcement officer, next to him was a judge, directly across from me was a lawyer, an attorney, some active duty guy that just happened to come in from Fort Campbell, so we were talking to military stuff. And a guy next to me that looked like he kind of lived a hard life. By the end of the evening, I figured it all out. And it blew my mind. The guy sitting next to me, that looked like he had a hard life, he was a felon that got arrested by the cop that was sitting next to me, the prosecuting attorney was the guy sitting across from me, and the guy that put them in jail was the judge that was sitting right there. The look on your face right now is exactly, I would just sitting there the whole time and I’m like, no fucking way!

– [Rob] All sit down and enjoy a cigar.

– They’re all in there laughing, they’re joking. And like, so once we started getting into the conversation of that, like I still don’t know what the guy did. I didn’t really want to get into the details of it, but I found out all the rest of the information that I just said.

– But really that’s what, they were the actual prosecuting.

– It blew my my mind. And it comes down to that cigars, that thing that bridges all the gaps and brings everybody down and it doesn’t matter where they came from or what happened. They’re all sitting there talking and I’m like, yeah.

– Wow!

– Yep! So I was like-

– That was a unique situation to sit in.

– At the end of the night, I told the shop owner, I was like, that is the pinnacle of anything I’ve ever going to experience in a cigar lounge. I’m like, everything else is cool, but nothing’s going to beat that.

Cigars Are a Common Denominator

– Yeah, that brings a whole new level of the common denominator that cigars bring.

– [Jon] Yeah.

Political Discussions Over Cigars, Yes or No? 

– Basically opposing sides can sit down.

– [Scott] Right

– [Jon] Yeah.

– I think they should have political meetings with cigars.

– Yes.

– Yes.

– Yeah, you know, like non-cigar smokers, right, you know, when I say, you know, when we’re talking and I’m like, “Yeah, I love cigars.” They don’t understand the true meaning of, I love cigars. Like, yes, I like smoking cigars, but I love what cigars do.

– [Rob] Right.

– You know, and it’s hard to get that across to them and, you know, fighting all the political stuff, right. Like that, maybe, that should be part of the message. That it’s not just about the cigar, it’s about what the cigar can accomplish, what it can do. You know, like let us run the businesses, let us do this because there’s nothing negative about a cigar and what it can do, you know? Like it should be part of the message, I think.

– Absolutely. Well said, unbelievable. I’m still shocked over that.

– And so this happened, this was probably four years ago and I will try to tell that story any chance that I can, because it, like, it’s almost not believable because-

– There’s the title of the track, a lawyer, a judge, and a cop and a convict sit down dot, dot dot.

– [Scott] And they walk into a cigar lounge.

– Yeah, we’ll just leave it dot, dot, dot. Where it goes from there, we’ll let you be the judge of that.

– But yeah, that was one of the most interesting experiences that I’ve had, but I’ve never walked into a cigar lounge where there’s been angry people or, I mean yeah, every once in a while you get those interesting people that talk about politics and that never ends well.

– [Rob] Yeah, no.

– I don’t know. I’ve had some good political conversations in a cigar lounge.

– [Rob] Really?

– Yeah. because people are more apt to be open-minded and hear the other point of view, you know, and if it’s a discussion, it’s good. If it’s an argument, it’s never good.

– [Rob] Yeah, absolutely.

– Yeah but discussions are good.

Warfighter Cigars Are for All First Responders

– Agreed. The name Warfighter and the connection with military, is that just because of your guys’ background? Or was it a very conscious choice to say, this is the way we want to gain our attention?

– Well, it was kind of a marketing thing, right. Like I could have named it Scott Janssen Cigars and I would have failed about three weeks in. You know, we could have picked any other catchy name, whatever right. But if we’re going to brand something and we’re going to market it, it’s so much easier to do it if that’s who you are.

– [Rob] Right.

– We just, it’s who we are, right. And we don’t try to brand just to the military, you know, anybody who wants to smoke our cigars, any supporter, you know, obviously we focus on the war fighter. We focus on the law enforcement, the firefighter-

– Yea, I was going to say, our definition of the war fighter is not just military veteran’s space. We also focus, pretty much anybody that’s going to put somebody else in front of them, their own selves, law enforcement, first responders, you know, medics, things like that. Like anybody that’s selflessly gonna help somebody else. In our mind, that’s a war fighter. They’re doing something that’s for the greater good, bigger than themselves.

– Cool.

– Anybody who supports that, and that’s the idea, you know, and anybody who doesn’t really support that idea, they can go buy some other cigar. I don’t care.

– [Rob] Right.

– Yeah. You know, we’ll market for our people, but if you don’t like what we’re doing, I don’t have any feelings. It’s fine.

– So that must be why you guys are on the Black Rifle Coffee Company’s affiliated companies.

– We’re friends with those guys.

– It’s pretty cool.

– We were trying to do some stuff with them, but as we all know, with the cigar industry and the tobacco side of things, we’re very limited on advertisement, paid promotions, especially on social media, Google ad words, all that kind of fun stuff.

– [Rob] Right.

– And trying to do a collaboration with a company that has a massive social media following that would put us in the risk of, like Scott said, jeopardizing their ability to use those platforms. And we don’t want to be those guys that are like, sorry, you can’t market anymore.

– [Rob] Because you could.

– Yeah. But yeah, I mean, it would have been great, but once we kind of put the whole picture on the table, we realized that, you know, this is probably not as good of ideas we thought it would be, and it would be great. And even to this day, we still have customers all day long, they’re like, when are you guys going to do blah, blah, blah, or something with somebody else or whatever. And we’re just like, you know.

– But why can’t you pull their coffee into your lineup and start doing some pairings of the coffee and the cigars together.

– We’ve done stuff like that.

– Have you?

– We white labeled a bag of coffee with them a couple of years ago. We’re a cigar company. Cigars don’t really have a shelf life per se, compared to coffee.

– [Rob] Coffee does. The fresher, the better.

– Exactly. And we didn’t want to have coffee that wasn’t in its prime and then ship it to somebody, especially that’s a cigar connoisseur who has an experienced palate, and that can realize like, “Hey, this isn’t really the freshest coffee.” So we did it for a little while and it was delicious. It was amazing. But we realized that it wasn’t something that we should continue doing if we’re trying to put out the best product that we can possibly do now.

– Stick to what you know.

– Exactly.

– Yeah. Yeah.

– That’s smart.

– I don’t know anything about coffee.

How to Pair Cigars with Beverages

– But I do get my Black Rifle Coffee Company every month.

– [Scott and Jon] Right.

– And then I go and reach for my cigars that go with it. So I just do my own pairings.

– [Jon] Right. Right.

– And I love it.

– Yeah.

– Yup.

– It’s fun.

– Yeah.

– It’s fun to drink something and go, oh yeah. Like this would be really good with that cup of coffee.

– Right and the cool thing about cigars, right. You can, you know, obviously I know my own blends really well. So when I go out and about, I can smoke my cigar, I know what it normally tastes like. I know what it normally tastes like with what I normally drink. Bu when I throw in, you know, a certain rum that I haven’t had before, or I throw in a different scotch or a whiskey, and it changes those flavor notes a little bit, and it’s the same cigar, I mean, I love that. I love it.

– When we first started, we were kind of going down a rabbit hole, trying to figure out what pairs well with the cigars that we have and everything. We’re a big whiskey drinkers. And in Nicaragua, they don’t have a lot of whiskey. So of course we’re Lheraud Cognac drinkers when we were down there.

– [Rob] It’s a lot of rum.

– So I remember we were probably not even a year in, and I was sitting at a cigar shop in Lincoln, Nebraska, and I’m smoking, I can’t even remember which cigar it was, but it was Toro. And I got about halfway through it and the bar ran out of Jameson and I was like, guys, come on, you know. And I’m like, whatever, Jameson’s my go-to. And so I was like, “Well, what else do you got?” And one of the other bartenders came around, he’s like, “Hey man, we just got Lheraud Cognac VII in. And I’m like, “Sweet, I’ll take that on the rocks please.” And he’s like, “Awesome.” So he pours it and I didn’t even think anything of it. And I picked it up and I took a sip and took it a puff of my cigar and I was like, “Whoa!” And I’m like, “I get it now.” And then I just went way down the rabbit hole of, I mean, I want to try this, I want to try that. And I grabbing different cigars and all this.

– Yeah, so people ask us all the time, well, what pairs well with your cigars? Man, there’s, that’s like-

– [Rob] Whatever you like.

– That’s like trying to figure out how to break into a combination lock, right. There’s so many choices, you know? It’s, yeah.

– But it, yeah-

– It’s subjective. Yeah, so.

– Absolutely. Very subjective, very mood-based.

– [Scott] Right.

– Very situational-based.

– [Scott] Yeah.

– That’s even for me, like, what are you going to go to grab in the morning? Well, I don’t know, not until that morning. Kind of like you, what’s your favorite cigar? The one I haven’t had yet.

– Yeah, yeah. Yeah, choosing a cigar, there’s so many factors that go in, your mood, what you’re drinking, what you ate, if you’ve ate or not, temperature, location, like there’s so much that goes into it. So everyone’s like, “Well, what do you smoke?” Well, it kind of depends. But I do have a go-to, our Sumatra, I have one of those every morning with a cup of coffee.

– [Rob] Really?

– It is perfect.

– [Rob] That’s it. That’s the one.

– That’s the one.

– [Rob] What size?

– I usually run a Toro.

How to Smoke a Cigar Fast Without Overheating It

– He smokes fast.

– I smoke super fast.

– [Rob] You do?

– His Double Corona is how I smoke a Robusto usually, like, so.

– Do you feel like it gets too hot ever and miss the flavor?

– No, at first it did. And then I thought I was slowing down on how fast I was smoking a cigar, but really, I just kind of figured out how to not overheat the cigar while I’m smoking it. So I still get all the flavors. I don’t burn anything out of it. I don’t get super long, crazy ashes, or cones or anything like that, but I will crush a cigar compared to most people.

– So how are you still smoking it, getting all the flavor out of it, but not overheating it?

– I’m not drawing as hard.

– A longer, slower draw.

– Longer, slower draw. That’s what I’ve discovered. Longer, slower, not so, you know.

– That’s what creates the heat.

– It’s like hitting the gas pedal.

– Yep

– Yeah.

– Do you want to take off at Mach 3, you know, like jam that thing down to the floor and let’s see what happens. But you’re going to suck a lot of fuel and you’re going to burn a lot of rubber.

– Right.

– Right.

– So if you’re going to smoke a cigar that way, you’re just at every stoplight you’re like. you know, just going, it’s like, it’s not going to taste very good.

– [Jon] Right.

– [Scott] Right.

– But if you slowly accelerate, you’re going to taste all those oils and sugars, and it’s going to be phenomenal. That cigars are gonna smoke totally different than you’ve ever had before.

– Oh, yeah. It’s funny, I tell guys, like, I love Lanceros, but if there’s a couple of weeks or a month in between when I smoked Lanceros, I always buy two. And I destroy that first one, try to figure, remember, and figure out how to smoke it again. Then that second one is perfect.

– Lanceros for me, they need more attention-

– [Scott] Oh, a lot more. Yeah.

– But not over smoking it by pulling the draw so on. So if I’m conversing, like I am now, like even before this, I had Michael Herklots and he sat down with a 38 ring gauge cigar, and I go, this is going to be a challenge for me. And it was, it went out towards the end. But at that point I just left it because I was like.

– I used to have to set a timer on my phone.

– Yeah. Draw. Draw.

– And that was it.

– Draw.

– And I literally like, and I’d have to stop myself and I’d look and I’m like, nope, I gotta wait three more, four more seconds. And you know, and that was it.

– That’s a good technique though, to like, retrain your body on how to smoke a cigar. And use it.

– I would destroy ’em. I would destroy.

– Then it’s not fun.

– And I loved them. They taste so good.

– I think you had more of a problem with it because of how fast you smoke.

– Yeah.

– Yeah.

– And then-

– For me, you have to kind of pay attention, but I don’t have to think about it that hard. Yeah. Yeah.

– If I’m in a good conversation, don’t hand me a Lancero, man. Hand me the Gordo or the Toro or something that’s like gotta 55 ring gauge. I’ll be just fine.

– So you guys said you guys like stories.

– [Rob] I love a good story.

– What are some of the good stories, at least that you guys heard in the past? Because we got a lot of stories. Scott and I we’ve known each other for over 20 years now. We’ve had some very unique and interesting experiences.

Warfighter Tobacco’s Jon Shares His Best Sniper Story

– Tell me your best military story.

– The best. Oh, I don’t know. I mean, we’ve had, they range from super funny to dark to-

– [Rob] Super funny, let’s go super funny.

– Should we tell your 203 story?

– Oh, that’s a good one. So before I became a sniper, I was in the line platoon. So I became a sniper halfway through our deployment in Iraq. They needed more snipers, I applied-

– Yeah, they held try outs. So leading up to it, like we do internal shooting competitions, like within our platoon, when we go to the ranges and stuff like that. And essentially it was like everybody shot and tried to figure it out. And then whoever it was, went up against Scott. We already knew that, you know, and so going into the deployment, we knew that how well of a shooter he was. So when the sniper section came down and said, “Hey, we’re looking for new shooters. We’re gonna have tryouts these days, whoever you got can go apply.” You know, obviously that was our number one choice-

– I don’t think I even asked to, I think.

– You were told to.

– I think Sergeant Jesus said-

– Like, you’re going to shoot this day—bring your gun.

– But so leading up to the story, I was a 203 gunner because I was a team leader. A 203 gunner, so you have your M4, underneath it you have a grenade launcher, a 40 millimeter grenade. They’re really heavy so they arc, you know, they have a real steep arc to them.

– Well, they’re called HEDP, high explosive dual purpose rounds.

– Yeah.

– Those are the ones that arc. They also have smoke and star clusters and flares and all this other stuff.

– So in training we practice with what’s called the chalk round because the high explosive rounds are expensive or whatever. So we practice with the chalk rounds and those are the same weight as the HEDP. They simulate that. Well, it’s just a big piece of steel, when it hits, it’s got orange chalk so you can see where it impacted from a long ways. Well, we’d go out to the range. And the idea is, you know, you have a group of silhouette targets and you’re trying to get as close to them as you can, because it’s a grenade so it explodes out. But, you know, I was to the point where I could pick the individual silhouette that I wanted to hit with it.

– Or if we’re shooting at a buildings, he could put it in a window or something like that.

– [Rob] That’s nice!

– Right, so I was pretty good at it. Well, fast forward, we get to Iraq, we get issued, you know, all the different 203 rounds. So we had star clusters for signaling. We had the grenade rounds. We had smoke rounds for signaling, all that kind of stuff. Well, we were taking fire from a, I think a four story building.

– Yeah, I think we were in Ashraf.

– Yeah, we were in Ashraf and my platoon sergeant, so we had some helicopter support, my platoon sergeant, he waves waves me up there. He’s like, “Hey, put a smoke round in that window so that the helicopter can see which one we’re talking about or whatever.” I’m like, no problem.

– The entire platoon we’re like either online or somewhere in the area. And we all know what’s going on. And we know that, you know, he got called up and then he’s supposed-

– To signal. Like okay, we’re on hold until we can move forward with this.

– Yeah and then the helicopter is going to come in and do their thing. That’d be awesome, right.

– So we’re all waiting and watching, all of us.

– Now, this is a four story tall building and we’re, I dunno, 2, 300 yards away.

– About 200 yards out.

– 200 yards away.

– 200 yards away and-

– Typically, no problem.

– No problem, right. I put the smoke round in, I shoot this thing, and I air ball over the top of this building.

– It’s just goes.

– I wasn’t even aiming in the right anything, right. I had never shot a smoke round before. Come to find out, they’re a lot lighter than a regular HEDP round, but this is the first one we’ve ever got issued or held or seen or whatever, right. And so I air ball this building, my platoon sergeant looks to me like, what the #!*%? You know, I’m just like-

– You’re the best this platoon’s got?

– Exactly!

– I’m just like, I have no idea what just happened right now. So it was pretty funny.

– So then you probably had to radio to the helicopter, don’t go after that one.

– It was in the next neighborhood.

– It was gone.

– Some kid picked it up and was like, “What the heck is this thing?” Geez!

– We got a lot of funny stories from over there.

– Yeah.

Jon and Scott from Warfighter Share Their Best Grenade Story

– A lot of stories that we think are absolutely hilarious, but on the civilian side of things, it doesn’t seem so hilarious. So speaking of the 203 grenades, they have a kill radius of about 10 meters, so about 30 feet around it. We ended up getting in a Northern Iraq in the Mosul and we took over a building for the night and it was kind of like a three story building, a guy’s on a rooftop. But on the inside of the building, there was like a big open, common area. That was probably about 10 meters wide. And it had like, it almost looked like a storage unit, like metal roll up doors all around the outside. And then there was like one or an entrance in the front and an entrance in the back. And so we grounded all of our stuff in there. And you know, every week we had, we weren’t on like a secured base because we were there for the initial invasion. So there wasn’t like a forward operating base that was set up or anything like that.

– [Rob] Right.

– So we grounded, when we grounded our equipment, typically a lot of the times we didn’t unload our weapons because we are guarding ourselves, you know what I mean?

– And normally, and I don’t know why we didn’t do normal that day, normally you just put your weapon next to where you’re sleeping, whatever. But we were all like shot. I mean, we’d been going for days at this point. And so we were all just going to crash out and have a couple of guards on the building, whatever. And somebody said, “Stack weapons.” Well, worked really good in World War II with the M1 Garands.

– What he means by stacking weapons.

– They had the little loops and you’d put them in like a pyramid.

– A teepee.

– A teepee.

– [Rob] Yep.

– Right. So we had never, ever in our lives and training, stacked weapons.

– Ever!

– Ever.

– For any reason. We knew how to do it because we are trained to do it, but it wasn’t like a practical thing that we ever did.

– Yeah, it wasn’t a drill. Okay now stack!

– But so this we’re in this room that’s not much bigger than this set. I mean, it’s probably the size of your booth, right?

– Yeah. Probably smaller than that.

– We have 30, 40 guys in this room and we stack weapons and we hear a gunshot go off.

– We call them an AD, an accidental discharge.

– Right. And so all of all the leadership’s like, “Okay, who was it?” You know, because it’s unacceptable. If you’re an infantry guy, you don’t have an AD like, that’s, you know, you don’t accidentally shoot your gun. Like that’s something that, you know, it’s serious, right.

– So we’re checking all of our guys, making sure nobody’s hit or injured.

– We’re looking at all the safeties and all the guns, right. Because if one’s on fire, that’s the guilty party, right?

– Looking at the dust covers because if the gun went off, the dust covers open, and we’re trained to close the dust covers to keep all the crap out of the guns. And everything, all the guns are on safe, all the dust covers are closed.

– So then I-

– [Rob] Serious round.

– I’m kind of a gun nerd so I start to thinking like, well the sound of that shot wasn’t a rifle round.

– Yeah.

– You know? So I start opening the 203s because their safety is a little different. You have a trigger and then the safety kind of folds in front of the trigger. And then to shoot it, you have to unfold this and then you get the triggers available. But I see one of my guys’ 203 safety’s off and I opened his thing and an empty two or three shell comes out, right. Now, Jon was just telling you about the kill radius, right? Well, we ended up finding the round sitting there. There’s a big dent in the garage door where it hit. Well, what a 203 has, is an arming distance. So it has to have so many rotations before it arms for safety.

– For that specific situation.

– It’s like 14 rotations, which probably translates to 15 feet.

– Yeah, probably.

– So it went off and hit the garage door. But because it didn’t do 14 rounds, it didn’t explode.

– It landed on the ground. So our safety measure is we took somebody’s helmet and put it over the round sitting on the ground until we could figure out what else we could do with it.

– This had never happened before.

– The bomb squad cannot be called at this point.

– [Jon] There’s no bomb squad.

– Exactly. You can’t call the bomb squad. So you guys are sitting here debating, what do we do with it? Pick it up, not pick it up.

– And this is the funny part of this story so-

– Right now a helmet sitting on it though. That’s gonna do a lot.

– And a guy’s in the corner doing pushups.

– Okay, so back to the accidental discharge, what happened was when we stacked weapons, they shifted, and when it shifted it, it cut the safety off.

– Nobody did it.

– It was accidental gravity basically-

– Because the gun was still stacked. So it’s not like the guy pulled the trigger.

– [Rob] Right.

– You know so, but our leadership then they pick it up, they get in their Humvee, and there’s a great big bridge leading into Najaf.

– There’s a bridge, the Tigris River runs right down through it.

– So they’re like, “Okay, well, we’ll just go throw it in the Tigris River, right. Because we don’t know what else to do.”

– Yeah, we’re not going to leave it on the side of the road or allow it to arm itself and whatever. So in theory is a great idea. So they get in this Humvee, they get over this bridge, they find the spot where they think it’s safe to toss this thing over the edge and they’re driving to make sure nothing happens. And they grabbed this round out of the helmet and they go to toss over the bridge and it hits the railing and bounces and lands on the sidewalk. Still doesn’t go off.

– Failed!

– Right.

– Fail!

– So now they’re in-

– You didn’t even clear the bridge.

– They’re in a conundrum of, okay, do we leave it there or do we go pick it up and risk something happening as we put it over the edge, right.

– So far you’re what, 0 for 3. You’re like not doing good. You’re like you got, you’ve tried twice now. What about the third? Is the third shoe gonna fall?

– I don’t remember if they actually kicked it in or if, I think they just left it.

– I think they were just like, we’re pretty lucky so far.

– They need to get, they need to get away from that round. It’s a bad omen.

– Right,

– [Rob] Yeah.

– And you know, and if that round would have hit somebody directly, you know just the impact of the round, it would have been devastating. But if that round would’ve gone off in that building with all of us-

– It would’ve taken out the whole platoon.

– Man, it would’ve been bad, bad. So it’s one of those things, you’re like, you know, you wipe your forehead and you just kinda move on.

– It is really cool that they are safety measures built within that because of those things you just can’t control.

– I think the reason that the safety’s there is like, it was designed in Vietnam. So you have dense jungle, right. So if you hit a branch right in front of you, they didn’t want it going off right in mid-air right in front of you.

– So yeah, you hit a branch, it drops right in front of you.

– [Scott] It would go off-

– As soon as the impact, it would go off.

– So.

– Yep.

– Okay.

– Yeah, but we got a bunch of those stories where close calls.

– Right.

– Yeah, stuff like that, so.

– At the time it was holy #!*%, now looking back on it, hilarious.

– At the time it’s serious.

– [Jon] Yeah.

– [Scott] Yeah.

– Wow. Well, I’m glad you guys are still here to laugh about it.

– Yeah, me too.

– It makes for a better cigar company that way.

Where to Buy Warfighter Cigars and Boveda Cigar Protection

– Yeah, exactly. Great conversation, great company, good stories. That’s what it’s all about. Well, I appreciate you both for your service, but more importantly, just for you as individuals bringing great cigars to us, packaging with Boveda. We appreciate that. Just thank you so much for the conversation and sitting down with me today.

– Thank you guys for having us on.

– Yeah, if you want more from WarFighter, go to and make sure you pick up some Boveda to protect those cigars.

– [Scott] Right.

– [Jon] Yes.

– [Rob] Appreciate it.

– And there’s a dealer locator on our website.

– [Rob] There’s a dealer locator.

– Yes, so buy from your local shop if you can.

– So now you can type in your zip code, find out a dealer near you, or like these guys would like it, ask your retailer to bring them into your shop.

– Please.

– Absolutely.

– Thank you all for watching. Have a great day.

Looking for a Cigar Gift for a Service Member?

Crowdsourcing helped launch this veteran-owned cigar brand by encouraging smokers to shop at local brick-and-mortar tobacco stores. Service members and first responders gave cigar retailers an order: CARRY THESE MILITARY-THEMED CIGARS! Online, Warfighter’s cigar gifts for service members include camouflage travel humidors, cigar ruck cases and airtight Pelican cases, which are all preloaded with Boveda cigar humidity packs to protect the boutique cigars inside.

Warfighter Ruck Case Humidor  Comes Preloaded with Boveda 69% RH and Cigars
This Warfighter Ruck Case Humidor comes with Boveda 69% RH and a 5-pack of Toro cigars inside—you choose the blend!

Highlights from this armed forces cigar podcast episode of Box Press include:  

  • (2:28) What Warfighter cigars are they smoking?
  • (5:07) Why do cigar smokers taste wild flavors in cigars?
  • (6:06) What’s a trifecta cigar smoking experience?
  • (8:34) How did Warfighter Tobacco Company get started?
  • (12:55) How service members crowdsourced Warfighter into tobacco shops
  • (16:44) Why is the Warfighter cigar called Garrison?
  • (17:48) What’s the difference between Warfighter’s Garrison and Field cigars?
  • (18:58) What do Warfighter Tobacco’s calibers mean?
  • (19:59) What’s Warfighter’s Minutemen cigar like?
  • (20:45) Good name for a pandemic cigar—The Dumpster Fire!
  • (40:08) How to smoke a cigar fast without it overheating
  • (43:04) Jon’s sniper story
  • (47:11) Little known fact about grenades

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