Box Press Podcast

Dirt Bikes! Waterfall Jumps! Cigars! Summer Book Picks! Henderson Ventura | Ep. 65

Ease into your recliner and learn more about Dominican boutique cigars with Box Press host Rob Gagner and AdVentura’s Henderson Ventura. This cigar talk meanders as many do at a smoke lounge delving into hobbies, hammocks, never-will-I-evers, book recommendations for guys and your mom’s cooking.

This episode of Box Press was recorded live on location at The Terrible Cigar Club, South Miami’s largest outdoor terrace and indoor cigar lounge and public cigar shop, which also features an online monthly cigar subscription.

– There’s a story inside every smoke shop, with every cigar and with every person. Come be a part of the cigar lifestyle of Boveda. This is Box Press.

– [Rob] We arrive in South Miami, the City of Pleasant Living, and home to Terrible Cigars, which is led by two unlikely friends. Brought together by their love of cigars, Grace and Nigel are outstanding hosts that make the pleasant living a reality. It’s here that I’m meeting Henderson Ventura, the co-master blender at Tobacco William Ventura. Cigar companies like Robert Caldwell, ROOM101, La Barba and J. London have all had cigars made by his factory, but he also makes his own cigars and co-brands ADVentura work with Marcel Knobel. Let’s find out his story and how he got his start. So your family has been in tobacco for 50 years?

-[Henderson] My dad, I mean the whole family, I will say every single uncle that I have, they’ve been rolling cigars in the different factories, being supervisors and everything, so the whole family being involved in the cigar industry. My dad started to roll cigars when he was around nine years old, but- That’s a nice shirt, man.

– [Rob] Nine?

– [Henderson] Yeah, nine years old.

– [Rob] Don’t mind me, I’m just gonna get comfortable. If we’re gonna go down the road 50 years ago, I gotta get real comfortable. These chairs are great. We’re at Terrible Cigars, by the way. This is quite nice. I’ve been on the road for a while. You’ve been on the road a lot lately. What are you doing? You’re going to see shops?

– [Henderson] No, not that much, man. I do-

– [Rob] Not that much? You haven’t been on the road much?

– [Henderson] No, I do like a five days a month mostly, on the road.

– [Rob] Five days a month, that’s it?

– [Henderson] That’s it, five days a month.

– [Rob] It seems like you’ve been doing a lot more than that. Every time I look at your Instagram, you’re on to the next thing.

– [Henderson] The thing when I’m in the Dominican Republic, I’m so busy that I never post nothing. It’s like when you get on that level of being just not even to check your phone for a whole day. I wake up like five in the morning. As soon as I wake up, it’s just running around.

– [Rob] Really?

– [Henderson] Yep, I go to the gym, get up, go to the factory, go to the fields, checking on tobacco, and then just working, man.

Can you hear tobacco plants growing?

– [Rob] I have to ask, can you hear tobacco grow, in the morning, early?

– [Henderson] If I what?

– [Rob] Can you hear the tobacco growing early in the morning?

– [Henderson] No.

– [Rob] No, like there’s no popping or cracking noises of it growing?

– [Henderson] I never experienced that.

– [Rob] No? How early do you get out to the field? I heard it’s like 4:30 in the morning.

– [Henderson] No, I never gotta go to the field that early.

– [Rob] – Can you, next time you’re in the D.R., can you go to the field at 4:30 in the morning for me to see if it’s true? Somebody told me you can hear tobacco growing. I don’t believe it. I’ve never heard it.

– [Henderson] It can be, man, because tobacco grows so fast.

– [Rob] Right, it’s a weed.

– [Henderson] If you go to the tobacco fields today and you go three days later, and you’re gonna feel like a whole different thing when you go back.

– [Rob] That’s what I’m saying, so then you should be able to hear that, k, k, k, k.

– [Henderson] Now I’m gonna check that.

– [Rob] Please do. That would be interesting.

– [Henderson] What I can do, if one day I’m hanging out, like a late night, I don’t want to go back, I go straight to the fields because I’m not gonna wake up just to go to the fields checking that.

– [Rob] But you get up at five already. Don’t you, right outside your door, you live in the field?

– [Henderson] No.

– [Rob] Oh, okay.

– [Henderson] No. That’s not how it works.

– [Rob] My whole life, I’ve been dreaming that you just live in the field.

– [Henderson] No, man.

– [Rob] And you have like a little cabana that you open up, and there’s a front porch where you sit and rock, and look at the tobacco and you always watch it.

– [Henderson] That sounds like a dream, huh?

– [Rob] Oh, yeah in my head.

– [Henderson] But what happened, like at the end of six months, there’s nothing there.

– [Rob] Well, no, because in my dream, it’s always there.

– [Henderson] Always there?

– [Rob] There’s tobacco always growing.

– [Henderson] Just tobacco always there.

– [Rob] Just growing, always. Like a corn field, like the corn field’s always there.

– [Henderson] Always there.

– [Rob] But it’s not.

How often is tobacco harvested?

– [Henderson] No, the with tobacco is you have a more special treatment. And we’re in the Dominican Republic, this is something that we always care about, we never do more than one crop a year, and we make sure that we let rest the, the earth, that we let the rest the soil.

– [Rob] Soil management.

– [Henderson] The soil, yeah.

– [Rob] So you only plant once.

– [Henderson] Once, that’s it.

How long does it take cigar tobacco to grow?

– [Rob] And how long does it take for tobacco to grow?

– [Henderson] I mean, after 65 days, we’re picking tobacco.

– [Rob] 65 days, so the whole time this land just sits barren, and it only is worked for a month and a half.

– [Henderson] Yep.

– [Rob] Maybe two, if you count in tilling it before, and then whatever. Seems like a waste. Why not throw another six-month period, okay, good, it rested long enough, it’s good, let’s do another one?

– [Henderson] No, the thing is we’re in the Caribbean, we have some climate things also. We have certain specific time that we can grow tobacco there because we, remember, we get a lot of, like a tropical storm and we got a lot of hurricane.

– [Rob] Okay, so in the summertime then, that’s the growing season?

– [Henderson] No, winter.

– [Rob] Winter?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] The winter time is the growing season?

– [Henderson] Yep.

– [Rob] So why not just double down then, grow for 65 days, 30-day break, and then grow for another 65? Do some people do that?

– [Henderson] No, 65 days are for pick of the tobacco.

– [Rob] Oh, and then what? And then you pick it again?

– [Henderson] And then you pick again after four days.

– [Rob] So how long do you fully let that plant pick out?

– [Henderson] About 90 days.

– [Rob] 90?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Okay, so then is there enough time to plant another rotation?

– [Henderson] It could be, but we don’t do it.

– [Rob] You don’t do it. Other people do it, though.

– [Henderson] I don’t know.

– [Rob] What does it do to their tobacco? What would it do to your tobacco if you planted it twice, back-to-back like that? Would it be not as flavorful?

– [Henderson] The flavor is not gonna be the same.

– [Rob] Because the soil management is the number one thing that you have to worry about, right?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] It needs water and good minerals.

– [Henderson] Good minerals.

– [Rob] Do you put minerals back into the soil?

– [Henderson] There’s a fertilizer that you use. It’s like whatever is missing the soil, you need to add it.

– [Rob] Do you grow all of your own tobacco and that’s the only tobacco you use or do you buy from other companies?

– [Henderson] We have contracts with different farmers that we’ve been using for years, and we’re also growing our own tobacco, but what we grow is like maybe 10% of what we use in the factory.

– [Rob] You grow only 10% of what you use in the factory?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] So that means you’re buying tobacco from other growers.

– [Henderson] Yes.

– [Rob] To make cigars.

– [Henderson] Yes.

– [Rob] Why is that?

– [Henderson] We’ve just been growing tobacco for two years.

– [Rob] Oh, really?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] I thought your dad had been growing tobacco for 50 years.

– [Henderson] No.

– [Rob] But it’s just now.

– [Henderson] It’s just me that I started to grow tobacco.

– [Rob] Okay, he’s just been rolling cigars for that long.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– We have the factory for 15 years already.

– [Rob] 15?

– [Henderson] 15. Tabacalera William Ventura we started in 2007, May 15, 2007. We were a small company that started to roll like a super premium cigar. I will say we are that factory that represents the Dominican boutique cigar.

Nicaraguan Versus Dominican Boutique Cigars

– [Rob] Oh, yeah, you represent the Dominican boutique cigar.

– [Henderson] Yeah, there is more small boutiques in Nicaragua than Dominican Republic. That’s what I’m saying, we represent the boutique movement in the Dominican Republic. And I will tell you what, man, the thing is the Dominican Republic, most of the main companies in the cigar industry, there were big Dominican companies here in the united States. We’re talking about all the big names. And then you have a few big names coming out of Nicaragua, but they’re not that old. And pretty much all the new companies that started to get ahead in the United States, they were coming out of Nicaragua, and that’s what it started Nicaragua to get more, some hype about Nicaraguan tobacco and all that. It was more with the boutique cigar coming out of Nicaragua. And that’s when people started to smoke a stronger cigar. Like, I’m a full-body smoker, like this and that. A Dominican cigar was too mild for them, but what happened with the Dominican Republic, what people do not figure out is Dominican Republic, they develop a concept of what can be a premium cigar doing the right fermentation to the tobacco so it does affect the health of the people, the throat, and all that, and also the age of the tobacco that we do there. No one does the aging of the tobacco that we do in the Dominican Republic. That’s why the aroma in the cigar is come out of the age.

Why is Cigar Tobacco Fermented?

When you have someone next to you that light the cigar and you turn your face and you say like, “That cigar smells very good,” it’s because that tobacco has some good age on it. So I will say the aging of the tobacco and the fermentation of the tobacco was something that were developed in the Dominican Republic. Then Nicaragua came out with the boutiques, and they came out with some a stronger cigar. Mostly, most of the strong cigar, the flavor and the strength of that tobacco is in the natural oil of the leaf. When you touch like a young tobacco, you’re gonna feel that greasiness, that oil, that’s the flavor and the strength. When you do fermentation to the tobacco, what you try to do with the fermentation is to reduce the amount of oil and the sugar on the tobacco.

– [Rob] Really?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Why?

– [Henderson] So you have a better combustion, and you don’t have that throat thing here.

– [Rob] Back of the throat hurts.

– [Henderson] Yeah, that hurts.

– [Rob] So I thought that was pneumonia because I thought, oils and sugars, that’s what you wanna taste, that’s what you’re tasting.

– [Henderson] That’s all together they’re gonna be reducing on the fermentation process.

– [Rob] Right.

– [Henderson] You want to do a fermentation that you reduce the amount of oil in the tobacco so you have a better combustion and a more refined flavor, but you don’t want to kill all the oil.

– [Rob] Yeah, that makes sense, too much.

– [Henderson] Because that’s the flavor, the strength. So when you taste younger tobacco, you’re gonna get more flavor and more strength.

– [Rob] That’s not good. I’ve tasted younger tobacco and it’s, ugh.

– [Henderson] But it tastes strong, right?

– [Rob] Yeah, and it’s like almost like bitter strong. It’s not like strength is like, ooh, this is a powerful cigar but it tastes good, this is like ew, burning my palate.

– [Henderson] Also was a something that changed a little bit that, that you can have a faster fermentation.

– [Rob] Fast?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Too fast, they cooked it too fast?

– [Henderson] Faster fermentation that you don’t get that much the greasiness out of the tobacco on the taste, and you get them to burn fine, you get the wrapper to burn correctly.

– [Rob] It’s dry enough.

– [Henderson] Yeah, dry enough.

– [Rob] But you rushed it, you went too fast so it doesn’t have the refined flavor.

– [Henderson] I think the market been changing a lot, the consumer been changing a lot and the way that they smoke cigar. I think Nicaragua’s been doing a great job with cigars. They’ve been doing a lot of great things. Dominican Republic has been doing a lot of great cigar through years and years. I will say most most of those old-school factory, they’ve been losing, I will say, their faces, and their energy to be creating great stuff and to renew the look of the company and refresh their company, and I will say that’s when Tobacco William Ventura house’s new generation came out, and been trying to do things differently. And we are still keeping the concept to create what is a basic standard of what we think that is a premium cigar, fermented tobacco, age of tobacco, the complexity of the blends and the balance of the blends. There’s four things: fermentation, age, complexity, balance, and, I think, with those four things you are ready to go with your premium cigar. If your premium cigar doesn’t have those four qualities, I will say it’s still not a premium cigar. Out of balance, out of complexity, it’s not well-aged, it’s not well-fermented tobacco, it’s not a premium cigar. And premium should be something that is done right.

– [Rob] Wait a minute, it should be a right?

– [Henderson] A premium product, it’s just something that is being done right.

– [Rob] Oh, yeah it has to be done right.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] You can’t fast-track it, you can’t side-skirt these, these are the fundamentals.

– Yeah, you don’t take shortcuts, right?

– [Henderson] Yeah, no shortcuts, you can’t quick-cut it, cook it, you can’t top it with some sort of sugar, you can’t add flavor to it, you can’t do something to make it better than it is, or quicker, or faster.

– [Henderson] Or faster. So that’s what represents a premium cigar for us. So as a boutique company, what we’re trying to do is more, and this is what is the boutique movement, I think that’s where everything started to change is where when we started to educate the consumers to have a better understanding of what they’re smoking, what is that blend behind that cigar, where is that tobacco coming from.

– [Rob] You blended this, right?

– [Henderson] Yes.

– [Rob] Not your dad?

– [Henderson] Yes.

– [Rob] That’s why Robert doesn’t like it?

– [Henderson] Yes.

– [Rob] So you don’t blend any of Robert’s cigars?

– [Henderson] I did, but I will say, at the beginning it wasn’t his taste, but maybe he respect that was something that can be good for the market.

– [Rob] But you’ve never blended a Robert Caldwell cigar that was released, he said, “No.”

– [Henderson] I helped in some of them, but mostly my dad.

– [Rob] But your dad was the one, yeah.

– Does that bother you every once in a while, that Robert just has this connection with your dad and not you?

– [Henderson] No, not really.

– [Rob] No?

– [Henderson] I mean, I respect, my dad is my dad, I respect what he does, and he has a very clear understanding of what he likes, he’s very sharp of what he likes, and Robert, I see Robert like my big brother, and I will say he likes what he likes, you know? And that’s the beauty of the cigars, you know? Maybe you don’t like the same cigar I like.

The Stories Behind AdVentura Cigars: The Royal Returns, The Navigator, The Explorer, The Conqueror

– [Rob] I’m team Henderson, so all the stuff that you’ve blended, The Conqueror, The Royal Return, Queen’s Pearl.

– [Henderson] King’s Gold.

– [Rob] King’s Gold, and-

– [Henderson] Navigator.

– [Rob] I don’t know if I’ve had Navigator.

– [Henderson] No?

– [Rob] The Conqueror, right?

– [Henderson] The Conqueror is a black.

– [Rob] Yeah?

– [Henderson] Explorer

– [Rob] The blue one.

– [Henderson] The blue one is The Navigator.

– [Rob] Oh, I have had The Navigator, that’s Habano.

– [Henderson] That’s a San Andres.

– [Rob] Oh, really?

– [Henderson] Yeah. That’s a cool thing also that you can see from our blends.

– [Rob] What is it?

– [Henderson] Every cigar that we have, we have a QR code, right in the barcode. You scan the QR code and it’s gonna send you direct to the website, explaining you the blend of the cigar.

– [Rob] Will you hand me one of those cigars? They’re in my backpack.

– [Henderson] Those also have, because all those cigars that I have at Terrible, they’re limited-edition.

– [Rob] Yeah, but they have them, don’t they?

– [Henderson] They have them? Okay, you got it.

– [Rob] Thank you.

– [Henderson] Take a look.

– [Rob] Now, I’m in marketing so this better be good because if it goes to the wrong spot, it’s a waste of my time. This is called the Royal Return?

– [Henderson] Mm-hm.

– [Rob] I thought this was The Queen’s Pearl.

– [Henderson] Yeah, the Royal Return is the line, and the Royal Return have two blends. One is called The Queen’s Pearl. The other one is The King’s Gold. We release both of the cigar at the same time.

– [Rob] So this is a landing page for the Royal Return.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] So this is gonna have two cigars in it, King’s Gold.

– [Henderson] Yeah, go down.

– [Rob] And the Queen’s Pearl.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] And that’s it.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] As far as the Royal Return.

– [Henderson] Yes.

– [Rob] Okay, so this is not just a QR code for the Queen’s Pearl, which is what I thought it was gonna be.

– [Henderson] It’s the-

– [Rob] Why not just make it for the Queen’s Pearl since that’s what it is?

– [Henderson] Because we don’t have we don’t want the people to misunderstand the story that we’re trying to tell.

– [Rob] And the story is the same for both sides because it’s about the Royal Return.

– [Henderson] Yeah, so let me explain you ADVentura story. So ADVentura is a brand that goes back to the root when everything started with the cigar industry. The cigar industry started when the Europeans came to the New World, to the new continent, to the American continent, discovering new line and new land, and they got into the Caribbean. They got into Dominican Republic, Cuba, and they saw the local people smoking tobacco there, and they started to commercialize that tobacco into Europe, right? So the first line that we have is Explorer, they went out exploring out of Europe, they navigate, and then they conquer the land there. When they conquer the land, they bring back-

– [Rob] Conquer the land, explore, navigate, conquer.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Then what?

– [Henderson] And then what they conquer, they bring back the goods to the royal family, and there was gold, tobacco, all the things that they find in the Caribbean.

– [Rob] In the new world.

– [Henderson] And one of those things was a gift to the queen and a gift to the king, and that’s why it’s called the Queen Pearl and the King’s Gold, so that’s why, to fit the story, we create the line with two blends, that was the Royal Return, that was a gift for the queen and a gift for the king.

– [Rob] That’s cool, I’ve never heard that story.

– [Henderson] No?

– [Rob] No.

– [Henderson] If you go to the website, and now if you watch the interview with Boveda,-

– [Rob] You’ll know.

– [Henderson] You’re gonna know that.

How Long Is Tobacco Aged in Cigars?

– [Rob] You heard it here first. Well, unless you went to their website. I like it, it’s not bad, very good. So cigar aging, this cigar has five-year-old tobacco in it.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Is that real or is it like kind of like-

– [Henderson] It’s a mix.

– [Rob] It’s a mix.

– [Henderson] Yeah, we have three-years-old tobacco and we have five-years-old tobacco in that blend.

– [Rob] So I may not always get five-year-old tobacco?

– [Henderson] You’re gonna have one specific tobacco in that blend that is gonna have five years old.

– [Rob] But the rest of it could be three years or newer.

– [Henderson] The rest can be three years old, yeah. But we never worked with tobacco that have less than three years old of age.

– [Rob] Oh, so that’s my threshold.

– [Henderson] Yeah, no, no, no.

– [Rob] Not one or two years or 18 months.

– [Henderson] Nah.

– [Rob] We’re three years and up.

– [Henderson] Three years and up.

– [Rob] Is that the minimum for you?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] And is that because of flavor or is that just-

– [Henderson] It’s because when we identify that the tobacco isn’t the best of the age. I think the best age for the tobacco is between three years and five years. I think three years is the perfect point. Before that, we feel that it’s still missing aging, and three years-

– [Rob] What about after that? Does it get better after that, too?

– [Henderson] It can change a little bit differently.

– [Rob] It depends?

– [Henderson] It change on the intensity of the flavor, and the richness of the flavor of that tobacco can change a little bit, you can get better aroma, a way more smooth flavor profile when you age a little bit longer, but after five years, the that tobacco just started to decline.

– [Rob] Really?

– [Henderson] Yeah. Like, seven years, still very good, it’s more floral, more earthiness, a lot of aroma, but after seven years, the tobacco just started to lose the quality and the flavor of that tobacco. Remember, the flavor of the tobacco is the oil.

– [Rob] Right, the oil and the sugar.

– So when you age the tobacco for a longer time, you’re just gonna be losing that oil.

– [Rob] What if it’s well humidified?

– [Henderson] And it’s gonna be losing the flavor.

– [Rob] But the well-humidified, the humidity kind of keeps it up.

– [Henderson] It can keep the condition of the tobacco for a longer time, but it doesn’t mean that it’s gonna-

– [Rob] Age better?

– [Henderson] Age better. I will tell you something so you have a better understanding about this. When you have a cigar in your humidor that you’re letting age for two or three years, or four or five years, and you take that cigar out of the cellophane, and you see that cellophane that gets like gold, right?

– [Rob] Yeah.

– [Henderson] And you smell the foot of the cigar and smells like heaven, it’s a wow. That cigar smells so good, it smells better than any foot that I can ever smell, right? Fantastic. But then you light the cigar, and you’re thinking that you’re gonna get the same flavor of the aroma that you’re getting from the foot of the cigar because it smells so good.

– [Rob] And you don’t?

– [Henderson] And then you light the cigar and you were expecting something, after four or five years that you’ve been aging that cigar. You’re smoking the cigar you’re like, “It’s good but I don’t get that flavor, I don’t get the aroma.” You know where is that flavor?

– [Rob] In the cellophane.

– [Henderson] That cellophane that you say, like kind of gold, that’s the oil of that tobacco right there. That’s why when you age the tobacco longer than necessary, you just loose the flavor.

– [Rob] Smoke come ’em if you got ’em.

– [Henderson] You’re gonna have a nice aroma. Everyone around you’s gonna enjoy the cigar better than you.

– Yeah, everyone around you’s gonna be like that cigar smells so good, then you’re gonna be like-

– [Rob] Wish it tasted as good as it-

– [Henderson] I don’t get it.

– [Rob] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

– [Henderson] I don’t get it.

Tobacco Blender Who Loves Dirt Bikes

– [Rob] You’re a motorhead, you’re a motorcycle guy, right?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Dirt bike?

– [Henderson] Dirt bike.

– [Rob] Do you ever motorcycle on the street?

– – [Henderson] Nah, Dominican Republic is a little bit too crazy to be riding–

– [Rob] It’s dangerous?

– [Henderson] Yeah. Yeah, the traffic there is not that organized, I will say.

– [Rob] And the bigger car always wins.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] So you don’t want to pick the smallest car on the road.

– [Henderson] Yeah, so I mean, when you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re the chassis, like you’re the chassis of the motorcycle.

– [Rob] You’re the chassis?

– [Henderson] Yeah, like you’re the body of the motorcycle. If you fell, it’s you that’s gonna get the scratch. The car, you have the body around you.

– [Rob] But in off-road dirt biking, you got protective equipment and you can just go.

– [Henderson] You get protected equipment and you never go so fast because, I do Enduro, that is not like Motocross.

– [Rob] Oh, okay.

– [Henderson] So even if it’s pretty much the same, if you fell, you’re gonna hit the ground. It’s not like it’s you hitting another car.

– [Rob] Right, and it’s softer.

– [Henderson] And it’s softer, and you have all the protection, and also you never go that fast.

– [Rob] You’re going slow.

– [Henderson] On the off road as you can go in the street.

– [Rob] It’s kind of like off-road mountain biking on the center track. I did that for a long time. That’s different than road biking because, again, road biking is all about speed and mileage and getting further, and off-road mountain biking is all about technical and balance.

– [Henderson] Technical and balance.

– [Rob] And can you maneuver through the woods.

– [Henderson] Yep.

– [Rob] There were times where I’d go in between trees and I thought the handlebars were just gonna, like this is not wide enough, and it is-

– [Henderson] And imagine the same, but just you have like a edge of a downhill.

– [Rob] That’s what I have.

– [Henderson] You have like five inch of, you can get your wheel there, and go through, and then it’s just-

– [Rob] One inch over and you’re .

– [Henderson] Yep.

– [Rob] Yeah, I know, it’s intense. So you have good balance then.

– [Henderson] I will say that I have enough adrenaline that I need to burn out.

– [Rob] Really, you don’t have good balance?

– [Henderson] I do.

– [Rob] Yeah, so you can balance-

– [Henderson] No, you gain that. You gain that with experience because the one thing about the balance, it’s just to have a clear focus about move forward. If you started to look down and the side, you’re gonna be shaking and loose the control.

– [Rob] Well, and you also, your balance, especially on a motorcycle, goes where you look, so if you do look down or look to the side, you’re going this way. It’s counter steering. I have a street bike as well and counter steering is actually pulling down to push into the concrete to push me that way. I don’t turn my wheel to go that way. If I turn my wheel to go that way, I go that way. It’s counter steering. Some people don’t get that. They’re like, “What?” I’m like, “Yeah, I just move my hips or press down and I’m going that way.”

– [Henderson] A motorcycle is a lot of body movement, and it’s a whole body, you know?

– [Rob] My wife will be on the back, and she’ll be messing around, and I’m like, “Stop.” I’m tapping her, like, “You’re wiggling the bike all over the road, I cannot keep straight. You gotta slow down.” She’s like, “But my butt’s hurting. This is too small, the seat.” I’m like, “Well, we’ll stop because I can’t have you squirming back there.”

– [Henderson] And the dirt bikes, you do a lot of stand-up riding.

– [Rob] You’re not sitting down a whole lot.

– [Henderson] You’re not sitting down that much, but it’s a lot of exercise of stand up and sit down on the bike, or pull back, or pull to the front. Sometimes, the next day, you start to feel muscle that hurts you that you never feel it.

– [Rob] Yeah, I know.

– [Henderson] In the back here and your shoulder, your arms, your legs.

– [Rob] That’s fun, though.

– [Henderson] It’s fun.

– [Rob] You’re always posting photos of that. Is that your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

– [Henderson] It is.

– [Rob] Really?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] You have kids?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] How many?

– [Henderson] Two.

– [Rob] What’s their age?

– [Henderson] Five and two.

– [Rob] Five and two?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Do they motorbike with you?

– [Henderson] No, my little boy loves bikes, but he don’t have the age yet.

– [Rob] Will you get him into it once he’s older?

– [Henderson] Yeah, he’s gonna get into it, he loves that.

– [Rob] What what age would you start your son doing it?

– [Henderson] Maybe four or five.

– [Rob] And is your son two?

– [Henderson] Yep.

– [Rob] Oh, so your daughter’s old enough to do it if she wanted.

– [Henderson] My daughter is, maybe I shouldn’t say it, but girls are girls, boys are boys, they’re born with that thing. My little girl, she loves to paint. I used to paint also a lot, but she’s more on the artist side. This kid is just like a savage.

– [Rob] He’s a savage.

– [Henderson] He wants to be on the bike, he wants to be using the tools.

– [Rob] He’s a motorhead and adrenaline junkie. Are you an adrenaline junkie?

– [Henderson] I do.

– [Rob] Yeah?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

Adrenaline Rush for a Cigar Lover

– [Rob] What is the best release for adrenaline for you?

– [Henderson] Jump out of something.

– [Rob] Jump out of something?

– [Henderson] Yeah, like a jumping a waterfall, jumping a parachute.

– [Rob] You’ve done parachuting? [Henderson] From the hills, I don’t know how you call that, not from the plane. That’s one thing that I’m missing.

– [Rob] So you don’t have big enough hills to parachute?

– [Henderson] Yeah, we do.

– [Rob] Planes, are you talking about planes?

– [Henderson] That’s the only thing that I miss, to jump out of a plane.

– [Rob] You haven’t jumped out of a plane?

– [Henderson] No.

– [Rob] But you’ve jumped off of a cliff and parachuted?

– [Henderson] Yep.

– [Rob] And you jump off a cliff into water?

– [Henderson] Yep.

– [Rob] Have you bungee jumped?

– [Henderson] What’s a bungee jump?

– [Rob] With the thing on the ankles and the, the bungee.

– [Henderson] No.

– [Rob] Oh, you should try that.

– [Henderson] I will do it, for sure.

– [Rob] Yeah?

– [Henderson] If it’s water on the the bottom.

– [Rob] We need to cut to the next episode of Box Press where we go bungee jumping with Henderson.

– [Henderson] I’m in.

– [Rob] All right.

– [Henderson] What else do you have?

– [Rob] I’ve never been bungee jumping, so we got to figure this out. We’ll figure it out, what we’re gonna do.

– [Henderson] You like that kind of thing?

– [Rob] No, I’m afraid of heights, it’s super bad. I rock climbed to get over my fear of heights and to have confidence, but if you put me up on that bungee jumping deck and say just jump off, I’m gonna have a really hard time with it.

– [Henderson] The hard time is to make the decision.

– [Rob] It is, I would almost be better off just running and go, don’t even look down.

– [Henderson] And the other thing is, this, I have a hard time, there’s only one thing in my life that I fear, that’s the ocean.

– [Rob] You fear the ocean?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Me, too. You’re not supposed to be down there. People who scuba dive, they don’t make any sense to me.

– [Henderson] So I want to break the ice, and I went scuba diving with Robert. I got to the middle of the ocean, and I swim for not even 50 meters. After I saw like the boat a little bit far away from me, I’m in the middle of the ocean, I was like, “If I see a shark here,” let me go back.

– [Rob] Let me go back to the boat.

– [Henderson] Let me go back to the boat.

– [Rob] I had the same experience snorkeling.

– [Henderson] But that’s the only thing that I fear in my life and I need to break the ice.

– [Rob] I had the same experience snorkeling. My mom was like, “Why are you staying around the boat? Go off,” and I’m like, “No I’m afraid.” I don’t wanna go away from the boat too quickly or too far in case I see something or something happens. And other people are getting out and going, and the guide is like, “Okay, stay a little closer, stay a little closer,” and they’re like diving down for long periods of time, I’m just kind of staying on top, trying to stay afloat, basically, and stay close to the boat.

– [Henderson] That’s what happens with people that never grew up by the ocean.

– [Rob] What about them?

– [Henderson] That happens to people that never grew up by the ocean.

– [Rob] Oh, yeah, I never grew up by the ocean. I’m in Minnesota, I’m landlocked. I got a bunch of lakes, but we don’t scuba dive, or I don’t. Some people do, and they’re cold. Lake Superior is-

– [Henderson] What do you like to do for fun?

– [Rob] Mountain bike, read, I like reading now. I’m getting older.

– [Henderson] Do you have kids?

– [Rob] I used to rock climb. Yeah, I have a daughter. She’s just over one.

– [Henderson] Over one?

– [Rob] Yeah, she just turned one in January, so that keeps me pretty active. I like going to the playground with her.

– [Henderson] No, it’s just like, I love reading also, and after I have two kids, it’s not my thing anymore.

– [Rob] Really?

– [Henderson] You don’t have the time anymore. I just get home and just have your book.

– [Rob] I do, but, well, my daughter goes to bed around 7:30, so then after that-

– [Henderson] I need to fix that.

– [Rob] I have time to… Do your kids stay up late?

– [Henderson] If I’m home, because that’s one thing, maybe they go to sleep around 8:30 at night, but if I’m home, they get excited and they stay until 9:30.

– [Rob] Oh, yeah, then you’re done. I’m in bed by 9:30. Yeah, you you don’t have time to read, unless you put your kids to bed.

– [Henderson] You know when I read? When I’m traveling.

– [Rob] Yeah, on the plane.

– [Henderson] Yeah, or in the hotel room or something, that’s when I read.

– [Rob] Yeah, I started listening to books on audio in the car because I wasn’t getting enough reading in.

– [Henderson] That’s cool.

– [Rob] That’s another way to do it.

– [Henderson] I did one book like that, it’s cool.

– [Rob] Which one?

Henderson Ventura’s Book Pick: The Richest Man in Babylon By George S. Clason

– [Henderson] The richest guy in the world, the Babylonia guy. What was it, “The Richest Man from Babylonia.”

– [Rob] That’s what you read? Or listened to audio?

– [Henderson] Yeah, the audio.

Rob Gagner’s Summer Book Pick: Shadow Diver By Robert Kurson

– [Rob] I recently read, and you might like this because you’re trying to get over that fear of the ocean, scuba diving, it’s called “Shadow Divers,” and they find an undisclosed U-boat off the coast of New Jersey that the government doesn’t even know about, and it’s just to the depth that it’s super scary for a diver, and so it’s very dangerous. Three people died trying to scuba dive that submarine. The book is a constant page turner.

– [Henderson] Did you read the book?

– [Rob] Oh, I read it in like two weeks.

– [Henderson] And do you feel now like you can go to the ocean-

– [Rob] No way, man, I felt worse. I was like, “I’m not doing that, that is so-“

– [Henderson] So why do you recommend that book to me?

– [Rob] Because it’s cool. Because it’s cool, it’s all about scuba diving, and I learned so much about scuba diving. And that level of scuba diving, you could do, maybe, if you wanted, but it takes, that’s like me saying I’ma master blender and I know everything about tobacco. That’s not happening, but you’re not at that level. You won’t be at that level scuba diving.

– [Henderson] I don’t mind about swimming, man, I don’t mind about swimming. The thing is the things on the ocean that you-

– [Rob] Yeah, under you, what’s under you?

– [Henderson] Yeah, like sharks, normally, right?

– [Rob] I went snorkeling once and I saw a barracuda, with the long, and the teeth out, and he was just sitting there. I didn’t know that they could sit there. They don’t have to move in order to breathe. They just sit there, and he was looking right at me, I thought it was, and I literally did the backwards run because you have flippers on so you can’t run forward, you’ll fall. I had to run backwards to get out of the water. I was in the water for less than a minute. That was the end of my snorkeling that day. They all laughed at me. They said, “Why are you back so early?” I’m like, “I’m hungry and I wanna smoke a cigar.” Didn’t tell them that I saw a barracuda. Scared the crap out of me.

– [Henderson] So I want to be in a position that I can still control.

– [Rob] You are?

– [Henderson] Yeah, I like to be in a position that that I can still control it.

– [Rob] Would you have gone in the water?

– [Henderson] I mean, I would’ve done scuba diving, no problem, but it should be about with five or ten guys, that they’re very experienced about it, they can like, “Hey, okay, there’s a shark there, but be chill, this is how we manage the situation. It’s not like they’re gonna attack people, but if I look by myself and you’re there, I’m here, I’m like, “I’m fucked, like I need to-“

– [Rob] Come out, man.

– [Henderson] Like, what do I do?

– [Rob] I don’t think we should be underwater like that, we weren’t meant to be. You gotta carry an oxygen tank and all this.

– [Henderson] But people get it done, right?

– [Rob] Yeah, but we also go to outer space, but I’m not volunteering to go.

– [Henderson] I feel like this is the only thing on Earth that I fear, and this is the only thing that I need to pass, I need to get it done. I don’t want to be with fear in my life, with any fear.

– [Rob] No fear?

– [Henderson] No fear.

– [Rob] You don’t want any fear in your life?

– [Henderson] I don’t want any fear in my life.

– [Rob] Well, that’s good, that’s a good philosophy to have. Then yeah, go for it, man, go, get it, scuba dive.

– [Henderson] Scuba diving.

– [Rob] Master it.

– [Henderson] And jump out of the plane, but that’s gonna be a challenge for me.

– [Rob] And read “Shadow Divers,” then you’ll master it. You’ll be like, “Yeah, challenge accepted, I’m in.”

– [Henderson] Like swimming with the sharks.

– [Rob] Yeah, I wouldn’t do that either. Swimming with the sharks would be tough. You like that? It’s kind of nice, you can get any position you like. There’s nothing worse than a recliner that’s just like all the way back and you’re like, “Okay, this isn’t comfortable.”

– [Henderson] No, no, that’s not comfortable. The thing is to get out of those chairs.

– [Rob] Yeah, and this is nice because your legs are kind of slightly elevated, but they’re not like this.

– [Henderson] And if you want to get up, you go backwards and you just need to go like, you don’t need to move your body, right?

– [Rob] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, and I’m too too light of a guy that to get a good recline in some of those, you gotta have a lot of head weight, and then to get back up, you gotta really go, so I’m all for this electric chair. This is great. Do you have one of these at your house, do you have one of these?

– [Henderson] No, I don’t want to go that lazy in my house.

– [Rob] On your front porch.

– [Henderson] I have a hammock in my front porch.

– [Rob] In the tobacco field. Yeah, hammocks are great.

– [Henderson] Hammocks.

– [Rob] Have you ever slept in a hammock, like overnight?

– [Henderson] Not overnight.

– [Rob] No, it’s great.

– [Henderson] Not overnight, but I can tell that can be great. I fall to sleep in my front porch already a few times, and my wife like just go and wake me up, like one in the morning, two in the morning. Like, “What are you doing here?” I get home sometimes, take a shower, have dinner, I’m tired, I feel like, like when you have that kind of things in your house, it becomes like a ritual, that this is something that you do, like, yeah, that’s a chill time, I’m in my house already, I’m gonna get in my hammock.

– [Rob] Yes. Send me through your ritual. You come home from the the work, the field, working or whatever, you come home you eat dinner with the family and the kids, your wife. Do you guys watch TV?

– [Henderson] Not at all.

– [Rob] Not at all. No TVs in the house?

– [Henderson] We have TV, but I’m not a TV guy.

– [Rob] Are your kids on the TV?

– [Henderson] My kids, all the kids are on the TV right now.

– [Rob] They’re always on the TV?

– [Henderson] That’s the only way that you can have an hour in your house that you can chill. But do you know how we got the TV?

– [Rob] How?

– [Henderson] So I have my first daughter, and we didn’t have TV in my house. It was like a no TV in my house. And my mom was like, “Henderson, are you planning to raise your kid without a TV? You always had a TV when you were a kid. Those kids need to have a TV,” so she brought a TV to my house for my daughter.

– [Rob] Your mom did.

– [Henderson] My mom did.

– [Rob] Did you like that or was that kind of like, “No, I didn’t want this.”

– [Henderson] I wasn’t agreeing, but I, at the same time, was like, that’s my mom.

– [Rob] So you didn’t agree with that decision, but you just let it go.

– [Henderson] Yeah, but kids like TV.

– [Rob] Grandmas are really influential.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Yeah, and the kids love them because they just get whatever. “I want some candy!” “Okay.” “I wanna stay up!” “Okay.”

– [Henderson] Man, I have like a three women in my life.

– [Rob] Three women?

– [Henderson] Yeah, my wife, my mom, and my daughter.

– [Rob] In that order?

– [Henderson] Huh?

– [Rob] In that order?

– [Henderson] Yeah, like, no, my mom, my wife, and my daughter. I will say the order is my mom, my daughter, my wife.

– [Rob] Of importance?

– [Henderson] No, not in birth order, in terms of control.

– [Rob] Control?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Your mom has more control, then your daughter has more control over you, and then your wife does.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Whoa.

– [Henderson] No, my mom still she wants to control like if you’re still a five-years-old kid. She called me, and she was like, “Why you didn’t tell me that you were leaving today?” I was like…

– [Rob] I didn’t know I needed to check with you!

– [Henderson] I saw you yesterday, just like, this just happened so often.

– [Rob] You you better call your mom next time. You gotta call her and tell her when you’re coming back? Otherwise you can’t come back.

Always Ready for Mom’s Home-Cooked Dominican Meal

– [Henderson] No, every time that I come back, I call my mom because I make sure that she sent me some food.

– [Rob] Oh, really?

– [Henderson] Yeah, like every time that you go out of the country, when you go back home, you want to have your mom’s food.

– [Rob] So not your wife’s food?

– [Henderson] No.

– [Rob] Does your wife cook, though?

– [Henderson] I want my mom’s food.

– [Rob] Your wife cooks, though, right?

– [Henderson] Yeah, but I can get that the rest of the time. The thing I always, like I try to eat very healthy.

– [Rob] Yeah, it’s hard on the road.

– [Henderson] And Dominican food is very high in carbohydrates.

– [Rob] Really?

– [Henderson] Yeah, there’s a lot of rice and beans, but every time that I get back home, I need that Dominican old-school food.

– [Rob] From your mom.

– [Henderson] From my mom.

– [Rob] So you’re, “Hey, Mom, I’m gonna be back in town.”

– [Henderson] Yeah, “I’m back.”

– [Rob] And she starts cooking.

– [Henderson] Like save me some dinner, send me some lunch.

– [Rob] Do you live close to your mom?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] How far?

– [Henderson] About five minutes.

– [Rob] Five minutes.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] That’s nice.

– [Henderson] I used to live in the city of Santiago, that is about half hour from my town. And then when I have my second kid, I was traveling too much, we don’t have no one around us that take care of the kids in case that we need to go out and I’m traveling or my wife needs help, so I moved into my parents’ house. That is the old house. So they have a new house for years, and that house was empty for a while, so I moved back in the house that I was raised.

– [Rob] And you’re raising your family there?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] That’s so cool.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Sweet.

– [Henderson] It’s cool. But I changed the whole house.

– [Rob] Right, yeah, yeah, yeah.

– [Henderson] I mean, it didn’t even look like the same house that I was raised there.

– [Rob] You gotta do some updates.

– [Henderson] Yeah, I did a whole update.

New AdVentura—Growing Tobacco on a Coffee Farm in the D.R. Mountains

– [Rob] What about your wife’s family, are they near you guys? Where are they from?

– [Henderson] How do you call that, like a hillbilly or something like that?

– [Rob] Hillbilly?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Yeah, country.

– [Henderson] Country, super country people. They’re from the center of the country. It was a very old Spanish colony that stayed there, and they used to grow coffee there, so my wife, her family, they used to be one of the biggest coffee producers in the country.

– [Rob] Wow!

– [Henderson] And they have a lot of farms there. Actually, I’m just doing a new experiment growing some tobacco up there.

– [Rob] Really? Oh, so you said, “Hey, can I grow some tobacco on your land?”

– [Henderson] No, they have so much land that they like, “Whatever you need.”

– [Rob] Did it work out?

– [Henderson] It’s just in process right now. But it’s working out so far.

– [Rob] So we’ll see.

– [Henderson] Let’s see, in a few years.

– [Rob] But it’s doing its thing right now, it’s marinating.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] Cool.

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] I’m excited for that. New territory, no one’s ever grown tobacco there?

– [Henderson] People, back in the day, they used to grow tobacco-

– [Rob] But like right now?

– [Henderson] Not in the way that they grow tobacco right now. And also it’s like uh 1600 meters over the ocean level.

– [Rob] 1600 meters?

– [Henderson] Yeah.

– [Rob] So yeah almost-

– [Henderson] That’s about 3,000 feet.

– [Rob] 2,000 meters, yeah. That’s like Estelí, Nicaragua. Estelí is like 1300 or 1600 meters, or 3,000 feet. Cool. Anything else you want to say to the lovely folks out?

– [Henderson] I mean, we’re still working. I will say we have a lot of things to get done as the new generation in the Dominican Republic. One of the things that we’re doing is that we’re growing tobacco, but what we’re trying to do with tobacco is to raise the standard of whatever we have done in the Dominican Republic in the past years, and we grow new variety of tobacco, trying to get new flavor profile to create a new experience for the cigar consumers, so that’s what you can expect from ADVentura Cigar in the future, a whole different level experience in terms of flavor profile, cigar experience, and this is what everything makes sense for me, as master blender, that you can be able to create a whole new different experience, a way different experience to anything else in the market, but always trying to do the best, and that’s it.

– [Rob] Awesome, man.

– [Henderson] Also bringing a new concept. We have about three new releases that we’re gonna do for ADVentura this year.

– [Rob] Sweet, three new releases this year.

– [Henderson] Yeah, we have two limited-edition, and we have a regular production cigar that is gonna be outstanding.

– [Rob] So is it new blends or just new sizes?

– [Henderson] New blends, everything new.

– [Rob] All three are new blends?

– [Henderson] New blends, yeah.

– [New] Completely new profiles?

– [Henderson] Completely new profiles.

– [Rob] I love it, look forward to it.

– [Henderson] Me, too.

– [Rob] You can crack the whip on that. That’s a wrap. Thanks for watching another episode of Box Press. Henderson, thank you so much for joining me and taking the time right now in Miami.

– [Henderson] Thank you, man. I appreciate it, thank you, man. Always a good time.

– [Rob] Absolutely.

Protect Cigars with Boveda Packs

– – [Henderson] Nice to see you. And always thank you to the Boveda family to improve the quality of our product, to conserve the cigars in the well condition.

– [Rob] Thanks for shipping with Boveda, so that we know every time the cigars land in the States, they’re ready to smoke.

– [Henderson] Always, even all my samples come with Boveda, so we make sure, this is one of the most important thing for the cigar, to make sure that the cigar have the right condition. It doesn’t matter how good is a blend, if the cigar is not the right condition, you’re never gonna get the taste of the cigar the proper way, so thank you very much.

– [Rob] You’re welcome.

– [Henderson] To create such a unique product, and I’m blessed to be using that, man.

– [Rob] Yeah, we can’t thank you enough, and now we’re gonna have to see a For My Humidor ad for you, so we’re gonna get a picture of you and we’re gonna place some For My Humidor ads because that’s what you use, you use Boveda in your humidor.

– [Henderson] Yeah, I do.

– [Rob] You can say it here, for my humidor, I use Boveda.

– [Henderson] For My Humidor, I use Boveda, and for every single box that we produce in the cigar factory we use Boveda also.

– [Rob] That’s awesome, thank you so much.

– – [Henderson] Thank you, man.

– [Rob] That’s a wrap.

– – [Henderson] Appreciate it.

– [Rob] Check it out, for more episodes of Box Press, subscribe to our channel, and as always, if you need Boveda for your humidor, like Henderson, head over to or visit your local retailer. Bless, have a good weekend.

Who is Henderson Ventura?

This master blender hails from a tobacco family. For two decades, his father William Ventura worked for Davidoff. In 2007, William launched his own business, Tabacalera William Ventura. Henderson is the general manager of this family cigar business. In addition to the AdVentura cigar brand, which Henderson Ventura created with Marcel Knobel, the factory also produces premium long fillers for many other Dominican boutique cigar brands, including Caldwell Cigars and La Barba.

AdVentura’s cigar lines read like a seafarer’s saga, from The Explorer and The Navigator to The Conquerer and The Royal Return, which rewards the smoker with two blends, Queen’s Pearl and the King’s Gold. By packaging with Boveda, AdVentura protects its cigars’ flavor and construction as they journey from the D.R. to tobacco shops to your home humidor.

Amaze Your Friends at the Smoke Shop with Some Tobacco Trivia, Listen Up:

  • 02:57 Can you hear tobacco plants growing?
  • 05:15 How often is tobacco harvested?
  • 05:34 How long does it take cigar tobacco to grow?
  • 08:31 Nicaraguan versus Dominican Republic boutique cigars
  • 10:33 Why is cigar tobacco fermented?
  • 17:52 How did AdVentura cigars get their names?
  • 22:20 How long should you age premium cigars?
  • 26:59 Dirt bikes!
  • 33:00 Waterfall diving!
  • 34:46 Sharks!
  • 38:24 Henderson’s book pick: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
  • 38:43 Rob’s summer book pick: Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
  • 46:40 Always ready for mom’s home-cooked Dominican meal
  • 49:33 New AdVentura—growing cigar tobacco on a coffee farm in the mountains
  • 53:24 Protecting cigars with Boveda

Box Press is a Boveda production: As the global leader in 2-way humidity control, Boveda is proud to offer 2-way humidity control packs for fine cigars that are safe, effective, and reliable. Watch more Box Press episodes here.

Discover what the pros already know, and make Boveda your source for humidor humidity packets, and cigar humidifiers.

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