Box Press Podcast

What’s a Gourmet Cigar? Feat. Jake Wyatt Cigars | Ep. 46

Your mouth will water while you listen to this Box Press episode with Jake Wyatt Cigars at the 2021 Tobacco Plus Expo in Las Vegas. The company’s gourmet cigar lines are artisanal tobacco blends brought to you by Neil Garcia and Gerard Abajian. 

Friends Neil and Gerard launched Jake Wyatt in 2020. Named after their two sons, the boutique cigar brand offers five premium lines of tobacco you won’t find anywhere else. Cigar enthusiasts who enjoy flavors that pleasantly linger on the palate must try these smokes. Nab a Jake Wyatt sample box of Lanceros or Toros at your brick-and mortar tobacco shop to experience them all.

During this cigar podcast, you’ll really get to know the men behind the cigars. “This is one of the best interviews I’ve ever sat in,” Gerard said. Neil agreed. “You bring out vulnerable stuff. He [Gerard] doesn’t talk like this in any other interview. It’s all Jake Wyatt and cigars. You got him going on all kinds of stuff.” We invite you to listen.


To protect the sugars and oils of their artisanal tobacco blends, Neil and Gerard box Jake Wyatt Cigars with Boveda. Shop cigar protection for your own humidor.


Rob Gagner (RG): 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.

Cigar podcast with Jake Wyatt Cigar’s Neil Garcia and Gerard Abajian 

– Welcome to another episode of Box Press. I am your host, Rob Gagner. And I am at TPE 21 sitting across from the founders of Jake Wyatt’s Cigar Company. Now Jake Wyatt Cigar Company is named after their sons. They’ve been best friends for years. They got more than 30 years of retail experience. They also have had extensive professional baseball in their lineup. This company has a lot going for it and not only do the cigars taste good, they look amazing. You’re not gonna find another cigar out on the market that looks and is presented in this manner. You’re gonna want to pay attention for this one. This is gonna be a good interview. Neil, Gerard, thank you for joining me. It is a pleasure to finally do this. This has been two years in the making, so thank you so much for being here.

– Thank you.

– Thank you, buddy. I always spend some time with you.

– Now, before we started the show, I have three questions. I call this bit, how well do you know me? You guys have been friends for how long, how many years?

– Just 20 years.

– 20 years?

– Yeah.

– After 20 years of friendship, you should know each other.

– Oh boy.

– Oh, oh, we might know each other too good.

– And we’ll get into those stories later. So I asked you each three questions, wanted to hear your response. And so we’re gonna go through, and Neil, I’m going to ask you first on Gerard, what is Gerard’s favorite sport to watch?

– Favorite sport to watch, for Gerard?

– You’re making me concerned that you don’t really know your friend. Do you guys like sit down and watch?

– Gerard is a car guy by nature because he doesn’t necessarily watch a lot of NASCAR and Indy car. He’s not a traditional American sports fan like me, I’m a baseball, football, basketball guy, he could take it or leave it. So, it’s actually a broad question, but he loves all motor sports. So I guess I’d go motor sports, I guess, but he likes watching-

– You can’t drill it down to one motor sport? I mean, that is really generic.

– He loves his motorcycles.

– Are we talking like formula one, NASCAR, motorcycle?

– What’s motorcycle racing, Gerard?

– Moto GP.

– Moto Jimbi?

– Moto GP.

– Moto GB?

– GP.

– GP, Grand Prix.

– Grand Prix. Motor Grand Prix? That’s what you’re going with?

– And you know what, like the contrary, he’s not gonna know a lot of the American terms of the sports I like, but yes. Final answer, Rob. Final answer.

– Final answer is incorrect.

– Okay, I figured.

– He likes to watch basketball.

– Okay.

– Basketball.

– The basketball is his favorite.

– He just partook in his with the fire department with his fantasy football. So he was into that more than I’ve seen him into a lot as of late.

– That’s ’cause there’s money on the stake.

– Exactly.

– 20 bucks.

– Yeah, 20 bucks. You got to try to win that 20 bucks.

– Just so he knows the colors of the uniforms and how good things look, that’s the depth of his basketball stuff.

– You and I have the same depth of sports. What color is the team? Yeah, I’ll just go with that, I like red.

– But his love is on the motor sports side.

– Yeah, I know he races. You race your own car.

– Yeah. Openly on- Let me take that back. I do track days, closed wheel cars. So I just built a little Honda Civic for myself. It’s got the roll cage, whatever, for time being-

– He was on the motorcycle stuff which freaked me out. I’m scared to death of motorcycles. Street bikes, GSXRs or whatever the heck, I don’t know-

– Yeah, it was at GSXR. I used to track that as well and do canyon carving-

– Popping wheelies on the street and doing stuff. And we were seeing, I mean, eventually we got them off.

What’s a vanborghini?

– I was in my twenties, I’m in my forties now.

– So now he’s daddy.

– No more wheelies, I walk now. I don’t even run. I walk the dog, I get to bed by 10.

– Times have changed.

– Time have changed. Yeah. I don’t have a bike.

– You really traded it in.

– Oh yeah. Big time. It traded it in for-

– He now has a vanborghini-

– A vanborghini? Dude, I want a minivan so bad, I’m trying to convince my wife to buy one.

– Oh, call me later, I got a text from my wife, that she now want one and we have one.

– Oh, I want one so bad.

– And she loves it.

– I love ’em.

– She calls it the vanborghini.

– The vanborghini. Did you soup it up? Did you put like wheels on it too?

– Absolutely not.

– No more that just the payments and that’s it.

– I just saw on the payments and that’s it.

– That’s it, man. It’s 300 horsepower. The way it is, it’s good enough.

– Yeah, baby. Here we go. Get those kids to soccer, vroom . All right.

– So I was wrong, I was wrong. Next question.

– Neil, what is Gerard’s favorite food or meal?

– Favorite food? He’s a Mediterranean guy, but we both like Mexican as well. Golly, this is gonna be tough, but he’s a Mediterranean guy through and through. He’s one of the pickiest eaters, and very particular with everything from the Texas Toast, from Raising Cane’s. According to Gerard, he makes it better to real, which is something. Panini Grill, that’s a local place, a Mediterranean place by our house, which doesn’t doesn’t do it quite as good as it should be. So there’s always the critical side, when it comes to food. He loves Mexican, he just got me a gift certificate, not too long ago, which I haven’t used yet for a great Mexican place. Golly, this is tough. I’m going Mediterranean. But I know that’s not the right answer. I know it, I know Mexican too, but.

– Final answer, I know it’s not right. You are out of the $1 million running, you’re gonna have to settle for 50K. It’s pizza.

– Oh, damn! We didn’t barely eat pizza.

– I mean, how can you say no to pizza? It’s my favorite food. I mean, I will never say no to pizza.

– That’s true.

– You know what I mean?

– It’s hard to find a good pizza joint, especially in our neck of the woods

– You wanna have a serious business discussion with Gerard, you order pizza.

– I know.

– He can’t say no to pizza, and he probably then will not say no to your…..

– Gina’s pizza are the best.

– Gina’s is good. There we go.

– Shout out to Gina’s Pizza?

– Gina’s. They have a local-

– It’s sold in California?

– Called Gina’s.

– Nice. Their crust is unbelievable.

– It’s good stuff

– A good crust makes a pizza.

– Yes, I’m getting hungry right now.

– And sauce. Okay, sauce or crust to make or break it.

– Crust.

– Oh dude, I’m sauce all the way. Sauce could make or break it.

– Sauce. I’m going with sauce.

– So you can always add sauce.

– No, but their sauce has to be good sauce.

– Oh, I thought you meant like the amount.

– No, No, No. Okay. So now do you change your answer?

– No, because I can always change. The thing is with the crust. If they don’t make it good crust, you can’t change it, but you can always make modifications. You can add sauce, add different sauce, more sauce, more cheese, more toppings later. But the crust, once it’s baked, that’s it. You can’t really change it.

– But can’t really change the flavor profile of the sauce?

– No. To an extent, but I’m just saying, you know?

– But do you think there’s a pretty good safety and like the sauce is the sauce. Like whether it’s like spectacular or just sauce, the crust is really the shining

– ‘Cause I can always dip it in ranch.

– Honey.

– Oh, you’re a rancher?

– I mean, I love that pizza. There’s all kind of ways around it.

– What’s that? You put up ketchup up on your pizza too?

– No, not tried that. That’s a new one.

– I can’t do that one. The honey on the crust is delicious.

– Like the best way to eat pizza, is when it’s a leftover. I get a skillet, and I put it right on top of the skillet, right on the stove top. And I cover the skillet, right? As it’s heating up. It just makes the crust crunchy, and then cheese just melts again. Just throw it on a plate. And it’s just crunch. Crunch.

– I wanna try that because I usually do the inverse. I do the broil cause I don’t like microwave pizza. That’s disgusting.

– I agree.

– That’s so gross, it’s like chewing on rubber. So you broil it. But then even in the broil, the dough, because it’s like cold.

– Yeah.

– The moisture comes out of it, and then kind of makes the dough kind of soggy when you broil it.

– Gotcha.

– So, I might need to broil, skillet, eat.

– And then call me and let me know how it went.

– I’ll let you know. Hey Gerard, I got a new way of doing it. Broil it, skillet, eat.

– That’s it.

– I’ll skip the ranch, though.

– It depends.

– Yeah. Yeah. Which of Gerard’s achievements is he most proud of? And this is specifically for his career. So he can’t say, I know you guys are both fathers, as like a dead giveaway. So we’re talking career only, because you both have done many different things in your careers. So this is a little harder.

– For him, for sure, it’s gonna be his fire career, ’cause it was an advocation. He worked his butt off to get there. A lot of moving parts. When we went to his original graduation, I don’t know how many people we had there, but the whole family, Gerard’s father was still with us, and he was as proud as I’ve ever seen him. So I definitely his becoming a fireman. Final answer, Rob.

– You got one, you got one. You’re on the board. You actually know your best friend, pretty well, 25%, 30%.

– The other two were kinda personal and pretty tough. The other two were pretty tough.

– I think I was accurate. The motor sports is his favorite sport.

– You are very accurate. You’re just wrong.

– But he asked what’s his favorite sport was. Okay, you got me. I ain’t winning in this one.

– All right, Gerard.

– All right.

– You got the same question. So what is Neil’s favorite sport to watch?

– Baseball.

– Yeah. That’s not hard. I mean, he’s a pro baseball player.

– I’m much more transparent than Gerard. He’s gonna bat a thousand. I’m telling you now.

– He’s already swinging for the fence. Nailing it. Already crushed that one, that’s a double. On to the next question. What is Neil’s favorite food or meal?

– Mexican food.

– He doesn’t even have to think about, he’s like yeah, Mexican Food. That’s why you got him the gift certificate. Yeah. This place he’s got to go.

– What’s his favorite place to go?

– Oh, his favorite place to go? I don’t know.

– My favorite place is not his.

– But he loves Carnitas, maybe Javier’s I would say. Okay. Javier’s.

– Javiers?

– Yeah.

– What do you like at Javiers?

– They have a carnitas plate, and it’s a very upscale Mexican restaurant, but their beans, their rice, their carnitas plate.

– Carnitas is good.

– Still with plenty of flavor, not over cooked. It’s a beautiful, beautiful restaurant. They’ve been around forever. Been going there forever, but they’ve graduated to the big leagues if you will. So they went mainstream and some of the large fancier spots. So they have dropped a boatload into their restaurant. It’s absolutely gorgeous. But the food is good. Oh, next time you’re out, we’re going to Javier’s.

– We’re gonna have it.

– Yeah. What what’s that restaurant you took me to where we sat out on the party and smoked cigars?

– No, No. We went to a Little Island, when he came off the airplane. There’s a little hole in a wall sandwich place. I don’t really know the name of it.

Where’s a good steak place in SoCal where you can smoke cigars?

– No, no. I’m talking about the place we sat outside around the fire.

Gulf Stream. I’ll told you when he got off the plane.

– Gulf Stream was phenomenal.

– Oh, that place is great.

– Great food, fire pits outside, you can smoke cigars and eat at the same time, which is my favorite thing to do.

– Yeah. That place is like cigar mecca of that area.

– I know, there were a ton of people smoking cigars. Everybody. I love that.

– Yeah.

– Keep it. Rich.

– Yup. Delicious food.

– Otherwise, they’ll push you out as fast as they can get ya out. All right, last question, Gerard.

– I might get this one. It’s two for two so far.

– Yeah, yeah, yeah. You might trick him on this. Okay. 

How Neil Garcia transitioned from playing pro baseball to launching a cigar business

So what is Neil’s greatest achievement that he’s most proud of for his career?

– This one’s gonna be tough.

– So pro baseball player, real estate developer.

– So that’s gonna be tough because that might be something he really internalizes and what I think he gets excited about is not- Neil is very, I don’t know if the word is mystical? But this one’s different. I’m gonna go with baseball, when maybe when he got picked up. That’s what I’m going to say, when he got picked up to play baseball. Yeah. That’s a good answer. It’s wrong?

– Okay.

– There you go. I like to hear that.

– It was building Jake Wyatt Cigar Company.

– Oh, wow.

– That meant a lot to him.

– It has, for sure.

– It was awesome.

– It encompasses everything. And after I tell, he understands, that similar to some of the answers I gave is playing baseball was a lifetime achievement, for sure. It gets to a point where it feels somewhat selfish and not in a bad way ’cause you’re achieving your childhood dream, so it was great. But then you move away, you’re on the road, you’re away from family. You’re away from close friends, but you’re still going to achieve your career childhood dream. Jake Wyatt-wise is more in hindsight. So looking back objectively after the experiences I’ve had up to that point, obviously the name, we have our families involved, we have our kids involved. We have long-term relationship involved and the blood, sweat, and tears of getting to know this industry, finding the factories, getting into the farms, getting into the blending, all of it is so much more encompassing than anything I’ve ever done, that not only has the drive of building a company, but the passion behind something that’s very artistic and it’s by far what we’ve been most proud of. In our infancy, who knows, we still got plenty of more to go, it’s been a blast.

– It’s awesome.

– Fair to say?

– Absolutely. That’s why I was saying Neil’s a little bit different when it comes to career stuff, he doesn’t look at a monumental achievements. He looks more for like, what’s the meaning behind it all. And-

– It’s more sentimental.

– I knew that, yeah, more sentimental. Yeah, absolutely.

– How did you guys meet each other?

– We met through mutual friends. Shoot, 20 years ago, and then obviously what’s connected us over the years was obviously his family with cigars. My brother who’s makes me seem very particular, he’s very anal. I don’t wanna go as far as say militant, but very stick-to-itive. He’s a chief of a fire department in California. And Gerard was looking at career path to go, so obviously our influences, we worked out a bunch growing up. I have a ton of mutual friends, but cigars was behind it all. We have another buddy that we’d sit, named Chris, we’d go in his backyard for years and years and we’d sit and play poker, cribbage, listening to all kinds of different tunes, smoking great cigars. Back in those days, smoking the Cubans like there’s nobody’s business. So, yeah. Take you down memory lane for sure.

– You guys met through smoking cigars?

– Pretty much. That’s been the foundation of the glue for all of our friendships. Him and I have both have a ton of mutual friends that we’re still very close with today, but we grew closer as we got older and everyone else still doing the same but we’re still all great friends, but it brought us closer to engage in some of the stuff that we’ve done.

– So, when did you guys decide to go into business together? That’s like to take a good friendship and then say, yeah, this can weather business, that’s risky. You could not be friends after that.

– It was like, as it was yesterday. So, I was on my first year at the fire department and they call that your probationary year where you’re supposed to do everything right so you don’t get let go, because you have to do a series of tests and you have to pass the test. Anyway, Neil was, I think you were working on your undergrad because he wanted to coach or teach- 

-Oh, after the fact, right.

From college class project to launching a cigar business

-Yeah. So he was working on it. So he had a quick class project he wanted to do and he was gonna do the project on utilizing Amazon. And he was asking me questions on like torch lighters and things of that nature because you can use that as a item to use the Amazon platform for his marketing class, I think it was, was it marketing class?

– Yeah. Something like that.

– So meanwhile, until we talk about what he was really looking for, he was also looking at other things such as like the cell phone accessories, the cover, this or that. And it was a Saturday and we had breakfast and he’s like, Hey, I’m going to go to the City of Industry. What are you doing? I said, not much. How about I just go with you? Because also Neil has always been like a big brother to me. So I bounce a lot of ideas and life decisions with him. So, it was a great drive for me to talk and get some, it’s just one of those days I wanna talk to my big brother kind of thing. And as we’re driving, we went to a distributor that is a Chinese manufacturer, distributes their accessories through a distribution company they have here in the United States and City of Industry. And as we were walking through, he was just looking at some things he can maybe use for his marketing class. And I was like, this is just like the cigar industry. You make cigars in the D.R. You have a distribution in the United States and you sell all over the retail. And this was the time where my father had passed, Mardo. And he was the one who brought me into the cigar industry.

From brick-and-mortars and an online storefront to a boutique cigar brand

– So, your dad started Mardo Cigar Company?

– Yes, and that’s the retail operation.

– What year did he start it?

– 1994.

– ’94, and he passed and he passed in when?

– 2015.

– Okay. So this is right after that?

– Yeah.

– So, it’s already been around for like 20 years.

– Yes, Mardo Cigars had been around as just a retail shop. And on our drive home, we’re talking about what it was doing, and I was like, yeah, this is just like the cigar industry. And I just looked down, I said, help me. Literally, I said, help me. Because I knew he had marketing knowledge. I know he knew how to build a business. I have product knowledge and I know what sells, what doesn’t sell, but to really build something, my extent of education is fire science. Other than that, I’ve sold cars before. You know what I mean? I was just a sales guy.

– You didn’t know how to get it out there. He’s done a lot more than that. But that’s what he limits himself to that.

– But you just didn’t know how to get it out there and reach the people, other than the retail?

– Exactly. and to build the company, you know what I mean? Like the infrastructure, operation, things of that nature, accounting, all that stuff, you know what I mean? And it takes, and I don’t have any other family in United States. I don’t have any brothers, I don’t have any cousins and I don’t have my father now, right? So Neil goes, let me think about it. Than I go, let’s do this together. And he said, let me think about it. And he said, okay, let’s do it. And I was like, all right, let’s do it. So I’ll be a little transparent. All I had was a little bit of equity in my mother’s house. I mean, very little. And we got that equity and I just knew what not to buy. You gotta be careful in the industry, what not to, because what happens get stuck with stuff and you can’t sell it anymore. Or you got to put in a clearance bin. So I wanted to get things that’s going to get us followers.

– So what were you looking for? Rare stuff or?

– Not just rare stuff, stuff that people want, certain brands, there’s a lot of good stuff out there that everybody wants Padróns, everybody wants Opus, so my father had those accounts already. He had the Padrón account, he had the Opus X account. And then I knew some of the boutique stuff’s coming out. So, and that was me getting reengaged in the industry. Like when I walked away from the industry a little bit to get into the fire, Tatuaje didn’t exist yet. You know what I mean? Don Pepin wasn’t even on a map yet. So a lot of these newer things, I had to get myself reintroduced. So we went on working on content for a website. And as we started growing, a lot of other things started getting implemented where Neil’s experience has really helped us develop a very beautiful website. Our social media is getting stronger and stronger. And that is when we met Sinistro Cigars. From there, James, he’s like, why don’t you make your own cigar? We’re like, Hmm, we’ll think about it. So we went to the Dominican, we fell in love with the industry all over again. I mean, we’re at this point, we’re just retailers. We love cigars, we smoked cigars, but we went to the Dominican, it was almost like, how come we didn’t do this before? How come we haven’t done this earlier?

The First Trip to the D.R. to Learn About Tobacco

– I think it’s a really important to point out, like during that time, which I want to inject all over this, but I’m trying to be calm over here. But at that time it was amazing because the retail experience, 20 plus years knowing Mardo, the opening up multiple stores on the retail side and the crazy thing, and we’ve all loved it, him and I, both and the family. But when we got down to the D.R. and had the experiences we had there, going through some blending education, seeing the plants, the pure grades, all the information after 20 years of retail, I mean, it’s like putting water on a hard sponge. It just opened us up. And it just opened up a whole other animal. Now we went, wow. So then we then just started doing a bunch of research to finding a factory that would work for us, which is a whole other conversation. But we finally did found it. We got connected with the people, all through mutual friends that we’ve known through the industry, which is a great about our space. It’s very much like like starving artists, if you will, the artistry community. So it’s very, very open, all inclusive. There isn’t okay, these are my clients. You stay off, type stuff. It’s such a nice feeling, a lot of love in the space, especially down in the D.R. as well. Generally speaking, obviously business is business, but so many people were so influential that obviously started us on the Jake Wyatt path, which now we’re, I mean, the love just keeps growing. It sounds pretty corny, but that’s how it was crazy from that point. Didn’t you agree?

– Absolutely, and that was what made us fall in love is I’m at the point right now where I can somewhat be able to sort seco, viso and ligero by just a feel of my fingertips on the leaf. But before that it was like my dream to be able to know what goes into a cigar, deveining. I can do that. I don’t roll cigars. I can’t say because I don’t have the time to sit in the D.R. for months to learn how to do that perfectly. But when it comes to sorting, when we get bails of tobacco, how to reach in the middle of the bail to make sure you’re getting the right stuff, that the guys are saying, what’s in the bail? Because they’ll say, oh, it’s a lot of ligero, next, you know, it’s like all seco and viso, so there’s no ligero, things of that nature. And then blending, we blend the cigars as a team. We start with pure grades to get a baseline, so, okay, we’re going to work with this, with this and they start blending it and see what happens. And then we got to let it age, at least 30 days to see if the blend stays the same. So we are learning a lot of things where if we were to go elsewhere, where they already have all that stuff established and already put in play, we’re not gonna get that experience. We’re gonna get a leg up and we’re gonna fast forward the process because they’re gonna do all that work for us, master blenders, bigger companies. Well, I feel like I’m in the dark and we want people to smoke Jake Wyatt, because we want you to see our artisanal achievement, not because we want your money. We want you to taste what we are creating. Again, our artisanal abilities, that’s the gourmet collection. Neil, the Appendix II, it’s his baby, that’s he loves the Connecticut buttery, silky smooth, cool draw, perfect in the morning, no hay, no pepper, just flawless. I’m all over the spectrum. Like one second, I want something full body and it could be 6:00 AM or like one day I don’t want a cigar. Like right now I’m smoking the Herbert Spencer, which has a little bit of Pennsylvania broadleaf in it. He’s very, what would I say, reliable on his palate. I’m not. I’m all over the place, so that’s why the gourmet collection has 30 different SKUs now, and now we’re starting to work on some bolder stuff-

Five Gourmet Cigar Blends with 30 SKUs

– 30 different SKUs? How many different blends does that translate into because those are all sizes?

– It’s five different blends. We have the Connecticut, which is the Appendix II.  We have the Maduro, which is the Herbert Spencer. It’s a San Andrews Maduro with- and it’s the only one that has a Pennsylvania broadleaf in the filler. All our gourmet collection has all our binder. So then we have two Habanos, one is a U.S.I.R. and the other Habano is called the Fourth Dimension. The U.S.I.R, the proprietary aging that we do with the filler tobacco is lengthy. So it differentiates in flavor big time with the Fourth Dimension, even though it’s the same wrapper, is just the filler blends are different. So the U.S.I.R gives you that cinnamon pepper, the Fourth Dimension gives you that toasty almond flavor. 

Looking for a new cigar blend to start the day?

And then our last blend, which is becoming almost like a number one SKU for us is our Lucid Interval is a candela. We have noticed majority of the candelas that we taste, always have that herbal grassy flavor, they can’t get away with. Well, we started playing with it and the blend that we found mutes that part, it’s not gone, but in mutes pretty good to where it’s more toasty, and a little bit of that sweetness from the candela does come out and it pairs with coffee incredibly. So we had guys at the show here, take a couple samples of Lucid and they’ll come to us midday, the following day and they’re like, we had a Lucid Interval this morning with coffee and you’re right, it was amazing. And actually now that like, I wanna carry it in my shop.

– You can’t get a better compliment than that.

– You can’t get a better compliment than that. It’s the artisanal aspect of what we’re doing that we want to share with everybody, and there’s other things we have on the table, but it takes time, the packaging, the look of it, the naming convention, does it resonate with what we believe in? Does it resonate with people? because without the people, none of this exists. When we have naming convention, we can be very egotistical and selfish and be like, Hey, this is what I wanna call it because this is what I think sounds cool. And this is where Neil really, really shines is because he says, how about we think of something encompasses everybody. I mean, I get chills just thinking about it right now. You know, everybody, Rob. That’s amazing.

– When you say that, let’s think of something that encompasses everybody, what does everybody want?

– What does everybody want?

– Yeah.

– It definitely a subjective question, obviously, the complexity of our line, that’s why we came up with our gourmet collection to kind of capture a little bit of everything. So obviously the mild side with the candela and the Ecuadorian Connecticut for that morning stick, for those that really like it. But that being said, still wanting to keep the nature of the gourmet concept, which the analogy I always use is I love to eat a great steak. I love to go to Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s, something along those lines, not to Sizzler, no offense to Sizzler, but that’s the kind of steak that I would like to enjoy. We really encompass that. And that’s where one of his greatest traits, which can be a blessing and a curse, but he is extremely particular about his cigars. So through the blending process, we do everything we can to not skimp on anything until the flavors are where we want. And then after that, obviously we bring home samples from the D.R. or wherever we’re at. They still gotta sit. They got marry, they got to age different climates, which you’re well aware of. You taught us a lot about that, different parts of regions, temperature, so on. So, how’s the flavor holding up? And then we go back and play again and get back into the lab and do it all over again. So we did not want to skimp on anything, so back to your question, then we get something more in the middle range. So we wanted to build a collection that encompasses as much people as possible to be able to enjoy the experience of Jake Wyatt cigar. So when I’m thinking of that now, which is in Gerard’s wheelhouse, he loves something that’s a little more full body, that has some pepper notes, that gets into a position that can dabble in that side of things, which we are been working on and are consistently working on now, which is to come down the road, which many of you will be seeing at one point in time, but we’re back there again, working on something with a little more strength, different tobaccos, and we’re always getting introduced to something else. So now, we will transition that into our new collection, which to be continued on that. But we got a lot of stuff in the works, and it’s a lot of fun. So we want to encompass everybody getting.

– We can’t cats out of the bag in this interview? No hints?

– No, if I left it to him, he’ll tell you everything, but if it’s up to me-

– Hey, Gerard, what’s coming up?

– We got Lithium coming up, we know that. 

– Yeah, Lithium’s already out.

– Well, it’s a pre-release, it’s only one size, six by 50, but in July-

– I have to kick him a lot, because you’ll see, he wants to tell everybody constantly.

– I’ll keep it hush, hush.

– Come on, come on. This is Box Press.

– So the Lithium is gonna come out as a full portfolio. We’re gonna have it in Corona, Robusto, Toro and then the Belicoso is gonna be at the 109 cap, which is gonna be a flat top-

– What about the tobacco you’re working with, Neil, for this new project? Give me just the tobacco so that people know the strength.

– So the Lithium is-

– No, no.

– Let’s talk about some of the newer stuff. We’re done with some stronger stuff, some Nicaraguan stuff blended with some other hybrid tobaccos, that we’ve really fell in love with. And I’m gonna leave it at that for now.

– You go to Nicaragua for strength. D.R. is not as strong, huh?

– Well, it depends on tobacco. Again, it is subjective and it all depends. So when we start a project, what we’ve had to do because of his palate, we got to go over the top and then back it out, from his perspective, which is fine with us. 

– What do you mean by that?

– So with a lot of our projects that we start working on, we’ll build an ultra ultra heavy, heavy, full body cigar that we know for a fact, that’s just too much. This is the factory in myself that we start working on some of this stuff behind the scenes from him, because ultimately Gerard is going to be the final say on everything that we come out with, generally speaking, especially on the fuller body stuff. And then from there, similar to what we’re doing with your questions, very similarly with the guys in the factory, that I work with day in and day out. We’ll come up with something. Okay. Now let’s get this to Gerard. Let’s see. I think he’s going to like this one. So it’s like your three questions and we’ll have 3 to 5 specific blends, and it depends what kind of day it is, whether it is in morning. So then eventually we’ll get them in his hands, and then we’ll see where he’s at with them. And then we start tweaking our blends. And again, for us, it’s art, I guess you’d say the blending process. So we’re in no hurry, but at the same time we wanna do what we can to make sure we can get that blend specifically. So that’s what I mean by getting it super full, and then backing it out so we can maintain what more of our consistency is, which is full flavor that still maintains the complexities we’re looking for.

– And some of the blends that we are working with right now, they haven’t been finalized. That’s why we can’t really say, this is what we’re gonna to do. We have a very good idea of what we want, but it’s not been finalized because some of these blends need to sit a little bit still, to see what’s gonna happen. 

– They gotta rest.

-And we just went to the Dominican in April. So that was only like what a month ago. So a lot of these samples that we brought back, obviously, we rolled them, we smoked them, we liked them. We brought back a few and I smoked one last week, but I need to wait a few more weeks, on the rest of the samples to see what’s gonna happen because I’m no expert. But from what I’m learning, is that whenever I blend a cigar at first, it’s got some strength to it. It’s got lots of flavors, but as it sits and it marries, the strength gets milder, but the flavor goes up. Or sometimes not much happens, you know. And so these are things that I’m still learning. Is that really the case? Is that a staple process, that it’s really strong when I first make it. And as it ages, 40, 60 days later, does it get really milder? What’s gonna happen? So, we’ve been retailers for a very long time. We became manufacturers about two, three years ago. This is our first show. So we got a lot of learning to do, but we do have a great master blender that we work. And in that sense, we’re all three master blenders, because we don’t do anything without us three talking and agreeing on it. And hence the name Jake Wyatt, it’s both of our sons.

Parting Over a Spin Class?

– You named it after your sons?

– Because it includes more than just- So when I first met Neil, he had a small little company, and it was called Mentor Sports. And his logo was two heads facing each other because two heads work better than one. I still remember that. So I always have that mentality. And that’s what helped me with the fire service. Can I cuss on here? So when it came to sports like physically, I’m blessed. I’m 5’11”, at best. If I push a lot of weights, I can hit 195 to 200 pounds my weight, right, with some good muscle. But when it came to like, when you got to really push through, to make it to the next level and athleticism, I’m a fuckin’ pussy. Because it fuckin’ hurts, my side hurts, it’s just too hard. And I remember, we do spin classes in the morning. And this is like true spinning, not 24 hour fitness spinning. It’s a 90 pound wheel. You’re standing up the whole class, about an hour, and you’re going balls to the walls kind of class. There’s no sitting down. There’s no rest periods. The only time you rest is when the song tempo changes. So you’re always in cadence when you’re spinning in the entire class and you’re facing a mirror. So you see everybody is in cadence, right? If you’re off, you’ll see that guy in a corner, like it’s fuckin’ up the tempo of the music, because the music is so loud in this class that it’s what carries you when you’re hitting that wall, and you’re tired, and the notes just like mesmerize you, and you’re gone. It’s the only time I’ve ever really felt mind out of body experience. So when I started spinning, it was just me, him, Dennis, and maybe one other guy, I don’t remember, but it was me, him and Dennis consistently. Dennis is a surfer and I’d get out of cadence. And one day he got fuckin’ frustrated, this is like four or five classes into it. And Neil said, don’t fuckin’ come back tomorrow unless you’re ready. I was like, Bro, I’m doing my best.

– That’s like your passion, Rob about Boveda. Don’t screw around with it, baby. 

– And he was like, either get in or get out, you know? He’s like, don’t come back here tomorrow. And I was like, I’m coming back. No, you’re not, you’re not welcome if you can’t get in cadence, you’re fuckin’ up the class, you know? So anyway-

– Tell it like it is, Neil.

– So, that’s where I really started digging deep. And when it came to that two heads working together, to achieve what I needed to achieve, push each other, Jake Wyatt, baby, you know what I mean? It’s just like, we don’t do things alone.

– Right?

– And that’s why when we come up with naming conventions, it encompasses everybody. And when we think of cigars, all this is just everybody, baby. You know what I mean?

Origin of 22 in Jake Wyatt Cigars

– You named a few cigars after your 22 legacy. 22 was the number that your grandfather, was is your grandfather?

– My father, my brother, who was influential as anybody in my life, especially sports-wise. We all wore the number 22. I wore 22, my whole career. And my son now actually, he wore 22 all the time. He’s a sophomore in high schools. He’s on the junior varsity team. So there’s a senior right now, who will be graduating this year, who had seniority on 22. So unfortunately he’s wearing a different number until next year when he can get the original 22 back. But that’s what we’ve used. And we use that in memory of numbers that we were as a jersey in our box counts. So that’s why we have 22 cigars in our boxes. Pretty interesting.

– It’s interesting because 22 cigars in your boxes, is a unique number. It’s either like 20 or 25, not like 22’s.

– Not very many 22s. I haven’t seen much of it. So again, back to the Jake Wyatt thing, and keeping that at the forefront of our mind, it’s something we liked, we stuck with it and it is, it’s the foundation of our lives, is our families and our kids. So that’s pretty cool.

– And for the record, I can spin now.

– You can spin? Yes. You got invited back. Neil said, okay. You’re back.

– He’s welcome back. It’s tough for me. It can be, just because that background of the sports aspect of my background, I don’t do much. If I’m gonna go at something, I go all out. So that’s just the way I’ve always been. It’s fun though.

– That is fun. I appreciate a good passion.

– Oh yeah.

– We learn a lot from you, too.

– I appreciate.

– In this space, we’ve had plenty of conversations very similar. So I like that we’ve always had like-minded interests in a lot of things. So it’s kinda cool.

– Yeah. It’s fun to bounce ideas off each other. What are some of the sacrifices you guys have had to make, just to get Jake Wyatt off the ground and keep it going?

– It’s been a challenge. There’s peaks and valleys without a doubt. You’ve been to the mountaintop, and you’ve been to the valley, but it’s definitely had its peaks and valleys. I knew right out of the gate when I really had to do, when we had the conversations that Gerard was talking about, I know from my experience of building anything is gonna be a sacrifice. It’s gonna be time, money, for sure. You gotta find a way. So a lot of this stuff, he obviously had his fire career. I obviously still do a lot of my real estate stuff. So it keeps us afloat. No doubt about it. But knowing the sacrifice, the commitment, time is the biggest commodity. We all have 24 hours to play with. What are you going to do with it? How are you going to maximize this 24 hours we have right now? And in building out, obviously Jake Wyatt, we really had to do what we could to maximize that with my son. I’m coaching baseball constantly. He had a little one at the time. Now he’s got two and two dogs. The guy can’t do anything half-ass, he goes all in.

– You taught me that—go all in, baby.

– He got rid of all the hot rods. Now he’s just got the vanborgini. He’s growing up some, which has been great, but the sacrifice has been there. And we’ve bumped heads many times, but again, it’s like family. I love the guy like my little brother. So no matter what, we’ve had each other’s back and that’s kind of cool.

– When you guys bump heads, how do you solve it?

– We always talk, always.

– It get solved pretty fast.

Neil’s Secret to Shopping at Walmart

– From my background and things that I do, I cannot, through the philosophies of life that I’ve been taught, if there’s a disturbance of any kind, I want to do everything I possibly can, and us for that matter, to address it as instantaneously as possible, I mean instantly. So if there’s something going on, I wanna do some soul searching personally, take an objective view of what I’m looking at, and see if it has validity. And if it does, I generally, there’s a principle that I use is called needing others. So the way my philosophy works is very simple. Many of us know Walmart, we all shop at Walmart, some ways they got everything, but when I walk into a Walmart, it’s a massive store. So the philosophy of needing others for me, this is probably the best analogy to use. I walk in and I look for someone wearing a yellow vest as soon as possible. And I ask, where’s the shampoo? And it’s on aisle D12. Thank you very much. I go to D 12. I don’t need to walk in, in this massive warehouse, and have to figure out where the shampoo is. I asked for help as quickly as possible. And I get an answer. And for me, that’s a great philosophy for doing things. Similar with all these other stuff. I always have someone in my life that I can bounce ideas off throughout many facets, mentors across the board, from business, from personal life, from family, from baseball, you name it. And they’re always close to my Rolodex to make sure that I don’t want to do anything that I think could be harmful to any of those areas of life. I always want to have another perspective that I know for certain that it’s just not anybody that has my best interests at heart, our best interests at heart, to allow us to make the best calculated decision that’s gonna put us in the best position to succeed. It’s worked well. I don’t talk about it often. I’m kind of quiet about it, because that’s just the way I do things. Sports-wise was the same way and everything, but it allows us to have a pretty good foundation to work on. So whenever we butt heads, it’s the same thing. I know first and foremost, I love this guy as much as anybody. And I know he would do anything in the world for me at any time, any place, no matter what day or night, middle of the night, if I ever need a thing, I know he’s there for me. So that always supersedes anything. Even if we butt heads, things happen at the end of the day, it’s pretty special to know you have that kind of relationship, which doesn’t happen very often, especially in business. Like you said, it can be very hard.

– And you know, even though I’m not big on sports, but having this sports influence from Neil has really helped us. Like, for instance, when you need your player to, like the clutch player, for me, I don’t need a long pep talk. I get it. Like, you know what I mean? 

– You’re tracking. 

-If there’s something you’re frustrated with me, and you pull me aside and like a couple words, I’m like, I got it. I know what you want. I got it. And you know what, I’ll ramp it up, whatever it is I needed. I’m not perfect, you know, but I get that. 

– Nor am I.

– And that’s the beauty, that I have found the synergy between us two. And it has helped me a lot in other areas of my life. There’s a lot of people that don’t know me, and if they want to do a little bit of business, it’s just, whenever that frustration comes, and they wanna have a talk with me, I don’t get defensive.

– He’s great at that.

– Did you have to learn that though? Did you usually get defensive before?

– Who doesn’t? Okay, I’ll speak for myself. Of course, I wanna get defensive right away, within that nano second with your instinct, you’re like, what do you mean? But then I’m like, listen, listen, listen. You know, and then I’m like, he’s in need, this guy’s in need right now. You know what I mean? So I can turn that, being a clutch player pretty quickly.

– It’s interesting that you said he’s in need. You’re switching the paradigm from selfishly, why am I being ridiculed, to you’re asking me for a need. If I listened to the need, I can respond to it.

– Yes.

– Well said.

– And that’s what’s keeping your relationship going.

– And another question that you asked, this is a little bit more metaphorical. What does everybody want? Everybody wants love. And that’s what we talk about all the time. And we love what we do. And we just want to share the love, man. It’s not that I want money from you. I just want you to enjoy our artisanal abilities, when we make cigars.

– Let’s talk about the artisan in it. Because I mean, we’re looking at cigars. I mean, these cigars, I mean, the only people that I know, that are doing fancy caps, like this are like LFD and Fuente. Shapes, figurados, like this. Is this a double wrapper?

– No. That is not a true barber pole, that just has a stripe on it.

– Just an accent.

– We do have two that are true barber poles.

– Then on these ones, the cap has an artistic and so does the foot. Why? Why this? Why be-dazzle the cigar, when it probably just tastes great and you don’t need to be-dazzle it?

– Well, it’s a little bit of both. I don’t necessarily wholeheartedly agree with that from what our perspective was. So in creating our cigar, especially in today’s day and age, there has been a change. There’s been a change with marketing, with social media, with presence. We wanted to make a beautiful cigar. We didn’t want to go crazy to where cigars are so artistic, that they’re almost like collector items. People don’t even wanna smoke them. But when our cigars are on a shelf, they’re very presentable. One of our original rollers, he did a lot of stuff with many guys out in the D.R. And he’s artistic artist, he was phenomenal. And that’s what we were determining. And Gerard does an awful lot on social media. When we see our whole collection on a shelf, it brings your eyes to it. No doubt about it. But not only that, if you look at something that’s beautiful, flavors are still everything to us. But when you look at it, is various aesthetically pleasing. And that’s what we were after to be able to have that across the board, from a marketing perspective, from our limited editions being something that we have a limited edition, each of our core lines, that gives you something that’s just different off the shelf and brings your attention to it.

– And just too much fun. 

– It’s just too much.

– It’s just too much fun.

– You said in a recent video, Instagram Live, you like it takes an extra two days. You’re wasting time and money.

– But it’s too much fun.

– Too much fun.

– And again, we’re not at this again, just to mass produce a lot of cigars. We’re at this to bring this to our consumer. We always look at it as an upside down triangle, to where in the service industry, trying to bring this to consumers, to yourselves, to everybody that’s gonna see our cigar. So if it’s going to take a couple extra days, to be able to have this done right, like anything in life, then we’re going to do it. So yes, does it cost more, is time is money? Absolutely. Only two people roll our figurados right now, because of the complexity to do it. And we have a couple pairs, that are solely working on our accents. After, you know, our initial cigars are rolled, they’re going in the aging room. And then we have to do the accents on the foot and the top, and to put our final dots on there, that’s kind of our signature, but we’re willing to do it because it’s too much fun.

– That’s a good answer. Very good answer.

– That’s a lot of fun.

– So not only does it look good and catch your eye, then it tastes good.

– That’s the whole goal. Back to the gourmet line.

– I liked that you called the gourmet, not limited, not exclusive, not limitada.

Naming Jake Wyatt Cigar Lines

– Everything we’ve ever done naming wise, it’s a challenge. It really is. Yet when something comes, we both know it and I’ll come up with some stuff. He comes up with stuff constantly. He’ll text me at first thing at five in the morning, with new something. And we bounce everything off each other, but from an adjective that best describe what we’re looking for to capture our Jake Wyatt core line cigar, he came up with it and it was the gourmet collection to capture it all. And it just stuck, similar to Jake Wyatt. We went through many naming conventions, but when Jake Wyatt hit, the foundation of both of our lives, which is our children, it was over and the name itself is a strong name and it stuck. And so everything that we do, the toughest thing is, as we grow is it’s kinda like, a songwriter. You create a hit, and you got a great title to a song to recreate that, isn’t always necessarily the easiest thing to do. So we really wanna give it the time, the patience and it will come as long as we continue to put forth the work, it always has and we believe that it always will.

– Nice.

– The greatest aspect of our cigar is the aftertaste. And it’s got a gourmet flavor, like a buttery, creamy, crème brûlée, it’s so yummy.

– Trust me, my palate is loving the after flavor.

– Yeah. It’s got sweet. It’s not like, I need to spit in a bottle or take a swig of water.

– To be honest. That’s hard right now because it’s 11% relative humidity here and stuff dries up even while you’re smoking it. So right now, the fact that I’m savoring the after palate flavor-

– That’s gourmet.

– That’s gourmet.

– I mean, I gave Andre, the friend of ours from El Septimo, and I gave him a cigar the other day. We were playing around, so I got a couple of Lanceros in my back pocket. So I gave him a Lancero. I’m not sure which one it was, I forget, but he was smoking it and he was done with it. And then he had to hit the road. He goes, I got a great flavor in my mouth. Yum, yum. It’s delicious. I said, yeah. And that’s what we want to do. It’s the afterwards where you’re like, God, that’s great. You know, like, I wanna another cigar.

– When you can do that to a guy that runs El Septimo, that’s pretty good. Because that stuff is….

– We all share a lot of stuff. We love their product, too.

Cigars and Jerry Maguire, Dalai Lama and Eckhart Tolle

– I gotta ask, you guys have talked about each other quite a bit, but I want to try to see if I can nail just a little bit more of a deeper question. What do you admire about each other that elevates your brand, Jake Wyatt?

– So who’s first?

– Whoever.

– I’ll tell you about him. His passion is something else, from a sports perspective, the old thing we used to say, I would rather be in a position to try to pull the reins back on an individual, in this case, an athlete, rather than having to kick them in the ass to get working.

– Yeah. That is so true.

Finding a Mentor Who Also Appreciates a Good Cigar

– And that’s Gerard, we have to pull the reins back, because he just wants to go like a thoroughbred at 8,000 RPMs all day long, when it comes to cigars, his passion speaks volumes. Again, it can be a blessing and a curse, but more times than not, the good outweighs the bad by a long shot. So then trying to utilize what we can, with both of our assets, becomes a great aspect. He is the front man. He is the guy. I’m quiet. I love to do what I do operationally, and just let him do what he does. And it’s fun to watch. It’s like I’m saying, from a sports perspective, when you just get to watch your kids do something you love to do, man, there’s nothing like it. When you get to watch someone you’re very close to, do what he’s really good at, and watch them do it with passion, you know, he loves it, it’s really special. So it definitely would be his passion.

– Thank you, Neil.

– You’re welcome, little buddy.

– So with that being said, you know what I admire about Neil, he knows how to pull the reins with me, and to me, I’m very receptive to that. And he does it in a way where it really hits me. I’m crazy, okay? I’m a little neurotic I’m just glad I’m not bipolar. Thank God. I could be on a spectrum of that, but I’m not. So for all the viewers, you’re safe and that’s what I admire about Neil, he can really pull me back, not so much from like the big brother, with that harsh tone. It’s more of when the Dalai Lama speaks to you. When it’s like Eckhart Tolle letting you know that the power of now is right here, right now. Calm down, take a deep breath, all is well.

– Sensei.

– All will take care of itself. All my life, I’ve always wanted a big brother, that’s what I felt that was my biggest void in life. So when I met Neil, I fucking latched on, you know what I mean? A lot of people run from that. To me, I tapped into that, because I can’t do it by myself. You know what I mean? At home, I have a wife. I can’t do it by myself. And my kids teach me how to be a father. So I tap into things like that. And it may not seem like it because I sometimes get headstrong with things, and it could be frustrating, but that’s what I admire about Neil, his patience with me, has been lasting for the last 20 years. And we can easily go on for another 20 years with friendship. And we’ve butted heads to the point where I know a lot of friends would have not been talking to each other anymore. I remember there was like a little business venture, I wanted to get into, which didn’t really jive very well for the future of my life and for our friendship because it’s a relationship here. Okay. And anytime anybody, I’ll speak for myself, getting into any kind of business project. We look at money as an end game, right. It’s always about money, money, money, money. And I was going through this venture, I didn’t see it, but he was seeing that it could hinder my life. And I always went to him for advice. So it’s like, if you’re going to ask me for advice, I’m gonna tell you the truth, rather than to give you a pat on the back and tell you it’s gonna be okay. So he told me the truth to the point where I was getting so frustrated after a couple months of him saying what his thought was, which was, I don’t think it’s a good idea. He’s like, if you gonna go for it, go for it, but I don’t want to be any part of it, or basically any part of like our friendship relationship. That’s how much I just totally disagree with this business venture that you’re going to do, because I don’t think it’s good for your future. If you’re always going to ask me for advice, like, don’t come to me and ask for advice, if you’re not gonna take my advice.

– Right. Was that a separate business venture that you were looking into?

– Yeah, totally different.

– It wasn’t like Mardo Cigars.

– No. It was like the vaping business, where it was going. The infancy of it. 

– Very long time ago.

– Which I have no business in getting into, but I was just looking at money, you know what I mean? And I was younger. So when he hung up the phone, I was faced with an ultimatum, like either do I put money first or human interaction and friendship and relationship first. And I was like, I have never put a person in a relationship before money in my entire life. I’ve never done that.

– Really?

– Of course, it’s always money first, man. Don’t mess with my money.

– It’s a big game change for you.

– It’s a big game changer. So I was like, how about I do the ultimate difference in my life, and choose a relationship between a human being rather than Benjamins. How about we give that a try, Gerard? I was like talking to myself, and I was like, I’m going to do that. And once I did that, my whole entire outlook on life and people totally changed. Totally changed. I started valuing relationships, people, what they’re going through, what they need. It’s not always about money. Yeah, we need money to survive. I’m fine, I got clothes, I got a roof over my head, I got kids. I’m fed today, you know what I mean? And it’s gonna be all right. And that’s why I admire about Neil. He’s always been my big brother, and I get made fun of for that. It’s okay. You make fun of me, but I live a very good life today.

– Why do you think people make fun of you for that?

– I say that, that may be not true, but I’ve had a couple of buddies say, oh man, you always do what Neil says, like my mother-in-law for instance, or even my mother, she sometimes they don’t really say, but like be a man of your own. I am a man of my own. I found what I needed to find, my Quan, like Jerry Maguire, like my Quan Ambassador, it’s what works for me. And I’ve become stronger and stronger every single day. I’m loyal to my wife. I love my kids. I don’t put my hands on my kids, those dogs, I give them what they need. When Neil needs something, I answer the phone. I’m available and I show up, and that’s why I admire about him. He helps me do that. Why would I wanna let go of that? Why would I wannna say now I don’t need you anymore. I got this. I’m 45. I don’t know what it’s like to be 46. I don’t know what’s gonna be like when Jake Wyatt gets a little bit bigger. I need help. So I’m never gonna let go of that.

– Takes a lot to admit that.

– It’s made me stronger. And I want to be loved. Everybody wants to be loved, man. And Jake Wyatt encompasses all of that.

– Yeah.

– This is one of the best interviews I’ve ever sat in.

– Rob, you’re bringing it out of him, baby.

– On Box Press only. 

– You’re gonna pull the reins on me right now a little bit.

– People want to hear this story because we’re all humans.

– No doubt about it. That’s what makes it fun.

– Thing that gets us connected. I get goosebumps while I do these interviews.

– I definitely feel the energy every time I see you, Rob. It’s a beautiful energy. It’s awesome. Amen.

– You bring out vulnerable stuff. He doesn’t talk like this to any other interview. It’s all Jake Wyatt and cigars. You got him going on all kinds of stuff. Yeah, it feels great, it’s great.

– This is how you guys built this company that matters.

– Yeah.

– It’s true.

– It’s a huge reason why you’re going to be around today, tomorrow, the next year, year after that. It’s the only way we know as cigar smokers, whether or not we can rely on your brand. And I think it’s through stories like this, these guys get to find out, you’re not just here for the money. You’re not just here for the flash in the pan, quick cash grab. Let’s see what we can do.

– No, if you want a cash grab, there’s a whole lot of industries that pay off a lot better dividends.

– They say the best way to make a million in cigars is to start with 10.

– Yes, exactly.

– You’re not kidding.

– Yeah. You guys, this story is great. These cigars are great.

– Thank you.

– People can buy direct from you if they need to, if they can’t find it at a brick-and-mortar, they can go to

– does not sell to consumers.

– We don’t sell direct, but all of our map on there of all of our retailers.

– You can find a retailer?

– Absolutely.

– Mardo Cigars?

– Mardo Cigars is our retail entity.

– sells Jake Wyatt as well as other people.

– Yes, Absolutely.

– But in order to keep the price integrity, when you buy the box, you’re paying full retail, while our dealers are under contract to allow that 10% discount on full box. So Mardo Cigars doesn’t, in order to help the retailers. So we have that set in place, but you can go to, to buy hats, apparel. We just came out with the lighter cutter set. That’s beautiful.

– Yeah. It’s right here.

– That’s a dual torch, actually. It’s a flint.

– Soft flame and like torch?

– It’s a torch. Yeah, try it. It’s flint, but it’s a dual torch. It’s not a soft flame. So to answer your question, no, it’s not soft or torch. It’s just a dual torch.

– I’ve never seen a flint torch lighter like that.

– And they’re beautiful.

– And it has a punch at the bottom. So this set comes with a little five-pack of flints. It does have the little tiny flathead screwdriver, so you can adjust the flame. It has the cutter. It has the leather sheet. It’s a full leather, to put your cutter inside. And all you need is butane.

– I love it.

– It’s a beautiful piece. We’re very happy with it. So if you want hats, T-shirts things of that nature, does accommodate that. But you do need to go to a dealer to get the cigars.

– Nice. That’s good. Spot the brick and mortar and the retail locations that are selling it. You guys, I can’t thank you enough.

– We can’t thank you enough, buddy. So good to see you.

– This is great.

– Absolutely, buddy.

– You heard it from them, Jake Wyatt Cigar Company. If you didn’t get inspired from this, I don’t know what will inspire you. If you liked this story, please hit the like button. Subscribe. These stories only come from Box Press. No one else is telling this story. Thank you all for watching. Have a great week.

Highlights include:

  • Where’s a good steak place in SoCal where you can smoke cigars? (12:22)
  • How Neil Garcia transitioned from playing pro baseball to launching a cigar business. (13:01)
  • How to stay friends with your business partner. (16:34)
  • What’s a gourmet cigar? (25:00)
  • Is your cigar palate consistent or varied? (25:34)
  • Why are there 22 cigars in Jake Wyatt boxes? (39:35)
  • How do you know when to pass on a business venture? (58:00)
  • Where to find in-depth cigar talks with cigar makers (1:02:00)

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