Some say he is a man of mystery. Some say he is an international fashion model with homes in Paris, Milan, and New York that goes by the name "Gustave." Some say his hugs impart magical healing powers on loan from the holy monks of Ometepe. All I know is he has become a great friend, and he makes some fantastic cigars. After weeks of negotiations with "his people," I am really excited to have Clint Aaron of 262 Cigars for this Quick 6. Let's do it!
#1 The hits just keep on comin'! The 262 Revere, the latest in the 262 stable, really took off following its pre-release at IPCPR 2012 landing on a number of 2012 "best of" lists including the #1 spot on the Blowin' Smoke Podcast Cretins' Prime 9. When Revere was in development, what was your mindset? Did you have any feelings, premonitions, or fortune cookies that told you you were really on to something?
CA: Revere was kind of unique. I wanted a Nicaraguan puro that was well balanced and packed with a lot of flavor. What I didn't want, was an overly peppery, intense cigar that left you crying in the fetal position. I'm alway nervous every time we bring a cigar to market. It reminds me of asking a girl to a dance. What's her response going to be? Do I have something in my teeth? Did I remember to put on deodorant? Is she really a man? I knew we were on to something when I shared some pre-released samples to some retailers and they placed orders without ever seeing the final packaging or pricing.
#2 How has your approach toward or your process of developing a new blend changed since your very first release?
CA: This is kind of a trick question. Do the means justify the end? Or does the end justify the means? With the Paradigm, I knew that I wanted a cigar with that profile. However, being new to the industry, I wasn't 100% sure which leaves and ratios to use to obtain that. It was a lot of trial and error and a lot of phone calls to the masters. Now I approach it with a loose concept and go from there. For example, I knew I wanted a Nicaraguan puro, but I've never liked an over the top pepper-bomb. With that in mind, we worked backwards. This has always been my approach though, "at the end of the day it doesn't matter how you get the finished product. What matters is that you have the product and people enjoy it."
#3 262 fans are anxious to know and get their hands on what's next. Fill us in on what you're working on behind the scenes, and what the timetable is to start seeing them at your friendly neighborhood cigar store.
CA: REVERE Lancero is in the works. I'm making final adjustments to the blend and letting them rest. This should be ready by July/Aug. I also have another project that I'm working on with a late autumn delivery. It's a seasonal blend and will not be full production. Right now we're looking at doing 2,000 10 count boxes. (This is all subject to change.)
#4 You are on the road A LOT promoting 262, making those very important personal connections, and dishing out the hugs. What are the five best things about being on the road? What are the five worst things? And what are the five most important things you've learned on the road?
CA: The five best things are (in no particular order): 1. Meeting all of the crazies from Twitter. 2. Being away from Emerson (my wife's dog). 3. The conversations and stories. I swear there is an Uncle Si in every shop. 4. Eating the local food and drinking the local beer. 5. Crossing paths with other reps. We all have the same stories about the same shops, and it's great sharing those war stories.
The five worst things are (in no particular order): 1. Being away from my wife. 2. Being out of touch with reality. 3. A different hotel every night. 4. One of my speakers is blown in my car, so that's friggin' annoying! 5. The extra 20 lbs I'm carrying due to #4 in Part A of this question.
The five most important things I've learned (in no particular order): 1. No just means not right now. 2. It takes brass balls to sell cigars. 3. Speed traps are all over and cops don't care. 4. Sales shouldn't be as intimidating as everybody makes it out to be. It's all about being yourself. 5. Be sure to do the math when you pack your drawers. A 10 day trip means packing at least that many and a couple for backup.
#5 "262'sdays" began quite innocently one morning with a 262 Paradigm (I think), a cup of coffee, and a long commute, but has taken off as a...as a...as a thing all its own. How has the 262'sday thing become a part of 262 Cigars and what you do as the boss, the face of, and the road warrior of the brand?
CA: 262sdays has morphed into this uncontrollable beast. It's on at least 3 platforms of social media and has become something that makes us look forward to Tuesday. Shops are dubbing Tuesday as 262sday and running promos and in-store specials on Tuesdays. It has forced me to keep a phone charger on me at all times because I try to retweet and re-post any that I see. It makes it tough because some are tagged with different spellings and abbreviations. The ones (hashtags) that I'm on the lookout for are #262sday or #262sdays.
#6 Imagine you have developed a cigar just for your own personal enjoyment...not for sale. What would you name that cigar, and what three famous people, living or dead, would you love to smoke that cigar with and why?
CA: I would probably name it Katy Perry. Actually, I don't know that I would name it if it were just for me and not for sale. I would love to smoke a cigar with George Burns because he is that iconic figure that was always seen with a cigar. I would also love to smoke one with Ted Nugent. I don't really need a reason for this. He's a bad mamma jamma. I would also love to smoke a cigar with Michael Richards. I know he went crazy a few years back, but he's so witty and seems fairly down to earth. I think he truly appreciates cigars and the love that goes into making each one.
With a tease of spring in the air, the holy Cretins gathered for a herf with a purpose...Blowin' Smoke #176!
As the dudes in funny hats gathered in Rome, the dudes with the funky smell gathered in the Havana Room. Turns out they were herfing a cigar called Cardinal, and that gave the Cretins an idea...a really lame one, but, with this group, any idea is progress. Since the Cardinals were having a conclave to elect a new Pope with some white smoke signal thing, why not have a Cretin conclave while smoking a Cardinal to elect...uh...something. That sounded like a plan.
So, along with a Cretin conclave...a meeting of the mindless...the new Cigar of the Day was sacrificed, a new 5 Things were dished, and plenty of weird news items were discussed including PBR privates, a new concealment holster, live tweeting an unusual trip to the ER, and more. Plus, over-thinking a multi-cigar day, and factors that make you buy new to you cigars.
So, put on your Swiss Guard tights, pour a drink, and light one up with us for Blowin' Smoke #176!
When it comes to herfs, we always say it's about the people. That was certainly true with the great folks we met during our road trip to the nation's capital. Imagine our surprise when some of them returned the favor as Eddie Tarazona of Tarazona Cigars joined us in the Havana Room, along with his trusty sidekick, Lawrence, to talk about his brand, meeting the peeps, and what's in the pipeline. Plus, their involvement in the annual DC Cigar Tweet-Up...a great herf with a charitable cause.
We also talked about Blowin' Smoke jumping into a new social media platform called Keek to bring some good cigar content to the mix. Sign-up, follow us, and Keek back!