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Distilled Spirits: Michters American Whiskey Legacy Tracing Back to 1753

Michter’s Legacy

THE EARLY YEARS: REVOLUTIONARY RYE IN SCHAEFFERSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

Originally known as Shenk’s and later as Bomberger’s, the whiskey company which ultimately became known as Michter’s was founded by John Shenk, a Swiss Mennonite farmer, in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania in 1753. In its earliest days, Shenk’s produced whiskey from rye grain, a favorite local crop in the Pennsylvania Blue Mountain Valley where the distillery was located.

According to Pennsylvania historical lore, commemorated by the Lebanon Valley Coin Club in 1978, this particular rye whiskey was so valued that when the Revolutionary War broke out, General George Washington visited the distillery and purchased whiskey to fortify his men as they hunkered down in their camp through the long, brutal winter at Valley Forge. Over 200 years later the Michter’s Pennsylvania management would say Michter’s was “the whiskey that warmed the American Revolution.”

In the mid-1800s, Pennsylvania Dutchman Abraham Bomberger purchased the distillery and it became known for many decades as Bomberger’s.

MIDLIFE CRISES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: FROM PROHIBITION TO BANKRUPTCY

The passage of Prohibition in 1919 forced the distillery, along with other American spirits producers, to shut its doors to the public. Although the distillery did reopen after the repeal of Prohibition, it changed hands many times over the next few decades and frequently occupied a precarious financial position. During the 1950s, Lou Forman, one of the distillery’s then-owners, created the modern Michter’s brand name by combining portions of his sons’ names – Michael and Peter.

In 1989, with the entire American whiskey industry suffering a prolonged downturn, Michter’s then-owners declared bankruptcy and abandoned the premises, leaving its Pennsylvania operations in disrepair and the Michter’s name – seemingly – lost to history… were it not for a fortuitous connection to two whiskey lovers with an abiding admiration for the old Michter’s legacy and quality.

RESTORING A LEGEND: HONORING MICHTER’S LEGACY WITH A RESURGENCE IN KENTUCKY

In the 1990s, Joseph J. Magliocco and his consultant and mentor Richard “Dick” Newman teamed up to resurrect Michter’s. Magliocco, who entered the wine and spirits industry after attending Yale College and graduating from Harvard Law School, was intimately familiar with Michter’s through his college days of imbibing, bartending, and selling Michter’s.

Newman meanwhile, had followed up his service in the US Marine Corps (for which he earned a Purple Heart) with an illustrious career in the whiskey business, eventually running Old Grand-Dad, Old Crow, and Old Taylor for National Distillers before becoming President and CEO of Austin Nichols, the distiller of Wild Turkey.

Magliocco and Newman began with a simple strategy – to honor the Michter’s legacy by producing the best whiskey possible, cost be damned! After filing for the unused and abandoned Michter’s trademark, they made their first major strategic decision: to resurrect Michter’s in Kentucky, in the heart of the modern American whiskey industry, to ensure access to the best whiskey talent and resources available.

MODERN-DAY MICHTER’S: OFFERING THE GREATEST AMERICAN WHISKEY

Today, Michter’s has three locations in Kentucky – a 78,000 square foot distillery in the Shively section of Louisville, the architecturally significant Fort Nelson Building on Louisville’s Museum Row and 145 acres of farm land in Springfield.

 

 

Michter’s US1 Whiskeys

The US1 expressions, so named to honor Michter’s heritage harkening back to America’s first whiskey company, consist of some of the finest single barrel and truly small batch whiskeys available. Distilled to Master Distiller Pam Heilmann’s exacting specifications, no US1 whiskey is ever released until Pam and the Michter’s tasting panel deems it ready.


whiskey-imgRenowned for rye – America’s oldest whiskey variety – since the earliest days of our history, we take the production of Michter’s US1 Kentucky Straight Rye extremely seriously. Our Michter’s US1 Kentucky Straight Rye is made from select American rye grain that is sheared to maximize the extraction of flavor from the grain. Ideal neat or in cocktails, every bottle comes from a single barrel – a unique attribute reflecting our extraordinary commitment to offering Kentucky Straight Rye whiskey of the absolute highest quality at every level of the Michter’s range US1 KENTUCKY STRAIGHT RYE.

  •  Single barrel. Limited quantities.
  •  Kentucky
  •  84.8 proof (42.4% Alcohol by Volume)
  •  Fire-charred, new American white oak barrels
  •  Spice with peppery notes, citrus, butterscotch, oak

 

 

 

whiskey-imgDuring the 1970s and 1980s, Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey was the distillery’s single most popular product. While the “Sour Mash” moniker originated from the whiskey production process of the same name – whereby some previously fermented mash is used as the starter for the new mash to be fermented, much like making sourdough bread – Michter’s Original Sour Mash earned distinction for its unique taste. With its unique grain selection, it cannot be categorized as a rye or a bourbon. After disappearing from the market in 1989, Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey made a triumphant return in 2012 with its introduction into the US1 line. Staying true to the profile and palate of its predecessor, Michter’s US1 Sour Mash has quickly become a favorite of whiskey enthusiasts.

  •  Small batch. Limited quantities.
  •  Kentucky
  •  86 proof (43% Alcohol by Volume)
  •  Fire-charred, new American white oak barrels
  • Warm toasted burnt sugar notes with spice, sweet, smoky fruit, candied cherries, and honeyed vanilla, remarkably elegant. Starts out like a bourbon, finishes like a rye.

Cigars: Tres Lindas Cubanas Cigars Paying Respect To Their Roots

Founded by a pair of Afro-Cuban-American twin sisters and two African-American cigar enthusiasts, Tres Lindas Cubanas Cigars is a pioneer in the cigar industry. By paying respect to their roots and creating the perfect cigar blends that allow them to pay homage to their ancestors while creating a new Tradition.

Tres Lindas Cubanas translates to ‘Three Beautiful Cuban Ladies’ and for that reason, their cigars celebrate the diverse beauty of the cuban woman. Tres Lindas Cubanas Cigars is the only Afro-Cuban, Female owned cigar brand in the U.S. Tre cigars are manufactured in Esteli, Nicaragua. Nicaraguan fillers, binders, wrappers.

 

TLC Cigars

La Negrita

We introduce La Negrita. Just like the name, this is a strong Torpedo Oscuro Maduro with a memorable start and finish. The triple fermentation process brings out the spicy and sweet notes. Binder and filler are composed of full-flavored Ligero and Maduro leaves from Esteli, Nicaragua.

Purchase Cigars Here

 

La Clarita

La Clarita. Always brings a smile to faces. This Torpedo Connecticut embodies everything great about the Caribbean. Light, festive and enjoyed at any time, by all. Wrapped with Ecuadorian Connecticut Broadleaf. Binder and filler come from the heart of Esteli, Nicaragua.

Purchase Cigars Here

 

La Mulata

La Mulata, the name best suited to describe this smoke is to be enjoyed by individuals who appreciate the scent, nuances and taste of a medium to full-bodied stick. Wrapped in Nicaraguan Habano leaf. Binder and filler composed of Seco and Volado leaves from Esteli, Nicaragua.

Purchase Cigars Here

 

Meet The Team

Yvonne Rodriguez
In charge of Digital Media, she is hell bent on taking long lunches and attending art exhibits all while managing a fast-growing Cigar brand. Popping a bottle of champagne on a Tuesday afternoon is a regular sacrifice made in the name of brand recognition.

Marcus Lightfoot
Head of Operations. Born in Virginia and raised in Miami,Florida. Marcus keeps the team in check and is a fanatic of expensive lighters. He enjoys a nice Habano after cooking a gourmet meal.

Jamil Raheem
This Cigar Aficionado handles Sales and the company’s cigar blends. He also hosts Cigar Happy Hours with Cigar Society of South Florida. Jamil spends most of his time frequenting cigar shops, sipping on Cuban coffee and learning Spanish. He is ready to light up the competition.

Yvette Rodriguez
Media & Public Relations is her specialty and she works hard to make Tres Lindas Cubanas Cigars a recognizable, profitable cigar brand. She looks as good in person as she does on T.V.

 

Social Media Contacts

Facbook: Tres Lindas Cubanas Cigars
Instgram: @treslindascubanascigars
Twitter: @treslindascigar

 

 

Music: The Best of Roy Ayers A True Jazz Pioneer

Roy Edward Ayers, Jr. was born in Los Angeles, CA on September, 10 1940. He comes by his affinity with music naturally, as his mother Ruby Ayers was a schoolteacher and local piano instructor and his father Roy Sr., a sometimes-parking attendant and trombonist. As it often happens in a household filled with the love and the appreciation which for music, Roy began to demonstrate his musical aptitude by the tender age of five, by which time he was playing boogie woogie tunes on the piano. He turned to the steel guitar by the age of nice, had stints during his teens playing flute, trumpet and drums before embracing the vibes as his instrument of choice.

Perhaps Roy’s karmic destiny as a vibraphonist was by his parents’ decision to allow him attend a concert featuring the great Lionel Hampton’s Big Band. During “Hamps” customary stroll down the aisle to thank you his audience for attending, he noticed and ecstatic five-year-old boy. So impressed was “Hamp” by the child’s ebullience he walked over and presented young Roy Ayers Jr. with the gift of a lifetime- a pair of vibe mallets.

During Roy’s adolescence, although his parents required that his schoolwork remain his primary focus, his mother managed to fit in piano lessons, which served to enhance his public school education. In addition to Roy’s involvement with various instruments, he also sang in the church choir. Then, at seventeen years of age his parents presented him with a set of vibes and the rest, as they say, is history.

Roy began at first study independently, then eventually discovered that Bobby Hutcherson, a rising vibraphonist, lived in his neighborhood, and subsequently he began to work under Bobby’s tutelage. Their relationships as friends and musicians blossomed, with regular meetings between the two to collaborate and practice. During this period, Roy went on to form very first group of which he was the leader, while a student of Jefferson High school. Appropriately enough, he first named the group the Jefferson Combo, later re-naming the group to the Latin Lyrics. After graduation from Jefferson High, Roy attended Los Angeles City College where he studied advanced music theory.

By 1961 Roy had become a well-rounded, full-fledged professional musician, and as is customary in nuturing African-American households, at twenty-one the keys to the door. As the adage goes, if you are blessed, when one closes another one opens. Fortunately for Roy, he had just begun to receive his musical blessings, as early in his career, he collaborated and performed with likes of Chico Hamilton, Teddy Edwards, Jack Wilson, Phineas Newborn and Gerald Wilson. Shortly thereafter, Roy made his recording debut with Curtis Amy, a highly regarded saxophonist, with whom he recorded “Way Down” and “Tippin on Through”.

 

 

Distilled Spirits: Teeling Whiskey The Spirit of Dublin A Craft Revival

TEELING STORY

Whiskey making and entrepreneurship has been in the Teeling genes as far back as 1782, when Walter Teeling set up a small craft distillery on Marrowbone Lane, Dublin 8. Right back in the heart of the Liberties district of Dublin city, Jack and Stephen Teeling, the latest generation of whiskey makers, set up the Teeling Whiskey Company in 2012. In March 2015 they opened the Teeling Whiskey Distillery the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years, and just a stone’s throw from their ancestral distillery, right in the heart of the Golden Triangle, the historic distilling district of the city.

With one eye on the past, but looking to the future, we’re the new generation of Dublin distillers. We approach our craft with a respect for generations passed but with the confidence to forge the next chapter of Irish and Dublin whiskey.

IRISH WHISKEY

Brought to the brink of near extinction, Irish whiskey refused to back down. Now a new generation of whiskey drinkers are discovering, enjoying and embracing the liquid that once conquered the world.

Since 1990, Irish whiskey has been the fastest growing premium spirit globally – truly a new Golden Era has begun.
With renewed interest in Irish whiskey at home and abroad, we are seeing the revival of hand-crafted, flavoursome and unique whiskeys, the kind we were once famous for. This era has begun to be defined by small, craft producers, and Teeling are proud to be leading the way, with innovation and liquid excellence at the core of everything we do.

Irish whiskey has experienced dynamic growth for over twenty years yet still only commands 5% of the global market and the industry is expected to double over the next 10 years meaning this new Golden Era is just beginning.

DUBLIN WHISKEY

In the late 18th and early 19th century, Irish whiskey ruled the world, and Dublin whiskey was king. The seal of Dublin on your bottle meant quality and craft – Dublin meant distilleries – lots of them. From the early artisan producers on the outskirts of the city grew the great titans of the distilling industry – known for their superior quality and character, the bold and unique Spirit of Dublin flowed from the 3 corners of the Golden Triangle to the 4 corners of the world.

As the 20th century dawned, a perfect storm loomed. A reluctance to move with new production techniques left Dublin distillers in the wake of the Scottish, and coupled with a war of independence at home and prohibition in the United States, the Irish whiskey industry was brought to its knees. The copper pot stills of the Golden Triangle fell cold. On the wind that once carried the unmistakeable scent of barley, silence hung. The last distillery of the first golden era of Dublin Whiskey, in 1976, ran dry.

Since 1782 the Teeling Family has been crafting Irish whiskey and it all began with Walter. In 1782 Walter Teeling set up a craft distillery on Marrowbone Lane in the Liberties area of Dublin commencing a 230 year tradition of distilling for the Teeling family. From Walter Teeling to the latest generation of Teelings in Jack and Stephen who are carrying on the family’s legacy and forging a bright new future for distilling in Dublin and for Irish whiskey.

DRINKGOOD REVIEW: TEELING 15YO REVIVAL IV BOTTLING NOTE

The fourth release in Teeling’s Revival series (celebrating the opening of Teeling’s distillery in Dublin) has enjoyed a rather intriguing finishing period. After ageing in ex-bourbon barrels, this single malt whiskey was filled into Muscat Port barrels for over 12 months. Very cool stuff, with plenty of chocolate and berry notes coming through clearly from the finish. A release of 10,000 bottles.

TASTING NOTES

Nose: Fresh orange and mango, with a hint of mint chocolate and fried banana developing.

Palate: Blueberries and raspberries with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Toasted barley and ground nutmeg.

Finish: A simmering selection of cooking spices and stewed orchard fruits. #drinkgood #teelingwhiskey

 

FOR ALL ENQUIRIES

By phone:
+353 1 5310888
By email:
reservations@teelingwhiskey.com
Teeling Whiskey Distillery
13-17 Newmarket
Dublin 8

www.teelingwhiskey.com

Cigars: Famous Smoke Shop Launches ‘Beginner’s Guide to Cigar Smoking’

New cigar smokers are now only a click away from learning everything they need to know about the experience of smoking premium handmade cigars thanks to the “Beginner’s Guide to Cigar Smoking,” a new section to their website developed by Famous Smoke Shop, the nation’s #1 discount retailer of premium cigars online. As they did with their Pairing Guides for Beer and Whiskey, Famous created the educational section to help those new to cigars acquire the essential knowledge for understanding what goes into creating premium cigars, as well as helping them get more enjoyment from them.

“Cigar smoking starts as a hobby for some smokers, but often turns into a passion,” said Famous Smoke Shop’s Cory Grover, who helped oversee the project. “Once that happens, they want to learn as much as possible.”

And there is plenty to learn. From how cigar tobacco is grown, to the handmade production methods, to smoking the finished cigar, the Beginner’s Guide to Cigar Smoking covers the bases in great detail. Through the use of text, infographics, photos and how-to videos, cigar smokers will get an in-depth look at cutting and lighting cigars, cigar terminology, shapes and sizes, choosing the right cigar, and much more in this valuable resource that will benefit all cigar enthusiasts.

We wanted to make it as easy as possible for cigar smokers to find the answers to their questions. Whether it’s learning the difference between a Torpedo and a Pyramid, or how to properly cut, light or smoke your cigar, it’s all in there.

John Pullo, Famous Smoke Shop Content Marketing Manager

Because keeping cigars fresh is so essential to smoking premium cigars, there is a section on cigar storage where readers will learn about the different types of cigar humidors, temperature & humidity, plus the various humidification devices, and which of them are best for their particular storage unit.

The Guide also points out the key differences between traditionally-blended cigars and cigars that are flavored or infused, as well as the proper method for storing flavored cigars.
There’s even a fun, interactive cigar smoking quiz that will help cigar smokers discover what type of cigar smoker they are.

The Beginner’s Guide to Cigar Smoking also takes the cigar smoking experience to the next level with a section on how to pair cigars with a variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Until now, few, if any, online resources have covered such a wide range of topics dedicated to introducing new cigars smokers to the enjoyment of premium hand-rolled cigars and the unique social culture that goes with it. Even seasoned cigar smokers will find things in the Guide to further their appreciation and enlightenment of the leaf.

 

“We wanted the Guide to be like having a virtual tobacconist on-demand,” said Famous Content Marketing Manager, John Pullo. “We wanted to make it as easy as possible for cigar smokers to find the answers to their questions. Whether it’s learning the difference between a Torpedo and a Pyramid, how to get rid of cigar smoke odor, to whether or not to remove the band from your cigar before you light it, it’s all in there.”

For more information and to view the Beginner’s Guide to Cigar Smoking, click here.

About Famous Smoke Shop

Famous Smoke Shop is the nation’s #1 discount retailer of premium cigars online, offering one of the largest selections of handmade cigars, machine-made cigars, cigar humidors and accessories. Famous offers the web’s lowest prices on a wide selection of cigar brands including Acid, Davidoff, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, Ashton, Padron, Oliva and Perdomo cigars, and many more. Famous offers their customers the best prices on all premium cigars as well as friendly and knowledgeable customer service.

Music: Charlie Parker Millennium Collection – 20th Century Masters

Charlie “The Bird” Parker is one of the most important names in history of jazz, if not American music in general. Almost single-handedly he turned what was mostly a dance music, an entertainment, into an art form – his playing & unique approach to influence generations of musicians to come. Parker’s Millennium edition features the highlights from his recordings for the Mercury & Verve labels, 1947 to 1953, essentially the heart of the great artist’s career.

The collection includes tracks with small & big bands as well as several from his famed sessions with strings. Chronologically sequenced, from 1947’s “The Bird” from the Mercury album The Jazz Scene through “My Little Suede Shoes” & “Loverman” to his 1953 reprise of his classic “Now’s The Time,” all twelve tracks are classics from one of the greatest.

Charlie Parker Biography

Charles Christopher Parker Jr. was born on August 29, 1920, in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, to Charles Parker Sr. and his 18-year-old wife Addie. His father ran out on the family when Charlie was just a little boy. When he was 11 his mother bought him an alto saxophone for his birthday. By the time he was 15 Charlie was working as a musician in the flourishing Kansas City jazz scene. He also began drinking heavily and using drugs, which were also a part of the KC jazz scene, as were illegal after-hours gambling casinos. Charlie became more experienced by playing with various bands, including those of Lawrence Keyes and Harlan Leonard, before joining Jay McShann’s band in 1940.

The band was widely heard on radio across the country, so Charlie’s saxophone playing became well known, even though people didn’t know his name, so he became known as the Yardbird, or just The Bird. While still in Kansas City, Charlie reached a breakthrough: tired of playing solo with the same scales, he discovered that if he used a higher interval of the chords from a popular song or melody line, with a pianist or guitarist adding the appropriate new chords, he finally could play the sound he always had been hearing in his head. Essentially turning the melody line inside out, he began experimenting with this new style, which became known as “bebop”. Charlie played with McShann in New York City until 1942, when he left for brief stints with the bands of pianist Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines and singer Billy Eckstine. The association with the Hines Orchestra was a significant one because of the other musicians, who included trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

By 1945 Charlie was back in New York and leading his own small groups. He got married, but continued to live like a nomad, traveling from place to place and spending almost every other night in a hotel or boarding house. He also became a drug addict, and as his addiction increased so did his appetite, and he began putting on weight. Charlie took part in the first bebop recording session in 1945. With Gillespie and Miles Davis, he recorded songs like “Billie’s Bounce” and “Koko” for Savoy Records. Not long afterward, he recorded such classic songs as “A Night in Tunisia” and “Yardbird Suite” for another small label, Dial Records. In the late 1940s Charlie toured Europe, where he was received like visiting royalty. He made several tours of Cuba, where he began experimenting with large string sections and Afro-Cuban rhythms. After a few years of relative stability, however, Charlie began a downward slide.

He got hooked back on drugs again (heroin was his favorite), he began nodding out on bandstands, getting into fistfights and pawning his saxophones for drug money. Aware of the effects of drug use, he chastised younger sax players who emulated his heroin use. By the early 1950s Charlie’s drinking and drug use made him gray and prematurely lined. His self-abuse began to infringe on his musical ability. During this time, Charlie was befriended by a wealthy European baroness who was living in New York, loved his jazz music and helped him out when he needed it. In early 1955, on his way to a gig in Boston, Charlie stopped by her apartment for a visit.
Alarmed by his obvious ill health, she had her personal doctor examine him, which revealed that he had stomach ulcers and many other health problems, the result of his years of drinking and drug use. The doctor recommended hospitalization, but the stubborn Charlie refused to consider it. The baroness got him to rest at her place for a few days. On March 12, 1955, she found Charlie Parker dead, slumped over in an easy chair in front of the TV set in her apartment. He was 34 years old. An autopsy revealed such damage to the inside of his body that the doctor who performed the autopsy thought Charlie was a man at least 50 years old. Charlie Parker’s legend grew even larger after his death. Fans scrawled “Bird Lives!” on walls of jazz clubs from New York, to Los Angeles, to Paris, France. To this day, more than 40 years after his death, Bird remains jazz’s single most venerated figure.

Distilled Spirits: Tomatin Cù Bòcan Vintage 2005 Single Malt

A vintage release of smoky Cù Bòcan single malt from Tomatin from the year in which the distillery first started distilling a small amount of peated malt each year. (The 1988 vintage Cù Bòcan was produced using Islay casks as opposed to lightly peated malt). Matured for over 11 years, 11,400 bottles have been produced.

Nose: Butterscotch, toffee apples and honey are met with a hint of vanilla that binds these big sweet flavours together. The faint smoke of heather burning lingers in the background throughout. In time, chilli infused chocolate, lemon syrup and a very slight hint of smoked bacon emerge.

Palate: A burst of candy floss and birch sap sweetness is complimented by a gentle touch of peat smoke which brings a rounded earthy note to the taste. Dark chocolate, winter spice and poached fruits leave a warming suggestion of Christmas pudding.

Finish: Rounded and full. The combination of sweet and smoke is left to evolve on the palate with soft fruits continuing to play a role.

Tomatin Distillery

The origins of whisky production in Tomatin are hard to be precise about – the formal distillery which operates today was established in 1897 but there is reason to believe that whisky production, albeit illegal, has been an important part of life in the area around Tomatin since the 1700s.

The name itself gives an insight into this secret past: “Tomatin” translates to “Hill of the Juniper Bush”, as juniper wood gives off no smoke while burning it has long been a favourite of illicit distillers who must keep their practice secret. Today, a building known locally as “The Old Laird’s House” still remains on the site of the current distillery and it is believed that this is the spot where the cattle drovers taking their livestock from the north of Scotland to the central markets would stop and fill their flasks from an illicit still.

However, it was only in 1897 at the peak of the Victorian Whisk Boom that three men, John MacDougall, John MacLeish and Alexander Allan, along with a handful of investors,
decided to open a formal distillery on the site and form The Tomatin Spey District Distillery Ltd.

The chosen location may have been inspired by the history of illicit distillation on the site, however, despite being very isolated (Tomatin is over 1000 feet above sea level on the eastern edge of the Monadhliath Mountains), it was also a very practical location; next to a newly opened rail line, not far from a market- it lies just over 18 miles south of Inverness – and on the Alt na Frith (meaning ‘free burn’) which provided a perfect source for soft, Highland water.

http://www.tomatin.com/home/

Cigars: Nick Perdomo Jr. Honoring Tradition Using Innovation and Technology

“Building a Worldwide Brand”

Nick Perdomo Jr:
TABACALERA PERDOMO

Honoring Tradition Using Innovation and Technology

Nick Perdomo Jr. President and CEO of Tabacalera Perdomo sits down with SGDGmagazine to share what’s new, innovation, and his vision for the future of Perdomo Cigars.

You pour a glass of finely aged single malt whiskey, ready to relax, feeling that at the end of the day a job is well done, but not yet. When only the best will do for your reward, you open up the humidor and without question, you reach for a Perdomo Cigar. It doesn’t matter the blend because with Perdomo every cigar is made with the highest quality tobacco and handcrafted with the greatest of skill and passion for the leaf.

We had the incredible privilege of sitting down with Nick Perdomo Jr., father, husband, son, Founder, President and CEO of Perdomo Cigars, to discuss his historic and legendary rise in the tobacco industry. Nick and his team built a worldwide brand while honoring tradition using innovation and technology. Nick is a pioneer and a visionary in the cigar culture and has given SGDG Magazine the honor of sharing the journey of Perdomo Cigars, then, now, and the future, through his eyes.

Please enjoy the following interview:

SGDG:    Welcome to SGDG Magazine Nick. Thank you for spending time with me and for sharing the brilliance of Perdomo Cigars with our SGDG Family.

Nick: Thank you so much for having me. It is my honor to talk to you and share my passion which is Perdomo Cigars!

SGDG: Please allow me a moment to be just thrilled that I am speaking with you! Nick, you are a living legend to cigar Aficionados around the globe. I believe that I speak for myself, John, and our readers in saying that we are all deeply humbled and truly honored to be speaking with you. Thank you.

Nick: That is so kind of you Terri! I am so proud of our loyal employees worldwide. I am truly a blessed man.

SGDG:  Nick, your family history and its legacy is known to many and has been well documented in the historical bedrock of the cigar industry. The strength and perseverance of the Perdomo Family under the Cuban dictatorship and at the hands of a tyrant and terrorist is beyond extraordinary. You are an inspiration to people around the globe and I am very sorry for the suffering that you and your family have endured.

With that being said, I would like to take the focus of this conversation into the present and future of Perdomo Cigars.

Nick: Well Terri, it has been such a wonderful experience throughout these last 24 years. Starting out of a garage and following my father’s advice, he always told me that me that we live in the greatest country in the world and if you work hard enough, you can attain anything in life. My mom instilled in me the knowledge to always respect your customer and to always make a great product, because it takes 10 years to get a customer and 3 seconds to lose one. I will never forget that. I still love what I do now more than ever. The future for Perdomo cigars is sky high and we are one of the bestselling premium cigars in America. I am so proud to say that Perdomo cigars are taking off in Europe also. As my mom would say, quality always prevails! I am also so humbled to meet our customers and to hear of the enjoyment that they get from enjoying Perdomo cigars!

SGDG:    Let’s talk about the dream. Share with us how the dream of Perdomo Cigars became a reality?

Nick: I started out of my garage in Miami Lakes Florida in 1992. I sold 9,460 cigars my first year. You have to start somewhere. It was the start of our dream! Three years later, I called my dad and told him that I sold one million cigars. My father was so proud of me. He came on to work with me soon after. It was awesome to be able to work with my hero. My father was a great businessman, not to mention the best cigar maker that I have ever met. His experience in Cuba making cigars was so helpful. We always made full-flavored cigars and it really made us different at the time. Everyone knows my Grandfather and my late fathers experience in Cuba as Cigar manufactures, not to mention my grandfather’s brother was the Minister of Tobacco in Cuba. My family and our great workforce deserve all of the credit for our success. I must mention my wife Janine and our children who have been with me through thick and thin. One of the most truthful statements I live by- behind every good man is a great woman.

SGDG:    You made the decision to relocate your operations from Florida to Nicaragua. Why?

Nick: In August of 1995 my father and I were talking, and he said the greatest tobacco in the world comes from Nicaragua. It was becoming too expensive to make cigars in Miami and Tampa and I was also staying in the same price point as the Dominican Republic and Honduras at the time, so as you can imagine it was a struggle, but it was the greatest move that we ever made. When we came to Nicaragua there were only three cigar factories, a huge difference from today. When I saw the grounds, the valleys, and the wonderful tobacco let’s just say that my dad was right again. Today we proudly provide jobs to over 2,000 people in one of the most dedicated and fierce workforces that anyone could have. In fact, our typical worker in Nicaragua has been with Perdomo cigars for an average of 16.3 years. Many of our employees there as well as in Miami have been with us since day one! Yes, I am very proud of that and we treat our employees like family. My wife, my mother, my son and my uncle still work with the company. Arthur Kemper our VP is like my brother and our operations manager, Nelson Cuba, has been my friend since we were eleven years old. I was just with Chris Harper, our national director of sales, in Atlanta with Janine having drinks and smoking Perdomo cigars. We have such a special team. So yes, I love my career!

SGDG:    You have team loyalty on a scale unmatched by many. Leadership is directly related to the happiness of those who choose to work with us. Your father Nick Perdomo Sr., played a critical role in the management and operations in Nicaragua. Share with us his influence on you and your leadership style?

Nick: Let me say that my father and I worked so well together because we not only loved each other, but he always put his family first. This is something I will never forget. My father treated every employee no matter what position with the upmost respect. I always and still do follow that mentality. People see me load a container or work on the farm and ask me, why? The answer is you have to lead by example and our employees respect me for it. I love to stay active and help in any way that I can because we are a team.  My dad left a lasting mark on me and his influence and leadership were paramount. I honor him each day by leading from his great example.

SGDG:    When I think of you and the way you have always gone against the status quo, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers, comes to my mind. Steve was an innovator who did everything outside of the box of average thinking and expectations. I see you this way. They told you a bold cigar would never sell.  You said let the customer decide and you blended one anyway. Share with us your philosophy on “quality over quantity”?

Nick: In June of 1999 we made a sound decision to become vertically integrated and to control our own journey in every aspect. We wanted to control everything down to the seed, so we brought in the very best geneticist, who is still with us, and has developed over seven seed strains for us that have worked wonderfully. Today we are one of the largest farmers in all of Central America. We manufacture all of our own cigar boxes. We even sort and grade our cedar. This attention to detail is the difference. We don’t like the status quo and are always going against the grain to be the best that God will let us. Our strict blending techniques, our ability to pinpoint quality control and quality over quantity mantra, our use of innovation and technology with traditional ways of farming, all lead to richer, bolder yet extremely smooth cigars. That is what I mean of going against the grain in giving the Perdomo customer the very best that money can buy. Being completely vertical gives us that and it is what leads us to keep pricing so fair. People talk about it all of the time and I am proud of that. Our dream is that there is a Perdomo cigar for everyone and that is why our growth has been so amazing.

SGDG:    Your factory operates using efficient environmental technology. You have installed a water saving drip system to conserve water. Speak to us about your decision to marry innovation in tobacco farming with the traditional ways that you were taught by your father, grandfather and others?

Nick: We worked with a fantastic company in Israel that is a leader to water conservation and that makes a more healthy and lush tobacco plant at the same time. Filtered clean water for our tobacco plants using a special water drip system and the same time fertilizing the plant at its optimum levels using an eco-friendly water conservation system. This process is very expensive but better for our tobacco. I am all in and the tobacco speaks for it. The merging of traditional farming with new technological advances has really set us apart and made for an even more bountiful crop that our consumers have been enjoying for years and we promise to continue improving with new advanced equipment.

SGDG:    Perdomo has beautiful graphics and attention to detail in its presentation. You said that every box of cigars is special. What makes every box of Perdomo cigars special?

Nick: A box of cigars is very special. I want every box of Perdomo cigars to feel and look very special because we all know the cigars are outstanding. Remember they are given out at special occasions such as weddings and other celebrations. Our customers deserve the very best and packaging starts the celebration, look, and feel. Arthur Kemper, our Vice President, and his team, which includes me, looks at every aspect and Arthur is second to none at this with his years of experience at Perdomo and retail. At the end it must breathe special because that is exactly what a box of Perdomo cigars is!

SGDG: How have the new FDA regulations effected Perdomo Cigars and the tobacco industry? What is the current status of the regulations with regards to production, sales, promotion, etc.?

Nick: Anytime the government gets involved in regulation it hurts the employee, future employment, and the company. This new FDA regulation is just that. I urge all to call your local senators and congressmen and tell them to stop this nonsense. Of course, it will impact the industry. But I promise you one thing, we will survive and fight this all the way!

Many regulations that are imposed on business hurt and stifle growth and employment. Government intervention on the cigar industry has been punishing but I have a positive attitude. I believe that as a proud American we will fight the government and things will turn around.

SGDG:    Why is there confusion between cigarette tobacco and cigar tobacco? And what can the cigar industry do to separate itself from this misconception?

Nick: This is all about taxes and more government intrusion. Americans are tired of it. Unlike the contents of a cigarette, Perdomo cigars consist of three things: Air cured and aged tobacco, water, and pectin. No chemicals.

SGDG:    There is a new edition to the Perdomo Family called “Perdomo Estate Seleccion”. What is new with Perdomo Cigars?

Nick: This is our newest brand that features the top one percent of our crops. These tobaccos are estate grown and come from our 2011 crops in Estelí, Condega and Jalapa. We have invested a lot in our packaging and our retailers have been very receptive to this product. We have some great new products coming in the future, but we will be keeping them close to the vest due to the FDA.

SGDG:    Perdomo Cigars now has a distribution center in Frankfurt, Germany. How has this effected your ability to accommodate your European market?

Nick: It’s been incredible for us. The concept works like a “spoke and hub” concept. Frankfurt Germany is right in the middle of the European Union and because of that when we ship any Perdomo cigars through Europe, the average time that retailers will get their shipment is within 48-72 hours, which is very quick. All of the stamps and labels are put on by our team in Frankfurt and then shipped. It’s been a really great thing for us.

SGDG: You just finished a European Tour. Perdomo Cigars seems to connect well with customers there. How do you feel about that?

Nick: It’s an honor. We’ve been in the European market for a little over 15 years and our growth has been quite expediential there. We are happy to be able to showcase Perdomo Cigars in Europe. It seems that the customer base really enjoys our cigars and their construction so it’s great for both parties.

SGDG:    Perdomo Cigars is family owned and operated. You shared with me that your mother, Senora Perdomo, bless her heart, still comes to work every day. Your beautiful wife Janine, is Vice President of Operations and has been by your side from day one. You still work with the original team that you started with. Tell us about the Perdomo business as a family?

Nick:  Yes, we’ve always run our business like a family. Our employees are extended members of the family.  One of the things that I’m blessed with is not only having a great workforce but the amount of longevity.  In Nicaragua the average Perdomo worker has been with the company for over 16.1 years. Here in Miami I still have several workers who have been with me since day one. Our sales team has been with us for double digit years as well.  A lot of it has to do with our family concept with quality and the way we treat our workers. It’s been a blessing for us.

SGDG:    The Perdomo Family Legacy lives on through your son Nick III and your beautiful daughter Natalie. What is next for Perdomo Cigars? Will there be more expansion of the brand in the future? If so, what will that expansion look like?

Nick: Today is my sons 25th birthday as you know and to answer the first part of your question, he’s doing phenomenal. He’s not the boss’s son. He’s his own man and he’s doing a great job. We’ve always followed the concept of “you have to walk the walk before you talk the talk” and he follows that philosophy.  My daughter is about to graduate from the University of Alabama in December.  She will be attending law school here in the Miami area. It’s nice to have a law degree because I believe that it always helps in business.

As far as growth, we’ve always believed that quality brings quantity. We foresee more and more growth at an even keel where we are doing it systematically with quality. The company continues to grow year in and year out. We will continue that phase but never at the expense of quality.  We believe that the reason we continue to grow is because our consumers worldwide respect our quality.

SGDG:  You have accomplished so much and of course you are elevating in the European Market. Is there anything else you would like to share with us that is in the works for Perdomo Cigars?

Nick:  A lot of our growing operations are becoming more state of the art. Together, with the traditions that I learned from my father and my grandfather, we’re producing better and richer tobacco in Nicaragua. We would like to start seeing federal regulations being lifted by the FDA so that we can bring some of the incredible new blends to the market. With the FDA restrictions it’s been an issue. As you know we have a class action law suit pending that we hope will lift some of the restrictions so that we can bring some of these new cigars to market.

We still see our growth in Europe expanding however we are really trying to grow here in the United States of America because this is our baby. My priority is and will always be here in the United States. Although we have grown vastly over the last 25 years, America is our number one priority.

SGDG:  Have you considered expanding the Perdomo brand in other markets such as distilled spirits, coffee, or any other market?

Nick:  Sure. That’s a great question. We have been working together with different liquor companies on pairings with our cigars. We have a brand that pairs well with special craft beers and we are looking to expand that market into single malt scotches, vodkas, red wines, bourbon, rum. Another reason why I think your question is great is because I love coffee.  We are looking to pair with a good roaster in Nicaragua and come up with a Perdomo brand of coffee that pairs well with our cigars. That’s probably something that no one really knows about that we’ve been working on. When I find the right combination, that’s when we’ll start releasing that.

SGDG:    The Drums! I understand that you were in a band years ago and that you have a collection of drums. What is your relationship with music?

Nick: I love music and at my age the drums have become a big stress reliever and more of a hobby. I’ve been playing the drums for over 40 years and I have three sets in my office.  I love to play and again, at this stage in my life, I get together with some friends and we jam in my office. We do a lot of classic rock, 70’s, and 80’s music. I’m originally a trained jazz drummer and I still love jazz music. Unfortunately, because of my travel schedule I don’t get a chance to play as often as I would like to however I still try to get in one or two hours a week of playing and it’s still a lot of fun for me.

SGDG: What would you like people to know about you and Perdomo Cigars that hasn’t been shared? What are you most proud of?

Nick: In business I’m most proud of producing a quality product at a fair price point. My father always told me that if you’re fair to your consumers and you give them the best quality that you can get, you can’t fail.

What I would like people to know is that my favorite title in my life is not President or CEO; it’s being a dad and a husband. I told someone recently that I work harder now than I ever have and it’s because I still love it. Not only do I love cigars, I love what I do. I look forward to coming to work, and I know that it sounds like an old cliché, but it’s a blessing. I got up at 4:00am this morning after flying in last night from Birmingham, Alabama. I was spending time with my daughter. I’ll be on the road again tomorrow morning, but I flew into Miami because I wanted to spend the day with my son and celebrate his birthday today. To me those are the most special times. I would like people to know that we’re good people and we work really hard and we’re humbled by all of the cards, letters, emails, and the kind words that we get out there on the road. I’m a blessed guy.

SGDG: What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are taking that leap of faith and following their dreams?

Nick: The first thing they need to realize is not to be afraid to work. You will be surprised at what you can do when you work hard. A lot of it has to do with my faith in God. God has been very good to me. I’ve been fortunate and lucky. When you work hard and have faith and you pick the right people to assist you, and you treat them like family, you can’t lose.  We have so much opportunity here in the Unites States. I wouldn’t say that entrepreneurship is easy, by any stretch of the imagination and especially with the government, but I think if you are really determined, work hard, and you’re focused, it’s a risk—but if you’re willing to take that risk you can do it.  A lot of the times people see the iceberg on top, but they don’t see that on the bottom are the sleepless nights, the risk, and so on.

I don’t begrudge those that don’t want to do it but it’s something that you have to work really hard at. People look at business people and say “Wow why do they have this and that” and I say it’s because they worked really hard. I talk to a lot of young people and I get asked this question a lot. I’ve been blessed. I have a motor inside and my wife asks me “when does it stop?”, and I say it doesn’t because I really like it. It’s not easy but if you’re willing to take the shot and bust your butt like you never thought you could, the human being can do amazing things, the sky is the limit for any young entrepreneur.  I’m certainly not the smartest guy but I was determined and raised by a father and a mother who really pushed me, they always believed in me and taught me to believe in myself. I am relentless.  I believe that if you have all of those attributes that I just mentioned anyone can do it.

SGDG:    Nick thank you so much for you time, for sharing your journey and for producing some of the most incredible cigar blends in the world! Remember to always Smokegood cigars and Drinkgood spirits. SGDG…It’s a Lifestyle.

End of interview

The LifeStyle: Dan’s Cigar Lounge and Tobacco Center in Baltimore Maryland

DAN’S CIGAR LOUNGE

Dan’s Cigar Lounge and Tobacco Center is one of Maryland’s Premier Cigar retailers. Whether you’re new to cigars, a cigar lover, or a cigar aficionado, Dan’s is your one-stop-shop for all things cigars. Stop in and experience warm hospitality, plush leather seating, and a grand walk-in humidor that showcases a vast array of premium cigars that will satisfy the most distinguished aficionado. At Dan’s you will find the complete collection of top shelf brands like Perdomo, Padron, La Flor Dominicana, Rocky Patel, and more!

Dan’s offers its customers extraordinary events that include “First Friday @ Dan’s Cigar Lounge” which takes place 8pm till Midnight every first Friday of the month. Enjoy music, open bar, and more! No membership required. Lockers available.

Dan’s is located at:

8300 Pulaski Hwy,
Rosedale, MD 21237
(410)780-5959

http://www.danscigarlounge.com

Business hours: Store Hours:
Monday 12pm Noon – 12am Midnight
Tuesday 12pm – 8pm
Wed – Sat 12pm Noon – 12am Midnight
Closed Sunday

 

 

 

Cigars: Matty Rock Inc One of the Cigar Industry’s Most Brilliant Minds

The Disco Ball Rules! Didn’t you know?

*Matty Rock, CEO of Matty Rock Inc, and a Drew Estate Icon, sits down with SGDGmagazine to share his extraordinary relationship with the cigar sub-culture, as well as shed some insight on the man beyond the eccentric suits, lattes and cigars!

Please enjoy the following Interview:

Several years ago, I saw a photo on Facebook of a quirky bearded man wearing a patterned suit with playing cards on the fabric. There was a cigar in his hand, which had silver rings depicting the Drew Estate cigar brand logo, and one of the funniest expressions on his face. He was posing in the picture with someone at a cigar event. I was amused yet fascinated and thought, “Who is this guy”. I soon found out that this character I had seen was Matty Rock! Matty left an unforgettable impression on me in a matter of seconds as well as a smile on my face for the entirety of the day. Immediately, I sent him a Facebook friend request- and the rest was history.

Throughout the years I realized there was much more to Matty Rock, the cigar event marketing genius and Drew Estate Icon, than what I had initially seen on the surface. Eventually I had the ability to peel back the layers of his personality and found a truly brilliant and inspiring mind. On top of being a businessman, an entrepreneur, and someone who is at the forefront of cigar sub-culture, Matty embodies the heart and soul of the Drew Estate movement. And lucky for us, there’s a whole lot more.

SGDG: Matty, thank you for spending time with me and sharing your journey with our SGDG family. You’re an impressive figure in cigar culture and in this interview, we will explore your life beyond the industry. However, share with us your history with tobacco and cigars. When and where did it all begin for you?

Matty: It’s almost as if the path was already there. I started out in the tech world when I was seventeen years old and I was going to school at night. I was working for a fortune 500 company learning computers at seventeen. I was around sophisticated people and I use that term loosely, I started out with a delicious White Owl and when I wanted to be classy I would light up one of those Robert Burn cigars thinking hey I can be sophisticated! Look at me now!

I was introduced to the cigar culture at a young age. From there it was a natural progression. I always knew that it would be a hobby of mine and something that I loved and enjoyed. What most people don’t know about me is that I don’t drink. I’m already out of my mind! The world is much happier about that fact! There’s no alcohol. This is an all-natural crazy! Twenty-seven years of being around tobacco and doing shows. Suited up in corporate America, meeting a lot people. From there it was a natural progression and a blessing. I’m used to being around a lot people and promotions companies from doing Battle of the Bands in New Jersey back in the day. Cigars were always around and a great bridge into just about anything.

SGDG: That’s the wonderful thing about the cigars and the cigar culture. Cigars tend to bring people together. How do you feel about that?

Matty: Oh yeah! One hundred percent! It can be an introverted thing or an extraverted thing. That’s part of the beauty of it. You can sit down with your cigar for an hour or two and dream and scheme about how to rule the world.

SGDG: Speaking of ruling the world. One of the reasons why you’re so fascinating is that there is so much more to you than what people see on the surface. You are a Brother of the Leaf. We see this character, that isn’t really a character at all, it’s just who you are. But you do have a public persona. When you’re taking care of business are you the character that we see or do you change into a more conservative corporate guy?

Matty: For the most part, I’ve always had the unique opportunity and I’ve been blessed to always be myself. I do tone it down a bit when I’m meeting a new client. I’m usually well behaved as not to scare the Hell out of new prospective business. I wouldn’t want to scare them off with a fuzzy dice suit! They might look at my resume and then scratch their heads a little bit. I’m generally myself and I’m approachable for the most part.

SGDG: You’re brilliant when it comes to marketing. Your personality is strong and genuine. From a branding perspective, you are naturally what most people try very hard to create. You tend to flow with positive energy that is magnetic and contagious. How do you maintain that authentic positive flow of energy?

Matty: It’s just easier for me to be who I am. I’m blessed with the opportunity to do what I love. As long as your work speaks for itself, people will give you the room to be yourself. You will always find people who don’t like you or that have issues with your character. You can’t do much about haters or people that feed on negative energy. If you’re happy with who you are and you feel good about who you are, you will find your niche and your grove. I think its most important to be comfortable in your own skin. People feel it when you’re confident and genuine. I feel that in order to stay successful, you have to get rid of the negativity and the negative people. Don’t get caught up with what the media throws at you. The media pits people against each other with politics and the like. They take the negative and blow it up and keep people in the dark. I don’t have the time or the patience for that. I just stay positive in my life and in everything that I do.

SGDG: You travel a lot for business and you do a fair amount of cigar events, however, I’ve noticed that there is much more to your travels. Besides your work within the cigar industry, do you own your own business?

Matty: I own several businesses and work within several industries. I have a promotions company called Rock to Galaxy working with talent and I have a staffing agency where I manage recruitment and hiring for companies. I’m a computer programmer with global contracts and I train fighters. I also own a jewelry company. If you ask most people…hey what does Matty do? They will probably say meh he smokes cigars, eats food and goes to cigar events. I used to be part owner of a night club but I’ll never do that again. When I travel it has to do with mixture of all of my business.

SGDG: Do you work exclusively with Drew Estate Cigars or do you work with other cigar manufacturers?

Matty: Yes, I’m exclusive to Drew Estate. When it comes to Jon (Jonathan Drew), outside of actual blood, he’s my brother. Jon’s my brother and I’m going to always be loyal to my brother. Loyalty is the most important character trait a person can have and the brand (Drew Estate Cigars) speaks for itself. The people who come into the organization, they become family. That’s what makes Drew Estate so unique. Drew Estate is 100% a sub-culture. When you come to one of Jon’s events, you see art, culture, music, passion, love. There are people painting live, not men dressed in suits. There’s nothing cookie cutter about the man (Jon) or the organization. Everything Jon does is done with love passion and devotion. When you put your heart and soul into something, that’s what makes the difference. We are a family and it’s nice to be in a family where we can all be ourselves. We love and respect each other.

SGDG: Do you all get together outside of work as a family?

Matty: Yes, we always find time to spend as a family outside of work. Whenever one of us in town we hang out. It’s a beautiful thing.

SGDG: Let’s talk about your suits and the Kagol hats! When did the eccentric suits and collection of Kangol’s come about?

Matty: I’ve been dressing like a maniac for years. I’m a little bit more out in the open about it. I have a Kagol collection of more than 60 hats that are over 25 years old and from different countries around the world. When you see me in a regular suit, I feel iffy about how I look. I’m happy with the craziness and I have well over 50 suits. When people tag me to show me suits on Facebook, the sad part of that is, chances are I have the suit already. I think a lot of people tend to take themselves too seriously. No one should take themselves that serious. You’ll always have detractors. Do your job, have fun, and live your life light heartedly and people will support you for being yourself.

SGDG: You wear some of the most amazing jewelry. Is it custom made?

Matty: I own the jewelry company that sells most of the pieces that I wear. We do make custom pieces. The Drew Estate rings are made by someone else, but everything else is made by my company.

SGDG: The cigar industry has grown over the past six years with regards to its use of social media. You have a major social presence with a very active fanbase. Are you aware this? And which social media tool is your favorite to use?

Matty: That’s very flattering and I realize that there are a lot of people who are interested in the next stupid thing that I do. It’s great that people take time out of their day to find out how much sushi I eat in one sitting and how many burgers I polished off, that’s flattering and I appreciate it. I’ve had people remind me of some crazy thing that I did on Facebook a year ago. It’s like a history lesson and I’m beginning to realize that I’m my own historian! I enjoy talking to people and interacting with people so the 140-character limit of Twitter doesn’t work for me. I think that Facebook is best and allows me more of a connection with people in diverse ways. Instagram is fun with pictures and good for promotions but Facebook reaches a biggest audience.

SGDG: People connect with the energy that you exude. They admire you and value what you say; they trust you. You leave an indelible impression and have an incredible influence. How do you feel about that?

Matty: I appreciate that and its very flattering. I like to detract from negativity. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. I choose to be a part of the solution. In society today, when you take a stand, there seems to be only one direction to take with no compromise. I believe in compromise. I’m respectful of how other people feel, and when it comes to social media I will very rarely write something negative or divisive. I like to leave subtle reminders that we don’t have to be hurtful. We don’t have to be influenced by the media and be lead around like sheep. I don’t want to be a part of negativity because it spreads like cancer. Business, personal, negative energy influences every part of your life. There are a lot of things to be happy about and being happy is how I choose to live. No man is an island and everyone has their issues. Each person would do themselves good by getting out of the habit of thinking that they’re the only one with issues. You can see the happiest child who won’t see their next birthday yet there are still people who will choose to complain. Perspective. Perspective is the most important word in life for me. If you keep everything in perspective it will make your life and everyone else’s life better. I never really get upset. I encourage people to choose to be happy, to compromise and to keep everything in its proper perspective.

SGDG: You are a survivor of the World Trade Center terrorist attack. Would you mind sharing your experience with us?

Matty: Yes, I am a 911 survivor and I lost a lot of brothers and sisters that day. I went to get a latte and I missed my ferry that morning so I was late. I say that I was “saved by latte”. That tragedy taught me to never take life for granted. Live each day to its fullest because life isn’t promised to anyone. I learned to be incredibly thankful and to always give something back. People need to be reminded of those things. I was working on two projects. Both projects were in the Towers. One was on the 97th floor of the North Tower and the other was on the 81st Floor of the South Tower. Unfortunately, I was there when both planes hit. I watched each plane hit the Towers. Where I was located, it would have been a direct hit had I been in either Tower. You put that into perspective. You can learn something from this and be kind to people and be helpful. Imagine what our military is going through every day, dodging IED’s and ducking bullets. We went through a horrible time and it always brings us back to choices and perspective. You wake up every morning and decide who you will choose to be. Choices and Perspective.

SGDG: After having had such a life changing experience, would you say that you are a spiritual man, religious, or a bit of both?

Matty: I would say that I’m more spiritual and I have a lot of faith. The problem that I have with religion is that its mixed with politics. Religion will cloud your judgement so I try to stay away from that. Faith and spirituality describes me best. Everyone has their own truth and facts can be manipulated. I stay far away from religion.

SGDG: Let’s talk about your cigar preferences. Do you have a favorite cigar, region, and/or strength?

Matty: That’s a tough one because I’ve been smoking for a better part of two decades and smoking as much as I do. Your palate changes over time and your go to sticks will change but the Liga L-40 and the Chateau Riel Maduro are what comes to mind. Back in the day I thought I was a fancy fellow when I first started smoking so it was the Robert Burn cigar in a tube. Then I graduated to a Don Diego and I was the Man!

SGDG: Most smokers have a preference when it comes to cigar cutters. What is your preferred cigar cutter?

Matty: I like to use a guided cutter but lately I’ve been enjoying the V-cut.

SGDG: How extensive is your cigar collection?

Matty: I have about 14,000 cigars in my collection. I’ve been collecting cigars since I was 17 years old.

SGDG: I’ve noticed that many cigar manufactures are becoming global with their distribution. How do you feel about the global expansion of the American cigar industry?

Matty: I think is great! I love it on a global level because the world gets a little bit smaller. There was a guy who was a web developer that knew me and he came to visit New Jersey from Shanghai just to smoke cigars with me. He said, “we know of you in Shanghai.” There’s been a lot of that. There was a woman who was an artist from Japan, who saw me on social media and traveled to the U.S., there we were smoking a cigar on the Hudson River.

SGDG: You are so active. What do you do to relax?

Matty: My mind never really shuts off but I love my cigars. I smoke cigars and drink root beer! I have about 45 different cold root beers. I love music. Music is a passion for me. I did Battle of the Bands back in the day. You’ve seen the disco ball, haven’t you? That disco ball has more miles on it than most flights. It talks and says, “oh this guy just took me to Vegas”. Have you seen the Boom Box? It weighs about 40 pounds and it travels too! That thing is a monster!

 

SGDG: What is an admirable character trait that you are most proud of?

Matty: That I keep things positive and I’m able to stay grounded while still having fun. I don’t take myself too serious. I’m accepting of everyone’s opinion whether I agree or disagree. I have fun with life. I believe in just being myself and being happy. I’m a genuine guy who enjoys life. Remember that you can’t fix everything and if you can’t fix it, don’t break it or make it worse. It goes back to my two favorite words, choices and perspective.

SGDG: There are so many layers to you. What would you like people to know about you that you haven’t already shared?

Matty: That I’m a fantastic dancer! I’m transparent. What you see is what you get. I let people peek in and see me with my family and see me working. People think the only thing I’m about is cigars, but there’s so much more. I’m a software engineer who develops software for global companies, and I own my own staffing company that I’m in the process of expanding. I’m a Mui Thai Fighter and I train fighters. I own a jewelry company and I’m old school when it comes to music and rap. Only the people very close to me tend to know these things.

SGDG: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Matty: You have to be 100% passionate and invested in whatever it is you are doing. It won’t always be fun and there will be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. You have to know what making a living means to you. You need to ascertain what being wealthy means to you because it means different things to different people. To some people it means quality of life and to others it means being able to pay their bills. Set goals and develop a plan to meet them. Once you can answer these questions and be honest with yourself it will give you a better idea of what to expect.

SGDG: Matty, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your epic journey with our readers from around the globe. Remember to always Smokegood cigars and Drinkgood spirits. SGDG…It’s a Lifestyle!

 

Follow Matty Rock at:

Instagram: @mattyrock2k
Twitter: @mattyrock2k
Facebook: Matty Rock