When it comes to new cigar reviewers arriving on the scene in the past year, none stand out more than Bob the Cigar Guy. Candid and just a little bit country, his reviews give us fun but valuable insights into cigar culture.
A bit about Bob and his family: Bob works at BMW manufacturing in Greer South Carolina, and served as a recon marine in the United States Marine Corps. We met Bob and his wife Sarah (the First Lady of Bob the Cigar Guy) as well as his daughter Kaitlyn at the 2016 Washington D.C. Save The Leaf protest. The BTCG review is very much a family oriented affair with son Stephen working production and Camera.
Be sure to subscribe to Bob's Channel here and make sure to mark your calendar for the 10-person panel review / megaherf of Alpha Cigar Co cigars on June 4th! The herf will take place at FH cigars in Traveler's Rest. ... Now, we decided to put Bob on the spot and ask him some questions. Scroll down for the exclusive interview!
There are a lot of cigar reviewers out there - what do you think you bring to the table?
If you are looking for a serious scholarly review where the reviewer speaks of star anise, white pepper, and English heather, you won't be happy with me. Those reviews are cool, everyone has strengths and a personal vibe, mine is just a little more country, laid back, common fella kinda feel. I am family friendly, no cussing or inappropriate content, I want a fella or lady to feel comfortable watching my reviews with their sweetie and kids right beside them watching too.
When it comes to the review, I tell what I taste and the experience I feel. If that's the thought of cotton candy smoke, or savory like chicken and dumplings, I say that. If the experience makes me think of the smell of a kids clothes after he or she has rolled down a grassy hill at the Fourth of July pick nick I share that. I try to relate flavors to every day foods and tastes. And I try to make it fun.
Cigars are so much more than burning rolled tobacco. They can be a time machine to a great memory, be a conversation starter, punctuate a milestone, and deepen relational bonds and I want my reviews to honor that.
I hope when somebody watches a review of mine they join me, take a pause, relax, and laugh. I want people to enjoy the time we spend together.
Tell us about your background… how did you get into cigars?
One of my favorite movies of all time is heartbreak ridge (my other favorite is pitch perfect...what can I say, I like the movie) Clint Eastwood in recon smokin those stogies & handling buisness, who wouldn't want to be him. So when I got out of high school I was Paris island bound where I earned the title U.S. marine, and less than a year later I became a recon marine. It was then I really started smoking cigars, mostly convenience store types, but hey, everyone has to start somewhere.
I was pretty wild back then "high speed, low drag" and a stogie sticking out of my mouth, while living at full tilt, seemed to fit the vibe.
Now I'm a lot more laid back and the cigars I smoke are from a little higher up on the shelf.
How do you select cigars and how does video production happen?
I get cigars two ways. The fam (I like to think of the people who take time to watch my reviews as my extended family, hence the term fam) sends me cigars to review, they send me what they want to see reviewed and I do my best to research and study the cigar so I can give a solid presentation of what I'm smoking and give them a shout out. As long as people keep sending them, I'll keep reviewing them.
I'm very thankful and humbled by the fact that people want to share with me what they enjoy, it's a cool bond we have.
The second way I get cigars is from manufacturers such as you and Tim with alpha, actually I'm putting the finishing touches on the ten panel review we are doing this Sunday at FH cigars in travelers rest South Carolina of the alpha experience! I'm so exited.
As far as the video production stuff, we are pretty simple. My phone and the back porch a dor. My son Stephen "chief" (he is pretty much the editor in chief, lol) does most of the filming and all of the editing, special effects, sound, credits and all of that is him. He really makes the video worth watching. It's a tall task to make me look good week in and week out, lol.
He is really good and I enjoy the time we spend together in this process, and he is a cigar smoker as well.
What are the main things you like to focus on when reviewing cigars?
I go at thinking about what I would want to see. Admittedly, I'm kind of a cigar nerd, I love to learn about every aspect so I have to be careful not to detail it to death lol.
I try to cover construction, the binder, filler, and wrapper, the flavors, the finish, and the whole smoking experience. I like to share a few nuggets of learnin' but have a couple laughs while doing it.
But if I was going to be transparent I would have to say the focus for me is to give people a momentary pause from the struggles of life, I'm honored that people take time out of their day to join me in a cigar. I want them to feel like they are loved and they have a family friendly place to spend ten to fifteen minutes.
You’re planning on doing a review of some Alpha Cigars soon - hows it going to be different?
Oh it's gonna be epic!
We are going to be doing the review at FH cigars in travelers rest which I like to call " the back porch of the Carolinas". I've got ten panelists that are going to be enjoying and reviewing the alpha infused as well as the diffused line. The panel is made up of ladies and fellas who range from the new cigar smokers to die hard veterans. It's a great time and the diverse panel gives something for all the viewers to relate to. I really like this format because with so many perspectives I grow as a cigar smoker and reviewer.
And I don't need much of a reason to enjoy an alpha cigar, the infusion is so smooth and light it really highlights the flavorful blend and solid construction. The non infused offerings have a balance and blend that leaves me feeling satisfied and glad I chose alpha for my personal pause.