Interview with Jameson Cigars’ Brad Mayo
We’re changing things up a bit on Casas Fumando and decided to do an interview with one of the boutique brands out on the market today. We got in touch with Brad Mayo from Jameson Cigars who was more than willing to take some time out of his busy schedule to respond to a few interview questions we had for him. Jameson cigars currently makes 3 blends of cigars, the Red Label, Black Label and Declaration.
Take a few minutes to stop by the website (www.jamesoncigars.com) and read more about the company and the products. Jameson also retails their own coffee brand called “Rockstone”.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a minute to watch my video review of the Jameson Cigars Declaration
If you have any other questions for Brad feel free to post them in the comments or you can contact him on Twitter (@JamesonCigars). If you have a chance, try out some of his cigars.
Also keep an eye out for a review of the Jameson Cigars Black Label which will be coming up on Casas Fumando soon.
Now onto the questions:
Q: When and how did you first get involved in the cigar industry?
A: I first started Jameson Cigar Co. in mid-2007, but had been working towards starting the company a while before that. Basically I was introduced to La Tradicion Cubana cigars and fell in love with their smokes. Luis Sanchez (the owner of La Tradicion) and I developed a relationship and Jameson Cigar Co. was born.
Q: What did you do before you started Jameson Cigars?
A: Before Jameson I was in construction and home building.
Q: What was the push that finally made you start your own company?
A: I’m an entrepreneur in every since of the word and it has always been a dream to create cigars. Once I had relationships in place that would allow me to create the company and the cigars I had dreamed about, it was full speed ahead.
Q: Where does the “Jameson Cigars” name come from?
A: This is a question I get asked often and the name is a combination of James and son. My first name is James which is a family name that starts with my grandfather and has been passed down all the way to my son.
Q: How long did it take for you to finalize your newest blend, the Declaration? What was the process like?
A: You know, we nailed down Declaration rather quickly and I think it’s because we had a clear vision for what we wanted the cigar to be and the tobacco that we wanted to use.
Q: The vitola for the new Declaration cigar is called the “Iniquity”, where did that name come from and what does it mean?
A: At the most basic level Iniquity means injustice or the violation of a right. The whole Declaration brand is a statement about our passion for cigars and the fact that sometimes you have to stand up for your passion. Iniquity was a natural fit for the first vitola.
Q: What’s your ideal place to sit back and enjoy a cigar?
A: Ideally it’s sitting on a beach somewhere, preferably in the evening when it’s cooling down. Just sit back, relax, enjoy a cigar, and clear your mind.
Q: Outside of the obvious, what’s in your humidor right now?
A: I really don’t keep a personal humidor anymore; I just grab whatever I’m in the mood for from our stock. That being said I still like to grab other sticks from time to time, so it’s just whatever I happen to run onto.
Q: What is your favorite cigar related memory?
A: Just about everything I do is cigar related these days, so it would have to be all the experiences, relationships, and memories that have been built up over the life of the company.
Q: Which of your three blends are you the most proud of and why?
A: Tough question. I’m usually a humble person, but I am proud of the cigars we’re making. With that said, I am currently most proud of Declaration because the blend is fantastic and suits me perfectly and because the brand means so much.
Q: You are also pushing out “Rockstone” coffee. What was the idea behind this? Is there something missing in gourmet coffee now that you wanted to embark upon?
A: My theory has always been, do what you love. Almost religiously I start the day with coffee and a cigar, the perfect pair for me. Rockstone coffee is just a way of sharing this experience with others. We want to say; hey this is some great coffee that you won’t find down the street or in a drive thru. Take the time to grind fresh beans, pair it with one of our cigars, and I think you’ll enjoy it.
Q: Where can we find and purchase Jameson cigars and Rockstone Coffee?
A: Our cigars can be found on our website, on Calle Ocho, and at select retailers listed on our website which we try our best to keep up to date. Rockstone Coffee is exclusive to us and only available on our website for the time being.
Q: Are there any events planned in the near future for Jameson Cigars?
A: On May 17th we sponsored a dinner at JJ’s in College Station, TX. On May 20th we sponsored a Go Palo! concert in South Beach along with La Caridad del Cobre, La Tradicion Cubana, and Casa Gomez, and in June we’ll be at Famous Smoke Shop’s Cigar Expo.
Q: There are a lot of cigar brands making their presence known through twitter. Has this form of social media made an impact on your business?
A: I was a little hesitant at first about Twitter, however it’s been nothing but positive for our brand. It’s a great way to connect and interact. We’ve made some amazing contacts through Twitter. I would encourage others to get involved on Twitter, it’s a great resource to stay connected with what’s going on in the cigar world.
Q: I saw you mention on Twitter that you were entertaining ideas for some new vitolas of the Declaration. How are things going with that? Have you tried any yet?
A: It was always meant to expand the line at some point and I kind of wanted to get feedback on the sizes that people wanted to see. In the near future you will see a traditional belicoso (5.25×52) called Pursuit. We’ve already taken the first shipment of that vitola, but it hasn’t left the warehouse yet. One of the most requested vitolas was a 6×60, a size which I’m usually not a huge fan. However, we’ve been experimenting with it and I have to say that our samples so far have been outstanding. I hope to put that size into production shortly, but we don’t have a name yet. If anyone has a suggestion, let me know. Overall I’m really excited about adding vitolas to the Declaration lineup and I think everyone will thoroughly enjoy them.
Q: What’s in the future for Jameson, new cigar blend perhaps?
A: I love experimenting with new cigars and always have a new project idea in my head. We’re staying busy working on Declaration, but you may see a new blend in the not so distant future.
Q: Other than smoking cigars, what hobbies do you enjoy?
A: I spend a lot of time with my wife and kids and when I’m not doing that I enjoy golf and travelling.
A big Thank You to Brad from Casas Fumando for taking time to respond to our questions. Keep up the good work on the great cigars!