PCA 2024 Day Four Recap

PCA Day 4: Lifestyle and Accessories

In addition to many incredible premium cigar brands, both small and large, there are other businesses. These excellent companies are comprised of handcrafted accessories, incredible liquors, and dedication to the cigar lifestyle. Each has its own take on the industry. These brands represent the entrepreneurial spirit, all while having fun and enjoying the delicacy that brings them all together: premium cigars.

Johnny Soyak: Cigar in the Bottle 

Forbidden Johnny is what they call the founder of this exciting company. Soyak features a premium cigar within the bottle of an award-winning cognac. The cognac is a ten-year-aged Grande Pommier, with a premium cigar by Davidoff master blender Hendric Kelner. Soyak teamed up with a Scottsdale, Arizona-based team and came up with the idea of a premium cigar and a premium cognac together. 

At PCA this year, Soyak aims to continue spreading the word about his incredible product. Distribution is currently live in Nevada, New York, Arizona, Missouri, Florida, and more. Soyak stated, “We are a small company, and we are taking baby steps” regarding the distribution of the product. They have produced roughly 5,000 bottles since the program’s inception, and he assures that the ability to produce more is a non-issue. 

Soyak started the company due to his passion for collecting unique bottles. He credits his idea to watching someone buying a cigar at a liquor store when the customer dropped the cigar. The idea was based in the concept of having a, “Two in one package” for Las Vegas consumers, allowing them to have a fine cognac and a cigar to celebrate. The company has been in business for twenty years, starting with a featured Carlos Fuente Opus X cigar. Soyak hinted towards a forbidden story that earned him the title “Forbidden Johnny.” Mr. Soyak’s admirable charisma likely contributes to the success of his business. If you are interested in the product, an availability list can be found on their website: https://cigarinthebottle.com/

Cyril Brizard: Brizard and Co.

Amidst the crowd of ornate booths in the center of the expo hall sat an expedition-style tent that housed some of the most beautiful handcrafted goods of the show. Brizard and Co. is a boutique, handmade cigar accessory brand that has been in business for over twenty-five years. Cyril Brizard, the founder of the company. Mr. Brizard recognizes the craftsmanship of producing a premium cigar and tries to match it with his lines of accessories. 

“You don’t enjoy a great Bordeaux in a plastic cup; honoring a cigar is cutting it the proper way, igniting it the proper way, and preserving it the proper way,” Brizard explained, describing his passion for the complex blend of tobaccos. When the company began, it only produced cigar cases. The company soon gained international recognition in the late 1990s as the first brand to produce leather cigar cases laced with cedar, encouraging optimal preservation while traveling. They are also reinforced with galvanized steel, ensuring the safekeeping of the excellent tobacco. 

Since they have been in business, they have produced limited editions for Padron, Carlito Fuente, and ST Dupont. At PCA this year, they are debuting a custom line for J.C. Newman. In addition to the beautifully handcrafted woods, Brizard also highlights that all their lines match. This establishes a desire for consumers to become collectors of the high-quality lines of cutters. Lighters, humidors, and cases. 

Their J.C. Newman collaboration highlights their newest cigar, The American, which is 100% produced within the United States. Brizar’s response was to use leathers and wood produced within the US. The line features Bison leather from Ted Turner’s ranch in Montana and black walnut from Illinois. Brizard added that all collections have inspiration from worldly traits and are perfect companions for the adventurous spirit. Brizard and Co. distributes internationally and through select stores within the United States, appealing to everyone from serious tobacconists to casual smokers. 

Colonel Stogie: Stogie Mag

The Stogie Mag booth had a spread of what appeared to be a series of large caliber magazines with a man in a disco-painted helmet with Night Vision Goggles. The man, well dressed in a suit, is known as Colonel Stogie, founder of Stogie Mag. This company started working in the firearms industry and wanted to combine both industries to create a travel humidor that looks like a firearm magazine.

The product is described as “…rapid deployment with a built-in humidity back that lasts about three months,” the colonel explained. The humidor carries six cigars of most sizes and protects them from the hazards of the field, the range, or wherever they may be. Stogie Mag is undoubtedly one of a kind. The magazine functions like it would with a firearm. The spring gently rises the next cigar on deck after one is pulled from the humidor. It can also be maintained like a real magazine.

The company is brand new and commenced shipping on March 1st. The Colonel has promised that despite this being the only product on the shelves, there are many products to come. They currently sell online through their website but aim to make a presence in brick-and-mortar cigar shops nationwide. 

Knud Nording: Nording Pipes/Arango Cigar

Pipe-making has been a long-standing tradition throughout most of the world. These beautifully hand-crafted pieces represent cultural importance in their respective nations. Knud Nording of Nording Pipes is continuing the traditions of his father, creating a longstanding tradition amidst his family. Nording Pipes began about sixty years ago when Erik Nording was the son of a razor blade manufacturer. When Erik’s father passed away, he abandoned the family business to pursue the art of pipe-making. 

Erik began making pipes by hand and created an incredibly successful business. Ten years ago, he employed his son, Knud, who runs the marketing and retail side of the company. Knud resonates with his father’s passion and has partnered with Arango Cigars to assist with distribution. 

Knud described the arduous process of pipe making, starting with the whole briar root, roughly the size of a basketball. At Nording, the handcrafted pipes are famous for utilizing the pieces of wood with the earth. The company offers a multitude of pipes that utilize briar as well as coffee, pinecones, and many other unique materials. At PCA this year, they highlighted their freehand pipes and hunting series. 

The Freehand pipes create the artisan’s unique, comprehensive expression as they carve the masterpiece without guidance. These magnificent pieces of art blend the notable notes of the earth as well as the artistic ability of the craftsman. Nording’s hunting series also has a yearly release emphasizing the blend of art and nature of a specific animal. In 2023, they released the Black Swan. This delightful artwork embodies a beautifully smooth black body with a shining red “beak” perfectly resembling this magnificent creature. 

Nording Pipes represents artisanship blended with the boutique smoking experience. Their products can be found online or at a store where Arango Cigar products are sold. 

Marty Faust: Colibri

Cigar accessories have many shapes, sizes, and themes. Colibri is a brand dedicated to innovation and modernist design since its inception in 1928. Marty Faust, Vice President of Field Sales, is at PCA this year highlighting their “cubist” inspired Heritage Collection. This collection features a tabletop cutter, lighter, humidor, and ashtray, all of which look like an elegant Rubix Cube

The cutter offers a V-cut, straight cut, and three different punches. Like the rest of the line, it is in the cube style and can be quickly emptied from the bottom. The lighter is the exact shape and size of the cutter, making it simple to stack with each other. The lighter offers a butane soft flame and torch button. The lighter has a built-in system that does not allow both flames to ignite simultaneously, ensuring a solid light, no matter which style is utilized. The humidor is offered in two sizes: 50-75 sticks and up to 150 sticks. Colibri’s namesake products provide a two-year warranty, proving that they stand behind their products. 

Colibri also offers a “budget” brand, Firebird. These products carry a one-year warranty, providing the reliability of Colibri products at a more affordable price point for casual smokers.

Nick Goss

The only way to describe Nick Goss is that a conversation with him is an experience. Goss has been in the cigar industry for quite some time and is entering his eighth year as a cigar broker. Goss is from the town of Leominster, Massachusetts, the birthplace of Johnny Appleseed and the pink flamingo lawn ornament. 

As a broker, Goss has become a brand himself. He describes his advertising as “guerrilla marketing.” He explained that he gets many of his marketing ideas through commuting “…in a less depressing way Johnny got his gun type-of-way.” He uses these ideas to explore new ways of marketing through products other than tobacco. This creates a unique blend of marketing that helps companies like Cavalier thrive. 

Like many people in the cigar industry, Goss got his start by taking a chance working part-time at a cigar shop. He acknowledges that cigars are a great hobby with great people, and because of this, he states that he has never worked a day in his life. Goss added that he received advice when he first started in the broker business, “… You probably won’t become a millionaire doing this, but you’ll be happier.” He described the arduous life of working retail and how the change in the cigar experience created true happiness in his work life.

“I always wake up with a smile, and I never put on my shoes dreading to go to work… I’m happy,” he added. Goss currently represents Cavalier, Black Label, Illusione, CLE, Espinosa, and Dapper cigars, rounding his portfolio with some of the best boutique brands in the business.

Erick Huertas