New Company Spotlight…Bearded Assassin

Bearded Assassins

I found Bearded Assassins on social media awhile back and started communicating with owner Josh Bennett. I placed an order for some products when I started growing out my beard. I went with the KBAR scented oil, balm and wash and I have been very happy with the products. I encourage you to learn more about the brand and the awesome people behind the scenes making it happen. This is a great veteran owned, small business run by Josh and his wife Ariel. Check out the interview and be sure to follow them on social media. Feel free to place an order from the website https://www.beardedassassins.com/

Be sure to tell them you heard about them here.

Tell us about your brand/company.

Bearded Assassins is our company in which we make hand crafted beard products that are high quality for anyone everyone to enjoy on their beard journey.

We started this company due to issues with a big named company that I won’t name. But basically it took them 4 weeks to send products and respond to my email which I had sent a few times. Within the 4 weeks I decided to do a lot of research searching out for the best products to use for my own personal use. After a couple friends trying it out and making sure it was all safe I said, “I should start a beard oil company on Etsy for a hobby”. Me and my wonderful wife came up with all kinds of crazy names but Bearded Assassins sounded the best. Thus, we started our small business.

We never thought we would go anywhere but after a little over a year and a lot of time we now are gaining momentum. We started the summer of 2016 and still growing. We hand make everything with our own recipes by hand every time someone orders and we are now doing small batches so we can be ready to ship faster. Our goal is to provide the best beard products we can make without it costing the customer’s too much money. We make our products for the everyday working man and the guys that beard all year long. We offer anything from beard oil to beard balm and beard wash. We have a couple different shirts, hoodies, stickers, kits and soon koozies and patches. We may end up turning it into a worldwide beard club in the future.

What made you decide to start your business?

Not only for the simple reason that we had a bad experience from a well-known company and horrible customer service, but because we wanted to help people with needs for bearding and show the world you can always make something great with an idea and hard work.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in TX, moved to Las Vegas, NV early in life and grew up here. I ended up joining the ARMY in 2005 and was honorably discharged in 2011. I have two awesome kids that live with their mom in OH. I am married to my soul mate and loving life. We both work full time jobs and do the business as well, so we stay really busy. The goal is to one day only have the business to run.

You have an impressive beard. How long have you been growing it?

Thank you so much. I have been growing my beard for right under two years. I have had it trimmed a few times but now I will be letting it grow as much as it will grow.

What are tips for guys starting out (like me) and get to that frustrating stage where everything just wants to go everywhere! What’s the best way to control and maintain it?

I get asked a lot about this. So the best way to maintain your beard depends on length and products you are using. Guy’s with shorter beards say less than 3” use beard oil & Beard butter or just one of these products daily and wash it just a couple times a week. When guy’s get into the awkward stage 3”-6” the beard will have a mind of its own some days. You can use Beard Balm to try and help shape it or you can use a blow dryer on low heat with a brush to straighten it. Once the beard reaches a certain length it kinda gets easier to maintain. The weight of the beard will help a lot to fall down easier. One thing that has helped me a lot is when I wake up I rinse my beard really well with just water, then apply beard oil or beard butter and comb it out and that helps with bed beard as well.

What goes into making these products? Did you have a background in this or did you work with a team to develop the products?

So after researching which carrier oils were best for I wanted, then researched essential oils and fragrance oils, me and the wife started experimenting with different blends of each scent in small portions. We experimented will different levels of each different carrier oil and had friends test them and I tested them as well. After weeks of this we then chose our best four scents and blend of carrier oils to use. We did this same thing with fragrance oils for the scent to stay all day which people love. This same exact process went into making our beard wash, beard butter and beard balm. Lots of work but definitely worth every moment.

I did go to school for design so I am the one that has designed everything even down to the labels themselves. We design everything in house then have companies do our prints for us. But I did not have a background in making any type of products.

I am a fan of the Kbar products I currently have. I am going to place an order for the Hitman series next. What inspires the scents you have and the names?

In the beard world there are certain scents that guys like to wear every day. So the inspiration comes from the simple scents and then we put a little extra so its different from other companies and what they do to make their scents. We also have come up with signature scents like 50 Cal for the tobacco and cologne lover’s out there and then we have Kbar which is a softer everyday scent that women love to smell on men.

The names for the scents come from the different types of assassins and the weapons they use and also military weapons I have used myself that sound cool and fun.

You have a very cool logo and merchandise line to go along with the products. How has that been received? Do you get any grief about the name from people?

The first thing we get compliments on is the logo and how it is simple but yet cool. We have not gotten any grief from anyone yet but we will see when we grow and people are rocking more gear. The logo and name draws people in and then they use the products and they love them which is perfect for us. In the future we may add a different emblem or something like but for now we will continue to make fun gear for people and enjoy this ride.

So I see you smoking pipes on Instagram. Let’s talk a bit about that. When did you get into pipes?

I used to be a big Cigarette smoker for a long time. When I met Ariel, My wife she did not like it but we never thought we would get serious. When we got serious, she has sent some cool vaping video’s to me and I wanted to quit smoking. I got into vaping 3+ years ago and quit smoking. Summer of 2016 I wanted that burn and taste of tobacco but not cigarettes. I looked up pipe smoking and saw The Smoking Dagners on YouTube and they taught people to smoke a pipe through their channel. I picked up a corn cob pipe and got some cheap tobacco locally. Had a horrible experience because I could not pack a pipe right. So they encouraged people to be patient and learn how to pack your pipe and smoke slow. Then, my journey began with pipe smoking and collecting pipes and tobacco. Since I have gotten into cigars and the wife loves the smell of the cigars, so it works out.

What’s some of your favorite tobacco?

I love all kinds of different tobacco’s. Here are a few favorites of mine:

English – Plum Pudding by Seattle Pipe Club

  • Frog Morton By McClelland

  • North Woods by Boswell’s

VaPr – Elizabeathen Mixture by Dunhill

-Orlik Golden Slices by Orlik

-Pebblecut by McClelland

Aromatics- Royal and Black by Captain Black

-Vanilla Cream by Mac Baren

-Scotty’s Trout Stream by Pipes and Cigars

Cross over-Black Magic Woman by Just for Him

-Frog Morton Cellar By McClelland

What advice can you give someone like me that tried to get into but got extremely impatient with having to constantly relight over and over?

So for everyone new to pipe smoking and I still am as well. But make sure the pipe tobacco is dried out enough so it’s not too wet and you get bad tongue bite and wet pipe. Grab a corn cob pipe and learn how to pack the pipe good to keep it lit and tamp but not too heavy just enough to get the embers down to the new tobacco to burn. Remember to take your time and enjoy the tobacco and really taste the tobacco. Relax and just enjoy that moment. Never smoke a pipe when you are in a hurry or you do not have the time to truly sit, relax and enjoy the pipe. Remember as well that you need different pipes for different types of tobacco like one for aromatics, one for English and one for VaPers. Rotate your pipes so you don’t burn them out.

We should do a pipe session on the website at some point. If you know of any guys or gals that would be interested in doing a Pipe 101 session on the website that would be really cool. As a cigar guy, I have no knowledge of pipes but I would love to add a section for pipe enthusiast. Your thoughts?

Oh yes brother I think a smoke session would be an awesome idea indeed. It’s always more fun to smoke with someone rather than alone. I can talk pipes all day. Learning a good bit about cigars now. Maybe one day it would be nice to have a tobacco shop of my own.

Where can people find you on social media and the web?

We respond on FB and IG the most. But we also have a YouTube as well. Here are the ways to our Social Media:

IG: Beardedassassins

FB: Beardedassassinsco

YT: Beardedassassins

What’s next for you?

We will see what this next year brings but we will be offering more stuff such as patches, Koozies, Bumper Stickers, more shirts and Snap Back Hats.

Anything else you want to discuss?

I think that about sums up everything brother. I want take this time to really thank you for having us interview with you and maybe one day share a pipe together or a great stick. We wish you the very best for this coming New Year!

Check out some of the great scents available:

.50 Cal – A great blend of Tobacco with spiced Mahogany and a touch of bay leaf. This scent will make you feel like a pirate.. Arg Matey!

KBAR – A blend of Sandalwood and Warm Vanilla. Ladies, you’ll love this one it’s a pantie dropper!

Colt 45 – Bay Rum with Arabian Spices and hints of the woods. It’ll remind you of the wonderful smell of the holidays all year long!

Red Dot – Warm & spicy aftershave with hints of rain. It’ll remind you of those days at the barbershop.

Grenade – Fresh brewed Espresso! This will help you wake up and of course make you want a fresh cup of coffee!

Flash Bang – Fresh brewed espresso with some chocolate and mint added for those that want a little more in their brew!

Cherry Bomb – Cherry tobacco grandpa use to smoke in his pipe is nostalgic and will bring back those great memories.

Nude – Hunters and men that do not want any scent but still great product, look no further!

So there you have it folks. If you want a healthier, nice smelling beard, be sure to check them out and support a great company. Until next time, long ashes, full glasses.

Trying new brands and some tips for beginners.

So the past 2 weeks have been super busy and crazy for me but I have had the opportunity to try some new brands and that is always a good thing. I placed an order with the fine folks at http://cigarfederation.com for some amazing boutique cigars recently and I will review them at a later date, but I have to say that all of them (so far) have not disappointed. I have heard great things about them and it’s good to know that it wasn’t just hype.

First up was the 1502 Emerald Box Pressed Torpedo 6.5 x 52, then the Ezra Zion Tantrum PA 6.5 x 44, followed by the Illusione f9 6.25 x 44, and lastly the Surrogates Crystal Baller Corona Gorda 6.5 x 46.

Yesterday I stopped by http://cigarsonstate.com/wp/ to pick up some cigars I ordered back at the Black Label Trading Company event with James Brown. Killer Bees, Green Hornets and 1502 Blue Sapphire and Black Gold. I have a nice collection of some really great smokes and of course the weather is now freezing and talk of snow flurries in the am so my ability to get out and try them will be limited.

I try to stick to a ritual as much as possible when I am trying new cigars or reviewing one. Being in a group of people, mixing their smoke with yours, can skew your flavor and experience with the stick so I try to do it when I am on my deck and can really take my time and enjoy the experience. I am far from a master reviewer but I am trying to expand on that and develop my palate some. For me cigars fall into a limited number of categories. 1) Box worthy (Exactly what it means. It’s good enough for me to buy an entire box) 2) Definitely will smoke again (Worthy of a 5 or 10 pack and something I want in my collection) 3) Eh…(It was ok but I wouldn’t spend money on it again) Almost every cigar I have tried recently fall into the first 2 categories with very few falling into the last. That is the difference between boutiques and large, big brand cigars. I can honestly say that I had more cigars that were just “Okay” and fell into that 3rd category based on my taste and liking. I am one of the few people on the planet that really didn’t fall head over heels with the OPUS X. Many people swear by them and they have a cult like following but I got one for my birthday this year and I didn’t really enjoy it. Call me crazy but it is what it is.

So for those of you that are new to cigars, I recommend starting a journal or cigar log. Write down the brand and the cigar name and write down what you think about it. You don’t have to know every exact thing you are tasting or even how to describe it, just if you like it or not and why you do or don’t. Simple characteristics of things you notice in the cigar can help. Take that list with you next time you go to your local shop or research similar cigars online prior to going and try to buy cigars with those traits. I went crazy and tried so many cigars from one end of the spectrum to the other and I really did myself a disservice (and spent a ton of unnecessary cash) on cigars I really didn’t like. When you are trying a cigar for the first time, I recommend staying with something mild and then moving into the mild – medium range. Take your time smoking it and don’t puff too often or you will get sick. Keep some water and or Coke/Soda, Sweet Tea etc nearby to help regulate your blood sugar if you start to feel lightheaded or nauseous. Jumping right in to a full bodied cigar can really be a turn off and ruin the experience for you.

Didn’t mean to drift off to Cigars 101 but I know a few readers are new to cigars so I thought that might be helpful. Now that I have been smoking for awhile, I can tolerate almost any strength cigar but being a smaller guy, I can’t smoke cigar after cigar like I see many guys doing. It also screws up my taste buds and sinuses. One thing I have noticed also is now that I started smoking a pipe, I find the tobacco very mild compared to what I am use to with cigars. Maybe it is the blends I am smoking but they seem very light in comparison.

When I first started out with cigars, you could not find 2 of the same brand cigars in my humidor because I wanted to try everything. I would see something online or a catalog and I wanted to try it. I didn’t know enough to research what it was, strength, etc. Now that I am more informed, I find myself sticking to a few trusted big name brands and a lot of boutique brands. I did some humidor maintenance today and I noticed that I have certainly limited my selection as of late. I have a lot of great cigars but it took awhile to get here. Hopefully this will help some of you save some cash and frustration from trying a lot of cigars you really don’t like. Invest in what you enjoy and build from there. There are SO MANY cigars out there to choose from and even now it is overwhelming for me so keep a log, ask questions, research and don’t be afraid to spend a few extra bucks on a good boutique cigar. I can tell you that you will be less likely to be disappointed with that purchase than dropping 4 or 5 bucks on a big brand stick. No one said this hobby was cheap, but if you truly love it, the time and money invested in that stick will be very much worth it.

As always, feel free to drop some comments. Tell us what brands you are smoking and what you like about them. Until next time, long ashes and stay smokey friends. Peace

News and info

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Leaf by Oscar Coroja and smoked ribs

Hope everyone had a great weekend full of great smokes and good times. I just wanted to drop in and let you know that I am working on some good stuff behind the scenes and talking with some great people that are going to be featured here very soon. Getting a lot of support and encouragement along the way but I need your help. Please spread the word and share us on social media. I can’t do this without followers and I want to make this a place that people want to come and spend a little time reading and engaging.

I scored some great smokes this weekend and I am looking forward to trying them and reviewing them here very soon. I am also looking for some reviewers and bloggers that may want to join in and help with reviews, articles, etc.

I am going to start a boutique spotlight feature starting very soon dedicated to the companies, people behind the companies and the products they make. This is something I am very much looking forward to doing because never in a million years did I ever think I would have people I look up to in the industry reach out and offer to help with this project. If you are a fan of any certain brand/s, drop me a comment about who they are and we can try to arrange a piece on them. Also, let them know about us so if they want to be featured, we can set them up. I have a list of great companies already and I am just waiting on the getting the info so I can start.

I also want to feature local cigar and pipe shops. If you have a favorite, drop me a comment. Tell us what makes them special to you. This helps us get a feel for where we are being seen and puts others in touch with awesome shops to support if they travel to your area. I am spoiled because I have a few major players in our area, but we also have some great local spots with some really awesome people. As an Ambassador for Cigar Rights of America (check them out at www.cigarrights.org and become a member) I am getting to travel to a few shops in and around my area and it’s always cool to experience new places and meet new people. Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf are some of the best people you will ever meet. I have always been amazed at how friendly, open, and downright generous people in this community are. We want to support those places!

New logo in the works. Looking to do a simple Vintage type logo that we can use here and on social media so people can start to recognize us as we build a brand. Maybe we can look at merch later down the road. We shall see how it goes.

So anyway, please check back often, spread the word and drop some comments. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I may do a dedicated page for the blog as we start to grow. Thanks for the support and stay smokey friends! Peace

 

Welcome to CigarHawkBlog

Hey! Thanks for stopping by! Let me start this by saying I am in no way, shape or form a professional writer, blogger or social media mogul. I am just a guy that got into cigars a couple of years back and it has become a passion of mine. I most recently got introduced to pipe smoking and although I enjoy it, cigars are, and will remain my passion. Not to take anything away from the pipe folks, but for me, cigars is where its at. We can debate that all later on.

So why a blog? With so much available on social media (follow me on Twitter, Insta, and FB, shameless plug right there) I wanted something more. I wanted a place where people who enjoy premium cigars and pipes can visit, learn about new products, current events, trends in the industry, updates to the FDA bull$@it that we are fighting, share reviews of products and most importantly to me, support smaller boutique brands and companies that are making some of the highest quality products on the markets but don’t have the marketing budgets that the big brands have.

I stumbled upon Black Label Trading Company through a web search about a year and a half ago and I went on a mission to find them in my local area. After many disappointing phone calls and stops at local shops, I was able to track down 1 shop that had them in stock. I took the 45 minute ride out and bought everyone they had. Why? What was it about this product that I have never tried or heard anyone talk about before that made me rush out and drop $100 + on their product? Honestly, the truth is simply their website and imagery. They looked and felt so much different from the traditional cigar companies we have all seen on every website, magazine and article. They had this dark, edgy, kind of a hip-hop/rock star/grunge, in your face type of vibe that made me want to stand out from the crowd of traditional cigar smokers. Although that image is rapidly changing, more  younger people are into cigars and it’s become more socially acceptable, for me, the image of sophisticated, wealthy groups of old guys stood out to me. I personally do not fit into those stereotypes and BLTC spoke to me.1467911127284

So I purchased a bunch of cigars I had only seen online before and got them home. Now what? What if I light them up and realize I just dumped a lot of cash into a garbage, gimmick cigar and I am stuck trying to pawn them off on people? Lucky for me that wasn’t an issue. From the moment I cut the cap and took my first cold draw on the Lawless cigar I picked, I knew this was something special. I lit that cigar and from that moment on, I was a fan of BLTC for life. The rest of the line-up was just as good and consistent as the first cigar I tried from them. As time has gone by, I have had the privilege of sitting down and enjoying a cigar with the man that started BLTC, James Brown, and he was by far one of the most down to earth, humble, generous people on the planet. I have met some of the Big Brand guys and although they are nice, you never get that comfortable feeling with them that they are just regular people making cigars. They always have that Big Brand feel about them. And rightfully so, as most of them have been in the industry their whole life and have built upon their families reputation and turned them into mega-brands. I will never say that the big name companies don’t make some great cigars, however, I will say that more times than not, when they release a new cigar, they dump tons of cash into marketing and advertising, branding and hype, and I finally get my hands on this new “game changing” cigar only to be left feeling like I paid for a Top Shelf Bourbon and was given Mad Dog 20/20. Not to say the effects of drinking too much of both aren’t the same, but…at the end of the day, I expected much more.

So my love affair with Boutique cigars started by accident and I was sold on a brand. Next step, find more boutique brands and see how they stacked up to the big boys. Next up for me was Crowned Heads Cigars from Nashville. Nashville? Cigars? That’s like salsa from New York City right? I figured what the hell? What’s $8.50 for a cigar I never heard of right? Ultimately unless you have been smoking cigars for 20 years, almost every trip to the local humidor is a crapshoot anyway. I picked out a Mason Dixon by Crowned Heads and gave it a shot. Again, right out of the gate I knew I had discovered another gem. Since then I have tried almost every cigar they have made with the exception of a few that I cannot find. My wife and I are heading to Nashville in a month so my plan is to stop by and visit their office and see if Jon has any unicorns he will part with. On top of making great cigars, Jon Huber is a big fitted hat guy and they make some awesome head gear. I continue to try anything and everything Crowned Heads makes and every time I think I have found my favorite, they put out a new stick and it blows my theory of “go to” cigar all to hell and I am left going online to figure out what box to order. I could think of worse choices right?

Since then I have been on a mission to try out new brands and blends as I can find them. Blk Wks (Black Works Studio) is also from James Brown of BLTC and right now they are dropping so many amazing cigars I am thinking about taking a part time job to make extra money to buy them…As I always tell my wife, I should have been born rich instead of so good looking. Yeah, she laughs at me also. FML.

Nomad by Fred Rewey is making cigars that are just incredible. Haven’t found one yet that I haven’t added to the instant favorite cigar list. 1502 Cigars, Emilio Cigars, and Ezra Zion Cigar Company are some that I have not yet had the opportunity to try, I am hearing great things about and look forward to experiencing.

Leaf by Oscar is another cigar that I am currently a huge fan of. My first impression of the tobacco leaf wrapped packaging was 100% gimmick cigar. WRONG! Wow what a smoke. I have had 3 of the 4 blends and all have been excellent.

So switching gears here a bit, I hope that you will come back and visit as I start to do this on a more regular basis as work and life allow me to. I will be reaching out to some boutique reps, owners, reviewers, and bloggers and trying to get some outside help to build this page and spread the word about everything cigar and pipe related. My goal is to make this thing a trusted resource for legit info and reviews about smaller brands and help them grow their business. I am not doing this for money or anything like that. I am doing this because I believe in the people behind these amazing products and I feel that the cigar world is missing out on some great products that in reality may cease to exist in the very near future because of the recent FDA rulings. I think it is an unfair, absolute travesty and the main reason I am an Ambassador for Cigar Rights of America. I invite and encourage all of you to at the very least, visit the website www.cigarrights.org and sign the petition, and if you like what we are about and want to help us fight, become a member. Please put my name Scott Hawkes in the referral box if you do. I would greatly appreciate that and CRA would appreciate your contribution and membership.

Again, thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings. I hope that you will stop by and check us out as we get this started. I hope to have a lot more content for you in the very near future. Hopefully some decent reviews, maybe some guest blogs or some Q&A with some of the reps, or owners if they feel so inclined. Feel free to drop some comments, you can email me at cigarhawk16@gmail.com anytime. Until next time, light em if you got em.

Peace.