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Shop Talk with Patrick D. Fertitta, President of Fertitta Private Reserve, LLC. and Fertitta’s Christeaux Cigars

Fertitta, www.fertittacigars.com, launched in February 2015 and they are an excellent boutique brand. We recently had the opportunity to do a Q&A with their President, Rev. Patrick D. Fertitta and he gave us some details into the company and their future endeavors.

OTL: When did you first start smoking cigars and can you give us some background or insight into your love of the leaf?

FC: My love for cigars actually began while I was student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. I was there studying for my M.Div. to become an LCMS Lutheran Pastor. Friday nights several of the other seminarians and I would gather around a fire pit and talk about life, the past week’s classes, and generally anything else that would come up. Oftentimes these discussions took place with cigar and beer in hand. These are some of my fondest memories of the seminary and they were where I did the most learning, not only of theology, but also of the leaf.

OTL: How did you become involved with cigars industry on a professional side and can you give our readers some background information on Fertitta.

FC: When I completed my M.Div. I returned to my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to await my placement into full-time pastoral ministry. My Uncle - a long time cigar aficionado - and I were sitting around talking one day and the topic of cigars came up. When the thought came to me that we should investigate starting up our own cigar brand. He said he would back the venture financially if I did the leg work to get it rolling. I started my research on manufacturers, licensing, etc. and soon had some plans in place.

I knew that I wanted our brand to reflect our Louisiana heritage, Christian beliefs, and hearken back to those Friday nights at the seminary which is how the name “Christeaux” - the Gator’s name by the way - came about. When I think about the name “Christeaux” on these cigars it is a reminder to me that, when enjoyed with proper respect, tobacco is another blessed gift of God to his children.

When gathered together in the company of friends and family sharing in mutual love and life with each other I even see enjoying a Christeaux as a celebratory act of Godly worship. In fact, I’ve started a fellowship group at University Lutheran Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I serve as pastor, called “Stogies and Scripture.”

OTL: If you had to describe Fertitta cigars, what would you say?

FC: We started the line small with just two toro sticks, a Natural and a Maduro. The Natural is hand rolled with premium Dominican long filler, wrapped with an Ecuadorian grown Connecticut shade wrapper. This cigar opens with notes of fresh island grass and finishes with a gentle lemon pepper bite.

Our Maduro is hand rolled with premium Dominican long filler, a Brazilian Maduro wrapper, it is a nice spicy stick that boasts flavors of dark chocolate, leather, and cracked black peppercorn.

OTL: What are your favorite types of cigars and why?

FC: I gravitate toward heavier, full-bodied sticks. Our Maduro, for one, is a great example of what I personally love. I also enjoy oscuros, and double maduros. I generally smoke in the evening and at night and there is just something about enjoying a heavier smoke at that time, especially after a nice steak dinner!

OTL: What is currently in your humidor?

FC: Christeaux sticks of course! I also have some CAO Brazilia, Punch, Alec Bradley Prensado, and a few Opus X.

OTL: When enjoying your favorite cigar what do you prefer to pair it with?

FC: I actually created a couple of cocktail recipes to pair with each of our cigars. When I came up with these recipes I had old Havana in mind.

For the Christeaux Natural I suggest the Fertitta El Presidente:

2 shots Pyrat XO rum
1 shot dry vermouth
1/2 curaçao
2 dashes grenadine
Shake vigorously over cubed ice, serve neat in chilled martini glass, garnish with flamed and floated orange peel.

For the Christeaux Maduro I suggest the Fertitta Mulata Daiquiri:

2 shots Pusser's Blue Label 3 year old rum
1/4 shot Dark Creme de Cacao
1/4 shot White Creme de Cacao
1/2 shot lime juice
1/8 shot Simple Syrup

Shake vigorously over crushed ice, fine strain into chilled Daiquiri glass with lime juice sugared rim. Garnish with lime wedge.

OTL: What was the biggest chance you ever took within the industry?

FC: I think the biggest chance I’ve taken in the industry so far has been just pulling the trigger and jumping in the cigar game.

OTL: Can you give some information on the blend of your cigars and the manufacturing process?

FC: We prefer to keep that information proprietary.

OTL: Coming off of the heels of the IPCPR in New Orleans, do you have any major announcements or new releases that you can let our readers know about?

FC: We are looking into slow, but steady expansion of our line. We’d like to eventually begin offering some different vitolas, a couple of other regular blends, and occasionally releasing some extremely limited production runs. I recently released a very limited run of 100 sugar fermented, sugar tipped maduro robustos in honor of the birth of my twin nephews. Those sold out in a hurry. I have some ideas for doing an oscuro like that, maybe even some sticks with vintage leaves.

OTL: What's next for you and Fertitta?

FC: We are currently working with a local coffee roaster in Shreveport to create some coffee roasts and blends designed to specifically complement the flavors of each of our sticks. We are hoping to have Fertitta’s Christeaux Coffee up and running fairly soon.

OTL: If you could only smoke one cigar what would it be?

FC: Fertitta’s Christeaux Maduro

OTL: As a cigar lover are there any tips or must have accessories you care to share?

FC: The best tip I could offer is to sit back, relax, enjoy a good smoke and take a little bit of time to meditate on just how much God loves you to bless you with the good gift of the leaf!

OTL: How can our readers follow you on social media?

FC: Our website is fertittacigars.com. Facebook is facebook.com/fertittacigars. Instagram is @fertittacigars. Twitter is @fertittacigars

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