“Time To Cut Light & Smoke!”
—Zeal Team Six
What Makes It Special
It’s time to cut, light, and smoke with Zeal Cigar stars Bradley Reith and Justin Burnett, aka ‘Know It All JB’. Originally from Ohio, Bradley and JB record their hilarious ‘infotainment’ style Youtube and Rumble videos, right from the Zeal Cigar shop studio, located at 15802 N. Cave Road Suite #2, in Phoenix, Arizona. Known as Zeal Team Six Nation, in honor of our nation’s armed services, this awesome online and in-store cigar shop is Veteran owned and family run. Bradley’s inspirational Father, Marine Devil Dog and Combat Medic, Len Reith, served our country during Operation Double Eagle Lima in Vietnam. Be sure to try Len’s personally dedicated ‘Devil Doc’ Reith Family house brand cigar.
Zeal Cigars owner and Knob Creek 9 lover, Bradley Reith, relies heavily on his faith as a “committed Christian”. Bradley said he entered ministry to help people, and the brand’s name is derived from the Bible verse: “Zeal for the Lord will consume them”, which also defines his passion for cigars. Bradley believes that “God wants you to be cheerful in your giving and He puts no number on that. We value our customers as people and try to serve them with the excellence God’s gifted all of us, knowing that God will take care of our profits if we honor Him.”
Post-pandemic, the world spiraled into economic turmoil. Rest assured, Zeal Team Six has come to the rescue with their uplifting, informational videos, and extremely low house brand prices. Their popular Patriot Dreams, Brass Monkey, and Primordial cigar lines range from only five to seven dollars per stick. To help us ride out the storm, shipping is included for online orders over $79.95, and additional newsletter discount codes are e-mailed out regularly. They also carry many other brands such as Drew Estate, Alec Bradley, Micallef, and Camacho. During these dubious times, live smart, subscribe, and shop www.ZealCigars.com.
This ‘Double Down’ house brand expression features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. This wrapper gets its varying spicy and sweet flavors from the rich volcanic soil and minerals in Ecuador, which is ideal for growing the most oily and pliable tobacco. Overlapping at the final third mark, is a Cameroon Maduro wrapper, known for its rich, sweet, chocolatey, and peppery flavors. A perfectly designed cigar to end the debate over transitions, hence the cigar’s name. Bradley calls it his ‘chocolate covered turtle cigar’ and said “when I first smoked it I liked it, so I ‘doubled down’ on the order. We love that cigar and so do a lot of other folks.”
Brand: Zeal Cigars
Vitola: Toro 6×52
Binder: Dominican Corojo
Wrapper: ½ Ecuadorian Habano ½ Cameroon Maduro
Body: Medium – Full (Very Bold Final Third)
Age: 4-6 Years
Online Price: $5
Visual / Pre-light Draw
The Double Down is bandless and pig tailed with a closed foot and tough looking veins. The first two thirds has a light brown and hay odored Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Overlapped at the final third is a darker sweet chocolate odored Cameroon Maduro wrapper. The definitive line at the final third mark gives the cigar’s beautiful construction a very cool and unique ‘double’ wrapped appearance. There is also a nice oily feel throughout the entire overlapped wrapper. A nice Colibri V-cut produced a very smooth and easy draw, containing notes of chocolate oats, cereal flakes, and a hint of fig berries. The extra wrapper over the closed foot helped maintain a nice and even Jetline R-100, single torch lighting of the cigar.
After a tactical inside out single torch toasting of the foot, strategic Brad Reith ‘PURGE’, and relight of the cigar, the stick was off to a great start! The cigar has a very nice, smooth, and easy draw. Initially, there are nice notes of oak and creamy vanilla extract, with a slight hint of sweet cherry. It has a beautiful even burn and a nice flavorful spicy punch on the retro-hale. Starting off as an easy breezy, creamy, and light smoke, the cigar produced a beautiful cherried chocolate pudding foot smoke odor. The ash is holding perfectly and the cigar’s high volume smoke output fills the room. There were also some nice notes of marzipan coming in approaching the second third.
The ash continues to hold perfectly and some heavier firewood oak notes come in as the cigar becomes a bit bolder. It was challenging to gauge when the amazing and lengthy ash would ‘fall off with dignity’. The burn remained crazy even as the cigar got sweeter with a slight saltiness on the back end. Pairing well both musically and patriotically, is “An American Song” by Austin Edwards, a rising country rock artist and America’s Got Talent second place winner (Broken Roots 2020). This is a cigar and song to get excited about, together they immediately immerse in the smoker’s rekindled, deep-rooted sense of American pride! Time to ‘double down’ and add some American “spirit” to the mix! Immediately acting like glue, the elusive Knob Creek 12 Kentucky Straight Bourbon pulled all of the nice cigar notes together, at the center of the palate, where a beautiful cream puff of bold flavor remained…Amazing!!!
The Ash finally ‘fell off with dignity’ as the cigar became sweeter with bold notes of dark chocolate. More firewood notes were present and the spicy coffee flavored retro-hale remained enjoyable. The incredibly even burn slowed and the ash’s second chapter held very well. That nice marzipan note would occasionally re-appear, then came a very obvious medium bold to very bold transition right at the wrapper’s separation line. Big bold and beautiful dark chocolate notes coated the palate while the same foot smoke odor filled the room. Incredibly, the bourbon and a few purges mellowed out the cigar’s boldness for a very calming, enjoyable, and lengthy final third experience. The cigar’s slow and bold final third definitely helps slow your roll. If you’re unsure about lighter or darker blends, or appreciate bold transitions, then double down on this fascinating Zeal Cigar ‘Double Down’ house brand cigar!
The magnetic effect of the bourbon, which has all the classic bourbon flavors we love, attracts both the initial light and creamy, as well as the bolder, final third dark chocolate flavors of the cigar. The pairing was literally as Bradley described, like chocolate turtle candy, but with a cherry on top! JB, who normally pairs the cigar with coffee, said he loved pairing it with the bourbon. Incredibly, the bourbon mellowed out all of the cigar’s amazing bold flavors, melting them like butter over the entire palate.
“ALL NEXT…on the Zeal Cigar review”, we’re pairing the Double Down cigar with Knob Creek 12 Kentucky Straight Bourbon, from the Jim Beam Distillery. This ‘pre-prohibition’ style vanilla and caramel bomb bourbon is bottled at 100 proof (50%ABV) and stands up well to both boldness levels of the Ecuadorian Habano and Cameroon Maduro wrappers. The magnetic effect of the bourbon, which has all the classic bourbon flavors we love, attracts both the initial light and creamy, as well as the bolder, final third dark chocolate flavors of the cigar. The pairing was literally as Bradley described, like chocolate turtle candy, but with a cherry on top! JB, who normally pairs the cigar with coffee, said he loved pairing it with the bourbon. Incredibly, the bourbon mellowed out all of the cigar’s amazing bold flavors, melting them like butter over the entire palate.
The customer service focused, big hearts of Zeal Team Six and this pairing, reminds us all that we can still ‘double down’ on the American Spirit! Be sure to investigate these quality and incredible value Zeal house brand cigars, and featured Jetline lighters at www.ZealCigars.com. By supporting Bradley and JB, even us working class, ‘blue collar’ folks, can enjoy a life of luxury. That is a bolstering Win-Win situation, that is the American Dream!
God Bless The Zeal Team Six!
God Bless America!
Acknowledgment, Live Pairing, & New Staff Writer
Thank you Bradley Reith and Justin Burnett for joining us Chooches (Ronnie Pecorini, Kyle Jesso, Frank Minutillo, Bob Pecorini, & ‘Joey G’) on The Great Lakes Smoke Show (GLSS), we had a blast! Let’s do it again!
Thank you Austin Edwards for your patriotic tunes and energy. Visit AustinEdwardsMusic.com or Spotify to hear his hit songs “Bottle Down”, “The Summertime”, and “This Is The Day”.
Join the GLSS crew and I on Saturday August 13th, for a WBSE & cigar enthusiasts roundup, at the 2nd annual Smoke at the Creek Boutique Cigar Festival in Martinsville Indiana. The 15 acre festival will take place at the Cedar Creek Winery & Brewery, which features an on site distillery, winery, brewery, cigar lounge, restaurant, and live music venue. For festival information and tickets please visit: www.BoutiqueCigarFestival.com
Welcome to our new and highly recommended Whiskey Network Staff Writer, Dave Yancey, aka ‘Greybeard’. Check out ‘Greybeard’s Corner’ in the weekly Whiskey Network Barrel Reports. Also, check out our epic Whiskey Network discussion on taking cigar pairings to the next level, and how I found Zeal Team Six here.
Photography by: James Archie