Since debuting in late 2016, Eighty5 Cigars, which was started by former NFL wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, has primarily been selling its cigars online in a direct-to-consumer model. However, in the fall of 2022 the company entered into a distribution agreement with Sutliff Tobacco Company, which also distributes Casa Turrent, Matilde and Patina, among others. Sutliff’s booth is really a booth of booths, as each of those companies has its own space such as you see below. To my knowledge, this is Eighty5’s first time at PCA and its second trade show, having been at the 2023 Total Product Expo (TPE) in February.

The company offers four lines in total; El Patrón and Boa Vida have been available to all retailers as well as sold direct to consumers, while El Patrón Bold and Boa Vida Supremo are offshoot blends that have only been available online. El Patrón is described as the richer, more robust blend, while the Boa Vida is considered closer to the milder end of the spectrum.

For those curious, Johnson did spend some time in the booth earlier in the week, though my schedule didn’t allow for me to catch him in the booth, nor did I actually see him on the show floor, but I know that he made an appearance in the El Septimo booth, seemingly enamored with the $10 million ashtrays like many others at the show. I did get the chance to try the one of the company’s El Patrón cigars and was pleasantly impressed by it, so I am intrigued to see what’s next for this company. If we’re being honest, I’m a bit surprised to see that the brand is still around after five-plus years, as the track record for celebrity- and athlete-backed cigar lines hasn’t been great when it comes to longevity. I’m intrigued to see if the brand can crack into retail if it will have to stop selling direct-to-consumer in order to do so, and what Sutliff might be able to do to propel Eighty5 Cigars into its next chapter.

Overall Score

Avatar photo

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.