On Boot-Licking, Name-Dropping And Success

Tom Presenting Brian Autographed Haint PosterIn a recent cigar review, a reader left a comment oozing scorn that accused me of licking the boots of cigar industry insiders and dropping names. You could just feel the pulsing, jealous ire of said reader, as he commanded me to never again review anything but average cigars that are always available, inexpensively priced and widely smoked. If he couldn’t find it or afford it, I shouldn’t smoke it and write about it.

Wow. All I can say is… Awesome! I’ve gotten the blogging world’s equivalent of hate mail! As you probably are well aware, it’s very easy to write things that people don’t care about and don’t read. It’s slightly more difficult to write things that people will read and find pretty good. But to bring somebody to a twitching, teeth-gnashing rage without discussing obvious things like politics and religion (and sometimes the Great Pumpkin), well that just takes skill! To celebrate, I’m going to light up the rarest, most expensive cigar that a person with a famous name handed to me for free. (I’m having trouble coming up with which cigar that’d be, as I don’t actually mingle all that much with people are well known. I guess that RTDA Stradivarius might do the trick. Mmmm… 34 dollar cigar I didn’t pay for…)

Seriously though, I make a point of finding cigars that are either new, or new to me and reviewing them. And when I can get my hands on a pre-release cigar, even better. One of the great things about the cigar industry is that it’s growing. In fact, I’ve heard that the cigar industry is now at around 80% of its size during the boom of 1990’s. New things are coming out all the time, and from completely new cigar manufacturers. Isn’t it useful to be able to read about these cigars before you buy them? I know I search for cigar reviews all the time before pulling the trigger on a “deal” I come across to make sure it’s actually a deal. Also, how are you going to find out about new cigars out there if nobody ever reviews anything new or unusual? Just because you can’t find a cigar right now, doesn’t mean it won’t be in every store in a month or two! And just because a cigar is out of your price range doesn’t mean it’s out of everyone’s price range. (You aren’t everyone, no matter how big your waist size gets!)

As to the name dropping aspect of the tirade, I find that even more surprising. The thing I like the most about the cigar industry (well, after the cigars, that is), is that it’s full of unpretentious, friendly, down-to-earth people, that are very accessible. I mean, how the hell else would I have met so many of them? The heads of cigar companies come to herfs and cigar promotions to meet their customers and talk about their cigars. They mingle, they shake hands, they walk, they talk, they breath… Oh my god, I think they’re people just like you and me! And they’re not behind bullet-proof glass, or surrounded by secret service! If you’re reading this, and you haven’t met a cigar “celebrity” (if that word even applies), I recommend checking out the event calendar at your local brick and mortar. (Or check out this list on Cigar Cylopedia.) They will be there, will you?

So in summary, I’ve met at least a dozen famous cigar people, including such names as Kinky Friedman, Jose Oliva, Lito Gomez, Carlos Torano and Tim Ozgener, by going to cigar events. (I’ve never yet had a cigar celeb travel anywhere just to meet me.) I have a bunch of cigars that I didn’t have to pay for, but will spend hours of my own time to smoke and document for your reference for no reimbursement whatsoever. Please leave your hate mail in the comments below.

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  1. November 10, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Ha, I read the post you speak of. I almost enjoyed your response just as much as the original rant, it was very “PC.” I would have taken that angle too… Be extra nice to the haters, it pisses them off.

    Rock on!

  2. Brian said,

    November 10, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks Tom,

    Exactly, being kind or even understanding to people who angry and irrational really diffuses the situation. I have a great deal of respect for the Stogie Review and I want to keep it an polite, informative and entertaining place for people to visit. (I still feel like a guest there, and I don’t want to lose my welcome!)

    But the comment was so ridiculous and irritating, that I thought it’d be good fodder for this blog, where I don’t feel the need to be quite as diplomatic. 🙂 (Besides, I haven’t been posting here as often as I should anyway.) I really appreciate the support man! And I’m still serious about getting into the video reviews once everything comes together (time, money and energy).

  3. babychaos said,

    November 13, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Top job! You’ve pissed someone off! Now, like you said, you know you’ve arrived!

    For what it’s worth, Mr BC and I do quite a bit of wine tasting and we see this kind of flack about that, too. Some wine tasters are very pretentious. Even so, the basic problem is that after a few years of connisseurship (sorry no idea how to spell that but you get my gist, I’m sure) in well… anything, your palette starts to develop and you want to try more obscure, interesting, better made and therefore more expensive stuff. It’s a fact of life. Innit?



  4. November 13, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    Indeed! It’s pretty cool that your a part of the stogiereview now. I think they’ve read your rants, so they know what they are getting into 😉 Not only that, the reviews seem well recieved by the public (well, except that one time). Straight forward with personality left intact.

    I look forward to the future reviews and eventually the video stuff. Sitting in on YQMA would be the shit as well. Walt/Jerry seem like good, normal guys, so I doubt you’ll have problems.

  5. November 16, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  6. Brian said,

    November 17, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    Hi BC,
    Exactly right. The palate, like just about anything else, improves with use! I had a very poor one to start out with, and now I surprise myself! I really should get more into wine tasting, but then there’s that issue with time… (Heck, I’m only just now catching up with my comments from this week!)

    Thanks again Tom,
    I look forward to sitting in on YQMA eventually, and I get along really well with Walt and Jerry. They’re great guys! The only problems I can foresee is just figuring out the video editing! Haven’t ever done any yet! But then again, before this year, I hadn’t ever reviewed a cigar either!

  7. November 18, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    The video editing part shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I’ve put together simple vacation videos using Windows Movie Maker, and I know nothing about video editing too. I think it would work fine for cigar reviews. It’s literally cut and paste kind of stuff. Once you do one, I think it will be easy for you.

  8. JB said,

    November 27, 2007 at 2:07 am

    Maybe you should review the Macanudo Hyde Park every week.

    -Just Kidding. Keep up the good work, maybe someday people will be droping your name!

  9. Brian said,

    November 27, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    LOL JB,
    Well, I haven’t reviewed the Hyde Park yet… hmmm… just to be ironic, maybe I will!

    Oh and feel free to start dropping my name now. That way you can say you were dropping my name before it was cool!

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