Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Brain dead" cigar smokers? Come on, really now.

For years, online cigar retailers have tried to land your business by sending emails that use everything from photos of giant cigars to witty wordsmanship. With regard to the latter, one of the best has often been a certain, very popular discount cigar outlet that's known primarily by its founder's initials. (Yes, I give credit where due.) But I have to take umbrage with several lines of copy that appeared in a recent email from this particular retailer:

"Boutique cigars are theoretically limited production cigars made by people no one ever heard of before, and fabricated from tobaccos no one knew existed before. In other words, they're cigars that are targeted for brain dead people who happen to have money to burn."

I find this language insulting, not only to the tens of thousands of cigar smokers who enjoy "boutique" cigars on a regular basis, but to the dozens of fine manufacturers who produce them. Moreover, some of the top-rated cigars on the charts come from such factories, and IMO, this kind of "salesmanship" crosses the line.

It's the Don José Pepin Garcias, Jesus Fuegos, Alan Rubins, Rocky Patels, Gene Arganeses, Mike Cusanos, Abe Floreses, Abdel Fernandezes, and so many others who have kept the cigar business interesting and flourishing, to say the least. Would you call Orlando and Jorge Padrón boutique cigar makers? Based on their niche and limited production, I'd count them in.

If customers of the aforementioned manufacturers are all "brain dead," it just proves that they're a lot smarter than they're getting credit for.

Keep supporting your favorite boutique cigar brands. With all due respect, there's a lot more to premium cigars than Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta. But then, you already knew that.

Your thoughts?

~ G.K.

9 comments:

BCL said...

I guess I am Brain Dead. Illusione? that one is there, and I doubt all the fans of that smoke are brain dead. This is insulting, but I never shop there anyway!

Se7en_Vandalay said...

I guess it's because, I too am "brain dead with money to burn" that I partake of boutique cigars. It makes me curious of the author's motivation. Perhaps as a child they suffered a life-altering event which precludes them from the ability to not only make factual statements but also the level of comprehension that quality is not exclusive to the few.

cigarfan said...

As novices I think we all did business with this particular company, and as mature consumers we drifted away because of this kind of nonsense. Hyping your product is one thing, but offending half of your customer base by insulting their taste is stupid. If you have the manners of a goat you should probably keep it out of your advertising. (Your competition just might take advantage of it!)

Doc said...

The comment (viz a vis, "brain dead") was definitely overplayed. However, there isn't much of a standard to help consumers differentiate between "boutique" brands. What does "boutique REALLY mean? It is hard making comparisons between Cusano/Cuvee, Tatuaje, and, say, Bravo Cigars or Vegas de Santiago. These companies are light years away from each other in terms of production, quality control, etc.

Thudfactor said...

If this is the same retailer I am thinking about, I already abandoned them over their SCHIP scare-tactic marketing. I'm not any more open to this kind of marketing message, either. I'm with Doc: what's boutique mean? I have a lot of stuff in my humidor and no idea if those sticks are boutique or not. I just know I like them.

On the other hand, I have several imitation cigars I bought from someone I will never buy again, and the only reason those are still in the humidor is to keep the humidity level reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the online cigar retailer with the initials likes to "trade down" and sell to the lower IQ's ?
Who knows, however I've never used them due to reputation and the fact that like so many US cigar firms they will not sell to Brits with a UK billing address - not even the one that professes to be "International".

I'll stick with Famous - you Gents are more upmarket and your reviews and service are spot on.

Rgds - roy.r
England and Illinois

ROTHNH said...

For some people, the worst of their personalities become more evident with age. He's sold his cigar retailer company to a conglomerate and I'd think the new owners would help him adjust/edit his catalog copy and/ or hand him a broom/give him something more productive to do. It's a shame that he can't tone down the elitist drivel and provide less smart-ass comments and give us more info about the cigars for sale in the catalog. There's a lot of quirky stuff/policies coming from that retailer. Allowing this guy to ride off into the sunset of retirement, then taking a hard look at their policies would be a breath of fresh air for the company and their customers.

Anonymous said...

I think you are making too much of a style that has, well, gone out of style. Everybody nowadays takes offense at something. What happened to good - and bad - humor? I don't feel offended by the remark; oddly enough the guy is trying to make a point and be funny, harsh. It is a style. It's not insulting. A good cigar is good no matter where it comes from. Now to call it 'boutique' sounds a little silly, and nobody says anything about that. Cheer up! Smoke your brand and be happy!

Aficionado of Cigars said...

All of the limited edition cigars here in the UK are made by the big name companies. The differentation is usually a longer aging process, different wrapper colours and often different shapes and sizes to the usual. The difference in price is normally about 15%. For example last year we had Partagas Serie D No.5, Cuaba Piramides and Montecristo Sublimes. I've not heard the phrase "Boutique cigars" used over here in the UK.