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Cigar Tip: Read and Try Before You Buy (Trade Show Edition)

22 Jul 2015

When I first started attending the IPCPR Trade Show in 2008, the primary reason was to get news about new cigars I couldn’t get elsewhere. These days that news isn’t so hard to come by. The basic details of pretty much any new cigar can be found online a few days after the convention starts.

Still, there are good reasons for me to go to the Trade Show. First, walking the floor and speaking with cigar makers  in person gives us a perspective that simply cannot be achieved otherwise and is immensely helpful when writing about cigars for the rest of the year. Second, frankly, it’s the easiest way to get samples of pre-release cigars that in many cases won’t be for sale for weeks or even months. (We don’t go around asking for samples, but they are almost always offered.)

If you regularly read our site and others, you’ll probably read lots of reviews of brand new cigars in the coming months. And while I’m sure we’re all flattered when people go out and buy a box of cigars based on a review without trying them first, my advice is: Don’t!

This is good advice always, but especially noteworthy when there’s a flood of new cigars about to hit the market. Unless you have an unlimited budget and are willing to repeatedly donate the 19 cigars from that box you didn’t really like to the troops, save your hard-earned money and only buy boxes of cigars you are certain you enjoy. Plus, cigars are rarely discounted heavily when they are first available; if you wait a little you might be able to find a better deal.

If you read this site (thanks for that, by the way) and others you probably find reviews a helpful way to decide which new cigars to try. But even so, you should ask yourself a few things. First, is the reviewer truthful and willing to say unflattering things about a cigar if it is warranted? (If not, why are you even reading the review?) Second, do you find you generally enjoy the same things as that reviewer? (A “great cigar” is rarely great for everybody, because everyone’s palate values different qualities.)

Next, wait for the cigar to come out and head to your local tobacconist and buy one or two. (If you can’t find it locally, split a five-pack with a friend.) Because if you can find it for sale one day, you can almost certainly find more next week.

There’s a saying on the Trade Show floor: It’s not hard to to get a retailer to order a new cigar once; the challenge is getting them to reorder it, again and again. The same goes for consumers: Being the answer to the proverbial “What’s New?” question may sell a cigar once, but only your experience with that cigar can get you to buy more.

But don’t just take it from me. Take it from Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (who in many ways was the original online cigar writer for his site called Cigar Nexus long before he was a cigar maker):

Patrick S

video credit: The Cigar Authority

Drew Estate

4 Responses to “Cigar Tip: Read and Try Before You Buy (Trade Show Edition)”

  1. Andrew Humphrey Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 9:20 am #

    I say this is a spot on statement about cigars. And also that this advice from a manufacturer shows his commitment to people and his product. That’s why they make so many cigars to suit different palates. Like some brands and leafs just do not work for me and others love it to no end. Thank you Steve for the honesty.

  2. Reggie Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    You would think I would have learned my lesson by now, but just last month I bought a $200 box that I kind of regret. This is sage advice.

    Any news on where/when we can start buying Sobremesa singles?

    • The Stogie Guys Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

      I think Steve has said September, or possibly October for them to hit shelves.

  3. Heavy Monday, July 27, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

    Really appreciate a cigar guy like Saka giving out wisdom. Can’t wait to try his new cigar ..