This is one of those things I am starting to ‘test’ with this site – Please leave a comment either way, good or bad and depending upon how the majority votes, I may or may not keep up the ‘random rant’ posts.
I am noticing that a lot of cigar review sites have deviated from the cigar reviews and are starting to do beer reviews, random photos more of modeling rather than cigars or use their site as a political springboard. I guess when I started my own site the wild notion of ‘Hey, I am making a site for cigars, viewers are going to come here for cigars, so let me focus on cigars’ and perhaps I have gotten onto my own horse about that but if the word ‘cigar’ is in your url, focus on the damn cigars.
Now granted perhaps I am blowing hot hair because most of the sites I hinted towards are simply kicking my butt when it comes to monthly views and traffic, but then again I have only been online for under 6 months where most these sites have gotten a year or more under their belt although for some I am nipping at their heels (haha bitches). Again – I am not trying to burn any bridges so do not expect me to drop any names or point out anyone specific but if you are in certain portions of the cigar review world you may be able to pick up a story or two and perhaps for some, this is a nice way for you to easily dislodge your head from your ass.
One of the main reasons I am ranting at this time is that through twitter, I hear a few people who just bullshit with one another, a few who use twitter as a launching pad for advertisements or those individuals who always, always have to find something to bitch about. We all know these two to three guys and have even discussed their actions out in the open yet nothing has changed, oh well. This ‘rant’ is all in due to a conversation I saw stream by and although I did have a proper foothold to speak my opinion, I resisted for a bit. This conversation was in context of ‘Why do you review cigars? What is your process? What is your ultimate goal?’ and I must say, I never really sat down to think about the answers to these questions and as innocent of questions as these were, I don’t think I’ve seen that kind of nerd rage out-lash in my entire life – most of it made me laugh but part of it just pissed me off with how some of these characters need a good love tap upside their head so they could, perhaps, join us here in reality.
Why do you review cigars? – Awesome question and one that I think almost all fellow review sites have in common and that is we highly enjoy cigars, feel we have a decent enough palate to discern flavor profiles and have a bit of free time to devote into the page. Personally, that is exactly where I feel that I fit into the equation. I’m not a manufacturer producing a site and comparing other brands to my own, I’m not trying to make cash out of the site (although some does come in) nor am I trying to get free sticks which also happen to hit the porch rarely. The normal readers will know, if I get a good batch of cigars I’ll post a lot more reviews in a month, but if I get a few bad batches I’m not going to push out content just to have X number of posts a month – I feel that is wrong the company and the viewers but it seems to be common practice so what do I know.
Aside from that starting question, the conversation evolved and changed and it became more of a debate upon the etiquette around what should or should not be said and what topics should be touched when reviewing cigars and this is when I started to get ticked. My agreements to begin with – One person roughly remarked that we do not know if the manufacturer is aware of current ‘defective’ issues within a blend, IE the wrapper being overly brittle or the draw being tight. I 90% agree with this, unless you are there on the farm throughout the entire process (and even sometimes with these contingencies) you will not know what issues or compromises had to be addressed through the process. I’ve even heard from more than one manufacturer that ‘the farms lie, its not right but you have to get used to it’ so in that respect my hat goes off to them. With this being said, I started to think of this in terms of the auto world – Ford/Honda produces vehicles and has a very high quality control (as do premium cigar manufacturers) although there are still some ‘lemons’ that slip through which is a unfortunate but expected aspect of life, trust me, they know their % of duds vs good cars produced and the cigar manufacturers are no different. The catch with cigar production, you can’t send one back to the factory to be repaired, you just have people who stop buying your cigar because of those repeat issues. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ll only throw a 7 to 8 dollar stick out the window of my car so many times before I walk onto the next brand.
Now that I have my one agreement out of the way, onto the fun part. Within the conversation that seemed to steadily pick up steam and participants, I sat idly by reading the words across my screen nearly in shock at some people’s remarks. I have to say, I did not 100% disagree with anyone but that was only because I do try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but some seemed to turn their nose sky wards towards us in middle-class or lower-class America. One review site commented that they mostly review cigars that are sent to them from the manufacturer or shops and then complained about the amount of cigars they received! ‘Oh I was only able to get 2 of their cigars, I don’t know if I could really give them a good review’ – this is not a direct quote but a paraphrase of what two or three people had all agreed upon – Are you fucking kidding me?!
Yes I have received a few sticks from different locations, some times 1 or 2, sometimes a few more but nothing to write home about. It all depends on the company and the stick but if I ever smoked a pair and still was not impressed or the consistency was off I would save up and buy an extra pair for a second do over (which yes, I have already done) – I don’t have the cash to buy a box to ‘test’ and I don’t feel that most the viewers do either so why would I attempt to fluff myself up into something I’m not? I wish other sites would follow that rule as well.
Money, it is always about money. The up-nose turn came from another review site who, through no fault of their own (I guess) attempted to compare themselves towards the rest of America saying ‘If you run a site then go buy the cigars’ and left it at that. We all know of one site who got bashed for asking for some smokes to review, well everyone, I’m in the same boat – I’d love some free sticks to review and I guarantee if you send me some I’ll put your name up you sent them haha! I can see where the first site is coming from, but another ‘are you serious comes to mind’. Sure, some people are able to smoke 7 to 8 cigars a day or spend about 1000.00 a month on stogies but for a lot of us poor fucks out there spending 20.00 a week on cigars is a budgeted expense we don’t take for granted. Maybe, just maybe, those are the people who are reading your site for advice because on their limited budget they don’t want to spend two weeks filing through crap smokes only to find one they really like, but can’t smoke more for 2 weeks because they are broke. I’ve been there, more than once, and it sucks.
The last point that was thrown out there that got me erked to no other was ‘We have a responsibility, we can not do or say anything that could jeopardize the company or manufacturers well being’ – Fuck that noise, ever hear of the Ford Pinto? Ford made the GT-40, a simply amazing machine that is rivaled by few other vehicles although this company also made a car that was known to blow up from rear end collisions. Hmm – maybe they took the lemon principal stated above and decided ‘hey guys, maybe we need to re-do this one’. I think that is great for the manufacturer but even better for the consumer! If we do not speak up and say that a specific blend/wrapper is defective or that we do not like the flavor profile that is created (since none of our cigars get sent back to the factory) they have no idea on what needs to be addressed. I have never put out a review where I bashed an entire product line and I guarantee you I never will because I don’t think that any company out there makes 100% poor sticks but I can say that I have written to two different production companies and told them of the flaws I found (usually consistency and construction) and they each responded with kind words and hopes to change. THAT is how it should be.
So, now that I am losing steam, feeling a little bit better about the whole subject, its time for me to go smoke a cigar, drink a beer (maybe I’ll review a bud light tonight) and await for the next load to crap to stream across twitter. Till then
~David – The Cigar Nut
Please let me know if you would like to hear more of these rants, I’ll try to piss off as many people as I can at once, haha!