Last month Brian, Jerry, and I got to live the dream, so to speak, and attend the annual IPCPR trade show. While there I was finally able to put a face to a name in terms of manufacturers, Stogie Review readers, and other cigar blog writers. The majority of which were really nice people to spend time with.
While meeting with a few blog writers, I was most impressed with Jesse (of Cigar Jack) and his wife. It was the first time I had met Jesse, but after speaking with him numerous times over the phone and email it was like meeting up with an old high school buddy. We got together every morning for a greasy, expensive breakfast in the Shops at the Venetian, and grabbed a cup of coffee at a small coffee shop, also in the Venetian.
In terms of cigar manufacturers, out of the people I met for the first time after communicating via phone and email, I was most impressed with Jesus Fuego. I was introduced to Jesus by one of his reps in my area, Humberto. As soon as I was introduced I got a smile and a hand shake. Everyone with me at the time, which included Brian, Jesse, and Jerry, all got the same smile and hand shake. As we got to talking it was apparent that Jesus seemed a little taken back by “fans”. We were all given a few cigars that Jesus had set aside for himself and were treated like friends. Jesse and I bumped into Jesus later on at the bar and got the same warm greeting and treatment.
At this point you are probably wondering where this small article is going. What I would like to know is, is there any one individual in the cigar business that you were most impressed with upon meeting? While the above mentioned people don’t really fit the question, as this wasn’t my first impression of them (since I talked to them previously), I’ll give you yet another example.
On the last day of the trade show I was talking with Humberto and he asked if I had meet Mel Gonzalez of Canimao Cigars. I told him that I did not and he immediately took me over to the booth. I was introduced to Mel and was blown away by his personality.
Mel recognized the Stogie Review badge and immediately began thanking me for the positive review that Tom and Ed gave his line of cigars a few months back. After learning that I have never tried the brand before he immediately started handing me samples to try. In addition, Mel asked his master blender to roll me a cigar on the spot. His roller got to work and I quickly received a hand rolled cigar.
Not only did Mel have a glowing personality, his cigars were very enjoyable. This relatively unknown brand owner, at least for me, impressed me the most with his generosity. Not only did he share his product with me, but he went on to introduce me to his family, roller, and told the story of his family history. For me, meeting Mel for the first time was one of the highlights of the show.
Care to share your story?