Ask the readers: Who impressed you most?

Stogie Talk7 Comments on Ask the readers: Who impressed you most?

Ask the readers: Who impressed you most?

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.

Is there anyone that you have met, be it a forum member, blogger, or manufacturer that left a lasting impression on you?
Care to share your story?





enjoying cigars since 2005

7 thoughts on “Ask the readers: Who impressed you most?

  1. Mel is a fantastic guy. I also got a cigar rolled for me by his master roller.

    It was great to meet Walt, Jerry, the Dogwatch guys, one of the Patricks from Stogie Guys, Doc StogieFresh, and many more.

    Some of the manufacturers that really stood out for me that I haven’t met before were David Blanco, Gary from Avalon Cigars, Andy from Xikar and Will from El Titan de Bronze.
    Can’t forget Lorren Gomez and Brad Maya and his wife who were all with Luis Sanchez.

    I met a few people that I met last year and glad to see them again. Eddie Ortega, Luis Sanchez and his wife.

    I also got a chance to sit down with Tommy Z Man who blogs for JR and has a radio show on XM. This guy is a riot.

  2. I had the pleasure of meeting Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana a few weeks back at my local B&M. We talked for what had to be about 45 minutes. I was telling Doc Stogie Fresh I wish I had recorded our conversation. We talked about everything you can imagine life, Cuban cigars, the industry, his daily routine, his family, his relationship with the Padrons … and so much was cover in that time. He was so sincere and giving of his time. I love his cigars and respected him before meeting him … but even more so now after having met him. He is in the top three cigar makers in the world in my opinion. The other two being the Padrons and Pepin. It was a great experience meeting him.

  3. Not to sound like a total fan boy here but its gotta be SR’s own Jerry Cruz for me. I met up with Jerry at JR Cigars in DC a few months back and it was great just to stand around and enjoy a cigar with him.

    As others have noted…he really is kind of on the short side but has the same personality and sense of humor that he displays in his videos.

  4. I haven’t met many, but the one I’ve hung with the most is Nish Patel, the national sales manager of (duh) Rocky Patel. He’s been at my shop the past 2 openings, and he’s a fun guy. When I came to Cigar Fest a month after I met him, he brought me to the front of the line, gave me a Rocky Patel sampler, got Rocky to sign it and pose for a picture later. Later on at the CAO party he hung with us, and then invited us out afterward for more drinking. Fun guy.

  5. Ditto on Mel Gonzalez. Although I’ve never met him face to face, I’ve had several emails with him. He’s class act. He was nice enough to send us some smokes for the beginners guide to smoking vid. as well.

    As for people I’ve actually met, #1 would have to be Dana from Dona Flor. He treated everyone the same. It didn’t matter if you bought a box or a single. He really enjoyed seeing people appreciate those great cigars.

    Nish Patel – Again, just a cool guy.

    Rocky Patel – He made sure to visit every person, shake their hand, and introduce himself (like we didn’t know who he was).

    I’m probably forgetting someone, but those stand out to me.

  6. I met Litto Gomez a couple weeks ago, and the man is a PIMP…
    Very nice, and seemed very interested in who we all were (there were only 4 of us in the shop, it wasn’t a scheduled visit… just a last minute thing) He gave us all one of his new cigars he is making, that is still in the development phase, and also gave us a couple other sticks. I was very impressed that a man that runs a company as huge as LFD is as down to earth, and genuinely friendly… he treated us measly customers no differently than the owner.

    I have also had the pleasure of corresponding with Luis Molina (devils weed) and he is also a SUPER nice guy. He even sent me a few posters and signed one of them.
    Damn.. now that I think about it, those would be great ammunition!

    When I first got into cigars, I was very intimidated by those in the industry, and those more experienced than me, but the more and more people I meet, the more I have come to realize that they are just chill people, that love cigars… just like me

  7. I have to say that of the number of “cigar icons” I’ve had the opportunity to meet I was most impressed by the team of Mr Sam Leccia (Nub) and Mr Jose Oliva (Oliva) who hosted an event together in Kansas City. Both of these gentlemen took 45 minutes of their time to just hang out and talk with me. The discussion wasn’t necessarily all about cigars and transitioned from the economy to politics to the cigar industry to the Global War on Terrorism. The discussion was informative, entertaining and very personable in nature. Remember that this was during a sales event and time spent not promoting their cigars (while chatting with me) means money out of these gentlemen’s pockets. These were two of the most genuine individuals that I have met in the cigar industry and their personable natures leave a lasting impression on everyone they meet, I’m sure.

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