Several years ago I was making the rounds at cigar shops in my area and I had an idea. Our video reviews were doing very well and perhaps we could generate some additional interest if I were to record local lounge patrons and gather their opinion on cigars. The catch was that I wanted to do it blind and see what they really thought of a cigar without brand bias.
The first couple that I recorded were a real challenge. I think I made too much of the Blind Tasting, using too large a crowd of people and having them fill out a lengthy questionnaire. The videos ran long, separate conversations broke out, and it was tough to keep people from simply agreeing with a leader within the group.
While they were interesting to host, I had difficulty making the final product what I envisioned. Eventually my interest began to fall and I stopped holding the blind tastings.
Recently, a participant of one of the early tastings began asking me when I was going to hold another. It has been years since I hosted one but they were fun and I thought it might be worthwhile to give it another shot.
I sat down with Tim, the owner of Sir Stogies in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania and outlined my idea. I wanted to use his lounge on a day that he would ordinarily be closed (to eliminate interruptions and allow him to participate) and limit my number of blind tasters to six or eight people. The idea was to simply create an environment where we could have a conversation about an unbanded cigar.
On April 13th we all sat down together and I switched on my camera. I started off by explaining what I wanted the tasting to be (essentially a conversation) and that all I wanted was honesty. No one was going to hurt my feelings if they didn’t like the cigar, all I asked was they simply explain why they liked or disliked the cigar in front of them.
Unbeknownst to them, they lit up and began smoking a hot new cigar on the market, the Punch Signature in a Gigante format (6.00 x 60). We dissed the Punch Signature at length, occasionally wandering off to discuss other cigar topics, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
If you simply don’t have an hour and twenty minutes to kill, I’ll recap the discussion for you. Everyone felt that the Punch Signature Gigante was constructed very well. The presentation (without a band or cellophane) was impressive. With the exception of one cigar, they all smoked very well and were trouble free (the one problem cigar began to lose it’s wrapper after about 75% was smoked).
The flavor profile was generic and simply produced hearty tobacco flavors. Despite the lack of various and distinct flavors, everyone was impressed with how smooth and tasty it was. The smoke produced a pleasant sweetness early on but it dissipated around the half way point.
When we began discussing price, everyone felt that $10.00 was a fair price to pay for a cigar of this quality and size. At this assumed price point, everyone remarked that they would purchase them in the future. When it was revealed that the suggested retail price was $7.39 the owner of the shop commented that he thinks his “Stogie’s Pick” – a display near the cash register – was likely to change from the beloved Tortuga 215 to the impressive Punch Signature.
Despite the sheer length of the video, I think that this sort of thing is a nice change of pace for Stogie Review. I enjoyed myself and hope to be able to do more of these in the near future. Gran yourself a cigar, find a comfortable seat, and check out what the guys at Sir Stogies had to say about the Punch Signature Gigante. When you’re finished watching, hit up the comments section below and share your own experience with this cigar.
I would like to thank Victoria McKee from General Cigar for providing all of the cigars for this Blind Tasting. Additionally, I would also like to thank Alfie, Jim, Scott, Tim, Jay, and Kenny for making the Blind Tasting an enjoyable experience.