I’ve been defaulting to some favorite cigars over the last week, just needing the comfort of an old friend. Winter blues? Other stuff going on in life? Whatever it is, I’ve been gravitating toward cigars I really like. This week it was a La Sirena Devine, in honor of La Sirena founder Arielle and her husband welcoming their first child. Great cigar made at La Zona, supplies are dwindling, might be time to restock! Then I went to a Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo El Martillo in honor of that company’s 50th anniversary. I followed that up with a Tabernacle Toro from Foundation Cigar Co., I love the rich broadleaf yumminess of the Tabernacle line. Yesterday I had a small window of opportunity between running around and having the grandkids over, so I dug out an oldie, but goodie. I bought a box of the Chateau Real Maduro Small Club Coronas for some ridiculous price as they were phasing them out of production. I recall this being around 2010 or thereabouts. I was poking around my archives looking for verification, and ran across my interview with George Hamilton, the Hollywood icon with a penchant for tanning. I got to re-reading it…what a treat it was to talk to George on the phone, I still have his number…I can’t believe that was so long ago. Anyway, it’s just a damned shame Drew Estate discontinued the Chateau Real line. The Connecticut shade wrapper version was a nice, mild smoke, and I enjoyed the crap out of the San Andrés maduro version, I had a box of the perfectos too. Fortunately, eight years in the humidor have been kind to these, as it burned perfectly, and tasted rich, clean and was perfect for the time I had, 45 minutes or so. I miss these, and hoard the last couple I have in a miserly fashion.
While running around yesterday, we found ourselves in center city Philadelphia on Walnut Street. I feel compelled to stop in the Holt’s location on Walnut Street when I’m there, and I will finally admit that I’m disappointed in one way or another almost every time I visit, and I’m going to resist the urge to compulsively visit in the future. Yesterday’s experience was this: my wife and I are looking around and I’m picking out a few cigars, usually I opt for Holt’s exclusives or Fuentes, but this time I had a couple Mi Queridas in my hand, not that I didn’t have any at home, but more like I didn’t have enough at home. My wife says to me something along the lines of, “I wonder if they got any Muestra de Saka Unicorns?”, and goes and asks the guys working the counter. I overhear the exchange, and when she comes back I asked her if the guy really just told her that they don’t generally carry his stuff. That’s what he told her! Now, I’m wondering if this guy is treating a woman in a cigar shop like she doesn’t know anything (or hasn’t known Steve and Cindy Saka for 20 years), isn’t familiar with the Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust product line and provenance, or what. For the first time I’m considering putting the cigars I had in my hand back in the box and walking out, and if it had been any other cigars but a friend’s cigars, I would have. The “we don’t carry his stuff” guy ended up in the back of the store and I asked him if I had heard right that he told my wife that “we don’t carry his stuff”, he confirmed that, so I offered to educate him on Saka’s cigars, showing him the several boxes of Sobremesas and Mi Quedridas that they “didn’t carry”. He back peddled, and sarcastically thanked me for the education. I wanted to tell him perhaps I misinterpreted his “we don’t carry his stuff” as “I don’t know what I’m talking about”, but I held my tongue. I’ve worked in retail, and being a douche is not the way to endear oneself to the customers. I picked out a couple of Cromagnons and an Aquataine, in keeping with the buying friend’s cigars theme, and checked out. Maybe I was being a dick, but my wife asked an educated question, and it was simply out of curiosity as to whether Holt’s, as a purveyor of Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust cigars, received any of the Unicorns and, if so, what the plan was for them. They could have just said no, they didn’t get them, and been respectful. This is not the first time I’ve experienced the arrogance of the staff there either, there was a guy who worked there who I found genuine and friendly, and he was promoted to the front office. I’ve even had a scenario where I pointed out a moldy box of La Gloria Cubanas and was told it was plume and it was good (as the clerk wiped the cigars off) I have worked with Holts.com on several occasions, and purchased from them many times, with great success and satisfaction. I just don’t think I need to stop in the store every time I’m in the area anymore. It’s unusual for me to be negative, but I couldn’t let this one go, it was a bad way to treat customers.
That’s enough from me for now. Until the next time,