If you know me, or just follow me on social media, you know I enjoy a good cigar (or two). I have shared some favorites in the past, and even wrote a series of posts on the subject. I am a locker member at a local cigar shop and also purchase some online. So when I saw the launch of a new cigar service company run by believers I was intrigued. When I saw what they were actually pulling off I was blown away. You know I like to share the things I am interested in (like pencils), so today I'd like to introduce you (fellow cigar smokers) to Cigar Saveur.
Cigar Saveur is a cigar tasting community created by Adam Fox and Michael Hodges. This is not another mail-order company. This is a shared experience community where members receive a monthly package of 4 premium cigars chosen by experts. You can rate and discuss the goods each month with others in the members section of the website.
These guys have put together a fantastic service with great selections, and even the packaging looks amazing. The whole experience from beginning to end is aimed at being something to truly enjoy.
I had a chance to talk to the guys behind Cigar Saveur and ask some questions about their new endeavor.
What was the inspiration for Cigar Saveur?
Michael: One of the most noticeable things for me working in a cigar shop, was a first-time cigar smoker being completely overwhelmed about picking a cigar from the thousands on the shelves. I loved every chance I had to help them try a diverse selection of sticks from a wide variety of manufacturers. The exploration of cigars has always been an incredible draw for me. What better way to enjoy my passion than to enjoy it with people from all over the world?
Adam: Yeah, I remember one day early on I looked at Michael and said, "We have to figure out a way to get into this industry." We just fell in love with everything about cigars and the surrounding culture. The ritual of cutting and lighting, the craft and cultivation of tobacco, the flavors, even the packaging, and not least of all the people we had been privileged to meet along the way. Even more than this, we are witnesses that cigars have a truly special ability to bring people together. When two people sit down to share a cigar, many differences fall to the wayside, barriers are removed, and true friendships form over the common bond of that cigar. There's just something special about it.
What kind of cigars will we receive each month?
Michael: There is really only one requirement for a cigar to make it into our box, and that is quality. The whole point is to try new things and develop our palates along the way. There will be all kinds of sizes, flavor profiles, and strengths, from all regions around the world. Our goal is to feature the best cigars by going out and finding them. Every subscription I have ever tried seemed to pack them with cigars that could be found online for 20% of retail... not cigars that I was actually intrigued about.
Adam: Yes. We grew tired of cigar samplers that have one or two great cigars in them and the rest are OK quality at best. My humidor was overflowing with cigars I really didn't even want to smoke. That is the void in the market we want to fill. Cigar Saveur is a consistent flow of quality cigars to sample with none of the wasted time (and money). We'll only give you cigars that are worth your time, and our goal is that you'll get something every month that you haven't tried before. As you smoke them, there's a member's only area on our website where you create an account and rate each cigar, and keep track of what you like.
Michael: Everyone's palate is different, so we never tell anyone what they should or should not like. However, in my experiences, as long as a cigar is quality... it is something that can be enjoyed. From Full-Bodied to Mild, from Oscuro to Connecticut, they all have a time and place for enjoyment.
How do you respond to those who think purchasing cigars online hurts our local tobacconists?
Michael: I own a company in the Sports Card genre that helped lead the charge online for that industry. At first (and some to this day) store owners thought we were hurting business, until they realized that to grow the industry as a whole, we had to be more enticing to the younger generation, and in turn, those customers we found online would turn to their local shops as interest built. Sure enough, to this day we have amazing relationships with local shops as we both help each other grow our businesses every day. The same can be said for the cigar stores. We want to work with them to educate people as to what they can expect to experience in the 'Cigar Lifestyle'. As people get involved they look to their brick and mortars for a regular supply of cigars. We are more of a community builder than we are a retailer. We want to build interest in cigars, and grow the customer base. This way everyone wins. Someone smokes a cigar in our box, falls in love, and now they have to go to their local shop to get more.
Adam: Most people get really excited about the idea. I often tell people we are the tour guides of the premium cigar market. When it comes to cigars, the best (and possibly the only way) to learn is first hand experience. It's definitely the most enjoyable way. We make sure our clients are consistently getting to experience new high quality cigars. Like Michael said, this compliments the traditional retail market very well, and will only help to grow the industry as a whole.
This sounds great. Quality cigars that serve both the customers and our local shops. What's coming up this year for Cigar Saveur?
Michael: We are going to be hitting the pavement hard with market education (letting people know how to enjoy cigars), continue building relationships with boutiques and find better ways to serve our community of cigar enthusiasts. This is all a journey with lots to learn along the way. The second we stop learning and quit evolving, we have lost our purpose.
The Cigar Saveur Giveaway
Let's get to it. You can enter here for a chance to win the very first Cigar Saveur cigar tasting box. I will take entries until Thursday night and announce the winner on Friday morning. Your email is safe. It will not be shared, nor will entering sign you up to anyone's mailing address.
GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.
The Winner is Coby Munsey!