|Opinions are of Cigar Coop and Cigar Coop alone|
The Pete Johnson interview at W. Curtis Draper Tobacconists this past weekend has created quite a stir – and not just for the insights into Tatuaje’s 2011 releases. The comments he made about some recent Candela releases have created quite a stir. Yours truly posted his thoughts on this on Sunday. Based on this, I felt there were some more things that needed to be said on this.
Some background. If you haven’t followed the story, in the interview Pete was asked about some of the recent cigar releases around candela wrapper cigars. Pete gave props to Dion Giolito of Illusione Cigars for what he did on his recent candela wrapper cigars that were released. He said, “I think what Dion (Giolito of Illusione) did with candela is brilliant…and I think he deserves to have his time with it.” He then proceeded to call out someone else for coming out with a candela wrapper cigar. “I’m kind irritated with the fact that there is another guy coming out of the factory with a candela cigar.” With a reference in the interview to “Skull and Bones”, it was very clear this “other guy” was Viaje Cigars – who just came out with the WLP Candela release.
My post discussed why I disagree with this. My reasoning was simple. Pete talks about letting Dion having his time in the sun with a candela release. The problem is the candela cigars are not widely available at most Illusione shops. Therefore, why not leave some room for someone else to do candela release? Certainly the market dictates there is demand.
Since then, I’ve gotten some significant feedback and thought I would address some of these points.
1.First up, Dion himself put out on Twitter he did not have a problem on anyone using the wrapper. He took a little zinger at the end, but no harm here. I didn’t think this was below the belt and was all in jest.
2.A lot of people defended the concept of Dion having his time in the sun. I’ve pointed out that this is a noble idea and I get the respect thing. If this were a widespread release by Illusione, I can see it a bit. However, the Illusione and Viaje cigars are both near impossible to find, so what’s the harm in both having a release. As a side note, nobody said ANYTHING when Rocky Patel (Patel Brothers) and A.J. Fernandez (Unholy Cocktail) came out with cigars that used a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper. (See my “Note” at the end of this post. I did learn that A.J. was involved with blending the Patel Brothers)
Are we going to get to a point where now the cigar manufacturers have to walk on pins and needles every time they find a new wrapper or bring back a wrapper that hasn’t been there for a while?
3.A lot of people mentioned the agreement Dion had with the factory on candela. I purposely left this out of my original post because we have no idea what or if there was any agreement between the factory and Illusione. From Dion’s Twitter post, it sounds like no contractual or handshake agreements were broken, but that is an assumption. Look, I’m the first one to stand by a handshake agreement. If there was a handshake agreement for the factory making the Illusione cigars not to sell the candela wrapper – I get it. We don’t know the facts here, and we are doing a lot of guessing.
4.I DO have a problem when we start taking Free Market Economics out of the equation in the cigar industry. Namely, when someone tries to control who can sell to whom and who can buy from whom – I have a problem with that. Should it be a “free for all”? No. With the Illusione and Viaje releases, I firmly believe that Supply, Demand, and Quality will all decide who has the better cigar.
5.I hopefully have tried to keep this as a constructive debate and nothing more than that. Some people have thought otherwise and that is just not the case.
That was my additional two cents. The opinions above here are of Cigar Coop and Cigar Coop alone. As always your opinions to me matter and if I have anything incorrect here, please let me know.
I thank Jerry below for pointing out that A.J. Fernandez was involved with blending Rocky Patel’s Patel Brothers (as I did not realize this). So my analogy for comparing AJ/Rocky’s release of Pennsylvania Broadleaf cigars with Dion/Andre’s release of Candela cigars is somewhat off. I will say to most end consumers, they do not know this – they consider these competitive products unless they are plugged into the industry. Therefore, I’ll stand by what I did write above. In reality, we can apply these analogies to Cameroon, Criollo, etc wrappers as my point is we haven’t seen anyone complain in the past when this has occurred.