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Written by Puff Staff

Saturday, 20 August 2005

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rtda 2005special events
Summary and thoughts after the 2005 RTDA.
Rob (R) and Paul (L) with Rocky Patel at the 2005 RTDA.  (The only picture we have with both of us in it!)
RTDA Epilogue

We attended our fourth RTDA show this year.  On the surface, two cigar loving Lowland Gorillas are let loose in the worlds largest cigar store for 3 days to report on cigars and the cigar industry.  True enough on a personal level, but on behalf of Top25Cigar and Club Stogie, we have other purposes for being at the show which is what we'd like to reflect on here.

The RTDA Show is huge.  Nearly every cigar brand is there.  Major tobacco growers are there.  The cigar manufacturers and creators of brands are there.  The marketers, sales people, and retail buyers for those brands are there.  The reality is that the RTDA show is much more than seeing and trying cigars.  It is the entire cigar industry at work in one place for 4 days.  It’s both an interesting and intimidating experience for a couple of cigar hobbyists like ourselves.

In a way, we are not unlike the cigar shop owners from across the country.  Cigar retailers look at a thousand brands and try to select hundreds of cigars that you, the cigar smoking public, would be willing to pay your hard earned cash to enjoy.  This is a difficult task.  Imagine if you’re a cigar buyer.  You need to select cigars that your customers like, not just what you like.  If you only buy what you personally like, you might end up owning a lot of cigars that you like but that only a few customers buy.  With cigars, that is the danger of a few making choices for many, which brings us to our first point.

Our purpose at the show goes beyond reporting generally about cigars and news.  We want to find out about cigars and information that you, the cigar smoking public, are interested in, not just what we choose personally.  Ordinarily, this would be difficult because as cigar smokers, we know that cigar preference is a matter of personal taste, right?  How can we presume to know what cigars and brands you want to hear about unless you tell us?

Fortunately, you tell us all the time...and in ever growing numbers.  Through your reviews at Top25Cigar and posts on Club Stogie, we get a pretty good idea of what cigar smokers are interested in.  If we chose to talk only to vendors of brands we like personally, we’d be doing a great disservice to Top25Cigar and Club Stogie members.  You’d be getting the narrow views of only two cigar smokers, which brings us to our second point.

We already know who the cigar companies are, but they don’t know who we are.  More precisely, they may know who we are, but they don’t know what we represent. We want the cigar companies to know what Top25Cigar and Club Stogie represent.  Why?  Because we want the cigar vendors to know that there is a site where the unbiased reviews of their cigars is taking place.

We want the cigar industry to know where they can hear the opinions and preferences of regular people smoking their cigars.  Top25Cigar and Club Stogie are committed to expressing the views and preferences of all cigar enthusiasts, not just a few “professional” cigar smokers … because our collective voice tells substantially more about a particular cigar than any one individual can

At this years RTDA, there was much more awareness about the T25C and CS sites than ever before. 

“Oh you’re the gorilla guys!”  they would say.  Or “oh yeah, The gorilla place, we know you.”  “We’ve heard of you. The public ratings place.”  Many cigar industry people we talked to seemed appreciative that there is a place they can find unbiased reviews of their cigars.  Many would tell us “We like your reviews.”  We quickly correct them saying that they are not our personal reviews, but that we simply report the reviews of the cigar smoking public collected through Top25Cigar.

So now you know.  Our purpose at the RTDA show is more than the personal cigar ranting of two Lowland Gorillas.  Our first purpose is to collect information about cigars that you are interested in.  Our second purpose is to let the cigar manufacturers and retailers know where they can hear what the real cigar smoking public honestly thinks about the cigars they smoke regardless of brand, price, or country of origin.

And you know what?  Every person we talked to about T25C and CS wants to hear the honest opinions of the cigar smoking public, which is you my friend.  So keep posting your reviews and having lively cigar discussions because the cigar industry wants and needs to hear what you have to say about their cigars, not just the opinions of a few.

 - Rob and Paul




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