I ask the above question because I am the one who makes his living introducing new cigars to the marketplace. I need risk takers with new blends to continue to make my mortgage payments.
Of course, that may change if the FDA has its way, but it won’t stop cigars from being made. Not even new ones. However, it will stop some people from jumping into the industry because of an idealistic view of cigar manufacturing and owning a brand.
Before the incessant harassment from the people who know what’s good for me, many, many people with a few thousand dollars would get into the industry. And then, after visiting a factory in the Dominican, Honduras, or Nicaragua the would-be dreamer is further whisked away into the romanticism of the world of cigars. You know, like Zorro! Rip! Slash! Tear!
To wit: Romanticism is “the quality or state of being romantic.” (Merriam-Webster). And to clarify further, romantic is best defined as “conducive to or characterized by the expression of love.” (Google)
Love of what? Objects? People? Food? Fantasy? Cigars? Yes, especially the ersatz idea that cigars are forever seared to that “R” word.
Wait! I’m banging the drum. Damn. I seem to be bashing my own industry again. No, I’m just trying to get to the core as to why so many people believe they have so much to contribute to an industry that is saturated with product. (And if you’ll give me a chance before you FB and feather me, I have an answer a bit down the road here.)
Of course, the prospective cigar brand owner knows his new blend is the best one (Wink. Wink.) since the creation of the Cuban Montecristo No. 2. How can it miss? And yes! There are some cigars out there today that are worthy of being revered and respected. And it is fun to see the idea take shape – literally. But after the tires hit the road, and for a broker like myself, that couldn’t be truer, the romanticism begins to fade away. (The doppler effect?) Oh yes, it does. After a short time, it’s money, money, money! Money! Romantic? Don’t shit me. You’re a sniper with no cover. It’s a business. And business is ruthless. Even the cigar business. Period.
Listen, the dreamer is going to do whatever it is he or she wants to do. And take heart – such a romantic misnomer doesn’t just happen in the cigar industry. Take the arts. In his new book, “How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking About Art, author David Salle (“an American painter, printmaker, and stage designer who helped define postmodern sensibility.”) writes it best, “Whatever expectations about the world you’re poised to enter, the simple truth is this: nobody is waiting at the table of esteemed creators. Nobody’s even waiting for you to take your place at the table of studio assistants. No one’s waiting, period.”
Pause. No. Really. Take a pause.
Think about those words from a man who knows. Digest them thoroughly. (Gulp!)
No one cares! No one is waiting for you to fill a void. There is no void! We don’t really need another cigar. Yet, out from the factories they appear – like Willie Wonka’s chocolate bars – one by one, year after year. Roll. Roll. Roll.
Why!? Because there are men and women out there who defy legalistic limbo, lax logic, and looney laws. The reason new boutique cigars are still being produced is due to the gossamer dreams that are embedded in the guts of the dreamer. And, as Salle says in his book, it’s because “you can’t imagine your life without that empowering, free-falling, slightly scary, almost illicit thrill of creating.”
As I type, I do believe he’s right!