A while back, when we had our original blog page, we reported on the flippant musings written by the former figurehead of a certain cigar retailer.
Quoth the maven: Boutique cigars are theoretically limited production cigars made by people no one ever heard of before, and fabricated from tobaccos no one knew existed before. In other words, they’re cigars that are targeted for brain dead people who happen to have money to burn.
Besides the obvious offense to smokers of brands like Tatuaje, Padron, Jesus Fuego and countless others, it presupposes that use of the term “boutique cigars” is little more than a marketing strategy. Seems to me the term could use some clarification.
To employ a hackneyed device, Dictionary.com suggestions: of, designating, or characteristic of a small, exclusive producer or business…
So doesn’t this encompass just about every cigar manufacturer? Well, not really. There are a couple billion dollar outfits that produce machine-made and/or handmade cigars. Altadis (Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo, Trinidad, etc.) and General Cigar (Macanudo, Partagas, Punch, etc.) come to mind.
Here’s the rub: in my experience, those who regularly smoke these “non-boutique” brands tend to be one or two-brand smokers. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t “brain dead” sooner describe those who have limited their repertoire to the mechanical “enjoyment” of one or two brands? Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
Okay, so the word “boutique” may not be an ideal descriptor; indeed, a purveyor of women’s apparel on Rodeo Drive or a small-batch New England chocolatier are more probable candidates for the designation. But as I clip and toast my La Palina El Diario “Mmmm, damn that’s good” Well, I forgot what I was going to say.
What defines a boutique cigar manufacturer? Sales? Size of operation? Please share your thoughts with a comment.