Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Laurence Fishburne, Jan/Feb 00
(continued from page 4)
My business travels frequently take me to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. On my previous trip there, I had a free afternoon and decided to hire a taxi to take me to tour the cigar factories in Santiago.
After taking the two-plus-hour ride to Santiago, we went to three factories (MATASA, General Cigar and Fuente); however, we were denied entry into all three. I explained to the young ladies at the reception desk that I had traveled over two hours and that I was returning to the United States the following day, but nevertheless they would not budge, citing company policy. I found it interesting that an individual could tour the White House, the Pentagon and the FBI, yet touring a cigar factory was like attempting to get into Fort Knox. Come to think of it, we can tour Fort Knox as well.
The taxicab driver suggested that we go to the nearby León Jimenes factory, and I must say that they were the exact opposite of the other three factories. They were cordial, friendly and accommodating. Not only were they happy to give us a tour, they provided us with free refreshments and cigars!
I have been a regular cigar smoker for 19 years and I would venture to guess that some 10 years ago, before the cigar boom, the other three factories would have rolled out the red carpet for me. Since this experience, I have vowed that when purchasing cigars from the Dominican Republic, I will only purchase those that come from the León Jimenes factory. You can grow the finest tobacco, have the most sophisticated curing barns, possess the latest technology, and age the tobacco for many years, but the number one ingredient is still customer service.
Jerry Najman Massena, New York
Editor's Note: It was fortunate that the Jimenes staff was able to accommodate you. Your letter didn't supply the details, but I see no indication that you wrote or phoned ahead before showing up on the other manufacturers' doorsteps. They are, after all, running businesses, not tourist centers. Perhaps if you had given them more advanced notice, you may have gotten a different reception.
I've been reading your magazine for almost five years and I think it is time to give some feedback about what a French reader thinks of a magazine dedicated to cigars.
To be honest, I have found it very interesting, and more than that I'm still amazed about the passion of Americans for cigars.
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