Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Vince McMahon, Nov/Dec 99
(continued from page 4)
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 Federal Bureau of Investigation, 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.
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 with more advanced notice, you may have gotten a different reception.
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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. For a long time, we French thought that everything linked to good taste and enjoying exquisite wines and distinguished food was only part of a European education. But I can testify that your magazine and also the number of people I have met while traveling in the United States are really passionate about good taste and savoir vivre, whether it is wine or cigars. Your magazine brings me in every issue the enjoyment to find out about new cigars that we don't know about in Europe. Americans are very open to novelties, and reading your magazine, we can easily feel that a passion for cigars is not only reserved for a strictly closed society but for all classes. It's something we should learn from your country.
Andre M. Collome
Cigar Aficionado Online
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