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From the Ninja's Desk: Ask Me Anything

From the Ninja's Desk: Ask Me Anything
4 years ago 112 comments

It isn’t often that I get to write these missives and here I am writing another one. Being the “voice” and “face” of CigarPlace.biz isn’t something that I ever really aspired to being, let alone thought that I would become. You see, when I was first hired on, my role was to be a very simple one, I was going to answer the phones, take orders, handle some customer e-mails and in my downtime, I would write product descriptions for our website. In the first few weeks, I did just that but as time passed and the company grew, I quickly grew with it, taking on more and more responsibility. Now, a month shy of 5 years later, I’m the Customer Service Manager and the Marketing Team Lead and I take on more projects every day. I’m constantly learning more about cigars, more about our industry, and more about cigar smokers. I’m learning new skills, new words, new concepts and almost all of it is while flying by the seat of my pants and through trials by fire.

While it may seem like we’re a big huge company, the truth is we’re really a small, family owned and operated business. Our company owners are a husband and wife team and they serve as our CEO and General Manager, respectively. And they work longer and harder hours then just about anyone I have ever seen and at the end of the day, they trust me to be the voice of their baby, their company. They trust me to represent them in dealing with and interacting with all sorts of cool folks within our awesome community and as a result I’ve made some awesome friends and acquaintances. These friends and acquaintances do some pretty cool things and work on some pretty cool projects that we partner with and I’d love to tell you about them.

So, I’m going to do a short series of introductions to folks that we work with in one form or fashion. Now this isn’t going to be the typical meet the manufacturer, blender or brand owner kind of column but it will be focused more the folks on the peripheral. I’d like to introduce you to some of the forum owners, the app and program developers, the blog owners, and possibly some of the other small business owners.

However, first, I’m going to give you a chance to learn more about me and what I do here at CigarPlace.biz and if you want to know, in my life outside of CigarPlace. So, there’s a comments field at the bottom of this page and I’m going to encourage you to use it. Ask me anything you’d like about me, about CigarPlace, about working at CigarPlace, about cigars or anything else you can think of and I’ll do my level best to answer them. (P.S. I suck at math and science, so please don’t mess with me there.)

Terry 4 years ago at 7:05 PM
What got you started in the biz?

tgrove from /cigars
Cigar Ninja 4 years ago at 7:37 PM
No lie. A Craigslist ad. I still have the original e-mail somewhere. I should see if I can dig it up sometime soon and I'll post it. They were seriously looking for a customer service person, cigar knowledge a plus. With me they found someone that was a cigar person and that had an extensive Customer Service background. I mean I had worked at Disneyland after all, the Capitol of Customer Service.

Our hiring process has become a lot more serious since then, now applicants, have a phone interview and an in person interview with a consulting agency, and then they come in to meet with no less than 2 but usually 4 of us, including the Operations Coordinator, myself, and our 2 owners. Then they'll usually come in for a one-two week paid trial/training period before being officially offered a full time position with us. We're REALLY picky...

Although our two freelance copywriters I found by running a Facebook contest among our Facebook followers.
Terry 4 years ago at 7:58 PM
Great story and quick response!

Next question:

Stuck on a island, and have a lifetime supply of two cigars (one is tough). What is it?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 7:44 PM
Hey again Terry,

I think even 2 cigars would be rough, I'd have to expand to 3 or 5. I'm a girl of variety... one would be WAY easier assuming you could convince Jaime to roll me a never ending supply of them.

Aside from the # 1 these are in no particular order.

1. Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial LE 2011 Broadleaf
2. Diplomaticos #5
3. Liga Privada Unico Series Ratzillas
4. Tatuaje Black Label Petite Lancero
5. RoMa Craft CroMagnon KnuckleDragger
LA MENNITI 4 years ago at 10:16 PM
Not on Facebook...try Twitter contest too!
Luke 4 years ago at 7:44 PM
Jessica,

What is your favorite part of working in the cigar industry? What about least favorite?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 8:22 PM
My favorite, hands down, the people. My least favorite, hands down, the lack of transparency among many of the brands and the public that consumes their product. Some brands are fantastic at this and others are just terrible at it. Look it's no big secret that we don't necessarily buy our cigars direct from the manufacturers but when brick and mortars go complaining to the manufacturers about our pricing, the manufacturers act like they don't know who we're buying their cigars from. Of course they know who we're buying their cigars from, this industry is only SO big and there's only a number of companies big enough to service us. Don't play dumb and act like you, the manufacturer, just don't know. You just don't care, at the end of the day, you've made your money from both the brick and mortar and from us via the distributor we bought our cigars from that YOU, the manufacturer sold them to. You're still making money from both sides, you're blaming the decline of brick and mortar shops on the big bad online business models and yet you're laughing all the way to the bank. Now how fair is that???

And don't even get me started on Quality Control issues, creating more cigars for the sake of more cigars, blend changes without telling anyone, and other such things.

The generosity and grace shown by members of the smoking community is without a doubt my favorite part of the cigar industry. I've watched cigar smokers raise tens of thousands of dollars in a single afternoon or evening for complete strangers. I've sat in a lounge and watched it be the great equalizer of social structure.

Hell, there was a point in time in my life about 6 years ago now when I was homeless and had a cigar lounge become my "home." The guys of Liberty Tobacco in San Diego took me under their wing and made sure that I had cigars to smoke, food to eat, clothes to wear and some sort of roof over my head, even if it meant I was in my car that night because I didn't want to impose on anyone. They slipped me cash when the other guys weren't looking. It got to the point where the owner told the employees to leave the outside door to the bathroom unlocked at night, so I'd have somewhere to use the restroom and wash up in the morning and evening. While Charlie didn't have a job for me on the books, I made sure that every ashtray was empty all the time, that the humidor was always stocked and cleaned, and that if Cedric needed help cleaning and restoring pipes that I was ready and available to learn. I didn't really think about it before when Terry asked me what got me started in the biz but that must have been it. I read every magazine that came into the shop, talked to all the guys.

Here I was a homeless, liberal, gay, Democrat, talking to Doctors, LOTS of Navy Officers, high ranking ones too, college professors, lawyers, bussiness men, tech guys, lots of upper class conservatives and country club types and that cigar lounge was the one place that we could all just kick back and be on equal footing. Not a single one of them looked down upon me or at least they never made me feel like they did.

Then there's the blenders, rollers, reps, and brand owners that you meet along the way. There's just a certain amount of love they have for their craft. We all attack our jobs with a certain amount of insanity. Yes, it's still a grind but it's a grind that we thoroughly enjoy because it's our passion and we can't imagine doing anything else.

That's my favorite part about working in the industry, the Passion of the People working in it. The constant drive and desire to always be doing it better than we've done it before.
motionsick 4 years ago at 10:36 PM
That's amazing. Great bit of history, humanity, and a big dose of genorisity there!
LA MENNITI 4 years ago at 10:19 PM
San Diego..."Love that Place". Lived there for 29 years. Yepper on Clairmont Mesa.
Had a few cigars there myself. Old Bikermamma.
Tyler 4 years ago at 9:02 PM
How did you get into cigars and what is your first "memorable" cigar?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 8:58 PM
My best friend Phillip and I started smoking cigars together with his Dad at the age of 16 on New Year's Eve. Shh... don't tell the anti-tobacco lobby. We were only allowed one cigar each on New Year's Eve each year until we were 18 and we didn't smoke other than that. We were both 2-3 sport Varsity Athletes and active in multiple other extra-curricular activities. We were exemplary students. While I don't recall what they were I do know they were Cubans that his Dad's Marine buddies would mail him each year for Christmas.

My first memorable cigar would have to be the Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 Flor Fina Maduros that I would buy from this small tobacconist in Red Lion, PA when I was a student at York College of PA. I would buy them on a regular basis for a few bucks a piece and smoke them on campus, which was a smoke-free campus of course. It was then that I felt like I had "become" a cigar smoker.
FUHNAHTIK 4 years ago at 9:31 PM
Do you get to smoke cigars throughout the day while at work? While not as relaxing as your free time, I would see that as a huge bonus. I always enjoy the times worked from home with a cigar. Thanks Jessica! - FUHNAHTIK
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 9:00 PM
I seriously wish we could... we don't own the building that we're in and due to our insurance policy we're actually a smoke-free workplace. If I want to smoke, I can smoke on my lunch, we get an hour, but that's it.
Garrett 4 years ago at 7:43 AM
Hey Ninja!

Here's an interesting one for you! As you've no doubt seen, the USA is restoring lost diplomatic. ties with Cuba. Hell, our president was just in Havana watching a ball game! So it's no stretch of the imagination that Cuban cigars might legally be vailable for trade in the US market in the not-so-distant future. As someone in the cigar business, what would this opportunity mean to you?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:20 PM
Hey Garrett,

It might seem cold to say this, but after this many years Cuba is ultimately just another country that produces cigars. They are no longer the cream of the crop that they once were and once you enter the increased demands that a "legal" American market will bring to the table, quality control will become a major concern as most Cuban factories don't use modern quality control measures and American consumers are a finicky lot when it comes to their cigars being perfect. We have little tolerance for plugged cigars. It's also going to be interesting to sit back and watch the legal battles over historic names and frontmarks as well as distribution agreements and such work themselves out. I know that we look forward to being able to carry Cuban cigars legally once they become available but I don't kid myself to think that the American market will get the short end of the stick after the rest of the world has had relationships with the Cubans for decades now and we're just now re-establishing ties. Where do you think the best cigars are going to go first? I doubt it's going to be to the new kids on the block...
motionsick 4 years ago at 10:50 PM
I think a lot of Americans will be shocked by some of the cigars that come out Cuba. Some are absolutely amazing, but even now, the QC is pretty spotty.

Most Cubans are generally mild-medium bodied, and with the full bodied monsters coming out Nicagura and whatnot, I think people will be in for a bit of a surprise.
Mad Bricky 4 years ago at 3:05 AM
lol, it's a small secret that Castro's private Humidor is full of Fuente cigars! Seriouslyy though zcuban farms have been hit regularly with hurricanes forcing them to import a LOT of tobacco. Being that the government owns all the cigar companies it's hard to imagine they would be forthcoming with tobacco ratios that's the.same color and little else. Those factories can't even compete with Fuente, La Aurora or others. No rush for cubans!
Jeff 4 years ago at 4:25 PM
Hi, how can I get my wife to smoke a cigar? She thinks they smell.
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:24 PM
Have you tried introducing her to some of the flavored cigarillos by CAO or Drew Estate? Maybe a Rocky Patel Java or Java Mint? If those don't work brother, nothing will, so quit trying and do everything you can to appease her in other ways, only smoke outside, in the garage, at the lounge with the guys, on the golf course, or come up with some other arrangement. Let's face it, cigars smell, our Boss Lady, the GM here agrees with your wife and she makes her living selling the things. Nothing we do or say will convince her otherwise. Though, there are some that she says she does like the room note of but none of them seem to be what I smoke outside on my lunch and come in smelling like... oh well.
Ronpierce222@yahoo.com 4 years ago at 4:54 PM
When will you offer Punch signature line of cigars?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:32 PM
Hey Ron,

I'll have Tanya shoot you an e-mail to find out what size you're looking for to see if we can get the Punch Signatures for you. I'm pretty sure that we'll be able to accommodate that request.
GB 4 years ago at 5:04 PM
When will you begin to carry RP's Royale & 20th Anniversary?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:34 PM
We currently carry the RP Royale and we can probably get the Rocky Patel 20th Anniversary if you let us know what size you are looking for. Shoot us a message at customersupport@cigarplace.biz and we'll be happy to look into that for you.

http://cigarplace.biz/all-brands/rocky-patel-cigars/rocky-patel-royale.html
KAVANEY@SBCGLOBAL.NET 4 years ago at 5:12 PM
why do all the cigar catalogs i get describe cigars as tasting nutty ,spices , chocolate, etc etc i have been smoking cigars for 60 years and to me they taste either good tobacco or bad.
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:37 PM
Some people just have a more refined palate than others and they can pick up a discern nuances of flavors in their cigars. Try this, go to your spice cabinet and each day for a week, taste two different spices that are often used to describe cigars, one in the morning and one at night. Then use a cigar flavor wheel, like the one I linked to below, when smoking to see if you pick up any of the same flavors.

http://www.cigarinspector.com/cigars-101/cigar-flavor-components
LA MENNITI 4 years ago at 10:22 PM
Roger that!
George 4 years ago at 5:13 PM
I've been there several times, and had a great time visiting you and all the staff, both in the office and the good workers in the warehouse. Keep up with good work. George and Jim from Milton FL.
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:43 PM
Hey George and Jim,

Give our best to your wife and to your son Dustin as well. We love when you come to visit but that's our little secret... we don't generally encourage visitors to the warehouse. Truth be told, we are a very private operation, you wont' find a big sign that says CIGARS outside our door, you'll find the doors locked if you show up unannounced, and we really do try to limit our visitors to an absolute minimum. We do everything we can to streamline and make our operations as efficient as possible and we found that visitors to our building really distracted our staff from performing their job duties. So, if you'd like to visit, please make sure that you clear it with the staff before arriving so as to not be disappointed when you're turned away.
Neil 4 years ago at 7:57 PM
Cuban or non-Cuban? And why?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:49 PM
I'm a non-Cuban girl. 1. Because I simply haven't smoked enough Cubans to have a chance to fall in love with them the way I have non-Cubans. 2. Because I find the flavor profile of Nicaraguans more in line with what I enjoy. I like my cigars like my coffee, strong, dark, dirty, earthy, and black. 3. I simply haven't found a Cuban cigar that fits my flavor profile yet. 4. That said I loved the Diplomaticos #5's until they were discontinued and that was a sad and rough day for me as I couldn't afford to stock up. So anyone with a small stash willing to trade for some non-Cubans, let me know.
Neil 4 years ago at 10:18 PM
Good reply. Altho I've smoked a fair few Cubans in my time (the UK go mad for them!) I have to agree with what you say about flavor profile. There are really only a few Cubans I would willingly smoke again, the majority just don't do it for me. In my opinion a lot of Cuban brands rest on the their laurels too much and quality slips as a result. Which is why I prefer non-Cuban, they try so much harder. And the flavor profiles suit my palate so much better. Peaceful puffing!
Lawrence 4 years ago at 11:59 PM
I have been buying my cigars from you for years. You folks are the GREATEST!!! I had no idea it was such a small company with the FANTASTIC array of cigars you offer. It is very nice of you to give me/us some insight into the company,
THANKS!!!
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:53 PM
Hey Lawrence,

You're welcome. I'd like to eventually do a series of bios on the folks that work here at CigarPlace but I'm not sure who'd be willing to be interviewed... and yes, we are a very small company. We just put up a great BIG front. We're happy yo be your go-to source for cigars. If there's anything else we can do for you please let us know!
Amos 4 years ago at 4:10 AM
Hi Ninja,

Big Aussie cigar fan here. I've bought more than a dozen boxes from cigar place over a 2 year period because you guys are pretty much the only ones that offer affordable international shipping.
So I was wondering what other countries outside USA are your biggest customers?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:58 PM
Hello Amos,

Our 2 biggest countries for shipping outside the US are Canada, United Kingdom, China and Australia in no particular order, but we also ship LOTS of packages to LOTS of other worldwide destinations.
Dave 4 years ago at 4:42 PM
I have emailed customer service twice over the last 3-4 months why they can't get Ambrosia Mother Earth cigars. Have not been given a good answer yet. Why have they been out of stock so long? I have contacted Drew Estates, they don't understand why you can't get them.
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:14 PM
Hello Dave,

As we don't deal with Drew Estates directly but with a cigar distributor that they sell their cigars to, it is often the case that some cigars are on back order with the distributor that aren't on back-order with the manufacturer. The distributor that we get Ambrosia Mother Earth cigars from hasn't had them in stock for many months and as such we haven't been able to get them. Why they haven't had them in stock, I don't know. Trust me, we want to have the cigars to sell you, and you aren't the only customer upset with us for not having them. Whether it's a good answer or not, it's the truth and it's a truth that no one in our office has the power to change.

Now, we could go with another source, but that would likely mean raising prices by no less than $10 or $20/box and we know that the reason you buy them from us is because we have the best prices on those cigars on the web so to do so would be shooting ourselves in the foot.
NG E K 4 years ago at 7:10 AM
I know there are free gifts for purchase on some Fridays. I wonder if I'm entitle to free gifts on other days if my purchase is more than $50? Or do I have to wait until Fri to place my orders?

Regards
NG E K
Singapore
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:18 PM
Hello NG EK,

Our free gifts are limited to only our Free Stuff Friday promotion which happens on a random Friday usually once a month. If you are signed up to receive our e-mail newsletter you will receive an e-mail letting you know when that promotion will be run. That is the only time that customers are entitled to free gifts.
El Primo 4 years ago at 1:39 PM
How often do you burn and do you have cognac or any other alcohol while burning?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:31 PM
How often I smoke depends on a variety of things. There's the cigars that I "have" to smoke for work, as there's very few cigars that I get to smoke for enjoyment anymore. Just keeping up on what's new, what's coming out, what we're looking at bringing into stock, what we're being offered for sale, etc means I that I do a lot of smoking of cigars that I wouldn't normally chose to smoke on my own.

I smoke on average of 4-10 cigars a week at the moment, sometimes more, sometimes less. It all depends on the week. The person I'm seeing isn't a fan of cigar smoking and doesn't like it on my breath so if I know I'm going to be seeing them I won't smoke a cigar so that's put a significant dent in my cigar smoking. I also tend to smoke a lot in my car while driving long distances and I haven't been driving a lot of long distances lately so it's been a lot of shorter cigars.

When I do sit down on the patio or the lanai at home with a cigar for enjoyment it's not with cognac but instead with bourbon, rye, scotch or whiskey, but most often bourbon. I've become somewhat of a bourbon beginner aficionado. It's my new thing.
Jean-Luc Hébert 4 years ago at 9:42 PM
Hi Jess,
This is Jean-Luc from Belgium. We've already talked via emails. I love your website and also agree with you on Cuban cigars: just not strong enough, overrated, overpriced. What I'd like to share with you - and I cannot wait to read your reaction - is that it's not easy at all to maintain a right hygrometry for the BIG cigars I buy from you when placed in a European humidor (Davidoff). The stogies are often too dry and I've to put more water but if I put too much water they're too wet and unsmokeable; and then there's the problem of placing, say, gordos next to robustos in the same box. And of course forhet about placing Cubans and Nicaraguayans inside the same humidor. Very often it gives me headaches to figure out the right hygrometry that eventually will suit a part of the cigs but never all of them.
Very surprised to find out you're a small company. And pleased it is ):
Have a fantastic week.
Jean-Luc
Belgium
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 5:31 PM
Hey Jean-Luc,

This has the makings of a very involved answer. But the short answer is to maintain multiple humidors. 1 for Cubans and 1 for Non-Cubans and then in the 1 for Non-Cubans place your Gordos closest to the humidification devices and your Robustos and such furthest away. If you find that the non-Gordos are still too wet and you are having issues with them burning properly, consider dry-boxing them for a few hours before smoking them. Or, if you have a lot of cigars, split your non-Cubans into 2 separate humidors, one for large ring gauge cigars and one for smaller ring gauge cigars.

We'll be doing an upcoming post on "tupperdors" and "coolerdors" which use the disposable plastic food storage bins and outdoor camping coolers and turn them into inexpensive cigar storage containers. This helps cigar smokers expand their cigar storage capacity by LOTS while keeping costs of doing so down.
David Ouellette 4 years ago at 9:13 PM
Looking forward to more Blog posts! :)

Keep up the good work!
Kent 4 years ago at 10:06 PM
Hi Jessica,

You and I have corresponded on occasion for years now and I have always appreciated you, what you bring to the industry, and your friendly and professional customer service. Here's a question I bet you can't answer. Other industries have companies that are great to deal with and others that are lousy to deal with. I doubt you can say which brands suck (the company, not necessarily the cigars). But can you share your favorite companies - who deliver on time, are great to deal with, and always go above and beyond?
Ken Wada 4 years ago at 10:36 PM
Will you ever carry the A. Fuente "God of Fire" series of cigars?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 1:35 PM
Hey Ken,

We get some on occasion but they are incredibly difficult to obtain with any regularity. If there is something particular you are looking for by the box, shoot an email to customersupport@cigarplace.biz and we'll see if we can't rustle up a box or two.
Donald Santos 4 years ago at 11:12 PM
Did you want to work in the cigar biz or did it start off as you just needing a job
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 1:39 PM
It's kind of funny, when I started working for CigarPlace.biz I didn't actually need a job. I was working as my grandfather's live-in caregiver about half time and making more than enough money to cover my minimal bills. I actually moved here from San Diego to take on that role. But as his health began to decline I started looking for additional work to keep me busier so I could afford to be choosy in the kind of work that I did. I always swore that I'd never do an office job but then this one fell in my lap and I've been here 5+ years now.
Henry Lim 4 years ago at 11:18 PM
Hey Ninja!

New customer of about 2 months here and I've already made multiple orders!

I'm in Canada and the prices for these sticks are insane in the retailer's which is why I'm so inclined to stock up my stash with you guys.

Question 1) why is it so pricey up in the great white north?

Question 2) how do you come across your merchandise to be able to provide some pretty amazing deals to offer your customers

Question 3) Can I get a shout out from my Ninja? Haha
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 1:46 PM
Hey Henry,

1. Consider this your shout-out.
2. Canada taxes tobacco to hell and back hence the pricey cigars... you didn't really think that national health care was free did you? And before someone accuses me of being a Republican, I'm actually more of a Liberatarian mixed with a bleeding heart Democrat on social issues that is pro-gun but anti-NRA because I believe in responsible gun ownership and I don't believe that the NRA does enough to advocate for responsible gun laws in the U.S. But anyhow, I'd much rather pay more for my cigars and enjoy fewer of them and have universal health care than have this jacked up broken system we have in the US. It's an absolute disgrace.
3. Pretty simple actually, we leverage our buying power by buying in large volume.
Bob Langmaid 4 years ago at 3:07 AM
Do you think it may became a trend for newer cigar Manufacturer's to blitz the market over the next year or two to hedge their bets against the FDA deeming regulations?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 1:47 PM
Hey Bob,

I sure hope not but it's entirely possible. There's nothing worse than cigars that have been rushed to market.
Jerry Gomez 4 years ago at 5:05 PM
Hi Jessica,
How will the FDA regulations on premium cigars affect Cigarplace? Will there ever be a way to reverse these regulations? Also what would be your #1 rated cigar for 2016?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 1:50 PM
Hey Jerry,

Between the pending lawsuits and the Ag Bill on the House floor, it's still too early to tell but for the most part the pending FDA regulations don't affect online retailers at all. There's almost always a way to undo regulations but it is never easy or cheap.

And do you mean best cigar to come out in 2016 or just best I've smoked in 2016?
Jerry Gomez 4 years ago at 3:54 PM
Thanks for responding. Best cigar smoked in 2016.
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:07 PM
Well, I smoked my first Cohiba BHK in 2016 but that wasn't it, I'd have to say that it was the RoMa Craft Neanderthal. I've been smoking RoMa Craft cigars since the CroMagnon Knuckledraggers came in Nicaraguan Newspaper wrapped bundles and they are just as consistently great now as they were then. The Neanderthal is just as fantastic and I can't wait to smoke some more of them. I'd love to bring RoMa into stock here at CigarPlace but it's an expensive undertaking to do so.
Jerry Gomez 4 years ago at 4:55 PM
RoMa Craft never disappoint. It would be amazing if Cigarplace started selling RoMA Craft. I also heard that a collaboration with CigarDojo has been in the works. It's a version of Intemperance that is expected to be released late July. I have a BHK in the humidor, how are they?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 5:27 PM
I'm not sure if it's just that it was so hyped up to me before smoking it or not but honestly I found it mostly underwhelming. It's also not a cigar that's really in my wheelhouse in terms of flavor in general. Now this isn't to say that it wasn't a great cigar because it was fantastic but it certainly wasn't worth the money that these cigars in particular command. If I had paid for these cigars myself I would have been very disappointed in them but they were a most gracious gift. I chose to smoke this cigar out of all of the others in my humidor as the culmination of a 3 year endeavor came to a close. I wanted a special smoke and this totally fit the bill.
Jerry Gomez 4 years ago at 8:02 PM
Thanks for the info. I think they are put on too high of a pedestal. No doubt they are great smokes, but I guess supply and demand just keeps them so pricey. The hype factor is also an issue, I thought I was going to have some out-of-body experience when I was about to smoke my first Cuban. I also think they don't age very well in the first couple of years, but I'm no expert by any means. Plus cigars are not one-size(or brand)-fits-all. I prefer fuller cigars. What was the endeavor? If you don't mind me asking.
Chris D 4 years ago at 8:29 PM
If you could tell your younger self one thing about cigars now that you know what you do, what would it be?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 1:55 PM
Smoke a wider variety of cigars and take better notes. Your palate will develop a lot faster that way. Get reacquainted with your spice cabinet too. It will be a big help.
jason gross 4 years ago at 3:47 AM
Please tell me the best way to 1 keep smoking fine cigars 2 keep within my budget and 3 keep cigars and my budget from busting my relationship?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 1:58 PM
Easy Shop @ CigarPlace.biz

But seriously, you have to exercise some self control. This answer takes a lot more conversation than I can type. But you should call me at the office and we can talk about your specific situation and budget and cigar preferences and I'll do my best to help you out. I don't want to see your relationship end because of this.
George 4 years ago at 3:43 PM
Nice to see you in the office today!
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 1:58 PM
It's always nice to see you George. Give our best to Glenna, Dustin and Jim.
LA MENNITI 4 years ago at 10:13 PM
I, too came from a small business family. It's great to work for yourself. been smok'n cigars since high school. I would like to see a Dominican Brand with Maduro wrap. Long filler. nicaragua and Connecticuts leaf filler. Priced very affordable. I use to smoke La Gloria Cubianas but since they sold the company they doubled their prices. I am looking for cigars of the same caliber but with an affordable price so I can buy on monthly basis. Best of luck with all. Thank you, LAM
PS: Saving Jeep Grand Wagoneers.com check out our club.
Daniel 4 years ago at 10:15 PM
Why is it that any "aficionado" has to trash mass produced stogies and overruns? Without the huge names, there wouldn't be a huge market for everyone to get their hands on. I've smoked a couple hundred high end smokes, and my share of low end ones. I know this to be true: you get what you pay for. But, without huge cigar makers and retailers, we little guys would never get to try 10-20 smokes, can't afford em. When we can find em for way less, say at auction, we scoop em up. And you know what else? If you know who to use and who to stay away from, your "sampler with a bunch of great sticks!" has a bunch of great sticks in it! All I'm saying is, whether you pay 10 bucks or 2 for your RP decade toro, it's still the same stick. Give us little guys a break. We don't have hundreds of bucks to throw around haphazardly for stogies @100-200 bucks a box! But that doesn't mean we don't know fine tobacco. I'm no aficionado, don't want to be, just wish the snotties would remember what made tobacco famous: a pastime for the working man. I love tobacco, and that really should be what it's all about.
LABiker777 4 years ago at 3:50 PM
Here. Here. I agree!
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 2:01 PM
I agree with you 100%. There are some great cigars out there that don't cost a ton and I love snatching them up. Some of those mid range or cheap boxes with some age on them grow into being fantastic cigars.
Perietta Migranté 4 years ago at 7:28 AM
Hello Jessica - If you were not working in this field, what other field of employment would you consider pursuing? Cheers!
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 2:08 PM
In another life, I was a nanny off and on for a period of about 10 years. I have also been a Jewish educator for children. This is actually my 2nd job in an e-commerce company and I'm currently slowly teaching myself front end web development. I'm starting with HTML/HTML5, and CSS. I'm also learning parts of Magento as it's the shopping cart system our site is built on and as I'm the Marketing Team Lead, I'm learning new skills there as I go as well. I'm learning about SEO/SEM, E-Mail Marketing, and Social Media Marketing as well. There's a lot of hats I wear within my position here and I hope to be able to grow within the company. Learning to program for me is I think the next step in that development. I have to really get in there a bit to see if or how much I like it first but if I do, the sky just might be the limit.
Nikos nikolaidis 4 years ago at 1:59 PM
Hi all, do you think that scotch and cigars is the best pair out there or not?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:59 PM
Hello Nikos,

I feel that the best pairing out there is the one that you enjoy the most. Some like iced tea, some coffee, some like Coke, some Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, some scotch, and still some water or any other beverage under the sun. However, I'm a craft beer drinker of heavy stouts and porters but my pairing of choice is generally a variety of bourbons or most often just a glass of water at room temperature.
Dennis Mathis 4 years ago at 2:40 AM
Do you guys plan on ever carrying Roma Craft Product? Skip make a damn tasty stick.
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 5:43 PM
RoMa Craft is HIGH on my list of cigars to bring into stock. Michael and Skip do make some damn fine tasty sticks. I smoked both a Neanderthal and a Knuckledragger last week and I've been smoking those Knuckledraggers since they came in Nicaraguan newspaper wrapped bundles. They were always gifts from friends or obtained in trades and splits because I could never afford to buy full bundles myself. We're making some room and trying to make sure that we have sufficient interest from our customers before committing to bringing in so many cigars at a time. And the first time we approached RoMa they weren't ready to take us on yet. Now they're ready and we're not. Sometimes, it's a delicate timing balance. But soon, I'm hoping soon.
David 4 years ago at 12:40 AM
What is your favorite cigar?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 8:17 PM
If you could get Jaime and the Cubans to roll me a lifetime supply of the #1 and #2 it would be those two, if not, it would be a rotation of the remaining 6

1. Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial LE 2011 Broadleaf
2. Diplomaticos #5
3. Liga Privada Unico Series Ratzillas
4. Tatuaje Black Label Petite Lancero
5. RoMa Craft CroMagnon KnuckleDragger
6. Room 101 OSOK Filero or Room 101 Daruma
Tom Smitty 4 years ago at 9:54 AM
Is there a under $3 premium cigar that you'd recommend?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:26 PM
Yup, Flor de Oliva bundles made by the Oliva Cigar Company. They come in 4 wrapper shades and like 9 different sizes. They are long fill, premium cigars that run $2-$3/stick at our prices. They are fantastic cigars for the price and I recommend them to our customers looking for an inexpensive smoke all the time.
Marc 4 years ago at 7:49 AM
I went in to a B&M recently and the humidor seemed a bit too humid. Then I noticed ALOT of what looked like plume on much of the inventory, more than I've ever seen in one place, and alot of HTF cigars that were released 2-5 years ago. It was like being in a candy shop but not knowing if something will make you sick! Most sticks looked to be covered in a uniform grey-white, and they felt fine, so I took the chance. I tried a number of the lesser sticks and they smoked fine, albeit a little soft and spongy for my taste. Unfortunately, when I unwrapped a red tissue-papered Viaje Roman Candle (released in 2012 or 2014), I found the more spotted growth that I hear implies mold, rather than plume. The owner said he's been collecting and aging cigars for many years and he really has an incredible selection. I thought perhaps the tissue paper was the problem, but the other one was good. Any tips on how best to tell the difference between plume and mold?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:32 PM
Any time the humidor is a bit too humid and the cigars are soft and spongy, it's a bad sign. If there's a uniform grey-white dusting over top those cigars you're likely dealing with mold and not plume. Plume appears like little tiny crystals, mold is going to be grey, white in color sometime also blue or yellow and will be splotchy as well. But the biggest giveaway here is that this guy is loaded with HTF find stuff. Either you hit the jackpot of a honey hole or odds are this guy has all this stuff because no one else will shop with him because his stock is too poorly maintained and his cigars are moldy...

Here's a great article from my friends over at CigarGeeks on with images that will help.

http://www.cigargeeks.com/community/boxx/knowledgebase.asp?iid=51&Cat=1
Shawn E Smith 4 years ago at 10:57 PM
Jessica,

I'm just getting into cigars, and I prefer mild-medium with an average draw.

I've been thinking of getting the 2015 Top 25 Sampler - is it worth it for a beginner like me? If not, what recommendation do you have.
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:35 PM
Hey Shawn,

I think the most awesome thing a beginner can do is smoke a wide variety of cigars so yeah, the 2015 Top 25 Sampler would be a good place to start. However, be advised there are some cigars in there that range toward the medium full side of things.

Also, the #1 factor that affects the draw of the cigar is how you cut it. Or rather, how deep you cut it. So if you like an average draw don't cut it too deep, cut it more on the shallow side of things and if it's too tight, cut it a bit more, you can always cut more but you can't cut less. Keep that in mind and you'll be golden.
Michael Allare 4 years ago at 5:08 PM
How about a loyalty buyers program where you accumulate points based on purchases. Almost none of the cigars I purchase have a discount other than the free shipping on the first of the month???? Thanks for considering!
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:38 PM
Hey Michael,

I'll look into that. I'm not sure what's available for our platform but I'll take a look-see and see if there is anything we can implement.

Free Stuff Friday is coming up soon though!

Happy Smoking!
John HANLON 4 years ago at 5:44 PM
Can you find out when La Flor Dominicana will have another Limitado out?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:39 PM
Hey John,

I wish this was information that they would share with us but alas no, we find out sometimes after you find out.
Jamada 4 years ago at 6:28 PM
Ninja!
Here's a question I have been wanting to ask you.
I have been aging Cubans and non-Cubans for a while now.
Non-Cubans despite the lack of date codes to verify the boxed dates, they indeed have a similar symptom that could be defined as "Sick Periods" as with Cubans, its just that each and every blend has their own "Periods" and timings if you will, not like the Cubans which get sick after a year of box date.
In my experience the most notables are full body Hondurans or blends with Honduran tobaccos which do get bland after aprox 4 years after purchase, then flavor re-develops re-defines after a year and could be more enjoyable then pre-period or fresh .

My question is, have you had any blends that got notably bland after a period, re-develop re-define after a particular period?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:49 PM
Jamada,

I wish that I could answer this question for you but I'm terribly sorry that I can't for 2 reasons. The first is that I don't smoke very many Honduran cigars in the first place. The only Hondurans that have a regular rotation in my humidor are the G.A.R. White Corona Gorda's and Robusto Grandes by George Rico. And the second reason that I can't answer this question for you is that I smoke my cigars long before they'll ever sit in my humidor long enough to go through a "sick period."

But here's an interesting thing to note. Non-Cubans don't have box dates right, so how do you know how long a particular box has been sitting at the manufacturer's, distributor's or retailer's warehouse before it gets to you? It could have been on those shelves for 3 weeks or 5 years before it gets to you and you would have no way of knowing whether that box has already gone through it's sick period or not. It's unusual that a box sits on a shelf that long but it does happen at times.

Also, if I had a box that I suspected was going bland I would probably start smoking them faster to mitigate my losses in terms of flavor rather than let them continue to sit and age even longer and run the risk of the flavor not coming back at all. At the end of the day though, your mileage may vary and what you do with your cigars is entirely up to you. I simply don't have the funds or space to devote to long term storage of boxes of cigars.
Smarz 4 years ago at 10:32 PM
I've heard alcohol can substantially increase the carcinogenic effects of smoking. What would you recommend as a substitute drink to enjoy with a stogie?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:54 PM
While this isn't something that I've heard, I'd love to see some statistics or a scientific study that backs up this claim.

In terms of other things to pair with your cigar, soda (Coca-Cola, for me), iced tea, arnold palmers (half tea/half lemonade), water, and various coffee drinks are all popular choices. I've also enjoyed a wide variety of fruit juices with apple juice or a fresh apple cider being a favorite of mine at times. Most often though, you'll find me drinking room temperature water with my cigars as that's how I like my water and how I best feel that I can taste my cigars.
Christopher Chance 4 years ago at 3:23 AM
Why don't you carrymore candelas and maybe give us a little history on Green cigars.
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:59 PM
Only a handful of companies still make candela cigars at this time. Illusione, Baccarat, Bering, Fuente, Asylum and well Alec Bradley makes one seasonally. We carry all of those and they don't sell very well but there are still a handful of customers that smoke them. They sell mostly around St. Patrick's Day when everyone is looking for everything green gimmicks. Look for a blog post on candela cigars themselves sometime in the future.
Brian Keele 4 years ago at 1:32 PM
thanks for the awesome contest.keeping fingers crossed that i win
LA MENNITI 4 years ago at 4:58 AM
Just got the link and signed up too!
Not on the FaceBook got to do another one on twitter
Lecia 4 years ago at 6:13 PM
What's the best pairing for cold, unfiltered (Nigori style) sake? If possible, something Drew Estate...
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:11 PM
Hey Lecia,

I have to say that you stumped the Ninja. I had to call in reinforcements for this answer. I called my brother from another Mother, Nick Perretta, Manager and Tobacconist at World Famous Cigar Bar in Fort Myers, FL for his take on this kind of pairing. His exact words were, "Damn... With a DE Stick. Not an easy feat. If it was anything. I would say the Room 101 Master Collection 3,(white band). Closest for that with DE is the Herrera Esteli, but it's still not perfect."

So, there ya go. There's the best pairing we could collectively come up with for cold, unfiltered, nigori style sake. And just in time, we have the Room 101 Master Collection III on sale today in our latest e-mail special. So go snatch yourself up some before they're all gone!!! And that was purely coincidence, I didn't know they were on sale today until I proofed the e-mail this morning and Nick certainly didn't know yesterday when he answered that question for me.
Raaed 4 years ago at 11:06 PM
Do you have Habanos Hernandez cigars
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 2:57 PM
No, we don't carry these cigars currently but if you're interested in them you can send us an e-mail to customersupport@cigarplace.biz and we can look into bringing them into stock for you. Sometimes we can do it and sometimes we can't but we'll always try.
K C 4 years ago at 2:56 AM
Hello,

I really enjoy the site and the customer service but at times get frustrated with a lack of in stock products, I hope this changes. I also noticed a lack of customer reviews on products, maybe an email reminder 30-60 days after purchase.
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:25 PM
Hey KC,

We too get frustrated when we can't deliver the products our customers want to them and it's something that we're focusing on this quarter. Which cigars were you having this issue with?

Funny you should mention this e-mail reminder for product reviews. This is actually something that we're looking into implementing as we speak.
Tenhorn 4 years ago at 4:37 PM
Should one unwrap the wrappers on cigars that are going into a humidor?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:29 PM
Hello Tenhorn,

This is such a hotly debated topic, that it was one of our first blog topics. Here's the link for your convenience to check it out yourself.

http://cigarplace.biz/blog/cellophane-friend-or-foe.html
Clas Niit 4 years ago at 7:26 PM
Hi there..
Been doing business with yourself for sometime now. I am living in Sweden and I am so happy to have such a good service and support from your good company.
I read the other day about the DEA enforcing new very hard rules, taxation and serious fees for introduction of new blends to the market. Have your company any plan for how to go about doing business under this devastating climate? I fear for my future, I seek reassurance..ha ha. Looks like you need to "sharpen your swords.." Thank you again for an excellent set up of business model.
Rustan Lladones 4 years ago at 11:20 PM
Hello, what's your favorite top 10 cigars?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 4:55 PM
I've already answered this partly and I'm answering this from the point of the cigars that I smoke the most of not necessarily what I believe are the all-time best cigars though some of these certainly would qualify. This list is probably a mix of my all-time favorite daily smokes and a list of my all-time best cigars and is in no particular order.

1. Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial LE 2011 Broadleaf
2. Diplomaticos #5
3. Liga Privada Unico Series Ratzillas
4. Tatuaje Black Label Petite Lancero
5. RoMa Craft CroMagnon KnuckleDragger
6. Room 101 OSOK Filero
7. Room 101 Daruma
8. L'Atelier Tramp Stamp
9. Illusione Rothchildes
10. Gran Habano G.A.R. White
HM. Illusione Nosotros - Rolled by Drew Estate
VALERIY PLOTNIKOV 4 years ago at 12:35 PM
Jessica,
Thank you for your interesting and informative answers!
How do you feel about culebra cigars? Do you smoke them?
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:51 PM
Hello Valeriy,

I have on occasion smoked Culebra cigars. They are mostly gimmick sticks but can be fantastic cigars in their own right when blended properly. The best I've ever had likely was the Old Man and the C Culebra but I'm on the hunt for an Oliva Series V Culebra and would love to come across one someday.
Robert Timmons 4 years ago at 3:23 PM
I never miss an opportunity to tell people, especially at ABC Liquors, about the great service of cigarplace.biz
Cigar Ninja Jessica 4 years ago at 3:58 PM
Hello Robert,

We definitely appreciate people spreading the good word and gospel of CigarPlace.biz. Thank you for your support.
ed williamson 3 years ago at 10:24 PM
I wanted to thank you for the great, really terrific, prices and customer service I have enjoyed for quite a few years now. Also want to wish you, and everyone else, a very, very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
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