Last Thursday, March 5, I had the opportunity to go down to Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga for my first Tennessee cigar event, and lucky for me, it happened to be an event sponsored by my favorite cigar company at the moment: La Flor Dominicana.
The LFD rep, Drew, was very knowledgeable and eager to sell the LFD line of products (which makes him a good company rep, I guess). He started with the sampler pack special that they were featuring for the event: 10 LFD cigars representing virtually all their lines in one large pack for about $81. Actually, they were going to give you 10 percent off if you buy any 8 sticks, so that drove the price down to $73 and then they would throw in 2 extra cigars (L-400 Cabinets) when you buy the sampler, so in essence it became 12 cigars for $73...but Charlie, one of the people who works at Burns, gave me another stick (L-300 Cabinet) out of the open box in the members-only room that I was a guest in for the event, so 13 cigars for $73. This was getting better all the time! Oh, plus you got 2 raffle tickets...seemed like everything was going my way!
The people at Burns treated me like a long-time regular. I talked at length with Charlie, Jason, and Jacob. Matt cut open a cheap Fuente cigar and showed how the binder was made of brown paper--great object lesson for those looking to save money on cigars: don't go to the very bottom of the barrel. I talked to another member who actually lives in Florida (can't remember his name, sorry) and Dan, a local FedEx driver. The Havana Room (members-only room) is tastefully decorated in leather furniture and dark wood with hunting trophies, autographed celebrity photos and a couple big screen TVs on the walls. I sat under the picture of Rush Limbaugh, which I took to be a good sign.
During the raffle, they gave away about 5 more of the 10-cigar samplers, 3 or 4 smaller samplers that came in wood boxes with a cutter and lighter, 4 or 5 ashtrays, a baseball cap, and a box of L-300 Cabinets. Alas, I won nothing...which is nothing new for me with raffles! At least I was expecting to win nothing, though, so the disappointment wasn't crushing.
The sampler I bought included in the picture above: a couple from the "Premium Line" which I had heard of but never seen before, a DL-Chisel, a DL-Maduro, 2 from the Ligero line (one each natural and Oscuro), a Coronado, a Cameroon Cabinet, and a Mystery Blend (which the rep tells me is the same blend as the mystery blend in the Perfecto Sampler box--he also said that both mystery blends in that box are the same thing). There was also a Reserva Especial that I tried to smoke on Thursday evening; it began popping its wrapper while I smoked and was close to coming completely unraveled. Jason, from the shop, saw it and said he would get something to replace it. He brought over the rep who gave me a new L-400 Cabinet (he didn't have any extra Reserva Especials) and asked what had happened. He said it might be a good idea to let the rest of the cigar sit a few days before trying to smoke them as they may have experienced some climate changes (temperature especially) while he drove around and they should be okay once they have sat in a single place for a few days.
One other note: seems that the subject of the LFD Cheroots is a bit of a touchy thing for the rep and for Litto. These were never supposed to be a market cigar so they never planned on people asking for them, but they've gotten lots of requests in the past year. The rep was surprised that I even knew about it. He said that for the foreseeable future, the only place to get them would be Empire Cigars online. He also said that he is soon going to be moving across the country and will be the rep for the Southwest, so it's possible you guys on the Left Coast will see him in the future.