Sometimes, it takes a bit of persuasion to get a shop owner to carry a cigar that is from a smaller, less renowned company. Not that you can blame them, they already have to cater to a number of whims, and inventory that just sits for a loooong time doesn't really help the shop owner. A guy has to be judicious with his humidor space.
After the Christmas cigar bomb I got from my mother, I started agitating at a local shop to pick up Panacea cigars (by Flatbed Cigar Co., out of eastern PA). None of the shops in town carried them, and I've started buying most of my cigars from local shops. So, if I wanted Panacea, I'd have to convince one of the local shops to pick them up. It took a lot of casual "did you call them yet," and "have you heard from them (I gave them your phone number and address)." I'm sure he got tired of hearing about it, every other visit I'd try and subtly nudge him along.
9 months after the first mention,the shop owner got a bunch of samples in from Flatbed, and had me assemble a puffin' posse to smoke and grade the different samples. I started an 'Event' on Facebook, and invited all my local cigar friends and acquaintances, and on the night of the event, we had 6 fairly experienced cigar enthusiasts gathered to have a go at the Panacea cigars.
The shop owner had printed out info from Flatbed's web site on all the different cigars, and so we each grabbed a cigar that was generally suited to our preferences and started firing them up. Two hours of smoky conversation and comparison ensued, talking about flavors, burn, draw, ash and the advantages of target shooting with a .223 over larger calibers. The whole gamut, you know. Good conversation with friends, and decent coffee, is always a great companion for a cigar.
I had previously smoked, and thoroughly enjoyed, the Red label Habano maduro and Black label maduro. So, I started with the Green label maduro, and PA Broadleaf wrapped cigar; YUMMM!!! Nicely earthy and dark flavors, but was lacking spice until you got to the last third of the cigar, when it finally sauntered in.
The Blue label Grande 6x60 got mixed reviews from the two folks smoking them, for uneven draw and unexpected flavors. The Red label Grande was liked by the folks smoking them, as were the Black label natural and maduro that another pair were enjoying. The lone person smoking the White label Corojo had some extreme wrapper failure going on, so that got panned in the evaluation [I smoked the other White label Corojo the week after, and it was perfect, so better luck next time].
After we were done with our casual evaluations, the shop owner ordered the top 3 lines we recommended. Eventually, should these start selling well, we'll be able to look at a couple lines that ended up a little farther down the list. I liked the White label Corojo, once I got a chance to smoke one. At the end of the day, I got this shop to get on board with a cigar I liked. So, win for me, and I hope it's a win for the shop in the long run as well.