What’s In Your Humidor?: Aaron Loomis (Blind Man’s Puff)

What’s In Your Humidor?: Aaron Loomis (Blind Man’s Puff)

Continuing on with our What’s In Your Humidor feature, we once again have brought in a Cigar Media Association board member, Aaron Loomis of Blind Man’s Puff. Unlike many cigar review sites (including ToastedFoot), all of the reviews for Blind Man’s Puff are done with the reviewers not knowing what they are smoking until the review is posted to the site. It’s an interesting concept that tries to take some of the reviewers personal biases out of the review. Aaron and the Blind Man’s Puff team run a great site that is definitely worth bookmarking on your browser.

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Not long ago, Aaron asked me to collaborate on three reviews with Blind Man’s Puff, and I have to say that it was an interesting experience. I honestly had no clue what I was smoking until the review went online. (Aaron said he’d have to kill me if he told me.) I was joined the Blind Man’s team in reviews of the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014, the Camacho Ecuador Figurado, and the My Father La Antiguedad Corona Grande. While most of my opinions matched up fairly well with what you’d see on ToastedFoot, I’d normally never post a review of a cigar I disliked as much as the S.T.K. It was an honor to be invited to be part of the Blind Man’s Puff process.

So, without further ado…

What’s in your humidor?

Variety. With my smoking frequency and the rate that new cigars come out, I don’t usually go back to the same cigar more than a few times unless it really strikes me as something special. The brands that you’ll probably find the most of in my humidor are Illusione, La Palina, Fuente, J. Fuego, RoMa Craft and Padron.

So, we have to know, do you smoke everything blind? We have this image of a humidor where all the cigars are missing the bands and you just guess at what each cigar is. 
I don’t get to smoke too many of the cigars blind as I am typically the one sending them out to the other reviewers, so I already know what they are. For me to get involved in a blind review, someone needs to send the cigars to me already unbanded. Seth from Seth’s Humidor recently sent in 4 different cigars this way, so I get to participate on those reviews.

Are there any interesting cigars in the pipeline that you’re smoking for Blind Man’s Puff? 
I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you. I know that there are quite a few good ones that the other reviewers will be smoking, but I can’t share the details until the reviews are posted.

How many cigars do you smoke when writing reviews?
For the blind reviews, each reviewer smokes one cigar for each review. Since we are doing the reviews with a panel of 5 reviewers, this gives us the opportunity to catch trends across multiple cigars on the same review. For our quick reviews where we are not smoking the cigars blind and it’s just a single reviewer, we typically smoke one to two cigars for those.

How does the “smoking blind” on your site work?
In a nutshell, I collect all of the cigars that will be reviewed and then remove the bands and add on a numbered band that only I know what it corresponds to. I then ship the cigars out to the reviewers who will smoke them and submit their notes through an online review form we have. All of the results go into a backend database. This calculates the scores for each category using a formula we put together that removes outliers and we grab snippets of notes from each reviewer in each section and put the review together. At the end of each review there is a link that shows the backend document where you can see the notes and scores for each section and each reviewer in case you want to geek out over the full details. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible in our review process.

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How many cigars do you smoke in a typical day?
I would typically smoke between three to four cigars a week. My wife and I just had our first child this past Halloween which has changed my smoking frequency as you can imagine. I am down to about one to two cigars a week currently.

What are some of your favorite cigars of all time? 
There are definitely a few cigars that really stick out to me. The Illusione Singulare 2010 Phantom, the La Escepcion Selectos Finos Edición Regional Italia (Cuban), 601 Black Connecticut and more recently the Herrera Esteli Limited Edition Lancero 2014 and Hermosa Tierra Santa.

Is there anything new coming up Blind Man’s Puff that you feel our readers would find interesting? 
It’s not necessarily new, but we’re doing another round of collaboration reviews. These are reviews where we team up some of our reviewers with other CMA members, such as ToastedFoot, to do reviews using our blind review format. It’s very interesting to see the results from media members that you’re used to seeing and reading using their own format in our format. The results have been very well received from our readers and the participants.

Finally, make sure you catch myself and Aaron Loomis on Cigar Dojo’s Smoke Night Live on August 7th. We’ll be throwing down with the Viaje Throwdowns from Cigar Dojo and Cigar Federation. There’s no other CMA member that I enjoy giving as much crap to as Loomis (and vise versa), so it will defiantly be a show worth watching.