International Association of Cigar Sommelier scam part two. A few weeks ago, we gave our opinion about the International Association of Cigar Sommelier course. And we called it a scam. Something we still stand behind. The article got quite some attention. We received a lot of positive feedback, yet IACS responded on her Facebook. But we also got some heat, probably from a few of the so-called cigar sommeliers that can’t handle the truth. And fiercely defend the IACS so they can deny that they lost $850 on a worthless piece of paper. Some of them even went as far that they accused us of not allowing comments on the article. Which is an even bigger joke than the certificate, all comments were approved.
A lot of the positive feedback came from the industry itself. And our article inspired finetobacconyc to write an article as well. And the podcast The Lounge Experience dedicated a full episode on the scam. From within the industry, we only received one negative response. That came from a fellow blogger who wrote in a private message that we, as an industry, should protect each other. That we are already under attack and should not shame others. We strongly disagree with that. To protect the industry we need to weed out the bullshit, name and shame the scammers. You can’t protect the industry by staying silent when you see people being taken advantage of. You can’t stay silent when you see opportunists drag the reputation of the industry down. The only way to protect the industry is by exposing those kinds of actions.
In their response, IACS denied that they are a scam. Of course, they did, but when you look at their statement, the actually confirm our point. They write “learning about cigars is a lifetime journey” and “We know the ideal cigar education should take months”. And that’s exactly why this certificate is a scam. This is a one day course, and at the end, you can call yourself the very pretentious, yet completely irrelevant ‘certified cigar sommelier’. And that is the scam part. Any certificate that you get for just paying and attending a class isn’t worth the paper that it’s printed on. And if it’s a title that doesn’t exist, from an organization that isn’t recognized by anybody, it’s nothing but a scam.
Now, is selling knowledge wrong? No, absolutely not. Selling knowledge is perfectly fine. There are several courses available, given by wonderful knowledgable people. Sautter Cigars is offering courses, Habanos is offering courses. All without certifying them with bullshit pretentious titles though, that’s a huge difference. And, if IACS is speaking the truth in their statement, some of those knowledgable people actually contributed to their course. This is great, anybody who’s able to share the knowledge, culture, and passion is helping our industry. We have no issue with that. The issue is by coming up with a certificate and handing it out to everybody who sits in a classroom for 8 hours after paying a big fee. If it was just a diploma or certificate of attendance, fine, but a ‘certified cigar sommelier’? Bullshit, scam, and borderline con artist style.
Then it comes to the quality of the lessons. Now, we haven’t done the IACS course, we are not falling for a scam. So we can’t judge the quality of their course first hand. Maybe it is a high quality and comprehensive course. But if we see Instagram posts from someone who had just done the course with an obvious fake Cohiba, then we wonder. A certified cigar sommelier, trained by the IACS, should know better right? We are not certified cigar sommeliers, yet we spotted that it was a fake cigar immediately. If you wonder about the photo, we have decided not to publish the photo. Feedback someone who we highly regard mentioned that it would personally humiliate the poster, and that’s not what we aim to do.