Written by Puff Staff

Monday, 14 July 2008

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2008 ipcpr day 1clubs and organizations
special events
A summary of our Day One at the 2008 IPCPR show in Las Vegas

(Editors Note:  We are having some technical difficulties here in Vegas.  Due to that we can not publish this article with the link on our home page as indicated.  We also can't include all our pictures.  We hope to rectify that, but likely will not be able to until we return.  We are firmly establishing ourselves as "cigar guys" and not "web guys"!)

Vegas, all bets are off.  We don't know which is harder, the new acronym for the show (IPCPR - isn't that a professional association for CPR teachers?) or trying to figure out where you can have a cigar. 

We soon found out all is not well in Sin City. The introduction of tough, new anti-smoking laws outlaws smoking indoors in public areas and in any establishment serving food. Fortunately smoking is still permitted on the casino floor, but some casinos have already gone smoke free. More on all that later.

After the dismal turnout at last years show in Houston, retailers and vendors alike seemed happy to return to the bright lights of Las Vegas. We'll try to get official attendance numbers tomorrow.

Sunday is set up day for the vendors so they were really not available to talk to us. So we started our day drinking mojitos and smoking a couple of 2006 vintage God of Fire Torpedos we purchased at the Casa Fuente store at Ceaser's Forum Shops. The cigar is medium bodied and well made. But to our taste, not very complex or rich tasting. It is a good cigar, but for $30 a stick, we expected a cigar closer to the vaunted Opus X.

General Cigar had a refreshing group of announcements this year.  Macanudo 1968 is a bold, more fuller bodied Macanudo.  Don't think this is one of those powerhouse cigars that blow your palette into the next week.  If you are a Macanudo smoker this will be heavy, but the flavor is complex, and will be enjoyed by wide audiences.  Cohiba Puro Dominicana is the brainchild of Daniel Nunez, and is the first Dominican Puro in the Cohiba line.  While we didn't yet have a chance to taste it, we are looking forward to trying this all proprietary tobacco based cigar.  For you Excalibur fans get ready for a powerhouse version of your favorite line.  The Excalibur Legend marries a Connecticut Havana Seed wrapper and binder with filler from Ometepe, a volvanic island of the coast of Nicaragua.

If your a fan of flavored cigars...rejoice.  Not only are there a ton of new flavored cigars available, but General Cigar has bought Havana Honeys, and put a lot of care and feeding into the brand.  Improvements in the tobacco quality, and the flavoring process has yielded a much nicer cigar experience.

When we entered the IPCPR show area, our eyes were immediately drawn to shimmering layers of long beaded tassels hanging from the tradeshow ceiling 40 feet above. Beneath this waterfall of glimmering silver was the Graycliff booth trimmed out with silver chairs, tables and pillows. To top it off, the entire staff was wearing metallic silver or blue company shirts Wow! Viva Las Vegas. Paolo Garzaroli greeted us and quickly showed off Graycliff's newest offerings. The Piccolo mini torpedo is now available across all cigar lines. New to the company are Super premium espresso and regular coffee from Guatemala which we sampled. Coffee aficionado Paul commented "This is great coffee." Lastly, there are the premium dark and milk chocolates that they have been working on for the last two years. We'll report on the chocolates and coffee in a later report. We always expect a surprise from Graycliff and, as usual, they didn't disappoint.

Altadis USA has a few new releases, and Janelle Rosenfeld was kind enough to share some information on them.  The monster expensive Romeo y Julieta Museum Edition are made at the Tabacalera de Garcia factory in the DR.  They include a rare San Andres Criollo 98 Rosado wrapper, measure 6 x 54, and cost your first born...or $30, whichever is easier.  Mi Dominicana by Jose Seijas is an all Dominican Puro debuting at the show.  A full bodied reasonably priced smoke, ranging from $7.50 to $9.00.  More from Altadis includes the A. Turrent Sic Generations, Bering Hallmark Montecristo Reserva Negra, H. Upmann Reserve Maduro and Trinidad Habana Reserve.  There are also new sizes in the Romeo y Julieta Cabinet Seleccion and H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon.

We visited Palio on the eve of the show and sampled their hospitality as well as their new products. Their latest product, to our surprise, is not another cutter or accessory, but a cigar: the Esencia. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro manufactured in Honduras and is the result of 3 years of effort stated Mark Aub one of Palio's owners. The Esencia comes in four shapes: belicoso, corona gorda, robusto, and petit corona. The wrappers are dark and smooth and the cigars are being billed as medium to full bodied. We smoked a couple and liked the petit corona best so far. The Esencia is a great first effort from a bunch of guys who cut their teeth selling cutters.

Drew Estate is busy as always.  In 20 brief seconds with Steve Saka, he let us know everything is selling well, and the world is rosy for Drew Estate.  Look for another coffee infused cigar called the Tabak Especial...that's right...more flavored smokes!

The boys from Brazil are back. But wait, these are different guys than we reported on three years ago. The new boys are Dona Flor Cigars from Brazil. Their cigars are Brazilian puros that use all Brazilian filler and binders with a Brazilian grown Connecticut seed wrapper. Dona Flor cigars come in 9 shapes form a petit corona to a double corona.  We'll sample their cigars and report on them later.

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