Where do I begin?...with a “Thank you.” This was my first time attending an event of this magnitude, and what an event it was! Time went by too fast and before I knew it, it was time to leave.
I kicked off the event by attending Saturday's seminar on Social Media, led by the computer genius Logan Lawler, a fellow blogger. During the seminar, I received an Ezra Zion cigar which was thoroughly-enjoyed later that afternoon.
After the seminar I rested a bit to get ready for the opening gala that evening. It was a beautiful spread of roast beef, turkey, fresh fruits, vegetables, an open bar, and my favorite of course - a room full of cigars and great people! I had the pleasure of meeting two of the nicest guys who created a new cigar line called Table 36. We became each others' stalkers as the days went on (inside joke since we literally ran into each other about 3 times a day). The gala was fairly short, but long enough to finish a wonderful Cuban Bolivar and enjoy some friendly conversation.
I headed over to the Casa de Fuente to grab a mojito, smoke some more, and listen to some Salsa music. Seems I wasn't the only one with that plan. After I lit up a Julius Caesar I noticed many familiar faces and IPCPR name tags. With such a great company of fellow cigar smokers, the night was going perfectly.
I attended the trade show Sunday - Tuesday. Upon entering the first day, I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the large venue and all the different rows of booths. I first made my way over to Padron to gawk over their amazing line of family cigars and photos. I had the honor of meeting Jose Padron, who received my compliments by handing me a 1964 Anniversario, and taking photo with me. What an honor.
I blindly made my way around the show, as I made the rookie mistake of leaving my map in my room. In no time I found the General Cigars arena surrounded by Foundry, La Gloria Cubana, Punch, and Partagas. Foundry had a creative set-up debuting his newest addition to their line.
After strolling around a little I was happy to find some familiar faces at Espinosa Cigars. By hanging out with Erik senior, Jr., Anthony and Charlie, (I'm leaving out a few) they gave me such a warm welcome that I decided to spend time smoking their newest addition: the Warhead. I also got hooked on the coffee Erik Jr. made! I didn't want to leave their area, as I instantly felt like family: cracking jokes, smoking and having fun. After finishing the phenomenal Warhead, I was introduced to a good friend by the name of Nicholas Melillo.
Ironically Nick and I met at the Cigar Press party the night before where I had a chance to sample one of his new works of art, the Nica Rustica - top on my list of smokes! Nick was kind enough to share some great information about that blend and another new blend: the Kentucky Fire Cured, which I am super anxious to try.
Next was the Fuente/Newman booth where I was happy to see Carlitos Fuente again and grab a photo. Their exhibit was very elegant and warm as well, by displaying their extensive line of cigars, accessories and family photos. Always such a pleasure to be anywhere near the Fuente family.
Honestly the first, second and third day are a bit of a blur as far as the order of events. The hospitality of some really stood out and created fond memories. Gurkha Cigars extended a warm hello and welcome at their after party where I had a chance to meet more cigar aficionados.
Crossfire Cigars was one company that stood out for their philanthropy and down to earth humility. I am anxious to review their pack of sticks they so generously prepared for me.
Saving the best for last, I ended each day of the show at the Miami Cigar and Co. booth. Meeting the amazing people of MCC made my entire trip! Nestor Miranda and Guillermo Leon are two of the classiest men out there. However, the man who stole my heart was Barry Stein of Miami Cigar and Co. He and his team made me feel like I was returning home each day. They truly went out of their way to make a lasting impression. The great music, rum, ice cold Presidente beer, exquisite smokes, and company were by far the highlight of my trip to Vegas and new lifelong friends. I miss them all already and can't wait to see everyone again!
I am sure I am leaving out so many other great people, but my page is running a bit long. Please check in for more separate reviews to come. All who shared time with me were classy and a nod to cigar smokers worldwide. Thank you to everyone I had the pleasure of meeting and to all who take the time to read and watch my reviews!