Posted: Aug 21, 2008 2:50pm ET
Wednesday morning in New York City’s LaGuardia Airport had the elements of a mini Big Smoke, minus the cigars. Sitting in a lounge, waiting on a delayed flight to Milwaukee were Jorge Padrón, Jonathan Drew, Litto Gomez, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, Robert Levin, Peter Banninger, Charlie Toraño and Eric Newman, along with myself. We were chatting about Tuesday’s dinner that kicked off the Cigar Rights of America tour, and eager to take off on the second leg of the show. We were also eager to fire up cigars, but we couldn’t. Talk about punishment—each guy in the group was carrying dozens of cigars, but we couldn’t light up…yet!
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 3:46pm ET
Last night I joined about 300 people who lit up smokes in the name of fighting for their right to enjoy a fine cigar. We stood atop the Hudson Terrace rooftop lounge on the West Side of Manhattan, getting the Cigar Rights of America Freedom Tour started in style. With an open bar and plenty of fine cigars, the cigar industry got things going in fine fashion.
Posted: Aug 19, 2008 11:45am ET
Yesterday Manuel Quesada
, known to all in the cigar industry as Manolo, came by the office with his daughter Raquel. They’re in town from Santiago, Dominican Republic, for tonight’s opening gala of the Cigar Rights of America Freedom Tour.
Posted: Aug 8, 2008 11:44am ET
Back in my college days I was the lead singer in a rock band. My hair was a lot longer, I was a lot thinner, and I certainly was a lot braver because I howled my brains out in front of packed houses all the time. (OK, the houses weren’t really packed, but let’s say I sang in front of dozens of people here and there. You get the point.) We won the Battle of the Bands, but we never made it to the big time and never had a tour.
Posted: Jul 30, 2008 4:37pm ET
I’m back in the office after the IPCPR trade show (and a little vacation), and I sat down today and went through my huge Humidipak bag that I had stuffed with goodies from the show. I smoked three new cigars, and one was a really nice gem that I didn’t expect.
Posted: Jul 21, 2008 10:13am ET
I remember when Ernesto Perez-Carrillo first told me about his La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Miami. I’m pretty sure it was in New York at Cigar Aficionado’s Night to Remember dinner two years ago. I was sitting at the General Cigar table, we got to chatting, and he handed me a prototype and told me it was a new project he was working on.
Posted: Jul 17, 2008 2:41pm ET
I know it won’t be easy to get sympathy here, but sometimes I have a hard job. And my job is never tougher than when it comes time to get info on new cigars from the Fuentes.
Now the Fuentes are great people, and Carlos Fuente Jr. and Wayne Suarez are dear friends of mine. But they just don’t release new cigars all that often, and when they do they don’t really want to talk about them. When I went to their booth the other day with James Suckling, I felt a little like a White House reporter trying to get information from a Bush administration press secretary. We talked about our families, we talked about our lives, but what about the new cigars?
Posted: Jul 14, 2008 8:32pm ET
The International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers trade show began today at 10 a.m., and I’ve been smoking since opening bell. I have a notebook full of scribbles on new cigars that I’m going to share with you.
My first smoke was the new Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial from Nicaragua that I wrote about online and in Cigar Insider. I was asked in the forums if this meant an end to the original Aroma de Cuba, which is made in Honduras. Nope. “It’s not a replacement for the original,” said Ashton vice president Sathya Levin. “We wanted to strengthen and round out the La Aroma de Cuba brand.” He handed me a short robusto. It’s made by Pepin Garcia with a middle priming Ecuador wrapper grown from Cuban seed, and Nicaraguan filler and binder. It was mild to medium bodied, a bit floral, with a honeyed character to it, and some creaminess. Very tasty. Just what the doctor ordered for the morning. There’s also a new Ashton ESG, a pyramid size, but it’s not going to be ready all that soon. They hope to have it out for the holidays.
Posted: Jul 14, 2008 12:04pm ET
First things first—I keep calling this IPCPR trade show by its old name, RTDA, so from now on I’m just going to say “trade show.” Problem solved.
It’s Monday morning here in Las Vegas, and in one hour the trade show begins. I arrived last night on a delayed flight from New York and met up with a big group of cigarmakers eating outside at Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s restaurant in the Venetian Hotel. I tucked into a plate of steak frites, ordered a Martini and fired up my first cigar.
Posted: Jul 13, 2008 10:43am ET
Cigar cutter? Check. Notebooks? Check. Flip video camera? Check. In a few hours I’m flying out to Las Vegas for the annual IPCPR trade show (I still call the darn thing RTDA, just like everybody else in the cigar industry) and I’m getting my gear together.