many months of effort by the entire Cigar Aficionado staff, our 20th
Anniversary issue is complete. It reached newsstands at the end of
August, and on Wednesday, September 12, we brought together a beautiful
group of friends from the cigar industry for a party at the Grand Havana
Room in New York City to celebrate the issue.
The party—like our summer spent putting together the issue—went by in a blur. (You can read Andrew Nagy’s story about the event by clicking here, and launch a photo gallery by clicking here.) The highlight for me was watching editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken induct our nine new members of the Cigar Aficionado Hall of Fame, and listening to their acceptance speeches. Each of the men—Carlos Fuente Jr., Hendrik Kelner, Robert Levin, Benjamin Menendez, Manuel Quesada, José Orlando Padrón, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, Nestor Plasencia and Jose Seijas—have dedicated their lives to the world of premium cigars and tobacco. As cigar lovers, your lives have been enriched by their hard work and expert knowledge, which in most cases was passed down from their fathers or grandfathers.
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani spoke beautifully about the cigar industry, and the city he loves, eleven years and one day after the 9/11 attacks that changed his life—and the life of all New Yorkers—forever. Executive editor Gordon Mott was the opening speaker, and talked about how Shanken’s dream to start a magazine was one that most people felt would fail. Menendez, in his acceptance, paraphrased Mark Twain, saying “all ideas are crazy, until they work.” Look for a video of the event on our website soon.
The gathering was a way for me to reconnect with old friends. I haven’t been with the magazine the entire 20 years, but for a little more than 17 years the seat from where I’m typing this blog has served as my second home. I’ve had the privilege of covering the intriguing, friendly, passionate and humble men and women of the premium cigar industry for all that time, and I’ve gotten to know them extremely well. I consider myself a lucky man to have a job that brings me such pleasure, and brings me closer to such a fine group of individuals.
I’d also like to thank all of you who read Cigar Aficionado. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you for reading. Cigar Aficionado magazine has had a great 20 years, and we have a lot more still to come.
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