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RTDA Blog: The Wrapup

I’m back in the office with a full notebook, bags and bags of new cigars and a slightly groggy head. RTDA is over.

Despite the lower attendance than at the 2006 show in Las Vegas (where the show shall return in 2007, by the way) most of the cigar folks I spoke with were fairly pleased with the amount of business they wrote. I was happy with most of the cigars I smoked, although I have a lot of cigars on my desk still to try.

I spent Tuesday night at dinner with Rocky Patel at Vic and Anthony’s Steakhouse, the second time I ate there during the show. I personally took care of two bone-in ribeyes on this trip. Vic and Anthony’s allows smoking in parts of the restaurant, at least for now. (A Houston smoking ban is looming, but it’s being fought.) For our upstairs room, smoking was prohibited, but the room had a huge balcony where we spent time between courses puffing on Rocky’s latest, the Rocky Patel Decade and the Indian Tabac 10th Anniversary. (I joked with Rocky that in true cigar industry form, his 10th anniversary cigar is actually one-year late: this is his 11th year in the business.) I preferred the Indian Tabac 10th Anniversary, which had a little more spice and a cleaner finish. It was a tasty smoke to end another long day. The cigar will come in four sizes, robusto, toro, torpedo and londsale, and will retail for $6.25 to $7.50 a cigar.

After the meal, we wandered over to the lobby at the Hilton Americas. I think the entire cigar industry was packed into that bar. I was with some of the CA team, including editors Michael Moretti and Greg Mottola. I had a little Johnny Walker Black while talking to Alan Rubin, who makes Alec Bradley cigars. (He named the brand after his two boys, Alec and Bradley. That’s a class move.) Soon we were joined by Jorge Padrón, Litto Gomez and then Rocky.

I couldn’t help but lament the scene, as it’s becoming far too rare now in America, and in other places. When was the last time you lit up a cigar in a hotel lobby and didn’t have to worry about being asked to leave by security? I certainly can’t do that anywhere here in New York City.

As I’m writing this roundup, I’m sitting at my desk smoking some of the cigars from the show I didn’t have a chance to smoke while I was there. First I puffed the new Alec Bradley Maxx Nano, a 5 by 46 smoke that sells for $4. It’s a solid smoke for the money, with a good blast of some black cherry flavor and an earthy backbone, with some roughness on the finish.

Next, I fired up the “A” from Litto Gomez is a gorgeous cigar. It’s full name is La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Oscuro Natural “A.” (If I got paid by the word for writing these blogs Litto’s smokes could keep me fat and happy.) It’s 9 inches long, with a 47 ring gauge, making it slim for the typical A. The wrapper is nearly black. The $18 cigar is not as spicy as some of Litto’s other cigars, at least not up front: it has a sweet nutty flavor—kind of like a French peanut—and it has some coffee on the finish.

I have far too many cigars to smoke in one day (or even one week) so I’m going to be trying the new stuff for quite awhile. If you’re curious about getting the lowdown on all the new releases from the trade show, our Cigar Insider team is going to be breaking it down in detail, cigar by cigar, starting in the next issue of Cigar Insider. And when the new cigars start making their way to market, that’s where you’ll see the first blind tastings. All in all it was a good RTDA, and there’s plenty of interesting new product that will be on the market in the next few months.
Manny Iriarte August 10, 2007 7:17pm ET
Hi David,I myself have plenty of good cigars that I'm looking forward to smoking. This week at the RTDA was very interesting on how so many cigar companies had their new products. I read that you ate dinner at Vic & Anthonys, I myself didn't get the chance to have dinner there but I heard it was excellent. I did go to The Strip House and it was delicious. The ambiance of the restaurant was very different and the service was very good. It was amazing after the dinners and the parties how the place to be was the lobby at the Hilton. I truly enjoyed the time I spent there networking and meeting new people. Its nice to have a great smoke and share your thoughts and feelings with people that appreciate the relaxing act of smoking a fine cigar. I came back to Miami with a bag full of cigars and now I'm slowly but surely smoking them. I plan on going to The Big Smoke in Las Vegas and I'm sure it'll be great. Best Regards,Manny Iriarte

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