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2011 Big Smoke Evenings, Las Vegas
Posted: November 1, 2011
doors to the Venetian Palazzo Ballroom opened and the throng of eager
cigar enthusiasts who had lined up early cheered as they swarmed into
the Friday night evening party, kicking off Cigar Aficionado’s 16th
annual Big Smoke Las Vegas weekend.
For the first time ever, the largest cigar celebration in the world coincided with Halloween, so it was fitting to see thousands of smokers asking for and receiving premium cigars from more than 30 cigar brand booths. Call it trick or treating, Big Smoke style.
There were two nights of Big Smokes, Friday and Saturday held in the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. While there weren’t many costumed attendees, there were some. Among the more creative was two men sporting fake mustaches and bushy eyebrows, a la legendary cigarman Groucho Marx. A couple opted to channel the 1930s, the man dressed in a bright red gangster suit while his date looked swell in a black flapper dress with matching boa. Two men in kilts had also affixed some very real-looking devil horns to their foreheads.
With canvas bags in one hand and cigar booklets in the other, attendees rushed to get their fill of smokes. Like recent Big Smokes, the line for Rocky Patel was perhaps the longest on both nights, the prize for patience a bag of goodies that included his Sun Grown cigar or the 1961 blend.
Not to be outdone was the Alec Bradley booth. Manned by brand owner Alan Rubin, the team at Alec Bradley not only gave out the new Black Market cigar, but also samples of The Dalmore Cigar Malt whiskey, their new co-branding partner. In addition, Rubin collected names for a raffle to be held after the Big Smoke New York that includes two grand prize winners who will receive a year’s worth of Alec Bradley cigars and a year’s worth of The Dalmore whiskey.
Master Roller Leo Peraza of Team La Gloria continued his Big Smoke tradition of putting attendees through a cigar rolling crash course at the La Gloria Cubana booth, which also doubled as a nice seating area. The Davidoff lounge provided a seating area as well, and Casa Fuente again offered an impressive smoking lounge setup, complete with a bar serving Gentleman Jack and Old No. 7. One attendee named Dennis Burke, who hails from Minnetonka, Minnesota, was seen enjoying himself there and wearing a retro CCCP hockey jersey.
“I played goalie, so that’s why I have the Tretiak jersey,” Burke said, referring to Russian goalie Vladislav Tretiak, the man who was in net for the famous “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey game. Burke said it was his 13th time attending the Big Smoke in Sin City.
Scotch whisky Glenmorangie was distributing four expressions, as was Canadian whiskey Crown Royal; tequila brand Patrón served and offered attendees the chance to get their picture taken with spokesmodels. Appleton, Zacapa, Zaya and Don Q poured rum samples for all who came while vodka distillers Crystal Head (with a bar made of ice) and Ultimat rounded out the spirits being given away. Caymus Vineyards poured its nontraditional Conundrum white wine as well as its new red, while Sledgehammer Wines provided a red as well. Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale provided beer.
This year, event-goers could also find seating at the Chevrolet booth, which showed off its Chevy Volt car. Next to the all-electric car was a charging station the company had set up for those who needed to recharge their electronic devices.
Comments 1 comment(s)
John Gersic — Frisco, Texas, USA, — November 1, 2011 9:41pm ET
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