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Big Smoke Las Vegas Evenings 2012

G. Clay Whittaker
Posted: November 12, 2012

A long line of eager smokers filled the halls of the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas Friday evening as thousands waited for the signal to start this year's Big Smoke Las Vegas. Some gathered as early as 2 p.m. to ensure quick access to the grand ballroom floor.

Inside, cigar celebrities were putting the finishing touches on their presentations for one of the most well-attended events in the Big Smoke's 17-year history. Tickets were sold out, and those lucky enough to reserve tickets and attend were salivating at what waited for them inside.

At half past six, the first surge of guests raced forward, catching impressive eyefuls of a claret red 2014 Chevy Impala, which will not be available until next spring.

Up front was the Alec Bradley booth, staffed by an energetic Sam Phillips (their vice president of marketing) who wore a camera on his head to document the event. He spent both evenings tossing hats, shirts and cigars into the crowd.

Eric Newman of J.C. Newman, deciding to buck tradition, offered patrons a choice of cigars from three of their major lines. "We've never done that before," said Newman, gesturing to the separated stacks of Maximus, Julius Caeser, and Diamond Crown smokes.

The Zino Platinum mobile lounge held a cozy few guests in the refined luxury of a blinged-out van.

Gary and Oliver Hyams from Gurkha-in their first year at the Big Smoke-were sharing both the Royal Challenge and Ghost lines with patrons, and gave out large posters with some of their most interesting label and box art.

Cirque de Soliel aerialist performed on ribbons high above the floor for all to see.
On both nights, a Cirque de Soliel aerialist performed on ribbons high above the floor for all to see.
Mike Giannini meanwhile was standing by for photo ops at the steam-punkish Foundry booth. "We just started to ship [Foundry] last week," said Giannini, "so it's the first time consumers get to see them up close."

Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and son Ernie handed out three sizes from their E.P. Carrillo core line, while Bill Paley offered the La Palina Classic Robusto. Representatives from Padilla Cigars handed out fine smoke after fine smoke. 

It was quite the occassion for even longtime attendees. Philip Archinal, in an eye-catching red paisley smoking jacket, explained that he'd been to the Big Smoke Las Vegas with friends Mike Avey and Doug Halcomb for ten years now. The trio gathers together for this every year and they refer to it as the men's retreat.

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Comments   8 comment(s)

Jim Dudlicek — Hoffman Estates, IL, USA,  —  November 12, 2012 8:42pm ET

What an awesome weekend -- was my first Big Smoke in Vegas and it won't be the last.

BIGS — MILWAUKEE, WI, USA,  —  November 13, 2012 9:07am ET

Kudo's! What an excellent venuve for this years event. Great vendors, good libations and superb culinary delights is what keeps me coming back! And other than the very first one (which I missed :-( ) I've made them all. Thank you for another great event!

Thomas Laspia — Cary, Nc, USA ,  —  November 13, 2012 12:36pm ET

Attended Saturday Nov 10 Session. Great Job Aficionado, we had Great Time.

Christian November 13, 2012 1:19pm ET

Well reported Clay, It sounded like another great event.

LEWIS LEFEVRE — ELIZABETH, CO, UNITED STATES,  —  November 14, 2012 3:19pm ET

This was my 4th Big Smoke and 3rd in a row. I had a great time will be back next year!

AJ PACALDO — BAKERSFIELD, CA, UNITED STATES,  —  November 14, 2012 4:17pm ET

This was my first Big Smoke event. I can honestly say it probably the best three hours of my life. From standing in line waiting for 6:30 to hit, going from booth to booth snagging your cigar, meeting and getting autographs from the masterminds of the cigar world. Oh and taking pictures. I am already looking forward to Big Smoke 2013! Good job Cigar Aficionado!

Arthur Espinoza — Fontana, CA, USA,  —  November 15, 2012 2:04pm ET

My first time and what an awsome time. I was totally satisfied with the event. Next I'm all in. Long line to get in, got there a early enough to be in the first 100 or so to get in. It was well worth any wait. Plenty of cigars, dink and food for all. One of the best parts was meeting folks from all around the US with the same interest.."Cigars"! Can't wait till 2013!

Dave Rutherford — Calgary, Alberta, Canada,  —  December 25, 2012 11:10pm ET

First timmer what a great experience it will not be our last. Now we know how it works we can plan our conquest.

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