After a morning rife with cigar-education seminars and smoking, it was time for attendees of the Big Smoke to enjoy a lunch provided by Davidoff of Geneva.
Attendees lucky enough to snag a Saturday ticket before they sold out enjoyed an educational cigar experience that only the Big Smoke event can make happen. For around three hours, attendees listened to the three seminars broken up by theme: the makers of Cigar Aficionado's top three cigars of the year talk about their prized creations, a panel of tobacco men who grow and manufacture cigars in Nicaragua speak about the country's recent surge in popularity, and also seven of the industry's most tested cigar veterans discuss the trials and tribulations they have overcome during their long tenure in the cigar industry.
Needless to say, after all that, attendees welcomed a brief respite from the seminars and smoking. Due to Nevada laws (food and smoking are not allowed in the same room) the group of cigar enthusiasts walked to another ballroom where they received a bag that contained a cutter and three cigars from the Davidoff Group before taking a seat at a white, cloth-covered dining table.
The bags contained a trio of fine cigars that have scored well with the magazine: Zino Platinum Z-Class Series 546P, a Cusano 59 Robusto and a Room 101 LTD Conjura Edition 48x4.
The Zino Platinum Z-Class Series 546P is a torpedo that scored 88 points in Cigar Aficionado while Cusano 59 is a 5 by 50 smoke that received an 89-point rating. Both are rolled in the Dominican Republic. The biggest surprise, though, was the Room 101 LTD Conjura Edition. This odd-sized 4 by 48 ring smoke, originally released in 2010 as limited-edition cigar and rolled in Honduras, scored a 93 and is all but impossible to find in a cigar shop now.
Attendees started the meal off with a classic wedge of iceberg lettuce with bacon crumbles and tomato with house-made bleu cheese dressing. The main course was barbecued beef short rib with horseradish potatoes au gratin and a medley of fresh vegetables, and for dessert, New York-style deep dish cheesecake was served. The wine chosen for the meal was a Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva from 2008.
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