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2013 Big Smoke Las Vegas Weekend—Slideshow

Posted: November 15, 2013

Across two nights and two days this year, Cigar Aficionado's Big Smoke played out among the neon lights of Las Vegas.

The Mirage Hotel and Casino played host again to the three-day extravaganza of smoking, drinking, and eating the best of the best. Over 4,500 people attended the evenings and seminars, enjoying fine cigars and much more.

Saturday featured the top three legal cigars of 2012, a "comeback" panel that included Christian Eiroa and Jon Huber, followed by a group of Dominican tobacco experts. The last topic of the day was Cuba and Cuban cigars, discussed in a panel hosted by executive editor Gordon Mott and senior editor David Savona, followed by a luncheon hosted by Altadis

Sunday began with a hearty breakfast followed by a roll-your-own-cigar workshop and capped off with a spirits panel featuring the pairing of Davidoff cigars and George Dickel Tennessee Whisky.

 

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Big Smoke attendees Soroosh Kiani, left, and Pierre Rogers break away from the hoard of cigar gatherers and enjoy a cigar in the event's dining space. The Mirage served a variety of foods, from sliders to pastries.

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Enjoying adult beverages at the front of the line, awaiting the doors to open for Saturday night's evening session are Victor Nolen, John Peterson, Keith Robbins and Mark Maxon.

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Lisa Mamalias, better known as DJ L1, kept the positive energy flowing with a mix of old and new beats.

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Brian Coerver and Lupe Perez sport giveaway bags, a staple of the Big Smoke, which make it easy to carry home all the cigars collected during the night.

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Attendees Jamal and Mackenzie Parker enjoy cigars and drinks during the Big Smoke Evening on Friday.

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Ellie and Garrett Brubaker enjoy a premium cigar and drink on Saturday night.

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Gunslinger Mark Jackson, in cowboy hat, smokes in front of the Casa Fernandez Cigars booth along with, from left to right, friends Eric Harley, Dereck Fuller, Dereck Ricks and Nathan Hunter.

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April Lawson lights up a Nat Sherman Timeless Nicaraguan at the Friday night Big Smoke Evening.

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Jason Taylor and Barry Woitalla share a smoke at Friday night's Evening session before they embark to fill their tote bags with cigars.

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Thomas Velez, left, is the first to light up among friends Vince Savelli and Leon Mintz at Friday night's Evening event.

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Jaime, Pepin and Janny Garcia, the family behind the Flor de las Antillas Toro.

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Jorge Padrón spoke about his family's long and storied cigarmaking tradition.

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Javier Estades of Altadis U.S.A. Inc., the company behind the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta.

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Gordon Mott, executive editor of Cigar Aficionado, kicked off the Saturday program and introduced Jorge Padrón and Javier Estades.

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Tickets for the seminars sold out months in advance. Here's a view from the front of the room, with more than 500 eager cigar aficionados ready to puff away with the panelists.

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Friends Shawn McArthur, left, Brian Smith and Ralph Macri smile and share a smoke at Friday night's evening session.

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Patrick Fitzgerald and Shawna Wiliams puff and pose inside a Villiger Cigars Instagram sign in order to enter a cigar giveaway contest sponsored by the company.

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Big Smoke patrons Luis Amezcua, left, Dr. Tino Anastassiou and Pedro Caram practice their rolling skills at the La Gloria Cubana Super Roll booth.

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Husband and wife team Craig and Svea Welch take a break from the action to relight another cigar.

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Rocky Patel, owner of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars Inc., signs a tote bag for Rachel Beal.

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Elena Love, left, and Rosalind Hicks share a drink while checking out the newest cars from Ford.

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The American Club's Whistling Straights and Blackwolf Run golf courses sponsored a video golf-swing clinic, imaging the swings of attendees.

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Members of Victory Cigar Club, from left to right, Dr. Ernie Proud, Dr. Neil Ahle, Don Colt, Harry Estabrooks, Charles Stone, Duane Deaver and Mike O'Guinngather.

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Janelle Rosenfeld of Altadis U.S.A. prepares to snap a photo of the audience during lunch on Saturday.

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Chef Nicole Brisson of Carnevino conducted a cooking demonstration as the hungry crowd dined on her cigar aficionado's breakfast.

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Cigar Aficionado's Gordon Mott and David Savona spoke about the current state of Cuban cigars, and fielded questions from the audience.

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Cigar lover Frank Lanzillo puffed away during the presentation.

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Jorge, left, and Marcos Padrón personally passed out cigars at the Padrón Cigars booth, one of the dozens of cigarmakers sharing their products at Big Smoke Las Vegas.

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Couple Vince and Jackie Westerman, left, get ready for a night of drink and smoke with Ken and Karen Conley.

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Glynn Loope and the Cigar Rights of America team sign up cigar smokers at their booth.

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Cow-clad Dave Hull, Paul Hampton, Jerry Henderson and Joel Smith are regular attendees of Big Smoke Las Vegas.

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Fez-adorned Shimon Cohen, Neil Levinson and Steve Neerkin work the aisles of the Big Smoke evenings, where dozens of cigarmakers offer samples of some of their most popular blends.

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Michael Pearson shares the inner workings of a Bremont watch with Big Smoke Las Vegas attendees Scott Randol and Hillary Kozel.

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After having their pictures taken at the Cigar Aficionado booth, attendees could Tweet, Instagram or upload to Facebook from a nearby iPad display.

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Glynn Loope, executive director of the Cigar Rights of America, delivered an impassioned speech on Saturday about impending FDA regulations on cigars.

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Mike Nelson ponders the pairing qualities of the cigars and whisky.

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Douglas Kragel explained how George Dickel Tennessee Whisky is made, and how it pairs with a variety of cigars.

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Davidoff ambassador Jeff Stone spoke about pairing Davidoff Nicaragua and Davidoff Puro d'Oro with the whiskeys from George Dickel.

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Cigar Aficionado's spirits guru, senior features editor Jack Bettridge, closed out the show with a seminar on George Dickel Tennessee Whisky and Davidoff cigars.

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Keith Strassburger (center, in orange shirt) needed help from his friends to carry out all the goodies he earned by rolling the best cigar in the La Gloria Cubana Super Roll seminar.

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Pepin Garcia, the patriarch of the Garcia cigarmaking family.

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Jaime Garcia, the blender of the Flor de las Antillas, Cigar Aficionado's No. 1 Cigar of 2012.

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David Savona described the expansion of Cuba's Montecristo line, the quality swing of Edición Limitadas, and the relaunch of the Vegueros brand.

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Christian Eiroa, the former president of Camacho, reinvented himself by creating CLE Cigar Co.

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Gordon Mott, Christian Eiroa, Jon Huber and David Savona discussing cigar industry comebacks.

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Jon Huber, co-founder of Crowned Heads, describing what it's like to try to create a winning cigar brand for a second time.

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Seigfried Marushka of Tabacalera de Garcia Ltd., the producer of Romeo y Julieta and many other Dominican cigars.

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Tobacco farmer and cigarmaker Jochi Blanco of Tabacalera Palma lights a cigar as he listens to a question from moderator Gregory Mottola.

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Jhonys Díaz, of General Cigar Dominicana, spoke about the properties of Dominican tobacco, the most popular tobacco used in the production of premium cigars.

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The final Big Smoke seminar allowed hundreds of cigar lovers to pair fine cigars with savory whisky.

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With an array of George Dickel Tennessee Whisky bottles in front of them, Cigar Aficionado's Jack Bettridge, Douglas Kragel of George Dickel and Jeff Stone of Davidoff led the Big Smoke crowd on a whirlwind tasting paring the whiskeys with cigars from Davidoff.

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Talented cigarmaker Leo "The Pope" Peraza patiently rolled cigars on stage under the eye of the camera to show the audience just how it's done.

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Michael Giannini, who has more than 30 years of experience in the cigar industry, led the La Gloria Cubana Super Roll seminar.

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Craig Morris lights up a cigar to prepare himself for rolling his own personal La Gloria Cubana.

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Senior editor David Savona welcomed the crowd to the Sunday seminars, and introduced Chef Nicole Brisson.

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Avowed carnivore Chef Nicole Brisson of Carnevino prepared a hearty breakfast of cotechino, poached eggs and a chianti sauce.

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Breakfast Las Vegas style is incomplete without a bloody Mary, or in this case, 500 of them.

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Michael Giannini supervises the 500 cigar aficionados learning the difficult art of rolling a cigar by hand at the Big Smoke Las Vegas.

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Executive editor Gordon Mott spoke about the changes at Habanos S.A., Cuba's distributor of Havana cigars.

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David Savona, senior editor of Cigar Aficionado, moderated the Second Acts seminar with Gordon Mott.

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Cigar Aficionado's associate editor Gregory Mottola led an informative discussion on the intricacies and the importance of Dominican cigar tobacco.

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The audience listened and smoked along.

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