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2016 Big Smoke Las Vegas—Photo Gallery

Photos/Camilla Sjodin

They came. They imbibed. They smoked.

Thousands of cigar fans made the pilgrimage to last weekend's 21st annual Big Smoke Las Vegas, the largest cigar celebration in the world, which spanned three days at Sin City's Mirage Hotel and Casino.

The weekend festivities included two nights of evening parties where cigar lovers gathered in a Mirage ballroom to enjoy top-shelf libations and smoke premium cigars that had been handed to them directly by many of their favorite cigarmakers.

Saturday morning was devoted to cigar education seminars that covered a range of topics, including smoking the top three legal cigars of 2015 with their makers, getting to know some of the next generation of cigarmakers, learning about the anatomy of a cigar, getting a taste of Cuba, diving deep in Honduran cigars, and enjoying a fine lunch.

On Sunday, the focus of the seminars turned to lifestyle. Attendees got the chance to tuck into a hearty breakfast fit for a cigar enthusiast as Chef Nicole Brisson of CarneVino demonstrated how to prepare it. This was followed by a roll your own cigar workshop before the final seminar, a pairing of fine Alec Bradley cigars with four different Scotch whiskies.

Check out all the fun in the slide show below.


Attendees at the front of the line hold up their coupon books as they wait for Friday's Big Smoke Evening to start.
Medical Task Force 807, deployed in Iraq in 2010-2011, reunited for their sixth year at Big Smoke Las Vegas.
Business partners Rob McKeon and Lee Cocking from Toronto, Canada.
Adam Schuman, Viktor Schvab, Szabolos Benedek and Zoltan Hosse of Hungary celebrated their second trip to the Big Smoke.
Erika Kleespies and Chris Rosano chose to sample a few glasses of wine while enjoying their cigars.
A pair of luxury automobiles—a gleaming Karma Revero (which retails for $130,000) alongside the new Genesis G90—graced the middle of the showroom.
Fans lined up for a picture with cigar icon Carlos Fuente Jr.
Dan Collin and Greg Dinklenburg enjoyed libations alongside their cigars.
Lydia Anderson, Billie Swaim and Grace Maestas from Alaska celebrated their fourth trip to the Big Smoke Las Vegas.
Friends Mark Jackson and Keishea Jackson from Washington D.C.
A group of cigar lovers took a break from visiting booths to pose for a picture with cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez.
Las Vegas local Fred Amodeo perused fine automobiles at his fourth Big Smoke.
Michael Herklots of Nat Sherman holds court during a surprise contest.
Ed Wada from Los Angeles, California, checked out a few time pieces at his first Big Smoke.
Dominic Cipponeri and Dante Cipponeri savored cigars and camaraderie.
Pat Do from Wichita, Kansas, enjoys his first trip to the Big Smoke Las Vegas.
Scott Cooper and Geena Cooper from Beverly Hills, California.
Carole Windle, Jim Windle, Ron Boulier and Jodie Boulier walked the floor with premium cigars.
Don Jack lights up a cigar.
Joe Paller from Los Angeles, California, enjoyed his eighth year at Big Smoke Las Vegas.
Erica Perez, Sandra Miranda and Mary Fishell grabbed cigars from EPC Cigar Co.
Three-time Big Smoke attendee Eric Matthews from Atlanta, Georgia, met humidor maker Daniel Marshall.
Rocky Patel of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars signed a box of cigars for a fan.
Jonathan Drew and Willy Herrera of Drew Estate were signing boxes as well.
Joy Pelham and Altmann Pannell enjoyed glasses of wine alongside their cigars.
Nino Ruggirello from Detroit, Michigan, lights up his cigar.
Kicking off the Saturday seminars, David Savona, executive editor of Cigar Aficionado, told the story of Richard Overton, the oldest surviving veteran of World War II. Even at 110 years old, Overton enjoys several cigars a day along with a few nips of whiskey.
Each attendee received a Boveda humidity-controlled bag containing the top three cigars that can legally be purchased in the United States, as they appeared on Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 list of 2015.
Paul Provost, Bill Scutt, Brad Harmatny and Greg Himer held up their cigars in honor of their first-ever trip to the Big Smoke.
Carlos "Carlito" Fuente Jr., president of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia, presented Cigar Aficionado's No. 4 cigar of 2015, the Don Carlos Belicoso.
Fuente recalled his legendary father, Carlos, who died earlier this year, and how the Don Carlos brand is named in his honor.
To tell the story of the No. 3 Cigar of 2015, the CAO Flathead V660 Carb, CAO brand ambassador Rick Rodriguez rose to the stage.
Rodriguez was accompanied by Jhonys Diaz, the vice president of operations at General Cigar Dominicana.
Shortly before 11:30, it was time for the audience to light up the 2015 Cigar of the Year, the Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed.
Taking the stage to speak about the Le Bijou was father-and-son team José "Pepin" Garcia (seated on the right) and Jaime Garcia (left).
José Ortega, vice president of sales for My Father, took the podium to translate and speak, as well.
José "Pepin" Garcia listened on as his son spoke. "I owe the man I am today to my father," he said.
The Next Generation seminar, from left: editor Gregory Mottola, Raquel Quesada of Quesada Cigars, Liana Fuente of Arturo Fuente, Tony Gomez of La Flor Dominicana and editor Andrew Nagy.
The crowd at The Next Generation seminar listens in.
Raquel Quesada of Quesada Cigars and daughter of Manolo Quesada spoke of growing up around the factory and playing hide-and-go-seek with her sister Patricia.
Tony Gomez, vice president of La Flor Dominicana and son of Litto Gomez, pointed with pride to his father's tenacity in sticking to his goals in the face of naysayers.
Liana Fuente, creative marketing director at Arturo Fuente and daughter to Carlos Fuente Jr., stressed the strong work ethic running through the family.
The front row was all ears as they listened to the three scions discuss the family business.
The Fuente family (left), Raquel and Manolo Quesada (center) and Tony and Litto Gomez (right) join together following the seminar.
Next was the Anatomy Of A Cigar seminar, from left: executive editor David Savona, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo of EPC Cigar Co., Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana and Nestor Andrés Plasencia of Plasencia Tobacco.
Nestor Andrés Plasencia of Plasencia Tobacco and Plasencia 1865 described the differences between growing wrapper and filler tobacco.
Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana (left), who is known in the industry for his unique, chisel-shaped cigars, argues that the shape of a cigar can change the whole experience.
Ernesto Perez-Carrillo of EPC Cigar Co. asserted his belief that the whole character of the cigar comes from the wrapper.
Jeff Dannen from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and John Schreiber from Boston, Massachusetts, enjoyed cigars during the seminar.
Cigar Aficionado's well-traveled editors, David Savona (left) and Gordon Mott (right) took to the stage on Saturday to talk about the latest in Cuban smokes and travel.
The editors started with a slideshow of the new cigars coming out of Cuba.
Mott pointed out that when he was in Cuba, he learned that the past three years of tobacco harvests on the island have been less than stellar.
A question-and-answer session followed, and many were curious about what could and could not be done in regard to obtaining Cuban cigars.
The Honduran Cigars seminar, from left: editor Gregory Mottola, Rocky Patel of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, Christian Eiroa of CLE Cigars and Joel Alvarenga of Altadis U.S.A.
Rocky Patel of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars said he could not imagine a world that didn't include the library of tobacco from Honduras.
Christian Eiroa's family has a history of farm ownership in Honduras that helped form its prominence as a region.
Joel Alvarenga of Altadis U.S.A praised the high quality of Honduran tobacco.
The crowd applauds the panelists.
After the seminars, Big Smoke attendees William Ciminelli, Buddy McCormick, Derek Argo and Larry Crump enjoyed a lunch with Oliva Cigar Company.
Entering the ballroom, patrons were given two cigars: An Oliva Serie V Double Robusto, and an Oliva Serie V Melanio Robusto.
Sandro Ceolin and Dean Alcantar seemed just about ready to light up their lunch-pairing cigars.
The main course was a churrasco-style skirt steak with habanero sauce and chimichurri fortified with mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and roasted baby peppers on the side.
During lunch José Oliva, president of Oliva Cigar Co., spoke about his family's history, the company's growth in Nicaragua, and the two lunch-pairing cigars.
Sunday seminars began with a hearty, creative and bracing breakfast prepared by one of the city's most gifted culinary minds, Chef Nicole Brisson.
Rodney Adams and Aretina Cash from Virginia enjoyed their third year at Big Smoke Las Vegas.
Big Smoke veterans Bob Francett and Kevin Pathmann from Anchorage, Alaska, prepared themselves for a hearty meal.
Dubbed "A Cigar Lover's Polish Breakfast," the dish combined house-made kielbasa over homemade sauerkraut, potato platski (crisp potato pancakes) and soft scrambled eggs. Bringing it all together was a fresh baked babka.
Rafael Nodal, the man behind the Aging Room brand, came to the stage to talk about his cigars, as well as his journey as a young man from Cuba to New York.
John Bohenek, Ray Cuevas and Irma Cuevas showed off the meal before digging in.
Nineteen-year Big Smoke veteran, Lowell Gibson (center, holding cigar) won first place in this year's Roll Your Own contest. Cigarmaker Rick Rodriguez (far right) hosted the event.
At each seat, a hard plastic table mat, cigar bunch, razor blade and a cup of vegetable glue (called gomma) had been placed, the tools of an amateur cigarmaker.
At the head of the room, projected on two massive television screens in front of the audience, sat Leo "The Pope" Peraza of General Cigar Co.
The crowd watched as Peraza's chavetta sliced through the middle of the tobacco, making a crescent shape.
Truman Tolson from Montana and Beecher Bailey from Indiana found out rolling a cigar isn't as easy as it looks.
Sandra Hill and Jeff Shelton from Nashville, Tennessee, held up their cigar bunches before attempting to apply the wrapper.
At the end the crowd roared with applause, bringing the 19th Roll Your Own Seminar to a close.
Touring Scotch-land, the final seminar, was hosted by Cigar Aficionado senior features editor Jack Bettridge (left) and executive editor David Savona (right).
The Scotch tasting included (from left) Bowmore 18 Year Old, Glenmorangie Lasanta, Balvenie 12 Year Old Doublewood and Glenkinchie 12 Year Old.
The Scotch pairing cigars consisted of an Alec Bradley Nica Puro Rosado Robusto (left) and an Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto (right).
Bill Scutt went back-and-forth between the two pairing cigars.
Bettridge (left) noted that the Glenkinchie distillery is located near Edinburgh, making it one of the easiest Scotch-making facilities to visit.
As he seminars ended, Brad Thavenet and Keith Bevan took the opportunity to smoke their Alec Bradley cigars down to the nub.

Big Smoke Evenings

2016 Big Smoke Las Vegas Evenings

Saturday Seminars

Top Three Legal Cigars of 2015 Tasting
The Next Generation
Anatomy of a Cigar
A Cigar Lover's Guide to Cuba
Honduran Cigars
Lunch With Oliva Cigar Co.

Sunday Seminars

Cigar Lover's Breakfast
Roll Your Own
Touring Scotch-land

2016 Big Smoke Las Vegas Photo Gallery

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