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RTDA Blog: Day Two

You have to hand it to the folks at C.A.O. A poolside party gets rained out (make that thundered out), yet they scrambled to move it to a new, indoor venue and it still was quite a party.

Last night was a social one here at the RTDA trade show. For me, it started with a black-tie Davidoff dinner, followed by a trip to the Hard Rock for the C.A.O. party. It was a late one, with Tommy Lee fronting the C.A.O. gig and free-flowing drinks.

Needless to say I was a bit groggy this morning. A nine a.m. smoke (a new Gurkha with a Cameroon wrapped called Grand Age) woke me up and got me back into the swing of things.

Maduros seem to be a trend here. The folks at General just unveiled Cohiba Black, which is a maduro version of Cohiba, Altadis has Quintero Maduro (to name a few), and Camacho is making a big deal of its new Camacho Corojo Maduros, which are being made for the first time with Honduran Corojo leaf. Seems they had a killer crop and were able to swap out Mexican and Connecticut tobacco for their home-grown Honduran Corojo. Chris Topper of Topper Cigar Co. showed me a fat Cosmo maduro called The Boss, named after his late father. It's made with Connecticut broadleaf.

The upbeat mood continues at the show. Henke Kelner, the maker of Davidoffs and Avos, told me business is better than ever, even during the boom years. He's about to build a new factory. Dunhill signed range cigars are being reblended, and should be on the market in August or September. Parent company British American Tobacco is trying to make cigars a priority. The samples aren't ready, so I can't comment on them yet.

I didn't expect to get dirt on Cuban cigars at this show, but I had lunch with Fernando Fernando Domínguez Valdés-Hevia of Altadis SA. We talked about new cigars, and he mentioned in passing that a shorter version of the Montecristo Edmundo was going to be hitting the market sometime next year. I love the Edmundo, so I'm sure a shorter one should be great as well.

The Padróns don't have anything new at the show, but I'm smoking one of their newer cigars, the Padrón Serie 1926 35. It was named for the amount of minutes it takes Jorge Padrón to smoke one, but this one is taking much longer -- I keep putting it down to take notes or to talk, so this will be more like a 155.

Busy night tonight -- cocktails soon followed by another steak dinner, this time with Litto Gomez and (no doubt) a lineup of strong, strong smokes. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

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