After more than 100 Big Smoke notches on my belt, you might think I could never be surprised by the event. But the Big Smoke Las Vegas this past weekend was another amazing couple of nights, bringing together cigar lovers from around the globe and the United States.
In the middle of the Friday night extravaganza, held this year in a gigantic ballroom at the Mirage Hotel in Vegas, I stopped to speak with a pair of gentlemen. One of them had traveled all the way from Australia to attend. I also spoke with people from Texas, Alabama, New York and California, and I had conversations with folks from Mexico and Canada. I'm sure if you surveyed the room, there were people there from almost every one of the 50 states, and many more countries than the ones I found.
But the most amazing thing was the turnout. We had more than 4,000 people there for the two nights, so many more than we anticipated that we actually had to post a Sold Out sign; that's a first in the history of Big Smokes.
The Saturday seminars, which sold out within a couple of weeks of tickets going on sale this fall, were another revelation. Well, it wasn't exactly a revelation because my observations weren't new. The curiosity, and the sophistication, of the questioners were enough to send me back to the classroom again to be sure the answers I was giving, and the questions I was asking, lived up to the high standard of knowledge shown by the attendees.
Was a good time had by all? Well, I hope so. I usually have a rule of thumb—if I'm having a good time then I figure most everyone else is having a great time because they don't have to worry about anything else. I had a great time.
The crowds stayed until the lights dimmed. They drank great spirits. (I stuck to my usual choice—Zacapa 23-year-old rum.) They smoked a selection of cigars that may have been better, or at least as good, as any Big Smoke we have ever held. And, the food was outstanding with stations set up around the room by the hotel, as well as booths manned by chefs from restaurants such as Delmonico Steakhouse, Tao and Lavo.
Whichever superlative you want to use about Big Smokes, there really is no way to convey the good vibes and the camaraderie in that big ballroom. Watch our website all this week for detailed coverage of the weekend. If you have never experienced a Big Smoke Las Vegas, my best advice is make plans for next year so you will recognize what I'm talking about.