Cigar Aficionado

Big Smoke Weekend

I’m back in my chair Monday morning after a great Big Smoke Weekend in Las Vegas. Even though we didn’t top last year’s numbers, there was a huge turnout. Like always, there was a sea of happy faces, and everyone was drinking and smoking and generally having a great time.

I want to publicly thank all the attendees, and I want everyone out there to know about it. We were under some pretty severe restrictions about where we could smoke, and it would have been all too easy for people to ignore our pleas for compliance. But they did. It meant there were a few times we didn’t get to light up like previous years, but we managed to move from those rooms to the main seminar room where everyone could enjoy their favorite cigars. And the main Big Smoke room was jammed with smokers both Friday and Saturday night.

Our coverage of the Big Smoke will begin later today, and continue for the rest of the week. You’ll get to read about some of the really great moments: Jorge and Jose Orlando Padrón presented their 40th Anniversary cigar. Carlos Toraño told great stores about fooling Spanish smokers into thinking they were smoking Cubans, but they were his cigars. And Carlos Fuente Jr. reminded everyone just how much of a family effort the cigar business can be. There was a rolling seminar with La Gloria Cubana’s Ernesto Perez-Carrillo that demonstrated every step of the process used to make a great handrolled cigar; I even served myself up as fodder for making a fool of myself, trying to put a wrapper on a cigar in front of the crowd. Talk about nervous; I said I’d rather tee off in front of 50 people than do that again. James Suckling led a great discussion about the state of Cuban cigars. And then, James and Dave Savona led a great panel about the process of blending cigar tobacco.  All I can tell you is that the seminars sold out more than three weeks before the event, so if you are interested in coming next year, give yourself a reminder for mid-year to make your reservations.

Each Big Smoke night also was really entertaining. Nearly every major manufacturer was on the show floor, and we had a great lineup of Bourbons, Scotches and Tequilas for everyone to enjoy. The hotel supplied food for the evening from many of the restaurants that have outlets there.

So, read up, and get ready for 2009.  We have a date for early November next year at the Venetian. We are hammering out the final details. We’ll post the date here on the Web site soon.

In the meantime, enjoy our coverage and get a little green with envy about what you missed.

"And yet, no mention of the Las Vegas Bikini Team?" —November 13, 2008 11:11 AM
"I would just like to say this is my 8th year attending the big smoke and it gets better with each one, this year I brought my son who is 22 this is his first Big Smoke and I must say we had a fantastic father & son bonding weekend I would like to thank everyone at Cigar Aficionado for putting on another great Big Smoke weekend and am looking forward to next year." —November 10, 2008 16:59 PM
"Gordon, Another great Big Smoke weekend was had by all. As a manufacturer attending the Big Smoke this weekend, I was able to meet and speak with thousands of attendees all sporting big smiles, smoking great cigars, and taking in all the excitement of the weekend. Thanks for putting on such a great event and I'm sure New York Big Smoke will be just as successful. Best regards, Alan Rubin Alec Bradley Cigar Co." —November 10, 2008 15:50 PM
"This was my first year attending the Big Smoke and have to say it was a blast and the sminars were fantastic. I look forward to attending next years with my son who was unable to attend this years do to Deployment in Iraq" —November 11, 2008 12:21 PM