Cigar Aficionado

Saturday Report: 122 Cigars

I’m home from the IPCPR trade show going through my notes and all the cigars I brought home from the trip. I thought I’d put together a few numbers about what I found in New Orleans:

122 Cigars (all singles, none in boxes) brought back in my carry-on bag from the trip. This is fairly typical for me. I'm happy that I didn't have to go through a bag search this year. One year it happened, and I got a kick out of the inspector's face as she pulled Ziplok bag after Ziplok bag of cigars from my satchel, her eyebrows rising higher with each discovery.

60 The hot ring gauge of the trip. Ultra fat cigars, specifically those measuring six inches long by 60 ring gauge, are becoming the hot size in cigar shops. Some call it a Gordo, and more and more cigarmakers are adding them to their lines, if they haven’t already. Xikar had a 6x60 banner as tall as me in their booth announcing the addition of the sizes do their line. As one retailer told me, “If they make it in a six-by-60, I buy it.”

11 The amount of pounds gained by my suitcase while on the trip. Most of that is press materials. 

2 Number of times I ate alligator on Tuesday. Alligator po boy at Mulates? Very nice. Fried alligator with chili aioli at Cochon? Amazing.

12 The amount of pounds I feel like I gained from all the fine New Orleans food I ate while in the Big Easy.

0  Number of raw oysters I ate while in NoLa. (I love raw oysters, but I never eat raw Gulf oysters.)

3  Number of people I know who got sick on this trip from eating raw Gulf oysters.

6,400 The weight, in pounds, of the segment of Berlin Wall on display at the show.

138 Pages of notes I took in my reporter’s notebook on the trip. More than one cigarmaker thought I write in shorthand, but it’s just bad (and quick) handwriting.

2 The number of La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amors that I smoked. Ashton’s Sathya Levin wanted my second opinion, as I wasn’t blown away by the first one. The second truly impressed, and it had that Pepin-like intensity that I’m used to.

1 The number of regions (Jalapa, Nicaragua) used for the tobacco in Toraños new Single Region cigar. Most of that tobacco comes from one farm.

5 The number, in dollars, that most cigar companies spoke about when talking hot price points. Five dollar cigars (suggested retail prices, pre-tax) are hot.

110 The price, in U.S. dollars, for a single Cohiba Behike BHK 56 in a Canadian cigar shop. That's $1,100 for a box, and there are only 10 cigars. Makes a $30 cigar seem downright cheap by comparison.

337 Days until the 2011 trade show.

"Brian, from my talks with retailers and consumers, I think the 6x60 gives the perception of getting more for the money. Big, thick, imposing cigar, lasts a fairly long time, longer than the a robusto for certain, not as long as a Salomone or "A". You also make the point about perception vs. reality--even if you don't get appreciably more for the money I think it appears that you do. Also, many cigar smokers now have fewer opportunities to light up, and/or less money to spend on cigars, so when they smoke they want a bit more. Most popular size has long been robusto (5X50) so it's natural to move to a little more (6X60). One thing is certain, the 6X60 size draws lots of comments." —August 17, 2010 09:11 AM
"Bravery has nothing to do with it... We smoke cigars therefore we are invincible.Great show, we did outstanding business with all the brands we represent.Rich" —August 17, 2010 11:58 AM
"Richard, you're a braver man than I am! Glad you enjoyed the ACME oysters. I ate a few gulf oysters, but half were roasted and the other half fried." —August 17, 2010 09:12 AM
"My wife and I shared 3 dozen Gulf Oysters at ACME and suffered no ill effects. 36 great tasting Louisiana oysters staright from the gulf." —August 17, 2010 07:22 AM
"Yikes! What is the smoking time on 6x60 cigars? I ask because I noticed your point about "...are appealing to consumers, many of whom see them as providing more bang for the buck than slimmer cigars." Will the the price point of big RG cigars allow this appeal to be reality or is it just perception? For example, the San Cristobal Papagayo XXL is roughly $10/cigar. Compare that to a DPG Fundadores, which is about $8.5/cigar. The Fundadores are roughly (for me anyway) a 1.75-2 hour smoke, which is a pretty good bang for the buck. Is the smoking time comparable for the large RG?" —August 16, 2010 17:54 PM
"Nice summary! I'm not so excited by the trend for 6x60 cigars. I guess it is only a matter of time until someone introduces a 6x65 or 6x70 cigar. I'll just stick with my lanceros and coronas." —August 16, 2010 16:16 PM
"You probably won't like this story then..." —August 16, 2010 16:18 PM