My first Big Smoke came in New York in 1997, when I started at Cigar Aficionado, and it blew me away with the great smokes, drinks and food. But mostly it was the fun and camaraderie of the guests that struck me. Here were all these stogie fans having a great time celebrating their passion for smoke and knowing they were with like-minded people. I thought: "It don't get much better than this."
So I guess you could say I was unprepared later that same year at my first Big Smoke Las Vegas where I saw all those same qualities amped up by a power of 10. Well, knock me over again, because I've just returned from the 14th Big Smoke Las Vegas and the event hasn't lost one quantum of enthusiasm—from the guys who line up hours before the doors open to the to those who treat it like a costume party to those who come as a club, a team and, in one case, a syndicate. Check out these flip videos I took as proof (and hold on until the end to see an enthusiasm of a different stripe):
Also, I read someone griping on the forums about the quality of drinking at this year's Big Smoke. Maybe he went to a different event than I did, but this video (and my inability to keep my hand steady while recording it) seems to suggest a preponderance of evidence to the contrary. Not only could you drink well, but if you went to the Patrón Tequila you could get your picture taken with young lovelies. Whatever happens in Vegas…well, you know the rest:
"I live in a condo on the beach .. lately I have been harrassed by someone that lives two floors above me about my cigar smoke .. he claims that it is harming his health etc. Anyone has any experience in something like this? Can the condo homeowners association actually stop me from enjoying my cigar?Ron" —December 9, 2009 10:07 AM
"JB, are you talking about me complaining again about there being no PBR again this year? AB" —November 25, 2009 18:44 PM
"Hi Jack,I tried the recipe for egg nog that was on one of your videos and I must say that it was a succcess. Comparing it to store bought egg nog is like comparing Jim Beam to Ten High bourbon.Happy New Year. " —December 29, 2009 14:58 PM