Cigar Aficionado

The Golden Age of Cigars

I got back this week too from IPCPR, or what we now refer to as the cigar retailer trade show, in Las Vegas. James Suckling and Dave Savona have done a fantastic job of telling you about all the great things that went on there, and I can tell you, there’s still more to come.

Thanks to the magazine going into production this week, my trip was cut short, but I had a wonderful day and a half on the show floor and spent time with people from the industry that I’ve gotten to know well over the past 16 years. Once again, the upbeat mood reminded me how low the industry was in 1992 when we attended our first convention, and how far we’ve come since then. While some retailers, and manufacturers, are clearly worried about the economic crunch in the United States, the majority of people from both worlds are positive about the upcoming year.

But that’s not the true big news out of this year’s show. I smoked a number of cigars given to me by industry stalwarts. Across the board, they were the best cigars I have ever smoked in one place in such a short period of time. There were new products that you’re going to see on retailer’s shelves this fall, And there were several smokes that can best be described as special experiments by the cigarmakers with new blends and exotic combinations of tobaccos, a sign that no one is sitting on their laurels but continuing to push the envelope of taste and flavor.

Dave, James and I kept looking at each other and raising our eyebrows because so many of the cigars were excellent. And in a couple of cases, the reactions came from cigars that in the past have under-whelmed us.

For several years now, the editors of Cigar Aficionado have said that this is the golden age of cigars. It was true then, and it is even more true today. We always have been strong advocates for the exciting new cigars that become available in recent years, brands that were made by newcomers who brought a dream to fruition. But this year, I can tell you that you will have to re-visit some brands that you haven’t tried in awhile because they too are in the process of evolving. I won’t mention any names yet because it will be a few months before they hit the retail market. But get ready smokers. You are in for some exciting new cigars this fall.