I'm writing this blog as I'm packing for the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show, better known as the IPCPR. Amazing as it seems, this will be my 20th show. I joined Cigar Aficionado magazine in the summer of 1995, one week before what would become my first trade show. I was as green as a field on a summer day, with a head full of black hair and about 400 freshly printed business cards stuffed in my pockets. It was a perfect way to get immersed in the world of premium handmade cigars.
While there's no denying that this trade show is a lot of work (my days will start around 8 a.m. with a breakfast meeting, with nary a break until midnight or so when the last function is over) it's enjoyable work for certain. Over the years I've made a lot of friends in the cigar business, and the trade show (which I still sometimes refer to by it's old name, the RTDA) is a great way to reconnect, catch up and share stories about the cigar industry and life in general.
Cigar Aficionado uses the trade show as a way to showcase our magazine and our newest projects (this year it's Where To Smoke) but we also use it to find out what's new in the world of premium, handmade cigars. If you're a subscriber to Cigar Insider (our twice a month Internet newsletter about the cigar business) you may already know about some of these new smokes. Our team from Cigar Aficionado—Gordon Mott, Greg Mottola, Andrew Nagy and myself—will be in Las Vegas meeting with all the your favorite cigarmakers, getting all the news about what's new, and reporting on it back to you via Cigar Insider, our social media, this website and the magazine itself.
So keep an eye on this website and our Twitter feeds and see what's going on in the world of premium cigars. There's always something good and new at the trade show. I haven't been disappointed yet.