2014 Big Smoke Saturday Seminars—Lunch with Alec Bradley Cigars | Cigar Aficionado

Cigar Aficionado

2014 Big Smoke Saturday Seminars—Lunch with Alec Bradley Cigars

After a non-stop morning of educational seminars, Q&A, and smoking along with their favorite cigar celebrities, Big Smoke Las Vegas attendees were ready to eat.

Hosted by Alec Bradley Cigars, and led by vice president of marketing Sam Phillips, the lunch started with an appetizer of iceberg wedge salad with bacon, tomatoes and bleu cheese dressing. Hungry cigar fans quickly moved on the entrée: marinated New York strip steak served with crispy fried onions, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and haricots verts. The meal was paired with an Italian red, Castello di Gabbiano Toscana Solatio 2012.

For dessert, New York-style deep dish cheesecake was served with strawberry or blueberry sauce.

But the main focus of the lunch wasn't the delicious meal. As soon as guests entered the ballroom to eat they were handed a bag of free cigars (Alec Bradley Family Blend The Lineage Robusto, Nica Puro Robusto and Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto) and were instructed to keep their eyes directed up on stage.

"Who wants to play a game?" Phillips asked the audience, as they picked up their forks and knives. "Who wants to win some free stuff?"

What followed was a bevy of games and challenges. Alec Bradley barbecue sets, bathrobes, ashtrays and boxes of free cigars were given away. Guests were asked to take out their mobile phones, sign into Twitter, and tweet their most embarrassing cigar story to be read aloud by Phillips.

Audience members were then asked to look under their chair to see if they had a special Alec Bradley crown card hidden underneath. There were group trivia competitions, joke telling contests and a visit from Glenfiddich Brand ambassador, Mitch Bechard, who gave away bottles of 12-year, 15-year and 18-year-old Scotch, respectively.

Halfway through the entrée, the audience was on the verge of prize-fueled hysteria. Phillips had the crowd howling for merchandise, waving black table napkins in the air like flags of war and demanding free cigars. The laughter and energy was impossible to ignore. Big Smoke attendees left the Alec Bradley lunch breathless and satiated, fired up for the evening event, and with arms full of gifts.

 

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"Generally I like to post positive comments as all too often it is too easy to complain and whine, especially from some who do not understand what all is involved in putting on a large event. However having prefaced in this way... The fine folks at Alec Bradley had some organizational or logistical issues with the prize give-a-ways, such as not having enough of them for the 3 at each table who had a crown logo card, then the unorganized way in which those prizes were passed out. Some of the issues may have a misreading of the demographics of the attendees. Yes, there were some younger more frenetic folks who by their demeanor may have given the impression that their number was larger. But there were a lot of mid-40's and older folks who were turned off by the urging of our host to make some more noise and thus raise the "excitement" level. Many wanted to enjoy the delicious meal while perhaps a speaker gave a speech. Perhaps in the future one of the CA cover story stars could be a special surprise luncheon guest/speaker. A big misreading of the crowd was evident when the Alec Bradley folks saw how many of us do not use twitter or tweet. Perhaps there is a better balance formula for the mixing of the energetic and the relaxed crowds. The menu selections were top notch and many people couldn't finish the more than generous slice of cheese cake for being full. All in all a great finish to the day. " —November 12, 2014 23:34 PM