Category Archives: IPCPR

IPCPR 2017 – Island Lifestyle and Tommy Bahama Booth

I’ll be filtering out my IPCPR coverage over the next few months, mostly as I smoke relevant cigars. I’ve done this every year and am in no hurry, honestly.  It’s what I do. There were several media outlets that knocked themselves out to provide in-depth coverage, check out Cigar Federation, Cigar-Coop/Smooth Draws, Developing Palates, The Cigar Authority, Blind Man’s Puff, Halfwheel, Cigar Weekly, and several others I can’t bring to mind at the moment.  All these folks were killing it on the show floor and are great sources of information.  I do things my way, and I’m good with that. I don’t see writing a blog as any kind of competition, not that I don’t take some pride in what I do (I must say that the Saka video was GOLD! I’m pretty pleased that I was able to present that unique piece of information). Everybody does their unique take on the show, which keeps things interesting.

 

Island Lifestyle1The first stop for me at the show last Tuesday was the Island Lifestyle Importers booth, which won best in show at last year’s IPCPR. Obviously I’ve enjoyed a great relationship via e-mail with Ryan Frailing and his team, and was looking forward to finally meeting them face to face. I like the cigars they are producing under the Island Lifestyle brand, and the accessories they produce under the Island Lifestyle2Tommy Bahama brand are of excellent quality. In addition to being available at Tommy Bahama stores (I LOVE seeing quality cigar products in mainstream stores!), they are available in various cigar stores around the country. The styles will vary by outlet, the Regatta and Cigar Club styles are really sharp, there’s a style that should appeal to everyone. There’s even a golf themed collection with a Island Lifestyle3dimpled finish. The cigars are being rolled out in several new sizes, adding Robusto, Churchill and 6″ x 60 to the Toro in Connecticut, Sungrown and Maduro.  I tried to get the factory out of Ryan, but he wasn’t disclosing anything. They are boxed and in ceramic humidor jars that are stunning. I somehow failed to get a photo of the jars (you can see them on their website), but Island Lifestyle4they are awful nice, black for the Connecticut, Orange for the Sungrown and White for the Maduro. Collectors pieces and the cigars are very tasty!  I smoked a Sungrown Toro at the booth, and I was still smoking it two hours later and it still tasted great. If it sounds like I’m pretty high on this companies brands, it’s because I am and I wasn’t alone as they reported later in the show that they were very busy and made a lot of sales. In addition to the time I spend talking to Ryan in the booth (video below), I had a great conversation with Rick and Phil at the hotel bar after hours on Wednesday. Great bunch of guys with a great selection of products. There were a couple highlights of the week for me personally, and meeting this crew was one of them. Check out the video, it’s raw and unedited, but full of information about the products.

That’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Filed under Accessories, IPCPR

Some Thoughts on IPCPR 2017 and a Few Minutes with Steve Saka

I’m back from the annual trade show and trying to get organized. First and foremost, I’d like to extend my thanks to  The Wooden Indian in Havertown, PA for their support, I couldn’t have attended without Dave’s help. They will be having their annual pig roast supporting Drew Estate Charities on September 16, and I think this will be an event not to be missed. The Wooden Indian raises more money for Drew Estate Charities than any other shop in the country, and I heard that from Jonathan Drew with my own ears. Trust me when I say that if you are a Drew Estate fan, you won’t want to miss this event. Again, thanks to Dave for helping me attend this years IPCPR show.

 

Gala1All in all I thought the IPCPR did a great job with this years show, considering a relatively late change of venue. General Cigar Co. sponsored the opening gala Monday night and absolutely killed it. Open bar, loads of food (carving stations! They had frickin carving stations!) DJ and places to sit and relax. While there seemed to be fewer other manufacturers there as there have been in the past, I saw a full compliment of Perdomos in attendance, family and staff alike. To the Perdomo’s credit, they were also present at the hotel bar where many congregated in the off hours and fully were a part of the IPCPR trade show. Altadis sponsored the breakfast Breakfast 1meeting on Tuesday with a tote bag with cigars and info for each attendee. I personally was less than thrilled with the keynote speaker, Rudy Giuliani.  His nearly one hour speech was far too political, did way too much bashing of the former administration, and made bad analogies and offered poor council in my opinion. I have a hard and fast rule in a cigar lounge, no talking politics or religion.  I regret staying through the whole thing, honestly. I’m sure my views on this my not be popular, but it is what it is. I liked Ron White’s keynote speech in 2011 a thousand times more. Other than getting started on that down note ( for me, at least) the show was it’s normal labyrinth of vendors, most of which were relevant to the industry. I question the one vendor with cell phone external battery cases that had a team of aggressive salespeople insisting that you tell them what phone you have so they could sell you a case. I heard one report of them breaking someone’s case removing it to demonstrate theirs. The second time I was harassed I just told them I had a flip phone and kept walking. Now that I think about it, I only saw them the first day, so perhaps the IPCPR dealt with them. I’ll share more thoughts on the show in future posts, but it seemed like while retailer attendance may have been low, several people I talked to were happy with the orders that were written.

 

SakasquatchI’ve known Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust for 20 years and actually found myself near the spot we first met face to face in Caesars Palace near Cleopatra’s Barge back in 1997. Knowing Steve that long has given me some advantages over the years but I never push that and generally keep a respectful distance at the show as he always seems to be busy, which is a good thing for him. In keeping with his “Sakasquatch” theme, I snapped a picture with the night vision camera ( like they use in all the best squatch hunting shows!) and titled it “The elusive Sakasquatch in his natural environment”. I guess one would have to have watched one of those shows to get the joke. My only regret is not having tagged “Finding Bigfoot” on the Instagram post. However, as the show closed on Thursday and I was getting ready to make my exit, I came across Steve engaged in an interesting activity that I thought was unique and wanted to share. I’ll be surprised if any other cigar media outlet has this kind of information. Check out the video below.

 

 

ProtocolAfter a nap on Friday following a red-eye flight home, I sat down with a Protocol Corona Gorda which was fantastic, and I wanted to try out a couple of gifts I received from a couple of companies whose products I am I huge fan. I have a couple great desktop humidors from Adorini, and they have a punch cutter that has two sizes of punch and a magnetic closure. The larger punch is bigger than I’ve ever seen, slightly over 1/2″ in diameter.  I’ll be putting this through it’s paces, I can’t wait to use it on a CAO Flathead 660. Cigar Oasis celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and gifted me a Jetline dual flame lighter (with a flip out punch on the bottom). Fortunately it made it through TSA undisturbed in a checked bag. Put a Cigar Oasis in an Adorini humidor and you never have to worry about your cigars. The Protocol was excellent, and Juan and Bill hooked me up pretty good with samples, which are resting from their journey. More on Cubariqueño in a future post.

 

That’s enough for today, I need to try to get back into going to work mode for tomorrow, it sucks going back after a week of fun. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Filed under Editorial, IPCPR, Review, Trip Report, Video

IPCPR 2017 – Cigar Oasis Booth

 

I’ve been here in Las Vegas since Monday and have seen many friends and made some new ones.  The venue is the Las Vegas Convention Center, a different location than in the past.  It’s only a couple blocks off the strip, but has a totally different feel  the exhibit space is larger, so it seems more sparsely attended, but many booths seemed busy and it remains to be seen if attendance is down or just more spread out. More on all that later.  I attended several media events, Mambacho Cigars hosted an amazing party at a private residence, Davidoff and Ventura had media briefings in their booths during the show, and I’m heading to a Drew Estate media event tonight. There still seems to be new releases like crazy, in the coming weeks I’ll be closely examining some of them. In the mean time, I paid a visit to the Cigar Oasis booth this morning and took the video below, featuring Chaim Kohn telling us about their offerings and about their celebration of their 20th Anniversary.

 

 

I tried some YouTube live videos yesterday that are available on my YouTube Channel. Today it didn’t want to work so I didn’t do it live, but did post videos as soon as I was done. They are raw and unedited. More to come.  That’s all for now, until the next time.

 

CigarCraig

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A Padilla, a Gurkha, an Alec Bradley and Cigar Box Speakers

Padilla_VintageReserve_BoxPressedPerfectoGetting back in the swing of things here, and rooting through the IPCPR samples for some interesting cigars to smoke. I decided that one cigar that I had been looking forward to smoking was ready to go, the Padilla Vintage Reserve in a 6″ x 50ish  box pressed perfecto shape. I can’t really find any information on this shape, it was an IPCPR sample handed to me by Ernesto Padilla and all I can say is that it has a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers. As far as I  know, these are made in the same factory in Honduras where some of my favorite cigars are made, notably the Tortuga line, and the quality is excellent. The cigar had a distinctive flavor that I can only categorize as “meaty”, and I don’t think that’s because I had just eaten meat for dinner. It was savory, delicious and an all around wonderful cigar that I look forward to smoking again. This was a terrific cigar.

 

Gurkha_HeritageMaduro_ToroFriday I went with a Gurkha Heritage Maduro from Gurkha’s IPCPR sampler. Of course, this was the first cigar I smoked from the sampler, which should surprise nobody. Sure, I could have chosen the Ghost in the chubby perfecto size but I smoked a Ghost not too long ago.  The Heritage Maduro has a  Mexican San Andreas wrapper, a Brazilian Arapiraca binder and Nicaraguan and Brazilian fillers. The one I smoked was a 6 ½” x 54 toro with a cedar sleeve.  It was a beautiful wrapper, dark and oily with some tooth, and had great dark chocolate and espresso flavors. It hit a rough spot about half way in, perhaps a void in the filler, or maybe a spot with a little too much moisture in the leaves there, but I soldiered on and it worked out to be just a temporary annoyance. I was not disappointed in the evening’s selection.

 

Saturday evening with an Alec Bradley Nica Puro Diamond Eough Cut - @alecbradleycigar @alecbradleycigarsSaturday’s cigar was not a new cigar, but one that I hadn’t smoked before in this shape. A couple of years back Alec Bradley released the Nica Puro blend in a unique diamond-shaped box press, calling it the Nica Puro Diamond Rough Cut. Since the Nica Puro is my favorite blend in the Alec Bradley line-up, I was happy to come across some of these in a local shop a few months ago. Not sure why it took me so long to fire this one up. The shape kind of brought back memories of the triangle pressed Trilogy line, which put Alec Bradley on the map for most people. I smoked a bunch of the Trilogy cigars back around 2004 or thereabouts, I really enjoyed everything about them. I wonder if we’ll see them again as they are pre-2007 and I believe they have been available in round versions at a catalog retailer or two over the years. Anyway, the Diamond was a great cigar, it had the familiar delicious flavor of the Nica Puro in a fun shape. The cigar measures 6 ¼” x 54 and has a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers (duh, with a name like Nica Puro, it better be all Nicaraguan!). It has a lot of earthy, nutty flavors with some spice. I may be wrong, but I think it’s made in the same factory as the above-mentioned Padilla, and, looking through some older posts on my site, there have been several occasions where I’ve smoked Padillas, Alec Bradleys and Gurkhas in the same week.  Weird coincidence.

 

In the “what will they think of next to do with cigar boxes” department, James Watt of California is making guitar amps and Bluetooth speakers out of cigar boxes. Looking through the Leucadia Sound Etsy store I can see that there are a few of these that would work well for my son’s guitar box guitar that he built a while back. I like the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli speaker, not only because I love the cigars, but the shape of the box is unique and might have some nice resonance and warmth due to the thickness of the wood. Here are some pictures, and there’s a lot more at his Etsy store. Nice work James!

LeucadiaSound3LeucadiaSound2LeucadiaSound1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for today, Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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A Kuuts Roadking and a Humidor for the Man Who Has Everything

Kuuts_Roadking_RobustoTonight I took my evening walk with a Kuuts Roadking robusto from the  IPCPR show. I spent quite a lot of time talking to Steve Ysidron, the new president of Kuuts, and I can’t talk about a lot of what we discussed. Steve owned the Epicurean brand, and has rolled his Gonzo Santeria and Carnavale brands into the Kuuts portfolio, both of which are excellent cigars. There’s no blend information on the Roadking, but it’s got a great flavor, a lot of sweet tobacco flavor, it’s listed as strong on the website, but I found t to be nicely medium in  strength, very comfortable to smoke, and quite pleasing. Everything I read about this cigar from the trade show indicates some question as to whether this will make it to market. I hope it does, because it’s a very good cigar.

 

Doettling_tabletop humidor_IFor the man who has everything, and needs a fifty count humidor made by a nearly one hundred year old German luxury safe manufacturer. I received this information from Döttling‘s press office:

 

 

The retail price for the humidor in this configuration is 12.000 EUR net.
It is capable of storing up to 50 cigars in 4 completely removable trays made of Spanish cedar.
Besides this the customer can give us his requested dimensions and we built the humidor accordingly.
Prices for larger versions are on request.
Customers can choose from a larger variety of calf leather colours and can determine the stitching colour as well.
For personalisation we offer the stitching of initials or family coat of arms.

 

Doettling_tabletop humidor_III

Obviously, the price point isn’t for everyone, but if you have an extra $13k lying around, this might be a humidor for you. This is the tabletop version of the humidor that’s included in the company’s Fortress, which has the humidor, precision watch storage that winds the watches, and a safe for your valuables. These are definitely the pinnacle of cigar protection.

 

That’s all for today, the next post will be Sunday’s post by way of Reykjavik, Iceland. I’ll probably pre-write something and schedule it to post in the event that I am unable to post something directly from there. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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