Category Archives: Video

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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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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Cigars and Music: The NAMM Show in California and Boveda

I just got back from a few days in Anaheim, California where I didn’t get around to visiting any cigar shops, but I did run into the guys from Boveda.  I attended the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show at the convention center in Anaheim, CA, just a stones throw from Disneyland. Why did a cigar blogger go to a music convention, you ask? Well, my wife has a Beatles related blog (https://beatles-freak.com/) and asked for media passes and I went to the show with her. After several IPCPRs of dragging her around, it was time to put the shoe on the other foot. Obviously, this show was much larger than the IPCPR show, it was on four floors of the NAMMenormous convention center, as well as spilling into two of the adjacent hotels. Where the IPCPR is a show for the vendors to write orders, this is more of an expo of new and current products. All it took was an e-mail requesting press passes and we were in, no application process or annual dues. IPCPR could learn a thing or two about how to treat the media! At every turn there was someone playing an instrument, tapping on a cymbal, and impromptu drum battles broke out. Not a place to be if you’re sensitive to sound! There were also artists playing on various stages all over the place, as well as in vendors booths. We had the good fortune of watching Lawrence Juber, lead guitarist for Wings from ’78-’81)  play an amazing set. We ran into Rick Neilson of Cheap Trick on the show floor too, no telling how many other famous musicians we might have seen as many were incognito. I searched far and wide for cigar box guitars but didn’t find any, I saw parts to make them, but no finished product. No doubt they were there someplace.

 

Here’s just a couple of cool things that caught my eye at the NAMM show:

 

MermaidGuitarsteampunk drum standsSabian cymbal smith

 

 

Macanudo InspiradoI managed to smoke a few cigars while there too, mostly walking back to the hotel after dinner, which is my usual routine anyway. I stuck with smaller cigars, Wednesday smoking a Macanudo Inspirado Petit Piramide that I bought on my Iceland trip. This was said to be the best-selling cigar in the only cigar shop in Reykjavik, and it was reasonably priced by Iceland standards at around $8. It was a tasty little cigar, about half way in it changed flavors to an unusual flavor that I couldn’t put my finger on. I bought two, so I’ll give the other one a try another time and see if it smokes the same. I’m also looking forward to comparing it to the domestically released Inspirado Orange.

 

I had a couple other cigars too, but the weather was rainy (sheesh, we went to southern California to get away from the weather here, and it was cold and wet there!)  There was a cigar shop about two miles from the hotel that would have been an easy walk if we hadn’t been walking around all day. I had also hoped to get a chance to sit down and have a cigar with Jerry Goldenson, VP at KHS America, the parent company of Sonor and Mapex drums, Hohner harmonicas, etc. Jerry was the man behind Nick Perdomo’s new drum kit that was at the IPCPR show last year, and Rocky Patel’s conga bar stools in his Burn lounge, and a unique humidor/Cajon (box drum). Jerry is a huge cigar lover. There are rumors floating around that Nick Perdomo is interested in another drum set, this one an enormous kit with four bass drums! It was a rumor on the NAMM show floor, I can’t comment further than that!

Take a look at this short video of how Boveda‘s humidification technology isn’t just for cigars!

 

Contest!

Stage V ClingerWednesday I posted a contest for a Stage V Clinger cigar holder. There were only 22 entries, would it have been more if there were cigars included?  I guess it’s better odds, but I was a little disappointed with the turn out!  I plugged 22 into the random number generator and got 4 for the winner. It looks like KRUK was the winner!  Bryan, please send your address so I can pass it on to the folks at Stage V, so when the thaw comes to New England you’ll be ready for the links!  Thanks to Marissa and the folks at Stage V!

 

That’s it for now, time to get back in the swing of things after a vacation and get ready to start another work week! My back porch has been missing my cigar smoke too! Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

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IPCPR Cigars: Quesada, Foundation and Cordoba & Morales

Quesada_Oktoberfest2016_NicTripBockHausI dug into the IPCPR samples humidor in the latter half of the week and gave some new cigars a try. The first out of the three was the Quesada Oktoberfest 2016 in the Nicaraguan Triple Bock Haus size, I comfortable 6″ x 56. I’ve smoked some older versions of this in the Uber size, the massive 6″ x 65 and enjoyed them, and this one was quite enjoyable as well.  I am aware that Oktoberfest isn’t until September, and I’m aware that not being a drinker the whole premise of pairing it with beer is lost on me. The Oktoberfest line has cigars that are made in both a Dominican and Nicaraguan blend, differentiated by the secondary date band, the Nicaraguan having the red band, with the DR line having a blue one. The best I can find about the blend is that it’s a Nicaraguan Puro, made by Placencia in Esteli, no other details were available. I like the cigar, it has a nice, bold flavor that was satisfying, but I was a bit distracted by the draw. Humid evenings will do this to some cigars sometimes, so I can’t assign blame to the cigar, and I just checked the IPCPR samples humidor and it’s being Boveda controlled at 68%, Maybe I’ll try to bring that down a little, although the next few cigars I smoked from the same humidor (spoiler alert!) smoked spectacularly. Good smoke though, please let me know how it works with beer!

 

Foundation_Tabernacle_ToroSaturday afternoon I enjoyed a new cigar from Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Co., the Tabernacle.  This is Nick’s Connecticut Broadleaf blend, and there have been those who compare is head to head with the Mi Querida from Steve Saka. Sure, Nick and Steve blended the Liga Privada No.9 for Steve’s palate, so there is definitely going to be some parallel, but let’s let these two great cigars stand on their own and not compare them to each other or the Liga No 9. The Tabernacle is produced at AJ Fenandez in Esteli, yet another great cigar from that factory. It has a Broadleaf wrapper over a San Andrés binder, with fillers from Esteli and Jalapa, I love the cigar already! The cigar had a perfect burn and draw, so there was no missing the great rich flavors of the broadleaf and Mexican, a nice sweet and earthy flavor. I say this often, but this is a cigar I’ll want to have in my humidors. I look forward to trying Nick’s other new blends, the Charter Oak, and maybe even the Upseters, although I’m always a little shaky when it comes to infused cigars. The Tabernacle is a winner.

 

CordobaMorales_Platino_DCLast night I went searching for a cigar for my evening walk, and I settled on the Cordoba & Morales Platino Double Corona, a big cigar at 7 ½”ish by 54 by my measuring (because there’s np mention of the Platino line on the website!). This cigar had a “bun” style pigtail cap and a covered foot, so I snipped off the cap and went right into lighting this so I got the full effect of the blast of flavor from the wrapper. I couldn’t find much out about this line, but I believe it to be a Sumatra wrapper. The first thing that came to mind when I lit this was that is had a savory, grilled beef kind of flavor, it was really quite different and appealing. This was another cigar that burned perfectly, with only a slight touch-up near the end, I don’t think that’s too uncommon with cigars this size. Oddly, this was the first Cordoba & Morales cigar I have smoked, and I look forward to smoking more of them. The Platino is an awesome smoke.  Here is a re-run of the video interview I did from the IPCPR show in case you missed it the first time around.

 

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

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CigarCraig’s 2016 IPCPR Secret Question Video

For the last few years I’ve done a special video project at the IPCPR show.  The first year was the brand’s theme song. Last year I asked who plays the brand owner or manufacturer in the movie about their cigar brand.  This year I went a little different direction, and, once again,  relied on family to come up with the idea. My son, Corey, accompanied me to the show and was my cameraman for the week, and inspired the secret question for this year’s show.  Without further ado, here is the video.

 

 

I know it was a bit long, but I hope it was worth the time.  It gets harder and harder every year, I almost went with the famous Father Guido Sarducci question to Richard Nixon from 1980, but the more creative option presented itself, and I wasn’t going to wear the priest costume to the show!  Thanks again to my son and my wife for their inspiration.

 

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

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