Everyone is reporting on the IPCPR show which I covered from my perspective in my last installment. I thought I’d try to take a little different angle and present some of the fine shops I encountered on my New Orleans Vacation.
The first shop we came across was the Cigar Factory of New Orleans shop on Bourbon Street. This is not too much more than a kiosk with a couple display cases of their cigars. Cigar Factory of New Orleans rolls several of their own cigars in their larger shop and factory on Decatur Street, which is much larger and has many tables and chairs where you can sit and smoke and drink to your hearts content. We made it in to the Decatur Street location and watched a gentleman expertly applying wrappers to robustos. He was doing beautiful work. As we were watching, one of the guys who works there came and started explaining what the rollers were doing, and then took us to the walk-in humidor and explained the blends to us. I picked up a sampler containing the 3 blends, Plantation Reserve, Vieux Carre and Tres Hermanos in the corona size. While I thought the prices were fairly high on the cigars in general, considering that they are rolled on the premises and Louisiana taxes, I suppose they weren’t too far off the mark. I paid $22.00 for the cedar box of 3 cigars with a box of matches and a paper describing the cigars.
As we were wandering around Bourbon Street on Saturday night, we managed to find our way to The Tobacco Exchange on Exchange Place (an alley between Bienville and Conti Streets). This was the first full service tobacconist that we came across and was a very nice store. While their prices were high from my perspective, and remember that I live in Pennsylvania which has no cigar tax, they had a very nice selection of cigars. They were having a customer and supplier appreciation event at the time and had food and beverages in the alley and I looked out the window of the humidor and Rocky Patel was there hanging out. I picked up a couple Tabacos Beaez robustos to smoke while we hung out. A very nice store and the staff was knowledgeable and very nice. They have a beautiful lounge as well. Highly recommended if you find yourself in the French Quarter.
Another full service tobacconist we ran across was the Crescent City Cigar Shop on Orleans St. They also had a fine selection of cigars at what appeared to be normal local prices. They also have a nice smoking area and boast the largest walk-in humidor in the French Quarter. Another shop worth mentioning is Don Leoncio Cigars on Canal Street. I took a quick walk-through and there was ample seating and a well stocked walk-in. By all accounts this was a hot-bed of activity during the IPCPR show as I read many reports of folks hanging out there after the show and the various events afterward.
There were a lot of interesting shops along Bourbon Street and around the French Quarter that sold cigars, most of which had a couple boxes of premium cigars at exorbitant prices. As we walked around while we were there we often encountered cigar smokers, I guess the atmosphere of Bourbon Street with it’s all night, bar-to-bar party lends itself to cigars. The aroma of a fine cigar was a pleasant change from the other aromas there.
That’s about it for this time. Next installment I’ll touch upon the cigars I smoked during my trip and since.