After a long day of travel, and a not so great night’s sleep, I woke up in Fabulous Las Vegas at, oddly, my usual 5:45 wake up time. I say “oddly” because of the 3 hour time difference and the shortage of sleep. I took a walk to the McDonalds between Harrah’s and Casino Royale and grabbed some breakfast and took advantage of their free wireless internet.
After catching up on e-mail and stuff, I headed over to the Sands Expo and Convention Center to pick up my IPCPR badge. With that out of the way, I had to go to the Imperial Palace and change rooms. When I checked in at about 1 am Sunday morning, for whatever reason they “upgraded” me to a deluxe room, and would allow me to stay in the room for an additional $20 per night. We’ll, after seeing the room, I was concerned. Sure, I had a Roman tub with a mirror over top of it, and sure I had a king sized bed, also with a mirrored ceiling. Also, I had a fine view of the parking garage from my “balcony”. Anyway, since I had no need of the tub and ceiling mirrors, I opted out of the “upgrade” and changed to a normal room, which was actually much less skeevy than the deluxe room, which weirded me out a little.
At this point it was around noon and I headed over to Caesars to meet up with my old friend Keith, who lives in Vegas, for a smoke at Casa Fuente. I arrived first and took a walk through the humidor where I witnessed Hemingway Short Stories for $15 among other high priced goodies. I sat out side the shop and ordered a Pepsi and waited for Keith, who was along in a bit. We caught up and he, very generously, gifted me a Casa Fuente Corona which was delicious! I always enjoy getting together with Keith, we have a similar dry sense of humor, so we get one another’s jokes most of the time!
I then went over to the convention center and caught the blending seminar with Jose Blanco. I’ve included the very raw video of the first part of the discussion below. Jose is a fascinating guy and very personable. My videography is crappy, but there is some great information shared. The cigar that were were provided to smoke was very unique in that it had 5 different wrappers, building from mild to strong, illustrating the effect the wrapper has on the flavor. Unfortunately, my palate isn’t finely tuned enough to really taste the subtle differences, but I was able to tell when the flavors changed. My mistake was probably having two cigars prior to the seminar. Jose is a fine gentleman, a very funny man and has forgotten more about tobacco than I will ever know.
After the seminar I ran back to my room and changed, and went to the gala opening dinner, which was very crowded. I had some very good beef and turkey, along with various cheeses and mingled. I ran into my old friend Mike Staiber, formerly of Drew Estate, presently of Oliva, as well as several other folks with whome0 I’m acquainted and hung out with them for the evening, ending up at one of the bars in the casino. I finished the evening catching up with an old friend from Saratoga, NY, who I met in Vegas in 1999 and hadn’t seen since, Mike Perry, and we chatted for a while. I was exhausted by this point and retired to my new, non-deluxe, non-skeevy, perfectly adequate room and crashed.
I have so much to share over the coming weeks that I have to be careful not to repeat myself or leave anything out. I’ll be including videos, some of which may be difficult to hear because of the ambient noise and the limitations of the equipment I used. Hopefully what I did get will be entertaining and educational.
One side note, I was running some errands with my wife yesterday and came across a very unique and interesting shop in Doylestown, PA., Classic Cigar Parlor. Located in a historic building which looks to be easily 200 years old, it’s a very nice shop with a decent little selection with good pricing and very nice owners. They have a smoking parlor and hookah bar as well. I look forward to visiting again.
That’s all for now, until the next time,