Hello all it’s been a long time. A lot has happened since I’ve last written; I have a wonderful girlfriend, my favorite football team won the Superbowl Go Pack Go and I work a lot at two wonderful jobs which has kind of taken up a little of my time but since the football season is over and I have a little more time I’m back and ready to write.
I’ve been thinking lately that I need to write about my wonderful trip to the IPCPR in New Orleans. Now seems like a good time to me. So I arrived In New Orleans on Tuesday at 9:45am. I called the hotel as soon as I landed they were kind enough to let me store my bags until I arrived back from the show. After checking in I walked over to the New Orleans Convention Center. Where I waited in line for about an hour. I had no idea what to expect. Thanks to my wonderful friends at Miami Cigars and Guillermo Leon for having a badge waiting for me at the counter when I walked up. When I walked through the door it was like heaven. There were so many vendors and the wonderful smell of cigars in the air. This was like nothing I’ve ever seen. The first stop I made was at my home away from home Miami Cigars. When I walked up I saw all of my friends and there was a cigar waiting for me the Nestor Miranda Art Deco. What a way to start the show. While smoking my first cigar Guillermo walked up to me and gave me a cold Pesidente Beer. After I left their booth I made my way around the Convention Center where I met up with Jose Oliva, Christian Eroia, Matt Booth, Paulo Garzaroli and Alan Rubin. Alan was someone I was really interested in meeting because i’ve never met him before. He was kind enough to ask me back to hang out with him the next day. After making my way around and smoking some awesome cigars I made my way back to the Miami Cigars booth. When I arrived Rene asked what I was doing that night. Since I had just arrived I had no plans. Rene asked me to join them at an after party on Bourbon Street. I of course joined them. It was awesome we had get hors devour, cold drinks and interesting conversation. I met some really cool guys from Texas that owned a cigar shop. At the party Guillermo Leon gave everyone a sampler of all the sizes of the Guillermo Leon Signature cigar. We shot the shit for a while afterward we walked inside to see some of the most beautiful women dancing. We joined them for a few minutes until we decided to walk around New Orleans and check out the sites. After walking around for a while we decided to head out and get some sleep.
Wednesday morning I got into the show early since I was with a distributor. This day I started the show with the Guillermo Leon Signature. Today was a little busy at the booth so I decided to grab a Presidente and make my way around the show again this time hoping to see booths I wasn’t able to see the first day. Wow that was a really cool experience to visit smaller cigar manufacturers we I found two really good cigars the San Lotano and the Viaje (which won #2 cigar of the year). I visited Graycliff again when I was given an almost blood red labeled Graycliff. Paulo asked me if I was hungary which I was so he gave me some conch chowder that his chef made for him to bring to the show. While eating the chowder I was given some 35 year old Macallan. I walked around the show bumped into my friends from the night before had lunch with them and made my way around the rest of the show. I met up with Alan Rubin had some really interesting conversation about the cigar lifestyle. From there I made my way to the Torano cigars where I learned about the single region. That’s a unique idea to grow all of the tobacco used for the cigar all on the same farm. Towards the end of the show I met up with Neil and Alex from Corona Sandlake. That night I decided to go to Harrah’s Casino right next to the convention center. I broke even then decided to go back to the hotel and get some sleep.
Thursday it was a little hard for me to get up but I did and got to the show at 9:45am. I walked into the Miami Cigar booth where I sat across from Pepin Garcia and Jamie. We talked about the cigars they are rolling for Miami Cigars. That was a surreal moment for me. While sitting there I saw Alex and Neil and decided to walk around with them today. We saw even more new cigar makers and stopped into booths I wouldn’t normally go into. We stopped by Drew Estate nickname Shoe Estate. His booth were full of custom painted shoes. We ended up meet up with Jeff Borysiewicz and his lovely wife Tanya. We walked around stopped into the Davidoff Booth saw a couple of accessories manufacturers then stopped for lunch. After lunch I was talking to Tanya where she asked me why I don’t work for them. I had for three months. We ended up walking around the show until it closed where Alex and Neil left to come back to Florida, Jeff went to lead a CRA meeting and I went and hung out with my friends at Miami Cigars drank a lot of beer and smoked a lot of cigars. After the show officially closed I walked back towards my hotel with both Jeff and Tanya. After a few steps Jeff asked me, “Why don’t you work for us?” I laugh and say Tanya asked me that earlier. Tanya then proceeded to tell Jeff I’ve worked for them for three months. We all laughed. Then Jeff asked me what I was doing that night. I said, “ more then likely sleeping.” He told me to meet them back at their hotel in 20 minutes. I set my bags down and proceeded to their hotel. I sat down in the bar and talked to Tony “Stretch” Gomez and his rep Justin. Watched some of the saints game. I got a call from Jeff telling me it was time to go to dinner. We got on the bus that took us to the Aston dinner. We were one of the last people to make it to the event. We walked in and were treated to an Aston White Label to go with the pre dinner drinks. Then we were asked to find our table by our rep. Our rep is Sexy Rex. I sat at a table with a lot of cigar shop owners in Florida. We told a lot of funny stories and had a blast. After we talked for a while the waiters walked around with a menu that was designed for us by Emeril’s. While the salads were being served Rex handed us the Aroma De Cuba Especial Edition 2010 blend. It was awesome. Then came dinner Steak, spinach salad and potatoes. The after dinner cigar was my favorite the Aroma De Cuba Mi Amore. For dessert they served us a chocolate cigar on top of coconut shavings and custard. It was awesome and after dessert we were given the Aston ESG. What an amazing night. At Dinner I met David Savona from Cigar Aficionado. What an interesting man. After talking a lot and exchanging great stories we decided to head back since I had to leave early.
Friday marked my return to reality. I left with a suitcase full of goodies I was given at the show. I got 3 gallon sized ziplock bags full of cigars. I can’t thank everyone enough for the hospitality. I can’t wait for next year. I hope to see everyone there Vegas 2011.