Cigar Aficionado's Big Smoke 2019
This November will mark the 24th Annual Las Vegas Big Smoke hosted by Cigar Aficionado Magazine. While for industry members, the IPCPR trade show is the largest annual event, the Big Smoke is the largest customer-based event in the county.
All the notable manufacturers attend to mingle with their customers, give seminars and discuss important issues related to the cigar industry.
This year is gearing up to be quite the event. For those of you who are unaware of what the Big Smoke is, let’s have a glance and what someone can expect from this year’s event.
Big Smoke Evening
The first night is known as the Big Smoke Evening. It is similar to the trade show, just with customers instead of retailers. Various cigar manufacturers set up booths and offer up some of their new products to the customers.
This is a great way for individuals from around the country to get to meet and talk to their favorite manufacturers while picking their brains about their blending processes and ideas, etc.
This is also the big night for customers to get their hands on as many cigars as they can. You can get a certain amount with your ticket purchase, but if you happen to know a rep or two, they will usually set you up with something special.
Day 2: Seminars
Day 2 is the best for a cigar nerd such as myself. There are a variety of seminars from industry leaders on various subjects.
First, they have three seminars with each of the blenders of the Top 3 Cigars of 2018. This year that includes Nick Melillo for the Wise Man Maduro, the Garcia Family for the My Father La Opulencia, and E.P. Carrillo for the Encore Majestic.
Following, there is a discussion about women in the cigar industry, which is led by Cynthia Fuente of Arturo Fuente, Ines Gomez of La Flor Dominicana and Lissette Perez Carrillo of EPC.
For those of you interested in the continued battle with the FDA, there will be a discussion about regulation with Rocky Patel, Drew Newman and Glynn Loope of the CRA. Following this is a large lunch with the legendary Plasencia family.
Day 2: Evening
Following all the seminars, there is another Big Smoke evening full of cigars, drinks, and food. Some of the liquor sponsors this year include Lagavulin, Hennessy, Guinness, and WhistlePig.
Now that the excitement of the first day has calmed a bit, this is a great opportunity to facetime with some of the bigger manufacturers such as Jonathan Drew and allows you to get all of the pictures or autographs you desire.
Day 3: Morning
Although this is the last day of the event, the organizers have saved some really fun activities for the guests. The day starts with a large breakfast cooked by legendary Chef Nicol Brisson. There is even do a breakfast pairing with some top-notch Oliva cigars.
Following this, you have the chance to roll some of your own cigars. Michael Gianinni, general manager of Ventura cigars, will sit and showcase his rolling talents and help you roll your own cigars.
The day ends with a tequila tasting and paring from Tequila Cazadores. You will have the chance to pair them with cigars from H. Upmann and Montecristo.
If you have the money and the ability to travel to Las Vegas, the Big Smoke is a worthwhile event that is a sort of pilgrimage for the nation’s cigar smokers. You will have some top-notch food and drink, all of the finest cigars, and the chance to meet and socialize with manufacturers and your fellow cigar smokers.