IPCPR 2016 Coverage – Day 1

IPCPR 2016 Coverage – Day 1

Already, Vegas is turning out to be easier and more manageable then last year’s show. Some people keep talking about the heat, but it’s been 69º everywhere I’ve been, but I also haven’t left the Venetian/Palazzo/Sands complex since getting here. Anyhow, time to get on with the real cigar related stuff…

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The IPCPR Trade Show floor is much more manageable than last year, and there is a lot less hookah and vape products. In some ways the set-up is a little confusing and it can be hard to locate various booths, but the IPCPR thought of that and the iPhone/Android app has a map with location services. A lot of the booths look a little less fancy than in years past, and I have a feeling it has to do with people trying to save money in the wake of the FDA situation.

My first scheduled appointment was with General Cigar Co. As expected, in anticipation of the new FDA regulations, there are a good deal of new releases from General. A few of General’s new releases stood out. So many consumers at shops I visit are asking if they are ever bring back the CAO Sopranos cigar, and they finally are as the CAO Consigliere. (My assumption is their licensing deal with HBO is over, so they kept the mob theme while changing the name slightly.) A new Broadleaf maduro will be added to the La Gloria Cubana Serie R line, which is likely to be a big seller in certain circles. There’s another new release from Foundry called Time Flies, but as with last year’s Foundry releases it is not likely to be something that is a must have. General is launching the first new Partagas since the Partagas Black back in the late 90s.

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Torah had several new releases. Anyone who has seen the new Toraño boxes look an awful lot like Camacho’s boxes. Worse yet, the new bands also have a distinctly Camacho-like look. Still, Toraño was the brand at the General booth that impressed me most. There are two new Toraño Vault releases and a new Toraño Exodus. I had the chance to smoke the new Exodus, and it’s quite good and has a reasonable price point. I’m sure that the Exodus is going to be a popular everyday cigar with the average cigar smoker.

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The biggest news at the General booth was the new Hoyo by AJ Fernandez. The new Hoyo release was blended by AJ, and the boxes were on display in both the AJ Fernandez and General Cigar booths. Though I have yet to smoke it, I’m told it is fuller bodied with more pepper than other cigars across the General brands. I’m really looking forward to sitting down and smoking the new Hoyo once I have the time.

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In the past, I really enjoyed the La Sirena and Merlion, so I was quite excited when I found out Arielle Ditkowich’s La Sirena brand is releasing a Merlion Maduro. If the new Merlion Maduro is as good as previous La Sirena releases, then I’m sure that it will gain high marks here on ToastedFoot.

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Perhaps the new boutique brand that has impressed me most in recent months is Cornelius & Anthony. The, already released, Cornelius has been one of my favorite cigars this year, while the Daddy Mac is up there too. Both are on display at the Cornelius & Anthony booth, along with their two new releases. The Venganza is the best thing I’ve smoked so far at this year’s IPCPR, while I’m waiting to get home before trying the rebranded/reblended Meridian. Everything from the box artwork to Courtney Smith’s booth design seemed to give the Cornelius & Anthony brand a timeless classic look among a bunch of the same old booths.

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Some readers may remember me talking about the Cigar Factory New Orleans during last year’s IPCPR coverage, or have read the review I did a while back of their Maduro Numero Uno. Well, this year they have a booth of their own, and are finally selling to retailers nationwide. It’s highly likely that these cigars may turn up at a retailer near you. I’m pretty sure it will be a huge success in places like Texas.

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I have to go to the annual Cigar Bash at En Fuego, thrown by our good friends and fellow Cigar Media Association members Cigar Dojo. If you don’t have the Cigar Dojo app, make sure to download it for iOS or Android so you can finally be part of the Dojonation. Then I’m calling it an early night, because there is so much to see still.

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