IPCPR 2016 Coverage – Day 2

IPCPR 2016 Coverage – Day 2

Today seemed like the longest day of the IPCPR Trade Show. Maybe it’s the time change or the late night, but it’s been a very long day that got off on the wrong foot when my Prometheus lighter crapped out. There was no saving it. I knew I should have brought a Xikar, so on my walk to the Sands Expo area I stopped by the Davidoff of Geneva kiosk and bought a Xikar ELX lighter. With Xikar’s lifetime warranty, I knew that I wouldn’t have any problems to worry about for the rest of the show…or ever. Then it was off to the show.

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My first big stop of the day was at our site sponsor Rocky Patel Premium Cigars. One of the biggest booths in area, with a live Rat Pack like singer crooning out tunes, a beer filled bar, and with Ray Lewis and Gary Sheffield hanging out, the Rocky booth was a pretty popular spot. One of the big trends across the industry last year was the release of high profile Connecticut Shade cigars, and it is a trend that is obviously continuing on. Rocky Patel is following up the success of the value priced Catch 22, with a Connecticut Catch 22. The Prohibition line is also getting a Connecticut version. The really special cigar coming out of the Rocky booth was the Rocky Patel Fifty-Five. Obviously, the great releases for last year were still on display including Sun Grown Maduro, Tabaquero by Hamlet and Rocky Patel Twentieth. All in all, the Rocky seemed to have some great stuff going for it.

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While typically the new lighters and cutters coming out of Xikar x aren’t big enough news to consider mentioning in these overviews of the IPCPR, this year Xikars XO cutter was the product that had everyone excited. I had chance to handle one, and it was substantial with great cutting action. Eventually the XO is going to be as common at shops as the Xi. I can’t wait for this cutter to come out, so I can buy one.

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In a trend that seems to be side effect of the looming FDA regulation of the cigar industry, many companies are releasing a lot of new product, while others are bringing back many of their now retired blends. Perdomo is a perfect example, despite having a massive number of blends already on the market, they are releasing even more new product and bringing back old blends like the Perdomo2. It’s hard to imagine there’s any more room for new Perdomos in the already massive Perdomo section at my local shop. I don’t mean to single out Perdomo, because it’s more than just them, but they are the best example of the effects of the FDA regulation.

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My friend Brian Chinnock’s booth was front and center this year, with a booth right at the trade show entrance. Every time I walked by the Chinnock Cellars Cigars booth there was a steady stream of retailers checking out Brian’s previously released Terroir, Pressoir and Cremoir cigars. Some manufactures claim that their latest release is something special to them and holds a special place in their heart, but this could not be a truer statement in regards to Chinnock’s latest release. The T.L.P., named for Brian’s late wife Terry Lynn Paiva, who passed away from diabetes this year, is a cigar in which 100% of the proceeds from the cigar will be donated to the American Diabetes Associationx. Limited to 200 boxes of 5 cigars, with a retail price of $30 per cigar or $150 per box, the T.L.P. is a limited edition cigar that supports a good cause. The goal is to write the ADA a check for $25,000 from sales of the cigar. The T.L.P. is a cigar I can definitely get behind.

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Hiram & Solomon Cigars is a little know boutique brand out there with some pretty good cigars that have a masonic theme. My liking for the brand is do a little to friendship and brotherly love, but is also due to the fact that cigars like their Master Mason Maduro is pretty good. This year they have several new releases including the Traveling Man and Limited Edition Veiled Prophet lines. However, the most striking of the new releases is the Limited Edition Shriner cigars that come in a special humidor shaped like the famous fez worn by members of the Shine, with a portion of the profits being donated to the Shriner’s charities. These cigar our sure to be a hit at my lodge, and with Masons around the country.

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My next notable stop was the Miami Cigar & Co. booth. At this point, I feel like I’ve been walking forever, so the soft carpet at the Miami Cigar & Co. booth is exactly what my feet needed. There’s several new releases being featured this year, but there’s a couple that really stand out. In a collaboration with Nick Melillo there is a series of infused release called The Upsetters, and although I’m to a fan of infused/flavored cigars, these have me kind of intrigued. Then there is the Nestor Miranda Collection Corojo, which was on no one’s radar before the show, but is a cigar that is likely to continue the success of the Nestor Miranda Collection that was rebranded last year. Viva Republica has a couple lanceros coming. La Aurora also has a few introductory priced cigars headed to retailers also.

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While on the subject of La Aurora Cigars, there’s some big news in on the Preferidos front, which is one of my all time favorite cigar lines from any brand. The Preferidos Petite Coronas, which were originally an Atlantic Coast exclusive, are being released nationwide. The Preferidos Rudy Brazilian Maduro (Ruby) and Connecticut Broadleaf (Diamond) Perfectos are really amazing cigars, and are being joined by a new Double Barrel Aged. The Double Barrel Aged features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, over a Dominican binder with Dominican, Cameroon and Brazilian fillers. This is the first new Preferidos since the Broadleaf made its debut at the 2012 IPCPR in Orlando. I can’t wait to smoke this cigar!

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Another under rated cigar brand, which also happens to have soft carpet at their booth, is Hammer + Sickle. They returned again with their Scottish themed Calenoch brand, which features peat fire cured Corojo tobacco. Last year, they released one that featured 25% peat fire cured filler, and this year they’ve added one where 50% of the filler is fire-cured. The other notable release from Hammer + Sickle is the Museum Series which comes in an impressive looking ceramic box, and is the Moscow City without the Broadleaf filler. Say what you want about them, but these cigars have awesome boxes.

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I spent some more time walking around and visited some smaller booths including Ohana, Nomad, 1502, Crux, Whiff Out, Swinger, Dictator, Cordoba & Morales, J. Fuego and Acme/AKA. The amount of walking I did today was just nuts. On the show floor alone I walked over 7 miles. I  can’t wait to get home and get to bed, but first I have to go out to meet some old friends…

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I had the the chance to hang out with two of my favorite retailers in the country tonight, Abe Dababneh of Smoke Inn Cigars in South Florida and Jorge Ahued of Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston. Then it was off to bed before another long day on the show floor.

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