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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes:

July 21, 2015
New Orleans, Louisiana

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There has NEVER been a better time to be a cigar smoker! It’s true, I believe it! 

Despite cigar and tobacco smoking bans being enacted across the United States and Canada, despite some bureaucratic, Executive Branch attempts to 'regulate' cigars and the cigar business (Food and Drug Administration) and even Congress' current dallying with severe limitations, and despite varying, often prohibitive and punitive taxes (especially to our north), now is a great time to be a smoker. Why is that? Certainly, there were times past when the availability of places to enjoy cigars was ubiquitous, and smoking indoors was, itself, not a problem.

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes:

Las Cumbres Tabaco

Señorial and the new Viking Invasion

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Understatement. Excellence. Consistency. Character. Quality. Craftsmanship. I admire these traits in people. Many in this world hope to aspire to these, and long to be honored by such compliments and admiration. A good friend of mine in the cigar business embodies these characteristics, and seeks to encourage them in his contemporaries as well. He has certainly instilled them in me as a cigar tyro. Sadly, my friend Mr. Frank Santos of Puros Indios no longer attends the IPCPR.

However, we have another similar friend in this business, one Mr. José Blanco. I realize that some of my few followers who read this will question my objectivity, because of my fawning. It has to be said, though. I apologize to Mr. Santos for using his name, and equally express some modicum of remorse to Mr. Blanco for using someone else’s thoughts to express my own in a piece dedicated to him and his wife, Emma Viktorsson.

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Swing and Stogies

Swing and Stogies 1New York City can be a grind any time of year – even at its best. When the tension of cross-town traffic, subway jostling and throngs of people in front of you going too damn slow winds your clock too tight, unwind it at the Carnegie Club in Mid-Town, just a few blocks from the madness of Times Square. The Carnegie Club is open to the public, and has no cover charge. It’s filled with class, comfy man-chairs and – oh yeah – stogies!

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes

Marrero Cigars

Is Costa Rica really unfashionable?

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Over the years, as Cigar Weekly member David 'Yogi' Dean will testify, we make IPCPR 'show friends' or 'show peeps'. These are people we run into as we walk the show floor or people the retailers may do business with on a regular basis, people we have met or hosted at parties or simply extremely nice folks that take time with each other. One constant theme in my dispatches concerns these people I mention again and again. Many folks involved in this business have long memories, and will remember each other even after years of absence. One such individual is a person - let’s call him Mr. A. - who hails from here in New Orleans. The two of us have maintained some bits of contact via e-mail or other social media over the years.

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Fist Full of Rocky!

Fist Full of Rocky 1One of the things I enjoy about cigar events held at the Lit Lounge, Snoqualmie Casino, is the opportunity to broaden my range of favorite cigars.

For over a year now, I've chosen the Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary, which is full bodied and easy on the draw. The Lit Lounge routinely keeps these cigars in stock, in large part because I buy so many. And the people there are sure to tell me when they've got them.

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes:

IPCPR 2015: Notes, Dispatches and Cigar Reviews

Good men and women of, especially you manufacturers, I do apologize. I’m very sorry.

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Due to the weekend scheduling of the trade show this year, my time on the floor there was limited. I feel as if I missed way more than I probably did, and wandered aimlessly a little too much. That’s not a good thing for you guys, because only a few of you will get full treatment. Of course, that's also two days during which you didn't have to bother with ol' Tommy, either. And that can't but be a good thing.

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5 Points Cigar Shop & Lounge Grand Opening

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Is wintertime really a ‘dead’ season for cigar industry events? Not when the inauguration of a brand new establishment takes place.

On January 31, 2015, cigar and pipe aficionados gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the 5 Points Cigar Shop & Lounge, located in the city of Athens in the Oconee County region of northeastern Georgia. Four months of planning, building and organizing had gone into the making of this exceptional place.

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IPCPR 2015 Dispatches and Notes:

IPCPR 2015: Notes, Dispatches and Cigar Reviews

Taking a cigar vacation? What a wonderful concept, sounds great to me; taking a vacation FROM cigars? Bad idea, it is.

Not going to the IPCPR, except for every fifth year or so, severely impacts one’s continuing involvement and overall 'in the know' about goings-on within the cigar business. TOO MUCH cigar content on social media will also overload one’s brain and ability to truly understand just what is really happening.

Take as an example a cigar and company called Crux. Has anyone other than the Haugen family heard of them? Well, it seems many have, at least if you go by the company's sales! The Crux brand started out based in a family retail shop, Tobacco Grove in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Sarah Haugen told Cigar Weekly that they came to the IPCPR for the first time last year (2014) with five lines. Then, she turned me over to her brother Casey, who was willing to share the family secrets.

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The Rebirth of a Cigar Shop (or It's Hard to Keep a Good Cigar Shop Down!)

20140923 191423Monday October 13, 2014

De Cuba is the name of my weekend home away from home. This is where I have spent the majority of my Saturday afternoons these past several years.

At De Cuba, I have made many good friends, or 'Brothers of The Leaf' (BOTL), as we like to call ourselves. We would gather on Saturdays, enjoying cigars and conversation along with an adult beverage or two.

The number of friends present would ebb and flow. During the summer months, we'd have baseball on the screen. And then, of course, during college football season, things would kick into high gear, with a fairly wide variety of team favorites being represented.

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Cigar Weekly at the IPCPR in New Orleans

Many thanks to Cigar Weekly's forums members Brenda (Frau Evil) and Jeff (jefslat) for providing their impressions of some of the highlights (and not-so-high moments, too) of the IPCPR in New Orleans!

The 10 best things about the first day of the IPCPR in New Orleans

Free stuff: 

Not even counting the free sample cigars flowing from some of the booths, SWAG was everywhere. The goods ranged from free luggage tags and lanyards (courtesy Nat Sherman Cigars) to free T-shirts, torch lighters and laptop bags (from Nino Vasquez at APS Distributors).

Best taste: 

Cigar & Spirits Magazine sponsored the Lounge, with comfortable chairs for a smoke, and various companies pouring liquor to sample. 35 Maple Street Spirits had the best tasting sips with their Bib & Tucker Bourbon that matched well with a spicy cigar.

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