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Live Updates from the IPCPR Cigar Trade Show (Day 3)

4 Aug 2012

This week is in Orlando covering the 80th annual International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Association Trade Show—the convention where cigar makers from around the world come to showcase their products and debut new creations. Check back throughout the day for updates, and keep an eye on Twitter for even more.

Early AM: Yesterday was George E‘s first visit to any IPCPR Trade Show. Although he won’t be on the floor today, before he left for his home in the Tampa area he wrote up his thoughts on his inaugural cigar convention:

My first trip to IPCPR felt something like a cross between a kid in a candy store and a piñata party. Because not only are there more cigar displays than imaginable, there’s so much you’d never expect.

Like a booth for a seller of canes (a comment on the demographic of many cigar smokers?). And more electronic cigar/cigarette booths than I would have thought possible. Leather finger cases and tobacco pouches. Music from The Cigar Station. Hookah pipes, invariably displayed by provocatively dressed young women. Pipes, rows and rows of pipes. China tobacco. Mexico tobacco.

Did I mention cigars?

There’s much more than I’ll ever be able to see and appreciate in my brief one-day visit. But the highlight was unquestionably the people.

One of my first introductions was to Jerry Cruz of Stogie Review. Jerry and I have corresponded over the years but I never had the opportunity to meet him face-to-face. He’s every bit as funny and engaging in person as he is on video. At an after-hours party Patrick S took me to the night before the convention opened, Steve Saka of Drew Estate and Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson were on hand, as was Skip Martin, owner of CroMagnon, who seems to love nothing more than talking cigars.

At the show’s first day, I was able to chat with some industry types I’d met before, like lawyer and brand owner Frank Herrera, who didn’t have a booth, and Eddie Ortega, who did. I got to sample his Ortega Serie D Natural, one of several cigars I had on my must-try-when-I-finally-see-them list. Terrific cigar.

Obviously, I can’t compare this convention to any in the past. I can tell you, though, that I left with good feelings about the future of the industry. The passion and knowledge exuded by so many cigar makers and brand owners was inspiring, while the varied ages and backgrounds of those attending was encouraging.

I think cigars are in good hands. George E

Saturday Midday: One of my first visits of the morning was to Altadis, whose booth seemed more lively than in past years. The Romeo stick (which has been out a little while) is certainly a focus, as is the new Montecristo Epic. I was particularly interested in the Ovalado, an oval-shaped smoke (box-pressed but with slightly rounded corners) made by the Turrents, the first family of Mexican tobacco, with a San Andres Habano wrapper, a San Andreas corojo binder, and filler from San Andreas and Nicaragua. It’s the first I’ve seen of a Mexican Habano wrapper. Also of note was the Montecristo local series. We reviewed the New York Edition a while ago, and next up is a Montecristo Texas edition.

Afternoon: Gurkha is introducing two main lines at this show, both made at Abe Flores’ factory where he also makes Pinar del Rio. Ghost comes in four sizes (5 x 52, 6 x 54 , 6 x 52, and 6 x 60) and uses a Dominican criollo ’98 binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers surrounded by a dark, oily Brazilian arapiraca wrapper. Also out is the 125th Anniversary, utilizing Habano wrapper and binder with Nicaraguan, Brazilian, and Dominican filler. Oliver Hyams, at Gurkha, notes the 125th anniversary is of the rolling of “gurkha” cigars, not the company. Gurkha has also created the East India Trading Company to house some of its more value-oriented lines that don’t fit into the Gurkha portfolio. Red Witch, a new line, is the second under the East India Trading Company umbrella.

Afternoon: J.C. Newman introduced Perla del Mar at the show. The cigar is made at their Nicaraguan San Rafael factory where Brick House and El Baton are produced. It features an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, with Nicaraguan binder and filler and is priced to be affordable at $4.50-5.95 for the four sizes. In addition to a number of sharp-looking new humidors and matching ashtrays, the other highlighted item was the introduction of the Brick House Maduro, which comes only in the “Might Mighty” size (6 x 60).

Late Afternoon: This may be the last update of the day, as reliable internet access seems to be a rare commodity here. But there are many more details that we’ll be sharing in the coming days, including new releases from Alec Bradley, La Flor Dominicana, A.J. Fernandez, Nat Sherman, La Palina, Room 101, and many, many others. Also, keep an eye on the Twitter feed for shorter updates and more photos.

Check back throughout the day today for live updates from the Trade Show floor as we get the skinny on new products. And feel free to leave a comment on this post if you have a question you’d like us to ask a cigar maker. You can read our previous 2012 Trade Show coverage here, here, here, and here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credits: Stogie Guys

7 Responses to “Live Updates from the IPCPR Cigar Trade Show (Day 3)”

  1. Louis C.K. Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    "Oliver Hyams, at Gurkha, notes the 125th anniversary is of the rolling of 'gurkha' cigars, not the company."

    What exactly does this mean?

    Thanks in advance for your response. Love the coverage this year!

  2. Swede214 Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Great job guys! Very interesting,I can't wait till the next update.

  3. George E. Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Here's the word from Gurkha: "The year 2012 commemorates the 125th Anniversary of the Gurkha cigar, where it was this year back in 1887, at the height of the British rule that colonial soldiers first began to smoke and enjoy their own cigars from local tobacco. The fondness of the British for these legendary Nepalese
fighters inspired them to name their cigars ‘Gurkhas.'"

    • Louis C.K. Sunday, August 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

      Thanks, George.

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