While there are still a couple of videos that we need to publish from IPCPR; I think we did an extremely good job of covering the show. Hopefully all of you feel the same way. I know it was a lot to digest so I know Walt is working on a complete digest with links to all of our IPCPR content in case you missed something. With only two of us in attendance we got pretty close to replicating results from last year. In fact, media members of IPCPR as a whole did a great job covering the show. I’ve been impressed with the in depth coverage, informative videos and amazing images from many of our media member friends.
I’m not going to rehash the blow by blow details of our experience being carted off the show floor. Brian Hewitt already did a great job of that earlier. I will add that it feels like media membership has become more restrictive each year. Which is puzzling since IPCPR lobbies on behalf of their members so that our government is less restrictive on the industry. Every year there is always something. Maybe it isn’t worth it? Maybe the answer is to become an Exhibitor and have a Media Member Lounge or piggy back on a exhibitor or just not attend? I don’t know. I do know, that this was the first year that I’ve felt a bit disheartened. We are all on the same team, fighting the same fight, maybe one day we will all be on the same page.
Lets get to the important stuff! The cigars! Now, I haven’t smoked everything from the show and I didn’t get samples of everything but here are a few that have caught my attention:
La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli – I have a soft spot for the LGC Serie R brand. It was one of the first brands that I enjoyed immensely early on in my smoking journey and I was excited to see this addition at the show. Lots of strength upfront that grabs your attention and once it has it, the Serie R Esteli doesn’t let go. It smoothes out and saturates your taste buds with bold semi-sweet chocolate notes, a few citrus notes to keep things lively and a Nicaraguan zing that keeps things from being boring. It was love at first draw. Exquisite!
601 La Bomba Warhead by Espinosa Cigars – Mmmmm…La Bomba blend in a maduro wrapper, box pressed. You don’t feel the power at first but then BOOM! It hits your palate hard! The beautiful maduro wrapper with a smooth rustic feel. The La Bomba brand is known for it’s power. The limited edition Warhead adds a earthy richness to balance things out. The Warhead is beautiful and pushes your palate to the extreme. Explosive!
Macanudo Estate Reserve – Two cigars from the General Cigar portfolio? A Macanudo? Your eyes do not deceive you. Props to General as they really stepped up their game this year! A great, solid medium bodied, mid-morning cigar. I sadly blew through all the samples I had. Crisp and creamy with a slight espresso note. Kind of like smoking a Caffe Americano. Pleasant bouquet of aromas with a razor sharp burn. Impressive!
San Cristobal Revelation – The Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper of the Revelation is the same wrapper used on the popular VSG line just a lower priming. The VSG always seemed out of balance for me. I know, I’m in the minority on that one. Revelation is in the crowded medium-full category but stands out with how well balanced and smooth the cigar smokes. Lots of nutty woody notes with a slight spice on the finish. Enjoyable!
Vivalo by Rocky Patel – I’m not a wine guy and I don’t know if Patrick meant for this to smoke like a great merlot but thats what it reminds me of. Silky texture, lots of rich dark fruity notes that coat your palate. A little bit of woodiness and slight bite on the finish. I’m thankful that these will be available at two shops in Maryland. Rocky may have come out with a lot of new blends this year but this one stole the show for me. Stellar!
Reinado Habanito – Okay, I’m sneaking one in on you. The Reinado Habanito isn’t new this year. But they are smoking amazingly for me lately. Small format with lots of giddy-up! Sweet and spicy that just take your palate by storm. I literally can’t get enough of these. Formidable!
Fratello – Beautiful band! No doubt about it. The Fratello just isn’t a pretty band though. It has a beautiful blend to match that band. Balanced with a smooth, mature natural tobacco flavor. Sprinkling of woody and smooth peppery notes, slight undertone of sweetness, creamy texture that engulfs your tastebuds. Solid!
La Campaña de Panamá Soberana by RoMa Craft Tobac – The first release for the CRAFT Series is the La Campaña de Panamá Soberana (say that 10x fast). When I first smoked this during DC Cigar Tweetup I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I didn’t think my palate could appreciate all the nuances being thrown at it. Second time around at the show and I still don’t think my palate can keep up with the dynamic personality of the La Campaña de Panamá Soberana. Full bodied, extra full on flavor and just a beauty to smoke. Bold!