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2014 IPCPR Saturday

Punch and Draw report on the goings-on at the first day of IPCPR 82 in Las Vegas.
Punch: The glamour of Las Vegas is best observed at night.

Draw: We arrived at 2:00pm. This is arriving at Las Vegas. Parking at our hotel took 30 minutes. Finding registration took another 30 minutes. Freshening up took another 30 minutes.

P: Yes, but on the other hand, getting lost in the back-stage area of Harrah’s on our way to the conference site only cost us…

D: …A total of 30 minutes.

P: All-in-all, we arrived at the conference room at the Venetian with a few minutes to settle in before the Whisky & Cigar pairing event. Hosted by Cigar & Spirits magazine, this session was opened by Greg Zimmerman, IPCPR board member. Zimmerman spoke briefly about the importance of defending our rights – a major theme for this year’s show – and encouraged all attendees to visit the IPCPR PAC booth just outside the conference room.

Frankly, we’re in the fight of our lives, and every one of us in this room make our living from tobacco.” — Greg Zimmerman, IPCPR

He concluded by introducing Kyle Whalen, IPCPR Public Relations, who coordinated the tasting.

D: Before kicking off the event, Whalen introduced Nebojsa “Sol” Soulanc from event sponsor Instia. Sol described a new mobile app, “überguide” which harnesses next-generation visual recognition technology to present cigar information to users from a snapshot of the cigar label – custom-crafted info about the brand manufacturer, and even beverage pairings. Request more information about this product from

P: Whalen then introduced Fred Rewey of Nomad Cigar Company. He talked briefly about the growth of Nomad Cigars from 30 retailers to 140 currently, and the expansion of Nomad offerings.

Coming to Vegas, people ask me, do you gamble? I tell them no, instead I opened a cigar company!” – Fred Rewey, Nomad Cigar Company

Rewey described the S‑307, a recent release and the cigar for this pairing, having an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, Ecuadorian Habano binder, and Nicaraguan filler. He also described the C‑276 being introduced at the show, and his fear of tarantulas on Ometepe Island.

D: Whalen then introduced Lincoln Salazar, CEO/Publisher of Cigar & Spirits magazine. Salazar introduced a video describing the heritage behind Buffalo Trace Distillery and their Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Buffalo Trace makes Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch bourbon which was paired with the C‑307. Salazar emphasized the importance and respect of cheers and toasting, and shared several time-honored techniques.

Photo of Lincoln Salazar, CEO/Publisher of Cigar & Spirits magazine, addressing  IPCPR 82 attendees from a dias at a cigar and bourbon pairing.

Lincoln Salazar, Cigar & Spirits Magazine, sharing passionately about camaraderie and tradition, endangered.

P: Salazar also gave a primer on proper bourbon tasting. He concluded his presentation by reminding people that a tradition that’s been around in this country from it’s founding is under attack.

The other thing: as we get to share this camaraderie of cigars and Scotch, spirits, it’s important at some point that we don’t forget that camaraderie that we’re all here for, and that’s to protect our rights as Americans.” – Lincoln Salazar, Cigar & Spirits

D: While we didn’t have time to give either the cigar or bourbon a proper review, my impression of the bourbon is very consistent with other opinions, that it is very smooth with a caramel corn flavor and hints of almond and licorice, and an aroma which suggested some walnut.

A photo of the Nomad S-307 and a plastic cup with Buffalo Trace bourbon.

The Nomad S‑307 paired with a shot of Col. E. H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon.

P: I thought the Nomad S‑307 was a slight bit strong for this paring, but otherwise a fine, smoke. My notes only went so far as to describe the start – a slightly sharp attack leading to smokey wood and leather with a medium black pepper finish.

D: I spoke briefly with Jon Shakill, editor-in-chief of Cigar & Spirits, about how this pairing was made. He described how their team identified the flavor attributes of the S‑307, and then began reviewing their knowledge of various spirits and distilleries until they decided upon Buffalo Trace as being an overall match. Then they worked with the distiller to select a few specific spirits, from which Cigar & Spirits made their final choice. Based on my tasting at this event, I felt it was a perfect match.

P: From there, we talked briefly with [NAME FORTHCOMING] about the IPCPR PAC at their booth in the lobby. While we were directed to the Internet for complete details, [NAME] did give us a general overview of what a PAC is and does; the IPCPR PAC is specifically limited to financing federal Congressional-candidate  election campaigns. Differently, state and local PACs may use the funds they collect in other ways.

D: As everyone had been kicked out of the Venetian conference rooms so they could be reset, we spent a little time tracing our steps, looking for a faster route back to our hotel. Then we mingled in the hall outside, getting to know some of the retailers, and stalking the Katman. Eventually, we were let into the ballroom for the opening gala. I was so rapt about taking notes on the back of business cards, that I walked RIGHT PAST the cigars that were being passed out! So did Punch. A couple of rubes…

P: Well, at least I was distracted by the scale of the “light hors d’oeuvres”. Here’s a shot (or two) of one of the tables. These were repeated on the four-compass points, around a central bar, with a backup bar at the back of the room. Very classy. No expense spared.

A photo of a buffet table at the Venetian Conference Rooms  where the IPCPR 82 opening gala was held.

One of the several serving tables at the Opening Gala.

A photo of a buffet table at IPCPR 82 Opening Gala at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

Another shot of the same buffet table layout. Unfortunately we didn’t photograph all of the different options. Better shooting next time…

D: The service was great, too. Many thanks to the gala sponsors: Alec Bradley, Rocky Patel, Oliva, and Altadis USA. Also to the supporting sponsor Royal Gold Cigars, and the patron sponsor, Cuban Stock Cigar Company.

P: We made several passes through the room, touching base with Cigar Coop, Logan, Rob and the Canadian (John) from Cigar Federation, as well as various reps and retailers. Eventually we received a super-secret invite to an after event.

D: We shared a cab to a roof-top, pool side, toga party featuring Vato Cigars – a Las Vegas-based brand – and sponsored in part by my friends from The Humidor at Wichita, Kansas. I soaked my feet in the pool and chatted with several retailers while Punch networked with some of the other attendees including Chris Kelly of Ezra Zion and Blessed Leaf. I smoked a Vato Kansas stick, with a two-leaf striped wrapper, specifically blended for the Kansas palette. While I couldn’t give it review-quality attention, I do remember it was likable to the extent that I nubbed it as my first smoke on Sunday.

P: We knocked off early to share a cab back with Bob and Michelle, owner and manager of tobacco shops in the Phoenix area, and took in a little of the Fremont Street experience.

D: Our cab driver, it turns out, was an up-and-coming cigar aficionado, who regaled us with stories about his friend who introduced him to cigars, and who was “all in” in a deluxe way.

P: The day (or evening… morning?) ended for us with a thankful spirit for being someplace where cigars aren’t shunned, and with people who appreciate this same hobby, this same cigar-smoking lifestyle. It was very gratifying and humbling.

Edited on July 29 to include everything from the gala through the end of the day.

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Comment (1)

  1. John Marcolini

    Jealous!! Have a great time. I’m looking forward to more info!

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